Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours | 211th Exhibition Award Winners

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Royal Institute of Painters of Water Colours 

Meet the award winners at the RI 211th Exhibition - congratulations to all!


  • The Winsor & Newton Award

A prize of £3,000

Julie Green, High Summer: Dappled Shade, 32 x 32 cm (43 x 43 cm framed)

"The piece explores the beauty of dappled shade, somewhere you will often find me during the summer months. I was particularly interested in conveying the dancing pockets of light, the hard and soft edges of emerging shapes, constantly shifting before disappearing. Exploring fresh ways to develop and push work excites me. Using a series of circles distills the subject down to a collection of interesting marks and shapes, perfectly capturing that sense of a series of fleeting moments in an abstracted form. The whole process was extremely mediative which I hope translates into the work." - Julie Green 


  • The Winsor & Newton Product Prize

Nick Gear, Undercurrent (Lines of Thought), 45 x 45 cm (54 x 54 cm framed)

"A work inspired by an engagement with landscape through walking. Finding paths & routes through place and mind, journeying the imagination, stepping outside of time." - Nick Gear


  • The Leathersellers' Prize

Linqi Feng, Old Man, 51 x 36 cm (61 x 46 cm framed)


  • The James Fletcher-Watson RI Award & The Megan Fitzoliver Brush Award

David A Parfitt RI for Blue Summer, 36 x 43 cm (59 x 65 cm framed) & Dancing Leaves, 24 x 27 cm (47 x 48 cm framed)


  • The Baohong Artists' Watercolour Paper Prize for a Member

Steven Allan Griffiths RI, The Knowledge of Silence, 53 x 60 cm (83 x 89 cm framed)


  • The Baohong Artists' Watercolour Paper Prize for a Non-member

Darrell Warner, Crucifixion, 45 x 45 cm (60 x 60 cm framed)

"This series of avian watercolours came about as a result of the first lockdown and discovering deceased birds that had been struck by speeding vehicles through my home village in the rural Cotswolds. In a vain attempt to highlight man's effect on nature at a very local level I began to document those birds. Strangely gloomy now that much of our native birdlife is under threat from avian flu..." - Darrell Warner


  • The Cass Art Prize

Sue Bridge, Swimmer, Land, Sea, 29 x 42 cm (32 x 45 cm framed)

"I am a cold swimmer, I feel a connection to the landscape. I am showing how rocks, body and water are interconnected and the link strengthened in this activity." - Sue Bridge


  • The Chaoshan Watercolour Award

Harsh Agrawal, En Route, 56 x 38 cm (61 x 43 cm framed)


  • The Dry Red Press Award

Sian Thomas, To The Point, 20 x 20 cm (33 x 33 cm framed)


  • The Escoda Barcelona Award

Samuel Dominiguez, Andes with Plants, 45 x 61 cm (46 x 62 cm framed)

"This piece was inspired by my Chilean background, by using the Andes landscape with some native plants from South America, as well as including a 'plant support structure' used for gardening and horticulture." - Samuel Dominquez


  • The Frank Herring Easel Award

Gary Cook RI, Antarctica: Cold but Warm, 0 x 78 cm (72 x 89 cm framed)

"A view of the becalmed bay near Port Lockroy, inspired by my trip to the frozen Antarctic Peninsula in 2017. A page from my sketchbook while I was there is included, as well as species I saw are written into the background of the painting. To me it felt so cold when I was sketching. I wore two pairs of gloves and took one off to scribble in fingerless cycling gloves, but could only manage a couple of minutes before I had to put both layers back on because of the cold. Sadly, and shamefully, the Peninsula, like its northern cousin the Arctic, is warming at a faster rate than the rest of our heating planet. It is 6 degrees warmer now compared to 1950." - Gary Cook RI


  • The Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award

Karen Mai, Fruitful Thinking, 41 x 31 cm (51 x 41 cm framed)


  • The Debra Manifold RI Memorial Award

Brian Robinson, for his group of works | Last Chapter, 42 x 47 cm (61 x 66 cm framed)


  • The Richard Plincke RI Prize for Colour

Ian Cook RI, Figure 5, 38 x 24 cm (68 x 55 cm framed)


  • The President's Choice Award

Jenny Ross, Dreams of Earth, 25 x 25 cm (40 x 39 cm framed)


  • The John Purcell Paper Prize

Marco Fazzini, Rolling Down, 10 x 15 cm (25 x 31 cm framed)


  • The Schmincke Prize

Nuria Riera, Cabinet, 22 x 32 cm (31 x 43 cm framed)

"The interior of a cabinet full of porcelain items. I find porcelain a very fascinating material. These objects are usually hidden behind the cabinet doors, which is why I thought they deserved to be painted. The beauty in everyday things." - Nuria Riera


  • The Michael Harding Award

Brian Smith RI, Rendezvous, 34 x 52 cm (52 x 70 cm framed)

"This painting was inspired by a family reunion in a local restaurant which created a lovely informal atmosphere amongst the other diners whilst the service staff were in control of this busy weekend." - Brian Smith

Explore the RI Exhibition


Artist Spotlight: Ann Blockley RI

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The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours Annual Exhibition opens Thursday 30 March and runs until Saturday 8 April.

You can already browse and buy the works online, but we hope you are also able to visit us in person! The show features over 400 of the finest contemporary water-based media paintings, and amongst them you will find a selection of works by Ann Blockley RI. We spoke to Ann about her beautifully mesmerising nature-inspired work.

Q&A with Ann Blockley RI:

Ann Blockley at work in her wild garden.

Your paintings are extremely atmospheric and immersive, with the viewer being transported to other realms. Are you able to describe some of the experimental painting techniques you use to achieve this?

I use a wide range of techniques in my work. These are done to achieve certain textures or marks that echo my chosen idea or emphasise the atmosphere. They might also be used to abstract and fragment prosaic reality into something enigmatic. These techniques are more about the ‘why’ rather than the ‘how’, but I like to use good quality craft tissue paper as one way to achieve fractured paint effects.

Ann Blockley: 'Creativity Through Nature', 'Poetic Woods' and 'Watercolour Workshop' Batsford Books

My book, ‘Creativity Through Nature - Foraged, Recycled and Natural Mixed Media Art’ (Batsford) has a chapter about exploring alternative materials to reduce the use of plastic and I found that thin tissue paper worked as a substitute for cling film. I place it in a crumpled way onto wet paint and leave it to almost dry. The bonus is that often the paint effects transferred on to the thin tissue paper are interesting in themselves. These can then be recycled by sticking pieces back onto the dry painting as collage, building up layers of texture and used, like paint, to alter the composition or design. 

Another favourite technique is to forage natural materials, such as ferns, leaves or tangled hedgerow debris from the place that I am immersed in. I imprint marks within the fluid mediums and create a link between my imaginative painted interpretation and the real version.

What are your favourite materials, mediums and experimental tools to work with?

I am continually exploring and experimenting, so my favourites are also constantly changing. Generally, I love combining acrylic inks with watercolour but I also use opaque mediums like gouache. I am not a traditional watercolourist. Anything goes if it feels and looks right.

Granulation Medium close up from The Night Tree Echoes, Ann Blockley, £625

Granulation Medium is a fun way to add texture but I think it is important not to get too addicted to any one particular idea. I also like using the end of my brush rather than the fluffy bit to drag paint around or a twig if I am in the woods!

Nature is central to your work with trees in particular having a strong and powerful presence. Are you able to talk about your relationship with nature and the way it inspires your artistic practice?

Nature is everything. I love the way it inspires and feeds our emotions. In my ‘Creativity though Nature’ book, the undercurrent theme is exploring how an immersion in nature can help release you from artist’s block. This has certainly worked for me in tough times. Writing the book even led me to moving house to a wilder location within a six acre, ‘lost garden’ nature reserve. It is filled with trees, ponds, and streams. We share it with hooting owls, dazzling damsel flies and a visiting heron and moorhen. It is close to Dartmoor and coastal walks which inspired some of the paintings in the RI exhibition.

Ann's Photograph in Dartmoor that has inspired her paintings such as 'Frosty Moonlit Tree'.

Have any of the pieces of work featured within the RI Annual Exhibition got a specific story behind them that you are able to share or do they draw direct inspiration from any landscpaes or places you have visited?

Coastal Hawthorn’ was seen on a coastal walk near my studio on a wild, exciting day. The bracken was sunlit to a rich orange/red and the sea behind was an uplifting blue. I had no materials with me but gathered some broken twigs and pieces of old bracken to use as tools in the studio to keep a connection with the scene. 

I took a large piece of watercolour paper and, impatient with convention, threw water at it, squeezing paint directly from the tube. I used my hands to smear the paint, sometimes scrubbing with the bracken, or scratching with the twigs. I wanted to prolong the energy of my walk and subject and transfer this into the painting. It will be featured in my new book ‘Poetic Woods- experimental watercolour and collage’ to be published by Batsford in September 2023. ‘Ghostly Copse’ in this year’s RI exhibition will also feature in the book.

Ann Blockley, Coastal Hawthorn, 52 x 65cm, £2,250

In ‘The Night Tree Echoes’ the rich and magical atmosphere of where we live, especially at dusk with bats and rooks flying over the trees, has permeated into this abstracted scene.

Frosty Moonlit Tree’ was inspired by a walk on Dartmoor. It was frosty and everything was highlighted or edged with white. The finished work is not a direct representation of the real scene because it took on a magical life of its own as it developed, but there are strong memories of a particular moment woven into the interpretation.

As a member of the RI, are you able to share what this membership means to you and how this community has benefited you?

My father became a member of the RI in about 1966 when I was a child. My parents’ excitement was contagious. This was clearly a momentous event! It became my ambition to be elected as a member myself. It is wonderful to be part of a community of like-minded artists who share a passion. It has boosted my confidence as an artist but also given me the opportunity to reach out and meet other aspiring painters.

How did your father, John Blockley, inspire you and did he encourage you to pursue the arts?

My father was completely obsessed with his own painting and I think I was an adult before he realised that I was ‘good at art’! I remember an article he wrote for The Artist Magazine about the challenge of capturing the fragility of a dandelion clock and it became my ambition to see if I could do this in my own way. Whilst he was painting the wide views of a mountain, my mother and I went hiking, looking at the closer view of mountain mosses and ferns beneath our feet. These walks informed my interest in natural history. She was as much an inspiration as my famous father. In 2000 my dad suggested that I submit work into the RI and they were accepted! It was a few years later that I became a member.

Ann Blockley, Scarlet Moorland Thorn, 45 x 35cm, £950

What is your favourite thing about the RI exhibition and is there anyone's work in particular that you are excited about seeing in the show?

I think it is the variety of work in the RI that I like - anything from highly detailed to abstract work. Personally, I am always drawn to work that has elements of the magical; particularly nature painted in expressive, imaginative, or painterly ways. Naomi Tydeman’s work is always beautiful. I am keen to see the work of Teresa Lawler, who combines nature with the man-made using unusual colours and light. They are like theatrical, contemporary fairy tales.

Having work by non-members included in the exhibition keeps it fresh and lively. I am drawn to Julie Collins’ other- worldly figures in ethereal landscapes and I really love Hannah Goodman’s selectively abstracted, subtly coloured watercolour landscapes. There are lots of others too that I like and I am really looking forward to the Private View!


Find Ann’s work amongst over 400 incredible paintings in the RI preview online now.

View the RI Online

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Ann Blockley Coastal Hawthorn

Q&A with Chris Myers, RI President


This year’s Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours Annual Exhibition is now available to view online. It will open in the gallery Thursday 30 March and is on until Saturday 8 April. 

The exhibition showcases the work of many of the UK’s established painters, alongside new and emerging talent who are working in watercolour, acrylic, ink, and gouache. 

We spoke to Chris Myers, the newly elected President of the RI about the exhibition, his involvement in the society, and about his work more broadly. We hope you enjoy learning more and are able to visit us at the gallery to see the RI Annual Exhibition.

Q&A with Chris Myers:

What is your artistic background and your history with the RI?                                                                

After doing a foundation course at Maidstone College of Art, I remained there to do a three year graphic design course. A lot of my work leaned towards illustration and photography rather than pure technical graphics and typography. During my foundation course I was taught the fundamentals of observation and drawing by the sadly missed Fred Cuming who was teaching part-time at the College at that time.

I then worked as a joint partner in a graphic design company specialising in packaging and print graphics. I started using watercolour originally as a means of colouring line drawings for illustration work for the advertising industry. Watercolours and gouache were convenient because they were compact, portable and dried quickly which helped with short deadlines for illustration work going to print. 

I started creating paintings in their own right in the late 80s. I entered two watercolours in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition. Both were accepted and one sold and I thought perhaps this is easy……I continued to get work accepted, but I was wrong in that assumption. 

Apart from the Sunday Times competition I entered the Royal Watercolour Society, the Royal Society of British Artists and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours Open Calls at Mall Galleries. In the beginning I concentrated more on the RWS but after a few years it seemed that my style suited the RI more.

During the early 2000s, I had quite a few paintings accepted by the RBA and was encouraged to apply for Membership, which I did, and was elected  in 2006. Shortly after that I joined the Council. As I saw myself as a watercolourist primarily, I wanted to be accepted into a watercolour society and so after a few more years of submitting work to RI Exhibitions, I was eventually accepted for Membership of the RI in 2009.

Ballerine Sur La Dives, Chris Myers RBA PRI, 30 x 21cm, £750

What have been the benefits of being a member of the RI?

It’s about community. Painting can be a solitary occupation so it is very satisfying to have your work appreciated and approved of by your peer group and like minded people who share the same enthusiasm for watercolours. As well as this, the history and tradition of the RI is extremely important to me.

What does it mean to you to be elected as the RI’s president?            

I didn’t have a lifelong ambition to become the President of the RI, or any institution if I’m honest. I joined the RI Council in 2017, shortly after the sad death of Andy Wood. Andy and I were fellow members of the RI and the RBA. He had asked me a number of times to join the RI Council but at the time I was a member of the RBA Council which I felt was sufficient. Then after Andy died and the Vice President Rosa Sepple stepped in as President, I felt that there was a contribution that I could make, and in respect of Andy’s wishes felt that I should offer my services.

How was the selection process for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 211th Exhibition?

We received over 1,600 submissions from non-members, and we have chosen just over 200 paintings. Once again we have been able to follow the inclusive tradition on which the RI was originally founded, and present an Exhibition consisting of an approximately 50/50 split of Members’ and non-members’ work hanging alongside each other. 

Our Selection Committee try to be as diverse in their selection as possible in order to show the widest range of work from both established watercolorists as well as young and emerging artists working in water based media.

The Glory of the Summer Show, Chris Myers RBA PRI, 30 x 100cm, £2,750

What can collectors and art buyers, as well as lovers of art, expect from the RI exhibition?                                                                 

The RI is an opportunity not to be missed mainly for the diversity that I have just referred to, and the unique opportunity to see and hopefully buy some beautiful work from a very wide range of styles and genres. Purchasing work is an extremely simple process and of course now all the work can be accessed via the ‘browse and buy’ feature of the online version of the RI Exhibition. The online version of our 211th Exhibition is available now.

Where do you see the future of the RI and as the new president, do you have any upcoming plans for the society?                                                                    

As President, I would like to make a contribution in the endeavour to keep the profile of the process of watercolour painting present and significant in our current time where the huge and easy accessibility to visual media of all kinds may seem to threaten to engulf many traditional mediums. The RI Council and I have plans in place to improve our online presence in order to hopefully achieve this. We hope that the immediacy and spontaneity of watercolour will continue to appeal to the new and emerging artists who we continue to meet each year.

More about Chris' Art:

Chris Myers in his studio.

Where does your inspiration come from and what is your process?

My inspiration comes from all over; places I’m in, people I’m with, music I’m listening to. I don’t really ‘set myself up’ for a painting, but will usually be inspired while I’m doing something else, often not related to painting at all. But I’m always waiting for something to happen or arrive.    

After producing storyboards for the advertising industry for years I am very aware of the camera’s limitations and the danger of relying too much on the rigidity of a reference photograph. I produce a rough sketch before a painting as this reveals what not to include in the composition. I have a tendency to put too much into a painting, so ‘less is more’ is a good mantra to follow.

I have not engaged with ‘Plein air’ much in my career but have recently been lured out of my studio by members of the Wapping Group which I found enjoyable and daunting in equal measure. I much admire many of our RI Members who do paint en plein air such as Roger Dellar, Brian Smith and Brendan Smith.

Classic cars are a big feature in your work, are these your favourite things to paint?                                                                 

Classic cars are one of my favourite subjects although these paintings often include people too as it’s the atmosphere that I try to capture. These cars, although beautiful objects in their own right, are enhanced by the enthusiasts who own, fettle and drive them.              

I have been given a slightly ‘tongue in cheek’ title as ‘Artist in Residence’ at Benjafield’s Racing Club, by a good friend of mine who introduced me to this world of noise, fumes and enthusiasm in the first place. Benjafield’s doesn’t really have a ‘residence’ in terms of a building but does reside in the heart and minds of its Members who endeavour to preserve the spirit of the original Bentley Boys who drove Bentley racing cars to victory in the 1920s. I have attended many of their racing events at Le Mans and Goodwood and at Ascari in Spain, and produced limited editions of posters for them.

Bright Phébus and the Horseless Carriage, Chris Myers RBA PRI, 42 x 42cm, £1,800

Can you talk more about your private commissions?

I enjoy doing commissions as they have a comfortable similarity to what I did as a freelance illustrator. It takes some of the struggle and decision making out of what to paint. You usually know exactly what your client wants, all you have to do is produce a painting that fulfils their expectations and which satisfies you as well. I am usually commissioned to paint Classic cars, people or portraits or the occasional music inspired subject. It’s a great way to get to know people as well.

Who are your biggest artistic inspirations?

Lots of artists have influenced me over the years, probably not all directly influencing the way I paint but perhaps in just the way their work ‘speaks’ to me.

This includes the watercolours of: John Singer Sargent, Russell Flint, Andrew Wyeth, Whistler, Thomas Moran, Turner, Winslow Homer, Frank Brangwyn, Leslie Worth and Peter Blake, the more illustrative work of Ernest Shepherd, Tom Browne (an RI Member), Mervyn Peake, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, Ralph Steadman and Milton Glaser, and the work of Edward Hopper, Egon Schiele, Norman Rockwell, Leyendecker, Wayne Thiebaud, and Hokusai (who produced some of his best work in his last 30 years which gives hope to us all) and the more provocative, Kyosai.

My surroundings also inspire me. I love my studio at the bottom of my garden at home in Frant! I’m also inspired when in my stone cottage in Normandy that my wife and I bought over 40 years ago. Music can also really assist my process. If I want to paint calmly in the morning: Debussy, if I’m running late I put Charlie Parker on. For all other purposes I particularly love Dylan, Steve Reich or Velvet Underground!


We hope you enjoyed learning more about Chris Myers, President of the RI, and feel inspired to see the exhibition in person, opening Thursday 30 March. You can already see and buy the selected works online.

View the RI Online

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Chris Myers, The Glory of the Summer Show

RI 210 Exhibition | Artist Q&A

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The RI 210th Exhibition is currently open at Mall Galleries! 

On Thursday 14 April, many exhibiting artists, including Members and Non-Members, received various Prizes and Awards.

We met some of the prize-winning artists who answered our questions. Watch our Artists Q&A to understand what it means to be part of the prestigious RI Exhibition!

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RI 210th Exhibition | Mall Galleries | Photo: Mark Sepple

The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours Prize-Winning Artists Encourage You to Submit Your Work!


The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours Call for Entries is now open! Enter your work for your chance of exhibiting at the RI’s 210th Annual Exhibition 2022, alongside members of the society.

The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours welcomes work in water-soluble mediums including watercolour, acrylic, ink or gouache painted on paper. There are over £7,500 worth of prizes and awards available to be won and we would love to encourage you to submit your work. 

Hannah Martin spoke to some of the prize winners from 2021, to gather some words of encouragement - we hope that reading about their experiences of submitting their works will inspire you to do the same, especially if you are an emerging artist and haven't submitted to an open call before. Be sure to also take a look at last year’s selected works.


Adam De Ville - The Dry Red Press Award Winner 2021

Adam De Ville Eighty Two Rounds, One Knock Out

Adam De Ville was the winner of The Dry Red Press Award for his painting ‘Eighty Two Rounds, One Knock Out’ which is part of a series of works that takes a rye look at the aging process. The painting was distributed country-wide as a greetings card, increasing Adam’s exposure and giving him a source of income. Adam was elated to win the Dry Red Press Award, saying ‘it’s great to be appreciated, and it was worth every anxiety!’

I asked Adam what he would say to someone who is unsure about submitting their work and he said: ‘Be brave, be bold, trust yourself. The panel of judges are as human as you are, artists like you are, and carry all the hopes and fears you do. Giving yourself something to aim for, a challenge, is exhilarating! If you don’t get in this time, it’s just someone’s opinion, and there’s always next time. If you do get in, it doesn’t get much better than showing with RI!’


Teresa Lawler RI - The Winsor & Newton Award Winner 2021

Teresa Lawler Haven 6 On the Edge of the City

The Winsor & Newton Award of £3000 was won by Teresa Lawler for her Group of Works including ‘Haven 6 On the Edge of the City’, and this year she was additionally thrilled to be accepted as a member of the RI. These works were part of a series exploring places of refuge. Teresa previously worked in set design adding to her knowledge of light and colour.

Teresa says: ‘I would very much encourage anyone who works in water based media to submit their work. One of the reasons that I submitted is because I admired the variety of work - from plein air landscapes to paintings that explore abstraction. It’s a really exciting mix, one that I am very proud to be part of!’  

Teresa added that it was great to have her work hung with other artists of such high calibre. She explains: ‘At a time when opportunities for artists are being reduced, the RI exhibition offers a great chance to gain exposure by showing work in the centre of London.’


Sarah Granville - The Baohong Artists’ Watercolour Paper Prize Winner 2021

Sarah Granville Plot 66

Plot 66 was painted by Sarah Granville during lockdown when she spent time painting structures she observed in allotments in West London. This yellow shed acted as a symbol of cheerful generosity and optimism during the dark time. For this painting, Sarah was awarded The Baohong Artists’ Watercolour Paper Prize, which she said was a real surprise and wonderfully affirming.

Sarah explains: ‘Open submission exhibitions are a great way to have your work seen by a broader audience. It is so worthwhile submitting- I would encourage all emerging artists to do so. Having work selected by a panel of artists and experts encourages a broad range of work, and it is a terrific opportunity to hang alongside members of the RI’.


Jack Haslam - President’s Choice Award Winner 2021

Jack Haslam Someone Everyone

Jack Haslam won the President’s Choice Award for his painting ‘Someone Everyone’, inspired by feelings of loneliness during lockdown but the figure is dreaming of making future plans. The prize money he received has helped Jack to fund future projects.

As a self taught artist with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Jack feels the submission process is very inclusive and fair, as the judging is solely based on the image with no CV or educational background information needed. Jack said the exhibition was a wonderful experience; ‘it made my family and friends very proud and gave me the self esteem I really need as an artist with ASD’ proving to him that ‘everything is possible!’


Carol Ryder - The Cass Art Prize Winner 2021

Carol Ryder Gold Stripe 2021

Carol Ryder was awarded the Cass Art Prize for innovative use of colour, for her painting ‘Gold Stripe 2021’, a portrait of the artist Silvia Ziranek through which Carol captured Silvia’s colourful style, lively personality and quirky expression.

To someone who is unsure about submitting their work Carol says: ‘Do it!!! I had never submitted my work to any exhibition before, but during the pandemic I returned to painting for the first time in a long time. I didn't imagine for a minute that I stood a chance of being selected, but I submitted my entry in the spirit of the moment. When I read that I had won the Cass Art prize I was utterly astonished. It still hasn't really sunk in - that I actually won a prize at such a prestigious exhibition with my first ever entry to any art exhibition! Every now and again I remind myself, which encourages me to keep going. It has been brilliant for my self-esteem!’


Brendan Smith - The Schmincke Prize Winner 2021

Brendan Smith London Sunrise

The Schmincke Prize was won by Brendan Smith for his painting London Sunrise.  Through his landscapes, Brendan creates a sense of light and human involvement. Brendan has painted in watercolours for many years but didn’t think his work would be considered for inclusion in the RI Exhibition. He explained how he often visited the Mall Galleries and was in awe of the skills, but finally, he decided to enter his work and had his painting accepted the first time he entered! He said ‘while you may never feel 'ready' you have nothing to lose by entering sooner rather than later. You will never know how far you will get until you try!’

He added: ‘I was delighted to see my work hung beside many artists who I have admired for many years. The award of the Schmincke Prize was a completely unexpected bonus. I found it hard to believe that my work had been singled out among such a celebrated group of painters. This raised my profile and I have since received a number of invitations from art groups to do demonstrations and painting workshops, an activity which I hope to develop further!’


Kimberley Walker - The Frank Herring Easel Award Winner 2021


Kimberley Walker Out of the Blue

Out of the Blue by Kimberley Walker is inspired by life cycles. For this painting, Kimberley was awarded the Frank Herring Easel Award which she was shocked and delighted to win, adding ‘It had never occurred to me as a ‘first timer’ that this was even a possibility!’ As well as the versatile easel she won, Kimberley says the added prize was the boost it gave to her artistic confidence as it opened her eyes to new possibilities and boosted her motivation to keep working harder and to encourage others to join in!

Kimberley said exhibiting with the RI has been such a positive artistic experience explaining: ‘The opportunity to be part of such an amazingly diverse and imaginative exhibition and to be able to exhibit with the established quality of current RI Members at the same time as other artists of every age, nationality and endless unique styles, is a tantalising aspiration.’


Rika Newcombe - The Winsor & Newton Product Prize Winner 2021

Rika Newcombe Green Stylus

The Winsor and Newton product prize was won by Rika Newcombe for her painting ‘Green Stylus’, inspired by jasmine leaves she observed from her garden studio. With her prize, she bought ink, paints, brushes and paper which have allowed her to explore new ideas and make intriguing works. 

To encourage emerging artists, Rika says: ‘Go for it! There are always different types of works in the exhibition. Each year the selection panel is different. Every artist has a chance to be selected. The first time your work is accepted it’s very exciting!’


Louise Saward - The Chaoshan Watercolour Award Winner 2021

Louise Saward Scarborough Beach

Louise Saward won The Chaoshan Watercolour Award for the best classically inspired watercolour. Her painting 'Scarborough Beach' depicts her daughter building a sandcastle and captures the intensity and focus of a child playing. Louise says she only recently started painting again after having a 15 year break, so she was honoured to win the award. Since winning, she’s increased her followers on social media resulting in more commissions and sales, and as well as the prize money, she was given a much needed morale boost and a renewed sense of focus.

Lousie would like to say to anyone unsure about submitting: ‘Give it a go and apply for the exhibition even if you don't feel ready. It's an amazing opportunity to showcase your work and a great confidence boost to be accepted. I applied the year before, and I didn't get any paintings accepted but applied this year and managed to win an award so please don't give up!’


We hope you enjoyed reading about the experiences of last years’ prize winners, and feel spurred on to submit your own work to the open call! Find all the information you need about entering your work by following the link below:

Submit Your Work Now

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Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 209th Exhibition | Prizes & Awards Part Two


The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and Mall Galleries are delighted to announce the Prizes & Awards from the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 209th Exhibition. 

Congratulations to all artists who have been awarded prizes by our generous prize givers. 

The exhibition is open at Mall Galleries until Saturday 29 May. 

Book Tickets

If you cannot make the exhibition we hope that with videos, audio, images, and statements by the winners to watch, hear, see, and read, you can experience and enjoy their works wherever you are.

Artists in Part Two include:

Part One | Prize & Award Winners

Part Three | Prize & Award Winners

The Cass Art Prize

Carol Ryder

Gold Stripe 2021

A prize of £200 of art supplies from Cass Art, awarded to a work demonstrating the most innovative use of colour

This painting is a portrait of performance artist Sylvia Ziranek, who I met a couple of years ago. I have always been fascinated by expressions of personal style, and on that day, Sylvia was resplendent with magenta hair, cluster pearl earrings, a beaded bauble necklace, bright blue eyeliner and a gold stripe painted on her nose. I asked Sylvia if she would allow me to photograph her with a view to painting her portrait, and she was happy for me to do so.

During lockdown, in December last year, I was looking for inspiration for new work and remembered the photograph. I painted the portrait using Winsor and Newton watercolour inks, with the signature ‘gold stripe’ on Sylvia’s nose applied in imitation gold leaf.

I enjoy working with colour and decided not to use any black in the portrait, so the darker tones in the painting are built up with layers of colour.

I’m no photographer, and the source photograph was taken using my old iPhone 6, so the image I was working from was rather dark and the tones very flat. I decided that quite a bit of artistic license was needed to enhance the colour in Sylvia’s face. The colours in the painting are brighter, and the contrasts sharper, than in the original photograph.

In particular, I hoped to capture Sylvia’s lively personality and quirky expression in the portrait, as well as her colourful and idiosyncratic sartorial style.

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The Chaoshan Watercolour Award

Louise Saward

Scarborough Beach

£250 awarded by Chinese artist, Professor Li Xiaocheng, for the best classically inspired watercolour

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The Dry Red Press Award

Adam De Ville

Eighty Two Rounds, One Knock Out

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The Escoda Barcelona Award

Roger Dellar RI PS ROI

Hanging Out the Washing

A set of Escoda's finest brushes for an outstanding landscape painting

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The Megan Fitzoliver Brush Award

Ann Blockley RI


A trophy, named The Pipe Fish, awarded for a work that most inspires a connection with the natural world

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The Frank Herring Easel Award

Kimberley Walker

Out of the Blue

An easel presented for an outstanding work in the exhibition by Frank Herring & Sons

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Part One | Prize & Award Winners

Part Three | Prize & Award Winners

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Image credit

Kimberley Walker Out of the Blue

Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 209th Exhibition | Prizes & Awards Part Three


The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and Mall Galleries are delighted to announce the Prizes & Awards from the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 209th Exhibition. 

Congratulations to all artists who have been awarded prizes by our generous prize givers. 

The exhibition is open at Mall Galleries until Saturday 29 May. 

Book Tickets

If you cannot make the exhibition we hope that with videos, audio, images, and statements by the winners to watch, hear, see, and read, you can experience and enjoy their works wherever you are.

Artists in Part Three include:

Part One | Prize & Award Winners

Part Two | Prize & Award Winners

The Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award

Derek Robertson

There's No Place

A certificate of commendation for an outstanding work chosen by the art critic and broadcaster Anthony J Lester

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The Debra Manifold RI Memorial Award

Delia Cardnell RI


Presented by the Linda Blackstone Gallery, an award for the most innovative work in the exhibition

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The Richard Plincke RI Prize for Colour

Zi Ling RI

Dancer No.87

An award of £250 for creative use of colour

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The President's Choice Award

Jack Haslam

Someone Everyone

An award of £750 for the most deserving work in the exhibition, donated by a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) and judged by the President of the RI, Rosa Sepple

This is the second time I have had the pleasure of being selected to exhibit in the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours. During the lockdown, I have been doing more painting and looking through past drawings to inspire me. My selected work “Someone Everyone” was painted using watercolour, acrylic and gouache. I used a selection of images stored in my head and in my sketch books to create it. The woman, inspired by a painting of Mme Dufy, is daydreaming and enjoying the comfort of the large flower. She is thinking of the future and what it might look like for us all.

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The John Purcell Paper Prize

Iman Howard


Paper to the value of £100 awarded to a work chosen by John Purcell

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The Schmincke Prize

Brendan Smith

London Sunrise

A Horadam Aquarell Artists’ Watercolours set to an outstanding exhibitor.

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Part One | Prize & Award Winners

Part Two | Prize & Award Winners

Discover the whole exhibition

Image credit

Iman Howard Inside

Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 209th Exhibition | Prizes & Awards Part One


The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and Mall Galleries are delighted to announce the Prizes & Awards from the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 209th Exhibition. 

Congratulations to all artists who have been awarded prizes by our generous prize givers. 

The exhibition is open at Mall Galleries until Saturday 29 May. 

Book Tickets

If you cannot make the exhibition we hope that with videos, audio, images, and statements by the winners to watch, hear, see, and read, you can experience and enjoy their works wherever you are.

Artists in Part One include:

Part Two | Prize & Award Winners

Part Three | Prize & Award Winners

The Winsor & Newton Award (£3,000)

Teresa Lawler

Group of works

A cash prize of £3,000

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The Winsor & Newton Product Prize

Rika Newcombe

Green Stylus No.1

£1,000 worth of Winsor & Newton art materials

During the first lockdown in 2020, I started drawing new leaves of Jasmine, inspired by the view from my garden studio. I always try a lot of small sketches first and then place them in a grid structure, which became, in this case, “Green Stylus”.

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The Leathersellers' Prize

L.C. Cariou

Kew's Princess of Wales Conservatory

£1,000 awarded by The Worshipful Company of Leathersellers to an artist aged between 18 and 30 years old

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The James Fletcher-Watson RI Memorial Award

Brian Smith RI

Ernie's Beach

£500 for the best use of watercolour in the exhibition

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The Baohong Artists' Watercolour Paper Prize for a Member

Ian Sidaway RI

The Bow River

A Prize of £250

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The Baohong Artists' Watercolour Paper Prize for a Non-member

Sarah Granville

Plot 66

A Prize of £250

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Part Two | Prize & Award Winners

Part Three | Prize & Award Winners

Discover the whole exhibition

Image credit

Teresa Lawler Haven 6 On the Edge of the City

Juicy Pears in the RI Watercolours Annual Exhibition


Pears might be less populist than apples, but they have been immortalised in paint for thousands of years. They are considered symbols of longevity, abundance, good health, and happiness. As well as reminiscent of the female form and women’s fertility.

Can we read these symbols into the paintings of pears in the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 209th Exhibition?

Lillias August RI Two Fat Pears Watercolour, 19 x 33 cm (38 x 50 cm framed) £800

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Lillias describes this as “Two ripe pears leaning on each other” – they certainly look like old friends to me. ‘Two Fat Ladies’ enjoying each other’s company and support.

"Most of my still life paintings are set up in my studio with light from a window on my right. Although the subject matter is what inspires me, the backgrounds and shadows are some of the most important parts of the painting as they enhance and compliment the subject matter itself.  On the technical side, I nearly always start with the background and shadows, move on to the subject and then dance between the two, building up their relationship until I think it works and they are 'speaking to each other'." - Lillias August RI

Helen Davison Pears Watercolour & gouache, 38 x 28 cm (40 x 50 cm framed) £1,200

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Helen Davison’s Pears offers us four views of pears, some in pairs, some alone. They seem to work as a sort of storyboard – the new pear brought home from the Grocers, nestled in a paper bag, introduced to the others in the fruit bowl until she is eaten! But even then she seems to know how to show off her figure, using the brown paper bag like a feather boa.

Wayne Ford Autumn Glory Watercolour, 25 x 38 cm (47 x 60 cm framed) £1,400

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Wayne Ford’s Autumn Glory certainly speaks of abundance and fruitfulness. The bowl you took to gather pears from the tree wasn’t big enough, you wrapped some more in a cloth, but still you couldn’t carry all the tree had to offer. You put these down just inside the door as you grabbed a large basket to head back out.

Shirley Trevena RI Fruit & Flowers on a Cream Cloth Watercolour & graphite pencil, 41 x 41 cm (59 x 58 cm framed) £1,200

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Shirley Trevena RI has included pears in three of her Still Lifes. With jugs and vases of flowers, these pears, on their elevated fruit stands, seem to sing of abundance and harvest time pleasures.  

Shirley Trevena RI Kitchen Still Life Watercolour & graphite pencil, 38 x 35 cm (57 x 52 cm framed) £1,200

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Shirley Trevena RI Blue China & Green Apples Watercolour & graphite pencil, 30 x 36 cm (48 x 50 cm framed) £450

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Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 209th Exhibition runs 20 to 29 May

Discover the whole exhibition now

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Image credit

Wayne Ford, Autumn Glory (detail)

Rosa Sepple PRI | "It's One of Our Best In Recent Years”


Rosa Sepple PRI

"IT’S ONE OF OUR BEST IN RECENT YEARS” exclaimed Rosa Sepple, President of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI).

Mall Galleries opened their front doors on Tuesday 2 September for the first time since the outbreak of the Coronavirus with the 208th Exhibition of the RI. The show had been postponed from April this year.

Rosa says: "On behalf of myself, the RI Council, our members and all the exhibiting artists, I would like to thank Clare O’Brien, CEO and all the staff, especially Alistair Redgrift, Exhibitions Manager and Conor Murphy, Chief Technician and his team for hanging the exhibition.

Our thanks go to Winsor & Newton, The Leathersellers’ Company and all the sponsors for their continued support and all of the artists for submitting their wonderful works of art.

This is the largest exhibition of its kind in the world showing 444 paintings, 196 of which come from non-members. This year the RI has elected 3 new Members, George Butler, Juliette Losq and Brian Smith, whose works are also on display.

Submissions for 2021 will open later this year, with details announced on the Mall Galleries site and on the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours website soon.

Due to Covid-19 the gallery has introduced measures for your safety and comfort.

You will need to book a timed ticket for your visit via the Art Fund's Art Ticket Platform.

The exhibition continues until 12 September