148th Annual International Watercolor Exhibition- American Watercolor Society

American Watercolor Society, poured watercolor

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

Sometimes you need to take a chance.  One of my personal goals as an artist is to submit paintings to the top yearly watercolor shows.  It’s fun to see how your work stacks against the top names in the industry.  It’s  frustrating when you do not get accepted in the show and think-  “I just wasted $xx.xx entering this show.”

Rejections are what help me grow as an artist.  I experience a little bit of anger.  How could the juror not seen the “brilliance” in the piece?  How could they not have “seen” my vision?  Arrggh (in my Jack Sparrow voice).

Most show entries include a catalog of accepted paintings-  including award winners.  I study these catalogs later, trying to think why the juror chose certain paintings- analyzing compositions/colors.

Last week I noticed a lot of posts on facebook by artist friends.  Their work had been accepted in the 148th Annual International Watercolor Exhibition of the American Watercolor Society.  The AWS show is the most prestigious watercolor show in the USA- and entire world.  You are allowed to enter one painting a year.   I was entry #4005 or something, and this was several days before entries close.  The show only displays 150 or so paintings- you can estimate my chances…

I hate it when fb friends start posting acceptances about shows I entered: especially if I have not been notified.  This means they were notified of acceptance in the show.   And if  I was not notified of acceptance in the show before they were….

…well, you get that email/letter a little later.  🙁

Usually bad news.

I went to the AWS website and tried to find a list of accepted artists.  No luck.

Then logged in to the AWS system.

I still can not believe it.  My name was on the accepted list (see below):

2015–2016 EXHIBITORS

Anne Abgott, AWS Henrieta Maneva
Jennifer Annesley James Maria
Ali Aryan, AWS* Daniel Marshall
Denise Athanas, AWS Antonio Masi, AWS
Mike Bailey, AWS* Jinnie May
Linda Baker, AWS Mick McAndrews
Ferenc Besze Laurin McCracken, AWS
Glenn Blue James McFarlane, AWS
Manon Boisvert Jeannie McGuire, AWS
Denny Bond, AWS Lynn McLain, AWS
Elaine Bowers Pam McLaughlin
Cindy Brabec-King Carol McSweeney, AWS*
Betty Brown Mark Mehaffey, AWS
Chica Brunsvold, AWS Robert Mesrop
J Henderer Burns Joe Miller, AWS
Dan Burt, AWS Dean Mitchell, AWS
Jim Camann, AWS Jean-Luc Mossion
Sally Cataldo, AWS Robert Nardolillo
Cheng-Khee Chee, AWS Barbara Nechis, AWS
Chung-Wei Chien Bob Noreika, AWS*
Barbara Jeffery Clay, AWS Elaine Nunnally
Kathleen Conover, AWS Robert O’Brien, AWS
Guy Corriero, AWS Carla O’Connor, AWS
Tony Couch Catherine O’Neill, AWS
Elaine Daily-Birnbaum, AWS Thomas Owen, AWS
Don Dalton Kris Parins
Walt Davis, AWS* Monika Pate, AWS*
Pat Dews, AWS Ann Pember, AWS
Frank Eber, AWS Carole Pickle, AWS
Howard Eberle, AWS Carlton Plummer, AWS
Debra Edgerton, AWS Joel Popadics, AWS
L. S. Eldridge, AWS Stephen Quiller, AWS
Robin Erickson, AWS Steve Rogers, AWS
Cindy Evans William Rogers
Andrew Evansen, AWS* Chuck Rouse, AWS*
Cheryl Fausel John Salminen, AWS
Z. L. Feng, AWS Lois Sanders
Francesco Fontana Prafull Sawant
JoAnn Formia Lynn Schilling
Ryan Fox Diane Schmidt, AWS
Frank Francese Ong Kim Seng, AWS
Karen Frey, AWS* F. Charles Sharpe, AWS
Leslie Frontz, AWS Edwin Shuttleworth, AWS
Carol Frye, AWS* David Smith
Louis Gadal, AWS Jerry Smith, AWS
Qian Gao, AWS* Sue St. John, AWS*
Jack Garver, AWS Robert Steinmetz, AWS
Vi Gassman, AWS* Iain Stewart
Jean Gill, AWS Ron Stocke, AWS*
Ken Goldman, AWS* Eileen Sudzina
Frederick Graff, AWS Tan Suz Chiang
Jean Grastorf, AWS Linda Thomas
Lane Hall Susannah Thomer, AWS
Susan Hanssen Gerry Thompson
Kiff Holland, AWS Ron Thurston, AWS
Stephen Holland Zhou Tianya, AWS
William Hook Donald Van Horn, AWS
Xiao Xing Hu William Vrscak, AWS
Hsiao-Hui Huang Myrna Wacknov, AWS
Peter Jablokow Carrie Waller
George James, AWS Frank Webb, AWS
Russell Jewell Susan Weintraub
Kim Johnson, AWS Jennifer Wharton
Marilyn King Stewart White, AWS
Chandler Kissell John Wilkison, AWS*
Mike Kowalski Jarrod Wilson
Christine Krupinski, AWS Vladislav Yeliseyev
Alexis Lavine Choon Seng Yeoh
Law Wai Hin, AWS Sarah Yeoman
Deanne Lemley, AWS Barbara Yoerg
Doug Lew Donna Zagotta, AWS
Steven Lush Steve Zazenski, AWS*


Wow. My painting was accepted.

Though I have had  success with regional and state shows, I never, ever, expected to get into AWS.  Especially the third year I entered.

I would like to thank many of the artists on this list- many whom I have studied under via magazines, books, YouTube, internet, or workshop (thanks Iain and John for instruction in your workshops).   Your teachings on subjects, compositions, and colors helped guide my work.  Though you may not have known it, I am indebted you in many ways and honored to be included with your names in such a prestigious event.



Ryan Fox

    WSNC Signature Member


(919) 645-8345


P.S.- My other two entries were terrible!  No wonder I was rejected.

Keep painting people- your master piece is coming.

Watercolor batik classes in Raleigh/Cary, NC

Do you want to learn the art of watercolor batik?

watercolor batik, batik painting, rice paper, Raleigh art classes, Raleigh art, Waverly Arts Group, Art Bar Raleigh

Watercolor batik painting on rice paper of sun’s rays shining through forest


Watercolor batik is the process of using traditional watercolor paint and wax to create unique and beautiful batik-style paintings on Japanese rice paper.  This process is similar to the age old technique where melted wax is applied to fabric as a resist and then the fabric is dipped in dye.

Students will begin the process with a drawing and then learn to create highlights and shadows, as well as how to mask areas of the project with wax.

This class is suitable for both beginner and experienced painters with little or no watercolor experience.  Artists will create a 12×16” batik painting in the class.

Watercolor batik on rice paper of Stonehenge- UK by Raleigh, NC artist Ryan Fox

Irons, electric skillets, newspapers, wax, and brushes for applying wax will be provided.  Artists will need to bring watercolor paints, brushes, and suitable clothing (wax does drip and sometimes ends up on clothing).

Artists can use reference photographs provided for their drawings or are welcome to bring a high contrast photograph or line drawing to transfer to rice paper.  Lightboxes will be provided for transferring images to rice paper.

To see more of Ryan’s work, visit his website at:


Place: Waverly Artists Group Studio

When: February 1 (session 1), February 15 (session 2).

Both sessions have the same curriculum.

Time: 2:00pm to 6:00pm

Price: $75 each session. Max. 6 students per session

Supply list sent after registration

Contact Monica at eventsWAG@gmail.com to register

Place: Art Bar Raleigh

When: February 28th 

Time:  6-9pm

Price: $75.  Max 8 students per class

Contact:  ArtBarRaleigh@gmail.com



Watercolor batik painting on rice demo- step by step guide

Ryan Fox, watercolor painting, New York watercolor, New York skyline

Painting watercolor batiks on rice paper is amazingly fun.  I melt paraffin wax in a cheap cooking skillet (available in the kitchen department of most stores), apply it with cheap natural hair brushes, and throw a lot of paint on.

As you can see from the photograph above, wax was applied to the whitest areas.  This is evident in the lower parts of the painting.

watercolor painting on rice paper

More wax was applied to the next lightest values.  I continued to build the darks to define the buildings of New York city.  The sky was completely covered in wax at this point- you can detect the glossiness of it in the photograph.


More definition…….


This was the problem solving stage.  I felt the building to the left of the Empire State building was not dark enough, so I darkened the top.  Also, the building and river to the far right of the painting needed separation.


This is what I call the “fun” stage.  I cover the entire surface of the 25×38″ paper with wax and let it cool.  Once the wax is hard, I crumble it up into a ball, creating cracks in the wax.  With a very watery solution of darks, I use a stiff bristle oil brush to work color into the cracks.  Once I see lines forming in the cracks, I cover the surface of the painting again with another layer of wax and let dry.

It is somewhat unpredictable where the water goes.  If you don’t like the look of a crack, run clear water of the area and soak it up with a dry cloth/paper towel.

Once dry, the painting is sandwiched between sheets of newspaper.  Using a hot iron, I melt the wax.  The wax is absorbed into the newsprint.  This step takes a lot of time, and a lot of newspaper- especially for a large piece.

Once the newspaper is no longer soaking up wax, I mount the pieces on hot tact foam core.


watercolor batik painting, rice paper, watercolor rice paper, batik, watercolor painting

Final image

The final image photographed and color corrected.

The original painting and reproductions are available on my etsy account:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/RFoxWatercolors

Hope you enjoyed viewing the batik process.


(919) 645-8345



Ryan Fox Painting on facebook


Iain Stewart Workshop- Washington, VA

architectural watercolor painting, Scotland landscape, watercolor Scotland, sheep painting, Ryan Fox painting

Yes, I have been bad and ignored my blogging responsibilities…..

In late February I attended a workshop led by watercolor painter Iain Stewart.  Thanks to Carole Pivarnik for hosting and organizing the workshop in Washington….


Never heard of it?  Neither had I.  But I was elated not to have to deal with DC traffic in February.

Iain’s work focuses on architectural illustration and fine art.  Iain (pronounced Ian)  is a member of The National Watercolor Society, Louisiana Watercolor Society, and others.

Iain specializes in small watercolors ( usually 11×15″) of architectural subjects.



His palette is a small travel palette with large mixing wells.  Iain uses a ton of water and plenty of pre-mixed watercolor before laying down his initial washes.




End of the demo at Day 1



Sketch of Crail waterfront (below).  I was especially impressed how quickly he drew the subject and began to paint.

Two years ago, I took a watercolor class from John Salminen.  In John’s class we spent two days drawing our paintings.  Two days.  Iain spent two minutes sketching the painting.

IS_Workshop10  IS_Workshop11

First washes applied to the top of the painting.


Rest of painting developed…..


The students of the workshop copied the painting demonstrated by Iain.  Ours, of course, were not half as good as Iain’s originals, but it gave us insight to how he paints and the processes behind it.

IS_Workshop9IS_Workshop14     These are my paintings laying on the ground.  IS_Workshop8

Don’t ask what was going on here…..

One of my favorite workshop moments was looking through Iain’s sketchbook.


Yeah, I, um, can draw that well too….



More of Iain’s work can be found online:  http://www.stewartwatercolors.com/ or  his facebook page

Ryan Fox




(919) 645-8345

LOUISIANA WATERCOLOR SOCIETY 44th Annual International Exhibition

44th Annual International Exhibition
Juror: Anne Abgott AWS, NWS
My painting was accepted in the LWS watercolor show a few months ago.
My wife and I found a babysitter for the two kids (thank you Abu Titi- my wife’s mother) and for the first time in 7 years we spent a weekend without children.  My how time flies…..
As a bonus, we would be spending the weekend in New Orleans.  New Orleans, as we all know, is a non-festive, some suggest boring place to travel.  There is never a parade or party going on.  And there is nothing to see except for the bar upon bar upon bar on Magazine Street (my personal favorite) or anywhere in the French Quarter.
The show was fantastic.  The super talented English painter David Poxon won first place in the show.  There were many local artists who attended and my work was hung with contemporary modern watercolor masters such as Antonio Masi, April Rimpo, Iain Stewart, Laurie Goldstein-Warren, Ken Call, Don Taylor, and others.
Laurie Goldstein-Warren1 IMG_9966
Lousiana Watercolor Society 44th Annual Juried Show reception

Lousiana Watercolor Society 44th Annual Juried Show reception

Antonio Masi, watercolor NY

Antonio Masi’s painting


Lousiana Watercolor Society

David Poxon’s painting

Ken Call watercolor, juried watercolor show

Ken Call’s painting


Finally, here is a photograph of my wife and I in front of my painting:
New Orleans painting, watercolor New Orleans, French Quarter watercolor
Ryan Fox watercolor, Raleigh artist, Watercolor Society of North Carolina
The weekend was great.  Wonderful art, met some fantastic painters, and did I mention that we saw Arnold Schwarzenegger on Magazine Street?
When you teach children to draw pictures of people, you try to steer away from the BIG head and stick figures they commonly depict.  This is anatomically inaccurate.
Unless you are ARWNOLD.  In this case, after seeing him in person, I think the stick figure with the massive head (albeit with a few massive muscles) is spot on.  I was looking at a person with a 50lb watermelon as a head.  Weird!
Sorry Governator.