Awards and Scholarships


The Society currently makes awards that fall within three main categories. They are:

  1. Category A Awards for outstanding achievement in watercolour painting particularly related to the annual juried open exhibition known as Open Water and on occasion for members´ exhibitions.
  2. Category B Awards for contributions to the Society itself and/or to the art form or the national arts community.
  3. Category C Awards made as scholarships through a number of art related institutions.


    Instituted in 1991 the A.J. Casson Medal replaced the Honour Award that had been presented annually from 1956 until 1990 to the outstanding painting in the Society sponsored annual juried exhibition. The Medal is presented to the creator of the best painting in the exhibition and is to be considered the highest accolade bestowed by the Society for artistic creativity. There is no limit on the number of times that this Medal can be won by an individual. For the purpose of this award and all other Open Water awards no distinction is made between artists who are elected members of the Society and those who are not. The Medal is accompanied by a cash award sponsored by the CSPWC from its annual revenue.
    The award itself named after one of the founders of the CSPWC who was also a member of the famed Group of Seven. lt takes the form of a cast bronze medal that was commissioned from sculptor Dora de Pédery-Hunt and, with Casson’s permission and approval, was inspired by one of his famed visual motifs.
    Charles Comfort was a founding member of the Society, a brilliant portrait artist and, late in his long career, the Director of The National Gallery of Canada. Based on his acclaimed portrait of Carl Schaeffer in the collection of Hart House, University of Toronto, also a CSPWC Member, the medal was commissioned by the Society from the sculptor Dora de Pédery-Hunt and initially funded by a donation from Louise Comfort, the artist’s widow and the subject herself of a brilliant series of Comfort portraits. The medal was first presented in the year 2000 to mark the centennial of the artist’s birth.
    The medal is awarded to a figurative work of exceptional quality. There is no cash accompaniment to this award. This award will be offered for presentation no more than three times in a decade at intervals to be decided upon by the executive.


    This is an honour that is awarded to an individual elected member who has made a sustained contribution to the CSPWC and/or the art of watercolour painting in Canada. Members are generally considered for this honour only after they have been a member in good standing for two decades.
    Life Members receive a diploma signed by the Society’s Patron, the Governor General of Canada, and are considered to be exempt from paying annual dues. lt should be noted that individuals who continue to pay their annual fees are deemed to have made a charitable donation and are therefore eligible for an appropriate tax receipt. The total number of Life Members shall not at any point exceed ten percent of the total elected membership (paid up / members in good standing). Any member may nominate an elected member for Life Membership. This must be done by submitting a written nomination to the Administrator of the Society that clearly outlines the contributions made by the nominee. Submissions must be made at least sixty days in advance of the Annual General Meeting.
    Nominations will be reviewed by the Executive and a list of selected candidates will be presented to those assembled at the Annual General Meeting where each nomination will be presented and voted upon. It should be noted that due to the time it takes to have the appropriate calligraphy executed and to send the documents off to Rideau Hall for a Vice-Regal signature candidates do not receive their diploma for some ten to twelve months after election. The Society does try to arrange for these documents to be handed over to the respective individuals at some significant occasion.
    The Julius Griffith Award is intended as the ultimate way of honouring an individual who has made a sustained and unique contribution to the life of the CSPWC.
    This award is named after a beloved two-time President of the CSPWC who was responsible for the very survival of the Society through the sixties and seventies when it was very fashionable to renounce any society affiliations. It was through his determined efforts that the Annual Juried Shows continued and that a core group of members kept the concept of a national watercolour society alive. It is his selfless contribution that became the inspiration for an award intended to mark a unique and vital contribution made my an elected member. Individuals considered for this award would generally have previously been elected to Life Membership! The award is to be presented no more than three times in a decade! It was first awarded in 2000 at the Society’s 75th Anniversary celebrations.
    The Julius Griffith Award is a bronze palm-sized sculpture of a hand holding a painter’s brush and was commissioned from noted sculptor Frances Gage RCA. Nominations for this award can be made by any member who should forward a written nomination to the Administrator of the Society outlining the contributions made by the nominee. The final decision on who receives the award is left to the Executive of the Society. No membership-wide vote is held on this award. There is no cash accompaniment to this award.
    Befitting the fact that this is the highest award that the Society presents for contributions to the Society itself this award is to be presented at a significant occasion.


To fulfill its mandate to promote visual arts education the Society annually awards a number of scholarships to visual arts students through a number of recognized arts related institutions. The award is accompanied by a free ’Associate’ status immediately upon award, and for the next full fiscal year after presentation ’for proficiency in watercolour’. These scholarships are funded from general revenue and from specific bequests administered by the CSPWC. This programme was initiated in 1990.

  • These Scholarships are:
  • The Ethel Raicus Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour Memorial Award presented annually to the best watercolour painting produced by a Central Technical School of Toronto art student This award is funded from the interest on a bequest. One juror is to be appointed by the School and a second juror is a CSPWC member.
  • In each of the scholarships below the administration of each institution selects the recipient and the Society is involved only in the actual presentation of the prize.
    • The Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour/Fred Brigden Award presented to a student at the Ontario College of Art & Design, of Toronto, Ontario.
    • The Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour /June Montgomery Award presented to a student at the Alberta College of Art + Design, of Calgary, Alberta.
    • The Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour /Arthur Lismer Award presented to a student at the NSCAD University of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
A.J. Casson Medal
award recieved
Neville Clark receives the A. J. Casson Medal. Open Water, 1999.
Jenny Olsen (Left) ACAD-CSPWC Julius Griffith Memorial Scholarship Winner with her painting and Liz Roberts CSPWC in April 2003.
Reception for new Members and new Life Members, 2001.

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