For some time, drawings have taken a back seat to paintings, sculpture and ceramics. And so it was refreshing to learn that Brigham Young University's Art Department decided to do something about it. They planned a drawing exhibit and opened it up to artists across the country.

The call for entries explicitly stated "Artists may submit drawings in any medium. Multiply produced images or images realized wholly through a printing process will not be included."As a result of this call for entries, BYU's art department received more than 1,200 slides from 600 artists.

Asked to perform the challenging task of reducing the number to just over 100 was Marjorie Devon, director of the Tamarind Institute in New Mexico. As she juried the works, she said that she took her cue from Matisse's words. "I looked at the drawings `not as the exercise of a particular skill, but above all as a means of expression of ultimate feelings and states of mind.' " In other words, she selected the works that "spoke" to her.

Devon was also pretty liberal in selecting the top "drawings." A number of them were not drawings, but watercolors and mixed-media entries. As proof, take a look at works by Bette Alexander, Kathy Minck, Linda Banks Ord and Paul Rossman.

From a distance, other entries looked like paintings. But closer examination revealed a network of lines in Dorothy Churchill-Johnson's "San Francisco Curb," Horst Holstein's "Tribunal" and Cy Wagner's gouache/charcoal pencil drawing of crushed Crush cans.

Utah artists fared well in this drawing competition. I counted more than a dozen Utah artists whose work was accepted for the show.

Getting into the show was an achievement in and of itself. But several artists went on to win awards. First-, second- and third-place purchase awards were captured by Mark Dreimiller of Rochester, N.Y., Thomas Stubbs of Covina, Calif., and Terry Thompson of Amsterdam, Holland. Cash awards of $1,000 went to Stephen Yates of Chimacum, Wash., $750 to Benjamin Long of Allentown, Pa. and $500 to Bruce Bundock, Hyde Park, N.Y.

Filling both the B.F. Larsen Gallery and Gallery 303, this drawing exhibit is particularly important because it chronicles the individualistic, fascinating approaches to drawing by artists across the country.

The exhibit remains at BYU through Nov. 16. B.F. Larsen Gallery hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Gallery 303 hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with extended hours to 9 p.m. on Friday.

- Drawings constitute only a small segment of the exhibit in the Main Gallery of the Kimball Art Center in Park City. The juried show, sponsored by the Intermountain Society of Artists, includes two impressive drawings by Richard Sweeney and George England and lithographs by Patti Hortin. In fact, Richard Sweeney's graphite and colored pencil drawing "Oasis" won first place in the watercolor division. Now explain that!

The show, juried by Robert Duncan and Diane Balaban, is a pleasant surprise, especially after becoming familiar with ISA members' paintings that have hung on the walls of the Salt Palace over the years. Of course, proper lighting adds much to the impact of the show.

Walking away with the best-of-show award was Diane Pratt for "Lilly Pond." First-place winners were Linda Curley (oils) and Dan Bedell (sculpture).

The exhibit remains at KAC through Monday, Oct. 29. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

- A quick visit to Park City's Meyer Gallery proved to me that Francis Sellers is more than a watercolorist. He knows how to draw, especially when it comes to drawing buyers. Gallery owner Darrell Meyer said that 29 of the 35 paintings Sellers hung in his current show sold during the opening reception last month. As a result, pickings were slim when I stopped by last week.

But empty wall spaces had been filled with outstanding works by other gallery regulars - Utahns Richard Murray, Gary Smith, Kimbal Warren and Michael Workman; and out-of-staters John Horejs and Clark Kelley Price.

A vast array of bronze sculptures dot the gallery. There are works by Edward Fraughton, Dennis Smith, Grant Speed and newcomer Frank DeVita.

The gallery is located at 305 Main St. in Park City. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 12:30-5 p.m. on Sunday.