Summer Showcase of Watercolours Returns to Ayr

Our 4th Open Annual Summer Exhibition, featuring leading and emerging Scottish artists,  returns for a second visit to The Maclaurin Art Gallery in Ayr this summer.

RSW President, John Inglis said “We’re delighted to have this opportunity to return to Ayrshire, a part of Scotland which has influenced and inspired many artists.  We hope visitors to the exhibition will enjoy this vibrant showcase of watercolour painting.”

The Dark Pool, Janet Melrose RSW

The Dark Pool, Janet Melrose RSW

The RSW is unique in Scotland as it is the only Society specifically for the promotion of watercolour painting and it has a distinguished history.  It was granted Royal Status by Queen Victoria in 1888, and Members have included artists such as William McTaggart and Sir William Gillies.

The first RSW Annual Summer exhibition was held at the Maclaurin Art Gallery in 2012 and since then has visited Perth Museum and Art Gallery and The Meffan in Forfar.

4th Annual Summer Exhibition
Maclaurin Art Gallery, Rozelle Park, Monument Road, Ayr KA7 4NQ
26 April – 25 May 2015.  Open Mon-Sat 10am to 5pm, Sun 12 to 5pm.
Admission Free


An Imaginative Response in Words to Paintings

No-one Knew by Alice McMurrough RSW

No-one Knew by Alice McMurrough RSW

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

Take your imagination on a journey in 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 7 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.

About the writers who are all part of the group Words on Canvas:

NORMA BROWN               
Inspired by artist Stanley James Bird

I’m blessed to live in a most beautiful part of the Scottish Borders surrounded by a wealth of talented folk.  I came late to writing but have always loved the sound of words.  Quoting Paul Klee, ‘taking a line for a walk’ across a blank sheet of paper is always an adventure.  It is a privilege to be a member of the Words on Canvas group and to enjoy looking at and writing about art.  To quote Klee again, ‘one eye sees, the other feels’.

SUSAN GRANT                  
Inspired by artist Darren Woodhead

From the days of ‘The cat sat on the mat’, poetry had me hooked.  Years in journalism meant the emphasis was on prose, then a career in education was spent transferring skills.  Retirement brought a re-awakening to poetry and Word on Canvas has been such an inspiration for me.  As well as a deeper insight into Art I have learned so much from our writing tutors and enjoy the camaraderie and support of other members of the group.

Inspired by artists Emma S Davis RSW and James Spence RSW          

Henry Marsh was born in Broughty Ferry and now lives in Midlothian.  He has had five collections of poetry published and has worked with the Australian artist Kim Needle to produce poems for exhibition catalogues.  His themes recently have been taken from Scottish history and has written widely about his beloved islands – particularly the Uists.  He has read at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and will be reading at STAnza, the St Andrews poetry festival in March.

Inspired by  artists John Inglis RSW, Ann Ross RSW and Christopher Wood RSW

LesleyMay Miller started writing when she was studying as a mature student for her degree in ceramics and printmaking at Edinburgh College of Art.  Since then she has exhibited widely, creating a sculpture garden in the Borders and putting her words on ceramic panels and leaves.  She makes artists’ books combining her interests in visual art and words and is now working in soundscapes.  She gives readings of her poetry, including for the Poetry Association of Scotland.  A member of Dunbar Writers, she enjoys the Words on canvas Group.  LesleyMay will be exhibiting at Aikwood in Selkirk in September 2015.

Inspired by artist John Inglis RSW

Mary Johnston writes poetry in the dialect of the North East of Scotland known as the Doric.  She has been published in several magazines and was the winning poet of the Callum Macdonald Memorial Award in 2014. She has produced several pamphlets of her poetry, each accompanied with a C.D. to keep the sound of her grandparents’ dialect alive.

Inspired by artist Ann Wegmuller RSW

Kirsteen Scott was born and brought up in Mid-Argyll where story telling and song were an important part of her early life. The land and the language strongly influence her writing.  She describes herself as a ‘lazy’ writer, enjoying the taste of words and snatching at ideas that flirt with her eye or her ear.  She has been published in Cencrastus and New Writing Scotland.

Inspired by artist Alice McMurrough RSW

I have been travelling with poetry for seven years now.  Poetry allows me to play with words and poetic forms while I try to make sense of ‘life, the universe and everything.’  Both of these are stimulated by the inspiration that comes from engaging with visual art works.  Although I am a long standing member of Words on Canvas, this is my first chance to collaborate with the RSW and I am looking forward to see where this step on the journey will take me.

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. 

Support our Societies at a Festive Frolic

a celebration of art, music and good company
on thursday 18 december 2014
at the Royal Scottish Academy
from 5.30 – 7.30
The Presidents and Councils of VAS, SSA and RSW are delighted to invite you to join us at our fundraising party evening, ‘Festive Frolic!’. This is a fantastic opportunity to parade in the RSA galleries, indulge in a glass or two of wine, and enjoy the artwork on display in a fun and festive atmosphere. The galleries will be alive with music from Project Moonbase who promise to “bring you music you’ve never heard before that will put a smile on your face, open your third eye and make you dance” and Ian MacFarlane who will bring some festive cheer with jazz renditions of some Christmas classics. You might get lucky in our luxury festive raffle, with great prizes for everyone including a magnum of Bordeaux, cinema vouchers for Cineworld and the Filmhouse, a Charlie Miller Haircut, a meal at Pizza Express, numerous whiskeys, and even an electric toothbrush!
It is only through your support that the three societies can continue to exhibit in these prestigious and beautiful galleries, which were, after all, built as a shared public facility. Tickets are just £10 and a glass of wine is included on entry. (Further drinks by donation).
•        Drop in and buy tickets from SSA Sales desks in the upper galleries 7 days a week
•        Book online at
•        Subject to availability you can purchase tickets on the door on the night, but we would recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment

We look forwards to seeing you there, it will be a fun evening!

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.


Words on Watercolours

At this year’s Annual Exhibition we were delighted to have the chance to collaborate with Words on Canvas, a group of writers who are connected to the National Galleries of Scotland.

They visited the exhibition and from the 250 paintings in the show selected one each which inspired them.  Their creative responses have been brought together with photographs of the paintings in our first online publication – Words on Watercolours – a collection of poetry and prose by fourteen writers inspired by fourteen paintings.  From a little black dress and Fred’s dancing shoes to ley lines crossing time and an aubergine – this imaginative collection is a pleasure to read.  We hope you enjoy it too!

Watercolour Workshop & Artist Studio Tours

Reflection 4711 by Helga Chart RSW RWS

Reflection 4711 by Helga Chart RSW RWS

If you’d like the chance to explore the magic and secrets of watercolour technique with an RSW artist there are still some places available for the final RSW Workshop on Saturday 23 March 2013 with artist Helga Chart.  During the workshop you can discover more about water based techniques and build observations made at this year’s Annual Exhibition.  There is the opportunity to visit the exhibition with Helga on Friday 22 March at 2pm.

The watercolour workshop runs from 10.30m to 3.30pm on Saturday 23 March at Scottish Arts Club, 24 Rutland Square, Edinburgh EH1 2BW, with a one hour break for lunch.  Lunch is available on request from the Scottish Art Club at £12.50 for 2 courses and £15 for 3 courses.  This must be booked at the same time as the workshop.

The cost of the workshop is £40 and numbers are limited so book early.

Sylvia's Lilies by Catriona Mann MA RSW

Sylvia’s Lilies by Catriona Mann MA RSW

There are also two Artists’ Own Studio Tours offering a peak into the realms of RSW members’ own studios in Edinburgh – Catriona Mann on Saturday 17 March from 10.30am to 11.30am and John C Brown on Thursday 21 March from 10.30am to 11.30am.  The tours cost £5 and numbers are limited.

If you’re interested in any of these events, please book and pay for the workshop and tours at the RSW Sales Desk in the exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy Building  tel: 0131 624 6479.

The events are supported by the MacRobert Trust.

Morning Task Cuba by John C Brown RSW

Morning Task Cuba by John C Brown RSW