Support for Watercolour Artists

Support Package for Artists

How can I get more involved in IWS Canada?

  1. Subscribe to our mailing list to become a Friend of IWS Canada, and/or become a Member.  Also, state that you wish to be placed on the volunteer list.  When an event happens in your area you will then receive an email asking for your support from your area rep.
  2. Follow our Facebook page . Go to the page often and join in our monthly challenges/activities and online events.
  3. Make online friends on FB with artists whose style you enjoy and who contribute on IWS Canada. Support each other. We as artists are stronger as a community.

Shipping: How to cope with customs, and valuing paintings. Where to get shipping boxes from in Canada, and what couriers to use? Where do we purchase tubes?

You can purchase deluxe art shippers (special reinforced boxes with foam to protect artwork) from u line. There are stores in Toronto and Edmonton where you can collect in person or they will ship them to you. They are expensive but can be reused many times .

You can purchase heavy duty tubes in diameters of 3, 4 and 5 inch in size with plastic end caps from U line. You can then cut these to size to save on shipping. Always roll your painting along the shorter dimension as size is a key factor when shipping a painting using either Canada Post or a courier. Always place your painting in a clear plastic bag such as those you can purchase from Crystal clear Canada before rolling as this will protect it from any moisture whilst in transit.

UPS and FedEx both do prepaid return shipping which most societies will ask for. If you are shipping internationally ask for a commercial invoice. This will include the customs section.

It is up to each individual artist to decide whether to ship their paintings at value of materials only or actual value of the fully framed painting if you were to sell it. Your value will be placed on the commercial invoice by UPS or FedEx when shipping internationally and it is this number that customs people see and use to decide on the amount of brokerage you pay. You will also be charged duty on your painting unless you state very clearly it is ‘on loan’ or ‘just for exhibition’ on the way out and ‘sending as return to artist’ on the way back.

I am a new artist How do I develop a style?

Start small; learn the rules of painting in general (composition, colour theory, pigment properties, drawing); start with easy subjects like a small still life with only one or two objects and practice developing the painting different ways; take workshops in your areas, join local clubs that hold workshops given by their own members and outside members; read, study, watch online videos..and practice, practice, practice. With all the practice we will find that your voice comes out, and you own style will naturally appear.

By being a member of the IWS Canada group, you are also in touch with so many artists that you can go to for advice, assistance and questions.

I want to do an exhibition of all my paintings and it will be my very first time. Could you please guide me how to proceed for that?

Many areas have Studio Tours. This is a great first step as the tour leaders will do the majority of the promotion side of things for you or at least guide you in what to do. It’s a good way to meet and build friendships with other local artists too.

Attend as many solo artist exhibits as you can in your area; speak to the artist and how they eventually came to exhibiting solo; gather information about advertising, promotion, number of pieces to hang, also about the gallery and its requirements for artists shows, legal issues, commission rates.

Competitions- What are the international ones I can enter, are there online ones as well as physical ones? What are the National ones I can enter?

Magazine/book Competitions:

Splash North Light Books annually produce a book showcasing the best watercolours on a given subject/theme.

Art of Watercolour Magazine by Diverti often run contests. See website for details

Watermedia showcase competition (Yearly) See website for details

Our own IWS magazine runs contests too. Keep watch on the IWS Canada  Facebook page for announcements.

National competitions:

Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour CSPWC Open water Exhibition See website for details

Society of Canadian Artists SCA Open exhibition plus online exhibition see website for details

IWS Canada will be running yearly contests. Make sure you sign up for our mailing list to receive information on these contests first. Send an email to with your name, e mail and place of residence and ask to be placed on our mailing list.

Federation of Canadian Artists Annual open competition check website for details


IWS Country contests will be posted on the IWS Canada facebook page as they are announced

US based watercolour societies with International Exhibitions:

TWSA  Open National Exhibition (US and Canadian residents only)  see website for details

AWS Open International Exhibition see website for details

NWS Open International Exhibition see website for details

PWS Open International Exhibition see website for details

LWS Open International Exhibition see website for details

NFWS Biannually they have an international exhibition open to non members- see website for details

PPWS Biannually they have an international exhibition open to non members- see website for details

NWWS Open International Exhibition see website for details

NEWS Open International Exhibition see website for details

SDWS Open International Exhibition see website for details

CWA Open International Exhibition see website for details

MWS Open International exhibition see website for details https://missouriwatercolorsociety

Watercolor West Open International Exhibition see website for details

Watercolor Art Society Houston WAS-H Open International Exhibition see website for details


Have you got a list of watercolour teachers /art groups in my area of Canada? Do any of these do local juried competitions or group exhibitions?

We have compiled a list of Art Societies throughout Canada. Please contact the art societies in your area and they will put you in touch with artists who also teach and let you know about any upcoming exhibition possibilities.

If you belong to, or know of an art society in your area that we have not listed, please send an email to with the name of the organisation, e mail or website

British Columbia

Alliance for Arts and Culture:

BC arts Council:

Federation of Canadian Artists:

Oak Bay Art Club:

Victoria Arts Community –bigger list available

Victoria  College of Art:


Alberta Community Arts Clubs Association: Alberta Foundation of the Arts :

Alberta Society of Artists :

Artistic Entities:


Calgary Artists Society:

Calgary Sketch Club: Calgary Sketch Club

Canmore Art Guild: Canmore Art Guild

Centre d’arts Visuels de l’Alberta: Centre d’arts Visuels de l’Alberta

Calgary Community Painters: Community Painters

Edmonton Art Club:

Harcourt House:

Visual Arts Association Alberta: CARVAC-

Visual Arts Studio Association of St. Albert (Alberta): Visual Arts Studio Association

Riverview Artists (Calgary):

Society of Northern Alberta Print: Snap

St. Albert Art Guild:

Society of Western Canadian Artists:

Strathcona Art Studio:


Art and Craft Guilds:

For list of groups: Aurora Art Guild (Regina)

Brushwork Art Guild:

Heartland Artist’s Guild:

Moose Jaw Art Guild:

Prairie Artists Guild:

Regina Federation of

Saskatchewan Arts Board:

Saskatchewan Foundation For the Art:

Yukon Nunavut and NW Territories

Yukon Art society

Yellowknife Watercolour Society

Aurora Arts Society

Nunavut’s arts and crafts  society


Manitoba society of Artists


Art Society King: information request

Burlington Fine Arts Association:

Cornwall and Area Artists

Fine Arts Society of Milton:

Focus Art Association Cornwall:

Gallery Stratford:

Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre:

Merrickville Artists’ Guild:

Mill Pond Gallery:

Nepean arts League:

North York Group of Artists:

Oakville Art Society:

Ottawa Watercolour Society: 339764739552340/?ref=br_rs

Ottawa Arts association:.

Artists of Oxford (county):

Richmond Hill Group of Artists-Studio 30:

Tillsonburg Station Arts Centre:

Toronto Watercolour Society:

Visual Arts Mississauga:

Walkerville Artists’ Co-Op

Northern Ontario Art Association (NOAA)


Conseil des Arts d’Aylmer:

Société canadienne de l’aquarelle

Atelier d’aquarelle Le Partage


New Brunswick

Fundy Plein Air painters:

Fundy Gallery of Art Saint John:

Saint John Art Club:

NB Arts Link

Also on Facebook

New Brunswick Artists | Artistes du Nouveau-Brunswick

Craft NB – represents artists  (also on Facebook)

Turps Art Club  (Fredericton area)

Urban Sketchers (Fredericton area)

Nova Scotia

Painter’s Palette Society



PEI Artists & Friends group – Facebook


Newfoundland and Labrador

newfoundland & labrador art education association – nlaea  Facebook

Maritime Art List (email distribution to artists covering the 4 Maritime provinces)

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