Saturday, January 17, 2015

RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition 2015 - Deadline for entries extended to 20 January

This post is for ALL watercolour painters - wherever you live - who are interested in submitting their watercolour paintings to the Annual Open Competition of the Royal Watercolour Society.

The deadline for entries for the RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition 2015 has been extended to noon on Tuesday - so there's still time to organise an entry!

The details of the Call for Entries are summarised below.

I'm really pleased to see they have stopped doing the crazy delivery and collection dates which must have prevented a lot of entries in the past. Now the initial round of submission and selection of entries is all digital that should make a very big difference to the number of people entering.

You can review past posts of past exhibitions in the links at the end of this blog post.

The Basics

  • DEADLINE for entry to the Royal Watercolour Society Contemporary Watercolour Exhibition has been extended to 12 noon on Tuesday 20 January 2015.
  • You must be able to access a computer and the RWS website because:
    • ALL entries are digital 
    • Payment  of entry fees is via the website - entry fee per painting is £14 (free to Full-time students at recognised art schools andWatercolour Artist Friends) 
    • payment must be made BEFORE you can upload a digital file for the painting 
  • You can submit up to three paintings 
    • all of these must be available for sale
    • all paintings must be by the entrant
    • Framed paintings must not exceed 100cm x 100cm
  • UPLOAD: Image File: must not exceed 1MB (minimum of 500KB)
  • SELECTION: A list of paintings selected for the exhibition will be published on the RWS website on Friday 30 January
  • DELIVER: Delivery of framed paintings is to Bankside Gallery (next to Tate Modern) on Sunday 1 or Monday 2 March, 11am-5pm.
  • EXHIBITION: at Bankside Gallery Friday 6 – Wednesday 18 March, 11am-6pm 

Frequently asked questions about the competition

I'm going to repeat their FAQs below because a number of points made are four of the five which are applicable to any competition.

  • How should I choose which of my paintings to send in? Remember that the judges are looking at many works in a short time. They will be more likely to be captivated by a painting with something special to say and with a personal point of view.
  • Are there rules about watercolour techniques – should I only send work in that conforms to traditional ideas of watercolour? The judges will be looking for ideas, competence and integrity – as long as the materials conform to those stipulated on the application form, they will be interested in how you choose to use them and will be excited by both innovation and expertise in traditional methods in using water-based media.
  • Do any particular subjects for paintings have a better chance of being selected? No. The subject you are most passionate about. Look on the RWS website to see the variety and range of subjects that Members paint.
  • What sized painting is usually most often accepted? Paintings of all sizes are welcome. However, if your painting is framed, it should not exceed 100 x 100cm.
  • How does the digital submission change the decisions the judges make? If the original digital photograph is of a good quality, and the image well presented – that is, cropped to the edge of the painting and straight, the Judges will be able to make a decision in much the same way as looking at the actual painting. 

In other words - don't try and paint like other people, find a perspective on something that is meaningful to you and we love people who show us something new and innovative.

What can be entered 

  • Any work in watercolour, acrylic, gouache and ink are eligible on a paper based support
  • There are no limitations on style or subject matter
  • The painting must have been completed in the past four years by the artist entering it.
  • The painting must not be larger than 100cm x 100cm when framed.

Who can enter

This competition is OPEN to
The Royal Watercolour Society’s annual competition is open to all artists except RWS Members. 

By implication, that means this is a competition OPEN to:
  • people who are NOT members of the Royal Watercolour Society
  • people who do NOT live or work in the UK
  • artists of any age (not indicated - but no limit indicated either)


These are on a par with some of the better open art society exhibitions.  This is not "major competition" territory,

Commission and Fees

For those confused by VAT, the way the commission works is that the Gallery will charge 40% + VAT of 20% when selling a painting. That means on a £1,000 painting, the Gallery will take £400 and include £80 in their VAT return to HM Revenue and Customs - which means you get £520. Which means your profit is £520 minus the travel/courier and framing expenses and entry fee of £14. You write down your costs to marketing!

Past Exhibitions

See my blog posts below about some of the previous exhibitions below. These include gallery shots of works in the exhibition and links to the websites of prizewinning artists.

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