Wednesday, May 13, 2015

UKCPS Annual Exhibition 2015

Last week I attended the Private View of the Annual Exhibition of the UK Coloured Pencil Society. This continues at the Menier Gallery on the South Bank until 16th May.

This is an exhibition of work in coloured pencils - according to the rules
The work must be original (concept, design and execution by the artist), at least 50% coloured pencil, demonstrate compositional and drawing skills, and ability to use coloured pencil. Entries must not have been shown in a previous UKCPS exhibition.
As a coloured pencil artist, the world has certainly moved on since I first started in coloured pencils. I haven't seen a UKCPS exhibition in person for a while - and now only see it when it comes to London. It was certainly good to see the exhibition filling the ground floor gallery of the Menier Gallery. It's so much bigger than the very first exhibition I visited at Patchings and progress has been made in terms of it growing in stature as well as size!

However, from a personal perspective, there are still very few large landscapes and too few portraits and figurative works for my liking compared to the huge number of drawings of animals (cats x 5; dogs x 2; birds x 7; cows x 1; wild animals/insects x 5 = a total of 20 or 25% of the exhibition!).   You can see David Lewry's portrait of a Timber Wolf Where is she Going? which won the Great Art Award for Best Animal on Picasa.

What that means is that works which are really different really stand out.

Such as this one.

They stayed until sundown £560
watercolour crayon & gouache, 39 x 45 cm
Angela Brittain
This work by Angela Brittain was one of the works I thought most innovative and original. If it had slightly better executed in terms of use of coloured pencil and had also been bigger it would have really dominated this exhibition because of its artistic content.

Angela is an interesting example of an artist I don't often see in this exhibition - but would like to see more of. She is an experienced professional artist who produces contemporary narrative paintings - something we see too little of in my opinion. It seems to me that with this work she was looking for a way to add coloured pencil to the range of media she works with. Her experience certainly shows in terms of the artwork on her website. I hope we can see more artists identifying the scope to use coloured pencils in their work - and adding CP to their media repertoire in future - and their work in this exhibition!

Here are some views of the exhibition.

Nicely hung at eye level with most frames conforming the neutral mat and colour of frame
preferred for contemporary art society exhibitions in London.
The exhibition matting and framing has certainly changed over the years!
This 'white wall' was looking very attuned to London and brightened up what could have been a dark wall.
The smaller paintings are hung in two rows
This wall indicates a greater mix in terms of matting and framing.
Now for the award winners.

2015 Exhibition Award Winners

One of the things I'd recommend UKCPS members do is check out the size of some of the prizewinners. It's the case in the exhibition that a number of the prizes have gone to larger artworks. It's not only that creating a larger artwork takes more time and effort. They also have much more impact on a room. They have a larger quotient of "look at me" if you like!  It works with judges just as much as it does with buyers!

Caran d'Ache Award - Best in Show

I'm afraid I can't show you a photograph of the winner as the reflections just killed it. I suggested maybe it could be rehung in a better place but I don't know if this happened.

However you can see a very good image of it in the Picasa Gallery here - Przewalski wild horse - critically endangered ;(71 x 53cm) by Pamela Preller ( Pamela is a South African artist who specialises in wild life and volunteers at  Battersea Dogs Home. A percentage of her profits always goes to the conservation of the particular species she is working on.  She priced her work at £1,750.

She's also got a very good track record across a range of societies and exhibitions - which is something I invariably find points to success as an artist.  I've previously noted her work in my Review: 2012 Exhibition of the Royal Society of Marine Artists.
Since embarking on a full-time career as an artist in 2011 my work has been selected for several high-profile international exhibitions amongst which are The David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year 2015, 2014, 2013; The Royal Society of Marine Artists2014, 2013, 2012, 2011; The UKCPS 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 where I am a signature member of the Society having achieved Silver status; The Chelsea Arts Society 2013, 2012, winning the Heatherleys Prize for Drawing; The Society of Equestrian Artists 2014.

Faber Castell Best Pure Coloured Pencil Award

I loved the way Dan Des Eynon chose to display his drawing of Cicadicae sp. I've never seen anyhting like it before and the glass sandwich ideally suited his subject.  It's a very well executed drawing and given the method adopted for its display I could well imagine this piece being hung in any number of contemporary art galleries in London.

Dan has a BA (Hons) Illustration - First Class Honours (Falmouth University) 2014 (which incidentally has a great reputation for its illustration course) and is currently a freelance Artist and Illustrator living in South Wales. He knew all about my blog in relation to the BP Portrait Award which he had also entered. He's certainly working hard at getting his work exhibited as his Facebook shows - see This is a nice article about him and his work.

I advised Dan to raise his prices and submit his work to the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wildlife Artists!§

Faber Castell Best Pure Coloured Pencil Award
Cicadicae sp. £180
Dan Des Eynon

Fisher 400 award for Best Portrait

Sarah Hope won the prize for best portrait. Unfortunately my photograph has reflections and doesn't do this large artwork justice. It was certainly good to see some large pieces getting into this exhibition which too often has seemed to favour smaller works.

Fisher 400 award for Best Portrait
Holding Hyacinths (Self Portrait) £4,950
Coloured Pencil, 87 x 60cm
Sara Hope
Other portraits I liked were drawn by a previous prizewinner David Sandell.

(Left) Wileman £800 (a portrait of Peter Wileman, former President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters)
(Right) Self Analysis £1,800
David Sandell UKCPS

UKCPS Members award for Best Flora/Fruit/Vegetable

Janie Pirie won this award with her large coloured pencil drawing of an opium poppy. I particularly liked the strictly botanical dissections and studies of parts of the poppy on the right hand side but was less keen on the 'flowery' font used for the title.

UKCPS Members award for Best Flora/Fruit/Vegetable
Papaver somniferum - The Opium Poppy £1,200
coloured pencil, 63 x 41cm
Janie Pirie UKCPS Silver

R.K. Burt Paper Award for Best Still Life

I was naturally very pleased to find that one of Alan Woollett's drawings which is included in my book (Sketching 365) won the R.K. Burt Paper Award. (This drawing is incidentally incorrectly attributed as to the prize it won on the website)

Alan does some intriguing still life drawings but his birds nest was one of his more conventional ones and married this with his interest in drawing birds.

R.K. Burt Paper Award for Best Still Life
Birds Nest Study 
coloured pencil, 36cm x 27cm 
 Alan Woollett

Derwent Award for Best Abstract

Derwent Award for Best Abstract
The Puppet Master £885coloured pencil,  49cm x 45cm
Julie Ashton

There were a number of interesting works which appeared to be in the 'abstract' section of this open exhibition. The work that won the category was drawn by Julie Ashton (a new member) and might more accurately be described as fantasy rather than abstract.

Peter Weatherill Award for Best Landscape

I counted 11 landscapes and 12 streetscenes/buildings. There seemed to be a very distinct preference for choosing overly complicated and very detailed buildings and streetscenes. I sometimes wonder if people confuse an ability to tackle detail with an ability to be artistic. I am however muttering as somebody who prefers her landscapes to be a tad more painterly

Judith Heilbronn Crown won the but in my opinion she should have got her recognition for a drawing which wasn't even in the landscape category!

This is the artwork which won

Peter Weatherill Award for Best Landscape
Woodcote Lodge £450
21 x 29cm
Judith Heilbronn-Crown UKCPS
This is the artwork which should have had some sort of recognition for the effort involved in producing an anamorphic drawing.

Judith's entry which explains how her drawing works.
Canal View (3D) £100
Judith Heilbronn-Crown UKCPS


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