The moment I learned that the acceptance list for the 21st CPSA International Exhibitionwas posted this week, I clicked the link and stopped breathing. I scanned down the alphabetical list, A…C…F…H…Ho…there it is, Howard, Denise! I gasped and exhaled with a “YES!”
This is my third acceptance into the show, so I’ve now attained “signature” status, meaning that I can tack “CPSA” after my name on anything art-related. At the convention in August, I’ll get to walk across the stage and receive a certificate that makes it official.
This has been one of my goals since I joined the Colored Pencil Society of America in 2010. The first year I entered, I had just joined so I didn’t really understand the level of competition, so silly me was disappointed when my entry that year wasn’t accepted. Then I saw the show, and was blown away. These are some of the best artists in the world who work primarily in colored pencil. People who have written definitive books on colored pencil technique. People who have had solo shows in Paris. People who make their living from their art. I then understood that i was going to have to step things up not just a notch, but several notches. I heard several stories from folks who tried unsuccessfully for several years to get in. Did I have it in me? I have a certain competitive streak, but this was about more than competition, this was about having a goal: to improve my skills and create meaningful-enough artwork to someday get into this show. And then beyond that, to earn signature status. How long would it take?
Now I’m feeling very fortunate, because the next three years in a row, I’ve had artwork accepted into the show! Along the way, I’ve learned a lot and I’ve become friends with some of those world-class artists.
So what’s next on my list of art goals? Winning an award in this show! I wonder how long that will take?