Crystal Brush review

I´ve come back so happy to have lived a new experience in that wonderful city that is Chicago. How could it be otherwise in the Windy City, the flight to Chicago was not as quiet as I wished. The last 40 minutes were horrific into a storm. I looked out the window and the only things that I saw were big black clouds and lightnings...things were falling inside the plane and of course I had to use the barf bag...things did not start well.

After two days of museums, skyscrapers and thousands of photos we met the rest of the Spanish expedition, Marc and Iago. We decided to rent a car, because the Westin Hotel was at 28 miles from Chicago...traffic jam of course. Once there the first thing I noticed was the impressive buffet of Mediterranean diet that welcomed to all the visitors, hamburgers, pasta, pizza and all kind of refried things. It reminded me the Simpsons episode when Moe purchase an industrial fryer for his new family many things on this trip I have reminded the Simpsons!

The contest area is located in the hotel lobby, so everyone who walk around has access to it, which makes that there is always people watching the glass cabinets. Around it were a few huge conference rooms with a lot of gaming tables. There was also a shopping area in another room. And when I speak about conference rooms I mean that each room would have the same surface of a Spanish Games Day, stunning.

The contest, as everyone knows, is not characterized by the average painting level as that usually seen in European contests. I think that most of the American painters must be change their painting concept to jump from very well painted gaming miniatures to showcase works that could access to one of the big prizes. The good thing is that I think (and wish) that they are on the right way. Try to organize a big panting community is a work of a few years but is the only way. Also, US need more contests in its territory like this. Please, keep the Crystal Brush in the US.

From my point of view, and is something that everyone there agreed, only 5 or 6 works were eligible for the first 3 prizes. For me, It was clear that 2 works was the first and second prize, and the rest would compete for the third prize. With a little change in the order of the winners is what happened. Of course, the online vote is very important (50%), so I think if you don´t follow a strategy from the beginning you are making a big mistake. I am referring to subject, composition, technique, base and main views for the photographs among other things. The online vote agreed with Roman´s judgement (the other 50%) as to the top 3, but not in the same order. The sum of Roman´s judgement and the online vote lead to the final result: 1- Jeremie Bonamant. 2- Me. 3- Raffaele Picca.

Jeremie Bonamant´s figure and my diorama "the walking dead"

Raffaele Picca´s figure and Marc´s figure

Nakatan´s figure and his impressive freehands

I don´t have photos of the diorama "so high" (Marc Masclans and Diego Esteban), one of the best miniatures in the contest and I don´t find good pics in internet. You can see the miniature in the Crystal Brush winners webpage. EDIT: Now, you can see pics of their diorama here

Probably the only criticism I would like to express is about the photographs. It can improve, and although I understand that lot of figures wait to be photographed, it would be desirable that at least the photographs don´t ruin the color and atmosphere work.

The awards ceremony was simply the best I've ever attended. Finally a good speaker, a lively public that knows when to be quiet and be respectful and when to cheer, clap and scream... you feel that contestants are really enjoying when they are rewarded. Sincere congratulations from people, contrary to suspicion, resentment, pouting, empty criticism and envy that are usually seen around here. I come very surprised and happy in that way. We have much to learn in that sense. From here I would like to congratulate to all the CMON staff for their friendliness and professionalism.

I want to congratulate to all the winners, and although my english level is too basic, I'm glad to exchanged a few words with Roman and Raffa of Massive Voodoo, and have shared good times with Marc, Iago and Jeremie, and of course Jara, without her this trip would not have been possible. Also I would like to send a big hug to Lola and Nacho, the Chicago connection. I hope to see you soon again! and once again thanks to all the contributors of the indiegogo campaign for their invaluable help. Soon you will see the tutorials and the other stuff!

And stay tuned for the next days, because I will upload good photographs of the Crystal Brush entries and there will be some changes in the blog and of course, next year I will be back to Chicago!

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