Category Archives: Award Winner

Talented Young Artists Win Watercolour Awards

2018 is the Year of Young People in Scotland and it was exciting to see five talented young watercolour artists winning awards at the 137th Open Annual Exhibition.

Alice Campbell with her award winning painting

Twenty two year old artist Alice Campbell (above) won the £3,000 Alexander Graham Munro Travel for the best painting submitted by an artist under 30 years old.  Now based in Edinburgh, she graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design University of Dundee in 2017 and previously won the RSW Watermark Award.

The award winning painting ‘Le Fumeur’ was inspired by finding an old cigarette packet under the floorboards in her parents’ house and the idea of seeing a small part of the life of someone else who had lived in the same house.

She said about winning the award “I was completely shocked to receive this Award – but absolutely delighted. I would love to take the opportunity to travel to the Far East to get some inspiration. I’ve travelled to that part of the world before – in 2016 I went to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos – and the effect on my work was tremendous so I’d love to go back Receiving this award is such an exciting opportunity for me as a young and emerging artist and it will make a huge impact on my practice.”

Anna Mickevica with her award winning painting

Latvian born Anna Mickevica (above), who also graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee in 2017, won the £50 RSW Watermark Award.  She is continuing her studies at Edinburgh College of Art and the winning painting ‘Nude 7’ was an experimental work made especially for the RSW exhibition. The aim was to create an expressive work while still capturing the elements of a figure using watercolours on paper and this experiment led to her developing a new uncontrived way of expression.

Amelia Busk won the new £300 Scottish Artists’ Benevolent Association Award.  She graduated from Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh in 2017, and her painting ‘Anthea’ is part of a personal project motivated by the history behind a chinoiserie wallpaper that her grandfather smuggled to England.

Alison Gray with her award winning painting

Alison Gray, who graduated from Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University in 2017, won the £300 RSW Student Prize. The winning painting ‘Lost Land’ was inspired by her appreciation of the unspoilt beauty of the Caithness landscape. Now based in Glasgow, she said “The barren land holds many secrets to our past with archeological finds and peat bogs that perfectly preserve any objects consumed. The painting has been built up through thin layers of paint and scratched away in parts, mimicking the action of the crofters digging for peat, reclaiming the past, and highlights the special relationship man has with land. “

Hannah Mooney (below), who graduated in 2017 from Glasgow School of Art, won the House for an Art Lover Award for ‘Looking Towards the Ferry Home, Evening’ which is based on a plein-air sketch completed beside the Lough Swilly in Co. Donegal, Ireland.

Hannah Mooney with her award winning painting




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.

Summer Exhibition Opens in Forfar


meffan 2014Our 3rd Annual Summer Exhibition featuring over 180 paintings by leading and emerging watercolour artists is now on at the The Meffan in Forfar.

This is the perfect opportunity to experience watercolour painting in the 21st century and everyone who visits the exhibition is certain to find something to capture their imagination.  The names of the paintings alone, such as Moroccan Dream, Winter Odyssey, The Girl who had a Plan and Fortune Teller’s Dream, give a flavour of the variety of subjects and inspirations.

All of the paintings are for sale so it is also an opportunity to buy an original work of art and any profit from sales goes into supporting future RSW exhibitions.

At the exhibition opening the new Walter Scott Award was presented to Perth artist Claire Harkess BA RSW for her painting Sacred Cow, India.  Claire graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1993 and this is her fourth RSW award.  Her work is inspired by wildlife and she has taken study trips to Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, St Kilda, Australia, St Kitts, China, The Galápagos Islands, Kenya and India.  In 2011 she won the Wildlife in Action category of Wildlife Artist of the Year run by the David Shepherd Foundation and her work is held in the collection of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Claire Harkess with award winning painting Sacred Cow, India

Claire Harkess with award winning painting Sacred Cow, India

Describing the experience of painting in watercolour she writes “Painting in watercolour offers a unique directness. The essential qualities of light and energy ever present in the natural world are the very essence of the medium itself.  In search of a simplicity and beauty through the painting of a line, shape, colour, the process is immediate and instinctive.  Remaining true to both medium and subject, with every brush mark visible, I strive to allow the paint the freedom to speak for itself – thus creating a dialogue between myself, the viewer and the ever evolving work.”

The RSW Summer Exhibition is at The Meffan, 20 West High Street, Forfar DD8 1BB until Saturday 7 June 2014.  Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm.  Admission free.