Now in its 27th year, The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is the largest and most prestigious prize for contemporary watercolour painting in the UK. Generously sponsored by Smith & Williamson, the accountancy and investment management group, the competition aims to celebrate and reward excellence and originality in the medium of watercolour. It is an opportunity for artists across the UK to redefine and celebrate watercolour and water-based media.
This year’s panel of leading figures from the art world consists of Sarah Armstrong Jones, artist; Ben Ravenscroft, artist; Desmond Shawe-Taylor CVO, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures; and Louis Wise, critic and writer, The Sunday Times. They have selected 93 works by 73 artists from across the UK, which reflect the true breadth and potential of the medium.
“Any artist working with watercolours knows from the outset that they will have precious little space in which to hide. There will be no digital manipulation or tidying up in the editing suit, no burying of mistakes in layers of paint, scraping back and making good, rubbing out or handing over to an assistant. What goes down stays down as an honest and revealing stain, which means that watercolour is at its best, a medium that requires and expresses alertness. It is this that I treasure and what makes me want to look at it. I know that when I'm looking at good watercolour that the artist was truly awake, actually there and that something has happened.” Ben Ravenscroft, 2014.
The Competition offers a generous total prize fund of £18,000, including a First Prize of £10,000, Second Prize of £6,000, and the Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize of £1,500. The Prize winners will be announced in the Sunday Times in August.
The works will be displayed at the Mall Galleries, London from 15 – 20 September 2014, followed by the Smith & Williamson tour to venues throughout the UK, including Guildford House Gallery, Guildford from 14 November – 3 December 2014.
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