148th Annual International Exhibition Award Winners- American Watercolor Society

A short anecdote about putting your artwork out to be judged by your peers- whether fellow artists, friends, family, or enemies:

“If you do not enter- you cannot get accepted”.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  Yeah, I’ll lose a few pounds.  I’ll stop cramming ALL the dishes into the dishwasher the last second before my wife gets home (I work from home), I’ll BLAH, BLAH, BLAH…

So a few dishes get broken.  That is why they make SuperGlue…

I do have goals.  Since I gave up my photography career four years ago, I have made a goal every year.  Year one was to get my work accepted in a national juried exhibition.  My second year was to get into three national juried exhibitions.  My third year was to continue to get work accepted in juried exhibitions.  However, I felt I needed to take a step forward.  It is fantastic to get into juried shows, but I wanted to elevate my standards…

Everyone loves ribbons: the kind you get at swimming meets when you are 7.   I schooled that kid in lane 4.  Of course, he refused to jump in the water- but I still won…

Seriously, I wanted my work recognized, so my goal for year three was to win an award.  I accomplished this in the Watercolor Society of North Carolina’s 69th Annual Juried Exhibition.  I won the Cheap Joe’s merchandise award- the top merchandise prize in the show.  Special thanks to Joe Miller of Cheap Joe’s.  Your generosity allowed me to stock up on supplies and Joe even helped me carry goodies to the car when I visited the store in Boone, NC.

My goal for 2015 was to try to get into ANY of the big three competitions- American Watercolor Society (AWS), National Watercolor Society (NWS), or Transparent Watercolor Society of America (TWSA).  All are amazing exhibitions with entries from around the world.  The competition is ridiculous.  AWS gets 5000+ entries per year for the show.   They accept approximately 150 paintings.   Artists can enter ONE painting.  Per year.  Your chances stink. I entered the first two years thinking I had a shot.  Later, when reviewing my artwork against the winners- I was embarrassed.  I needed to improve; because I had wasted $60 (each year).

Last month my painting was accepted into the 2015 American Watercolor Society of America show.  I’m honored to be hanging next to many of the modern masters of watercolor.

The last two weeks stunk.  There were notices all over facebook about the Missouri Watercolor Society and Southern Watercolor Society shows.  I wish watercolor societies (hint, hint) posted acceptance and denial notices at once- because finding out everyone else was accepted in a show, and you were not, stinks.

I heard the American Watercolor Society was announcing award winners yesterday.  So I checked their website every 15 minutes hoping I was on the list.  Nothing.  So I gave up.  Today I worked on framing a solo show in Elizabeth City, NC.  Then I checked my email.

Thanks Iain Stewart for notifying me.  I won an award.  Wow.

American Watercolor Society, poured watercolor

“Walk Down the Street”- 148th Annual Exhibition of the American Watercolor Society


Walk Down the Street” was not my typical painting.  I tried something different by pouring watercolors.

Art is amazing.  Every artist can take a scene, photographed or plein air, and interpret it differently.  This painting was not usual.  In fact, I tried to paint completely different since I had just had ankle surgery and could barely move.  I adjusted and created this….

I’m glad I entered the competition.

Do you think you can compete at the national/international stage?

Look at the competition.

Analyze their work.  … and yours?

What makes your work different?

Is your work unique?  I hope so. Analyze the competition.  How does your work compare?  Is it different?  Does it have a unique style?

Do not give up.  If you do not compete, you cannot win.

I hope this gives you inspiration to compete.  Enter shows.  Compete.  And (hopefully) win.



Ryan Fox Painting on facebook


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *