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Friday, April 25, 2014

Competing at Reaper Forums

We all know I participated in the Winter Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. What I have not talked about on Blogger is that whilst doing that, I was participating in three Painting Competitions at Reaper Forums. 

Over the last 8 months I have participated in five of their competitions and I finally earned a third place. I am not a competitive person by nature and am intensely uncomfortable around people who enjoy competing as often times it brings out the worst in human nature. The purpose of these competitions for me, is to challenge myself to learn something new and to improve my own work.


 This is the figure that I chose to submit for the Single Figure Competition. It is a 45mm BONES figure, sculpted by Jason Wiebe.  And this is the one I earned a third place with. Some of you saw this in the Analogue Painting Challenge as a non-theme submission.


The level of painting on Reaper Forums is quite high with many upper level and intermediate painters competing for the top slots.  Further, the competitions are scored by 10 judges who use professional criteria to score the entries. This makes Reaper a good place for someone like me who is a mid-level intermediate painter to improve my skills. 

One of the most important things I have learned is that judges favour clean, tidy work and good brush control over everything else.  Submitting elaborate sculpts, elaborate bases and using advanced techniques is fine, but if the piece is poorly executed, it carries no weight with the judges This is important as it forces one to focus on the fundamentals of good painting first and other aspects of competition second.  

These competitions do something else that is important for me. It tells me how good I'm NOT. It's easy to post here, where people know me and are kind. Now if that's all I did, I might think I'm all that and a bag of crisps, which would result in an ego that I don't need to be burdened with.  Further, it would halt my progress as a painter.  It might sound strange, but the experience of not winning can be very productive.

All that said, I have no intentions of competing anywhere else as I am not interested in becoming a master painter. My goal is simply to become an upper level intermediate level painter who is versatile enough to paint sculpts from a variety of genres.  Reaper Forums can help me to achieve that and I thank them for it.







89 comments:

  1. Nice work Anne and congratulations on the placing. I am a firm believer in the fact we only learn from our mistakes and it is what keeps me grounded and as you say helps us to improve.

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    1. It does help me as I then analyze the things that were superior in the top placing figures. And on Reaper, the best of their painters do WIP's and tutorials so we can learn from them. It's nice to see how they did it and what their thought processes were.

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  2. Anne - congrats on the third place for this splendid figure. I didn't remember seeing this in Curt's Challenge, but I did miss a few entries.

    I totally agree that sometimes it is better not to win/place if you learn the reasons for that. We have very different approaches to painting, which is natural given that I am painting en masse for gaming, whilst you are painting individual figures for pleasure and to stretch yourself. However, I do appreciate seeing very well painted individual figures and understanding how the artist has achieved the effects sometimes helps me to improve my mass painting if the techniques can be adapted without significantly slowing down my mass production.

    You have shown your ability to cross genres and have a good eye for colour and shading.

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    1. If I were painting armies there is no way I'd use layering, blending or glazing. That would be insane as it would take three years to do an army.

      This guy showed up early in the Challenge. I decided at the last minute to submit him at Reaper and needed an easy sculpt, so I chose him as there is not a lot of detail, just a lot of area. Fur is quick and easy to do as are those red metals.

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  3. Congratulations for your third place, Perfidious Blonde... ;-)
    Competitions have a great advantage. They show some really different techiques and you can learn from them. It' s really important observing new painting ways...
    Not a competitive person???...I would like to see your first game with your husband... :-D :-D :-D

    Marzio.

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    1. The only thing I was ever competitive about was darts. I used to play in tournaments when I was younger and I played to win. My partner and I had a great system as with her strengths combined with mine, allowed us to cover the board and score high.

      The Hubby is safe with me, unless I'm angry at something he did. Then he needs to duck and cover.

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  4. I must admit that I don't remember this from the APC either. He's a very fine beast indeed and a great example of your 'more subdued' approach. Congratulations on the podium place.

    I think you're taking the right approach to competitions - testing yourself and learning new techniques from the experience. Strength to your brushes!

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    1. The first competition I entered there was difficult for me as I allowed myself to become emotionally invested in the outcome. After that, I realized how detrimental that was and can enter them and have fun. I've gotten quite good at saying "Congratulations to the winners!"

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  5. Congratulations on third place! Fine work on that beast.
    We do need to challenge ourselves beyond our comfort zone. It's easy to hang out in one area and be the best of that little pool. But it's like in sports when someone plays the same people all the time - he'll never get better than what it just takes to beat them.

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    1. I didn't go to a forum until I had been painting for almost a year and that was a mistake. I quickly found out that I had an over inflated idea of my abilities. It stung at first but it was the kick in the arse that I needed.

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    2. The bee I sent stung you? Score one for the cat!

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  6. Well done Anne. I am no competition painter so can't offer any help or advice. But you seem to have found the right place for you and that is important in it's self.

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    1. Reaper is my forum as it is dedicated to painters. The people are friendly, helpful and when they critique you, it's honest and not mean spirited.

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    2. Yeah they can't be mean to you, you may eat them in their sleep if they are

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    3. No, I like to eat my victims whilst they're alive. All that screaming really works up the appetite. That and a glass of Chablis.

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  7. Congrat's on your third place Anne! Fantastic work on this model!

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  8. You were competing for the right reasons so congratulations on getting that third place, and focusing on what you can't do rather than what you can. It's that attitude that's brought you this far and will keep you going.

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    1. There's only so far I'm willing to go to improve and being the best out there. I've got a pretty good idea of what I'm capable of and I know I don't have that "special something" that is required to be a Crystal Brush winner.

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  9. For someone who isn't competitive, that's a lot of competitions. But I see your point of challenging yourself, and that's important. Your attitude is refreshing and it seems like you got out of it what you needed for self-improvement. Me, I would have kidnapped my competitions' favorite pets, which is why I'm no longer allowed to participate in any competition and am banned for life from Connect Four tournaments.

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    1. I had to go through this as a drummer early on. There are guys out there who will spend 10 hours a day working on technique and they can do amazing things. But they also fall into the trap of wanting to "make it big". I've worked with guys like that and they are some miserable sods.

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  10. Well done Anne, and congrats!

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  11. Way to go, Anne! And it's true -- we always learning much more from not winning than from winning. Keep challenging yourself!

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    1. I will most likely never place first at Reaper as I will never be as good as their top painters. My only chance at that is if none of them compete. I learn a lot from those painters and loads of them are women. That's another good thing about Reaper is that they've got a massive stable of top women painters.

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  12. it shouldn't be about competing, dear, but about you having fun doing the painting and having your little escape from reality! You don't need them ebil trolls to criticise your work!
    How did you spend your Easter, dahlink, forgot to ask you?

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    1. Now that it's over, I'm much more relaxed in my painting and it's even more fun. Also I've discovered other genres I'm interested in and I'm really favouring the moderns. Their stripped down and have clean lines. It's refreshing to get away from all the highly detailed things I've been painting.

      The Spawn with with The Future Son-In-Law and The Boy was working so it was just me and The Hubby. I fixed a big meal anyway and we spent the day just relaxing together. He's to be gone for most of May. His Mom is taking care of him so I can get some respite and get my house and gardens in order without wearing myself down.

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    2. You might even get into painting little decorative objects and things, dear, and make it a business :) You know how people like lovely things for table and decoration!

      That sounds like a very practical plan! You will get some respite and relaxation! Is the house better now, or is still ruined from all the snow?

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    3. The house is coming along slowly, but this thing is 3,000 square feet and I've no one to help anymore so it's going slow. Right now I'm focusing on the yard as there are deadlines for getting things done. The Winter cold is still hanging around here too. We have about two good days and then it goes down to freezing again. It was cold yesterday and today as well. Tomorrow is to be warmer. I've got to get the porch painted as well.

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    4. Try to enjoy all the yard and garden work too!
      We've had terrible floods here this week, most of the southern part of the country is flooded. And these quakes, smaller or bigger, that have been hapenning around the globe in recent weeks seem ominous to me.... I always see big trouble in our society when natural disaster strike... and we've seen what goes around between US and Russia around Ukraine.....

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    5. I didn't know you were having flooding. I hope it stops soon and there is little loss of life. There's not much we can do when Mother Nature does her thing. Things are bad on a global scale. I think the West forgot about Russia a bit too soon. While they were sleeping, Putin was busy planning and now he's acting. I think he know the West is too weak to deal with him and I won't be surprised if he tries to get Poland back.

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    6. he's now using the same thing US did to Serbia with Kosovo and he is rubbing their faces into it. Using their own tools to make them look as fools. I just hope we stay safe in all of that, dear, I've had too much wars in my life as it is I don't need another one....

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    7. He's putting it out that it's their own fault and he has no choice. And he's making noises like he's going to hold Europe hostage this Winter by withholding his supply of natural gas.

      I hope you guys don't become expendable casualties in all of this. When power grabs get made, Serbia suffers. And no, you don't need another. You're country is still struggling to come back since the US bombings. They haven't cleaned up their mess there.

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    8. a few years ago we were freezing for a month or so when Ukraine didn't want to let the Russian gas go through..... We were forced to buy coal and burn it in our cellar.... This is exactly why Europe is trying to stop the building of the Southern gas pipe-ways which would not go through their Eastern European allies and NATO members but through the territories of Russian allies including Serbia.

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    9. I don't think NATO can stop it. Russia is too powerful for them to handle. After the Cold War, they made the fatal mistake of ignoring Russia. They don't have the intelligence people on the ground like they used too and they don't have people who know how to talk turkey with Putin. Russia plans decades ahead and I'm sure they've continued to place moles and sleepers in the US and in the UK. They know what's going on in the CIA and in UK Special Branches like they always have. Once upon a time, if an agent farted in Russia, England knew about it. Not anymore.

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    10. and here it is mostly about defending their borders and interests and people: you can hardly let NATO and US position their equipment few kilometers away from you. I just hope the rest of the world doesn't get drawn too deeply into the whole mess......

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    11. It's a tough call to make. The threat of nuclear war may be too great for anyone else to do much. It's going to be a strange world this year methinks.

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  13. Nice work and congratulations Anne .
    Slainte!

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  14. Congratulations my cailin, your skill and talent has expanded so much over the last few years and is a joy to behold!

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    1. I had my two year painting anniversary not too long ago and celebrated by buying myself some Hasslefree survivors. Ooo I like those sculpts by Kev White.

      You're the one that got me into this hobby remember?

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  15. 3rd place! Well done you. That's a great looking paint job.
    Cheers

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  16. I get exactly what you're saying, Anne. (typing with a migraine here so forgive typos) First, congrats on third place - well done and very well earned. I understand where you're coming from about putting things up on your blog and then having people tell you how great they are. While it's nice to hear and you appreciate it, it doesn't always provide you the feedback you need to improve. While I've seen some who will be honest and say you could have done this to improve the color or whatever, rarely will people do an honest critique for fear of hurting your feelings or for lack of time. But, in a challenge like the one you participated in, that's really what it's all about. You're up against yourself and people at your skill set. When Bryan accepted to critique my writing, I was scared to death but so grateful. It's what I needed to improve and push myself further. Okay, I'm done rambling =P Many congrats and I'm glad you learned lots!

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    1. You go through the same thing as a writer. I'm lousy at critiquing a friend and can't bring myself to criticize your work. Also, I'm not qualified to do it and I know it. I think it's great that you have Bryan to be your critique partner. He knows what he's doing and I imagine he is fair and isn't cruel when he corrects you.

      I'm not surprised you've a Migraine with the weather changing every day and doing the A-Z during Spring has to be hard. But you've done it despite feeling bad and you're almost at the end.

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    2. Bryan is a great CP. He is honest and tells me exactly what I need to hear without hurting my feelings. He can make me laugh while ripping me to shreds. Although he's never torn me apart. haha He's got a real teaching quality about him (he should consider it - I need to tell him that!) I've learned a lot from him. Honestly, Anne, I think you are quite qualified to be a CP to someone in writing and/or painting. You have a flair for writing, you're skilled and knowledgeable. I've seen your writing, it's very good. I'd let ya critique me any day!

      It's been a bit tough to do the A-Z with the migraines and all but, meh, what else do I have going in my world? =) It's been good for me to push myself.

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    3. I was really pleased for you when I saw that he was your CP. Both of those boys are pros and have a lot of integrity. I can write well sometimes, but I don't consider myself a writer. I could never sustain a novel and I don't have "a great work" in me. Plus, I can't do it unless I'm in the right mood and that doesn't come round very often.

      I was wondering how you were coping with it and I think you should be proud that you've hung in there and turned in some quality posts. Commenting has to be a real bitch for you though. Reading with a Migraine has to crank up the pain a few notches.

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    4. I got super lucky with Bryan. Do you ever work on your short stories anymore? The ones with all of us in it? That seemed like it was going to be a fun work.

      The reading on some blogs can be a bit rough. If it's a super long post or if it's on black with white letters, I have to pass on the days I'm feeling sick.

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    5. No, I ran out of steam on the short stories. It's not unusual for a painter/gamer to start an Epic Work only to abandon it when their interest wanders in another direction.

      Only a few more days to go and you can get some rest!

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    6. Pffft short stories and Anne = I got drunk, I passed out, eejits The End

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  17. Congrats on third place, on menacing looking guy there. Yeah, I'd rather fail 1000 times, because you learn from it and get better at things, where is if you always hear you are so great, it does nothing to make you better.

    But then the cat is so great, he can never lose anyway. lol

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    1. As your work is published, you can look at the numbers to see what works and what doesn't. That allows you to tweak your style as you go. Each new book is a bit of a competition I would imagine.

      Ya, your ego knows no bounds and if we didn't give you shit, you'd be more impossible than you already are.

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    2. Yeah have to tweak books sometimes, but then sometimes I just don't care and do it my way too. Works out that way sometimes as well.

      You give the cat shit and he literally will give you shit in return, fair trade

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    3. I keep finding your scat in my yard. I know it's not Kitty Fang's as hers is sweetly scented. Your's smells like something dead climbed up your arse.

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    4. Mmmmmmm smell that Canadian spice

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    5. Smells like chicken to me....

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  18. when you have to challenge yourself, a win feels so much better

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    1. It is nice to place in something and see you are improving.

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    2. Can see it if you keep both eyes closed

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    3. Cat, I'm going to scoop the eyes right out of your head with a grapefruit spoon.

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  19. I like that figure, and I like what you've done with it.
    Although it's not the kind of color scheme I would have gone with.

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  20. Congrats on the placing! Love the ape, the use of colors you pick is always a treat for the eyes. I am so glad i am not color blind.

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    1. My colours are so loud, even the colour blind can see them!

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  21. It's very much the same for writers. A lot of reciprocal praise gets heaped on people who run in the same circles, but you find things are a little more competitive outside those associations. If you want to get better, you have to reach beyond your comfort zone and push for those outer boundaries. :)

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    1. It took me a while to learn that and it stung a bit to find out that I wasn't as good as I thought. But it was a lesson well learned.

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  22. Anne; It is not strange for you to say you are happy with third; yes your painting is to be envied by many; myself included; but when we set ourselves upon a pedestal that is in reality "unreachable" because of mere ego; we don't "grow" intellectually or emotionality...numbers mean nothing; how we feel about ourselves at the end of the day is what counts....if you are happy with your work, then that's all that matters....sorry to get all philosophical here.... enjoy your week end...the crew says meow to kitty fang......oh, and the figure rocks....I like the pack on the back ...totally...3D !!

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    1. You can get philosophical anytime here as it is interesting to have a conversation with someone on Blogger. Ego/hubris has been the downfall of many and you're right, it stunts further growth in any endeavor. I paint to please myself and it does please me when I do well. But I won't drive myself round the bend over it.

      Kitty Fang sends you a nose bump :)

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  23. 3rd place in a Reaper forum? FANTASTIC! That's huge. I wouldn't even have the courage to post up there myself.

    Anne, your painting is an inspiration. We've watched you grow by leaps and bounds. I look at your work and think I should focus on growing as a painter. Quantity painting doesn't expand one's repertoire like your focused quality painting. Maybe step 1 is to lurk in the Reaper forum. I think I'll start right now.

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    1. I think painting armies and painting singles are two different beasts. Not many people can turn out the quality and variety of troops that you can and do it quickly. You keep on expanding your repertoire by painting so many historical periods.

      I would recommend lurking there for sure. I don't post often and I don't say a whole lot, but I'm there almost every night before I go to bed, pouring over tutorials and WIP's. The people are very nice there as well.

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  24. Well done Anne especially given the forum! I've also been absorbed with a secret project outside the Challenge. More on that later...

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  25. He looks very fearsome Anne! Well done I say!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks! He was a pretty easy figure to paint I must say and I really wish I had him in metal so the face would be crisper.

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  26. Hola Amiga
    Buen figura me gusta
    Y lo bonito y lo bueno de esto es siempre mejorar y ver en lo que nos emos podido equivocar o como verlo de otra manera para la pro sima mejorar
    un saludo

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    1. Hello my friend,

      Competing has improved my painting and it has caused me to explore different genres, different sculpts and different sculptors. Right now I'm onto Kev White's human sculpts.

      Slainte!

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  27. Beautiful work Anne, congratulations on the award. I love your ability to make any colour work. Have you studied much colour theory, or are you one of those infuriating people who are naturally talented at these things? :-) Cheers, Paul.

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    1. I've painted purely by instinct and my colour choices are driven by being a gardener and by being a female. We're used to making colour decisions with our clothing, our homes and our make up.

      Recently though I'v started studying some colour theory. It is so useful when it comes to colour mixing to create custom hues and shades.

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    2. The colour theory? I hear that is like the Bigfoot theory, that true?

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    3. Ya, it began in Canada where they breed Bigfoot. Actually it was developed by a Canadian Bigfoot. Would you like some bacon Cat?

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  28. Congratulations on your well-deserved placing, Anne. I fully understand your reservations of competitive spirits. That said, I don't think painting comps are the same as say, gaming tournaments. I mean, painting is more or less a relaxing hobby/art form, whereas gaming to win is more of an aggressive thing. Anyways, looking forward to seeing more of your great brushwork.

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    1. Some of those CMON painters are aggressive and they can be cruel to painters. Some of that comes from their desperate need to accumulate points. I lurk there, but I'll never post there. Most of us are pretty relaxed, but there are a few bad eggs out there.

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  29. Firstly congratulations on your placing Anne and another cracking piece of work. I envy what you are able to achieve with the Bones sculpts as I find the material a tad too flexible. I purchased a splendid piece that I was hoping to do for the challenge, but in the end bottled it and put it away for another day. It seems that you are thriving in the collaborative world of forums and online competitions, which I have to confess I find a little intimidating - I'm happiest just pootling along doing what interests me at the time and eventually getting the odd game in here and there. I have no doubt that you will achieve your goal of becoming an 'upper level intermediate level painter' if indeed you are not one already!

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    1. I don't like the BONES sculpts very much. I think they'd be fine for the tabletop, but not so much for serious painting. The bigger ones retain more of their original detail.

      I don't say much on the forums and I don't post much. Also, with the exception of one gent, I will not speak privately to anyone on a forum. I keep it very impersonal and everyone at arms length as I'm not entirely sure everyone is who they say they are on any forum. On blogger, you know who you're dealing with and who you can trust. Forums are places to learn for me and that's it.

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  30. Congrats on the participation and winning the prize. Your this post should be included in school curriculum. Completely agree with you on everything, and I definitely need to read this post to my elder twin son every single day. I love this figurine as well. Variety and details is perfect. Competition helps us to improve our work if we forget comparing ours with ours and not focus on winning. When we have a date and target, it helps me to improve better and help overcome procrastination.

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    1. The deadlines helped me to stay focused and on task. Now that it;s all over, I'm painting in a much more relaxed style and it's even more fun than it used to be.

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