Wednesday, May 04, 2016

UKCPS 15th Annual Exhibition 2016 - review and prizewinners

Ann Swan UKCPS SBA GM was awarded the top prize at the 15th Annual Exhibition of the United Kingdom Coloured Pencil Society last night.

I went to the preview and prizegiving last night. I personally love using coloured pencils so it's always special to see what work they have in their exhibition.

The Exhibition

This year the exhibition is on both floors at the Menier Gallery at 51 Southwark Street, London SE1 1RU. It opens to the public  every day - between 11am and 6pm - until 3pm on 13th May (but closed on Sunday 8th May).  There are also demonstrations and workshops on most days (details below).

This year:
  • There's been a noticeable change in the range of subject matter tackled by artists. There's less photorealistic work and evidence of a greater range of artistic expression and more creative work in terms of selection of subject matters, design and composition and overall presentation.
  • The standard of work on show has generally improved
  • The presentation and hang is much improved. Hanging the works in their categories of entry creates a better unity and context within the exhibition and also shows individual works to best effect. I loved the two rows of portraits downstairs which were staring at one another!
  • While much of the pricing of work in the show is very realistic, I was absolutely amazed by some of the prices which I would characterise as 'ambitious'. As always the price asked is not always the same as the price achieved. Some made me wonder if:
    • certain artists are unfamiliar with prices charged for works on paper by celebrated artists for works on paper. (see yesterday's post for an example of the pricing of a Wolf Kahn drawing)
    • whether or not artists had previously sold at this level; and/or 
    • whether they thought this was the right point at which to pitch within the context of 'London pricing'.  (In which case I'd suggest visits to a few more galleries in London!)
    • The answer is often provided by the website, where the artist lives and an artist's past track record. I may go back towards the end of the exhibition to take a look at what has sold....
The exhibition is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year and has made a significant effort. Some of the past winners are on show again and for many this would be a good enough reason on its own to visit the exhibition.

A poster print has also been made that includes images of past winners of prizes in the first 15 years of the exhibition.
Past Winners of the first 15 years of the UKCPS Annual Exhibition

I very much liked the catalogue also. Works are listed with an image as well as the name of the artist, title and price. However this year I can't find the images in the Picasa folder which has been used in the past - so you only get to see the images in the exhibition or catalogue and not online.  (Note: I was rather surprised to see the names of the prize sponsors omitted from the catalogue. I'm sure they've been included in the past)

The labels in the exhibition are much more informative than a lot you get in exhibitions of this sort. These state precisely - where the artist has provided the information - the brands of pencils and paper used which I'm sure will be very helpful for the students of coloured pencil art who will doubtless visit the show.

The Judge for the Prizes was Henri Price who is an independent Retail Adviser - a good person to know for all those seeking representation for their artwork within the commercial sector!

I'm assuming the prizewinners will be listed in due course on the website - in the meantime I'm listing them below.

I'm not sure I agree with which works won particular prizes - there again prizegiving is so often such a personal choice when you have just one judge for the prizes!

Having said that this is more about outstanding works which didn't win a prize!  One of them is getting a blog post to itself next week!


The prize, title of the piece and the winners are noted in the captions underneath the images.

Derwent Award for Best in Show
AND Lyra Rembrandt Prize for Best in Flower/Fruit or Vegetable
Larger than Life -  Nectarines (£850) by Ann Swan
Faber Castell Polychromos, Prismacolor Premier, Tombow Irojiten
and Caran d'Ache Luminance on Fabriano Classico 5 (300gms)
This is another one in Ann Swan's new series of oversized drawings of plants, fruits and vegetables.  All drawings in the 'Larger than Life' series are at least three times larger than life size.

She gets the intensity of colour by using a little bit of liquid paraffin wax with her pencils. Ann will be demonstrating her techniques and providing tips at a workshop on Wednesday 11th May.  There are just two places remaining!

Here's a view of some of the other entries in this category

Some of the other works in the Flowers, Fruit and Vegetables Category
Faber Castell Award for Pure Coloured Pencil
Golden Headed Tamarin - IUCN Red List (£950) by Pamela Preller UKCPS Silver
Derwent Soft Pencils and on fixative-coated cartridge paper
This is a very small and very precise photorealistic drawing of an endangered animal. This prize is awarded for using only pure coloured pencil.

Staedtler Award for the Best Wild Animal or Bird
Great Art Award for 2nd Reserve Best in Show
Serenity (£695) by Victoria Manser ASEA
Caran d'Ache Luminance, Faber Castell Polychromos 
on PanPastels background on Fabriano Artistico HP paper
This giraffe was observed at Marwell Wildlife Park.

Some of the other selected artworks in the Wild Animal or Bird Category

Premium Art Brands Prize for the Best Landscape or Seascape
Near Lynmouth (£300) by Judith Heilbronn-Crown UKCPS Gold
Judith is doing a demonstration about working on black paper today.  Her other selected work is the one I'd have personally chosen for best landscape - if it had been in that category - of which more in another post.

some of the other artworks in the Landscape/Seascape category

Pencils4Artists Award for the Best Portrait
Senor Molina (£395) by Sue Clinker UKCPS Silver
Selection of pencils on Derwent Watercolour Paper
There was some stiff competition for the Best Portrait Award.

Some of the other portraits

The Artist Award for Reserve Best in Show
AND SAA Society Award for Best Domestic Animal in Show
It's all about Stella (£495) by Lisa Ann Watkins
Faber Castell Albrecht Durer on anthracite Pastelmat
I was explaining to Barbara Murray last night how I'm always worried about missing one of the prizewinners on the wall - which is why I was dismayed this morning to find that I had indeed missed out one image relating to Best Domestic Animal.

So I contacted the winner - via Facebook - and it was doubly embarrassing to find out it was also Reserve Best in Show!

Anyway Lisa Ann Watkins sent me a good image of her work and here's a photo taken last night of Lisa with the work - and the prizewinners labels!

Lisa Ann Watkins with her drawing of "It's all about Stella"
R K Burt Award for Best Still Life
End of Game by Paco Martin
Fabr Castell Polychromos on Caballo 109 Paper 

Staedtler and Caran d'Ache Award for Best Abstract / Fantasy
Hare by Moonlight (£475) by D Y Hide SOFA SAA
Karismacolor Pencils on Fabriano Artistico HP

St Cuthbert's Mill Award for Best Building or Transport
I Will Dare (£670) by Patrick Wilkins UKCPS
Caran d'Ache Prismalo and some Faber Castell Albrecht Durer
Schoellershammer 4G Illustration Board

Patrick aimed to give the drawing an air of mystery - as if it was a still from an Alfred Hitchcock film. He also told me he used some ink to enhance the blackest blacks and get the contrast.  He was a very impressive set of FOUR monochrome drawings in the exhibition. I think that's the most of any one artist.

Note: I had confirmation last week that Schoellershammer 4G Illustration Board is again being made but by a different mill. Preliminary indications are that there is no change in quality.

Hahnemuehle Award for Best Other Subject
The Next Generation (NFS) by Suzy Herbert UKCPS Gold
Derwent Watercolour Pencils on Cartridge Paper
Suzie continues her track record of regularly picking up prizes!

This year the exhibition had an additional Special Category for artwork about The River Thames which stimulated some unusual artworks.

Some of the entries in the Special Category about the River Thames

The winner of this category - winning her very first prize - is Pat Heffer, who for very many years organised the annual exhibition.

Strathmore Artist Papers for the Best River Thames
The Patriotic Thames (NFS) Pat Heffer UKCPS Gold

I made the mistake of not getting the label so don't have the media details for this one.

and finally....

This is Morryce Maddams who hung the show this year - and did a very good job! He's pictured with one of his drawings.

Waterside warehouse (£525) by Morryce Maddams UKCPS Silver
pure coloured pencils

What I liked

I'll do another post about the drawings I particularly liked when I do my post about Judith's diorama!

Demonstrations and Workshops

Demonstrations are free. Workshop fees are £30 UKCPS Member and £40 Non-Member

Wed 4th May
  • Demonstrator: Judith Heilbronn-Crown. 
  • Workshop: Tiffany Budd - Fracturing the Landscape.
Thur 5th May
  • Demonstrator tba. 
  • Workshop: Victoria Parsons - Wolf Fur and Eyes using Coloured Pencils
Fri 6th May
  • Demonstrator: David Sandell
  • Workshop: Brian Casey - Formula 1 Art (his website appears to be malfuntioning - URL is
Sat 7th May
  • Demonstrator tba.
Mon 9th May
Tues 10th May
Wed 11th May
  • Demonstrator tba. 
  • Workshop: Ann Swan - Textures, Tips and Tricks with Coloured Pencil
Thur 12th May
Fri 13th May
Sat 14th May: Close at 3pm for taking down and collection of pictures.

Another Exhibition

The UKCPS will also be having its 3rd Regional Exhibition (2016) at Hilliers, Romsey, Hants between the 6th and 31st July.

It's such a sensible idea for national art societies to have regional exhibitions. The benefits are:
  • it enables people at a regional level to be more involved - always a good thing!
  • it upskills artists at a local level with the work involved in putting on an exhibition
  • it creates a bigger pool of people with the right sort of skills to get involved at the national level

I wish I saw more national art societies doing this!

Previous posts about UKCPS Exhibitions

Given the celebration for the 2015 exhibition, I thought I'd look back at my various posts over the years.

The number of posts have varied depending on the location of the exhibition and whether I could get to see it easily.


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