Monday, 31 December 2012

Art for Arts sake?

You know how it is something sets your brain going and you just have to follow it through sometimes its like Robert Frosts "Road Less Travelled" or whichever poem of his it was but nevertheless you have to go down that road as a thought experiment of somesuch. This time its Art. I know I kniow but then read my biog I do a bit of Arty Farty every now and then- can't help myself- man shall not live by Wargaming alone. However this time I was pondering wargaming and Art.. his as I was making up some more multi- part 40mm ECW figs prior to getting a brush on them. And again later watching a TV piece on David Hockney. Now of course a lot of this is how you define Art- in whatever form. For me its about making you think, saying something about the Human Condition. In a smaller way Military art is the same though it often speaks in a lesser tongue as it were. You can't compare Harry Payne for example with Sir Joshua Reynolds or Howard Pyle with Jackson Pollock- (though Frederick Remington might be in with a shout there). There is a difference between Art- and Iluustration though they both have common ground most of the Military art we look at is of course Illustration but not all - Dobsons portaits of Royalist during the ECW are more than that. Remrandt 's Night Watch may show us what the Officers of s Dutch Civic Militia looked like but it is far far more than that. I often find art of all types to be inspirational- especially when making figures for my collections. Why wouldn't I want my Spanish pikemen to look like Velasques "Las Lanzas" or were I to be into the Plains Wars my US cavalry to look like a Remington sketch ? Are our models merely counter decoration or can they aspire to be- in a teeny tiny way a very minor art form or perhaps a way to create an art form. Now there will be blokes out there to are mumblish Tosh and Twaddle at this point - well fine their Philistine armies will simply get larger and who know they may be right but the creative process is a strange thing and I don't make my models merely to shove about the table......


  1. Nice to have something thoughtful to ponder over New Year. Couldn't agree more.

    I would add to your list the Imperial War Museum's exhibition drawing links between WW1 camoflage and modern art of the same period; and J R Hales wonderful book 'War and artists in the Renaissance.

    On a practical example I was much taken by Degas paintings of FPW uniforms and as a result followed the style in painting my figures in deep flat colours with no shades or highlights.

    And if they please me then surely that is the whole point.

    Thanks for this and other interesting posts and a happy and prosperous New Year.


    1. John Happy new year to you too. This is an avenue I'm continuing to explore through War Artists and military Illustrators . I'm having to dig out/remember "arty stuff" I did 30 plus years ago and try to find my few remaining Art books. I'll HAVE to try to find a copy of Hales which I didn't know.. I've never really been into the Imperessionists- being on the whole more of a Pre- Raphealite chap myself- possibly because one of my Art teachers at school rammed the dammned Frogs down my throat... however I'm now looking at them again so Degas will be interesting again.
      There will be more on this in the coming year as I study a bit....

  2. I think the fireKorps 15 Irish Wars range is a good example of miniatures looking like art work.

    1. Dan I'm not familiar with the range- but if they used Derricks prints for the English that would be good.
      However I was talking just as much about finishing my own figures- for instance it would be nice if I could paint my 40mm ECW as "in the style of William Dobson" or even "style of Van Dyke" for the Officers perhaps? I can try! .