Colored Pencil Art Winning Recognition in New England

Colored Pencil Art Winning Recognition in New England

by Deborah Friedman

Two awards in eight days? It’s always wonderful to exhibit one’s artwork and get public exposure and feedback, and this past June my proverbial cup runneth over. I’m an elected member of the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, but that doesn’t guarantee acceptance into their shows. After not getting in last year, I almost didn’t enter this year. I’m so glad I did. Not only was my piece, Angle of Repose, accepted into the 106th Annual Juried Exhibition, it was awarded Second Place (right after Best In Show)! There were two jurors for the show and awards selection. One of them, Emilia Dubicki, commented about Angle of Repose.

"A square surrounding a circle with circles, ovals and the curve of the jawbone within make for a meticulous composition with a beautiful palette. The use of colored pencils to execute this drawing adds to its subtle but strong quality: hard objects being rendered with a soft medium."

I always appreciate getting feedback about my work, but this is the first time, for me, that the colored pencil medium was singled out as an enhancement to the image. It’s also interesting to hear how other artists interpret my work. 

This show is a very competitive one, accepting all mediums including Sculpture, Photography, Printmaking, Acrylics, Oils, Graphics and Watercolors. (Best in Show was a somewhat abstract watercolor). It takes place at the Mystic Museum of Art in Mystic, Connecticut. I encourage more colored pencil artists to enter next year. They are always looking for new artists to enter, and as I mentioned above, you can’t get in if you don’t enter.

Heartline, another more recent drawing I’ve done, was accepted into the Attleboro Arts Museum’s National Juried Show, LINE. Their exhibitions are so interesting, as there are so many ways to interpret “line.” I had work accepted into their exhibition, a piece titled Out of the Blue, several years ago. I hope you can imagine how varied the pieces of art can be. Again, many media were on display in this year’s show. There were over 1,000 entries from 23 states in the US, and 100 pieces were selected for exhibition. The juror, Kelly Bennett, of the Artists Fellowships Program Office for the Massachusetts Arts Cultural Council, then awarded six Juror’s awards. It was an honor to be among the six artists selected for awards.

Their annual juried exhibition next year has the theme “Three.” I hope more artists will think about entering. There are so many ways to interpret that concept. I know I already have two entries that fit the bill! 

Sometimes I tire of all the work involved in entering shows; seeing that my artwork meets the specified requirements, getting it there and back safely, the expense, and other details. But it’s gratifying to be included on display with artists and especially to have colored pencil works get out there with all the other media. Someone new might really connect with your work, and perhaps you’ll get an award! Let’s get more colored pencil art into shows and help solidify its status.


Deborah transitioned to Colored Pencil as a medium when her children were young. She has a BFA in Printmaking from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, and has worked in graphite, pastel, oils and acrylics. Deborah has exhibited and published nationally and internationally. For more information please visit:

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