Entry Requirements for Monthly Member Shows (Regular, not Virtual Only)


  • Artists may submit up to two images per size category.
  • Artists must submit original artwork only, created by them within two years of entry.
  • Artwork may not be a copy or likeness of another’s work or a recognizable use of another’s intellectual property.
  • Artwork may not be a copy of photo reference material other than the entrants.
  • Artwork done under direct supervision during a class or workshop is not eligible for submission.
  • A painting may be exhibited only once in any regular Member Show.
  • A painting that has appeared in a regular Member Show may be subsequently entered in a Cash Awards Member Show.
  • An artist may have only ONE artwork accepted in each size category in a Cash Awards Member Show.
  • A painting that has appeared in a Cash Awards Member Show may not be subsequently entered in another Cash Awards Member Show or in a regular Member Show.
  • Artwork previously juried into an SDWS International Exhibition and/or a Western Federation Exhibition may be entered in any Member Show (regular or cash award).
  • Printed photographic images are not permitted.
  • Adhere to the San Diego Watercolor Society Ethical Art Policy found on the Members Only Forms & Documents page.


  • All artwork displayed in the Gallery must be for sale. SDWS receives a 20% commission on all sales.
  • Minimum price for paintings selected is $150.

Size categories

  • Regular:  Framing may not have an outside measure of more than 60 inches on any one side, or be less than 8 inches on any one side.
  • Mini:  Framing must not exceed a combined height and width of 26 inches, nor be less than 8 inches on any one side.


  • Artwork must be no less than 80% watermedia, presented in a primarily aqueous manner.  Water miscible oils are not allowed.
  • Acceptable Mediums: Watercolor, acrylic, gouache, casein, egg tempera, ink, water-soluble pencil or crayon, and collage material (painted by the artist with watermedia).  Non water-based media may be integrated, but cover no more than 20% of the artwork.


  • Artwork must be presented on watercolor paper, paper-based board, or Yupo or other synthetic paper.


  • Frames must be metal or wood, clean, neat, and sturdy.
  • Frames must be simple and unembellished.
  • Plastic frames and/or wood grained plastic wrapped frames are not permitted.
  • MDF (Medium density fiberboard) is discouraged.
  • Acceptable metal frames have corner joining kits (e.g. Nielson) with three-inch arch tension spring clips to secure in place. (Metal clip frames may not be used)
  • Frame grade, rigid, clear Plexiglas (non-glare Plexiglass is not allowed) is required on all entries and must be clean and free of scratches and dirt.  
  • No glass is permitted for safety reasons.
  • Diptychs and triptychs must be presented within a single frame.
  • Framing Tips: Quality local framing resources include Artist & Craftsman, CMI Moulding, and Valley Moulding. Cut-to-Size Plexiglass may be purchased at CMI Moulding, Lowe's, Rideout, and Valley Moulding. The San Diego Watercolor Society sells watercolor paper and foam core at the gallery.


  • Top mats are limited to white, off-white, light gray, or black.  
  • Mats must be clean, well cut, and plain (without embellishments).
  • Painted mats and adhesive lining tapes are not allowed.
  • Colored under-mats are optional.
  • If no matting is used, or artwork is floated, spacers to hold Plexi away from the artwork surface to prevent moisture damage must be hidden.


  • Frame backing must be acid-free foam core or clean, acid free-free mat board.
  • Black or pressed-wood easel-backs, cardboard, poster board, or lesser quality materials are not allowed.


  • Braided picture wire only, secured 1/5 down from top of frame, looped through D- rings, or snap-in hangers for metal frames, pulled taut and twisted with cut ends taped must be used.  Other hanging methods are not eligible for submission.

Experimental Show

  • Once a year, SDWS holds an Experimental Show which is usually in September.
  • This show has a shorter hang time, about 3 weeks, so we can prepare for our annual International Show in October.
  • For the Experimental Show only, acceptable surfaces may also include canvas, 3-D objects and anything that can be painted.
  • Conventional frames are accepted but not required, however painting surfaces must be sealed for protection.
  • Artworks must be able to be hung on a wall or panel with hanging hardware that is compatible with our display wire system.
  • Computer generated art, alcohol inks, collage and other non-water based media used may cover no more that 20% of the artwork.
  • Printed photographic images are not permitted

Any submission violating SDWS requirements will be eliminated. These SDWS rules allow the presentation of high quality, professional gallery shows. They reflect our concern with safety of the artwork and of people handling the work. These rules are consistent with those of watercolor organizations across the country, including AWS and NWS.

Artists are responsible for providing coverage on submitted artwork.  SDWS assumes NO liability (including after sale of the work).


Updated: 03/07/2019 

Please contact the Member Shows Director with any questions regarding framing or member shows.