[singlepic id=56 w=460 h=280 float=] A few weeks ago I decided to apply to the Oil Painters of America. This is a group similar to the pastel societies to which I currently belong. These societies put on several group shows per year, usually some regional and one national or international. They also hold meetings, have resources available for members, etc. And, they have different membership levels for members depending on certain criteria. These usually include some variation of associate, signature, and master, with different criteria for achieving these levels. In most societies all newly accepted applicants begin as associates. Some societies allow anyone to join and others have juried entry. Once accepted as associates, members usually have to achieve some milestone such as jurying into three national exhibits to achieve signature status, which allows the artist to use the society's initials after their name in their signature as well as in their official correspondence. One exception to this is Pastel Society of America, which can bestow signature status on a new applicant if they feel the work is up to a certain standard. I got lucky and chose my slides well when I entered PSA. They were kind enough to give me signature status when I applied, which shocked me, in a good way. Thus, the PSA after my name on pastels. But since I just started oil painting again, I thought I would try to "catch up" in that medium. So I entered two images, including Thunderhead No.4, above. And today, I got my reply from the Oil Painters of America: I'm in. This group requires acceptance into at least three national shows, or some other combination of criteria, for their signature membership. So I have some work to do. But hopefully in a few years I will have an OPA to go with my PSA. OPA! It sounds so festive. Pass the ouzo.