4 December 2013

The Challenge a competition or personal goals?

I have mulled over the concept of the challenge for a few weeks now as I have been busy making my preparations for the months ahead. In an earlier post I mused about having entered this knowing that I could not win. The word challenge invokes the feeling of a need to compete and go for victory at its most basic level and definition "A call to engage in a contest, fight, or competition:" So basically beating everyone else who enters, but not all challenges are about winning or are they?.

So what other definition is their to which this may be applied "A test of ones abilities or resources in a demanding but stimulating undertaking:" Yes a personal challenge, a test of your own metal, against a target set by yourself that tested your ability whilst clearing your own lead pile or completing a project through the winter.

So while the glory boys rush headlong into a pitched battle for the top honours trying to beat each other by hitting record points targets. What better a concept for anyone like me to work under for 3 months than the latter definition, and this develops a sense of self achievement and of course actually creates a level playing field for every participant as anyone who makes their target has effectively won a challenge for themselves.

Sometimes we have to reflect on the bigger picture and personalise things we do, or it can grind us down. For me this is particularly true as I battle some rather major health issues that I wont go into detail here, other than to say that if I let the stress of trying to compete with he big boys affect me, I would stand no chance of recovering. So the challenge for me this year will be a personal one, that with good planning and a can do attitude I should achieve without too much problem.

Now don't get me wrong I like to compete as much as the next man, and a little competition is very healthy for us. However, seriously though is there any point in a painter as slow as myself trying to compete for a top spot? After all there is a wide range of personal targets from all the competitors that range from the sublime to the fecking ridiculous.

For me it's a definitive no!!! With the competition lasting approx 90 days I would have to paint 900, 28mm figures too hit the top target so that equates to 10 figures a day, but that is way beyond what I can achieve with the style and quality of work I try to produce. Not to mention the cost as my lead pile may be large but it is not that big so that would mean purchasing more figures. I also have a life and responsibilities to my family which rule out this level of dedication. I could reach this target sat in front of my paints working 15 hours a day for 90 days but what state would I be in at the end both mentally and physically as a result. I guess I just don't want to win it that badly or I would.

Yes I will actively participate in the banter and happily accept ridicule and sledging if I fail to produce my target, or my peers decide it is fitting. I am firmly in the camp of don't give what you can't take in that respect. I will undoubtedly have a flying start as well, once it all gets under way. Most of us are able to start with a flourish but as time wears on the impetus gets a little lost along the way, production tends to drop off. It is a natural decline and I don't want it to be a slog, as there would be little or no enjoyment in such an event. I am also taking it more seriously than previous years and have got myself organised and have planned my work out (not that it guarantees anything) in an effort to remain on track, focussed and aids me to deliver my target.

Above all though, I enjoy the challenge and I like to see the wide diversity of entries this brings each year. Its an annual winter event that brings some fun into those long winter nights of gloom and lifts the spirits. This will be my second foray into the event, although the third year I have followed it closely. This year I would like to beat my good buddy +kevatthecabin but readily accept this is unlikely, and he will have another term of being able to gloat at my failings. +Curt C is the engine room of the challenge each year and with 60 competitors to keep him occupied will really have his work cut out this year. I am sure he will manage and has already worked out a method for retaining control over proceedings. For me this is an event that features heavily on my painting calendar and one that I particularly look forward too each year. A chance to compete and make a few new friends or reacquaint myself with challengers from previous years. But most of all have some fun and meet my personal targets for the months ahead.

So what is your take on the Challenge? What do you hope to gain most this year?

44 comments:

  1. Sounds very reasonable and I wish you great luck Andrew!

    I largely compete against myself to do better then the previous year in points and standings and like you I don't concern myself with competing with the top dogs as I simply cannot spray paint figures that fast let alone actually fully paint them!! This year I am competing against a friend to add a little spice and a bit of focus as we compete to finish a joint project. We both paint at roughly the same speed so I haven't set myself up with some stressful unattainable goal. It should prove great fun. My only wish is that the little side theme projects Curt introduced were not there as I view them as a distraction as your enticed by the easy points which doesn't help with my project plans as it takes away from my real goals as I spend time on those. I know it's voluntary, but for the points will be hard to resist. This is a minor complaint and should be taken that way as I'm very excited about the whole thing overall!:-)

    Christopher

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    1. I like the addition of the themes as I follow the Lead Painters League every year and it's phenomenal. The idea is to create art, not turn in substandard work just for points. I'm going to attempt the first one and it will be a three to five figure dio. And if I do more than that, I'll man up and increase my goal.

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    2. For you it's about creating works of art and for other's easy points, but for me it's simply a distraction to tempt me off my personal goals as the temptation to get points and creating impressive little diorama's will be a pull. I would like to see something like this in a different setting say Curt's Analogue Painting themes competition where the goal is to paint lovely little diorama's. My understanding of this painting competition was to reduce your lead pile in a an extra fun way.

      That said, it's just a minor gripe and if you and others enjoy this aspect then I wish you great fun!:-)

      Christopher

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    3. I see what you're saying and wonder now how other people feel about it. This is my first time in and I'm very excited about it all.

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    4. I like the new twist, it will add some fun to the mix they may be easy points for some for others possibly a distraction either way it is optional and will keep us all on our toes a little, it will and has caused some distraction for me but some fall in line with my plans anyway.

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  2. I have to agree, for the majority of particpants it has to be a personal challenge because the target set by some entrants is utterly unattainable for most mere mortals. I expect the top slot will be fought over by just two or three individuals if we are lucky and while it'll be ammusing to watch, it will remain a sideshow to my own personal Challenge and megre target of 600 points.

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    1. nothing wrong with your target having done this last year I only doubled that going flat out so it is respectable to say the least.

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  3. You've the right of it. I got into this for fun and to force myself to learn to paint faster. Most people will laugh at my 200 points, but what they don't realize is that it usually takes me two weeks to complete a single figure. And, like you, I don't want the quality of my painting to suffer by trying to reach an unattainable goal.

    I've noticed the slow down that occurs with most people, mid contest and I have scheduled a break. For the first week of February, I'm not going to pick up the brush. This way I can finish well and not drive myself batty.

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    1. I wont laugh at the 200 Anne, like you say its about the quality and you can always increase the target if need be. Great to see you back on here BTW.

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    2. 200 that you enjoy is worth seeing..

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    3. Thank you Andrew, it's nice to be back.

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  4. To me this years challenge is a chance to like painting again, maybe hit the challenge, maybe not but as my circumstances have changed to take it easy and no pressure on achieving success or my total but Ray is sandbagging like a defender at Dunkirk!

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    1. Will be good to see you get your painting mojo back my friend, I am sure Ray has a healthy supply of sandbags ready as you say!!

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  5. For me its just a chance to get back painting as this summer and autumn have been wiped out with real life commitments. I want to finish as much as possible the variations for the Old West collections - US Cavalry, Mexicans, more mounted figures. Then sort out completing the Bootlegger figures - not too may of those overall. Also spend a bit of time doing some converation work and superdetail on a few Napoleon figures - maybe even get the Mamaluke band done this year. All to get me to a point I can do buildings and terrain stuff again over next summer.

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    1. ohh!! a Mamaluke band very nice look forward to seeing that one

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    2. Oh it's my secret entry for challenger choice!

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  6. Well said old friend.
    I also agree with everyone else.
    I was also looking forward to the competitive side of the challenge.
    That for me has aldo gone out of the window now, I cannot compete at that level, even with my painting style.
    I want to continue with my commissions and complete some armies for myself.
    I really want to get the viking army done that I am getting for christmas.
    I would really like to make an impact on the 20mm Crusaders and Saracens.
    These are my own challenges now and what I will be aiming for.
    I aint even prepped any figures yet.
    I asked the Mrs for the vikings, so I could prep them ready for the challenge and then put them away for christmas.
    I wont tell you her response. Lol.
    Myself and Andy are really enjoying our weekly gaming at the moment, so expanding on this is my aim in the challenge.

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    1. I can guess the reply to preparing the vikings and unfortunately dont have enough characters to cover the asterisks this comment box would need to print it.
      On a lighter note getting the vikings done will be a bonus as will the crusade armies so at least you can enjoy that aspect.

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    2. 50 Shades of primer is the answer to your pepping problems... Once you have done that the rest is a doddle

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  7. I have to say I agree with most of what you say. If there is any challenge for me it is trying to stay on track for any period of time, other than that it is all about fun! I get to marvel at great pieces of individual work, not to mention at the incredible output, but at the end of the day it is all about a collaborative goal of enjoyment in our hobby.

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    1. I am looking forward to some of your marvellous concoctions Mr A, they always raise a smile and bring some great artistic flair to the event.

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  8. I think it can be taken as a combination of both - a personal challenge to achieve the target points you have set for yourself, but it can also be be competitive. You don't have to try to compete with the boys at the top of the table, but there's no harm in engaging in some friendly competition with those looking at similar targets.

    Last year I was just aiming to reach my original points target, but soon found myself doubling it and breaking through even that when I realised that Ray, Fran and Ian were all in similar places to myself on the table. There was no way on earth I was going to try to compete with the two maniacs at the top though.

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    1. good point Tamsin, Though as you will remeber the paint burn out for us both after pushing hard was a long period away from the brushes and I wish to avoid that this year.

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  9. The Analogue Painting Challenge is very much a personal challenge for myself. I see it as a way of setting a target to get a reasonable amount of themed painting done in a set time. This year I am aiming higher than normal, but I want to try and get somethings finished for early next year. I am sure for others this is a matter of beating the competition into the dirt. Each to their own

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    1. I think you sum it up perfectly with each to their own

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  10. Curt has always stressed Challenge and not Competition. We challenge ourselves, that is the idea anyway.

    Personally I always strive to stay in front of the guy behind me and try and pass the person in front. I don't lose any sleep when it works the other way.

    I love the whole thing, I get to see a massive variation of painting styles and finishes and I have to say getting my stuff shown off to the rest of the guys makes me very happy.

    Other than the Bagger I can't think of anything I don't like about the Challenge ;-) LOL

    Ian

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    1. We all need the bagger, it would not be the same without him there

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    2. Hopefully the jest in my comment was noticed, I was Badger baiting LOL

      Ian

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    3. Oh it didn't pass me by Ian I havent lost the plot yet!!

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  11. My only goal is to get as much painted as possible, if I beat my target great, if I don't, there's always next year. If I break the top 30 I'll be pleased, but there certainly won't be a top 10 finish this time around.

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    1. until the sandbagging comes into play ;)

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  12. My goal is to get just get stuff painted. Sure it will be fun to force myself to find something to fill the bonus challenges along the way but I may not be able to do all of them. If I reach my goal then that would be excellent.
    For me it's getting stuff completed first and foremost. But seeing how others are going will be motivational. Not in a competitive sense but in the sense of...not just thinking about painting but putting down the remote and getting into the groove.
    cheers

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    1. The one thing about the challenge is it has the ability to really motivate people and the wide variety that comes from this is unique

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  13. For me it is all about the personal challenge. I need a deadline to really push the painting. My target is achievable if I stay focused, but it's also more than I've painted this entire year put together. As far as the side projects, I'm really looking forward to them. I'm not counting those points in my goal but I like the added challenge of doing something a little bit special with them. I'm definitely with Anne on that part of it.

    I'm hoping to avoid burn out and have a trip to England planned for a week in February. I won't have the option of picking up a brush so it should be just what I need by that point.

    I suspect that, like Tamsin, I will be competing with the folks I find myself around, but I expect it will be the sort of competition that spurs us all on and fills all or our sails.

    I'm really looking forward to this.

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    1. I too dont have the bonus rounds calculated into my points I am aiming for some of them as they will fit with what I am currently working on.

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  14. The first time took part in the 'Challenge', I think it was Curts second one, I had high hopes to start, then got a little grouchy, realizing I was up against folks who paint for a living too, but even these guys set aside, there are some folks who can churn stuff out at an unbelievable rate... so for me I know I don't have a chance in hell of getting anywhere in the top placings... I'm just along for the ride, and if it makes me remember to pick up the paint brush once in a while through the summer months, here down under, so much the better. Don't take it seriously, don't burn yourself out and remember its just a hobby and meant to be fun...you still have family and friends to interact with, lawns to mow, snow to sweep up etc etc... ;-)

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    1. Enjoy the ride Scott, I know I will and I will be having as much fun as possible on the way.

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  15. I'm sorry I missed the start of this thread. I've had my head down at work and missed the boat here! Nonetheless, I had a wonderful time eating my lunch and reading all the interesting comments - thanks for this great post Andrew!

    I'm both delighted and flattered that people actually have opinions and feelings regarding the Challenge. It all started out as a tiny affair but has now grown to a point where I often feel like the organizer of the Tour de France! All joking aside, again, I'm very happy that people come out to both participate and enjoy the panoply of the Challenge. When I was first dreaming it up I really wanted an event that was not built around an overt judgement on people's painting skill. Sure, the Challenge has points and targets that create a level of competition but this is merely a carrot to help people set goals to get stuff done. I don't want an environment where we sit back and judge that Joe's French grenadier is better than Sam's. I find that can often can get personal and sometimes dispiriting. Instead I wanted something that all people could participate in, no matter whether you're new to the hobby or an Old Salt who simply wants to get reinvigorated.

    The 'fortnight themes' are a new addition that I thought people might find fun and interesting. I sympathize with Christopher's comments that they might be a distraction, but we'll see how they work out. Using the Tour de France as inspiration, I thought I'd introduce the Themes as quasi 'stage wins' or 'special jerseys' to allow people to achieve their points goals through a variety of different means while still keeping things fun. Who knows, maybe I'll do as he suggests and break them out have a summer Thematic Painting Challenge. That could be fun as well!

    Anyway, I really hope everyone has a great time this year and manages to add a few new gems to their hobby cabinet by the end of March. Best to you all!

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    1. I think by far the majority and I believe all of us actually take away an overwhelming positive experience from the Challenge.

      I like the addition of the themed rounds. I will actually paint less this year than if the themes were not included. But that will be a good thing as I hope will be seen from some of the items I paint for it. I can confirm that it will mean I will be doing things I would not have done otherwise.

      Ian

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    2. Thanks for the reply Curt, For me it is a great part of the year and as such I have planned for it, I have a goal and this is the perfect opportunity and motivational tool for such a purpose for all entrants. I think it goes without saying most, if not all of us get a lot of enjoyment from this and want to be a part of it.

      I cant wait to have a little pressure from the bonus rounds, and it will give me some thing to break up the serried ranks and have some fun with.

      Just itching for the kick off now !!!

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  16. As I did not put my hat in, I am going to just enjoy the entries and the shennanigans that you all may/will get into! That is not to say that I won't be busy on my own. During the challenge, I'll attempt to finish victrix british infantry and artillery and perry french dragoons, curisers, and infantry. Five boxes of lace and bling encrusted troops! If I was an active participant it would be for the cameradre- not for a win! Finishing a project is it's own reward cuz then I can game them!

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  17. Best of luck with your challenge Andrew, I look forward to seeing what you produce.

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  18. I joined to get my figures actually painted. When I run races I never think about "winning" but more about limited goals. Things like top 10 in my age group etc. For the challenge hitting my target, when I finally come up with one, will be a win of sorts.

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