Review: Nova Open 2017

by Roman aka jar

Hi Jungle
and welcome to a big review of a wonderful event,
the NOVA OPEN 2017.

For those of you who do not know what the NOVA Open is about,
here is a great article by shapeways:

Non diary photos in this article are under copyright by the NOVA Open. Thanks to the great team of photographers for taking awesome shots of the event and for lending these for the cause of this review.

Let's zoom in ...

This year I was travelling alone to the NOVA Open 2017

without my buddy Raffaele Picca. I was missing him all through out the event as it is always great to see and be with Raffa. I was also missing Mr. Justin McCoy from Secret Weapon who so far has been a major part in my Nova experience. I really missed them and I know others did too, but let's not start this review with bad emotions. There were so many good ones as the NOVA Open every year holds its promise:

To be bigger, better, more amazing and cool than the year before.
No shortcuts
I will write this review in form of a travel diary. For some this might be too much to read and for this I can only tell to this article: there is no shortcut through it. If you are interested why I decided to pledge my heart to the NOVA Open until it beats you have to read through this. I will mix it up with impressions from the NOVA Open, photo credits see above.

NOVA Open 2017 -
introducing staff

Alpha Mammoth, Mike ;)
- Alpha Mammoth: concerning the amount of weight of heart he puts in the show.

True Beast, Dewey
- Beast: concerning the amount of brain and muscle and heart and energies and fierce muscle power he puts in everything that has to be organised at the NOVA Open.

The mighty Owl, Owen
 - Owl: Stealthy he is always there when you start thinking "Let's ask Owen". He arrives silently at your shoulder putting solutions to small questions and is a major vene for the running blood system of the Nova Open.

The amazing Falcon, Nick
- Falcon: A bird of prey that breathes organisational superpowers during the Nova Open, strikes down on small or bigger issues to solve. Does this sharp, superprecise and in a way of friendliness you just can believe.

The Lioness, Laurie
- Lioness: No word of describtion would meet the truth on what the NOVA Open means to Laurie and to what Laurie means to the NOVA Open.

Not to forget Dave on the photo with Laurie, but now I start missing to explain everybody else. This introduction of the NOVA staff is just the tip of the iceberg. Just can not write everyone down now as my heart would explode and I do not have a full week to do so. Excuses to everyone I did not mention here.

My Nova Open 2017 diary #01:
"Jetlag, movies on a plane, friends, Nova family, unloading trucks and peanut butter M&M's."

I did not take many photos during the Nova Open 2017 as the great photographer team behind Chris Michaels was all over the place. More about this in my MV review. I took some whenever I had the time to search my full pockets for my phone. Here is the first batch plus some words from my heart. Will split that diary up in parts cuz it is too heavy to unload it in one post.
Saw some movies on the plane, I do not go the cinema often, always waiting for this plane ride to catch up with things. Logan. Lost City of Z. And one I want to make stand out in this group was called "Silence", medieval japan. Amazing Movie.

Thanks to B for picking me up at the airport even preps for Nova reached a peak of insanity and for the good conversations we had. Also for being such a reliable and awesome bartender.
I am learning to control jetlag. Second day is worst for me so I flew in two days prior to the show. So far so good. Still i do not like jetlag. Thanks to my friend John who spontanously decided to take me to a ride to the IWO JIMA Marine Corps Memorial. One of the few things I wanted to see in DC and missed so far. In his Ferrari. Sadly the Memorial was under construction this day and no chance to get close or see anything. At least we made a selfie. Thanks for the awesome ride and the beautiful spots you showed me in DC in that beatiful car. Great talks about life all over. Just too cool.
As my heart is pledged to what Nova Open is I asked if i can be of any help and quickly found myself unloading trucks together with amazing people. A good way to ignore jetlag on the first day. Another day in paradise.

It was so awesome to see such a big show rising up in an empty hotel and amazing to work together as such a team of friends.

More about this soon.
Day two of my jetlag was arriving and I will tell a little more about it, soon.

My both cats trying to come with me ...

Flying out with United. Showing a plane on this photo.

Waiting time at the airport.

Jetlag woke me up at 3 am could not fall back to sleep even with a sleeping pill. Great. Started drawing the Massive Voodoo Most Creative Award for the Capital Palette.

Finally. Sunlight.

The IWO JIMA Marine Corps Memorial construction site with my friend John. John says hi @Erik :)

That sound and view ... unbelievable. Jetlag was forgotten for a moment.

Thanks for the great ride and time, John.

wrrrrooommmmm wwrrooommm.

Cabinets. More than last year. 
Made some small suggestions here and there on what we could improve for this years edition in the subjects I am involved in and NOVA overexceeded my expectations all over.

Nova Open rocks and will rock even more in years to come!

A face that unloads trucks for hours and is super happy with it because of being part of a family. Dewey in charge of everything that mattered and a superhuge gang of Nova staff and volunteer helpers. Just amazing working with this flow. Another truck? Pfffttt!!

Fruits and nuts

waiting for me in my room. Lovely. A good thing to fight jetlag with. Thanks Laurie  you are simply the greatest and i am happy to call you a friend (and Mother of Geeks). I am sorry that we somehow did not find to say proper goodbye yesterday after the show with all the post-convention symptoms. Even a little sad. Not sad in a bad way. Melancholic. Next year my friend. Properly.

Soon followed by tons of penaut butter M&M's. We do not get them in Europe so I was happy to have friends like Lea  and Mitchell. Not only amazing friends because of Peanut butter M&M's.

Nova Open means: Gaming and Painting Love!

My Nova Open diary - day #2:
Well, my second day was all about jetlag. Woke up way too early again, tried a sleeping pill at 3 am, local time, 9 am at home. Didn't work. All I remember this day is meeting more and of my wonderful Nova friends, seeing the hotel fill up with more people for the show (in the end over 2000) and placing a thousand and more TABLEWAR gaming matts together with fabolous Mike Brandt who is the mammoth (or another very strong animal) behind the show and a bunch of great helping hands in the 40k hall before jetlag knocked me out again. Several cold showers achieved keeping my body walking around, but not much more. Great gaming matts. So cool. Met the guys from Forgeworld and Games Workshop. Really cool gang and really happy they made it to the Nova. Show was close to happen. More tomorrow. There was Pizza too. Charity Bar at night. Had a full drink in my hands all the time, even i knew next day my seminars would start at 8 am. At least this is what I thought ... :) ... more soon.

My Nova Open 2017 diary #3 - day 3, convention day #01:
Day three - for me - was all about starting to teach seminars and I woke up with quite the hangover from a cool night at the Charity bar. Well, not so cool in the morning, especially if you are a german teacher. I was thinking my first class would start at 8 am, but it did not, it was starting at 11 am and I was just too - well out of focus with my eyes - to see this on my schedule plan. Great start :D

At this point I want to say a big thank you to the NOVA Open Staff as I had the feeling all the little suggestions to improve seminars at NOVA were taken care of. In a great way. Everything was better, bigger and cooler! Nova, Dewey and Nick, thank you so much to create a wonderful environment for the guys holding the seminars at the NOVA. I bet I might come up with some smaller suggestions here and there and others might too, but from all I can say it was absolutely wonderful to teach at the NOVA again.
Secondly I want to thank Mitchell for being as smart as Tyrion Lannister and being my right hand during the seminars. I was thinking coffee and you already had me one. Big hugs!

Thanks to all the people who made it to one of my seminars, long or short ones, thanks for the great fun we had and thank you for tolerating my not perfect english. Had a great time with everyone! Happy painting and see you next year!

Went to bed kind of sober, to recharge from the night before. Thanks to B - one of my favourite bartenders on this planet earth - again for being my shield of protection and of course to everyone who bought me a drink or offered me one. No offense. Just can not teach when drunk :)

A great gift by my friend Val. Will be framed and hung up to my office at home. When I first saw this drawing by him I fell in love as I read so much in it. Thank you for your wise words!

Wonderful armies all over the place. This is just but one from many. This one is by John and I am always in awe when I see a fully painted army. I never was able to finish my plans on gaming armies. Never. Seeing this and others is just so impressive for me you can not imagine.

Results of my students from a four hour color theory class. Learning to see, understand, analise colors and remix them from primaries. Lots of fun.

Convention Agenda.
So amazing. Helps so much, if you can read it properly

NOVA OPEn is about people, elevator traffic jams and fun.

My Nova Open 2017 diary #4 - day 4, 2nd convention day:

Well this day was all about teaching. My day started with another one hour seminar called "Introduction into display painting", a lecture class where I tried to show everything that you need to know if you would like to step from tabletop gaming to display painting. A preparation class to help painters more about the specific words and meanings when they enter an advanced seminar. Loved this class and as its charge was at five bucks, unlimited seats it was often a really full class. Thanks to all the cool FAQs we had in this class.
After this class it was time to start my first eight hour class I would ever teach at Nova. Two were planned this year and my first one was painting a bust in atmosphere. Seats were limited to ten and there were plenty of people on the waiting lists. To go more advanced in the topics of a seminar you need more time. Time also for the students to put things to a test and make their experience hands on in what I was explaining them. We painted a bust that I sculpted myself, an Ogre, which btw. is available via Mr Lee's Minis here on facebook. I am saying this because the models were sponsored for this class.I really enjoyed the class and what everyone achieved, but I found some points were I can save on time to have even more painting time in the end. Thanks to all my students for the fun we had. Great group and a funny priming session :D
Still I got to say, if you are not used to air conditioning you might freeze. I did so in my seminar room somehow. It is better to paint in the cold though than painting in the warm, just because colors dry slower, but still if I would not have my beard on me I might have been an iceblock.
Again I want to point out Nick and Dewey for being available anytime, anywhere when organisational questions popped up. Mitchell, again for being my helpful assistant through everything.

On a tabletop convention with over 2000 people we slowly encounted elevator traffic jams all over the place :)
It was Friday and I knew I had to go to bed earlier than the days before, just because I knew Saturday will be my longest day on the show. More about this soon!

Explaining what I mean. I can do this best with brush in hand.

Again, wolves, but this time painted in a certain atmosphere to understand what is going on with light and ambience if you go for a strong atmospherical paintjob.

I stole these photos bluntly from David, who is not only a great guy, but made some photos of the class. I did not take any. Long classes rock, just because there is more time to learn things and from a teachers point of view you get to know your students far better :) ...

David's "speedpainted" Ogre during the class. Next year in this seminar we will have about one more hour to paint. Or even two. I missed that, but will come with an even better time frame for this class.

Selfietime with Melissa and Val ... forgot about when this happened :)

NOVA OPEN means painting,
Capital Palette and seminars.

My Nova Open 2017 diary #5 - day 5, 3rd convention day

Well, I want to start this diary entry with saying big thanks to everyone I've met during the show. So many nice people, so many nice chats. Thanks to my old friends and new ones. Saturday, after most of the jetlag emotions were gone I started to realise how happy I am to be at the NOVA Open 2017 even when I was hiding away in a seminar room most of the time.

I mean how could I have missed this??? So sad me is ...

Well, another thank you goes to everyone who supported my classes and helped with material or organisational help. Grex Airbrushes, Mr Lee's Minis, PK-Pro, CMON and everyone else I might forget to name. Big thanks to the NOVA staff once more to made my Roman Nova Open teachers box even greater than last year.

Saturday started for me with another one hour "Introduction into display painting" class. Followed by an eight hour advanced basing seminar. This was absolutely fun and I was amazed on all your results and proud to see them down at the Capital palette area for out of competition display. John and David, you forgot your bases down there. Contact Nova staff to see them sent to you.
After this class I ran to my room and ironed some clothes to be on point at the Nova Open Charity Artist dinner, which like every year is summed up in wonderful talks with wonderful people and tasty food and drinks. Drinks for those who do not have to judge Capital Palette afterwards. Only one glass of red wine for me during the dinner.

Judging started around 10 pm, with my wonderful colleagues James Wappel and Dave Taylor. Thanks for the great communication and good teamwork, gentlemen. Even it took us to 4:30 in the morning. It was worth it. And we cleanse the memory of the vacuum cleaning guy in full please. Capital Palette painting competition blow through the roof this year and I was happy to see NOVA provide more cabinets this year. The capital palette area looked lovely filled up with wonderful entries. Painters really do enjoy the open format system we invented last year and we already have plans to improve it even more for next years addition. Thanks to everyone who entered a piece or more in the competition. Thanks for your time you invested in your beautiful projects and thanks for joining an unstoppable force of painters who show how much fun painting miniatures can bring. I think we can even expect more entries next year. So happy to see this grow.

Somewhere in a moment on this day I was able to finish the Massive Voodoo Most Creative special award. A drawing of a Gorilla. A cold one, maybe a white walker kong :) ... it was won by Matt DiPietro with his amazing Sci Fi fisherman bust conversion.

Then I fell to bed at 5 am. My dad called at 6 as he forgot that I am still in the states. Called four times, woke me up, dead rising and did not answer the phone when I called him back. Usually when family calls four times when you are away this is not a good sign. Wrote my dad. He did not answer. I could not sleep anymore. Great start into a wonderful sunday. In the end it turned out that my dad had forgotten that I am still in the states, by accident called four times and forgot to answer me back that it was not important at all. Great! Love you, dad!

Capital Palette area. So many fine models.


Photo credits by Janet. Bluntly stole it to see how my class looked while running. Smiling faces in the beginning, before building brick walls.

A base from my seminar about creating a display base with in depth composition rules and it was simply called "Display basing" ... sadly I was not able to take photos of all of them. This one is by David Powell and seems like this gentleman is all around my photos. Photo credit is also Davids :D

Next photo credit: CJ Kinder
A good chat with some of my favourite people Kat and Caleb of CK Studios during the Charity Artist dinner. Thanks for all the good vibes and talks during the NOVA with you guys! Owls!!!! :D

 NOVA Open means
NOVA Open Charitable Foundation

My Nova Open 2017 diary #5 - day 6, 4th (last) convention day

Well, with about one hour of sleep behind me I went enjoying the show on this sunday morning. As not much was planned until noon. It was good having some talks with friends, enjoy breakfast and walk around and talk.

I did judging for Secret Weapons Weathering trophy in Justin McCoy's name, judged the MV Most Creative Award and the Grex Speedpainting Airbrush entries. All cool work and supersmooth due the nice staff team of NOVA.

I started to teach my final seminar for this years issue of the NOVA Open at 11 am called "Learn to paint Object Source Light" and we had some three hours filled with tons of fun and light sources. Thanks everybody for joining. As said this was a class that I thaught for the first time ever, but I was really happy to see it work well.

Then Capital palette award ceremony at the elevator's "R" button. So many wonderful models in this competition that was judged in an open format. Well deserved medals all around, but also some plans to change some things for next years edition to have even a better experience for everyone attending. The judging panels suggestion would be splitting the contest in two main categories of "journeyman" and "master". And a kids category is needed. Thanks for the fun we had during the award ceremony even I wasn't dressed properly, as I came running from a seminar.
Followed by this was lunch and some moments to rest. Then to the big award ceremony of the full show which is always supercool.

Followed by an amazing cool down and shut off in everything I am. My biological computer shut down and I learnt pretty much about my vocabulary once again. For three hours I told everyone who asked me how I am that I am "happily wasted". I meant tired, exhausted, dead walking. Everybody thought I was drunk. Nice.

Sometime I fell to bed and slept happily.

Next photo credits: CJ Kinder

Next photo credit: Cathy Wappel - Soulmate Jedi Painters :)
It was great having some deeper talks with James Wappel finally.

Judging with James and Dave was really cool!

Some photos of the Capital Palette Award Ceremony ...


Some random Capital Palette 2017 entries. Photos again by CJ Kinder. See more of the entries here:

 Presenting Capital Palette Awards at the big stage ...

My Nova Open 2017 diary #6 - day 7, Flying home
Monday after the NOVA OPEN 2017. The day to fly home and say goodbye to everyone who did not leave sunday night already. For me everything on this Monday happens in slow motion. Brainwise. Post convention symptoms. Starbucks around the corner, fellow convention friends also in need of masses of coffee. I was able to sleep in a little bit, caught my brain and packed my two pieces of luggage for the flight and hotel check out. Many thanks for all the great gifts I recieved by so many of you. Sadly I was not able to say a proper goodbye to everyone I would have as time was so - well - fast gone.

Big thanks to Robert, who took me to the airport. Thanks for the good talks about life and everything. A little waiting time there, listening to fine music to calm down and understand what happened the last days: A wonderful convention, named the NOVA OPEN, edition 2017. I am thankful to be a part of it since three years now and I am looking forward to be there again next year. Thank you for everything, NOVA Open and everyone involved. I recently got asked by several big US conventions if I would show up and teach, but somehow I decided to do this trip only once a year. I pledged my heart to the NOVA Open and as long as it beats I am trying to be there. It is a show like no other and I found out for myself it is in the title already. It is an open event. Open minds, open hearts, old and new friends, a feeling of family for me and so many things that go to charity that it just feels like the right thing to be at. If you are looking for a seminar by me in the US you know where to find me now :)
Flying home went smooth. Good company by a 77 year old ex-olympic athlete from DC and his wife, good talks, red wine and fun with a broken table and some sleep that was urgently needed. We really had some interesting things to speak about life in general and flying on plane. We even came upon miniatures and they both will try to show up next year to visit the event of NOVA Open. Also watched the new "King Arthur" movie and enjoyed it. Finally a powerful fantasy movie again with tons of humor and great pictures and animations.

Arrived safely in Munich, where the wonderful team of Bavaria shuttle service took care of me. Again, nice talks with another guest in the shuttle. Arrived home. Felt energised for 20 minutes. Tried to tell everything that happened to my girlfriend, kinda felt like I was speaking too fast. Then fell asleep and do not remember when I woke up to jetlag again.

See you next year NOVA OPEN!
I am already looking forward!

PS: Soon I will answer the feedback mails for Capital Palette.
Thanks for getting in touch everyone.

Keep on happy painting!


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