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