CASM held its’ Sproo-Doo show/contest yesterday and there was a turnout of contestants from Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Florida. There were many very fine models presented for judging and competition. Most all of the models were technically well-executed with many details added, clean construction, and awesome paint jobs. However, I noticed a slight shift in the use of color on many of the award winning models for the “Best of” categories. Often the selection of “Best of” came down to a choice between two models that stood out from the rest. Both models would be beautifully constructed with many additional details added or fabricated that enhanced the model. The color scheme used by both models was accurate for the piece, but the one that often won the category was the one that was more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Several of the category winners spoke with me about this shift to the aesthetic and mentioned that their thinking about painting models had undergone a transformation over the past few years. The technical methods of painting were generally unchanged but the selection of colors to create contrast and extenuate detail had changed. The use of black white colors to influence shading had been mostly discarded from their palette of colors used for the model. These colors were replaced by colors that are darker and complementary to the general paint scheme or lighter and harmonious to the paint scheme. The color selection was extended to the composition of the base which resulted in a harmonious presentation that was aesthetically pleasing. Historical accuracy was not lost but harmony of color emphasized other qualities of the piece.
The concepts of complementary and harmonious colors are commonly used in figure painting and are related to the relationship of colors that are often graphically displayed on a color wheel. Some people have a natural eye for color relationships but others, like me, have to use devices like the color wheel to see color relationships. Complementary colors are ones that are opposite one another on the color wheel while harmonious colors are next to, analogous, the base colors. Using these color relationships produces a piece that is not only historically accurate but also draws a viewer’s eye to the piece.
I could tell the pieces that were rendered in this manner by watching spectators at the show. Invariably, the models where people lingered or could later be heard discussing amongst one another were the models that used a more harmonious color scheme. A clean paint job and accurate, well-executed, details are pre-requisites for additional consideration at a contest but the modelers who have taken the next step and are using color theory, whether they know it or not, to guide color selection are starting to take the brass ring.
Looking across the model entrants at the show/contest yesterday the use of the color shift was readily apparent. Models completed by specific modelers in aircraft, armor, and Sci-Fi stood out amongst the other entries and there were more models completed in this manner represented than when compared to previous years. There is a subtle shift in the way in which models are rendered and that shift was noticeable yesterday.