International Contemporary Watercolour Competition 2017

Publish Date: Jan 03, 2017

Deadline: Jan 16, 2017

RWS Contemporary Watercolour Competition 2017

The Royal Watercolour Society's Contemporary Watercolour Competition is now open for submissions.

The Royal Watercolour Society’s annual competition is open to all artists except RWS Members. Entries must be submitted digitally via the website. Work made in any water-based medium on a paper support is eligible: this includes gouache, acrylic paint, ink or watercolour. A maximum of 6 paintings may be submitted for a fee of £14 per work with reductions on multiple submissions. Students are able to submit 3 works for a fee of £5. The Royal Watercolour Society wishes to encourage artists who have a strong personal vision and an innovative approach to watercolour.

To enter artists must complete the online entry form and upload images of up to 6 recent paintings to the Royal Watercolour Society’s website. These digital submissions are selected by a panel of judges whose decision is final. 


  • Any work in watercolour, acrylic, gouache, ink or any other water-based media
  • All work should be on a paper support (not canvas, wood, plastic or any other surface)
  • There are no limitations on style or subject matter
  • Framed works must not exceed 100 x 100cm
  • The painting must have been completed in the past four years
  • The work must have been made by the entrant
  • All wor must be for sale


£14 per entry


1 work  £14

2 works £28

3 works £37 (£5 discount)

4 works £46 (£10 discount)

5 works £55 (£15 discount)

6 works £59 (£25 discount)


£5 for up to 3 entries.

Please email with proof of student ID for your unique discount code.


Free entry.

Please email with your Friends card number for your unique free entry code.

The Judging Panel 

Sacha Craddock | Independent Art Critic, Writer & Curator

Piers Feetham | Gallerist, Piers Feetham Gallery, London

Thomas Plunkett | RWS President

Jill Leman | RWS Vice President

Peter Quinn | RWS Member Jane Lewis | RWS Associate Member

Royal Watercolour Society Prizes

David Gluck Memorial Award: £750 Cash Prize

David Gluck & RWS Award: £250 Cash Prize

Royal Watercolour Society Award: £500 Cash Prize

Royal Watercolour Society Exhibitions Award: Exhibit in RWS Spring and Autumn Exhibitions

Sponsored Prizes

The Royal Watercolour Society is delighted to have the support of renowned art industry specialists who are offering a range of prizes including art materials, studio time, publishing, exhibiting and cash prizes

RWS Publicity Prize: Your selected work on exhibition printed publicity material


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 work(s) with something special to say and with a personal point of view.  They are looking for artists with a clear style and identity in all the works that they submit rather than lots of different styles of painting.

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 pack, 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 our Members paint.

What sized painting is usually most often accepted?

Paintings of all sizes are welcome.  

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. 

If I am successful, can I send my work to Bankside Gallery Royal Mail, Fed Ex or similar?

No, we do not accept works from non-insured non-art couriers.  We realise this is a more expensive way of transporting your work but we want to reduce the risk of loss or damage to your work.

How can I send work to Bankside Gallery if I live outside of the UK?

We recommend sending your work (via an arts courier in your country) to either Picture Post ( / 01302 711011 or 07833450788) or Art Moves of Chelsea ( / 020 7352 7492)  who will deliver your work(s) on time on your behalf and make sure all the packaging is taken away.  You can also arrange collection of work with these companies. 

What if I cannot deliver or collect my work on the designated days?

You can either nominate a friend to deliver/collect the works for you (please inform Bankside Gallery of who this will be) or you can use one of the couriers above.  Works not delivered on time will not be hung and works not collected on time will be removed by Art Moves of Chelsea (see application pack for details).a

For more information click "Further official information" below.


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