Mini Painting Validation

I’m back from DC with a gold medal and Best in Category (journeyman, single figure) for ‘Into the Wild‘!

Four Display Minis I Submitted to the Painting Competition at the NOVA Open 2019 in Washington DC

Read on to learn more about my championship weekend at the NOVA Open.

I was humbled by my experience at MFCA back in April. I had a great time, enjoyed meeting some fabulous painters & people, and left feeling motivated to paint, which is the most important thing about such contests, in my view. But… my minis did not meet the standard. I took two bronzes, and the gap between my pieces and the best work on display was obvious.

I felt at the time that I could paint at the level of some of the higher awards, but I hadn’t earned it. I hadn’t actually done it. This Summer I set out to create two minis that I felt represented my best effort and showcased the extent of my current abilities. I am happy to say that I did so, and I can show ‘Into the Wild’ and ‘Far from Home’ with pride.

'Into the Wild', my prize winning model based upon the 'Random Encounter' figure from FeR Miniatures.

'Far from Home', my hobbit featuring Yarry from Enigma Miniatures

I know they ain’t perfect, and I know I can improve in the months ahead, but these were what I had in me between April and now. They’re my best pieces to date.

So it was with great satisfaction that I received Best in Category when judged against over 100 other entries in single figure. Only two pieces were awarded gold, which constitutes an invitation to join the masterclass division next year.

Possibly better than the actual award was the feedback I had received earlier in the day from Matt DiPietro. He was highly complimentary (particularly of my hobbit!), but also offered precise and meaningful criticism that I hope I can incorporate into my modeling and painting as I move forward toward new goals. He said he was excited to see what I’d bring next year, and I don’t want to disappoint him or myself.

Imperial Fists space marine sergeant. This mini took Best in Shw at Origins 2017.

I also brought this Imperial Fist, which won Best in Show at Origins in 2017. I hadn’t realized that my pieces were in effect competing against themselves and that I could only receive a single award in a given category, so I didn’t actually get an official judgement on this figure. He’s good, but he’s not where I am now, I’m happy to say.

A Donald Trump conversion of a GW goblin. He sits atop an enormous wall screaming and ranting about something.

And then there’s MAGA the Magnificent. He was… censored. The Capital Palette team would not put him in the case because he was politically divisive. I brought him to DC in a spirit of impish fun, so I wasn’t angry. I knew he wouldn’t win any painting awards and wasn’t trying to make any important political point, so I told head judge Dave Taylor I was flattered. The judging & support crew, who worked their butts off this past weekend, seemed relieved I didn’t go ballistic!

Anyway, my NOVA Open 2019 delivered an ideal outcome for me. I brought two pieces that I felt represented a sincere & committed effort. I was proud of my minis, before I got there and once I saw them in the case. There were a lot of great works I was up against, so I certainly didn’t assume I had anything in the bag. I was happy to be there displaying my figures. To then win the gold and take the category against some very stiff competition meant a lot to me and provided a good measure of validation for the time and energy I’ve devoted over the last several months.

Now I’ve got to get going on next year’s entry!

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