Monday, April 4, 2016

Post Crystal Brush: Experiences and Thoughts

Crystal Brush 2016 is now officially over. All the trophies and novelty checks have been handed out, and most people are back in their home states/countries. So, how was it this year? It was freaking amazing. The level of competition was insane. It seems like all the top painters in Europe saw Kirill's Daniel Craig Marine as a challenge and came over. So many painters (and sculptors) from Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany and Poland made the trip. And everyone was very willing to talk and share their experiences with us novice painters.

This piece, titled Atonement, won first overall and the $10,000 prize. It was sculpted by Michael Kontraros and painted by Kyriakos Simos. And both of them couldn't have been more nice at the comp. They had a half hour discussion with me and friend about freehanding and how to make it look more natural. When you talk to these top painters, they say things that you never thought of but when you hear it think: "that makes perfect sense, why have I not been thinking this way before?"

This diorama is by Aaron Lovejoy. I had a long conversation with him about all the intricate details included. There were about 50 soda cans sculpted for the machine, there's a cash register spewing money and movie tickets, the sign (though not originally intended this way) glows in the dark, and there's a sculpted dildo thrown in for an interesting "Where's Waldo" game.

If you haven't seen all the entries that made the first cut, you can view them here. There were roughly 250 entries this year and a lot were very high quality. Some entries I thought would trophy didn't even make the cut. Unfortunately none of my stuff made the cut this year, but I'm not upset. The quality of work was insane, and what I learned this year will only push me to work harder and get better. That being said, while at the convention I was in the painting area working on my Abyssal Warlord and getting advice from other painters. Here are some update shots of my work done over the weekend:

This year was a huge stepping stone for the competition level at Crystal Brush and it will only keep growing. I encourage everyone to attend next year. Take as many classes as you can, talk to as many painters as you can, have fun and enjoy painting.

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