Monday, June 27, 2011

Showing 101: Those Mysterious Yellow Cards, pt 3

Welcome to the exciting final installment of my explanation of yellow NAN cards! You can find part one here and part two here.

A wonderfully painted Uranus by Chris Nandell

Today, I’m focusing exclusively on workmanship. On Friday, I mentioned this is my favorite division, and I mean that both as a shower and a judge. I paint plastic ponies for a living, so this division most closely approximates the challenges I face as a painter.

With custom finished models (by which I mean plastic-body customs, artist resins, and custom glaze models), all breed classes factor in workmanship to some degree. Resculpting effects the conformation of a mold. Having multiple examples of the same mold in a class is also extremely common. In this case, a judge only has workmanship left to differentiate between them.

As a shower, I prefer workmanship classes to breed because it removes the factor I don’t have control over: the original body. I can’t control if a judge thinks fill-in-the-blank resin is a bad example of a thoroughbred, but this isn’t judged in workmanship classes (or at least it's not supposed to be.) As a judge, it breaks my heart to not reward beautifully made models because of a small anatomical flaw. But if I know workmanship classes are coming later in the day, I keep that model in mind.

So if the original model isn’t judged in workmanship, what is? I break workmanship down to four elements: mastery of media, prepping, accuracy, and correction.

Mastery of media: All media (oil, pastel, airbrush, etching, etc.) have their quirks and drawbacks. To me, an artist’s foremost challenge is to overcome them. Pastel can be grainy, oil shows brushstrokes, airbrush is speckled, and etching depends heavily on a factory’s paint job. When you can easily recognize what medium a model was finished with, this is generally a bad sign because its those flaws we're recognizing. As an artist, I want the viewer to see a 100% realistic representation of a real horse’s color, not the paint I used to create it. Theoretically, a perfectly executed representation of a color should look the same no matter what medium it's painted in. Theoretically.

Prepping: A well-prepped model is a smooth canvas for a painter to work on. It has no visible seams or unintentional bumps and divots.

Accuracy: Is a model’s color realistic? Is the shade an accurate representation that could exist on a real horse? Do white markings follow real-life patterns?

Correction: No mold is perfect, which leaves a lot of room for sculptors to make additions and corrections. If a customizer chose to address a model’s flaws, did they correct them or aggravate them? Do additions blend to the rest of the model? Do they match stylistically? Was detail added equally over the whole horse of unevenly in a few portions?

When I judge workmanship, my mantra is “the greater the risk, the greater the reward.” I know a perfectly executed appaloosa or resculpted head is harder to create than a plain black horse with no sculptural additions. In this case, I would choose the more elaborate of two models, assuming the execution is equal. However, I am not more forgiving of flaws just because the artist chose to tackle a difficult color.

See, aren’t y'all glad I didn’t combine all three parts into one looooong entry on yellow cards?

1 comment:

Bif said...

No new posts unless we comment? But I need new posts =D