Friday, March 18, 2016

Time Magazine Article and CPSA's Response

March is always the month for CPSA's national governing board to meet for planning the next year and beyond. This year's meeting was March 10th - 12th in Houston. The meeting is always productive, with more ideas generated than we could possibly implement and more issues to discuss than we have time (or brain power.) 

In particular, one issue piqued our interest when vice president, Kay Schmidt, brought a Time magazine to the meeting which included an article on the coloring book trend. It sparked a discussion as to whether we should respond with a letter to the editor on the fine art aspect of colored pencil to offer a counterpoint to the idea of "coloring".  

We have had inquiries as to how we feel about the trend and frankly we hadn't had a real chance to solidfy our CPSA stance. Last year our founder, Vera Curnow, worked with DC - 109 Metro Washington DC to develop a successful outreach project creating line drawings as the coloring pages for patients at the Montefiore Medical Center in NY.  In addition, several artists we know have been asked to develop basic colored pencil workshops for those working in coloring books, specifically seniors. So we don't want to dismiss the newest trend which seems to be a worthy endeavor for some, but the consensus was we should take every opportunity to share our ultimate mission for CPSA and the colored pencil.

As a result, we crafted a letter to the editor for Time magazine. The following is our response and we hope it will be published:

In response to Time's article “How coloring inside the lines came into fashion” by Sarah Begley.

As marketing director for the Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA), a nonprofit for artists promoting colored pencil as a fine art medium since 1990 with over 1,500 members, I would like to address the issue of fine art versus the current trend of coloring books and coloring “inside the lines.”

First and foremost, we are of the opinion the coloring book trend is good for anyone looking for a pastime that is relaxing and therapeutic. The world certainly needs less stress.

Colored pencil seems to be a popular medium for working in coloring books: but as the society representing this medium, we would appreciate the chance to promote a different side of the versatile and vibrant colored pencil.

CPSA focuses on using colored pencil in a fine art discipline to produce original paintings and drawings across a wide spectrum from hyper-realism to abstracted works. We host two signature exhibitions annually (our 23rdAnnual International was held in Atlanta at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art in 2015), with jurors from well-known museums and galleries in the art world. These exhibitions showcase works created by our artists from concept to execution. Many of our artists are competing and winning awards at top levels in prestigious competitions, as well as having their work published in professional art publications.

Thank you for letting us make the distinction.

“Gravity” 18 x 29 inches, colored pencil by Jesse Lane (TX).

Cynthia Haase, CPSA
CPSA Marketing Director

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Explore This! 12 Announces Award Winners

On February 1, 2016, the Colored Pencil Society of America unveiled it's 12th annual Explore This! online exhibition. Seventy works of art were accepted with nine works awarded honors. The top three award winning pieces are featured in this post along with information about our juror, Holly Koons McCullough and her complete juror's statement.

ET! 12 exhibition, click here through January 31, 2017.
Full list of awards, click here.

About the Exhibition - 

CPSA introduced the Explore This! exhibition in 2001 to encourage artists to explore using colored pencil with other media. The exhibition also allows three-dimensional structure, bas relief, collage and other applications not eligible for entry in the CPSA International Exhibition. The first four Explore This! exhibitions were held in art galleries. Then in 2009, Explore This! became an annual online exhibition so that artists would have the opportunity to present their work to a broader audience and increase exposure time, since each exhibition remains on the CPSA website for an entire year. This is a juried show with cash and product awards. The accepted images appear in the June issue of the CPSA full-color news magazine, To The Point, published twice yearly and distributed to all members. In addition, the top three prize winners are invited to ship their work for display at the next CPSA International Exhibition.

EXPY and CPSA Great Explorations Best of Show Award
Art Venti (CA)
"The Human Briar"
36 x 46" colored pencil, graphite markers, diluted paint

CPSA District Chapters Award for Exceptional Merit $1000
Laura Fantini, CPSA (NY)
38 x 29" colored pencil and ink

CPSA District Chapters Award for Distinction $650
Suzanne Vigil, CPSA (VA)
36 x 24 colored pencil and acrylic
About the Juror - 

Holly Koons McCullough is the director and curator at the Greater Reston Arts Center, where she oversees the administration and development of the organization, as well as six to eight changing exhibitions annually. Prior to relocating to Northern Virginia in 2011, she served as the Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, where she was responsible for the care, display, and interpretation of the Telfair’s collection of nearly 5,000 works of fine and decorative art, as well as an ambitious schedule of twelve to sixteen changing exhibitions annually. During her fifteen-year tenure at the Telfair, McCullough developed and presented dozens of exhibitions. Major accomplishments included the publication of the Telfair’s first collection catalogue; the acquisition of several major works for the collection; and spearheading the organization of the Telfair’s first internationally-traveling exhibition, Dutch Utopia: American Artists in Holland, 1880-1914. She holds a B.A. from the University of Georgia in English and art history, and a M.A. in art history from the University of Notre Dame.

Juror's Statement -

The Colored Pencil Society of America’s Explore This! 12 exhibition is an impressive revelation of the talent galvanized by CPSA. In my twenty years of experience curating and jurying exhibitions, it is only rarely that I have come across such a consistent and competent pool of works.  I was impressed by both the diversity and quality of the submissions, which made winnowing the entries down to the required number no easy task.
In selecting pieces for the exhibition, I noted with appreciation the skill manifest in the crisp still lifes, spectacular landscapes, thoughtful portraits, abstract compositions, and other varied approaches represented within the wide range of submissions. However, I was especially drawn to those works that utilized colored pencils in ways that were unanticipated.  Elaborate, seamless abstractions that suggested impossible depths; edgy portraits juxtaposed against bright, flat backgrounds; and daring combinations of colored pencil with a variety of other media.
Colored pencils were not widely available as an artistic medium until the 1920s, with Prismacolors making their debut in the late 1930s. The proliferation of the medium since that time is quite remarkable, given its relatively short history. The existence of the Colored Pencil Society of America to foster excellence, education, and credibility for the medium has clearly produced excellent dividends. If the Explore This! 12 exhibition is any measure, the medium has a long and illustrious future ahead of it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

ArtSpectations 2015-2016 Winners are Siniscal and Lane!

Entries for CPSA's online competition, ArtSpectations, closed on August 31, 2015 with more than 280 entries in the Signature and Non-Signature categories. Our judge for ArtSpectations 2015-2016 was John Smolko, CPSA, CPX (OH). 

In addition to the Best of Show awards there were five Honorable Mentions in each category. You can view the entire group of award winners and the judge's comments on each at our CPSA website.

All entries submitted in the competition can be viewed on ArtSpectations until April 30th, 2016. 


John is a Colored Pencil Society of America signature and 10-year merit award member, who has been juried into eleven CPSA International Exhibitions and four Explore This! online exhibitions. In 2014 he received the District Chapters Award for Exceptional Achievement at the 22nd Annual CPSA International Exhibition in Ormond Beach, Florida. John has exhibited his art throughout the United States and has work in the permanent collection of the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, the Sargent-Laessig Museum of Fine Arts in Hinckley, Ohio, andthe State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio in Columbus. He is presently associated with Group Ten Gallery in Kent, Ohio (To see a detailed list of John's exhibitions and examples of his artwork, visit his website.


Best of Show went to Holly Siniscal, CPSA (NV) for her piece "Garden Window". The judge had this to say about her entry:

"Holly, you are a master at portraits and you really excelled in this one. The colors and composition are dynamic and I just love how the flowers frame the beautiful face of the young girl. This work of art takes my breath away."

Best of Show - Signature Category
Holly Siniscal, CPSA (NV)
"Garden Window"
24 x 20" 100% colored pencil
Holly's website


Best of Show went to Jesse Lane (TX) for his entry "Resolve". The judge had this to say about Jesse's work:

"This is a real 'Master Work' for Jesse. I just can’t take my eyes off the portrait and I love the impact and drama of the “stare!” What a dynamic work of art. Bravo Mr. Lane!"

Best of Show - Non-Signature Category
Jesse Lane (TX)
30 x 20" 100% colored pencil
Jesse's website

Our ArtSpectations 2016-2017 will open May 1, 2016. Watch our CPSA website and our FB page for details.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

23rd International Top Award Winners Announced

The award winners for CPSA's 23rd Annual International Exhibition were announced on July 31, 2015 at the Awards Banquet in Atlanta, GA. The top two award winners were Jeff George, CPSA (CA), and Arlene Steinberg, CPSA, CPX (NY/FL).

Juror Donna Krueger, owner of dk Gallery in Historic Downtown Marietta, GA, had this to say about the exhibition:

"We all look at art every day. Our eyes can be exposed to millions of images a day. Only when we are asleep are we not bombarded by images. And for many, images still fill our restless nights by dreams or thoughts. Every once in a great while we see something so special, so new, so fresh that an undefineable joy pours into our visual experience. It is so powerful it can be life-changing. That is the joy and privilege I had to look forward to as a juror of this outstanding collection of work. As a contemporary gallery owner, I look at art submissions every day, but I have not been exposed to 100% colored pencil work on an ongoing basis. I was extremely impressed with the calibre of work and the use of the medium presented by the CPSA. I thoroughly enjoy judging art shows. This one has been a privileged experience."

The exhibition is on display until August 23rd, 2015 at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. The museum is located on the third floor of Lowry Hall which also houses the Philip Weltner Library, near the rear of the Oglethorpe University campus. Free parking is available directly behind the building.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pump Up Your Studio Raffle in Atlanta

The PUMP UP YOUR STUDIO! Raffle, 2015

Through the generosity of CPSA’s corporate members and supporters, there is an amazing selection of products in this year’s raffle – items to restock, renew, and even refurnish your studio! And this year we are trying something new: each raffle prize will have its own ticket receptacle, so if you choose, you can focus your raffle tickets on those items you covet the most. At least 15 high value products will be raffled off at the convention’s Thursday evening Art Gala, so if you cannot be there in person, be sure to ask a member who’s attending to buy tickets for you!

Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5

Here’s what will be on the raffle table this year:

 Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils: set of 72, in a wood case, $531 value,   donated by CPSA Patron member Faber-Castell

 Blockx oil paint set: 20 35ml tubes, in a wooden box, $500 value, donated by Blockx & Fils and by Nitram Fine Art Charcoal

 - Studio Designs Futura Craft Station with lightpad support bars, $341 value, donated by Studio    Designs

 - Giclee of Julie Podstolski’s ET! 11 Best of Show winner, “Step by Step,” $300 value, donated by Julie

 - Mijello Mission Gold watercolors & palette: 36-tube set, $290 value, donated by Martin F. Weber Co.

 - Prismacolor Premier colored pencils: full set of 150, $274 value, donated by Arlene Steinberg

 - Icarus Drawing Board, 14” x 20,” $270  value, donated by Esther Roi

 - Tombow Irojiten Color Dictionary pencils: full set of 90, $240 value, donated by Tombow USA

 - Artograph Revolution 80 Lightpad , $229 value, donated by Artograph Inc.

 - Carbothello pastel pencils: full set of 60 in a wooden box, $205 value, donated by  MacPherson’s

 - Jack Richeson gift certificate, $150 value, donated by Jack Richeson & Co.

 -  Logan Compact Classic mat cutter, $140 value, donated by Logan Graphic Products, Inc.

  -  Blick Studio colored pencils: full set of 72 in a wooden box, $134 value, donated by CPSA Patron  member Blick Art Materials

  -  Daler-Rowney Wimborne table easel , $131 value, donated by Daler-Rowney Ltd.

  - Daylight D-20 SmartLamp, $100 value, donated by Daylight Co.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Small Works of Great Magnitude at Atlanta Convention

Each year at our annual convention, CPSA holds a silent auction to support CPSA activities. Member artists who have achieved signature status, merit status or have won multiple awards are invited to create a colored pencil piece no larger than 11 x 14" for the auction. We try to change up the slate of artists each year.

The pieces are displayed in the hospitality suite during convention week beginning on Tuesday, July 28, and culminating with final bids at our evening art gala on the evening of Thursday, July 30.

As the minutes tick down to the final bidding bidders stake out their place near their favorite piece, and much friendly competition is employed to make sure their signature is the last on the bidding list.

The bidder (or a representative of the bidder if you are unable to attend) must be present to win. Purchase is by cash, check or credit card and must be paid that evening at the conclusion of the gala.

This year we have 31 beautiful pieces donated by our generous artist. Don't miss this opportunity to own an original colored pencil work of art. 

Below are just four examples of the beautiful art. The complete silent auction can be viewed at our website.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Second Workshop Opportunity for CPSA's 23rd Annual Convention in Atlanta

Join us July 29th - August 1st, 2015 in Atlanta, GA, for CPSA's 23rd Annual International exhibition and convention.

This year the workshops are being presented by two accomplished colored pencil artists and CPSA members. This is a workshop by Morgan Kari (CA) on adding metal leaf  to colored pencil works.

We hope you join us in Atlanta this summer and are able to take advantage of these incredible workshops. For more information on the convention, the exhibition and registration check out the prospectus.

Looking for a way to add more dramatic effects to your colored pencil paintings? Ways to add highlights to the sky, sparkle to objects or just improve a background? Adding metal leaf such as gold, copper, or silver could be the perfect addition. You will learn the varieties of metal and techniques for achieving various vibrant effects including embossing, distressing surfaces, bas relief, antiquing, and painting on metal leaf surfaces. There will be a demo of the adhesive sizing and how to apply the metal leaf. Morgan will show examples of her metal leaf artwork and her successful experiments using these glowing metals. You will be able to incorporate metal leaf into your painting and immediately see the bold results. Since we will be doing the gold leaf process first, please bring a preliminary outline of your subject matter of choice with an outline around the area where you want to place the gold or metal leaf. In the afternoon after the gold leaf has been applied, we will begin the colored pencil portion of the drawing. By doing this we prevent the gold leaf from adhering to the waxy colored pencil. 

Artwork by Morgan Kari (CA)


Morgan Kari earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Washington with graduate studies at Art Center College of Design and UCLA. She worked as a fashion illustrator for thirteen years often using colored pencil and has been a fine artist for over forty years. She has taught at the Manhattan Beach Creative Art Center, Otis College of Art and Design, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and the Art Center College of Design. She's currently teaching painting and drawing classes at her Woodland Hills (CA) studio. She has traveled widely presenting workshops to various art groups and has been the featured speaker for a wide range of art organizations. Morgan has won many awards for her artwork and her work was selected for the twenty-first juried Colored Pencil Society of America International Exhibition. She is currently working on a book entitled Portraits In Many Mediums. 


Supplies to bring include colored pencils, graphite pencil, pencil sharpener, kneaded eraser, duster brush, paper, and other basic materials. Attendees will receive an exact supply list one month prior to the convention.

For information on the exhibition and registering for workshops please check out the prospectus (page 6) on our website for CPSA's 23rd Annual International exhibition and convention.