I was recently in Narbonne, France for the opening of the World Watercolour Competition, sponsored by The Art of Watercolour magazine. This is the largest and most important watercolor exhibition that has happened in Europe, and I was very flattered to be one of the judges. The selection was almost impossible as there were simply too many incredible paintings for the space and awards allotted. This speaks well for the organizers, and all credit must go to the magazine staff, particularly Janine Gallizia.
The venue was beautiful, and the opening attended by 800+ people. Held in conjunction with the 2014 Narbonne Biennale, the whole town was inundated with watercolor -- exhibitions, demonstrations, and workshops going on everywhere. I don't believe I've seen anything quite like it in our medium, and it was a very impressive spectacle. I met a lot of friends there, old and new. :)
Special congratulations go to Cheng Chen-wen for his painting Loving Mother, which was awarded the gold medal and a sizable cash prize.
The catalog is an encyclopedia of contemporary watercolor; nearly every serious watercolorist working today is represented -- almost 1900 paintings by over 1600 artists. A must-have for any watercolor enthusiast. Ordering information here:
Credit: Laurent Benoist for many images.