Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2012 - Call for Entries

The Call for Entries for the 25th year of the top open watercolour competition in the UK has been published.  

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is a very popular and prestigious competition which is open to both amateur and professional artists who are invited to compete for prizes worth £18,000.
the competition aims to celebrate and reward excellence and originality in the medium of watercolour
Cover of the Call for Entries Leaflet (pdf file)
This post tells you about:
  • who can enter
  • what you can enter
  • the time table
  • the exhibition
The deadline for submissions 25 June 2012. Read on to find out more about how to enter and also how you can see the exhibition which tours the UK after its stint in London in September.

If you want to see the calibre of entries in previous exhibitions click the links to my blog posts about this competition in the last FOUR years at the end of this post.

What are the main changes for 2012?
Four things have changed
  • Initial entry is now online (See the Online Entry Form) and the first stage of selection is via the digital image.  I'm very pleased to hear. It's very evident from other art competitions how much submissions from people in the sticks increase if they know they only have to cover the costs of getting a work to London if it's got through an initial screening and is in with a serious chance of being selected.  However I'm rather concerned about the quality of images possible given the file size limit - only 500kb.  That means artists will need to decide whether to compromise dpi or size.  (I feel a blog post about how to photograph and process an image for art competition coming on.......)
  • Artwork only needs to be sent to London if it makes it through the initial screening.  All longlisted artwork needs to be in London on 4th July and artists need to arrange couriers to get it there in time.  Regional collection centres are available if approved couriers are used.  (This is a link to a summary of UK art couriers if the regional collection centre is not convenient for you)
  • The panel has almost completely changed. Only Desmond Shawe-Taylor remains from last year's panel
  • Artists will be notified by email rather than having to check with the website to see if they've been selected.
    Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Prizes

    The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is one of the top art competitions in the UK due to the value of its top prize and its prestigious reputation.  Prizes in 2012 include:
    • 1st Prize (£10,000),
    • 2nd Prize (£6,000),
    • the Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize (£1,500), and
    • the Vintage Classics Prize for Cover Art (£500 and a commission to create the cover art for a Vintage Classic).
    Who can submit entries
    • The competition is open to all artists born or resident in the UK. 
    • There are no age limits for artists wishing to enter. 
    What sort of work can be submitted
    • The competition is open to all paintings in a water-based medium
    • The paintings entered should have been:
      • carried out in the last three years and 
      • not previously exhibited
    • Artists may submit up to four works
    • Copyright: 
      • The work must be the sole and original work of the entrant; it must be an original composition. 
      • The artist must own the copyright of any works entered into the competition 
      • If selected for exhibition, the artist must agree for an image of the work to be used for any publicity or marketing material relevant to the Sunday Times Exhibition. 
    • Entries will only be accepted with fully completed documentation and only on the specified handing-in dates. 
      How much does it cost?
      • Entry is £15 per work - payable at handing in 
      • A commission of 40% +VAT on sales 
      How to submit work for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition

      The panel of judges will initially review entries through a digital submission process.  250 artists are then invited to submit actual works to London and regional collection points.  On the assumption that each artist submits a maximum of four works (ie 1000 works submitted), if you make it through the initial screening you have:
      • a 40% chance you will be one of the artists with work in the exhibition (if they only select one work by each artist) ie 100 out of 250
      • however each work only has a 0.1% chance of being accepted (ie 1 in a 1,000) - assuming they are of equal merit!
      What can I submit? Artists can submit up to four works via online entry
      • Use the Online Entry Form
      • File types accepted: JPG, TIFF, PNG (0.5MB max file size).
      What's the deadline for entries?
      • The deadline for entries is 25 June 2012 by 5pm.  
      • Artists invited to proceed to the second stage will hear by 30th June that they need 
        • EITHER to submit artwork for final judging to the Federation of British Artists (FBA), 17 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5BD,  on Wednesday 4 July 2012.  There will be  regional collection centres
        • OR submit their entry to the very wide range of regional centres by the (earlier) deadlines as specified by the approved couriers in the Call for Entries Schedule
      Can I get forms online? Yes. Entry details and application forms are available online at Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition on the Parker Harris website

      Will I be notified by post? No. Artists will be notified by email, by 30 June 2012, of the results of their application. You can call the administrators if you don't have access to the Internet. Names of the selected artists will also be published on the Parker Harries website (and this blog - with links to their websites (see 2011 Sunday Times Watercolour Competition - selected artists).

      Can I apply online? No - entry forms MUST be submitted with the work which needs to be hand delivered to one of the regional venues. No entry form - no submission.

      How do I get an application form by post? Send an SAE to: The Watercolour Competition, Parker Harris, PO Box 279, Esher, Surrey, KT10 8YZ.

      Further Information Telephone the organisers Parker Harris on 01372 462190 or email Facebook and Twitter.

      Judges for 2011

      The selection panel has almost completely changed for 2012.  I can't say I'm surprised after the 2011 Exhibition which prompted a few thoughts about ways in which the selection might be improved.

      The jurors for 2012 are:<
      Personally, if there's going to be a panel I'd like to see more than one artist on it.  It'll be interesting to see what sort of exhibition they come up with.

      The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Exhibition

      An exhibition of approximately 100 works will be held between 17 - 22 September 2012at the Mall Galleries, London SW1. This is followed by the Exhibition Tour to venues throughout the UK between October 2012 and January 2013.

      Links - Posts on this blog about the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in 2008-2011



        1. old post but thought I'd ask in case people know... when entering they ask the size. Since everything for this show needs to be framed, is that framed size or actual size of the piece? Usually forms specify but this one doesn't.

        2. The online entry form asks for details of the work - and its dimensions so I'm assuming it means work not framed see

          You could try checking with Parker Harris (although I think there might be something wrong with the spelling of the email they've supplied on the website!

          Their telephone number is 01372 462190


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