The History of Watercolor West
In 1967 a group of Southern California painters banded together and founded a transparent watercolor society called Watercolor West. Through the efforts of those founders and other artists from across the United States an organization of national status has been created. From the beginning, Watercolor West has promoted and exhibited transparent watercolor knowing that many other shows are open to works rendered in mixed media, acrylic, ink, collage, and opaque materials.
The first juried exhibition was held in 1969 at the Lyon Gallery in Redlands, California. Since that year, Watercolor West has annually sponsored a national competition and exhibition open to any artist who paints in transparent watercolor. Hosts for these exhibits have been: the Brea Cultural Center Gallery, the Riverside Art Museum, the San Bernardino County Museum, and Glendale’s Brand Library and Art Center.
In 1981, faced with a growing number of paintings submitted for jurying for the annual exhibit, the organization made a policy change. From that time forward, entering artists have been requested to submit slides of their paintings for consideration by the juror. This directive made it more practical for artists living outside of Southern California to enter the competition. After the juror makes his/her selections, the artists who receive notification of acceptance then make arrangements to hand-deliver or ship their artworks. When the show is assembled, the juror returns to select the award-winners.
As a registered corporation, Watercolor West is governed by an elected Board of Directors who serve a 2-year term. Three categories of membership are available: (1) Sustaining Associate Membership is open to any business or individual interested in the support and promotion of transparent watercolor. (2) Juried Associate Membership is open to any artist who has had a painting exhibited in at least one annual Watercolor West exhibit. (3) Signature Membership is open to any artist who has had paintings exhibited in at least three annual Watercolor West exhibits.
All members receive quarterly newsletters, seminar notices, a show prospectus, an all-color exhibition catalog for the annual fall show and a yearly membership roster.
All exhibits produced or sponsored by Watercolor West are open to the public and are promoted and publicized to encourage attendance and maximum exposure to the artists’ exhibited works.
Watercolor West promotes the worldwide appreciation for and the use of purely transparent watercolor in fine art in several ways. We sponsor one International Open Juried Exhibition for transparent watercolor paintings each year. We offer educational workshops and organize demonstrations on the use of transparent watercolors by leading artists. We contribute to the artistic educational community by sponsoring scholarships that will promote the appreciation for the beauty and relevance of transparent watercolors. We keep both our membership and the public informed through our interactive website which includes a quarterly newsletter and all pertinent information about the exhibits, the demonstrations, the workshops and current events. It is our sincerest hope and vision that through our efforts fine art throughout the world will always include paintings using purely transparent watercolor.