LONDON.- Now in its 27th year, The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is the largest and most prestigious prize for contemporary watercolour painting in the UK. Generously sponsored by Smith & Williamson, the accountancy and investment management group, the competition aims to celebrate and reward excellence and originality in the medium of watercolour. It is an opportunity for artists across the UK to redefine and celebrate watercolour and water-based media.
The First Prize of £10,000, is this year awarded to Kathryn Maple for Fat Boys Diner. Kathryn graduated from The Princes Drawing School, London in December 2013, and continues to draw and paint in a live/work space in Ernö Goldfingers iconic Balfron Tower in East London. Kathryn comments on her prize winning work: The diner sits amongst the container city that is Trinity Buoy Wharf a place which is in a constant state of change. I have tried to capture the higgledy-piggledy and slightly off balance part that nature plays in this fascinating place.
Winner of the Second Prize of £6,000, Danny Markey studied at Falmouth School of Art and Camberwell School of Art, 1983-1987, and now lives and works in Wales. He has work in several public and private collections, including the British Museum. He was elected a Royal West of England Academician in 2001, and was a selector for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in 2013. His winning work is entitled Rear view mirror and blue ship, and is one of two works by Markey to feature in the exhibition.
A dedicated en plein air painter, the two paintings by Markey are unusual because they were painted indoors - or rather, from inside of his car; its interior features in the paintings. Sat in a car park on a wet summer's day in Falmouth, Markey was struck by the poignancy of the scene around him: everyone so desperate to make the most of summer and appreciate the view, but still too scared to get out of their cars and face the weather.
The Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize of £1,500 is awarded to Paul Newland for his watercolour and gouache work entitled From the Southern Suburbs II. Newland studied at Slade School of Art and has taught and exhibited extensively; he is current Vice-president of The Royal Watercolour Society. He enjoys painting cityscapes, notably of the non-touristy northwest London suburbs where he has lived most of his life. He comments: I am trying to combine recollection and imagination, with observation, in a single picture. The result I hope for is, I suppose, a kind of fantasia, as in some old pictures in which different sites or times are combined.
The panel this year, consisting of Sarah Armstrong Jones, artist; Ben Ravenscroft, artist; Desmond Shawe-Taylor CVO, Surveyor of the Queens Pictures; and Louis Wise, critic and writer, The Sunday Times, have selected works that reflect the true breadth and potential of the medium.
An exhibition of all shortlisted works, a total of 93 by 73 artists, will be held at the Mall Galleries, London from 15 20 September 2014. The London exhibition will be followed by the Smith & Williamson tour to venues throughout the UK, including Guildford House Gallery, Guildford from 14 November 3 December 2014.