Saturday, 29 December 2007

Happy New Year!

.....And a very productive one, to all of the UKCPS membership!

We start the New Year with some good news and some bad news. The good news is that we seem to have a few more volunteers for posts on the Executive, and, after Peter Weatherill has let the Christmas Turkey settled a bit and twisted a few arms a little higher up some peoples backs, we hope to be able to announce four additions to the Executive, initially in a job share/support role, but who knows where that might lead - we hope!

The bad news is just a reminder of what was decided at the AGM in October - subscription rates will rise this year for the first time since the Society was launched in 2002. The new rates, which will apply to anyone joining this year or renewing during the year, are:
  • UK Resident Full member - £28
  • UK Resident Assoc member - £20
  • Add £5 to each of these for Overseas residency.

The new rates are now on the website, you can join from our membership page. We feel that with the increased postage costs, increased size of Talking Point, and increased fees for prestigious gallery space in 2008/9, the increased fees are both warranted and value for money. And we hope you agree!

Happy Scribbling!

Friday, 21 December 2007

News from Derwent

Take a good look at this lovely box of Derwent Signatures - after December 31st 2007, they will no longer be available. I have just received word from Derwent that their Signature range will be discontinued. I will particularly miss the Signature water-solubles, not just because of their lightfastness, but also because they were lovely pencils. I am reassured that this will not mean that Derwent are easing up on their commitment to bringing us lightfast pencils though. I know the testing they do, I have seen it, and I know that they will strive to bring us the most lightfast pigments that they can source. I also hope they will continue to publish lightfast data on all of their pencils, so that, as producers of fine art, we will know what we are using.

Some much better news from Derwent is that they are extending their wonderful Inktense range from 24 pencils to 72 (71 colours plus a non-soluble outliner), and these should be available from January 2008. So save some of your Christmas money for these!

And a very Merry Christmas, Holiday Greetings, and a Colourful New Year to all CP Artists everywhere!

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Call for Entries for CPSA

Alistair Howie "Palm House at Kew"

Time to get your pencils out again. The call for entries has just gone out from our sister organisation, the Colored Pencil Society of America, for their main exhibition in 2008. All of the details can be found on the CPSA website, and further useful comments and analysis can be found in Katherine Tyrrell's Making a Mark Blog, so I don't really need to repeat that all here, just point out a few features.
  1. Entry is Open to all, as long as you are alive and over 18!
  2. Entry is by digital submission - there are quite complex restrictions on this, you may need to be a bit computer literate to sort this one out. If you need help, I will be glad to do what I can.
  3. The definition of what kind of image is permitted has changed over previous years - they have really tightened up on copyright issues, and now insist that it must not be copied in any way from another artists work (including photographers), even from copyright free sources, or under licence, and must also not have been completed with help from another artist, in a workshop, for example.
  4. We - by that I mean the UKCPS - have never had a prizewinner in this competition - so it is about time we did! In fact, as far as I am aware, only two of our members who are not US based have ever been accepted into the CPSA exhibitions - Takako Ikuta, who is a Japanese member who actually entered our first ever exhibition and travelled over here to see it, was one, and Alistair Howie from Bristol was the other. Their prizewinning entries to our first ever exhibition can be seen here, Alistair above and Takako below.
  5. It can be a very expensive business sending work over and back if you do get accepted. There is a very real risk of damage or loss - several US artists have discovered this to their cost sending work to the UKCPS exhibitions. Work has to be framed and mounted to CPSA specifications, and then VERY SECURELY packed. Our own noble ParcelForce may also - apparently at whim - decide that it does not want to send your package if it is too big, leaving you at the not-so-tender mercies of UPS or Fedex. Please do not let this put you off, but check with me first that the way you want to send work will be OK. Wrapped up in a towel and brown paper - I kid you not! - does not do the job, believe me.
  6. Best of luck!
Takako Ikuta " On a Monday Morning"

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Newsletter and Exhibition Comments

The latest edition of "Talking Point", which should be dropping through your letter boxes as I type, is the usual "exhibition special" at this time of year, letting all members who were unable to visit the exhibition see what they missed. Following that theme, I thought you might like to see some of the comments recorded in the "Comments Book" during the exhibition, which was described by the Gallery Owners as being worthy of a London Gallery:

"Amazing use of pencils - incredible!
Awe inspiring detail and patience and incredible pieces of work
Many hours of hard work with excellent results
Lovely exhibition
An Inspirational exhibition
An extraordinary display of talent
What wonderful work - loved them all
Fantastic exhibition
Beautiful work
Inspirational - provided us with a lot of discussion
Extraordinary high standard of work with CP
Lovely work throughout
Enjoyed every picture
Inspiring and extremely skilful
Very varied exhibition
What versatility
Beautiful - such precise work
Absolutely delightful - good variety and wonderful skills
Very good - liked the more painterly ones
Very good - much better than I could do!
Impressive and interesting
Fantastic achievements with such a simple object - a pencil!
There is only one word - Impossible!
Absolutely superb collection
Excellent collection showing what can be achieved with coloured pencils
Truly Inspiring
Fantastic works of art
Wonderful! Very inspiring
I never knew colour pencils could produce such excellent pictures

I think they liked us.

We hope you like your Legion Paper samples of Stonehenge - and look forward to seeing 500 pictures on black paper in our next exhibition! Please also read and reply to the letter that was enclosed - we really do need help on the executive.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Milestone passed

Just a reminder of the very first issue of our newsletter, "Talking Point", issued July 2001. I printed about 50 copies of that myself on my HP deskjet, with the front page picture by Hilary Buckley, and the lead article reading "Welcome - to the Society of your dreams!". It is beginning to look like those dreams are more than being fulfilled - thanks to the membership surge at the NEC, our membership has well passed the 500 mark. For the first time ever, over 560 people will receive copies of the latest "Talking Point" due out in December. Congratulations to all who have made this possible. Based on population size, we are now "bigger" than the CPSA!

Of course, with size, comes problems, and our members will be aware of many requests for help from the AGM last October. A letter setting out what we are asking for in more detail will be inserted with the newsletter - along with a small gift to make the request more palatable.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

"Magic Memories" Competition Winner

When my friend and I walked under one Umbrella on an autumn day

Derwent have recently held a competition to mark their 175th Anniversary, and the overall winner was hosted by the UKCPS at the Art Materials Live Show at the NEC recently. The overall winner was 15 year old Min Kyung Eun from Seoul, South Korea, with her memory of ‘When my friend and I walked under one umbrella on an autumn day’. She won a limited edition print of their winning entry, a 2 night break in Keswick, one to one tuition with a professional artist, an escorted tour of the Derwent factory and pencil museum and a Limited Edition Heritage wooden box worth £500. She also spent an hour on the UKCPS stand at the NEC, and we were happy to present her with a years Membership of the Society, some back issues of Talking Point, and various materials from our sponsors, including some Stonehenge paper. The picture shows Peter Weatherill (nice waistcoat!) with Min and her mother.

Peter and winner

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

The UKCPS at the NEC

The Society had a very successful four days at the Art Materials Live fair at the NEC, Birmingham from Thursday to Sunday last week. Apart from making a considerable sum of money for Society funds, mostly by selling workshop packs containing materials donated by our sponsors, we gained a lot of great publicity, and gave out over 200 membership forms. Many thanks are due to Rachel Stirling and Peter Weatherill who did a super job of organising the event, and to all the many members who helped out as demonstrators, workshop leaders and just general dogs-bodies. A lot of work by a lot of people - thank you all!

Some photos have come into my hands showing various aspects of the show, starting with the ever-present Suzy Herbert on the left, at her easel as she was every day. On the right is Deborah Theobald, who came to help out demonstrator Gary, and a shot showing the exhibition and demonstration space we were given. The pictures changed each day depending on who was demonstrating.

A shot in the other direction shows that most days we had two or three demonstrators - Richard Childs has said he never talked so much in his life! Hard to believe that Richard! On the right is Peter, looking a bit puzzled as he explains to an attentive group just what the difference between blending and burnishing is! This shows the workshop area, where people were able to sit down for an hour - a very important selling point! - and try out pencils and papers using the packs of materials we supplied.

Some of our members have mentioned the show in their own blogs - see Katherine Tyrrell's posts here (scroll down to Art Exhibitions), and Gayle Mason here. We hope to be back next year - if we can persuade people to do this work all over again - and hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Current activity

OK, so it looks as though I might be able to do this. I will try to update as often as I can with anything that I think may be of interest to our members.

Today the yahoo discussion group has been talking about different surfaces, including Art Spectrum Colorfix and Tim Fisher's Fisher 400 papers. We have also been introduced to the amazing art of Ester Roi, and I have added her to our links pages.

The Executive is still debating the merits of some members having an online subscription only, and trying very hard to come up with some helpers, especially as our Local Groups organiser has now left the post. They are also preparing for the UKCPS stand at the NEC Art Live show coming up on November 8th-11th. Please do try to get along to this and say hello if you can. Our printer is now working on the next issue of Talking Point which will contain a small Christmas Present courtesy of Legion Papers.

Some more of our members are taking up the Mobtal offer of membership for a year of this Art Portal WAP oriented website - but not enough! And I know there are still 400 or so of our members who do not have their own page on the site. Please get in touch with me so we can show what ALL of our members are up to!

Thursday, 25 October 2007


This is very much a work in progress! Thanks to the promptings of Katherine Tyrrell, I am trying to master blogging (some chance!) in the possibly deluded hope that I may be able to use this to post UKCPS news and keep everyone a bit more up-to-date with the Society. I will see how I get on.


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