Pietro Balloni - Profile of a Master Painter
Q&A(Cont.)Favourite modelling competition to enter
My favourite competition at the moment is St. Vincent. This is due to the high quality that it attracts. But, I adore Athens for the friends, Folkestone for the atmosphere, and the French competitions for the totally different point of view of the hobby. Normally each competition that you visit with friends will leave you a good memory - with some exceptions of course.
Most prized award ever won
More than one. The Best of Painting in St.Vincent, the first gold medal at Euromilitaire, the first gold medal in the World Expo, but I have a good feeling with my really first award, won in ‘97 in a small competition in Viareggio, Italy. That was for some years the one, lonely award in my showcase.
Favourite modelling things
My favourite modelling thing is a triple zero or five zero brush to be used to create decorations. And the oil paintings that I discovered only two years ago.
Favourite modelling purchase/figure
For long years I really loved anything produced by Poste Militaire. I really loved the 75mm series sculpted by Keith Durham - Macbeth, Dracula, The Prince of Kiev, Alasdair MacDonald, and the Conquistador. I forget how many times I painted them, washed away the colours and started again. Now, of course, I feel in love with Pegaso.
Best recent modelling/figure purchase
At the moment I’m only painting Pegaso figures. It is question of work, but also of appreciation from a modeller’s point of view. Have you never painted a figure from Andrea Jula or Maurizio Bruno?
What does it mean for you or how do you define the miniature figure?
The miniature figure is the projection of an idea. It is not a reproduction of a photo. It is a 3-D reproduction of a painting, which everyone can paint with his own style. It is something that comes out from your mind. Technique is only the tool to let the idea come out from your brain.
How do you evaluate the present situation of the figures and its future?
The current state of the miniature is good. You can see how big a jump has been made by techniques recently. Make a comparison between a figure of 8 years ago and one from last month. Day-by-day figures become a more outstanding thing to be looked at through the eyes of a non-modeller. Maybe you are not in love, but you will not pass through... and sit down... just as high is the current level of sculptures... as much is easy to paint! Hey... are you still there?
If you could paint or sculpt a figure of any person or character, whom or what would it would be?
I do not a character to choose above others. I’m attracted by the beauty of the pose and the level of perfection and definition of the sculpture. My love is for the object. I did not come from history or whatever. I’m attracted to paint what I can imagine painted – this aside I love movies and Science-Fiction and I feel attracted to these worlds. For example anything from “The Lord of the Rings” movie would be wonderful to paint!
If you were allowed to paint only one figure for the next year, which one it would be?
The Next. I mean...when I choose to paint a subject... this becomes my world...
In recent years, there has been a predominance of painting in acrylics. Do you agree and why?
Eh, eh, eh... I painted in acrylics for many years, winning nice medals. Now I paint in oils, and still winning nice medals. It is not a question if one medium is better than the other. You want to know which is really better? To use all the mediums! Naturally this depends on what are you painting (a face, a dress, leather, wood, etc). It is not a question of medium; it is a question of teacher. What is the medium used by the painter you try to follow? This will be your medium, until you will discover something different. It is also a question of hand and feelings. Oils are really different from acrylics. For me the best is to start with acrylics and master the technique. Then use oils and learn to use it (look, it is much more difficult for an oil painter to paint in acrylics than for an acrylic painter to start with oils). And finally, enjoy yourself by crossing different mediums!
Figure modelling “no no’s”
Stealing ideas. I admit to copy a style of painting, but only as a way to reach your own style. To copy in a Japanese way is good (they copy only what they consider best) but not to sleep after this! Do not be jealous and envious... there will always be someone better than you!
Figure Modelling secret
Look... I have no secrets... this means I answer to questions saying exactly what I do when I paint! People who know me, knows this of me. Instead of a secret I can give you a very important advice: don’t be alone in your hobby. Take all your efforts to reach a painter you like, a painter (or, better, a club of painters) from whom you can learn. The real secret is to be in the right place at the right time. And to be able to absorb what people explain to you! This is the secret to grow up faster!
Pegaso Models 75-022 “Renaissance Knight in Roman Armour, XV century”
Ed: We would like to thank Pietro for spending a few moments of his time with us, and letting us into his world. Now please turn to pages 4 and 5 to see a few of Pietro’s amazing historical miniature masterpieces.
Ed: Please note that all images are used with the kind permission of Pegaso Models.