Saturday, 6 May 2017

Mathieu Fontaine Painting Masterclasses in Vancouver : Masterclass Painting and Airbrushing Classes!

I'm extremely excited to announce that Mathieu Fontaine will be coming to Vancouver to teach two courses : his classic Masterclass, and his brand new airbrush course.  I posted this up in a few local Facebook groups earlier, but somehow managed to forget to post this up on my blog as well!

Five years ago, I was totally burnt out on miniature painting after doing it for a living for over half a decade.  I had no passion for it any more, and couldn't even bear the thought of sitting in a chair and breaking out the brushes, despite having a closet full of miniatures in various states of completion.

Then it was announced that Mathieu Fontaine was coming to Vancouver to teach a set of painting Masterclasses, and I figured, "What the hell..." and signed up.  I have to say that it was the best thing that ever happened to my mini painting.  It demystified many of the techniques used by many of the top painters, gave me a whole new set of skills and techniques to work on, gifted me with a much more solid understanding of what makes some paintjobs work better than others, and most importantly, it made me extremely excited to paint again.

Mathieu brought this diorama along, and it was amazing to see "in the flesh"

For those people who are unfamiliar with Mathieu, he is an extremely accomplished painter from the province of Quebec (the primarily French speaking part of Canada).  And he is one of the "Game Changers" in the world of miniature painting, at least for North America.

Eons ago, miniature painting was dominated by the Eavy Metal style that was "perfected" by Games Workshop.  As I have mentioned before in a previous blog article, it's a fantastic method of painting for beginners and gamers, as it's simple and clean.  However, once you've reached the limits of what that style can accomplish, it's kind of an evolutionary dead end in terms of art.

However, GW was organizing it's proprietary "Games Day" conventions all across the world, with the "Golden Demons" painting competitions set within them.  It's a painting competition that draws the best of the best, due to all the coverage it attracts online and in print.  Win a Golden Demon, or better yet, the Slayer Sword (the "Best in Show" award for Games Day), and people all around the world would know about it.  And because of that, an interesting thing began to happen.

Different art styles were showing up at Golden Demons.  In particular, the continental Europeans (most notably in France, Spain, and Italy) were producing some of the most wondrously expressive paintjobs, accomplished with the highest levels of technical skill. And while we had our own Games Days / Golden Demons in Canada and the US, their stuff was making us look like we were painting with our fingers in elementary school.

Mathieu, and a few select Quebecois painters, managed to reach out to some of the best Euro painters and learn from them.  It was the supercharged injection that our painting scene direly needed.  From that, the standard of painting went up... way up.  Mathieu went on to become one of the winning-est miniature painters in the world (having won awards in both the New World and the Old).

For some examples of his works, check out some of the following links:

Mathieu's website :

Mathieu on Putty and Paint :

Mathieu's Golden Demon winning entries :

A 2014 interview with Mathieu :

Not only has Mathieu made his mark by winning all sorts of awards for his work, but he has also made his imprint on miniature painting by paying it forward.  He has been teaching miniature painting for years now, starting long before I took his class half a decade ago.

Now, I admit that first impressions of Mathieu can be a bit daunting.  He's a bit brusque, extremely opinionated, sarcastic to the extreme, and he never seems to pronounce the letter, "H" (in short, he's a shining example of Quebecois manliness).  But he's also a great friend to have, and a great source of insightful truth about art.  And if he starts to make fun of you, then you know that he is starting to like you.  He's kind of funny that way.  ;)

He has also gone on to paint for many private collectors worldwide, including a few models for George R.R. Martin (the author of The Game of Thrones).

For these reasons, I'm really happy to be able to play a small part in bringing him back to Vancouver.  As you all know, I love this city, and I would really love to make it a mecca of miniature painting.  The problem is that we are geographically and culturally far removed from the epicentres of the art form (the UK, France, Spain, Italy, mainly).  Thanks to the Internet, we get access to digital doses of the international painting scene, but it's still not the same as being there.  So it's great when we can bring people like Alfonso "Banshee" Giraldes here, or Meg Maples, or Mathieu.  Each Masterclass we have here noticeably elevates the painting locally.  It also inspires people to keep developing miniature painting as an art form.

So, for anyone who has been learning how to paint by watching YouTube videos, or reading White Dwarf magazine, or hanging out at their local game shop and slinging paint with their buddies, a Masterclass may be a daunting prospect.  But perhaps I can make an analogy here:

If you are a home cook... a pretty decent home cook, by all accounts... would you be content with staying at that level?  Would you still be having fun cooking years later, if you don't challenge yourself, and meet higher level chefs once in awhile?  Be exposed to some of the best cooking in the world?

Now say that you hear that Gordon Ramsey is coming to town to teach two weekends of cooking?  This is a Michelin star rated chef... perhaps one of the best in the world (certainly one of the best known).  And he's making time to teach a small class of students of all levels of experience, from beginner to expert, how he likes to cook.

Wouldn't THAT be a neat experience?  Inspiring, perhaps?  Possibly transform how you cook from now on?

Not to mention how FUN it might be?

I know I'm gushing more than a little bit.  Perhaps even being over-dramatic.  But I'm just trying to get my point across.  Painting is a journey, and one that is more interesting because of the people you meet along the way.  This is a great opportunity, and I'm really happy to help be a part of that.

If you are interested, email me at , and I'll answer your questions, and fill in the details.  Your spot is not reserved until payment is received, and we do have a few spots left at the moment.

Hope to hear from you soon!

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