Shawn Falchetti, CPSA


The Artwork of Shawn Falchetti
Posts in Shows & Events
CPSA 22nd Annual International Exhibition
Alrene Icarus Demo
Alrene Icarus Demo
Silent Auction
Silent Auction

Last week I hopped on a plane and flew to Daytona Beach, Florida.  A short taxi ride from the airport deposited me at the Daytona Beach Resort, which was home to the Colored Pencil Society of America's 22nd Annual International Exhibition convention. Thursday afternoon: My first stop was the CPSA hospitality suite.  There you sign in, pick up your name tag and a bag of art swag packed with goodies.  The room has displays by the hosting chapter, as well as a preview of all the raffle prizes that will be given out Thursday night.  Often, artists are sitting at tables giving impromptu demos, and this was true when I arrived:  Arlene Steinberg was showing how to use the Icarus board to create vibrant colors.  This was timely, since on Friday night her piece in the show (which was drawn on an Icarus board) would win a high award: Thursday evening: Thursday is a fun night at the convention.  For starters, each show entry (regardless of whether it made it into the show) is projected and the title and artist's name are read.  If you didn't make it into the show this year, it's great to see your piece on the big screen.  It's also fun to play along and pick out your favorites, and which you think won awards.  While this is going on, door prizes are also given out (you get a ticket as you enter the room), and there usually are enough that everyone gets something.  There are also larger prizes given from a separate raffle.  If this isn't enough excitement, there's also the Silent Auction!  I was bidding furiously on Holly Siniscal's piece, and was outbid in the end by $5. Friday evening: The awards banquet starts with a cash bar social hour, where everyone mingles and chats.  I found myself talking with one of this year's workshop presenters, Amy Lindenberger, who was really interesting and fun to talk with.  The dinner has a bit of formality with our president recognizing sponsors, announcing board changes, then awarding Signature status and Merit awards to members who have been accepted in to the national show multiple times.  A bit about Signature Status:

  • Acceptance into the CPSA Annual International show 3 times earns you Signature status, and you can add the letters "CPSA" after your name
  • 5 acceptances earns the 5 Year Merit Award
  • 10, 15, and 20 acceptances earn the 10, 15, and 20 Year Merit Awards
  • Since this year's show was the 22nd Annual, there are currently no merit awards higher than 20 Year
  • CPSA also has a separate annual show for mixed media, and it has its own signature status and initials, "CPX"

It's very hard to get accepted in the Annual International show once, so seeing people who have done it 15 times is amazing!  You can see the entire list here: After all the signature and merit awards are done, we move on to the awards presentation, which culminates in Best of Show.  Here's how the awards process works:

  • If you are accepted into the show, you will ship your piece prior to the show.  The juror will view all of the works and choose the awards.  If you are an award winner, you will receive a phone call telling you so, but with a few instructions:
    • You have to keep it a secret!
    • You aren't told which award you've won; you need to wait until it is announced a the banquet to find out

So, when the moment comes at the banquet for the awards, they simply say "all the award winners know who they are; come up and have a seat in these chairs".  I happened to be sitting at a particularly lucky table, because three people got up (John Smolko, Jeff George, and me).  At this point everyone nervously takes his or her seats, looks around to see who else is there (the competition!) and focus on the presenter.  The awards are presented in reverse order, working their way up towards the big winner.  A bit about the award tiers, which are a little confusing:

  • There are 15 total awards, going from lowest to highest:
    • 5 awards for Excellence ($400 each)
    • 3 awards for Outstanding Recognition ($600 each)
    • 3 awards for Outstanding Achievement ($800 each)
    • 1 Prismacolor Award for Exceptional Merit ($1000)
    • 1 Dixon Ticonderoga Award for Exceptional Merit ($1000)
    • 1 CPSA District Chapters Award for Exceptional Achievement ($2000)
    • 1 CPSA Best of Show and CIPPY Award ($5000)
That's not the moon! It's a rocket launched from Cape Canaveral.

That's not the moon! It's a rocket launched from Cape Canaveral.

Trade Show

Trade Show


As they begin calling the names, it's a bit like a Survivor episode, with people getting up and leaving the ever dwindling group.  Your heart starts racing as the group gets smaller.  There were only 6 people left when my name was called, and I received one of the three awards for Outstanding Achievement. Here's the list of winners: . After the banquet is done, usually there's a bit of an after party at the hotel bar.  This particular night there was something special happening at 11:23 pm, though:  an Atlas V rocket from launching from Cape Canaveral, and the launch was visible from the beach.  Several of us headed out with only the light of our cellphones guiding us, and we saw the rocket rise like an orange flare, lighting up clouds as it passed through them: Saturday morning: Saturday is the trade show, which is great for shopping.  Vendors set up a camp, answer questions about their product, and sell their goods usually with a discount.  My treat was a tin of Caran d'Ache graphite pencils, and some cool paper called "Stipple paper", which has a bumpy texture that will be fun to experiment with. Saturday afternoon: CPSA provided a bus to shuttle us to the Ormond Memorial Art Museum.  The museum is a great, modern space with multiple rooms displaying the show.  It quickly becomes packed during the artist's reception, and soon it is a sea of people.  The show is hung nicely; some rooms have a fair amount of natural light, while others have picture lights.  I find my piece, "Adrift", in a corner adjacent to the best of show piece, "Stone Faced".  "Stone Faced" is a really brilliant work, and looks fantastic in person.  Multiple times over the course of the reception I see people looking at the piece with their eyes, then looking at it on their camera phone and seeing the portrait emerge from the pattern of colored stones.  The artist who drew it, Scott Krohn, received his 5 year Merit Award this year, but this  was his first show award: This is a good place to add my thoughts about the award winners:

  • If you look at the past 5 years, the CIPPY awards went to:  Scott Krohn "Stone Kissed", Holly Siniscal "Starkissed", Liz Guzynski "September Hydrangeas” , CJ Worlein "The Sisters” , Shinji Harada “Grapes in Basket”, and Jeff George "Life and Death"
  • I mentally assign two ratings when looking at each piece:  one for Technical Excellence (mastery of color pencil medium) and one for Conceptual Excellence (concept, composition, color usage).  I will say that, in general, Technical Excellence seems to get works an award, but Conceptual Excellence is what elevates pieces.  Think about Jeff George's "Life and Death" (high technical and conceptual excellence) and Scott Krohn's "Stone Kissed", for example.  Having seen all of the pieces of the show, photorealism alone is not sufficient.
  • As many have pointed out, there is a different juror each year.  Arlene Steinberg has twice now had pieces not accepted into the show one year, to be accepted the following year and even win an award.  Different jurors have different perceptions, so I recommend trying not to get too hung up on why a piece did or didn't win an award.

While I was wandering around the reception, I bumped into someone who knew my work, but I hadn't met in person before.  She commented that she assumed I was a woman, and I mentioned that happens to me often because "Shawn" is a unisex name (I actually dated a "Shawn" once - we joked that we would have identical names if we got married).  Interestingly, she said it was because my work was about feeling, and sensitivity.  I really appreciated her comments; often people tell me my piece looks like a photo, and although it's a technical compliment, I feel like I've failed a bit when that's the only takeaway. Lastly, here's a short video clip of the artist's reception, to give a bit of flavor.  My Facebook page has many pictures from the reception, including many of the artists in front of their award winning pieces, so be sure to check it out for some additional pics.

Endless Mountains Council of the Arts Show

This Sunday July 6th, 2 pm - 4 pm, is the artist's reception for "The Art of Colored Pencil" group show at the Endless Mountains Council of the Arts. Show runsJuly 6th -July 27th, 2014.

If you missed the Marquis Art and Frame group show earlier this year, this is an opportunity to see the same group of works and artists.  My two pieces in the show are "Sunrise" and "The Red Room Revisited".  Hope to see you there!

9"H x 12"W colored pencil on Canson Mi-Teintes Touch paper, 2012
9"H x 12"W colored pencil on Canson Mi-Teintes Touch paper, 2012
15"H x11"W colored pencil on Artspectrum Colourfix paper, 2011
15"H x11"W colored pencil on Artspectrum Colourfix paper, 2011
Marquis Art and Frame Show Update
There was a great turn out Friday night at the Marquis Art and Frame group show artist's reception.  The show was hung in two rooms in the 2nd floor gallery of Marquis Art and Frame, and my work appeared in the second room.  It was great to see some old friends, and meet some new.  Here's a few pics from the reception:
Marquis Art and Frame Group Show

Today I dropped off my artwork for this Friday's group show, "The Art of Colored Pencil" at Marquis Art and Frame.  The show includes colored pencil artwork from Nina Davidowitz, Edy Kishbaugh, Barbara Baker, Tammy Greear, Mary Lou Steinberg, Sabine Thomas, Charles "Woody" Woodworth, Mary Beth Lesko, Linda Keck, Carol Colestock, Georgiana Cray Bart, Tom Stapleton, and myself.  My two pieces are "Sunrise" and "The Red Room, Revisited".  Show info is:

Artist's Reception

Friday, November 15, 2013, 5-8 pm

122 S Main St Wilkes-Barre

Show runs Nov 15, 2013 - Jan 4, 2014


The Red Room, Revisited


Today I finished framing "The Red Room, Revisted" and "Sunrise", two pieces which will be hanging in the November group show at Marquis Art and Frame.  Usually  I use white or light gray mats, but for these I went with dark mats - black for "The Red Room, Revisted" and a dark, cool gray (if it were a Prismacolor pencil I'd say Cool Gray 90%) for "Sunrise".  Both pieces will be for sale in the show. IMG_2551

CPSA Silent Auction

Each year the CPSA holds a silent auction during convention week at the Annual International Exhibition.  If you get a chance to go, be sure to attend Thursday night of convention week.  It's a fun night where you get to see all of the entries, get some great door prizes, and bid on the auction.  The auction quickly escalates into a frenzy of last minute bids as everyone tries to get his favorite piece. I was one of the invited artists this year to contribute a piece to the silent auction.  Auction pieces have a  size limitation of 11" x 14" matted so that everyone can take their piece home in a suitcase; also, because the auction is called "Small Works of Great Magnitude".

My piece for this year's auction is titled "Kiersten", and was completed with Prismacolor Premier, Caran d'ache Luminance, and Lyra colored pencils on Light Blue Canson Mi-Teintes Touch paper.  I really love the color of the Mi-Teintes Touch paper, and matted the piece with 3/4" of bare paper.  If you like it, you can bid on it on the CPSA show Thursday night, 8/1.

Kiersten CPSA Auction

Sue Obaza - Visions and Dreams

Today I stopped by Something Special in Kingston for Susan Obaza's artist's reception, "Visions and Dreams".  It was great to see Sue again - she's been one of my favorite colored pencil artists since I first saw her work at a CPSA DC115 show in 2003.  Her work has appeared in North Light Books Strokes of Genius 2, and she has a mastery for making the texture of Canson Mi-Teintes paper sing with colored pencil.  She also organized and led our local life drawing group, which Kiersten and I used to regularly attend. Sue's show, "Vision and Dreams" is very original and quite cool.  Each of her pieces is a mix of elements - colored pencil drawing on paper, fabric collage, stained glass and mirrors - each framed in ornate mirror frames.  Sue told me she is a hippie at heart, and was going for a hippie vibe.  Some of the pieces reminded me a bit of Tarot cards with their surreal figures and linear elements from the stained glass channels, while others were surreal landscapes.

Her show runs throughout the month at Something Special.  Be sure to check it out!



Wilkes-Barre Fine Arts Fiesta

Every year in May we have a local art fair and competition called the Fine Arts Fiesta, which is a multi day event on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre.  There are bands, performing arts, vendors and food stands, adult and student juried shows, and plenty of people walking around and enjoying it all.  The past few years I've been submitting works for the adult juried show.  You really can't beat it, since the entry fee is only $9 for the first work, and $6 for subsequent, and they jury the works usually the day after they are dropped off (you don't submit slides - they jury the originals).  You can sell your work, or have it NFS.  At the end of the fiesta, you just pick it up - either right off the wall of the art tent (with a member of the art league there to remove it and verify that you're you), or at the drop off location.  There's the usual divisions for medium - painting, photography, etc.  There is not a specific colored pencil division, but instead I'm part of the Graphics category, which includes pencil, pen & ink and other graphics.  Awards include monetary prizes or gift certificates. This year I submitted "Hopes and Dreams", which is the drawing I did of Kiersten when she was 7 months pregnant (our daughter, Emma, is now 11 weeks old!).  I received a call from Gary at the Fine Arts Fiesta to inform me that my entry had won 1st place in it's category, Graphics.  The first place winners of all the categories are then judged, and a best of show is selected.  "Hopes and Dreams" won Best of Show!  The local newspaper, The Times Leader, called me, and did a short interview.  They're writing a piece on the Fine Arts Fiesta that will appear a week before the show, and a picture of my artwork with a quote will probably appear in the article.  This is my third Best of Show award from the Fine Arts Fiesta. The other two were for "Opaline Dreams" and "Bend", and I received 1st place awards for "Daydreams" and "Cascade" in previous years.

The show dates are:

The 57th Annual Fine Arts Fiesta on May 17, 18, 19, 20 2012, Public Square, Wilkes-Barre, PA. Fiesta Hours: May 17, 18, 19: 10 a.m.-8 p.m., May 20: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.  The awards ceremony is Thursday, May 17th @ 6:30 pm.

For those who are Facebook friends, you've seen a steady stream of Emma pictures; I'll include one of my favorite recent ones for those who aren't on Facebook:

CPSA 19th Annual Exhibition

"Daydreams" has been accepted into the CPSA 19th Annual International Exhibition.  This year the exhibition will be hosted at the Charles W. Eisemann Center, 2351 Performance Drive, Richardson, Texas.  Show dates are June 29 - July 31, with the artist's reception on July 16th. This week I also received notification that "Daydreams" was juried into the 2010 Wilkes-Barre Fine Arts Fiesta, and won first place in its category, Graphics.  The fiesta dates are May 19th - May 22nd.

Workshop Prep

This Saturday I will be giving a workshop for CPSA DC115 titled "Evoking Mood with Neocolors and Colored Pencil", and I've got an area in my studio filled up with all my prep materials.  Like laying out pieces prior to a show, it's always fun to see everything all at once, together.  Here's a few snapshots:

CPSA 18th Annual International Exhibition

Last week we attended the CPSA 18th Annual International Exhibition at the Art Museum of Los Gatos, California.  This was my fourth acceptance into the annual show, but my first time attending the convention earlier in the week so that I could see the entrant's slide show and participate in the silent auction.  I was really impressed by the quality of all the entries, and it was also very interesting to see the second piece submitted for artists who were accepted (you can submit two, but if accepted, only 1 is chosen).  Having not been to the gallery yet at the time of the slide show, it was also fun to try and guess which of the two pieces were accepted, for artists that I knew were in the show.  The slide show is presented in the much the same way that the awards are during the banquet; a reader projects the work on a screen, reads the title, artist's name, and artist's location.  I think it's great that everyone who submits gets to have their work viewed and recognized. There are breaks throughout the slide viewing to give away door prizes.  Just about everyone wins a prize (I won a pad of watercolor paper).  Separately, there are raffle tickets you can buy for the bigger prizes, and those were awesome - complete colored pencil sets from Caran D'Ache, Prismacolor, Neocolor; Icarus boards, year's subscriptions to the Artist's Magazine.  Also, the hospitality suite provided a great bag of freebies, including current issues of the Artist's Magazine, Derwent pencil tins, Canson sketchbooks, Stonehenge pads, and the samples of the new Lyra colorstripe pencils. The silent auction also was a blast, with an E-bay like countdown and flurry of final bidding.  My piece went to Shelly Minnis, who also bought my other silent auction piece two years ago.  The big bucks went for Elizabeth Patterson's piece, which I believe set a new record at about $700.

The awards banquet had a great slide show and talk by Vera about the 20th year anniversary of the CPSA.  For the awards, the top prize went to Shinji Harada's photoreal "Grapes in a Basket".

The artist's reception on Saturday was fun.  We had a bus shuttle us the 15 miles or so to the gallery, and it was a perfect, warm, sunny day for it.  The gallery space was somewhat small, and divided into three rooms, two at the entrance, and one on the bottom floor.  I actually prefer the smaller spaces, and the energy that comes from having everyone packed into them.  It's fun to hear all of the conversations about the different works swirling around you.  My piece was on the top floor in the left-hand room, and had a nice position in the center of the wall directly across where you first enter the room.

Here are a few pictures from the show:

Go West, young man

Today the list of accepted artists for the CPSA 18th Annual International Exhibition was published on the CPSA website, and my submission, Opaline Dreams, made the list.  Woo hoo!  The exhibit runs July 22nd to August 20th at The Art Museum of Los Gatos, California, with the artist's reception on Saturday, July 31st. Also - some more good news from the weekend - Opaline Dreams was juried into the local 2010 Wilkes-Barre Fine Arts Fiesta, and won first place in its category (Graphics), and took Best of Show (the show included categories for Painting, Sculpture, Photography, Graphics, Crafts, and Watercolor).  The Fiesta runs May 20 - 23.

Busy as a Bee

April may bring showers, paving the way for May flowers, but it also is crunch time to meet a series of annual art deadlines.  These past two weeks have been a flurry of activity.  I just finished my CPSA Silent Auction piece, Citrine Dreams, and I'm working on matting it now.  Two weeks ago I had giclee proofs printed of Bend and Crescendo, burned a CD, wrote an artist's statement, and sent it off in the mail to Vera Curnow; this is the 20th anniversary of the Colored Pencil Society of America, and to commemorate, CPSA is creating a book.  All signature members were invited to submit two pieces for the book.  If all goes well, it will be available during convention week in Santa Clara.  Today was the drop off for the Wilkes-Barre Fine Arts Fiesta, an annual local juried art show, and I submitted Opaline Dreams.  Coming up on May are two submission deadlines which I took care of this weekend also:  The Artist's Magazine 27th Annual Art Competition (May 3) and the book Strokes of Genius 3: The Best of Drawing, Fresh Perspectives (May 1).  Last year I was a finalist in the Artist's Magazine competition, with Crescendo, and my name appeared in the December issue.  This year I submitted Opaline Dreams.  For Strokes of Genius, I went all out (did I mention that I really want to get into this book?), and submitted Bend, Crescendo, Cascade, Opaline Dreams, and Wrapped.  Wrapped was an unusual choice with that grouping, but it looks a little more like something drawn than painted, so I included it in case my other work is too painting-like for the book's requirements. Phew!  Just one more project to do now, and it's a very cool one.  Last year I did two shows at Paper Kite Gallery.  One was the Free Art Show, and those who donated pieces were invited to participate in a July 2010 show.  The July show will be a type of tribute show;  one of the gallery owners had inherited many drawings when his mother passed away a few years ago.  Artists participating in the July show were allowed to take one of the drawings and use it as an inspiration or foundation for their piece.  Many of the drawings were charcoal life drawings, and the figurative works appealed to me.  I'm really looking forward to it - it's like a design challenge you would get in art school; here are the parameters, now, to be true to the original concept of the artist while creating a work that is also uniquely my own.

Well, enough writing for now, time to get back to work!

Paper Kite Gallery Reception

Tonight we stopped by the Paper Kite Gallery for the opening reception of their second anniversary free art show.  There were over 80 pieces donated from a diverse group of artists, and it was fascinating to see all of the different types of work represented.  Those who attended can complete cards and return on Sunday to choose a piece for free, which they'll be able to take home after the show concludes in a few weeks.  Here's a few pics from the reception:

IMG_1342 IMG_1341