PSA Signature

Submitted by Gary on Thu, 03/21/2013 - 18:23

Early Snow, Lake Creek, 16 x 20, Pastel

Garrapata by Morning, 14 x 18, Pastel

May Snow and Megaliths, 16 x 20, Pastel

I'd like to share with you my most recent honor. Today I received an e-mail from Cindy at the Pastel Society of America saying the membership jury voted me the distinguished honor of Pastel Society of America signature membership. I can't tell you how big a deal that is to me. PSA is the premier signature for a pastelist. It signifies a degree of recognition that no matter how large and important a regional organization may be, it doesn't feel the same.

I thought I might get 'PSA' when I applied first five years or so ago. I was awarded associate membership to my very great disappointment but that was better than being rejected altogether! Then I applied two years ago when I just knew I had it in the bag. Nope, didn't happen then either. I felt pretty low and couldn't understand the jury's reasoning and had major doubts about my talents and abilities. I talked to other disappointed artists. I developed an attitude and pretended it didn't matter. It was a bad place to be. Still I kept painting, in fact I redoubled my efforts to improve. That rejection was a turning point for me. It made me work a lot harder than I would have if I were recognized at that time.

Now today I proudly stand before you as a full-fledged PSA signature member. I have had the honor to show in their national venue in 2011 at the National Arts Club in New York City and I look forward to many more opportunities to do so. For those who are striving for the PSA title, I would like to share with you the five pieces that I submitted for the jury to evaluate this time. The last time I submitted only three were required and I think two of mine might have made the cut but the third was not so great. That's hindsight, of course. At the time I thought they were all pretty terrific. This time I chose five never-before-submitted pieces. I don't claim any great brilliance in them but for those who want to see what five acceptable pieces look like - here they are.

I don't know what effect any of my decisions had on the jury but I'll mention them in case they were important. First I tried to get five pieces that seemed to be by the same artist. My style has some range, especially when you look at the work over a number of years. I rejected pieces that I liked and thought good but were a little more out of my norm. Having a body of work that hangs together is, I think, one of the jury's criteria. Second, I submitted pieces that were 14 x 18 or larger. Smaller work may look great in person but when projected on a large viewing screen might enlarge defects. Third, I only submitted landscapes and tried to keep them in the same sub-genre. No buildings, for instance and no people, animals or other things that might cloud the perception of who I am as an artist. I didn't even mix up parts of the country. I'm sure there is no problem with mixing things up if the work seems even but this was my best guess at how to present an even body of work.

Anyway, it worked out and I thank the jury and PSA for the singular honor! I now join a group of artists I greatly admire.

View to Long Lake, 16 x 20, Pastel

A Few Moments of Glory, 20 x 20, Pastel

Hearty Congratulations,

Hearty Congratulations, Gary!

You were always PSA material in my book.


Thank you, Zack! Great to see

Thank you, Zack! Great to see you on here!

Congratulations! It's a

Congratulations! It's a beautiful body of work!I look forward to seeing more of it.

Thanks a lot Peggy.

Thanks a lot Peggy.

Thank you so much for sharing

Thank you so much for sharing your process...I was rejected
again...I was feeling badly because I also thought my work was of merit.At first I said that's it I am not trying again and after reading your honest view I realized all in due time..I just htink everyone gets in easily..not so easy.I am not trying any time soon but maybe some is by far a very big deal and such a thrill to know you are recognized on that level...although I have other signature validation that I honor it truly is not the same .PSA is what it is the best...Congratulations and thank you. Eve

Eve, I'm sorry for you and

Eve, I'm sorry for you and feel your pain, believe me. I'm relieved I won't have to go through the ordeal again: It's nerve-wracking if you take it seriously and I don't know how you can not take it seriously. Those other signatures mean you've worked hard though too. Cherish them and work for more and before you know it you'll be PSA as well!

I'm not surprised that you've

I'm not surprised that you've been awarded signature membership. You send them consistently good work and they're obliged to recognize your talent. Way to go!

Thanks, John. Coming from a

Thanks, John. Coming from a master like you, that's very much appreciated. See you later in the summer!

Awesome! Welcome to the

Awesome! Welcome to the signatureship level! You deserve it and your story is similar to so many. I was rejected 2x as I tried to enter what I thought they'd like. After the same feelings you had I eventually sent 3 slides of my personal favorites. Daring works that I needed to get out there. By being awarded the PSA I felt rewarded for that honesty and it made me respect the jury that much more. See you at IAPS!

That's very kind of you to

That's very kind of you to say, Stan. Like you, this time I picked ones that were more recent out of what I thought good. Maybe the looser work appealed to the judges but that's the way I seem to be leaning anyway. Funny hearing you mention slides. I remember those things! Congratulations on your recent honors with PSA as well! See you at IAPS!

Thanks for the insight, Gary!

Thanks for the insight, Gary! Your paintings are very glad the committee thought so too. I was all ready for my second attempt when the decision was announced that you need five rather than three.

Another associate member (for now)

Vicki, thanks for the kind

Vicki, thanks for the kind words. That five-paintings-instead-of-three rule took me by surprise too but in the end I think it made it easier to pick some. It was always too hard figuring out which were the three best. Good luck on your next shot at it!

Congratulations, Gary. This

Congratulations, Gary. This is great news. I'm very happy for you.


Thanks a lot, Tom. It was a

Thanks a lot, Tom. It was a real honor and I couldn't help crowing a little.

I just realized I missed

I just realized I missed saying something important in this post. How could I take all the credit for getting through the hard stages by myself? I need to acknowledge my collectors who never doubted me, my close friends who knew of the doubts and offered helpful suggestions for moving forward, my wife, Ann, who loved me even if I wasn't PSA, and finally that magnificent force greater than ourselves that drives the creative spirit in us all. Thanks!