Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some answers to FAQ’s

How do I know which category to put my painting in?

Try to choose the best fit for your painting. Remember, you can enter up to 5 times, once in each category, and you have the potential to win with all five! That being said, each painting will be judged according to the category it’s in; so if you put a still life in the abstract category, it doesn’t matter how good it is, it will not get scored well. (PLEASE do not send your painting images to the judges directly. Judging is blind so they should not know who the paintings entered belong to or have any input before the contest.)

Abstract: Art that does not attempt to represent external reality, but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors, and textures.

Animal & Wildlife: Living things and especially mammals, birds, and fishes that are not human.

Landscape & Water: The depiction of natural scenery in art. Landscape paintings may capture mountains, valleys, bodies of water, fields, forests, and coasts and may or may not include man-made structures as well as people or animals. People and animals should not be the focus of the painting, but can be in it.

Portrait & Figure: Includes the human form in any of its various shapes and postures. Paintings can show partial figures or the whole figure.

Still Life & Floral: A piece that features an arrangement of inanimate objects as its subject. Includes all kinds of man-made or natural objects, flowers, fruit, vegetables, fish, wine and so on. Looked at another way: still life’s depict things that are “still” and don’t move.

I’m having trouble entering, what do I do?

Entry for the Juried show is now through the (Cafe) website, which is different from previous years. We hope this switch will make it easier to enter and help streamline the process.

  • Each contestant creates an account with Cafe, makes a username and password, enters contact information, uploads painting images and pays the entry fee all through that site.
  • Save your username and password and you can log in anytime to check or update your entry status before you have checked out and paid.
  • Once you have checked out and paid your entry is final.
  • If you are having trouble logging in or entering the show, please contact the CAFE ENTRY WEBSITE directly. The judges have no access to this part of the entry process and can not give you passwords or entry help.
  • PLEASE do not send your painting images to the judges directly. Judging is blind so they should not know who the paintings entered belong to or have any input before the contest.
  • If you have already checked out and need to edit the categories or want to add more entries, please contact Women in Watercolor.
Can I paint from a photograph taken by someone else? Why not?

No. If someone else has taken the reference photograph you can not enter that painting into the Juried show. You need to paint plein air or take the reference photo on your own. Having permission from the photographer does not qualify. The reason is simple. A huge part of a paintings success is all about the overall composition, how things are arranged on the page and cropped and the lighting. If you take the photo, you have come up with the image and composition on your own. If someone else took it, they have already done half of the work for you.

What mediums are accepted into the Juried show?

You can see all of the details for entering in the prospectus.

How long will my painting be on the WW website?

All winning paintings for the Juried Show are posted on the website with the image, name and information about the artist. Once posted on the website, these paintings will be displayed there forever. Each year we add more winners, but you can always go back and see all of the past winners from any year. You are welcome to enter these paintings into other shows at any time.

Do paintings need to be shipped? Are they for sale?

This is an online show only so you do not need to ship anything. Paintings will not be for sale through Women in Watercolor. Simply upload the painting image on the website and that’s all you have to do! They do not have to be for sale. You can enter a painting from any time period as long as you have not entered it into a previous Women in Watercolor Competition. It does not matter if you have already sold it or if it’s won awards in other shows. If we are contacted from a potential buyer wanting to purchase something, we will pass along the buyers contact information to the artist with no commission taken from Women in Watercolor.

How are the winners picked for the Juried Show?

Judging is completely blind. There are 9 judges from multiple countries, backgrounds and styles of watercolor that go through and score every single entry. The judges score each piece from 1-20. All nine judges scores are added up to pick the winners. Depending on the year, each category has a different number of entries, making that category more or less competitive. There is a cutoff score that determines which paintings are accepted or not. The number of accepted entries varies each year depending on the scores. Judging is completely blind. The judges have no access to the artists name, country or any other information; they are just looking at images. All they have access to is the category entered, the painting image, size and title. The judges do not know who wins until the scores are tallied and the winners are posted online with their names! PLEASE do not send your painting images to the judges directly. Juried Awards Notice After July 15.

Does a Certain Style of Painting Do Better?

This competition is open to all styles of watercolor painting. Some people have mentioned that more of the awards tend to go to photorealism. The judges can only score what is entered. If more photorealistic paintings are entered, then probably more will be award winners. The nine awards judges are chosen to have a range of backrounds and painting styles to keep judging fair for all watercolor styles. You can see on our Judges Page all the different types of paintings they do. We encourage and love ALL styles of painting and would love to see what you do!

Why do people get more than one painting accepted? If everyone got only one painting accepted there would be more space for different artists.

Not the case. The awards and acceptances are done strictly off the total score from all nine judges. There is a cutoff number and nothing under that number gets in. Each year there is a different number of accepted entries because it is all done strictly off a cutoff score of overall points awarded. Above the cutoff number is accepted, below is not. Therefor only accepting one painting per artist would just lower the number of acceptances, not make room for more. It is done this way to keep the quality of the show as high as possible. We don’t want to accept the most, we want to accept the best.

I got an award, what did I win?

Juried Awards Notice will be After July 15. You got your accepted letter and found out you won an award; what now? Due to the high number of entries and awards being shipped out it takes a little while to get everything in the mail after the show ends, so please be patient. If you don’t know what your award entitles you to, you can see all of the details in the prospectus. Merchandise Awards change each year and will be sent to you as soon as possible after the judging concludes.

Why didn’t my painting get accepted?

The past few years we have had over 1600 entries from over 65 countries in each show! This year was over 1800 entries from over 60 countries! This represents the best of the best women watercolor artists and is a highly competitive show. Each painting is judged on its own merit. We have 9 judges each year that look at every single image and give it a score that they think fits best. The judges represent all different styles and backgrounds to make it as fair as possible. If you did not get accepted this year, I encourage you to keep working and try again next year! You can enter up to five paintings, one in each category, to increase your chances.

Can you critique or give me feedback on my submission?

Unfortunately due to the high number of entries there is no way to give feedback on each entry. Some of the judges do paid mentoring or critique sessions with artists; that might be an option if you would like feedback. Please feel free to contact them only after the competition is scored.

Does Women in Watercolor have a Membership Option?

Yes we do! Starting in 2023 Women in Watercolor now has a membership option. We are so excited to offer this option so we can share more work from more women artists at every level of watercolor painting! You can see more details at:

What is the difference between the Juried Show and the Members Only Show?

Our Annual Juried International Competition is a JURIED competition with entries from all over the world to compete and win huge cash prizes and awards. The winners are the best of the best female watercolor artists and are chosen by a panel of nine judges.

Our Members Only Show is a NON-JURIED online only exhibition where women watercolor artists at every level can be represented. The rules are less strict for entry and every painting entered will be shown on the website to best support and promote ALL of our members. You can see more details here: More details to come soon as well!

Is Women in Watercolor a non-profit?

Women in Watercolor does not have a non-profit status at this time. WIW was created to support and promote women artists. We are doing this by putting everything we can into promoting the amazing women working in this field through huge cash prizes, paid promotions online and in publications. Part of this also includes paying our judges and members for the work they do, which we would not be allowed to do as a non-profit. You would never hire a contractor to build a house and not pay them. Women in Watercolor feels the same way about artists, they should be paid for the work they do.

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