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Heisler

MSP Open Judging - What you were afraid to ask

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Judging is very educational for sure.  I am so glad I get to do it here in Colorado occasionally.  You get to see even the big names do stuff that you do--you just have to look for it a bit harder. :D  And Michael and Kris hate me.  I am sure of it.  Really.  :D

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As far as techniques/styles go, I may say something like "too much gloss sealant is detracting from this mini" or "the drybrushing appears a little chalky" or something else along those lines, but pretty much every technique/style (I'm lumping them together on purpose) does have its place if executed well.  The trick is, I'm always leery of the "that's just my style" statement, which can sometimes come across as an excuse to use a familiar (but maybe not most appropriate) technique rather than a valid artistic defense.  Heck, I feel like I do the same thing at times when I may choose to avoid adding some wear and tear to a mini of mine because "my style is bright and happy".  Is that really the case, or am I just scared of "messing up" my mini with a possibly very appropriate technique that I feel I don't execute as well as other techniques?  What I am trying to say (maybe not very well...) is that every technique or style, when executed well, can and should receive its due affirmation and approval (and the judges want to give that!), but we all need to keep pushing ourselves to broaden our skill sets so that we can have the right "tools" ready for the "right" applications (understanding that art is subjective and that there may be many "right" tools and applications).

 

Hopefully that whole post has slightly more clarity than a puddle of mud...   :lol:

It's interesting to know how an unconventional style would be judged.

 

In another thread, I wondered how a Van Gogh style mini would be judged. The very visible brush strokes of impressionism when viewed up close, and exaggerated colors (which *is* common in miniature painting as high contrasts are pretty necessary at that scale).

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keep in mind with art, a style can be done well, and poorly. most of the famous impressionists had classical training and a very good understanding of light and color.  their work reflected that understanding and training.  they weren't just slinging paint, but making conscious decisions, addressing composition, using color theory, making a consistent light source work, etc etc. It's harder than it looks to do well.  At our scale, we often don't have space for more than highlight, midtone, shadow; so it isn't wrong to see those transitions as long as it makes sense as a whole and is consistent.

 

I think consistency is one of the things that is the hardest to do and stick with.  I know I become fed up with a mini about the point where I need to buckle down and fix "all those little bits."  That's what takes us from good to better.  Discipline.  Sadly, because I has no willpower!  :lol:

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Well put, Kris.

 

As someone with a fair bit of experience in both judging and being judged in a variety of arts, little of this is a surprise...but it's incredibly good information to have laid out in plain terms.

 

I think the only time I've disagreed with any judging I've received at Rcon has been...well, every time I've entered, the judges have chosen a piece other than the one I expected them to judge. But the scores I've received have been pretty in line with my expectations.

 

Thanks for putting this up for the forums!

 

This is always an interesting question. Anecdotally I would say that 50% of the time the piece that we pick is not the piece that you put your heart and soul into. This choice by the judges is one of the reasons that we encourage multiple entries in a category. You become so close to your favorite or primary entry that you missed stuff that should have been obvious. You were focused on one aspect of it to the detriment of something else and overall it its inconsistent because of the differences in techniques. Maybe you blew us away with your NMM or sheer (NNN) technique but something else fell by the wayside. Conversely the piece you are less invested in suddenly features some of your overall best work. Maybe your shaded metallic doesn't blew the judge away but its very good and it matches with the rest of the piece. Overall the piece you think is second best because you didn't spend as much time on it is better because you are more relaxed with it, more open minded, maybe tried something new that really set it apart from the rest without trying to go overboard.

 

I would suggest always bring at least two entries (although that is tough in some categories) but please, please don't bring everything you have painted in the last year!

Edited by Heisler
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Well put, Kris.

 

As someone with a fair bit of experience in both judging and being judged in a variety of arts, little of this is a surprise...but it's incredibly good information to have laid out in plain terms.

 

I think the only time I've disagreed with any judging I've received at Rcon has been...well, every time I've entered, the judges have chosen a piece other than the one I expected them to judge. But the scores I've received have been pretty in line with my expectations.

 

Thanks for putting this up for the forums!

 

This is always an interesting question. Anecdotally I would say that 50% of the time the piece that we pick is not the piece that you put your heart and soul into. This choice by the judges is one of the reasons that we encourage multiple entries in a category. You become so close to your favorite or primary entry that you missed stuff that should have been obvious. You were focused on one aspect of it to the detriment of something else and overall it its inconsistent because of the vary levels of detail. Maybe you blew us away with your NMM or sheer (NNN) technique but something else fell by the wayside. Conversely the piece you are less invested in suddenly features some of your overall best work. Maybe your shaded metallic doesn't blew the judge away but its very good and it matches with the rest of the piece. Overall the piece you think is second best because you didn't spend as much time on it is better because you are more relaxed with it, more open minded, maybe tried something new that really set it apart from the rest without trying to go overboard.

 

I would suggest always bring at least two entries (although that is tough in some categories) but please, please don't bring everything you have painted in the last year!

 

That's... very useful. Actually this whole thread is great. Thank you!!

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I would suggest always bring at least two entries (although that is tough in some categories) but please, please don't bring everything you have painted in the last year!

You mean I CAN'T charter a plane to bring everything I've ever painted in my life to enter?!!!! *purple text of sarcasm*

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I would suggest always bring at least two entries (although that is tough in some categories) but please, please don't bring everything you have painted in the last year!

You mean I CAN'T charter a plane to bring everything I've ever painted in my life to enter?!!!! *purple text of sarcasm*
I drove, so bringing everything I have ever painted was in the realm of possible.
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On 11/1/2016 at 12:44 PM, Mr Melons said:

 

On 11/1/2016 at 10:59 AM, Heisler said:

I would suggest always bring at least two entries (although that is tough in some categories) but please, please don't bring everything you have painted in the last year!

You mean I CAN'T charter a plane to bring everything I've ever painted in my life to enter?!!!! *purple text of sarcasm*

 

 

Yes you can! (despite purple text of sarcasm)

Just don't blame me when you pull a certificate of merit when the judges decided to random choose which mini they are going to judge.

 

Really, the five most recent pieces are most likely going to show us everything we want to know about your skill level. (Serious)

 

And I would appreciate it if we could try and keep this thread on topic.

Edited by Heisler
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For some people around here, the 5 most recent pieces could span years...

 

I'm not one of them, but...

 

More on topic, Say 1/X minis I may bring next year for a given category is... of a drastically different style than the others. Is it worth it/helpful to the judges to have that on the table? Do the other entered items impact the score of the mini being judged?

I hope that makes sense.

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What he is saying is that your most current work will more than likely be your strongest.  It has always worked that way for me.

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Bring the extra entries!

The figure I got a silver with was not the one I expected them to judge....

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*snip*

 

I would suggest always bring at least two entries (although that is tough in some categories) but please, please don't bring everything you have painted in the last year!

You need to qualify this with "Except Ary, who may have completed one mini in a year, two if we're lucky." :lol:

 

The chances of me bring five entries is... slim. I may be able to get two done, but of the last five minis I've painted to completion...

 

One is in ReaperBryan's office.

One broke and is irrepairable.

The last three were painted sometime in the 1990's... around 1991... ish.

 

I'm Slooooooooooow.

Edited by Kheprera
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More on topic, Say 1/X minis I may bring next year for a given category is... of a drastically different style than the others. Is it worth it/helpful to the judges to have that on the table? Do the other entered items impact the score of the mini being judged?

 

I hope that makes sense.

I will say, of the two pieces I brought this year, one was a fairly traditional piece that I'm very happy with: bright colors, high highlights and deep shadows, some simple freehand patterns on fabric; the transitions/blending are smooth (not incredibly so, but smooth). The other is a piece painted entirely in OSL, with very few colors and, IMO, relatively choppy transitions. I'm very happy with the second piece, but I think of it as an experiment that went well, not as a particularly high quality piece.

 

The judges chose the piece with the OSL and awarded Bronze. Rhonda was kind enough to discuss the choice, and said both were well-executed, but the OSL was a more difficult technique which the judges felt pointed to my skill better than the more "usual" mini, despite some of the rougher aspects of the overall paint job.

 

So, what I took from this was: A) bring multiple entries. And B) bring entries that show you are stretching a bit.

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For some people around here, the 5 most recent pieces could span years...

 

I'm not one of them, but...

 

More on topic, Say 1/X minis I may bring next year for a given category is... of a drastically different style than the others. Is it worth it/helpful to the judges to have that on the table? Do the other entered items impact the score of the mini being judged?

 

I hope that makes sense.

 

Once a mini is picked to be judged then the other entries have no impact. There may be a lively discussion on which piece can be rated the highest but once the decision is made the judging is focused on the entry selected.

 

As far as style being drastically different one will till stand out to the judges as your strongest piece or the one they feel they can score the highest. When we were doing trophy judging for Genghis Con a friend of mine entered every category (there were at least 8) and each mini was painted in an entirely different "style". He came close to sweeping the whole show and won best of show. The judges at the time had no idea that he painted almost all of the winning entries because his "style" was drastically different from one category to the next it was his challenge to himself that year.

 

I can usually recognize the entries of most of the major painters that have attended ReaperCon. In the early days of trophy judging and anonymous entries I ticked off some of the painters in the master class as I went down the row and identified each painter (there were 16 entries I got two wrong, both of whom were painters I wasn't terribly familiar with yet).

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