Welcome to the Blog Of CPSA DC210 San Jose

CPSA District Chapter 210, San Jose, CA

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The torch is passed

Denise here, with my final blog posting as president of CPSA District Chapter 210.  I've been president for five years, and what a journey it has been!  At the time I joined, only six and a half years ago (2010), our chapter was hosting the national CPSA convention (good) but was going through a dramatic decline in membership (bad).  When I became president in 2011, we had fewer than 20 members and a couple of meetings were attended by only four members.  I had never led an organization before and lost quite a bit of sleep over this.  How could I revive the chapter?  With few people left to help, I found myself also doing the jobs of webmaster, blogger, show organizer, marketer and presenter.

Things began to turn around when Maryann Kot moved to Livermore from Arizona and started teaching colored pencil classes at the Bothwell Arts Center.  She talked up the CPSA to her students who were looking for more colored pencil information and fellowship, and they began joining and participating.  Education was the key:  people wanted to know more, more, more about colored pencil.  I revived the tradition of an annual show and continued organizing our annual booth at the Livermore ArtWalk; these got us great exposure in communities around the bay area, not only in Livermore but also San Mateo, Half Moon Bay and Los Altos.  I gave presentations about colored pencil as a fine art medium to many art clubs in the area, and collected advice and suggestions from members of these other clubs--community in action.  Wherever I exhibited my own work, I talked up colored pencil and the CPSA.

"Education, Exposure, Community" was the mantra that I learned from former CPSA national president Cindy Haase, which I realized along the way was exactly what was working. In three years our membership doubled in size, which caught the attention of the national board.  I was asked to lead the District Chapters Forum at the 2015 national convention; I wasn't sure I had any idea how to do such a thing, but I accepted the challenge and to my surprise and relief I received great reviews from my fellow chapter presidents.  This led to my being asked to lead it again in 2016.

And then to my surprise, I was offered a position on the national board, as Marketing Director. I've never held a marketing position in my life, but I soon realized their logic: that all the things I've done to revive our chapter are...marketing!  What an opportunity!  I never imagined when I joined CPSA in 2010 that I would ever become a chapter president, let alone a national board member helping to promote over 1700 fellow colored pencil artists in several countries.

My new role dictates that I must step down as chapter president.  And that's okay!  As I write this, DC 210 has almost 45 members, several established annual events, members who are happy to volunteer to help, and a healthy treasury balance.  And two members--Paula Greer and Peggy Milovina--are stepping up with their many combined years of organizational and administrative experience, their easygoing personalities, their intelligence and their enthusiasm for colored pencil and our members, to take over the roles of chapter President and Vice-President, respectively.  I'm comfortable stepping down at this moment, knowing that the chapter is healthy and in good hands!

I'll still be an active, participating member of DC 210, I just won't be instigating things, leading meetings or sending mass emails to our members anymore.  It's been quite a journey, and I'm very grateful for all the people who have helped me as president and us as a chapter get to this moment.  Thank you, and HAPPY DRAWING!

Denise J. Howard, CPSA, CPX

Monday, September 12, 2016

Explorations in Colored Pencil V winners

Our annual show, "Explorations in Colored Pencil V" is currently on display in the Coastal Arts League Gallery in downtown Half Moon Bay, CA!


It includes 32 artworks by 14 artists, and it looks terrific.  The Coastal Arts League folks love it, too.  In fact they still talk about our show there in 2013!  If you get a chance to go see it, it's definitely worth a trip "over the hill" to Half Moon Bay, and then you have a great excuse to visit the beach and have lunch or dinner at one of the great restaurants and do a little window shopping.  Our show will be up through September 24.

The Half Moon Bay Review ran a nice article about it, complete with photo!  (Click on the image below to go to the newspaper's article on their website.)


On Saturday afternoon, September 10, Denise Howard presented "Speeding Up Colored Pencil" in the gallery, free to the public and anyone interested in learning a few ways to accelerate this traditionally slow medium.  We had a good turnout, and a photographer even came to take photos for new promotional materials for the gallery.

A little later on Saturday we had the reception and awards ceremony.  Louise Deutsch arranged for quite a nice array of refreshments to be brought in by both herself and several of our members.  Attendance was a little lighter than expected, probably due to the exceptionally backed-up traffic on the routes into town, particularly Hwy 92.  Our awards judge, Kendra Davis, arrived and said the way she chose the award winners was by specifically not looking at titles or names, she instead chooses based on "What would I most like to have hanging on my own wall?" She announced the following awards:

1st Place and $100: Lost in Time by J.Y. Chang

2nd Place and $50: Happy by Denise Howard

3rd Place and $25: The Persistence of Paint by Denise Howard

Honorable Mention: Terrestrial Orchid Ludisia discolor by Nancy Elizabeth Saltsman

Congratulations to the winners, and a big "Thank you!" to the volunteers who made it all possible!  We're very grateful to the Coastal Arts League for allowing us to use their wonderful space for a whole month and being very helpful, and to Kendra Davis for her time and effort in choosing the award winners. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Highlights of August 2016 meeting

 We had a lot of stuff to talk about!


  • Denise Howard and Ranjini Venkatachari, both won $800 Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the CPSA International Exhibition (and Denise’s sold at the show) 
  • Jackie Chang for five-year Merit Award at CPSA International Exhibition
  • Mike Purdy for acceptance into Lily Tomlin show at FE Gallery in Sacramento
  • Geoff Sargeant for $3500 Best Pastel, Charcoal, Pencil or Ink at St. Kevins Catholic College show in Melbourne, Australia (and the school purchased his drawing)
  • Paula Greer for Best of Class in Alameda county fair
  • Tracey Chaykin and Denise Howard for Award of Merit in state fair show
  • Denise Howard for her new Jump Start kit from Ann Kullberg
  • Andrea Myers for her article in the June Ann Kullberg’s COLOR magazine
  • Ranjini Venkatachari for finalist in All Media competition in The Artist’s Magazine

 Old Business

Laurie Miille created a sample redesign of our chapter brochure which looks GREAT!

We had some shuffling on the chapter board since the last meeting, which started with Membership Director Maryann Kot moving to the Chicago area:
  • Maria Lemery replaced Maryann Kot as Membership Director 
  • Paula Greer replaced Maria Lemery as Vice President
  • Laurie Miille has replaced Jackie Chang as Treasurer 
  • Andrea Myers is our new Webmaster (in addition to Hospitality Coordinator)
We are ramping up to the opening of our chapter show, “Explorations in Colored Pencil V” at the Coastal Arts League Gallery in Half Moon Bay!   The entries are all in and we will have 29 artworks by 13 artists (2 of them non-members).  We will be hanging the show on August 27 and the show will run August 28 - September 24.  The reception and awards announcements will be on Saturday, September 10 from 5:00 - 7:00 PM. 

Earlier that day at 2:00 Denise Howard will give a presentation/demo in the gallery, "Speeding Up Colored Pencil", free and open to the public.

Paula Greer is organizing our booth for the Livermore ArtWalk on Saturday, October 8, 11 AM - 5 PM.

Our next two-day workshop will be Amy Lindenberger!  She will be here April 15-16, 2017 and will teach "Using Colored Pencil on Black Surfaces" one day and "Combining Watercolor Pencil with Colored Pencil" the other day.  Although you might think "Oh, I'm not interested in black paper or watercolor pencils", you owe it to yourself to learn about all these "tools" because you never know when a subject or idea will come up that would be just perfect for one of them!  We want to start composing advertising and the registration form soon; we just need a volunteer to raise his/her hand.

New Business

Paula Greer, Maria Lemery and Janki Chokshi are taking on the task of updating our chapter by-laws.  Once the document is ready, we'll vote on it via a SurveyMonkey poll so that everyone (not just those in attendance at a meeting) can vote.


Laurie Miille is taking over Maryann Kot's drawing classes at the Bothwell Arts Center.

Ranjini Venkatachari is starting "Colored Pencil Possibilities" ongoing classes at the Marketplace in San Ramon.

Mike Purdy has generously donated his Icarus board to our chapter!  The tentative plan is for it to be available for temporary checkout (like a library book) from Laurie Miille at the Bothwell Arts Center starting right now, and then at the November meeting we will raffle it off.  It’s in like-new condition, only used a couple of times; Mike said he’s found that heat just isn’t his thing so it’s been taking up space in his closet.  Thank you, Mike!

We raffled two big convention-goodie bags that included things like an electric pencil sharpener, a set of 24 watercolor pencils, a set of graphite pencils, drawing pads, erasers, a small bottle of Gamsol, an artist apron, and much more.  The lucky winners were Enri Leon and Mary Adamson.


Our scheduled presenter, Roger Arno, had to cancel due to illness.  So instead, Paula Greer and I did a tag-team presentation about the workshop we took at the convention taught by Tracy Frein.  Tracy works with colored pencil on drafting film, but in a different manner than most artists who use this combination.  He calls it “drawing by subtraction”, because he first creates a “ground” of colored pencil evenly all over the surface of the film and then erases away to create the drawing.  It goes very quickly and produces a very interesting look.  To see some examples of his award-winning work, check out his website:  https://tracyfrein.faso.com/

“Show and Tell” was as interesting as ever!  From first-ever colored pencil drawings, to drawings on drafting film, to works in progress on colored paper, to a hard-earned lesson from Paula Greer about the importance of UV (museum) glass for preventing one’s colors from fading, even if the art is never in direct sunlight.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be Saturday, November 5, 11:00 - 3:00 at the Bothwell Arts Center in Livermore.  Our presenter will be Roger Arno, a colored pencil artist from Saratoga who had an amazing career as an artist for NASA. 

Happy drawing!
Denise Howard, CPSA, CPX
President, CPSA DC210 San Francisco

Below are some photos from the meeting....

Denise demonstrates Tracy Frein's process for preparing drafting film with dissolved Prismacolor Art Stix

Paula demonstrates Tracy Frein's "drawing by subtraction" process on the prepared drafting film

Vivi Leon and Mary Adamson were the happy raffle winners of big bags of art supply goodies

Friday, August 5, 2016

DC 210 Represents!

CPSA DC 210 San Francisco was well represented at the CPSA convention in Tacoma, WA last week!  As mentioned in an earlier post, five members have pieces in the International Exhibition (which continues until August 13 at The American Art Company in Tacoma).  Seven members attended the convention....

Ranjini Venkatachari, Gemma Gylling, Denise Howard, Paula Greer, J.Y. Chang, Mike Menius.  Not shown: Janki Chokshi.

There were two $800 Awards for Outstanding Achievement, and our members took home both of them!

Michael W. Monroe, Director Emeritus of the Bellevue Art Museum in Bellevue, WA and a former curator at the Renwick Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, was the juror for the 2016 CPSA International Exhibition. He gave a talk/critique at the gallery and this is what he said about Denise's "Tree of Kintsugi ", which he had awarded one of the two Awards for Oustanding Achievement.

Monday, June 13, 2016

DC210 Participates in the Bothwell Art Center's Art Expo

On Sunday, June 12, 2016, the Bothwell Art Center in Livermore hosted its first Art Expo, an opportunity for the community to learn more about not only the Bothwell but some local artists, crafters, art businesses, and art groups.  Our CPSA chapter was there in full force, with two tables and a tag-team of volunteers all day!  On one table we displayed several examples of our members' work along with brochures for visitors to take home if they were interested in learning more about CPSA and our chapter.  On the other table we had colored pencils and watercolor pencils and outlines of cherries for visitors to try drawing under the guidance of our folks.

Many thanks go to Maria Lemery for organizing the effort!  And to everyone who helped set up, take down, and staff the table all day:  Vivi Leon, Jan Loomis, Laurie Miille, Winifred Scott, and Maureen Taylor.  Thanks to you all, more people in the area are now aware of colored pencils, our art and our organization!

Laurie Miille and Vivi Leon

Maureen Taylor and Jan Loomis

Maria Lemery, Winifred Scott and Laurie Mille

Maria Lemery, Winifred Scott and Laurie Miille

Maria Lemery and Winifred Scott

Maria Lemery, Maureen Taylor and Jan Loomis

Monday, May 16, 2016

Highlights of May 2016 meeting

I know I say this a lot, but what a great meeting!


  • International Exhibition accepted artists Jackie Chang, Gemma Gylling, Denise Howard, Mike Purdy, Ranjini Venkatachari
  • Andrea Myers, inclusion in CP Hidden Treasures
  • Ranjini Venkatachari and Denise Howard, juried into Salon at the Triton Statewide 2-D Competition
  • Ranjini Venkatachari, invited to be featured on Koh-I-Noor’s website
  • Denise Howard, featured artist in May issue of Ann Kullberg’s COLOR magazine
  • Denise Howard, inclusion in CP Treasures Vol. 4
  • Denise Howard, juried into “SWARM: Invasion of the Insects” in Dowell, MD
  • Paula Greer, three pieces juried into Alameda County Fair


Old Business

I gave an update on the plans for our annual chapter show (Explorations in Colored Pencil V) which will be at the Coastal Arts League gallery in Half Moon Bay in September.  The show will run August 28 - September 23.  Normally a reception is held the first weekend of a show, but since that happens to be Labor Day weekend we probably wouldn’t have much of a turnout, so we are planning to delay it till the evening of Saturday, Sept. 10.  As always, there is no “jurying in” for our show; if you enter, you’re in!  It will be an “open” show, meaning that non-members may enter (for a higher entry fee).  Kendra Davis of Moss Beach will be our judge for the awards (1st, $100; 2nd, $50; 3rd, $25).  You can see some of her art here:  http://www.coastalartsleague.org/artists/KendraDavis/kendradavis.htm

Maria Lemery gave an update on our participation in the Bothwell Arts Center’s Art Expo, to be held there on Sunday, June 12.  She has conceived of having two tables, one for artwork, books and brochures, the other for artwork creation and demoing, and leading visitors through small exercises with colored pencils.  She asked for volunteers to staff the tables for two shifts.  Here’s a link for more info about the event:  http://www.bothwell.lvpac.org/events/artexpo  We are pleased to be able to participate and give back to the Bothwell since they have been so good about letting us hold our meetings there at no cost for the past couple of years!

We had a recap of the two-day Ann Kullberg portrait drawing workshop and the consensus was that it was a great success!  Four folks brought their class projects to show.  We started discussion about who to invite to present our 2017 workshop next April.


New Business

Since Membership Chair Maryann Kot is moving to Chicago, Vice President Maria Lemery has volunteered to step into that role instead.  So we have an open position for Vice President!

Andrea Myers volunteered (herself and her husband Ed!) to take over as our Webmaster now that it is done in Wordpress.  Yay, Andrea!

We talked briefly about whether there is interest in having a plein air outing at Alden Lane Nursery again this year since those of us who attended it last year enjoyed it very much.  The consensus was yes, let’s do it, so Phil Dean will check with Alden Lane to determine a suitable Sunday morning in June or July.



After a short lunch break, we were honored to have nationally-known professional calligrapher and calligraphy teacher Marian Gault from Los Gatos present on how she combines calligraphy with colored pencil.  She displayed several examples of her breathtaking work and answered questions about her process.  She said that she plans out and creates a painting entirely on transfer paper and only then traces it to good paper to fully develop.  After she finishes her original work, her husband Ned (who is an excellent photographer) digitizes it and uses Photoshop and a high-end printer to produce cards, prints, and bookmarks to sell.  They collaborate on everything; even for this presentation, he drove her over, helped set her up, and told of a couple of her national accolades that she was too modest to mention!  She showed us some of the tools of her trade, a variety of nibs and how they are used to create lettering.  I was surprised to learn that there is special grid paper with various slants used for practice, and then for a finished piece those grid lines must be hand-darwn lightly on the good paper with rulers and T-squares and then erased once the lettering is finished.  No wonder I had trouble with making consistent lettering when I tried to pick up the basics from the classic Speedball book many years ago—they never mentioned that!  As an unexpected bonus, Marian offered to write each of our names on bookmarks that we could take home, and spent the next 45 minutes producing them while we continued the meeting with “show and tell”!


Next Meeting

Our next meeting will be Saturday, August 13 11:00 - 3:00 at the Bothwell Arts Center in Livermore.  Our presenter will be Roger Arno, a colored pencil artist from Saratoga who had an amazing career as an artist for NASA.

Between now and our next meeting, the CPSA national convention will take place in Tacoma, WA, July 26-30.  Consider attending!  It’s a hop and a skip by plane, a beautiful area of the US, and an opportunity to meet outstanding colored pencil artists from all over the US and even some international ones.  There are two full-day workshops at a cheaper price than you can find anywhere else. There will be fabulous door prizes and raffle prizes and even if you don’t win anything, you get a big bag of great art goodies just for attending.  Registration for the convention itself is FREE—you only pay for your transportation, hotel, meals, and any workshops.

Happy drawing!
Denise Howard, CPSA, CPX
President, CPSA DC210 San Francisco

Below are some photos from Marian Gault's presentation....

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Five DC210 members juried into 2016 CPSA International Exhibition

Congratulations to J.Y. Chang, Gemma Gylling, Denise Howard, Mike Purdy and Ranjini Venkatachari on having their entries selected for inclusion in the 24th CPSA International Exhibition!  The show will be at the American Art Company in Tacoma, WA, June 25 – August 13, 2016.

Spring Sunrise by J.Y. Chang, CPSA, CPX
Endangered Reflections by Gemma Gylling, CPSA

Tree of Kintsugi by Denise J. Howard, CPSA, CPX

A Taste of Honey by Mike Purdy, CPSA
Giant Reflections by Ranjini Venkatachari, CPSA, CPX

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Three DC210 members in CPSA Explore This! 12 online exhbition

Three CPSA DC 210 members have been juried into the Explore This 12!, a mixed media online international show by Colored Pencil Society of America national organization.

Congratulations to J.Y. Chang, Mike Purdy and Ranjini Venkatachari.  The full list of accepted entries is here.  The show will be online at www.cpsa.org from February 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017.

Easter Brunch
J.Y. Chang, CPSA, CPX


Mike Purdy, CPSA
Colored pencil and ink
Crossing the Line
Ranjini Venkatachari, CPSA, CPX
16" x 20"
Colored pencil and Neocolor II on Ampersand Pastelbord