Thursday, November 29, 2007

21st century watercolour - RWS 2008 painting competition

Maggie (2007)
watercolour on paper, 55 x 75cm
copyright Sue Rubira

21st Century Watercolour is an annual open painting competition organised by the Royal Watercolour Society, which usually takes place in the Spring.
The aim of the competition is to encourage innovation in the use of water-based media on paper and to stimulate fresh approaches to what are considered to be watercolour’s traditional strengths.
In March this year I visited the 21st century watercolours exhibition at the Bankside Gallery - and was very impressed by this watercolour painting by Sue Rubira as well as a lot of work by other artists working in water-based media. Overall I thought the show was very fantastic with works which showed some real flair for pushing the boundaries well beyond conventional watercolour.

The RWS is now inviting entries for the 2008 competition. Artists are invited to submit up to three framed, glazed water-based paintings on paper. The work I saw included all sorts of media which were waterbased - including gouache, acrylic and ink.

Details of how to submit work for this competition and exhibition are now available from the competitions page on the Royal Watercolour Society website.
  • Work needs to reach the gallery on Saturday 9th February 11am – 6pm and Sunday 10th February 11am – 6pm
  • Judging is then done on Monday 11th February.
  • Work which is not accepted needs to be picked up on Tuesday 12th February
  • The actual exhibition then runs from Friday 15th February – Sunday 9th March 2008.
  • Works which are unsold must be picked up on Sunday 9th and Monday 10th March.
Work is selected by a panel of judges who are Richard Sorrell – President of the Royal Watercolour Society, Richard Cork – Art Critic, and John Gilboy, founder of the Orange Street Gallery.

In previous years numerous prizes, worth in excess of £10,000, have been kindly donated by various individuals and organisations including the Royal Watercolour Society, St. Cuthbert’s Mill, Baker Tilly, Winsor and Newton and Elizabeth Scott-Moore Fund.

I'm currently cogitating about submitting a pen and ink with wash drawing....................

Note about Sue Rubira:
Sue Rubira was born in Brentwood, Essex in 1959. She studied illustration at Bristol and the Royal College of Art, London after which she moved to Portugal. Sue now lives and works near Southampton, England, teaching and painting portraits on a personal and commission basis. In 2006 she won the 2nd prize in the prestigious Sunday Times/Singer and Friedlander competition for watercolour artists with her portrait Geoff (image 19 in her gallery of paintings on her website).

'Maggie' was hung in the 21st century watercolour 2006 exhibition. It won the
Daler Rowney 1st prize at this exhibition. In my blog post about the exhibition I wrote
I also very much liked Sue Rubira's giant and striking face of "Maggie". You can see the finished version on her blog here and also see stages on the blog posts prior to that.


  1. this is amazing! and a little disturbing too.

  2. This is a fabulous painting. I've explored Sue's website and all her paintings are extraordinary.

    Yes, I agree, a little disturbing in some, especially the fish one. (I keep imagining how that would feel in my mouth blah!)

    However, a very talented artist and well deserving of the award.

  3. I think she's hugely talented and I think it's very sad that the BP Portrait Prize (of which more on Saturday) doesn't accept watercolours.

    This image gives you the impact of it but just measure off those dimensions and look at it afresh. This painting has IMPACT!

  4. Sue is very talented. Do you know if the RWS accepts entries from international artists for this exhibition ? I didn't find any information about that on their website.


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