Thursday, August 22, 2013

CPSA Convention Wrap-Up: A Few Moments With Our CIPPY Award Winner

Holly Siniscal has always loved drawing. In fact, she told us that it defines who she is. Holly is the 2013 Best of Show, “CIPPY” winner in our international exhibition in Brea, California. When we asked her how she felt about winning the award, she said she felt, “incredulous, proud, blessed, all at once.” She continued, “This award is a very special kind of encouragement and I am forever grateful to CPSA for giving us colored pencil artists a venue to share our love for the beauty in the details.” 

Holly’s love for “the beauty in the details” allows her to pursue her artwork in several different forms: colored pencil, pen and ink, and hand-sewn dolls. She told us about her background in art and how she arrived where she is today. “My first influence was an old book of Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales with black and white engravings. As a child I would try to emulate the tonal qualities of the illustrations, first with pencil, then later with pen & ink,” she explains. Driven, her experience landed her work. She stated, “With my self taught use of mechanical pens I obtained my first job at [age] 17 as an apprentice for an architectural firm. This led to freelance illustrations, then magazine production, and finally teaching art at a private Christian school. I also attended classes at Art Center
Holly Siniscal, CPSA (NV)
in Pasadena, Otis Parsons, and a series of community colleges on a part time basis.”

Holly’s “go-to” tools are Prismacolor Premier and Prismacolor Verithin pencils. She just acquired a set of Derwent Inktense pencils, which she is enjoying immensely. Most of her work is completed on Stonehenge paper, but she is currently experimenting with Arches watercolor paper in order to “find a way to create larger drawings without the exhausting amount of hours (months) it takes to lay down colors.” When she does her black and white artwork, she uses Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pens, and sometimes Microns on a good Bristol board or Stonehenge paper.

Holly starts her creative process with her sketchbook, drawing a rough idea, while adding notes about lighting, color and mood. She expounded on the process: “Then I cajole my favorite model and muse, my daughter Abigail, to pose for an often elaborate photo shoot. We work very well together because I’ll set the stage and mood then let her interact with the setting. I always try to stay open to the moment because spontaneity will sometimes lead me down another path even better then my contrivances. I’ll take a hundred photos and after going over them continually will narrow it down to a few references. I then make a final sketch combining my reference material and work out the composition.” We asked her how she got started working with her daughter in the process and she said, “We all love to document our children; I got blessed with a wonderfully creative soul who shares my vision, my daughter Abby. We started out with me helping her with her own photo shoots, me being the tripod and she directing me. Then it occurred to me that I could follow my own aesthetic using Abby as my model – a kind of “aha” moment that allowed me to actively pursue my vision, rather than just struggling along. And as an added bonus to all this attention it has garnered me a new and ‘willing’ model… my son Gabriel, equally creative and quirky.”

If you haven’t seen Holly’s “Art Dolls,” you simply have to go check them out on her website. When we asked her about them and how she got started creating them, she replied, “Ah yes, the ‘creepy’ dolls, as my family calls them. I like to sew, and again my fascination with faces brought me to dolls. Also being dyslexic, this becomes a Mount Everest of backwards patterns, but I enjoy the challenge. The dolls are made from leftover fabrics, buttons, ribbons, yarn and old jewelry. The faces are sculpted out of paper clay then covered with fabric. I use my colored pencils to draw the face.”

All of Holly’s artwork including her Art Dolls can be seen on her website at: All the artwork from the 21st annual international exhibition is on display at the City of Brea Art Gallery through September 13th. You can see images of the award winners at:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

CPSA Convention Wrap-Up: A Few Moments With Our District Chapters Award for Exceptional Achievement Winner

After Andrew Purdy recently retired, it didn’t take him long to figure out what to do with his spare time. After all, he has the perfect setup: a really comfortable chair, a great Ott light, colored pencils within arm’s reach, and his favorite baseball team on TV in view from his workspace. Art had always served as a kind of stress relief while he worked, so it was easy to devote much more time to it after retirement. He told us during a recent interview, “Art was a consistent part of my life since I was old enough to hold a pencil.  My maternal grandfather was the driving force behind my love of and respect for art. I spent my summers at my grandparents’ home when my grandfather would sit me down on Sundays and we would copy frames from the comics section of the newspaper. I have fond memories of trying to replicate Annie, Alley Oop and Lil’ Abner in those days. With my Granddad’s tutelage I gradually began to sketch still-life subjects like my grandparents’ dog.” His parents were also instrumental in shaping his love for art at an early age – his mother, a painter and his father, a design engineer and skilled draftsman.

An accomplished, award-winning woodcarver, Andrew found himself at a loss after an operation on his hands a few years ago rendered him unable to work on his carvings. He was lured by a set of Prismacolor pencils that he had on hand and began drawing and sketching with them in lieu of the carving he could not do. After finishing two colored pencil pieces during his recovery, he has not looked back. He says of colored pencil as his medium of choice, “I have tried acrylics, oils and watercolors, but colored pencils offered a much better fit for me. They were not caustic like oils and their solvents, nor were there drying problems inherent with acrylics and watercolors. I could achieve detail and color saturation the way I wanted rather than being dictated by the performance of the medium itself.” He still carves wood, but has gained “more satisfaction with every colored pencil piece” he has created. As for his paper of choice, it’s Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. hot-press watercolor paper and occasionally, Stonehenge for graphite sketches and smaller colored pencil pieces.

Angler's Prize
Andrew Purdy (CA)

After participating in his CPSA district chapter for a couple of years, the president of the group encouraged him to enter in the international exhibition, which as he says, “turned out to be a good decision.” Indeed it did, as he won the second place District Chapters Award for Exceptional Achievement for Angler’s Prize. A beautifully rendered, freshly caught trout along side a fly rod and reel, set against a rustic wood background, Angler’s Prize speaks to Andrew’s love of nature. He told us, “All of my life, I have been involved in everything that would take me outdoors. As a kid growing up in central New Mexico, my dad took my four brothers and me fishing. One brother and I have continued with this tradition by fly-fishing around the southwest for many years together. I love the mountains and streams away from the sights, smells and sounds of the city. As a result, that has been a huge influence in my artwork and reflects back on better days. Occasionally I will receive a request for something other than a wildlife or wilderness subject. Usually those requests are from a family member or friend for a particular subject. Dog portraits have been the bulk of those projects, which, as a dog lover, I thoroughly enjoy.”

Andrew is fortunate to have access to wildlife rehabilitation groups and frequents these organizations on a regular basis. Most of the groups focus on birds of prey. Having that access allows him to photograph these majestic birds, which eventually end up as part of his colored pencil art. He was touched by one of the “patients” at a local institute, as he tells us, “I was also very fortunate to visit an adult injured bald eagle on the island that members of the institute were caring for. Pimu, a female bald eagle was unable to fly and hunt for herself and was being lovingly cared for by the institute at an aviary on the island. I was very fortunate to have been allowed to enter her holding area and take photographs of her. I completed two colored pencil pieces from a compilation of the photos from that trip.” At another center, caregivers “nurse many birds back to a state where they are either returned to the wild or housed in captivity for the remainder of their lives.” The contact with the people and animals at these institutions has allowed Andrew to amass a large collection of reference material for his artwork, which is done using his many photographs.

You can see Pimu and Andrew’s other colored pencil artwork and woodcarvings by visiting his website at: All the artwork from the 21st annual international exhibition is on display at the City of Brea Art Gallery through September 13th. You can see images of the award winners at:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

CPSA Convention Wrap-Up: A Few Moments With the Exceptional Merit Award Winners

CPSA was very fortunate to have had the ability to give three awards for Exceptional Merit, thanks to our two southern California CPSA district chapters (Los Angeles and San Diego), DixonTiconderoga, and Prismacolor.

The Southern California District Chapters Award went to Joseph Crone, of Indiana for his work, Salut. Joseph’s work is depicted on drafting film and has a remarkably dramatic effect. Joseph says of the award, "Winning the (Southern California District Chapters) Award for Exceptional Merit is humbling to say the least and a reminder of how gratifying it is to be among the passionate talents that make up the CPSA. I look forward to the years to come as a member along with each artistic relationship built. Thank you!" Joseph’s artwork can be seen on his website at:

Joseph Crone (IN)

The Dixon Ticonderoga award went to Denise Howard of California for her work, Tree of Character, a gorgeous rendition of a tree, partially clothed in moss. When asked about her work and the award, Denise said, “Part of my quest as an artist is to encourage viewers to notice the beauty in nature's light, patterns and details as I've captured them, so they'll remember and take time to notice them in real life later. So, the best part of winning the Dixon Ticonderoga Award for Exceptional Merit for my Tree of Character is knowing that more people will take note of it and do exactly this. They'll go back to some wonderful, gnarled tree they've passed a hundred times, and really look at it next time. Nature is full of surprises, we only have to look!” Denise’s artwork can be seen on her website at:

Tree of Character
Denise Howard (CA)

The Prismacolor award was given to Phillip Zubiate, III, also from California, for Malibu Succulents. Phillip was particularly honored to have been awarded the Prismacolor award. He told us, “I want to thank Prismacolor for being a gold donor and sponsoring the Prismacolor Award for Exceptional Merit. This was my first show with CPSA and receiving this award, especially from Prismacolor, made my year.” He described the hours of work put into the creation of Malibu Succulents as follows: “I was asked to write a step-by-step piece on my drawing of Malibu Succulents. I had taken pictures to show my progression and thought they would help me remember my steps. They did, but [it was not until after I’d written the steps that] I realized how much work I put into each leaf.” You will soon be able to see Phillip’s work on his forthcoming website, to be launched soon at:

Malibu Succulents
Phillip Zubiate, III (CA)

All the artwork from the 21st annual international exhibition is on display at the City of Brea Art Gallery through September 13th. You can see images of the award winners at:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Special Thank You to All Who Support CPSA

Did you ever wonder where all the wonderful products come from that CPSA gives out through our raffles and “goody bags” during convention week? Or did you wonder how CPSA is able to give our award winners cash prizes at our exhibition? None of it would be possible without the generous donations from our patron and sponsor member companies, district chapters and other manufacturers and distributors. We work throughout the year with companies, not only to gain support, but also to support their endeavors in furthering colored pencil as a fine art medium. We do hope our artists support these fine folks in their artistic endeavors as well.

CPSA gave out $15,000 in cash to our award winners this year. Our list of award supporters can be found here:

Take a look at the amazing companies who supported CPSA at the 2013 convention and how they contributed:
Alvin & Co.
Ampersand Art
Armadillo Art & Craft/Art Spectrum*
Art Hanga
Blick Art Materials
Bristle Magic*
C&T Publishing*
C2F/Bee Paper*
Canson/Royal Talens/Bruynzeel *
Chartpak Inc.
Chroma, Inc. USA
Colored Pencil Magazine
Colorfin/Pan Pastels ◊
CP Magazine - Ann Kullberg
Creative Art Materials/Caran d’Ache
Crescent Artist Boards*
Design Originals
Derwent/Colart Americas *
Dixon Ticonderoga/Lyra *
Elmer’s Products/X-Acto
Gamblin Artist’s Colors*
Tanja Gant
General Pencil Company*
Global Art Materials
Golden Artist Colors*
International Arrivals
Jack Richeson & Co.
Jerry’s Artarama*
Krylon/Sherwin-Williams ◊*
Legion Paper *
Mitz Art*
North Light Books/The Artist’s Magazine
Pina Zangaro
Professional Artist Magazine
Prismacolor *
Robert Ware Design & Manufacture
Sakura of America
SGS Consumer Testing Service
Speedball Art Products*
STAEDTLER-Mars Limited*
Strathmore Artist Papers*
Studio Designs
Tombow, Inc.*
      Walter Foster Publishing

          Key:  Boldface – Patron or Sponsor member     Underscore – Donated products for all 
          Highlight – Raffle donor     ◊ - Workshop supply donor     * - VIP gift bag donor