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Royal Watercolour Society Open 2022

Royal Watercolour Society Open 2022 call for submissions- The Artists Print Room

The Royal Watercolour Society Open 2022 was formerly known as the Contemporary Watercolour Competition. It’s one of the largest open submission water-media exhibitions in the World.

Unless circumstances change, with regard to covid-related restrictions, the Royal Watercolour Society Open 2022 exhibition will be held at Bankside Gallery in London.

The Deadline for submission is 10th January 2022, 11.49pm (GMT).

Entry Eligibility
  • Must be aged 18 or over on Monday 11th October 2021.
  • Submissions are welcome from UK and International artists.
  • The submitted work must have been made by the applicant.
  • Any painting in watercolour, acrylic, gouache, ink, any other water-based media or a combination is eligible.
  • All work should be on a paper support i.e. paper, cardboard, etc (not canvas, wood, plastic or any other surface).
  • No prints, copies, reproductions or photographs are eligible.
  • There are no limitations on style or subject matter.
  • Framed works must not exceed 200 x 200cm.
  • The painting must have been completed sometime during the previous 4 years (2020, 2019, 2018, 2017).
  • All work must be for sale.
watercolour painting Primrose Hill by Perry Harris

©Perry Harris ‘Primrose Hill’ 2020 RWS Exhibition

How to Enter

Submit your work www.royalwatercoloursociety.co.uk

Artists may submit up to 6 paintings for a non-refundable fee:
1 work £15
2 works £30
3 works £38 (£7 discount)
4 works £47 (£13 discount)
5 works £56 (£19 discount)
6 works £65 (£25 discount)


Students in full time higher education can submit up to 6 works for £5 per entry (you will need to email a scan/photo of your student ID to [email protected] They will respond with a unique entry code) No further offers apply.

Watercolour Artist Friends

Watercolour Artist Friends can submit for free (email your name and postcode to [email protected] for your free entry code).

Cass Art Customers

Cass Art customers can submit up to 6 entries with a 10% discount on submission fees (please email proof of being a Cass Art customer to [email protected] This could be a photo of your receipt, plastic bag, tote bag, Cass Art products, selfie of you in the shop, etc. They will respond with a unique entry code. No further offers apply.)

Image Specifications
  • Submitted digital image files should not exceed 5MB (minimum 1MB) and be saved as a JPEG.
  • Each image submitted requires a title, frame dimensions, medium and price.
landscape painting by caroline raatikainen ward - february finland 2019

©Caroline Raatikainen Ward ‘February Finland 2019’ 2020 RWS Exhibition

Things to Consider
  • You will need a digital image file of your painting(s) for the Royal Watercolour Society Open 2022. Remember you will be judged first and foremost on your digital image file, so ensure it is a good quality image. Make sure it is an image file of only your painting, unframed and evenly lit. Also make sure the image is in focus, cropped correctly and straight. Check the brightness of your screen when viewing your image. If it is too bright, you might actually have a dark image and if the brightness is low, your actual image will look overly bright. You want to assess your image and make adjustments based on a reasonable screen brightness.
  • You will need an email address to enter the competition. All correspondence will be by email.
  • Pricing your paintings – the gallery charges 40% +VAT commission, so include this when working out your selling price.
  • Allow plenty of time if you’re applying for any of the entry discounts. It may take time to receive the discount code and check your junk/spam email for replies.
  • Do not rush filling in the forms or reading the terms and conditions of entry.
  • You will need to transport your painting(s) to the gallery in London and take away all your packaging upon delivery. You will need to do this on a specific day (specified by the RWS) or you will need to organise an art courier company to do this for you.
  • Consider whether you need to insure your painting(s). There is a good exhibition insurance policy available to SAA members. It is worth considering being a member of the SAA (Society for All Artists) if you intend to exhibit a lot in a year.
Important Dates for Royal Watercolour Society Open 2022

Monday 10th January | Deadline for submissions (11.59pm)
Monday 31st January | Successful applicants announced
Monday 28th February | Delivery of selected work to Bankside Gallery (11am – 5pm)
Thursday 3rd March | Exhibition Private View (tbc) and awarding of prizes, By Invitation Only
Friday 4th – Sunday 20th March | Exhibition of successful entries at Bankside Gallery
Monday 21st March | Collection of unsold works from Bankside Gallery (11am – 5pm)

Successful entrants will be contacted by email on or before Monday 31st January 2022. So make sure to check your Junk/Spam emails if you haven’t heard by 31st January 2022.

Learn more about the RWS Open Competition

Plant painting White Lobelia Black Wall by Aidan Potts

©Aidan Potts ‘White Lobelia Black Wall’ 2020 RWS Exhibition

Pricing Your Paintings

Many artists struggle to put a price on their art. Therefore consider the following when pricing your artworks, to ensure you cover all your costs and make a profit :

Material costs and time taken to create painting
Framing costs
Submission fee
Travel or courier costs if selected
Gallery 40% +VAT Commission

Working out Commission:

for example painting priced at £600
40% Commission on £600 is £240
20% Vat on Commission is £48
So from a sale of £600 the gallery deducts £240 plus £48 (£288) in commission, leaving the artist with £312.

Preparation and Delivery of Selected Works
  • Poorly presented paintings or works that differ significantly from the photograph that was entered will not be accepted.
  • Framed paintings must not exceed 200cm x 200cm.
  • For your work to be insured against theft under Bankside Gallery insurance, your paintings must be framed, glazed and fitted with mirror plates. Other display options are welcomed but these are displayed works at your own risk.
  • If you chose alternative display options you must also ensure that your works can be safely stored and you must provide a safe and secure way in which they can be wrapped and protected if sold.  You must also provide clear instructions on the hanging of your work.
  • Framed paintings must be supplied with mirror-plates screwed to each side of the frame with a pair of screws. Bubble wrap or card wrapped around the mirror-plates should prevent damage during transit.
  • You will receive labels via email for your works.  Please fill out the information with the details of your work and fix one to the front and one to the back of your work with magic tape.  Please make sure the label on the front can be easily removed without leaving residue on the glass.
  • The paintings remain at all times the liability of the artist.  While every care will be taken when handling paintings, neither the Gallery or the RWS accept liability for any damage.  You may wish to insure your work against loss or damage while it is in transit or at the Gallery.
  • Framed paintings need to be delivered to Bankside Gallery on Monday 28th February between 11am – 5pm. Upon arrival you will be asked to un-wrap your painting(s) and take any packaging material away with you.
  • You can arrange for a representative or a professional art courier to deliver your paintings on Monday 28th February between 11am – 5pm. They must un-wrap your painting(s) and take away all packaging and sign a delivery sheet.
  • Only professional Art Couriers should be used. These are just a few:

Picture Post ([email protected] / 07833 450 788)
Art Moves of Chelsea ([email protected] / 020 7352 7492)
South Hams Express ([email protected] / 01803 551368 / 07502041139)

  • Work will not be accepted if delivered by Royal Mail, FedEx, DHL etc, or by taxi. If you live outside of the UK and would like submit work to the competition, please contact one of the above couriers directly beforehand so they can advise you on timings.
painting Rocky River Gorpley Clough Todmorten by David Wiseman

©David Wiseman ‘Rocky River, Gorpley Clough, Todmorten’ 2020 RWS Exhibition

Sales and Collection of Unsold Paintings
  • All paintings must be available for sale. The Gallery levies a commission of 40% + VAT on picture sales. You will be notified of sales by email shortly after they occur and will receive the balance due within six weeks of the end of the exhibition.
  • The copyright of all works remains vested in the artist, but the right is reserved for Bankside Gallery and/or the sponsors of the exhibition to reproduce any of the paintings in connection with the exhibition, and its publicity, free of charge.
  • Unsold paintings must be collected from Bankside Gallery on Monday 21st March between 11am- 5pm.
  • You may choose a representative or art courier company to collect unsold paintings for you. They will need to bring any packing material that is required.
Uncollected Paintings

Paintings left at the Gallery after 5pm on Monday 21st March will be removed by Art Moves of Chelsea. They can be contacted on 020 7352 7492 to arrange an appointment to collect work and pay their storage fee of £20 per work, for the first week (part or whole).  The cost increases by £5 per week.

landscape painting plunge_deeper_in_the_bowering_wood by Sue Side

©Sue Side “Plunge Deeper in the Bowering Wood’ 2020 RWS Exhibition

Giclée printing for prints of your Paintings

At The Artists Print Room we specialise in creating digital images files of your paintings and turning them into quality fine art giclée prints. It’s a great way to earn extra income from your art and may make your art more accessible to new collectors. We are a bespoke fine art printers, adapting and meeting the creative needs of artists. Please feel free to Get in touch we’re always happy to help.


Brit Pruiksma | Independent Curator & Founder of Mothflower
David Remfry RA RWS | Artist
Jill Leman PRWS | Artist and President of the Royal Watercolour Society
Wendy Jacob RWS | Artist
Chloe Fremantle ARWS | Artist

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.

The judges will be looking for ideas, competence and integrity – as long as the materials conform to those stipulated in the submission guidelines, 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.

There are no restrictions on subject matter.

Learn more about the RWS Open Competition

artwork by Juliette losq called labyrinth

©Juliette Losq ‘Labyrinth’ 2020 RWS Exhibition

Royal Watercolour Society Prizes

David Gluck Memorial Award | £1000 Cash Prize
RWS Award | £250 Cash Prize
RWS New Graduate Award* | £250 Cash Prize
RWS Young Artist Award** | Guest Membership to the RWS for 2 years to an artist under the age of 35, allowing the winner(s) to exhibit in all Society exhibitions at Bankside Gallery for this period
RWS Publicity Prize | Your selected work on exhibition publicity material
RWS Social Media Prize*** | Feature on @royalwatercoloursociety Instagram

Sponsored Prizes

These are industry specialists who are offering a range of prizes including art materials, studio time, publishing, exhibiting and cash prizes.

The Cass Art Solo Show Award | The opportunity for a solo exhibition of your work in one of the Art Spaces at Cass Art
The Artist Prize | Feature article in The Artist & Leisure Painter Magazine
Cotswold Mounts Prize | £125 cash
Daler Rowney Art Materials Prize | Two watercolour art materials bundles to the value of £800
Dry Red Press Prize | The opportunity to have your artwork published on a greetings card
The Heatherley’s Open Studio Prize | Five days worth of studio time at The Heatherley School of Fine Art
Insight School of Art Prize | £250 cash
Schmincke Prize | Three sets of Schmincke Horadam Supergranulating watercolours
Seawhite Art Materials Prize | Seawhite art materials
St Cuthbert’s Mill Paper Prize | £150 worth of paper
Winsor & Newton Prize | Art materials

*To qualify for the RWS New Graduate Award you must be a current student on an arts-related course in higher education, or a recent graduate of the same. If you are a graduate, your graduation date must be no earlier than 1st January 2017.
**To qualify for the RWS Young Artist Award you must be 35 or under on 11th October 2021.
***To qualify for the RWS Social Media Prize you must have your own Instagram account.




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