Materials for Painting Miniatures

To achieve miniatures with the finest of details, some unique materials are necessary. Historic portrait miniatures were usually painted on Ivory. This material is banned today in almost all exhibitions worldwide.

There are several excellent synthetic painting surfaces available to achieve highly detailed Miniatures, like Lumitex-Fino, Polymin, Ivorine and Grafix Dura-Lar Matte. They are almost all suitable for oils, acrylics, watercolours, gouaches, pencils and pastels.

Left: Lumitex-Fino, Top-Center: Ivorine,
Bottom-Center: Grafix Dura-Lar Matte, Right: Polymin

From Top: Flat Taklon Brush, Da Vince 2/0 Liner, Raphael 6/0 Liner, Renoir Filbert 2, Da Vinci Round, Da Vinci 5/0

The use of finely ground paint is recommended, especially for paintings with oils or acrylics. Coarse paint spoils miniatures.
Brushes should be of fine quality. My personal favourite is “Raphael 6/0”. As I paint mostly with oils, Taklon is much better than natural bristles.
I have a great variety of frames for miniatures custom made to preferred sizes. So that after my paintings have dried and are ready to be framed I can do it myself. It is easy and keeps expenses down. I only use convex glass on oval frames (i.e. for portraits) but do not use glass on landscapes for example.
For my own collections at home, I use several large frames with an inet of “carpet on 3 mm MDF board”. Not every carpet is suitable, or I would recommend any material with Velcro first, before buying it. Velcro pads are attached to the back of each miniature, so they can easily stick to the carpet. With only one nail in the wall for the large frame, I can hang up to 20 miniatures – depending on size.
There is much more to converse about miniature art. Yes, it needs patience – but a fine result is highly rewarding.
© Marion Winter – Text and Photography

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