Sunday, 31 October 2010

A Birthday and a Goodbye

Today is my last day as blogmaster and this is my last post on UKCPS News. 

I've been responsible for writing the blog posts for UKCPS News since September 2008 when I took over from Bob Ebdon, the Founder of the UKCPS.

I'd like to take this opportunity to recap where this blog came from and what it has achieved to date - and that's partly because it was my idea in the first place!

At the 2007 AGM, I suggested it was time for UKCPS to think about creating a blog with a view to (1) improving online communication with UKCPS members and (2) broadcasting news about UKCPS and coloured pencils to an audience beyond UKCPS members - all with a view to fulfilling all the main aims of the Society:
  • to promote coloured pencils as a fine art medium
  • to support artists who use coloured pencils
  • to educate artists and the public in general about coloured pencils
At the time of the meeting, the Executive was a little reluctant to make a commitment, however Bob soon saw the point and created the blog a short while later in October 2007 - which of course means that this blog is now three years old!

UKCPS News Achievements

In the last three years, UKCPS News has achieved the following:
  • 167 blog posts in three years
  • 255 subscribers from all over the world - who get an email every time the blog is published or otherwise read the blog in their feedreader
  • an awful lot of visitors.  Since it started three years ago there have been 38,892 unique visitors to UKCPS News.  My records for the last two years show there have been well over 26,000 visitors who have generated some 44,000 page loads.  As always the peaks have come in October round about the time of the Annual Exhibition when lots of visitors are keen to see the images of the prizewinners - and to find out who won what.
UKCPS News: Pageloads and Unique Visitors October 2008-October 2010
New Initiatives

New initiatives that have proved popular during my time as blogmaster have included:
  • a suite of posts covering every aspect of the UKCPS Annual Exhibition - from prizewinners to the volunteers who help make it happen
  • the publication of all the names of artists accepted into the Annual Exhibition.  This has become one of the most popular posts on the blog and always gets a big audience each year.
  • more publicity for the activities of members at a local level - especially those running local groups and those demonstrating coloured pencils
  • posts featuring individual members when they have achieved something particularly meritorious as a coloured pencil artist.  This has helped raise the awareness of just how many coloured pencil artists are now being selected for and winning awards in multi-media exhibitions.
  • the development of the blogroll.  This now provides a link to every UKCPS member who has a blog about their coloured pencil art and news of their latest post
  • the inclusion of the Link Within widget.  At the bottom of every post, this highlights past posts which are related in topic terms to an indvidual post.  This in turn helps people to explore the archive of relevant posts as well as reading the latest one.
So - all in all - it feels like UKCPS News has been a very worthwhile exercise to date in terms of the benefits it has brought to the promotion of coloured pencil.

I'm now stepping down from the role of blogmaster for a few reasons, two of which relate to a couple of major projects I've had in mind for a while.  One of which involves a lot of writing!  If you're interested, all will become clear in the next couple of months or so and you can find out more in due course in my usual home over at Making A Mark.

In the meantime, there's now a vacancy for a I hope it will only be a short gap before somebody is again writing about the next major UKCPS activity (which is Art Materials Live at the NEC - see the side column), what the local groups have been getting up to, who's won a prize in which exhibition, who's demonstrating where, who's written a relevant book etc etc.

There'll be a new email address in due course if you have any news.  In the meantime, if you want to highlight anything which is suitable for the blog please contact Liz Ridley -

Katherine Tyrrell UKCPS
UKCPS Blogmaster (now retired!)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Pencil Me In

Artwork by Karen Coulson UKCPS
Pencil Me In is an exhibition at the The Discovery Centre Gallery in Winchester which features work by UKCPS members Karen Coulson UKCPS, Elizabeth Diggins, Jess Knowles and James Brinsford.   Subjects range from the natural world to the world of fantasy with a common theme of wildlife and the countryside.

The exhibition is being held to coincide with Big Draw month, was opened by the Dean of Winchester at a private view earlier this month and remains open daily until the 6th November.
To coincide with Big Draw month this exhibition presents work by a group of artists who share an enthusiasm for drawing using graphite, coloured pencils, charcoal pencils and pastels. Subjects range from the natural world to the world of fantasy with a common theme of wildlife and the countryside.

Also on display will be a number of fascinating items highlighting the history of pencil making on loan from the Cumberland Pencil Museum in Keswick.

Drop in and Draw day - Wednesday 27 October

Drop in on Wednesday 27 October during half term and create your own colourful cut-out leaves, flowers, bugs, fruit, and birds to add to our Tree of Life.

Art materials for these ‘Drop in and Draw’ days have been kindly donated by Derwent.
The Discovery Centre Gallery is in Jewry Street, Winchester, SO23 8SB and the exhibition is open Monday - Friday 9am - 7pm, Saturdays 9am -5pm and Sundays 10am - 4pm. Admission is free.

There is a car park adjacent to the Discovery Centre which is a few minutes walk from Winchester rail station. Parking is free on a Sunday. Park and ride operates on weekdays.

Artwork by Jim Brinsford and Jess Knowles
South Hampshire Local Group

The South Hampshire Group of the UKCPS meets every 6-8 weeks at either Romsey or in Waterlooville near Portsmouth.  Contact Karen Coulson for further details.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Demonstrating coloured pencils

Malcolm Cudmore was demonstrating at the UKCPS Annual Exhibition last month - and was drawing this sheep for his demonstration.

Ewe lookin at me? by Malcolm Cudmore
Last week he was demonstrating again but this time at the Pencil Museum.  This included acting as the the tutor for a workshop on drawing Herdwick Sheep and Lakeland Beasts in Aquatone Sticks.

Demonstrating coloured pencils

Please let the blogmaster know of any future events you are participating in if you are a UKCPS member and demonstrate coloured pencil:
  • to Local Groups and/or
  • at UKCPS events and/or 
  • for UKCPS sponsors
Members can find details of UKCPS Member Workshops on the website. 

If you are a UKCPS member and wish to add your colored pencil course/workshop to this page, contact the webmaster with details.

Coloured pencil portrait now hangs in Windsor Castle

Rt Hon. Jean Chr├ętien, PC, CC, OM, QC
Prime Minister of Canada, - 1993-2003
Official Portrait - Order of Merit recipient
Colored pencil
16" x 12" (40cm x 30cm)
Bernard Poulin 2010
Bernard Poulin has recently contributed towards the advancement of coloured pencil.  His coloured pencil portrait of a former Prime Minister of Canada now hangs in the Print Room at Windsor Castle.

He writes
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, has appointed the Right Honourable Jean Chr├ętien, (Prime Minister of Canada - 1993-2003) to the most prestigious Order of Merit. As is the tradition, a portrait drawing of this newest Member to the Order will hang in the Print Room at Windsor Castle. Her Majesty having asked me to create this portrait, has recently acknowledged and accepted the portrait.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

UKCPS - West Yorkshire Local Group

Baking the Cake by Angela Hammond
The UKCPS West Yorkshire Local Group meets on the second Wednesday of each month from 7.00 to 9.00 pm at St James's Church in Baildon, north of Bradford.  This is the prominent white wooden building on the Otley Road (Clink link for map of location) at the bottom of Hollins hill, opposite the Half Way House pub, just off Kirklands Lane.

The next meeting will be next week - on Wednesday 13 October 2010.

Old Barn Door by Roy Lorrain-Smith
Roy Lorrain-Smith, who lives in Baildon, writes
There's a wide variety of skill-levels and interests, including portraits, animals, buildings, flowers and landscapes.  We have a lot of laughter and times of silent concentration.  Members in the group number between 6-10 and people come for the evening from Bradford, Guiseley and Leeds, as well as Baildon.

So far, we have mostly done out own thing. We also share tips with each other, including books, DVDs or videos we've liked and found helpful.
The Group have now arranged to have their first guest tutor on 10 November.   Roy continues...
Stephen Ormerod will be coming that evening to give us a demonstration of painting or drawing with coloured pencils.  You can see examples of his work on
More about Local Groups

If you have a UKCPS Local Group you'd like to see featured on the UKCPS News blog please contact the blogmaster

Information needed includes:
  • scope of the group in terms of current geographical coverage
  • venue, days and time of any regular meetings
  • details of any local activities you have arranged
  • something about your members 
If you'd like more information about the UKCPS Local Groups or want to set one up please visit the UKCPS Local Groups page on the website and/or contact Pauline Longley the Local Groups Co-ordinator

Monday, 4 October 2010

Notes from the UK Coloured Pencil Society AGM

UKCPS Annual General Meeting 1st October 2010
The Annual General Meeting of the UKCPS took place at 5pm on Friday 1st October.

This is an edited version of the Chair's note which summarises key points in advance of the publication of the full minutes to all UKCPS members.  It broadly follows the order of items on the agenda

Society Finances / Sponsorship / Membership

The current economic climate is generating pressures on two important sources of future UKCPS revenue.  It is proving increasingly difficult to gain sponsorship and also to retain members who are having to review their outgoings.  The latter particularly affects those who are retired and/or whose income is increasingly squeezed.  It's therefore essential to keep the Society's running costs under control.

However, the good news is that the UKCPS has accumulated a significant reserve which currently provides:
  • the equivalent of a year’s running costs which acts as a buffer against any financial difficulties or insolvency.
  • an opportunity to invest funds to take forward both the aims of the Society and to add value to members.
Annual Exhibition / Venues for future exhibitions

Changes have been agreed to how UKCPS exhibits in future.

In order to maintain maximum accessibility for members, the new plan is to hold the Annual Exhibition at a venue in London and a suitable venue elsewhere in the UK in alternate years.
  • The 10th Annual Exhibition in 2011 will be in London.
  • The venue for 2012 has not yet been decided.  Prestigious galleries outside London are being sought and any help identifying suitable locations is most welcome.
10th birthday celebrations / a new mixed media class

The occasion of the first Annual Exhibition by UKCPS in London will be used to promote the use of coloured pencils as a fine art medium within the capital and to figures in the fine art establishment.   Invites will be extended to the latter re attendance at the Private View and involvement with the judging.

The 10th exhibition will be a larger event.  It provides an opportunity for members to get involved in running workshops and demonstrating.  Members are also invited to make suggestions for new ways of how to use the Exhibition to communicate coloured pencils to a new audience

A new mixed media class has been proposed and agreed.  The AGM agreed that UKCPS should pilot a judged 50% mixed media class alongside the pure coloured pencil workls in order to extend the scope of the Society and to enable keen users of pastel pencils to participate.  This does not mean that the Society is losing its primary focus of being the Society specialising in pure coloured pencils.

UKCPS Committee 

There have been a number of changes in committee membership during 2009/10 which have resulted in fresh ideas coming to the fore.  The spreading of roles between more people is working well.  This has relieved pressures on existing committee members and enabled more attention to be given to the development of new ideas.

Currently there are urgent outstanding vacancies for:
  • PR and marketing
  • Co-ordination of the UKCPS annual attendance at Art Materials Live at the NEC
Anyone interested should contact the Chairman.  You don't need to be proposed - you can volunteer.

If better forum webware can be found (given the current way Yahoo displays artwork separate from threads) a volunteer is also needed to make this happen and then run the forum.

Forward notice was given that the following roles will be vacated in 2011
  • Chairman
  • Exhibition Director
  • Sponsorship
Communication with Membership

The Annual Committee Meeting enabled discussion of new ways of improving communication to members using a variety of channels.

In future, the plan is to:
  • Create a membership area on the web.  This will include a searchable set of resources based on articles in Talking Point and useful threads in the Forum
  • Develop a new approach to Local Groups to create a more geographically based approach to the provision of information and workshops at a local level.
  • Develop an interim newsletter for members who do not use the web to provide top tips from the Forum inbetween editions of Talking Point
Timing of Annual Committee Meeting / AGM

It has been customary to hold the Annual Committee Meeting on the same day as and just before the AGM.  It was agreed that this is not working.

Next year a revised timetable will create more opportunity to develop ideas for consideration by members in advance of the AGM

It was also noted that the change of day on which the AGM was held had also prompted many members to ask that the UKCPS AGM returns to being held at a weekend so more members can attend. 

Exhibition Awards

Pat Heffer presents the Derwent Award to Peter Woof
The Exhibition Director distributed the following awards to those prizewinners able to attend.
  • Caran d'Ache Award for Best Picture in Show (£400) ‘Loire Valley Harvest’ by Jane Pirie (Mrs Thorogood)
  • UKCPS Award for ‘Reserve Best in Show’ (£200) ‘Daydreaming Tiger’ by Sue Clinker UKCPS 
  • The President's Award (£100) ‘Challenging Stereotypes’ by Kate Clarke UKCPS 
  • The Peter Weatherill Award for Best Landscape (£75) ‘Surrey Spring Elstead Moat Pond’ by Jean Canter UKCPS
  • The Staedtler Award (£50) ‘Strawberries’ by Irina Garmashova-Cawton
  • The Faber Castell Award (Large box of Polychromos Pencils) ‘Ross’ by Brian Ainsworth
  • The Derwent Award (£100 of art supplies from Derwent catalogue) ‘Japanese Still Life’ by Peter Woof UKCPS Silver
  • The Lyra Award (Large Box of Pencils) Plum & Blossom 'Marjories Seedling' by Jane Pirie (Mrs Thorogood)
  • The Ann Swan Award for Botanical Art (copy of her new book)  'Pear 'Conference' by Jane Pirie (Mrs Thorogood)
Prizes were also awarded to those Highly Commended.

Following the close of the meeting, an enjoyable social gathering was held.

After that, volunteers (and partners) dismantled the exhibition and packed up artwork for despatch back to members. 

NOTE:  Distribution of artwork:  “The postman” is away next week on a course so there will be a short delay before pictures are returned to artists.

Pauline Longley, Suzie Herbert and Malcolm Cudmore pack up the exhibition
assisted by members' partners

Friday, 1 October 2010

UKCPS Annual Exhibition 2010 - Thanks to......

Today is the last day of the 9th Annual Exhibition at Stamford and it's customary at this stage to thank everybody who participated.  The photos included in this post are of people who helped with the exhibition.

I can't do better than start in exactly the same way as last year.

Thanks to the artists!

First and foremost, thanks are due of course to everyone who entered a picture for the Exhibition - both UKCPS members and non-members. It goes without saying that there is no annual exhibition without all of you!

Thanks to the UKCPS Exhibition Team

As always Pat Heffer UKCPS Exhibition Director is very committed to making the Annual Exhibition a success and is responsible for the Exhibition as a whole from notifications to members to making sure that all the pictures get back to the right people.   It's a huge job and one which is ably supported by a very large group of members (and some of their "significant others") at various stages!

Pat Heffer, Exhibition Director

A key person this year was Judith Waugh who was the local contact for this exhibition in Stamford.

This year Pat organised the Exhibition and the 'hang' despite the very significant handicap of having recently had an accident which left her with a broken wrist and ribs.  This meant routine communication via keyboard and lifting and holding pictures were not adviseable this year.  However a way round was found!

The happy team of helpers at the exhibition were invaluable in making sure that all the pictures were unwrapped, equipped with mirror plates and hung before the Private View in the evening.

The great unwrapping:  This is what the unwrapping looks like for those who have not seen it before - it makes for quite a pile!  All this will be brought back to Stamford today and matched up with any pictures which remain unsold so that they  can all be returned to their artists.

After the pictures have been unpacked!
Equipped to hang:  After the unpacking comes the check to make sure a mirror plate had been fixed.  As this was a new requirement this year Derek Waugh (Judith's husband), Malcolm Cudmore and Pauline's partner Paul were kept very busy fitting and refitting mirror plates for those that arrived without using a lot of muscle and, in some cases, ingenuity to get every picture ready to hang.

Pauline Longley watching the fixing of the mirror plates

Designing the Exhibition:  Pat used the tried and tested method of grouping the exhibits in loose categories and laying out exhibits on the floor to get a pleasing balance and mix of styles. This year  Pauline Longley and Beverley Courtney kindly moved the pictures around until Pat, severely hampered by her broken wrist and ribs, was satisfied.
Hanging on the floor - BEFORE
The "Hang":  Next comes getting the pictures off the wall and onto the wall.  Two "three man" teams of hangers went to work (apologies as I don't have your names) to get the approved format of pics onto the wall.  As a bit of competition crept in, they made short work of the hanging.  The result was an exhibition hung in good time and a very pleasing display with each picture having the chance to speak for itself alongside other entries.

Hanging on the very same wall AFTER
Part of the UKCPS Annual Exhibition 2010
Once the exhibition is up the online team take over the hang on the website and blog! UKCPS webmaster Liz Ridley worked really fast to produce the online exhibition on the UKCPS website and to get all the pictures up on the website in the correct place against each award.

The picture juggling issue is always a major logistical effort since we never know who's won what until the Private View and it's impossible to create web pages or draft blog posts in advance.  Speaking personally, I'm extremely grateful to Liz for the extra work she did this year getting all the images formatted and sized right for loading onto the Internet on both the website and blog.

It should be noted this is one area where UKCPS is still in advance of most national art societies in terms of letting people see the work exhibited in the show online at the same time as the exhibition is on display.

The Private View in the evening was well organised and well attended - see UKPCS Annual Exhibition 2010: Private View

Thanks to the Demonstrators

After the Hang and the Private View comes the demonstrations by members of UKCPS.  See Demonstrators at the UKCPS Annual Exhibition for names.  Demonstrations were run virtually throughout the exhibition which is a major achievement.  They showed interested members of the public some of the techniques that resulted in such an amazing and diverse range of works had been created.

Day 1: Jo Goudie and Suzie Herbert demonstating, Malcolm Cudmore is behind his easel!
If you fancy demonstrating in November, the UKCPS will be Art Materials Live at the NEC and volunteers are welcome - see TP for details.

The Society extends its grateful thanks to all those member volunteers that helped so cheerfully.

Thanks also to....

The people without whom UKCPS could not have an Annual Exhibition at the Stamford Arts Centre or given awards to the top artwork this year.

Reminder:  Don't forget the UKCPS AGM starts today at 5pm at the Stamford Arts Centre
Stamford Arts Centre


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