Colored Pencil Society Seeks To Elevate Status Of The Art | WABE 90.1 FM

Colored Pencil Society Seeks To Elevate Status Of The Art

Aug 19, 2015

The Colored Pencil Society of America’s 23rd annual International Exhibition features 118 colored pencil pieces. This is a snippet of Kendra Ferreira’s “Discovery.”
Credit Kendra Ferreira

Colored pencils are serious business, or so says the 1,600 members of the Colored Pencil Society of America, which is wrapping up its 23rd annual International Exhibition at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art this Sunday. There are 118 colored pencil images on view, all created by the members of the society.

The society has 23 district chapters in the United States, but they had several international submissions to the exhibit this year.

“Our purpose is to promote colored pencil as a fine art medium,” the president of the Colored Pencil Society, Melissa Miller Nece, said in a phone interview. “It’s a medium that people thought was for kids, [or thought that] it’s not very permanent compared to oil paint.”

Artist Jeff George won the Colored Pencil Society’s “Best in Show” prize this year at the International Exhibit for his piece “What So Proudly We Hailed.” Look closely!
Credit Jeff George

One thing the Colored Pencil Society did was come up with a lightfast meter for colored pencils because, depending on the pencil, colored pencil compositions fade over time. Through their system, they rate brands of colored pencil based on the level of degradation of the image over time. The only 100 percent lightfast set includes 76 colors for $420.

“We fall in love with the medium because it is so versatile, so precise for many things but also you can explode in methods,” said Nece.

Though pencils are rigidly defined for the International Exhibit, which has a “Best in Show” component, colored pencil artists used solvents with colored pencils to make them like paint or use water color pencils as well.  

When asked if she has a favorite color, she said, “They all have their purposes.”