Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2020

Dec. 14, 2020

Alumni of the Drawing Year, including Gideon Summerfield and Jennifer McRae, are currently exhibiting in The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition. Here they discuss the works that were selected.

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is the largest and most prestigious watercolour competition in the U.K. Open to both British and international artists, the competition celebrates watercolour and water-based media in an annual exhibition. 

The judges for this year's competition were: Louis Wise, art critic and Sunday Times writer; Gill Saunders, Senior Curator at the V&A Museum; Tara McKinney Marinus, Visual Arts Exhibitions Manager at Hampshire Cultural Trust; and artists Ishbel Myerscough and Paul Newland NEAC RWS.

Gideon Summerfield, Drawing Year 2017

Gideon was awarded Second Prize - “We loved the voluptuous sensuality, the rich colour, and the elegiac mood of Gideon Summerfield’s The Eternal Evening. It was quite unlike anything else submitted this year and won unanimous approval and enthusiasm from the judges.” - Gill Saunders.

Gideon S

The Eternal Evening (Norway, 2020)

'My painting The Eternal Evening depicts a final evening in Norway before I returned home to attend my grandfather’s funeral. It was to be the last time I would see my girlfriend Inger Johanne (the standing figure) for some time. The painting features a red summer sunset glow which illuminates the surrounding area - a metaphor of love, sorrow and pain. I wanted my painting to have a feeling of stillness within, to show reflection and perhaps a sense of quietness. Although my girlfriend is featured, there is a part that sees myself in her place, looking into the distance and thinking of memories shared with my grandfather.'

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Freezing River (1892) by Frits Thaulow

'Over the last couple of years when visiting Norway, I have familiarised myself with some of the country's great artists. Edvard Munch of course is one, but I discovered two predominately landscape painters called Frits Thaulow and Lars Hertervig who were 18th century artists. Frits Thaulow's picture Freezing River and Mountain Stream were ones that stood out to me when I first visited the National Museum of Art in Oslo in 2017. Fritz has a most extraordinary way of capturing light in his paintings, often choosing to paint scenes that featured water, which is reflecting light, a way to get the viewer to gracefully through and across his paintings. His colour palette has certainly inspired me in the paintings I now produce. Interestingly during the winter months, the sun only reaches a certain height, what we refer to as “golden hour” becoming “golden hours” instead! It's a perfect time to be out painting and rather helpful that the light stays the same for longer.'

Instagram: @gideonsummerfield

Jennifer McRae, Drawing Year 2003

Jennifer was awarded Third Prize -“I felt the studied togetherness that many of us have had recently, locked in with the ones we love” - Ishbel Myerscough.

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West End Summer (David)

'I've always drawn and painted from early childhood. My father was always coming back from work trips with watercolour boxes for me. The piece for the Sunday Times is of my husband David. At the time I asked him to sit because he was actually around for a bit instead of busy with work, due to lockdown, so I really took time with it. Watercolour can be gestural and rapid but it can also be delicate and slow too. There were probably at least 6 or 7 sessions from the drawing stage" (click here to read a longer version of Jennifer's description). "These are two images that inspire me: a canoe study by Peter Doig and Egon Schiele's image of two girls (lovers) from 1911.'

Instagram: @mcrae_studio

Exhibiting Alumni:

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Hand with Fork, Nell Brookfield, Drawing Year 2018

Instagram: @nellbrookfield

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Prayer Plant, Cheri Smith, Drawing Year 2018

Instagram: @chchcheri


See the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition:

Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, Basingstoke until January 2021

The Mall Galleries, London from 18th - 24th January 2021