Monday, July 18, 2011

Colored Pencil Society of America 2011 Exhibition - Prizewinners

The Colored Pencil Society of America held its annual convention in Dallas last week.  The artists who were chosen as prizwinners at CPSA's 2011 Annual Exhibition were announced at the dinner on the Friday night.

The CPSA Prizewinners 2011

Winner of the The CIPPY Best of Show and the CPSA Award
The Sisters by
CJ Worlein 
14.37 x 29.75 inches on Crescent Cold Press #310 Illustration board

The top prizes were awarded to the artists detailed below.  I've included links to their websites so you can see more of their artwork.

  • The CIPPY Best of Show and the CPSA Award ($2,000)"The Sisters" (14.37 x 29.75 inches) by CJ Worlein (OR) - See my interview with CJ below.
  • The CPSA District Chapters Award for Exceptional Achievement ($1,600) - "Hydrophobic Otter" (39.5 x 32 inches) by Paul Van Heest, CPSA (MI). Paul has been a consistent prizewinner in the last few years and it surely can only be a matter of time before one of his exceptional and quirky pieces wins the top prize.  I certainly look forward to seeing what he's come up with each year.
  • The James Mateer Memorial Award for Exceptional Merit ($1250)"Temple Sovereign" - (18.5 x 26.5 inches) by Leslie Evans (TX).  Leslie is a prizewinner for her animal portraits on both sides of the Atlantic and is also a signature member of the Colored Pencil Society Of America, the Society Of Animal Artists, and Artists For Conservation.
  • The Dixon Toconderoga Award for Exceptional Merit ($1000) - "Looking Out for Me" (23 x 24 inches) by Helen Bailey (TX)  Helen has always been passionate about drawing and horses.  She studied coloured pencil art with Linda Lucas Hardy
  • The Prismacolour Award for Exceptional Merit ($1000) - "Outrageous" (35 x 32 inches) by Kathy Eddington (ID)
  • The Staedtler North America Award for Exceptional Merit  ($1000) - "Flowers on Tuesday" (24 x 26 inches) Dean Rogers (MI)
  • The Seattle WA District Chapter 207 Award for Exceptional Merit ($1000) - "Social Network" (22 x 28 inches) by Ester Roi CPSA.  Ester is an artist and inventor - she invented the Icarus Drawing Board® and the Icarus Technique.
  • Award for Outstanding Achievement ($800)
    • Deborah Friedman (MA) - "Counterpoint in Green" - 21x 15 inches 
    • Ryoko Ohara (Japan) - "Edo" - 20 x 15 inches
  • Award for Outstanding Recognition ($600)
    • Linda Lucas Hardy, CPSA (TX) - "Not Quite, But Soon" - 10.5 x 21 inches
    • Donna Schwarz (OH) - "Elegant Emergence" - 33 x 27 inches
    • Carol Scott (LA) - "Crystal #19" - 25 x 37 inches
  • Award for Excellence ($400)
    • Shawn Falchetti, CPSA (PA) - Daydreams - 12 x 26 inches
    • Tanja Gant (TX) - "Galen" - 12.5 x 24 inches
    • Erin Gergen Halls (MN) - "The Book of Birds" - 14 x 20 inches
    • Jose Lazaro (NC) - "Festive Reflections" - 18 x 24 inches
    • Sharon Frank Mazgaj, CPSA (OH) - "Easter Candy" - 15 x 19 inches
    • Mary Relyea (MI) - "Three Images of Bruce" - 18 x 24 inches
    • Holly Siniscal (NV) - "Board" - 12.75 x 22.75 inches
You can see a gallery of ALL the winning images on the CPSA website.   The juror for the awards was Bob Malenfant, Director, Southwest Gallery, North Dallas.

Interview with CJ Worlein

I managed to grab an email interview with CJ on her return from Dallas and here's what she had to say.

It's a story which will gladden the heart - and art - of all those who have previously tried and not succeeded in having their work accepted for CPSA's Annual International Exhibition!

CJ won the top prize the first time her work was accepted.  That's some achievement!
The story behind the portrait is a rather personal one, which I don't mind sharing.

I have three sisters and the four of us are very close, even though the age spread is nearly 17 years between oldest and youngest. Last year, the second oldest sister was going through a difficult time during her husband's illness, and we other three sisters went to spend time with and support her. I had been wanting to do a portrait of us for some time, so I brought along my camera and tripod. I captured a number of images, but this one spoke best to me, and seems to show how we present a united front. 

I've been told by people that they find themselves drawn to my painting because they see the resemblance between us as well as the individual personality of each sister. Incidentally, I am third in the birth order, and appear in the third position from the left in the painting.

While I was introduced to and attracted to the medium of colored pencil in the mid-1990s when I was a CPSA member for a short time, I didn't start working seriously on my art until I recommitted myself and rejoined CPSA and the Portland, Oregon, DC 201 in 2006. 

While I entered and received awards at our chapter shows, my first four tries at entering International shows (2007-2010) were not successful. It was truly both wonderful and surreal to have not only received my first acceptance at the 2011 show, but to be given the top honor. I am thrilled, to say the least. 
You can find more of CJ's work at

CPSA 2011 Exhibition details

The exhibition of work by selected artists opened on June 29th and at the Charles W. Eisemann Center in Dallas until 31st July 2011 (details at end).  

Now for some comments on the prizewinning artwork.

The artwork is LARGE!

I've listed the image sizes in this post because it's well worth noting that all the premier prizes went to artwork which was large.

This is a not uncommon phenomenon in juried art exhibitions/competitions.  Creating large artwork is acknowledged as a great way to catch the judges art after the work has been hung. (see Juried art competitions - does size matter? and CPSA award winners announced - does size matter)

Those considering submitting artwork for next year might like to ponder on the size of their artwork and think about the opportunities for advancement offered by working on a larger scale.

The emphasis is realism

My personal favourites were Linda Lucas Hardy's (loving both the botanical art and the colour - surprise surprise!) and Shawn Falchetti's drawings (great tonal subtlety and balance and beautifully composed).

However I was somewhat surprised to see the extent to which coloured pencil drawings in this exhibition still focus almost entirely on rendering their subjects in a hyper-realistic way.  I want to emphasise that there's absolutely nothing wrong with realism.  However I'd also add that it's extremely rare that I go to an art society exhibition in the UK and only see works which lean heavily towards photorealistic.  Maybe it's the difference between art in the UK and the USA?  I'm actually inclined to wonder whether it's maybe a bit more to do with what has been "recognised" and rewarded as good artwork in the past which has influenced what sort of artwork is submitted.

There has been some experimentation (eg John Smolko's "dynamic and focused scribble" and Maggie Toole's "circulism" technique) but in general both artwork and techniques are much less diverse than one might expect. For example I'm still waiting to see portraits such as those produced by artists like David Hockney who in the past has produced representational portraits but using pencils in a much looser and more painterly way.

I'd really love to see more people pushing the boundaries of the type of artwork which it's possible to execute using coloured pencils.  Maybe next year?

You can also see the Silent Auction preview of donated works online

Links to previous blog posts about the CPSA International Exhibitions:

1 comment:

Sadami said...

Wow, amazing work by colour pencils!
Thank you for the interesting info, many links and a winner's lovely story.

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