Sunday, February 23, 2014

Announcing the 5th Theme Bonus Round: 'Casualty or Casualties' & Curt's Great War Belgian Refugees


For the 5th Fortnight Thematic Bonus Round I asked the participants to compose and paint a figure or set of figures illustrating a 'casualty' or group of casualties. Admittedly it's a grim theme, but I think it's one that bears exploring. In the gallery, which you can find here, you will see many creative entries that illustrate this sobering topic. 

For my own part I decided to return to my greyscale Great War project in order to attempt a perspective to the 'casualty' theme: the refugee. 

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the plight of the refugee has existed as long as war itself. The terror of impeding violence, the disruption of livelihood, the dissolution of security and the mortal risk to loved ones - these are all things that are clearly seen on the face of every refugee no matter their religion, colour, nationality or time in history.

The German destruction of the Belgian city of Louvain in August of 1914 is noted for contributing to the world's condemnation of the Central Powers' cause and pursuit of war. For five consecutive days the city was indiscriminately burnt and looted. Its famous library, housing one of the largest and most impressive collection of ancient manuscripts, was burnt and destroyed, as was Louvain's university. The church of St. Pierre was also badly damaged by fire. The citizenry of Louvain were subject to rape, robbery and beatings, but the most tragic was the mass shootings of hundreds of innocents regardless of age or gender. As Sir Edward Grey solemnly remarked upon the outbreak of  hostilities that summer, 'The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.'






So in these images I have tried to compose a plausible scene that would occur during those first few weeks of 1914. Seen here is a column of Belgian refugees fleeing the German advance while their hastily raised countrymen march to the front to attempt to stem the tide. 


The civilian figures are mostly new castings from Brigade Models' excellent range of Great War Belgians. The old couple with the wheelbarrow and dog are from Kawe's Westfalia Miniatures (meant for the Napoleonic period, but I find that they work quite well 100 years later). The cobblestones are hand painted, both on the figures' bases and the nylon roadway (being too cheap and lazy to get proper cobbled bases/roads). The others are older models from my collection, mostly Great War Miniatures, Brigade Models and the Minerva armoured car is (I believe) from 1st Corps. The buildings are from Kobblestone Miniatures.

...a matter of tone: same scene with a different camera with different settings...
So, please check out the gallery of all the Challengers' submissions, and remember to vote for your favourite entries. I'm using a paid service, Survey Monkey, for the voting poll so please visit the sidebar to the right and place your votes for your favourite entries. Remember, you can vote for as many as you wish! And please leave a comment with your kind words and praise - their work deserves it.

33 comments:

  1. Out standing work Curt.
    Amazing!
    cheers

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  2. Excellent choice of subject matter and the greyscale is perfect for the statement you're making with this work.

    Holy Christ Curt, why or why did I attempt my first greyscale on this round? I'll be over in the corner crying, don't worry about me :)

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    1. Thank you for the comment Anne. You should be very proud of your entry - your greyscale was brilliant. I've never tried a full sepia effect myself and I've always liked your transitioning between tones/shades, so I have much to learn from your work.

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  3. Perfect, Anne sums it up all too well

    Ian

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  4. That's some absolutely great work Curt! As you know I love your greyscale.

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    1. Thank you Nick, I put a lone red kepi in there for you. ;)

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  5. Fantastic work Curt, very affecting once again.

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  6. As ever Curt your grey scale is superb! Excellent entry!

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks very much Christopher.I'm sorry we missed you this round - I always enjoy seeing your efforts.

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  7. excellent rendition Curt - hand painted cobblestones - top marks you mad fool!

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    1. Thank you Dave. The figures demanded cobblestones and who am I to deny them. :)

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  8. It like one of them Homer Simpson pork chop moments.......

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  9. I find your grey scale to be the most interesting of your painting choices. On a lark, I tried to emulate it with, lets just say, "limited" success - painting without colors and still communicating the theme takes real skill - exceptionally well done!

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    1. Thank you Miles for your very kind words.

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  10. Such a joy to see the return to this period, some of my favourite work to date Curt - bravo Sir.

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    1. High praise indeed! Thank you Michael. I am still completely gobsmacked by your Whitechapel entry, simply amazing.

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  11. Terrific, Curt. These look really outstanding. They go really well with the other greyscale figures and the ruined terrain. Fantastic!

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  12. Amazing as always Curt. Your greyscale stuff continues to amaze.

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  13. I thought your 1812 figures would be hard to beat..... but you've pulled it off. These are superb. I work with military photos, and you've captured the dejection and despair of that sad conflict perfectly.

    Pip pip

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    1. Very kind of you to say Herr Marshal. This whole greyscale project was largely driven by the haunting photos of the period, so I'm delighted that they convey some of the pathos of those images.

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  14. Greyscale who would have though it could look so amazing, the skill needed to pull off this style is evident in your figures, just amazing

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