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Crimson Brush: A celebration of Miniature Display Painting

Crimson Brush can rightly be considered the pinnacle event for Miniature Display Painting in Australia. And on the weekend of 21-23 January in Canberra, and in just it’s second year, achieved a record for entries for painting events held in conjunction with Cancon. With more than 260 models of an extremely high standard it was an amazing array of talented Display painters.

I was lucky enough to spend the weekend interacting with the participants, organisers, judges, and for the first time in many years joined in to be an entrant at the event.

The standard of entries was amazing. Organiser, Trent Denison, has been quick to share individual photos of all the entries - you can see a gallery of them on the Crimson Brush Photo Album on Facebook.

A key part of the weekend was something that was a vital part of interacting with the community that couldn’t come along. It shows that the team had an understanding of the nature of our world. So, despite travel being easier, and getting around didn’t have the restrictions imposed upon it last year - uncertainty and price hikes might still hinder a fully open traveling community of painters. Not everyone was going to be able to come!

So, it was great that once again the Crimson Brush ran a live stream of a vast majority of the event. Anyone could watch the event live as it was happening and interact with the streaming team via live chat.

Or, if you want to go back and review any key moments those will soon be available on Youtube as each of the three days of twitch channel streams are cut up to make them more watchable to anyone looking to see what it was all about.

I was invited to chat on stream - I know it will be boring to hear about my personal journey, having run a small national painting competitions some time in the past. But it might be worth seeing me chat about my experience being a first time participant at Crimson Brush. Oh and I might have a thing or two that I talk about regarding the upcoming ArcOpen.

Crimson Brush is a true Open Painting Event - anything and everything goes. Busts and Figurines form the bulk of the field - because let’s face it there are some awesome canvases available -but there were also smaller scale 28-40mm figures, as well as displays and Diaorama.

ArcOpen gives all the Crimson Brush Figurines and Busts a chance to enter through the Large Miniature category. And any of the entered 28-40mm figures would happily fit into our Single Miniature category.

So, we hope to see some of the entrants from Crimson Brush choose their favorites to enter into ArcOpen. Plus there will be a load of people competing against all the new models that will be appearing to join in the ArcOpen challenge.

The People’s Choice - @liampaintstuff

A great part of Crimson Brush is the accessibility and interaction among everyone attending the event. I was lucky to chat with a load of people who I’d not seen for several years. It was awesome to see that they had not only stayed in the hobby but had learnt, developed and grown as painters and artists - we’ve all connected via instagram so hopefully we can all follow each other a little closer going forward.

Each of the judges were there to talk to everyone! They were unbelievably free and open with their time across the weekend. The Crimson Brush this year was adjudicated by Natalia Oracz , Sebastian Archer @veiledlamp , and David Colwell @davidcolwell725

I was able to talk to each of them for extended time - but it was seeing their untiring interaction with so many of the entrants, talking about everything - offering help, advice, and feedback if and when anyone asked. They were incredibly generous.

Watch the judges stream where they discuss the features, flaws and factors that have them deciding which models will land in each of the three levels of Bronze, Silver and Gold. If you are looking to improve your painting then listen to them discussing entries and you should pick up a lot about what makes an award winning miniature.

The challenge then is to take that advice and make it happen on your own painting project.

I really found Natalia’s concise critic and the conviction to consistently apply a standard in her judging both revealing and refreshing. As a former Golden Demon judge I really respect her firm but fair approach. It’s a hard job, that with so many entries to look at requires a disciplined approach to keep the process moving along and being decisive is a great approach for any judging team to have among it’s ranks.

Sebastian is a painter and sculpture of renown, and he was incredibly supportive in his critic of entries. I think that his overarching aim as a judge for this event was to support and respect every entry. Like him, I firmly believe that without a field of entrants across a range of standards you don’t have an event and can’t then choose what deserve Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards. He did a great job conveying that message both on the stream and when chatting to people across the weekend.

Last year’s winner David was refreshing in his points of view and in conveying what he was looking for and why he felt Miniatures fell within or moved out of each of the levels - or failed to make the grade. His thoughts and how he questioned and challenged the other judges helped make the team operate as a judging unit.

Plus of course there was Trent in the background, make certain that proceedings moved at the right pace and offering reflective insights to the team - particularly whenever it seemed they were not firming on a decision - he would create the opportunity for them to come to a consensus and move forward.

Overall it’s a really informative as well as entertaining video.

Due to the high level of all the field, and that some pieces were very close to achieving an award - but just didn’t make it - that a commended award was offered to entries of merit.

I’m grateful for the time Trent and his team gave me - in seeing how they have delivered a truly enjoyable and challenging event in the Crimson Brush.

We’ll be looking to emulate the best parts they offered their participants when we run ArcOpen 4-5 March in Melbourne, 2023.

Hope to see a load of people come through the event to take a look.


See more about the Judges from this Year‘s Crimson Brush on their instagram and articles:

Sebastian Archer - @veiledlamp

David Colwell - @davecolwell725

Natalia Orcz -


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