Meg Maples Painting Class Review
I initially tried to sign up for Meg’s class last year, but unfortunately I was forced to work the weekend it was on and I missed out. So when the opportunity came around again I jumped at the chance, and although work was pressing again, I was able to hold off on working on the weekend to attend. We had a torrential downpour in Brisbane the morning of the class, flooding and major arterial roads being closed. Happens occasionally in beautiful Brisbane, nothing to be concerned about. It did make arriving at the class on time a challenge for most, and we ended up starting late the first day.
We were asked to bring to the class, paints (P3 preferred) with a few good brushes, lamp, palette, wet palette, and of course, a model. Now I packed my stuff the night before, and I realised that I didnt actually have a model that was ready to paint… I was looking around frantically when I noticed a little dude I had put together and was going to use for my Pathfinder campaign:
This guy is a Reaper Bones miniature, which seems like a very interesting model to take to a painting class, but I sneakily undercoated it prior so nobody would know. Then at the end of the class when I threw it across the room… it was most amusing. (This actually happened BTW). The model has a lot of fur, hair, metal, skin and all the various things Meg wanted to demonstrate so he was actually pretty awesome guy to try out stuff on.
Class began with priming, Meg took everyone outside into the torrential downpour and just demonstrated some basic priming stuff. This was nothing revolutionary, just good solid information demonstrated in person. Often I think you will find I say that about this class, but dont necessarily think it was only aimed at newer painters.
The next stage, and probably Meg’s trademark technique, the two brush blending step. This was what I was most interested in learning, and I was able to go up and sit next to Meg, along with a few other painters to watch her demonstrate the technique in person, before trundling back to my table to try it out. This was eye opening, to say the least. I know a lot of other people in the class had some trouble clicking with this technique, but I took to it like a duck to water. I immediately found it very simple to keep the brush in my mouth and switch between them. This class is worth taking for seeing this technique in person, and being able to get critiqued on your own efforts at it.
Over the next two days, we talked through colour theory, skin colour recipes, painting faces, metallic techniques (another highlight for me, seeing NMM techniques done with true metallic paints), tattoing, OSL and lots of interesting anecdotes along the way. Meg is able to disseminate information into accessible pieces, something that is much more complicated than it sounds. I tried teaching someone to paint a few weeks ago, and trying to break down the hundreds of things that I do without even thinking about was very challenging, but Meg is able to do it in a way that is relatable and enjoyable.
Overall thoughts on the class content: I would consider myself somewhere between intermediate and advanced when it comes to painting skill. Whilst I can paint some really nice stuff, the majority of the time I will focus my painting on doing things quickly and for a tabletop game, as opposed to display. I found myself having a pretty strong understanding of many of the things that Meg touched on, having come across it over the last twenty years. (I love reading and learning about painting and techniques). Having said that, there is a big difference between reading something, seeing a picture or even a video, and watching it be done. The closest videos I have seen to replicating that, Painting Buddha, still do not fully capture the process, like exact dilution of paint etc. I took more out of watching Meg paint than anything she actually specifically “taught”, as well as being able to look at some of her pieces up close, and try and learn from seeing the techniques she had just demonstrated brought to life. I know that some of the other people in the class had real lightbulb moments, where they were able to up their painting over the course of the weekend. In that sense, the content of the class was really well targeted at both beginners, and more experienced painters.
I would definitely recommend this class to any aspiring competition painters, painters looking to improve their techniques, or even new painters wanting to get a grounding in how to start painting from a novice level.