Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2018: Prizewinners & Selected Artists

This is about

First Prizewinner: Sophie Charalambous
The Prodigal Son,
Watercolour on Khadi paper, 112 x 114 cm

The exhibition takes place at the Mall Galleries next month - but is not on for long, so you need to make sure you've made a date in your diary if you want to get to see it. The exhibition dates are 18 – 23 September 2018 and the exhibition is open every day from 10am to 5pm. Admission is free.

Eligible media includes any water-based media, which includes acrylic, inks and gouache

The competition has acquired a new strapline
Celebrating and rewarding excellence and originality in the medium of watercolour
You can find my call for entries blog post here Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2018 - Call for Entries.

I must confess I wasn't feeling very kind to the competition at the time after the debacle in 2017 when the winner was eligible for acceptance into the annual exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters! (see 10 Best Paintings in the Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition)

However on the basis of compiling this post, after last years' prizewinner debacle, I think the STWC may have turned a corner!


Sophie Charalambous won the £6,000 First Prize with her watercolour painting of The Prodigal Son, (Watercolour on Khadi paper, 112 x 114 cm) - see top of this post

Thank goodness we are back to having a 'proper' watercolour painting - that looks like a watercolour painting - winning the first prize. 

Second Prize (£3,000) was won by Michael Chance for 'Growth of the Soil'. It's an intriguing painting which reminds me of some artwork from the Far East. I'm wondering what impact the gum arabic and honey have had on the watercolour and ink.

Second Prizewinner - Michael Chance, Growth of the Soil
watercolour, ink, honey, gum Arabic, 112 x 86 cm

The Third Prize (£1,000) was awarded to Richard Anthony Elliott for 'Diving Boards, Crystal Palace'

Third Prizewinner - Richard Anthony Elliot,
Diving Boards, Crystal Palace
watercolour, 120 x 120cm

Selected Artists

The statistics are

  • 80 works were selected from a total of 120 shortlisted 
  • from the 1,304 submissions from 600+ artists 
  • making a a success rate for selected works of slightly in excess of 6% of those submitted.
You can see the panel of leading figures from the art world at the end of this post.

I've researched the previous exhibiting history of those selected in the context of the competition (under its various names over the years) and have highlighted the history of  exhibiting for specific artists.

I'm particularly taken with how many artists are NEW to the exhibition this year - which I think (before seeing the exhibition) can only be a good thing. I'll let you have my further thoughts on this when I've seen the exhibition!


  • This year, the ONLY people who have links (in their name) are the artists who have their own website. However entries may contain bio details from other sites. What's sad for me is that those without a website probably won't ever know they got the opportunity to be profiled in this post.
  • Previous STWC record in this competition indicated in blue italics. 
  • First time = exhibiting for the first time
  • The selected artists are listed below in alphabetical order by surname

  • Jacqueline Abel - STWC : exhibited 2016 - BA Hons Degree Fine Art Painting  1990 - 1993 from Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Art and Technology
  • John Abell Having been expelled from school at 15, John has significant experience of both homelessness and drug addiction, making this story a striking example of a life turned around
  • Roger Allen - STWC : exhibited 2015-2017. Based in Derbyshire and paints the Derbyshire landscape using a traditional technique of overlaid washes in watercolour.
  • Ashley Amery - First time - an artist and illustrator originally from San Diego, now living and working in London. Her practice is based on drawing.
  • Bob Armstrong First time? - based in a studio in Fotherby in Lincolnshire and paints the wilder parts of Britain
  • Sue Atkinson - born in 1949 in Bradford, lives in Staithes and has built a following for her town and seascape paintings of ordinary people going about their lives. No website?


  • Julie Barnes - produces figurative works; inspired by the universal relationships between humans, nature in both the seen and unseen worlds
  • Greg Becker - website link - but nothing comes up in terms of artwork! Attended RCA. Painting for me is like a grown up version of playing with toy soldiers.
  • Varsha Bhatia RISTWC : Selected for this competition in 2017 and 12 previous years. A Watercolour Artist specialising in detailed architectural paintings. This is this is the 13th time her work has been selected for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Exhibition. She graduated with a degree in architecture in Bombay and came to the UK in 1982 to work in Cambridge. Regularly exhibits with FBA societies at the Mall Galleries and has won a number of awards for her paintings. Facebook Page: Varsha Bhatia - Watercolour Artist.

  • Akash Bhatt RBA - STWC: won 1st Prize 2015; Third Prize 2002; Penguin Prize 2010; exhibited STWC 2001-2010; 2012-2015; 1996 Singer Friedlander Watercolour Exhibition This is a video about his sketchbooks made by the BP Portrait Award,

  • Day Bowman First time?graduate of Chelsea School of Art and London University
  • Victoria Braithwaite First time - lives in Scotland. Contemporary botanical painter and Founding member of the Scottish Society of Botanical Artists

  • Julian Bray First time? commercial painter
  • David Brayne RWS First time? born 1954, studied painting at Nottingham and Gloucestershire Colleges of Art and philosophy at Exeter University. Elected as a member of the Royal Watercolour Society in 2001. Awarded the Turner Medal in 2015. Paints in pigments and acrylic on paper. 
  • Claire Brewster - First time? grew up in Lincolnshire and have been living and working in London for over 20 years. Her work has been work published in many magazines and books
  • Susan BrownFirst time? born in Yorkshire. Studied at Leeds Polytechnic between 1976 and 1979 gaining a BA Hons in Three Dimensional Design. Born in Yorkshire. Her Career has involved Interior Architecture and Fine Art.


  • Michael ChanceFirst time? painter living and working in London. Postgraduate Diploma in Drawing at The Royal Drawing School in London. Second Prize at the 2017 Lynn Painter-Stainers exhibition,
  • Sophie Charalambous - STWC: First Prize Winner 2018 Exhibited 2016-2017. Used to be a theatre designer. Did the Drawing Year at the Prince's Drawing School in 2009 (now the Royal Drawing School) A visual artist who also works collaboratively in the theatre and leads arts projects with community groups. Teaches drawing and painting at the Prince’s Drawing School and Mary Ward Centre and regularly collaborates with the British Museum creating and delivering events and workshops which respond to the changing exhibitions. Works in an illustrative style with elements of distorted perspective. This is an article about her and her work
  • Lottie Cole - First time - Foundation Course at Wimbledon Art School; MA degree in Art History from St Andrews University
  • Adrian ColemanFirst time - American painter (b. 1984) who trained as an architect. Yale University (BA) 2006. Columbia University (M.Arch.) 2012


  • Janet Darley STWC exhibited 2014-2016 Also exhibited at RWS competition 2014-2017. Lives in Kent and works mainly plein aire. Also works as works as a community artist and tutor. Paints in gouache.

  • Catharine Davison - STWC exhibited 2012, 2013, 2015 - b. 1970 in Northern Ireland. Lived in Edinburgh since 2007. Art education includes: Foundation at Manchester Polytechnic; studied Illustration at Liverpool John Moore’s University. Masters Degree at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College. Currently works as Tutor for Portfolio Preparation Course at National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh and Art and Design Studies Tutor for the International Foundation Program and Centre of Learning at the The University of Edinburgh. Distinguished record of selection for competitions and open exhhibitions. Won the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize in 2014 - see Catherine Davison wins £15,000 Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2014. Draws and paints on location from direct observation. One of the few artists whose entry in the Chrome browser automatically highlights a selection of her images. I loved her work that won the Lynn Painter-Stainer and am looking forward to seeing her work again in the STWC exhibition.
  • Adam De Ville - First time -  a self taught contemporary artist 


  • Richard Elliott - STWC First time; 3rd Prizewinner 2018 -  Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Scotland. BA Hon’s in Fine Art Painting followed by Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art, Painting at Royal Academy Schools, London.  Has been selected for a number of art competitions in the past
  • Mark Entwisle - First time -  foundation at CCAT Cambridge. Degree in illustration at Brighton. Worked as portrait painter since 2002. Previously selected for other art competitions
  • Suzy Fasht ARWS - First time - born in London in 1964 and studied at the Royal Academy Schools and Wimbledon School of Art. Painter in oils, watercolour, egg tempera. Associate member of the Royal Watercolour Society (2018). Based in Dartmoor, Devon. Facebook Page
Wildflowers at a window By Suzy Fasht
  • James Faure Walker - First time -  studied at St Martins (1966-70) and the Royal College of Art (1970-1972).
  • Bobbye Fermie - First time - born in Amsterdam in 1990 and graduated in Fine Art from the Royal Academy of Arts in Antwerp, Belgium in 2014; Drawing Year at Royal Drawing School 2015. Artist in Residence at Dumfries House, Scotland for two periods in 2016 and 2017.
  • Laura Footes - First time - studied modern languages at the University of Birmingham, L’Université de Toulouse II and the Sorbonne. Began her formal art education at The Prince's Drawing School (now the Royal Drawing School) in 2012. Remained at the school in 2013 to complete her training in painting.
  • Richard Fowler - STWC - First Prize Winner 2017 his paintings are eligible to be shown in the annual exhibition of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters!


  • Michael Gage
  • Lavinia Gallie - First time - English / Fine Art B.A. Hons., Leeds; Fine Art M.A. Cheltenham College of Art
  • Nikki Gardham - First time - born in Essex, now living and working in London. Studied at Cambridge School of Art; scholarship to the Royal Drawing School, completed the postgraduate Drawing Year in 2013. Currently teaches as a freelance art educator, planning and delivering practical art and discursive workshops for the Royal Drawing School, Dulwich Picture Gallery and other public galleries across London.  All paintings on her website are oil on paper. 
  • George Gilbert - STWC - states previous exhibitor (no dates) - born Glasgow. Glasgow School of Art 1957-61 followed by a year of post graduate study. Taught in schools in Aberdeenshire, Glasgow & Fife 1963-88. In 1989 left teaching to paint full time. Set up and ran set up the Courtyard Gallery in Crail 1993-2001.
  • Alexander Gilmour - First time - divides his time between study and work in London and Leeds
  • Jenny Graham - STWC exhibited 2016 - Studied both in New York and Bristol. MA in Printmaking from the University of the West of England (1997). Worked as an artist in Somerset since 1984.  Lives in Bridgewater.
  • Jelly Green First time - Born Ipswich, Suffolk in 1992. Studied at Morley College, London and Prince’s Drawing School, London. RBA Scholar 2012. Active exhibitor in Suffolk. I'm loving her paintings of vegetation and undergrowth!
  • Imogen Guy First time - paintings only website; no info about the artist


  • Henry Hagger First time - painter and printmaker who has exhibited widely
  • David Hamilton - STWC exhibited 2014 - Born in Leeds. Student at Regional College of Art Bradford and Goldsmiths College. Taught in the Fine Art Departments of Lancaster and Portsmouth Colleges of Art followed by the Royal College of Art, Department of Ceramics and Glass becoming Professor, with a period as Wedgwood Group Design Director, then Pro-Rector.
    Professor Emeritus and Senior Fellow, Royal College of Art. Member of the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS)

  • Esther Jeanes First time - South Somerset based painter, currently focussing on landscapes. Mum of two who paints at her kitchen table. 2017 was her first full year of painting. She paints great "big skies" - and I love the painting selected for the competition.
The Green by Esther Jeanes
  • Eliza John First time - a contemporary artist with a focus on colour and composition, leaving the subject to play second fiddle. 
  • Henry Jones First time - His painting "Hot Work" has been selected. Works predominantly in watercolour and associated media, from life, and in my studio from sketches. No details of art education or previous exhibitions.


  • Suman Kaur - STWC exhibited 2017 - winner of the BBC One's The Big Painting Challenge - see my blog post Review: The Big Painting Challenge FINAL 2017 (which also lists the other posts documenting her progress through the series). The programme aimed to find the Finest Amateur Artist of 2017 - and I predicted she would win round about Episode 3. I corresponded with Suman during the series and encouraged her to start entering some art competitions after she won - and she was the very first person to tell me she's been selected for last year's STWC! Suman studied Art and Design up to college level, then went on to study Prosthetics and Orthotics - prior to appearing on television. She lives in Leeds, and paints in a converted studio at her parent’s house. 
  • Caroline Kent  


  • Zoe Laughlin First time - Artist, maker, presenter and materials expert, exploring the engineering, science, design and craft of stuff. Co-founder/director of the Institute of Making and the Materials Library project. She holds an MA from Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design and obtained a PhD in Materials within the Division of Engineering, King's College London.
  • Frank Laws First time -   Born in Norwich. Central Saint Martins, MA communication design, London Illustration pathway, Distinction Norwich School of Art and Design, BA Hons Illustration. Memo to Frank - don't put your Bio and CV in a pdf!
  • Debbie Lee First time - Born Leicester, studied drawing and painting at Glasgow School of Art and Royal College of Art. Won a number of awards and had a number of solo exhibitions and generally exhibited widely - but not in competitions.
  • Clio Lloyd-Jacob First time -  grew up in London and New York,  studied Fine Art at St Martin’s and the Slade. Work is influenced by light, people, music, and other artworks. Has exhibited widely - latterly in more art competitions
  • Peter Lloyd-Jones First time - Graduated from Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University (1977-79); Post Grad at Royal Academy Schools 1980-83. Head of Art at St Edmunds School Oxford 2009-13. Has exhibited widely (Really needs to stop SHOUTING in capitals on his Bio Page!)

  • Tom Mabon First time - born in 1956 in Kirkcaldy, Fife and trained at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen from 1974 to 1978. He has lived on the Black Isle since 1985
  • Russell Macaulay First time 
  • Anne Magill First time - Born in Ireland, she now lives and works in South East England. Graduated from St Martin's in 1981. 
  • Michael Middleton RWS RE - STWC exhibited 2015 - 1966 - 68 Farnham Art School, 1968 - 71 Sheffield Polytechnic, 1973 - 74 Chelsea School of Art. Member of the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers. Work always on show at The Bankside Gallery, London.

  • David Nealon First time 
  • J. A. Nicholls First time - a painter who makes collage to make paintings. Studied painting at Chelsea College of Art and the Royal College, London.


Little House by David Parfitt RI
watercolour 25x28cms

  • David A Parfitt RI - STWC - exhibited 2014-2017 - The only artist to have the good sense to send me a digital copy of his painting straight after the announcement of selected artists! Landscape painter and printmaker, working in watercolour and monoprint, he was elected a member of The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 2011. Lives near Bath and exhibits widely.
  • Brian Parker First time - a painter and visual artist based in Hockley, Essex.
    Born 1950 in Blackburn Lancashire. After education and a career in the Sciences he started graduated in BA Fine Art Essex University. Southend Campus (2009). Mainly exhibits around Southend and Leigh on Sea.

  • Paul Regan First time - Paints suburban London. Good track record of being selected for major art competitions. Managing Director of Insight School of Art, an independent art school in North London. 
  • Jon Rogers First time - Commercial artist who has had a career as an Advertising Art Director and then London-based illustrator. Has won awards for graphic flat colour digital work. However I'm puzzled as his paintings seems to be all in oil.
  • Robin Pearce


  • Zoe Savory
  • Sarah Seymour First time - Lives in Dungeness, Kent and has a studio at the Rye Creative Centre. Had a wide-ranging career including conservation, specialising in primates. Became a full-time practising artist in May 2014.
  • Jayne Stokes STWC - exhibited 2015 and 2016 -  1992 - 1996 Edinburgh College of Art, BA (Hons) Drawing & Painting. 1997 - 1998 Winchester School of Art; Barcelona, MA European Fine Art. Her painting Outer Hebrides'documents her journey around the island

  • Jan Symes First time - graduated in Textile Design from Somerset College of Art in 1975. Lives in Bath. Areas of interest are nature, landscape and traditional architecture focusing on her local area of West Wiltshire and Bath for inspiration for paintings. 


  • Eleanor Taylor First time - an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Hastings, UK.  Graduated with a BA in Illustration from Norwich College of Art (2008) and an MA in Communication Art and Design from the Royal College of Art (2011). Impressive list of magazine and publishers as clients for her illustration work.
  • Rebecca Truscott-Elves First time - Born in North Kent in 1990. Kingston University 2009-12, BA Illustration & Animation – First Class Honours, Royal College of Art 2014-16, MA Visual Communication. Practises as both artist and educator
  • Philip Tyler First time - He has been painting for over 30 years and also teaches teaches drawing, painting and digital image making to fashion and textiles students at Brighton University. Participated in Sky Arts Portrait artist of the year 2018 (Episode 7)


  • Jenny Wheatley RWS NEAC First time - Trained at West Surrey College of Art and Design. BA Hons in Fine Art Painting/Printmaking (1981). Author of Adventurous Watercolours (Book and/or DVD - view an extract here).  Exhibits regularly with both RWS and NEAC. I must confess I very surprised to find that this was the FIRST time this very well known watercolourist has exhibited with the STWC. However given the owners of one of her long-standing galleries (Llewellyn Alexander) retired recently I guess she's now doing a lot of new things! 
A painting by Jenny Wheatley
was used to highlight the choice of selected artists for this year's exhibition
Good choice!
  • Nigel Whittaker First time - I'm struggling to see much watercolour and can find no info about the artist
  • Michael Williams First time 
  • Roy Willingham First time - the only one I can find is a member of the RE and makes prints


  • Gertie Young - STWC 2017 - retired in 2016 and began to focus on her painting


  • Martha Zmpounou - First time? - Been selected for other art competitions in the past. MA in Communication Design, Central Saint Martins College and BA Honors in Fine Art and MA in Painting, Aristotle University of Fine and Applied Arts, Greece

Yet again, I am amazed at how many people selected for an art competition come from the first half of the alphabet.

I'd also comment that an awful lot of artists seem to be unaware that Google now marks up their websites as "not secure" when viewed via the Chrome browser.

The Judging Panel

The 2018 judging panel includes 
  • Ishbel Myerscough, artist; 
  • Paul Newland RWS, artist; 
  • Jennifer Scott, Sackler Director at Dulwich Picture Gallery; 
  • James Stewart, Director of Zimmer Stewart Gallery, and 
  • Louis Wise, critic and writer for The Sunday Times.
From left to right below: Louis Wise, Jennifer Scott, Ishbel Myerscough, Paul Newland and James Stewart - with Emma Parker of Parker Harris far left.

More about the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2008-2017


2018: 80 paintings by 73 artists were selected from 1,304 submissionby 600+ artists

2017 - 87 paintings by 78 artists were selected from 1,057 submissions. 
2016 - 75 paintings by 66 artists were selected
2015 - 90 works by 80 artists were selected
2014 - 93 works by 73 artists from across the UK

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