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Artist Spotlight - Matt Manzl of baraelsbrush

Updated: Jun 29, 2023


Hello and welcome to the first of what I hope are many artist spotlights! My weekly showcases are only intended to offer a glimpse into an artist and their work, but I knew I wanted to also shine the light on certain artists, whom I had seen do and create something really cool. And here, we have Matt of baraelsbrush, acting as my helpful little guinea pig for this first blog. Not everyone is up for talking about themselves, or devoting time to helping me with this blog, but Matt is our saviour today.


When I first came up with the idea for these spotlights, Matt was the first in my mind that I wanted to use, specifically because of the concept he has created for his Lumineth army. If you've been paying attention, you'll have seen I featured him in the weekly showcases, and so you'll also agree with me, (and excuse my French) that his Lumineth are super f**king cool.


So enough preluding, let's get on with it. Before we take a look at the Lumineth army, I felt it was more socially acceptable to start with some small talk. Don't want to be too forward now, do we? So let's hear from Matt!


 

- How, why and when did you start painting?


When I was 6, I remember vividly visiting family and my cousin had a huge collection of Ultramarines. Say what you will about them but as a kid, seeing this was incredible. I loved it so much that he went to his local hobby shop and bought me a Space Marine starter box

with everything I needed to get started. I still have those models today! I stuck with the hobby until early in high school but the social side of video games like World of Warcraft and Heroes of Newerth hooked me in. Plus the hobby was too expensive for me to upkeep. After a solid 15 year hiatus from it, a few friends who knew me as the Warhammer guy asked if I'd be keen to get back into it… how could I say no?



- What do you love and hate about painting?


For me, the biggest appeal to painting is the creative and artistic outlet. I've always loved creating and admiring art but in recent years I felt I had lost that part of me to the busyness of being an adult and having a young family. The hobby gives me full control over my personal artistic needs and has connected me with so many brilliant artists in the global community.  


My biggest dislikes about painting are time, cost and burnout. The first two go without saying as it's not a cheap hobby and good things take time. The burnout side is something I actively and consciously work to improve with each project. I used to persist with units that I wasn't enjoying just to get them done, but I've found having a variety of projects at any given time has been perfect for avoiding burnout. If I had one piece of advice for any hobbyist, figure out how you can best avoid that hobby burnout and keep it interesting for yourself. 



- Favourite project you've worked on?


This is a tough question. Can I pick 3?? My obvious favourite is Archmage Teclis. Why? This model pushed my limits more than any other model I had painted. Teclis got me excited to level up my basing techniques and style for my Lumineth Realm-lords. It also took literal years of contemplation to finally come up with the scheme so to have such a centrepiece for my army finished is an epic feeling of success.


My next favourite is my Vanari Lord Regent. I'm proud of this model as I took a big risk painting the Lightcourser mount yellow (it was such a pain to paint but it was 110% worth it). This model has also helped me conceptualise schemes for future releases in the Lumineth army.


Lastly, I have to give a special mention to my Warhammer Underworlds warbands. Not only is it my favourite game system that I play but the models are absolutely incredible! These warbands are the sole reason I've been so creative and avoided burnout in the hobby. I will eternally love each and every one of them! 



- Future project you're planning or working on?


Now this is where things get interesting. We've all got a lovely pile of opportunity waiting for our undivided attention and I'm no different.

My current focus is a variety of Underworlds warbands (The Starblood Stalkers, Morgweath's Bladecoven, Kainan's Reapers, Hedkrakka's Madmob… my god there are so many!). It seems like a lot but it's been so good to get each warband done and add them to my collection! 



After that I'm looking to return to my Lumineth with some units waiting patiently like Sevireth and my custom converted Loreseeker. I think we might see a Stonemage, Starshard Ballista and MAYBE Avalenor in the near future too.  



- How did you come up with the Lumineth scheme?


Space has always fascinated me. It's gorgeous. Endless. Unknown. I'm a sci-fi nerd at heart but I also love the "ultra-fantasy" of Age of Sigmar. 

The nebula scheme came about quite randomly, ironically enough. I was painting Lady Harrow's Mournflight as a mix up to keep things fresh and I decided to have a go at painting a few different spacescapes. They were perfect for it. 


Alongside this little Underworlds project, I had been seriously struggling to figure out a Lumineth scheme and it was getting quite frustrating. I had too many schemes that I liked but didn't love. I couldn't decide.



As soon as I completed painting the 4 Mournflight ghosts, I had a profound sense of clarity. I knew what I wanted to do and I was excited to get stuck in immediately. 

I settled on linking the various coloured nebulas with unit types and the Temple factions within the Lumineth book, and left creative space open for future releases too (Tyrion I'm looking at you!).


It has definitely evolved significantly since beginning this passion project, but the core space theme has always been at the foundation of my army and always will be.


 

Well thank you Matt for your insight into your life and painting hobby. I feel like we all know you enough now to let ourselves into your house and make a coffee whilst you sleep. I would now like to take the opportunity to show off his Lumineth army and put my incredibly valuable 2 cents to it.


Let's start with the basics, by looking at the bases! I've always found that the best way to tell the story of the world you are creating for your models, is simply through the basing. Now obviously, that isn't always so simple in practice, to create something that looks incredible, and conveys the world perfectly, but Matt has done so with expertise. Beautifully vibrant and spacey, it truly does perfectly fit with the paint scheme for the Lumineth force, and I think if the basing was even slightly different, it would be doing a total disservice to them.


This particular base was created for Matt's favourite of all the Lumineth; Teclis. He said he pushed himself harder with this model than any other paint job, and it really shows. To get so excited about working harder and pushing your limits is why we love this hobby, and hearing each of these stories constantly keeps us inspired to work harder. Looking at this beauty of a model almost brings tears to the eyes, and Matt has allowed to see the step by step progress via his Instagram page. Just the work that has gone into Teclis' cloak is painstakingly pretty. I'm actually unsure if I've ever seen anything quite as visually pleasing as this cloak, and wish there was a way I could parade about my house, wearing nothing but this cloak, and maybe one sock, but definitely not two.




Anyway, that's enough of my commentary; I wouldn't want Matt to blush any more than he already is. So I'll just leave a leave a little selection below so you can have a look in peace. Though, the best thing to do would be to check out his page here so you can see everything in full and read his processes in more detail, and watch how the project has evolved over time. The best thing of all; it's still going!



 

That will conclude our first artist spotlight. I hope it was interesting to read, and I hope you check out Matt at baraelsbrush if you enjoyed his work or were inspired in any way. An incredibly unique and original theme for a project deserves just that.


I would love to create more of these spotlights, but absolutely need help from you to do so. Please, if you've got an army following a theme, a concept, or just something worth talking about, then please get in touch via plasticpreacher@gmail.com or @plasticpreacher on Instagram.


Thank you again to Matt, for his time, effort, and permission to use his pictures, and thank you for reading. See you all soon!








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