Every January, a network of creative people eagerly awaits the announcement. One year it was “Insects.” Another year it was “Native Saltwater Fish.” Still another, “Wild, Wonderful Landscapes of North Carolina.”
No, these aren’t Oscar nominees.
Each year since 2008, the North Carolina Aquariums at Roanoke Island and Pine Knoll Shores have sponsored exhibitions by members of the Raleigh-Durham chapter of the Colored Pencil Society of America. Not long after the ball has dropped in Times Square, the Aquariums reveal the year’s nature-related theme. In late spring, Aquarium staff juries the submissions to ensure adherence to the theme and accurate depiction. Beginning in June or July, each Aquarium displays the works for three months.
The theme for 2016, the 40th anniversary of the N.C. Aquarium system, is “Up Close and Personal: Nature Portraits in Colored Pencil.” Among this year’s subjects are a Banker Pony’s eye, a ghost crab’s claws, and a bullfrog’s head. In a break with tradition, they also include subjects from outside North Carolina, such as an African elephant’s trunk and an alpaca’s nose.
Up Close and Personal will be on display in the Nautilus Gallery at the N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke Island from June 13 through mid-September and in the Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores through the end of the year.
The 2015 show, titled “BUZZ—The Fine Art of Insects,” presented 32 works capturing amazing variety and beauty of the insect world. Approximately 190,000 visitors viewed it at both aquariums.
The CPSA, founded in 1990, has 27 chapters and a total membership of more than 2,000. Although the Raleigh-Durham chapter is located in the Triangle, it has members throughout the state. The chapter holds workshops and a weekly open studio, sponsors exhibitions, and promotes the use of colored pencils in every kind of art.
"Up Close and Personal" is included with regular Aquarium admission.
For more information about the Colored Pencil Society of America, visit www.CPSA.org and the Raleigh-Durham Chapter Web site at www.cpsadc114.org
Poster art: “Crazy Legs”, octopus in colored pencil by Diana Hrabosky