Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2019 - Prizewinners & Exhibition

Next week the exhibition for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2019 opens at the Mall Galleries - as do two other exhibitions (see the end of this post). This post is about:

Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2019
  • the prizewinners
  • selected artists
  • exhibition details

PLUS: Other Exhibitions this week at the Mall Galleries (17 September 2019 to 22 September 2019)

Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2019 - Prizewinners

The prizewinners were announced in the Sunday Times on 1 September 2019. You can see images and details of the artist and painting below

First Prize (£8,000):  Leo Davey

Leo Davey won the £8,000 First prize with a very unusual and creative painting which looks very much as if it demonstrates great skill in the use of wet in wet and glazes.

Always really nice to see the first prize in this competition being awarded to a medium which cannot be emulated by any other when the painter is skilled!

Condensation by Leo Davey

© Leo Davey
The image of a child in the shower, drawing lines in the glass, showcases both the artist’s clear skill and a taste for the off-kilter. The child is left genderless on purpose; not everything in the composition is in sync. “It gives a sense of unease,” says the 41-year-old artist
Sunday Times Art Section 1 September 2019
Leo Davey lives and works in his home town of Minehead in West Somerset where he has both his studio and a gallery.

Leo studied at Falmouth College of Art in Cornwall. He now  where he has his studio/gallery. His subjects and styles and ways of painting vary a lot.
From the meticulous to the abstract, Leo refuses to settle on any particular genre of painting and continues to explore and develop ways of seeing and defining his landscapes through his works. (his website bio)
He's been selected for The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in 2012, 13, 14 and 17 and won the competition's Smith and Williamson Cityscape prize in 2015. His work has also been selected for the exhibitions by the Royal West Academy, Royal Watercolour Society, and Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour.

Second Prize (£3,000): Aidan Potts

The artist who won the second prize is Aidan Potts. His Pavement Primrose is a very unusual painting - very real - but not hyperrealistic - painting of primrose growing on the edge of a pavement - and yet its design makes it abstracted at the same time.   His London Snapdragon made it into the RWS Open Competition this year.

It reminds me of Michael Landy's suite of etchings called Nourishment (which I've seen at Tate Britain) - which are all drawings of weeds found on pavements.  Always nice to see artists observing what is in plain sight from a new perspective.

Pavement Primrose by Aidan Potts

©  Aidan Potts
One day three years ago, Aidan Potts spotted the wild poppies that grow haphazardly around Aix-en-Provence. "They were so full of life and vigour" says the 55 year old Londoner "growing in the lost unlikely places - halfway up a wall or on a traffic island in the middle of a motorway."
He's now painted various flowers in various "defiant locations which you can see on his website

His CV reveals he is very much an illustrator for the most part. he studied History of Art at University College; worked as an illustrator for the Times Educational Supplement every week for 16 years - and also for the Independent and the Sunday Times (one assumes he no longer works for them!). In the late 90s established a company to produce daily animated cartoons for the web editions for the Guardian, the Economist, The Electronic Telegraph, MSN and The BBC. Subsequently lived in Madrid and Aix for a few years each. Plus he has an Alter Ego, Professor Potts.

Third Prize (£1,000) : Mark Elsmore

Iron Mighty by Mark Elsmore
©   Mark Elsmore

Mark Elsmore won third prize to add to his impressive track record of 16 selections for the SWT and prizes. He won this competition in 2012 - see Mark Elsmore wins Sunday Times Watercolour 2012.

Mark was born in the Potteries area of North Staffordshire into a family which had worked in the Pottery Industry for five generations. He is self-taught and has been a professional artist for over two decades.

He is a member of the Wirral Society of Arts (2004) and was elected a member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists in 2007. He was elected a Member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) in 2018 (and about time too!) 

Pegasus Young Artist Prize (£500): Katherine Jackson

Drawing student Katherine Jackson has been awarded the Pegasus Young Artist Prize in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2019.  The prize comprises £250 cash plus £250 worth of art materials.

Self Portrait at Night by Katherine Jackson
©   Katherine Jackson
Katherine Jackson is about to start her third year of a BA Drawing course at Falmouth University - and seems to have a low profile on social media. Hence the following comes from a Falmouth University interview with her
"It's a lovely surprise to be chosen and to be part of the exhibition. I'm excited to see all the other work. I'm inspired by the process of drawing and painting from observation, particularly how looking closely can enable you to discover strange or unusual qualities in everyday things.
"I've recently moved and for my submission I wanted to paint myself in the room I've been using to make work in. It has odd little doors which make me feel outsized, and the walls seem to be a very different colour depending on the time of day - I'm always interested in how light can transform a space. I was drawn to paint myself in the room because it was unfamiliar, and I wanted to picture myself working there. Figures often feature in my work and I often find that I'm drawn into looking at a picture by returning a gaze from a drawn or painted face."

Is 2019 a return to the way it used to be?

I'm waiting for the exhibition this year to be a turning point 

I wasn't impressed with the way this competition has been going in the last two years.
I'm not sure the prizewinners are the paintings I would have chosen - they didn't wow me in any way - and I do like a prizewinner which rocks me on my heels!
...and then this year I didn't do a Call for Entries post.  Too disillusioned by it. Plus the prize money has been reduced compared to the past.

HOWEVER it seems to me that it's just possible that comments made in the recent past by me and a number of others about the decided drift in this competition have been recognised - and maybe been addressed in this year's selection of paintings - some of which can be seen on the website
  • I'm seeing a number of artists' names that I recognise 
  • the number selected this year has increased 
  • those images which have been published on the website suggest that it's moving back towards the way it used to be eg much more 'proper' watercolour and much less acrylic.
I'll wait to see the exhibition on Monday to draw my proper conclusions

The judges were 3 artists and 2 Art Gallery Directors
  • Sophie Charalambous (artist and last year's winner) 
  • Simon Martin, Director of the Pallant House Gallery - which indicates it is a leading UK museum that stimulates new ways of thinking about Modern British art.
  • Barbara Nicholls, Artist 
  • Helen Waters, Director of the Cristea Roberts Gallery - which leans strongly towards contemporary art of the abstracted variety
  • Louis Wise - Sunday Times Critic (but of Arts and just about everything but art!)

Exhibitions at...

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Exhibition will be shown at:
  • The Mall Galleries - Main Gallery - on The Mall in London.
  • Dates: 17 September 2019 to22 September 2019
  • Admission: Free
  • Trowbridge in October - November (2019
  • Guildford in November 2019 - January 2020
Maybe the organisers could stretch to allowing the exhibition to travel north so it becomes rather less of a Southern England only exhibition?

Selected Artists

I recognise a lot of the names. I'll be trying to match names to websites and profiles today (but will publish this post first - so that will involve updates)

I also note that the exhibition is much bigger than last year when only 80 paintings were chosen - and I think I remember pointing out that it had stopped being the premier open competition for watercolour since the open entry for the annual exhibition by the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours drew bigger numbers! That's still the case - 162 paintings by non-members were exhibited by the RI in 2019.

I'm not seeing any indication of the number of entries - I wonder why....


  • This year, the ONLY people who have links (in their name) are the artists who have their own website. Profiles may contain bio details from other sites.
    • Those who get a proper profile are those who know how to write about themselves in an accessible way - using simple words and avoiding long sentences. If I need to think for more than 10 seconds I move on....
    • 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. (if obvious quickly from their website only!)
    • The selected artists are listed below in alphabetical order by surname

The 90 artists whose paintings have been selected for exhibition are:

  • Sally Barton worked as an illustrator, visualiser and storyboard artist for over twenty-five years, originally based in London and now near Canterbury in Kent. Exhibited in London (Mall Galleries, Anise Gallery, Menier Gallery, Association of Illustrators) as well as nationally, painting in both watercolour and oils.
  • Diana Boanas - an award winning ,virtually self taught artist, returning to painting following a full time teaching career based in Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire ,England.
  • Yik Chung BoonA painter/thinker with a Masters in Architecture - RIBA President's Bronze Medal 2015 - RIBA AHR Stephen Williams Scholar 2017
  • Michael Borozdin-Bidnell
  • Day Bowman - graduate of Chelsea School of Art and London University, is a painter whose work lies on the axis of figuration and abstraction. 
  • Julian Bray a commercial painter who specialises in making images in a wide range of styles. I enjoyed his entry last year
  • Judith Brown
  • Steve Caldwell
  • Olga Cannon-Brookes - a "vedute artist" who primarily specialises in painting detailed architectural views: town scenes, exteriors and interiors of buildings.
  • Miss Christian
  • Jonathan Christie
  • Josephine Clouting
  • Lottie Cole - Foundation Course at Wimbledon Art School; MA degree in Art History from St Andrews University; worked for almost a decade at the London Library. Was in STW 2018.
  • Adrian Coleman - a British-born American painter living in London. Trained in art and architecture, he makes large-scale watercolors that address urban disjunction. 
  • Richard P Cook
  • Gary Cook lives and works in Dorset. Paints trees and Antarctica. His work was awarded 'Best in Show' at the SGFA Draw 18 exhibition. Has with the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour (RI), The Arborealists and the RWA in Bristol. He is The Ecologist's Arts Editor and a member of the Society of Graphic Fine Arts. He graduated from Bournemouth in 1987 and was made a fellow of the university in 1999. He is an environmental painter creating watercolour montages. His Twitter notes that he is an Arts Ed exSunday Times artist
  • Barry Cooper - exhibits at art fairs as well as in galleries
  • James Cowan - a painter and printmaker who works mostly in the medium of oil, watercolour
    and etching. Studied at Chelsea School of Art; B.A.(Hons) 1st Class and an M.A. in Fine Art.
  • Vicky Dale - born in Grimsby during a power cut. 
Her work has gathered international indifference and comparisons with many great and mediocre artists of her time. The Turner Prize, Young Artist Award and BP Portrait Award are just some of the accolades Vicky has enjoyed reading about.
  • Leo Davey - First Prize Winner; selected in 2012, 13, 14 and 17; won the Smith and Williamson Cityscape prize in 2015.
  • Adam De Ville

  • Frances Edmonds - Painter who lives in London and works on Fish Island E3
  • Richard Elliott
  • Robert Ellis
  • Mark Elsmore - 3rd Prizewinner and previous winner (Twitter; Facebook Page)
  • Mark Entwisle
  • David Firmstone
  • Stephanie Forrest
  • Maddie Fox
  • Nikki Gardham
  • Jeremy Gardiner
  • Anne Goldberg
  • Nicola Gregory
  • David Henderson
  • Mary Herbert
  • Emma Louise Hollaway
  • Yellon Ran Huang
  • Katherine Jackson - Young Artist Prize
  • Martin Jacobs
  • Eliza John
  • James Kingston
  • Stewart
  • Rebecca Kunzi
  • John Lambie
  • Sara Lee
  • Zi Ling
  • James Lloyd
  • Juliette Losq
  • Anne Lynch Arws
  • Ian Macleod
  • Rachel Magdeburg
  • Charles Magee
  • Lucy Marks
  • Christine Mckechnie
  • Robert Mckenzie
  • Nicholas Mcleod
  • Janet Milner
  • Sarah Mitchener

  • Alan Parker
  • Jordan Peers
  • Aidan Potts - 2nd Prizewinner
  • Peter Quinn
  • Melanie Rose
  • Patricia Rozental

  • Atsuko Saito
  • Jennifer Samuel-Bryan
  • Linda Saul
  • Christopher Sawtell
  • Graham Sendall
  • Patrick Shart
  • Yimiao Shih
  • Claire Sparkes Ri
  • Peter Sulo
  • Gideon Summerfield

  • Hugh Taylor
  • Mimei Thompson
  • Julia Trickey GM (2006, 2008, 2012, 2013) SBA, ASBA - A four times RHS Gold Medal winning botanical artist who has also won a number of other prestigious international prizes. Works in watercolour and lives and tutors near Bath. She's a Fellow of the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society, the Society of Botanical Artists and the American Society of Botanical Artists. Won the Bates Award for Excellence at the ASBA 19th Annual International Exhibition. Her artwork has also been commissioned for Royal Mail stamps. ​ (Facebook Page)
Vintage amaryllis bulb by Julia Trickey
  • Stephanie Tuckwell - Foundation course at Goldsmith’s College followed by BA (Hons) Textiles at University of London, Goldsmith’s College and UWE Bristol, Multi-Disciplinary Printmaking (Distinction); regularly exhibits in watercolour exhibitions
  • Jessica Voke
  • Laurence Wallace
  • Christopher Wallbank
  • Kim Whitby
  • Jessie Woodgate
  • Gertie Young

Other Exhibitions on view next week

Other exhibitions in the Mall Galleries at the same time are:

Ana Schmidt: City of Shards 

17 September 2019 to 22 September 2019 
This is the exhibition she got as one of the awards for winning the Threadneedle Prize 2018. I'm guessing this exhibition will be in the Threadneedle Space and I for one am very much looking forward to it. See her winning painting in Ana Schmidt wins Threadneedle Prize 2018 and read my Review: The Columbia Threadneedle Prize 10th Exhibition
    Realist artist and urban planning architect Ana Schmidt became the tenth winner of The Columbia Threadneedle Prize for Figurative Art Today in February 2018, receiving £20,000 and an exhibition at Mall Galleries.

the British Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition 

17 September 2019 to 22 September 2019 10am to 5pm (closes 1pm on final day) 
These are photos take by the UK’s best nature photographer - and I'm guessing it will be in the North Galleries
The British Wildlife Photography Awards is the leading competition for British Wildlife Photography, attracting the UK’s best nature photographers. It is open to all ages and supported by the charities, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, Buglife and WWF.
The winners will be listed on the British Wildlife Photography Awards website as follows