Saturday, July 14, 2007

CPSA - 15th Annual Exhibition

Ashley (AP, reclining figure)
copyright John P Smolko CPSA (a 2006 prizewinner)

The 15th Annual Exhibition of the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA) opens today and continues until 25th August 2007. The exhibition is being held at the The Mansion at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland. For all artists interested in the art of coloured pencil, I'd highly recommend it as an exhibition worth visiting.

Each year the Colored Pencil Society of America hosts an annual juried exhibition at an established gallery or museum in a different U.S. city in order to raise the nation's awareness of the coloured pencil medium. The annual exhibition aims to showcase the best works in colored pencil. All works are executed 100% in colored pencil. This year 686 images were entered by artists from the USA and overseas but only 120 have been accepted (one per artist).

34 awards worth over $15,000 for those judged to be of special merit will be announced at the Awards Banquet on August 3rd. The juror for this exhibition is Ross Merrill, who is both an artist and also the Chief of the Conservation Division of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The CPSA convention will start later in the month and will include two artists workshops by:
  • Linda Lucas Hardy, CPSA - "Intensify & Optimize Your Colored Pencils" and
  • Robert E. Guthrie, CPSA - "Quick Results – Still Life on Mylar"
The images I've included in this blog post are by kind permission of John P Smolko CPSA. Most coloured pencil artists tend towards realism but not all of them favour a photorealist approach. John Smolko is one such artist and I think he does particularly exciting work.

I had the pleasure of meeting John at the exhibition last year in Albuquerque and I discovered that his work is even more impressive when seen in a gallery. His work is a product of his masterful use of scribbling and his optical mixing of colours which are very stimulating. You can see more of his work on his website. Past jurors have agreed and have awarded him prizes in the last three CPSA annual exhibitions as well as awards in a number of other exhibitions. In December 2006, he was a finalist in the experimental category of The Artist's Magazine's 23rd Annual Art Competition. His work shown at the top of this post won the Detroit, MI Chapter 104 Award for Excellence last year and his entry for this year's exhibition can be seen below.

Dave #2 coloured pencil
copyright John P Smolko (a 2007 accepted entry)

The Colored Pencil Society of America was founded in 1990 by Vera Curnow. In 2007, it has almost 1,700 members world-wide who are all adult artists working with colored pencils. Those
active members who have been accepted into the International show 3 times within 10 years are entitled to be signature members and use the initials "CPSA" after their name.

CPSA promotes
the stature and awareness of colored pencil as a fine art form and serves as a forum for the education, communication, and recognition of colored pencil artists. It provides an annual exhibition and convention, newsletter, product research data, workshops and seminars, networking directory and website with contact links - and has sponsored the development of a lighfastness standard for coloured pencils used by artists. It also has 26 District Chapters throughout the United States that act as regional networking devices offering members the opportunity to exhibit, attend workshops, and obtain information.


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