Category Archives: Annual Exhibition

Award Winning Artists at 136th Annual Exhibition

Eighteen awards were presented at the RSW 136th Annual Exhibition opening and here is our first selection of winners.


Wei Shu Xin, 22, won the £3000 Alexander Graham Munro Travel Award for the best painting submitted by an artist under 30 years old.  She was born in Hong Kong and is currently a postgraduate student at Glasgow School of Art.  She said “I am really happy that my work has being selected. Since I have a very strong interest in my motherland culture, I would like to investigate the differences in the western and eastern culture, as a way for better interpretation of my experience of the Chinese ideology.”  Her painting ‘Facing the City – Dream’ is a series of paintings based on a scene where her friend Alex closed his eyes and fell slightly asleep while sitting on a bench in a park next to a very busy street which inspired her to create the journey between the city, forest, reality and dream.

ir425134The £300 RSW Student Prize, selected from work by graduates during the Degree Shows in 2016 was won by Gray’s School of Art graduate Katie Watson, currently on a year residency at Leith School of Art.  Discussing her painting ‘Walled garden with wheelbarrow’ she said “I am fascinated by the abstract patterns and structures human beings impose on nature in order to control it and had been looking at some really old diagrams of early botanical and Baroque-style gardens.  This painting is loosely based on the early botanic garden of Leiden in the Netherlands. This type of garden was symbolically divided into quarters; each quarter represented a ‘corner’ or a continent of the Earth, and was filled with plants collected from these places.  These gardens are the result of human beings travelling far and becoming ‘masters’ of the Earth.”

ir425236-ann-rossThe City of Glasgow College Award was won by Edinburgh artist, Ann Ross RSW for her work ‘Aviary’ which will be purchased by the City of Glasgow College Art Foundation for the college collection.  Discussing the painting she said “I think people have enjoyed the company of birds throughout history for food and communication, but also for the beauty of their movement, song and colour. My aviary paintings are inspired by memories of various birds and their ‘houses’ – simple or elaborate shelters for garden birds or bright budgerigars and parrots, racing and fancy pigeons or beautiful pale doves. Some have been grandly designed as part of elegant gardens; others colourfully made with any material to hand. All an endless delight to view.”

ir424789Artist Chris Bushe RSW won the Walter Scott Award for his painting ‘White Tide, Pale Rocks, Saligo Bay’.  He said “The painting is of one of my favourite places on Islay, Saligo Bay. I have painted many different locations on the island since first visiting it ten years ago but I keep being drawn back to Saligo Bay. It is a westward facing bay where the Atlantic continually seems to pound in, crashing over almost otherworldly rocks no matter what the season.”

ir424968Sandi Anderson won the £1000 House for an Art Lover Award for her diptych ‘Hofsos Basalt 1&2’ which was made in her Icelandic studio during a residency in 2016.  She explains “The landscape is breath-taking around every bend.  Familiar – yet more dramatic than home. Something that always stopped me in my tracks was basalt. It is a mystery and a wonder. I spent hours seeking it out and staring at it. Wandering over it and photographing it. Drawing it and sighing at it. Out of all the basalt outcrops I stumbled across, the most unusual by far was a small black cluster on the shoreline at Hofsos, where the hexagonal columns had circular cores and this diptych is a response to its unusual characteristics.”


michael-clark-rsw-with-suzanne-hay-ruthven-gallery-and-his-award-winning-paintingMichael G Clark RSW won the new Ruthven Gallery Award presented by the gallery in Auchterarder. Talking about the painting, ‘Paris in the Rain’, he said “Paris has inspired me since I first visited as an art student in the 1980s. I prefer Paris in the Autumn or Winter when the trees are losing their leaves and you can see the buildings. The painting shows a fleeting moment – just a hint of a woman heading to a cafe…  Paris for me is life to be lived and watercolour is the perfect medium to hint at wet streets and moody skies.”

The 136th Annual Exhibition features work by over 120 leading and emerging artists from across Scotland and is open daily from 10am-5pm until 28 January 2017 at the Royal Scottish Academy Gallery, The Mound, Edinburgh and admission is free.


January Opening for 136th Annual Exhibition

Picture Copyright Chris Watt  Tel -  07887 554 193 Invited American artists Bruce Bobick (left) and Mark E Mehaffey AWS-DF NWS (right) in front of their work with RSW President Jim Dunbar

Artist Jim Dunbar, who was elected President of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour in October last year,  presented the awards at the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour 136th Annual Exhibition which recently opened at the Royal Scottish Academy Building in Edinburgh.

The exhibition is open until 28 January 2017 and features over 120 new paintings by both established and emerging artists from across Scotland with works by new graduates from the 2016 Degree Shows and invited American artists (pictured in front of their work with RSW President Jim Dunbar) Bruce Bobick (left) and Mark E Mehaffey AWS-DF NWS (right).

There is a free programme of events in the exhibition at weekends.  On Sat 21 January RSW artists Gregor Smith & Jim Dunbar will be explaining their methods and answering questions from 11-1pm, and Jim is also there from 2-4pm.  RSW artist Douglas Davies will be discussing his approach and techniques on 11-1pm.

136th RSW Winter Annual Exhibition
Upper Galleries, RSA Building
The Mound, Edinburgh
9 – 28 January 2017
Open daily 10am-5pm
Admission Free

Events During the RSW Exhibition

Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour 134th Annual Exhibition
Royal Scottish Academy Building, The Mound, Edinburgh.  Until 31 January 2015

Book Making and Book Binding Workshop with Marion Archibald
Sunday 25 January 2015

Whether you want to show your own art in another format or make sketchbooks from scratch, artists’ books offer lots of exciting possibilities.  Individual watercolours can be turned into beautiful book pages or used to create contemporary book covers.  Using shapes, folds and stitches, and combining text with interesting materials you can challenge the idea of what a book is and create works of art that don’t need to be framed and hung on walls.  Details about Marion and her bookbinding workshops at  Free event.  10 spaces available only.  Venue: Gallery II within the exhibition.

Book by visiting or calling the Sales Desk in the exhibition on 0131 624 6479.

0142 72Words on Canvas
Thursday 29 January 2015
5.15pm – 6.45pm

Enjoy an evening of poetry and prose inspired by the paintings in the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour 134th Annual Exhibition in the Royal Scottish Academy Building, The Mound, Edinburgh.

Travel from one gallery to another, meeting a new writer in each room who will read a poem or prose they have written inspired by one of the paintings in the room.  Meet 8 writers in 70 minutes and enjoy viewing the exhibition.  Tickets £5 include a glass of wine.

Book by visiting or calling the Sales Desk in the exhibition on 0131 624 6479 or send a cheque to RSW, 5 Oswald Street, Glasgow G1 4QR. 

133rd Annual Exhibition Opens in Edinburgh

Summer Flowers Dame Elizabeth Blackadder OBE RA RSA RSW RGI

Summer Flowers Dame Elizabeth Blackadder OBE RA RSA RSW RGI

The 133rd Annual Exhibition has opened at the Royal Scottish Academy Building in Edinburgh until 24 March 2013.  It features over 250 new paintings by over 170 leading and emerging artists from across Scotland including Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, Emma Davis, Will Maclean, Gordon Mitchell, Angus McEwan, Barbara Rae and new Honorary RSW Member Adrian Wiszniewski.

A selection of works from the exhibition can also be viewed online at during the exhibition dates.

The exhibition is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 12 to 5pm.  Admission is free.

2012 Annual Exhibition Celebrating Watercolour Painting

The 132nd Annual Exhibition by The Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour takes place at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh from 4 February until 1 March 2012.  A dynamic and colourful celebration of watercolour painting is features more than 180 paintings by over 130 established and emerging young artists from across Scotland.

132nd Annual Exhibition, The Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour

4 February – 1 March 2012

The Upper Galleries, The Royal Scottish Academy Building, The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL Tel:  0131 624 6550

Open daily 10am – 5pm Sun 12 – 5pm

Admission free

Extreme Watercolour

The triptych ‘Datum Marks on Blue’ by Glasgow based artist Tom McKendrick RSW RGI, who has taught and painted in parallel over the last thirty years,  features on the cover the 2012 Annual Exhibition catalogue and Watermark, the free RSW newsletter. Here is an insight into his work.

Can you tell me about your own development as an artist – did anything in your childhood influence you, when and why did you start painting?

In common with most artists, creativity began in early childhood. The wonderful Miss McDonald, my primary three teacher arrived at school one day with a huge bag of pastels, a ream of multi coloured paper and a hand full of postcards. A rare event in the fifties. I copied a trawler crashing through heavy seas, I have no doubt that the rendering was probably primitive, but the work was hung in the staff room and the magic stuck.

How would you describe your technique?

Technique is such an interesting area. There are some artworks that rely on technique alone and are to be greatly admired for their mastery. They however may or may not be great works of art. Herein lies a contradiction …mastering a technique does not make you an artist but to be an artist it is to your advantage to be a technical master. Technically I like to push things almost to destruction for instance by sandpapering works with fine emery or scorching or scrubbing…

You use a diverse range of materials, often working multi-media, what are the special qualities that watercolour can bring to your work?

Essentially I am a watercolour painter… a medium which provokes in the mind of many, delicate techniques on fine paper to encourage luminosity and transparency. Modern pigments and water based mediums have been extensively developed over the past 30 years meaning the medium can be pushed to extremes…it is in the extremes that I am most comfortable. Transparency is critical regardless; this gives the work body and depth. I may have over thirty transparent layers on a painting.

Do you have a preferred subject and why?

‘Surfaces’ are important, Texture is important. A surface that has been exposed to change tells the story of its existence. All things are transient, I like to capture things past their best…as they decay and disintegrate. That is when they are at their most interesting.

Which artists do you think have had an influence on your work? 

If you were to ask for influences I would present an endless list of names. There are so many to choose from, all masters in their chosen fields.

You have had several major solo exhibitions – Blitz, Submarine, Rivet Temple, Iron and Heavier Than Air – are you currently working on a new exhibition?   If not, what are you doing next?

In September 2012 I have retrospective/new work exhibition in Glasgow Art Club. It will be interesting to see aspects of a lives work and development side by side. What is the inspiration behind Datum Marks on Blue, the triptych on the cover of this year’s exhibition catalogue?

I worked as a Loftsman for 6 years in John Browns Shipyard. A Loftsman’s job was to draw and mark the components of a ship in full scale, make templates from drawings and transfer these to steel and the building process. Datum Marks were the essence of this work, designating for example where a deck began, seams ended, machinery was placed, curves delineated and marking and identifying thousands of components.  Arrows, numbers, lines and punch marks were methods used to do this work. ‘Datum Marks on Blue’ is an assemblage of these components on corroded and painted surface.

You have two prints – Rivet Marker and Blue Rivet Panel – for sale in the RSW Online Gallery – please can you tell us about these paintings?

The rivet is a simple yet fascinating component. The world’s largest man made structures are held together with these little bands of steel. There is on Clydeside a great mythology associated with the riveting process, almost religious. Watching a rivet being formed by a pneumatic hammer is beautiful, it transforms from white hot steel, through to red, darkening to a deep cherry, into purple blue then steely blue as it cools, formed and binding it scars the surface that surrounds it with a perfect soft dark pastel ring. All this beauty is conducted with skill and powerful forces in a hell of noise…the contradictions a vital component.  Both paintings are objects awaiting this process.

2011 Showcase of Scottish Watercolours

Consecration Stone, St Vigean's by Jim Dunbar RSW

The Annual Exhibition by The Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour is one of the best annual showcases of paintings by established and emerging young artists from across Scotland.

The 131st Annual Exhibition took place at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh in March 2011 and featured more than 180 paintings by over 130 artists including Stephanie Dees, Simon Laurie, Marian Leven, Ian McKenzie Smith, Philip Reeves and HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, Patron of the Society, as well as invited works from the Royal Watercolour Society in London and the Australian Watercolour Institute.

Artist Jim Dunbar from Carnoustie won the £1,000 RSW Council Award for the painting ‘Consecration Stone, St Vigeans’ which also appeared on the cover of the exhibition catalogue. Jim, who trained at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, taught in schools for twenty years before painting full time and in 2006 won the RSA Scottish Arts Club Award.

Talking about the winning painting he said “I’ve known this stone since 1973 when it was in the garden of our house, Kirkstile Cottage, in the village of St. Vigeans near Arbroath. The house was originally the village school and the stone was said to have been consecrated to mark the opening of the school in the late 18th century. I have always been interested in its history and fascinated by its decoration.”

Limited edition prints of this painting are available from the online RSW Gallery.