A Colorful Journey into the Occult

For my next miniature project after Conan I decided I wanted to try a piece with very strong environmental light. I’ve been sitting on this great bust from Secret Workshop for months, and I finally felt ready to take on the challenge of painting it.

While not strictly OSL (there are no luminous objects present), the effect of the strong, directional ambient light aims at much the same thing.

I actually tried a very similar effect on a piece last year, but this time the light situation and model are more complex, and the intended result more subtle. Incidentally, both pieces were sculpted by Maxime Penaud.

I started by creating very warm yellow & orange skintones to signal the presence of a flame nearby, likely some sort of torch or brazier. As always, the skintones were fun and relatively easy! Then began the hard part.

I put the effect in place over his red robes. The entire robe was painted crimson (with some different undercoats to reinforce the lighting), so the warmer red and orange tones again suggested a fiery light source.

Next I put in place a moonlight cast on the opposite side of the model. This was really hard, and the help of several friends improved my work over several days. I struggled with saturation, value, and the coordination of the lighting among the various elements.

At this point I started taking pictures of the mini with a black background to start to show whether the effect were working. I still feel myself to be a novice at this sort of lighting, so I’ve been trying to carefully assess my painting at every stage.

The final light source is a more subtle purple glow from beneath the figure. The purple forms a natural bridge between the blue and red sections of the model, and the softer light provides contrast and a bit of rest for the eyes.


February is cold and snowy, the pandemic continues to freeze our social life, and work has been emotionally grueling. While I’m pushing myself hard on this figure and have endured some inevitable frustration, I also look forward to the hours I spend painting as a chance to retreat into quiet imagination, creativity, and craft. I hope you’ve been able to engage in a little mini painting therapy lately, too!

3 thoughts on “A Colorful Journey into the Occult”

  1. I second both the difficulties of the cold weather and work becoming grueling. That is exactly how I’ve been feeling. I really like this new bust and it lets you channel a bit of your interest in Lovecraft which is a good thing in my book. I like the ambitious lighting you’re going for as well. That is one part of busts that are intimidating. I have a lot to learn on smaller models as I’m frequently discovering on my current project. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product. It looks like you don’t have far to go now!

    Liked by 1 person

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