I have just won a gold medal!

During the pandemic, miniature painting competitions are organized online. And last month I applied to my first ever professional painting competition, Miniature Painting Open 2021, organized by Cult of Paint and Golden Compendium.

I have joined with several pieces in different categories but all of them were slaughtered by the other monstrously awesome pieces of art, except my "The Strider" piece which was placed in Grimdark Masters category;

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Grimdark category mainly concentrates on the overall atmosphere of the piece than the figure itself. And since the beginning of my painting journey, as i told about in my introduction post
I love the way a piece changes as you play with different light sources and I'd choose to play with those when I paint a figure. Of course this is not always easy as i still need lots of practice. But this piece turned out very well composed.

First, this is the Mysterious Man 3D digital sculpt by Loot Studios;

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After seeing the pose I thought about the scene, and told my 3d sculptor friend about it. He sculpted a piece of the Prancing Pony Tavern by referencing the iconic scene in the Lord of the Rings movie, here is a digital render and 3D printed prototype;

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The hole is for the prancing pony sign which was also 3d printed;

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Now I was ready for the painting. Like I said, I wanted to play with lights again, creating 2 atmospheres around the scene; one is a cold, night atmosphere outside, and the other is a warm and cozy inside. In order to make this I had to use cold and silvery colours on the outside of the building and the sign. So I started painting the sign with the green hue just like in the movie but mixed some dark blue inside to give the darkness effect.

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I was streaming on Twitch while i was painting this sign and we were chatting about the Peter Jackson scene right before the hobbits entered the tavern. We imagined him, carrying a torch at the time he was passing by the tavern, so I added a warm light source on the sign and the holder, on the fly.
I must say, this is GREAT! I mean, I feel so powerful to be able to tell any story i like just by playing colours and values. I created a man passing by holding a torch just by painting a warm light reflection on the sign. And the piece gone a long way in story. just like music, some scales give you joyous feelings and some saddens you. They are all the same language of feelings.

For the outer wall I used dark brown&blue hues to make it a night scene and the windows... Now comes the most fun part. Outside they had to emit the cozy lights inside, I tried to paint them just like that. Imagine a stained glass, dirty, collecting dust for a long time;

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And the outer side was complete. For the inner part, I had to do the opposite about the windows. A cold and blueish light reflection. And the walls around it had to reflect the coziness inside. So I used brown and beige tones and tried to keep the perimeters darker, the middle part lighter, to concentrate the view on the figure.

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Then moved on to the table, the main light source, the candle. And the shadows of the beer cup and the candle holder. I placed them according to the final position.

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And the Strider, painted the cloak according to the candle light source, and the rest was darker than the cloak since they were mostly behind the table;

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And as a last step, I painted the fire light reflections on the Strider and it was done;

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I painted 5 of them as different commissions and you can easily see the difference of the result on the windows especially :)

So with this piece, I have won a gold medal yesterday, in the Grimdark Masters category in Miniature Painting Open 2021.

What does this tell me?

My endeavors about lights, placements were right on track and I will continue to develop my skills. I am at a level that I can compete internationally, I made myself sure about that. And, it doesn't matter how challenging is your country's conditions, especially about finance and art, there can always be hope and everything is possible with enough will and practice and a little bit of imagination!

Thanks for reading, I hope this cheers you up!

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