Congratulations to the three overall winners of the 2015 Crystal Brush Awards, Kirill Kanaev, Ben Komets, and Jessica Rich. There were many fantastic entries this year, and it was a pleasure looking through the galleries. I would like to highlight some of my favorites, in addition to the overall winners.
I wasn’t familiar with Katie Martin’s work before this, but I’ll be paying attention now. She took home trophies in several categories, but my favorite was this archivist. I adore the archivist’s green cloak, with it’s pointillism texture and freehand patterns.
This titan may be my favorite piece in the competition. Everything is executed flawlessly, and all of the elements are perfectly in line with the theme.
I hope to have the chance to see this piece in person at some point, because I have the feeling the pictures are not doing it justice. I love the dark take on the fairy tale, Grimm, not Disney.
This is a very cool, atmospheric piece. I can almost smell the stir-fry cooking. It’s amazing how Mr. Justin scratch-built all of the cookware and even the vegetables for this floating restaurant. Check out his blog for some WIP photos of the construction process.
I haven’t made it to Chicago for Crystal Brush since the first year it was held, but after seeing this year’s crop of entries, I really want to go back.
Last weekend I received a nifty little package from Germany. Inside was Forged Monkey’s Tribe Chief Morrow bust, a sweet little gorilla bust sculpted by Raffaele Picca, who is a great sculptor in addition to being one of my favorite painters. The cast was amazingly clean, with only one small bubble and almost no mold lines. Cleanup took only ~15 minutes, and I have very high standards for cleaning a cast before I start painting. I was so excited I started painting at once.
This is the first mini I’ve primed black in a long time, but given the black gorilla skin and many metal areas, it seemed convenient. I started with the face, as that’s the most important thing to get right on any figure, but especially a bust. I always like to find relevant reference material before I start painting, and for this bust, I was inspired by this adorable baby gorilla.
I originally went with red for the leathers, but wasn’t happy with how it looked and switched to yellow. It still looks a bit odd, but I think that once the metals are painted it will fit much better, and provide a nice warmth contrasted with the black. Of course, this was when I started kicking myself for priming black, but a few coats of menoth white highlight provided a good base for the yellow.
Zebra-skin provides striking patterns, and seemed appropriate for a gorilla chieftain. The larger stripes are how most of the body looks, and the finer stripes underneath are from the zebra’s head. No Zebras were harmed in the production of this blog post.
This guy is incredibly fun and quick to paint. I highly recommend picking up a copy for yourself!
It’s almost spring, which means another convention season is approaching. I love conventions, and I especially love painting competitions, both because they provide an opportunity to glimpse fabulous miniature art works in person, and because they provide an opportunity to share your best work. Personally, I find it thrilling just to have my art in a big glass display case at a convention, even when I don’t win anything. As the 2015 season approaches, I thought I would share some of my personal thoughts on how to approach painting competitions, and a bit of what my own experience has been.