Monday, August 17, 2009

Signature membership

What's the definition of "signature membership"?

On announcing I'd got my 'signature membership' of an art society, this was the first question I was asked by non-artists! So here's my definition.
Signature membership (for artists) means all those people who have qualified to use a set of letters after their surname and be known as a full member of an art society. The process of becoming a signature member is almost always defined by a set of criteria which varies from art society to art society. It usually means you are also a fully paid up member in good standing as well.
The Ecology Park Pond, 28th December 2008 #1
14" x 10", coloured pencils on Arches HP
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

My news is that I've had two landscape drawings in coloured pencils accepted into the 8th Open International Annual Exhibition of the United Kingdom Coloured Pencil Society.

I've detailed them both below along with the narrative I used on my entry form

Ecology Park Ponds #1 (short title) which was the drawing I did of the Ecology Park Pond in January - see The Ecology Park Ponds - an introduction and The Ecology Park pond in December - an update
Near my home in East London we have a lot of water – rivers, canals, ponds and lakes. On Boxing Day 2008, we went for a walk up the Regents Canal and stopped at the Ecology Park Pond near my home in East London. I decided that I would develop a series of drawings throughout the year about the pond and how it changed as the months passed. This is the baseline and the very first drawing. It’s a view of what I call Lily Pad Pond on 28th December 2008.
Monterchi from the Via Madonna Del Parto - which just goes to show it's always worth doing a favourite drawing again if you think you can improve it. I'd done this one a few years ago and it had hung in my bedroom for a long time and has always been one of those views I've been happy to look at. However I thought I could improve on both rendition and colour - so had another go!
In September 2003, I visited Italy and stayed on the borders of Tuscany and Umbria. Every morning my drive took me down to a steep hill through a vineyard and every morning this was the view I had of the village of Monterchi. Pierro de la Francesco’s masterpiece, the Madonna del Parto ‘lives’ in the village – but used to live in a tiny church just out of the picture frame hence the name of the road – the Via Madonna del Parto. You can only drive a past a view like this for so long before you have to stop and start drawing! The bonus of looking at it every morning was that I had several days to grow to know it and work out the best place to draw it from before I started!
Monterchi from the Via Madonna Del Parto
8" x 10", coloured pencils on Arches HP

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This is the third year I've had works accepted into the main Annual Exhibition (in 2007, 2008 and 2009) and consequently I now comply with the rule for signature membership of the society by being accepted into three exhibitions in five years.

Which means I'm now Katherine Tyrrell UKCPS.

Some time ago I stopped listing the other ten letters I'm entitled to put after my name (for degrees and professional qualifications) so it feels very odd to start using letters after my name again!

How UKCPS defines signature membership
The initials UKCPS after a member's name indicates that they are Signatory members of the Society, having had pictures exhibited in three exhibitions within a five year period. The initials UKCPS indicate Silver Signature status - pictures accepted into 5 exhibitions within 10 years - and UKCPS indicates Gold status - pictures accepted into 10 exhibitions within 15 years.
UKCPS - 7th Annual Open International Exhibition 2008
So - over to all my coloured pencil artist readers:
  • Has anybody else made signature member this year as well?
  • Have you started to collect acceptances into the exhibition in order to work towards signature membership?


  1. Congratulations Katherine - those are very beautiful drawings that were accepted into the 8th Open. We are proud of our founder Sketcherciser!

  2. Good morning and congratulations Katherine !
    Your way to use colored pencils is unique and it is great to see that your efforts are honored by CPS with a signature membership!

  3. Congratulations, Katherine. My first guess was wrong, so this is a wonderful surprise.

    Glad to see you taking a little Tuscany into the exhibition. Beautiful!

  4. Congratulations. Here in the states I have achieved signature membership status in several art organizations--- most notably the American Watercolor Society, AWS, and the National Watercolor Society, NWS.
    So I know how it feels to finally achieve such a goal and accomplishment. I have been in the blogworld a little over a week. I have added your blog to my bloglist and am now a follower. congrats again.

  5. Congratulations, Katherine!! They are both beautiful peices as well.

    I don't quite understand the difference between silver and gold though...the initials look the same to me?

  6. I guess in some ways you can say that getting all these letters from societies is confirmation you are doing better and better with your work. However, as time goes by, they just don't seem all that important. I have about three of these I could use. But the time I earned each one..all needing 5 acceptances, it just didn't matter much any more and I always forgot to use them on any of my paintings. The other reason is some require a certain medium on a certain support and I had gotten away from that.
    It's a good way to start paying your dues so to speak. It's good to have verification and feedback from your peers.

  7. Hi Katherine,

    I recently discovered your blog and find it really informative ... thank you! (And congratulations on your "Signature Membership"..that is quite an honor!)


  8. How timely! I just got my Signature Membership yesterday into the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society. I've been thinking about how I should explain it in my next newsletter

  9. Congratulations Katherine! These are lovely drawings and a great accomplishment!

  10. The richness of color and depth of your color pencil drawings is incredible! I am happy to have found your blog.

  11. I'm curious, what would your name look like with all the initials your qualified to use? (degrees, professional qualifications, UKCPS etc.)

  12. Thank you to all the people who offered congratulations (here and elsewhere) - it's always nice to get a pat on the back! :D

    To respond to Scott's question - my name would look very boring and totally OTT! :) Which is one of the reasons I stopped using the previous 10.

    I don't think they should be mixed either. The previous 10 are associated with what I was doing for 3+ decades - and that was then and this is now - so I'm very happy to start afresh.

  13. Congratulations Katherine on your well deserved signature status! Your landscapes are lovely.

  14. Congratulations Katherine!
    Well deserved and well done.

  15. Sorry I'm late in offering my congratulations. Your landscapes are beautiful. So delicate and I love the subtle colours you use. Do you realise how recognisable your work is becoming? What colours are these hazy combinations? You obviously use a limited palette. I was very chuffed, myself, to be awarded Silver Signature status last year. Unfortunately I had no work to submit this year but hope to enter next year.


  16. Thanks everybody - much appreciated!


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