The 1st PAS International Open Juried Exhibition

September has continued to be an unexpectedly busy month for me, so much so that I haven’t found the time until now to sit and write about my experience at the very first Pencil Art Society Open Juried Exhibition. The Exhibition has just closed yesterday (September 21). If you’ve not already done so, I would urge you to read the “official” review of the show as written for the PAS Blog by PAS Vice-President, Erica Lindsay Walker.  I must echo her sentiments about the show’s opening — what a weekend it was!! Of course, much of the personal excitement has faded at this point, but I am still left with an overwhelming feeling of deep joy and gratitude when I think of our opening weekend, and I just wanted to share a little bit of my own personal perspective on the excitement and happiness of that time here with you.

As anyone who has followed me for any length of time knows, much of my time this past year was taken up preparing for the PAS show. Being our first live Exhibition, of course there was some worry that everything might not go according to plan: Would we get enough entries?? Would the quality of the work be “good enough”??  Would anyone even show up for the opening weekend?? Yes, we actually worried a bit about that! LOL  You can’t imagine not only our relief, but also our extreme pleasure to end up with an Exhibition that was not only “good enough”, but that surpassed — by leaps and bounds — almost all our very hopeful, yet modest, expectations! We were truly blown away by the number of entries we received (and most especially by the number of International entries), by the very high quality of the entries and by the enthusiastic support of not just our own members and the other artists who entered the show, but also by the staff and Director of the Exhibition Centre, who helped us to present the Exhibition so professionally and elegantly. We also were so very pleased and admittedly touched by how many artists had traveled some great distances to attend the events of the opening weekend and helped to make our first Exhibition one to remember!

Over 350 people who attended the Artists' Reception & Awards Ceremony

Over 350 people attended the Artists’ Reception & Awards Ceremony on the opening weekend.

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As remarkable as the quality of the Exhibition was, one of the greatest parts of the entire weekend for me was getting to meet some of the artists I had previously only known through Facebook — some of whom I have known or been aware of or have been silently in awe of for many years! To be able to actually shake their hand (or hug them) in person and discuss their art and PAS with them was just so exciting! Next to that honour was the fact that I got to see … and even examine closely! … the work of  some of my favourite artists — artists that I have admired for a very long time.

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Perhaps the best part of the opening weekend for me was being able to share it all with Darlene Jordan Pfaff and Manon Menard Adams, two artists that I met through Facebook back in 2012, who have since become very close and very dear friends to me. They live some 7-ish hours away (by car), which means that we don’t often get to see each other in person, so getting together for the PAS show was an absolute treat. They drove down to Ottawa from the London/Sarnia area on the Friday and we had dinner at our place. We had to be up very early the next morning for the 2.5 hour drive to Repentigny (Repentigny is a suburb on the east side of Montreal), so we kept our drinking partying to a manageable level and made a relatively early night of it, but still enjoyed an evening filled with much enjoyment and laughter.

pre-show dinner at our place

Dinner at at home with artist friends Manon (with hubby Rene) and Darlene (with hubby Brian)

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Once we arrived in Repentigny, we had no time to go to our motel first, as we had to be at the Exhibition Centre in time for the Meet & Greet, followed immediately by the 1st PAS AGM and then immediately afterward by Erica’s workshop on Unusual Coloured Pencil Techniques, so we only checked in at the motel at the end of the day, just before going to dinner. We all (including Erica and Carolyn Bain) stayed in a motel just a short drive from the Exhibition Centre. The motel itself ended up providing quite a few laughs for us. Thankfully, it was reasonably clean (we checked for bedbugs and didn’t see any!) but otherwise, well, let’s just say it didn’t QUITE live up to our expectations (or the photos on the website)! Nevertheless, we had a great time after dinner relaxing and chatting at an impromptu “PJ Party” hosted by Darlene in her room.

me, Darlene, Manon

Me, Darlene, Manon out for dinner on Saturday in Repentigny

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Repentigny Exhibition Centre

The Repentigny Exhibition Centre

The Artists’ Reception and Awards Ceremony was held on the Sunday and was a time to remember! I really cannot express how beautiful the Exhibition Centre is and how professional and elegant everything looked. PAS President / Exhibition Director, Alexandra Bastien, did a spectacular job hanging the show and the Centre’s Art Director, François Renaud, was very charming and made everyone feel most welcome.

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Me, with my drawing, Lost in Space

Me, with my drawing, Lost in Space

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Me, with my drawing, The Sentinel

Me, with my drawing, The Sentinel

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The weekend went by far too quickly and all too soon we were in our cars headed back home. There were so many people to talk to over the course of the weekend that I just didn’t have enough free time to really examine all the artworks during the days we were there, so hubby and I enjoyed a little trip back up to the Exhibition last week, and took the show in at our leisure, lingering over each and every piece of work. Despite the fact that I work in pencil, part of my mind still boggles at the astounding things that can be achieved with a humble pencil, as evidenced by so many of the works in this Exhibition. Really, there are simply no words to describe how humbled and proud I am to have had my own work included in the Exhibition. To have my work hanging beside so many artists I have admired for so long was such an honour and is a memory I will cherish always.

Our drive home, heading into a beautiful sunset.

Our drive home from Repentigny, heading into the sunset.

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For more photos of the event, check out the photo album on the 2014 PAS International Open Juried Exhibition photo album on the PAS Facebook page.

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