Exhibition Requirements

CPSA holds two annual exhibitions: the International Exhibition and Explore This! While these exhibitions vary in respect to what materials may be used for the artwork, most basic requirements apply to both.

Colored Pencil Defined
Products Allowed for CPSA Exhibitions
Prospectus PDFs

(for the CPSA International and Explore This! Exhibitions)

  • REQUIRED: Artwork must be solely the original concept, design, and execution of the submitting artist.
    • Any reference photos used in creating the artwork must be taken personally by the submitting artist.
    • Reference photos taken by anyone other than the submitting artist may be used only when those images are incidental to and not the main focus of the artwork.
  • ALLOWED: Artwork created as a pastiche (parody or imitation of another artwork), provided the artwork is sufficiently altered so as to make the parody obvious and the artwork parodied is not copyrighted.
    • Work in which the primary subject has been copied directly from someone else’s photograph, even with permission.
    • Work copied from any copyrighted or published materials.
    • Work copied from any image downloaded from online photo sites.
    • Artwork produced by applying colored pencil over a printed or digitally produced image (with the exception noted below for Explore This!).
    • Reproductions such as prints or giclées of artwork.
    • Collaborative works executed by more than one artist, including classroom projects and exercises. You may, however, submit artwork of your own design which was worked on in a class or critiqued by others, as long as you are the primary creative force.


  • Artwork must be 100% colored pencil (see links to “Colored Pencil Defined” and “Products Allowed for CPSA Exhibitions” above). Use of any other additional media (watercolor, acrylic, oil, ink, markers, etc.) disqualifies entry.
  • Artwork must be on a manufacturer-prepared surface (scratchboard not allowed). Use of artist-prepared surface (i.e., the application of grounds, washes, or other non-colored pencil materials which may alter the texture, color, or value of a manufacturer-prepared surface) disqualifies entry.
  • Acceptable additions include colorless blenders and solvents (e.g., turpentine, odorless mineral spirits, light layers of workable fixative, final coat(s) of varnish) and graphite pencil used under/between colored pencil layers. No pure, exposed graphite is allowed.
  • Artwork must be two-dimensional; no collage or montage. Matting with multiple windows (diptychs, triptychs) in a single-framed presentation is acceptable.
  • Artwork must have been completed within three years of the exhibition year and not previously hung in any CPSA International Exhibition.
  • Artwork may not be altered after submission of entry.
SundstromAlice TheRoboticWaiterNeedsAdjustment ET2019
The Robotic Waiter Needs Adjustment, Alice Sundstrom


  • Colored pencil as described for the CPSA International must be the predominant medium.
  • Artwork must include some medium other than colored pencil or some surface, technique, or element that would render the artwork ineligible for the CPSA International Exhibition as described previously.
  • Applying colored pencil over a photograph or printed image in whole is not permissible, however you may create an original and completely different drawing over a printed digital image or photograph.
  • Artwork must have been completed within three years of the exhibition year and not previously displayed in any CPSA Explore This! Exhibition.
  • Artwork may not be altered after submission of entry.


  • Artwork must be ready to hang by wire—no saw tooth hangers.
  • If glazed, use plexiglass only. Absolutely NO glass or “clip on” frames.
  • Outside frame dimensions may not exceed 32 x 40 inches (in either orientation).
  • Mats must be neutral (white, off-white, beige, gray, or black).
  • Frames must be muted, neutral tones such as gold, silver, copper, black, white, or gray. No decorative colors or ornately carved frames.