Membership Application Process and Rules


Any artist who paints in watercolour, from anywhere in the world, may apply for elected membership in the CSPWC/SCPA.

Only application by the artist themself shall be considered. An offer of membership is made upon both: receiving a majority vote by a national jury of nine CSPWC/SCPA elected members, and passing a verification stage.

An application is made by submitting six watercolour paintings, a supporting print document, the membership application form, and an application fee. These six paintings must demonstrate proficiency in the use of transparent watercolour. The six watercolour paintings are viewed, first as digital images by the whole jury, and if they pass this stage, and then by presenting all six original paintings for viewing by one of the jury. Therefore all six paintings must be kept available for viewing at the end of this process.

Furthermore, each successful applicant donates one of these six paintings to the CSPWC/SCPA Diploma Collection. (see: What is the CSPWC/SCPA Diploma Collection?)

Who are the CSPWC/SCPA Membership Jury?

A national jury of nine CSPWC/SCPA elected members serve each for a two year term on the membership jury. In each year, half of the jury is finishing their two year term, while the other half is starting their two year term, therefore each year the juror mix is different. A minimum of three jurors will either be CSPWC/SCPA Regional Directors or a regional representative. After serving as a juror, an elected member is ineligible to serve for another 6 years. Note that the jurors also choose the CSPWC/SCPA Diploma Collection Painting from those available.

Which Six Watercolour Paintings to Choose?

Applicants for membership should submit your best work that is consistent in style and quality. Focus on your unique approach. Choose six examples of recent work that will give a strong impression of who you are as an artist. Applicants must demonstrate a proficiency in the use of transparent watercolour. The CSPWC/SCPA requires at least three paintings to be done in Transparent Watercolour. (see: What are the CSPWC/SCPA Diploma Collection Requirements?)

What are the Media Definitions of Watercolour?

The CSPWC/SCPA’s definition of Transparent Watercolour is the use of artist’s quality watercolour paint used on paper or watercolour board, with minimal use of body colour or other accents.

The CSPWC/SCPA’s definition of Water Based Media is paint that is resoluble in water (artist’s quality watercolour paint, applied transparently or opaquely; and/or gouache) and there may be a pencil drawing. The paint surface is an organic fibre paper, including watercolour paper mounted on board. Only media listed in the definition above are permissible.

These definitions do not include ‘varnished’ works, works on yupo paper, works rendered on canvas/canvas board, or works printed by mechanical means. Application must be by hand, brush, or any tool by the artist, without mechanical assistance.

Those paintings which are available for selection for the CSPWC/SCPA Diploma Collection must be made of museum quality archival materials.

Copyright Ownership of the Paintings

The original paintings must be solely conceived and created by the submitting artist. Work completed during a workshop and/or under the tutelage of an instructor is ineligible. Paintings derived or based on work by another visual artist are ineligible. Works may be based on photograph(s) only if the original photograph(s) was/were taken by the submitting artist. The submitting artist must be the sole holder of copyright interest in the submitted paintings.

What is the CSPWC/SCPA Diploma Collection?

The Diploma Collection is the permanent collection of the CSPWC/SCPA, which is currently housed at the Peel Heritage Complex, the Art Gallery of Peel in Brampton, Ontario. The collection was started in 1991 and since then each elected member has a painting in this collection, along with earlier members who choose to donate a painting. There are 342 paintings in the collection(as of May 2010). As shipping, storage and display issues create limitations, the Diploma Collection paintings are no larger than a full sheet (22”x 30”).

What are the CSPWC/SCPA Diploma Collection Requirements?

Successful applicants must donate ONE of the six submitted paintings to the Diploma Collection as a condition of membership. At least three of the six submissions, no larger than a full sheet (22” x 30”), must be available for the jury to choose the Diploma Painting from (and kept available throughout this process), and applicants must indicate these on the application form. Those available for selection for the Diploma Collection must be made of museum quality archival materials. If elected the artist gives the CSPWC/SCPA permission to exhibit the painting and to reproduce it for educational and promotional purposes.

Making Digital Files of Your Watercolour Paintings

The digital images must be submitted as a JPEG file format, maximum 1 MB file size and minimum of 0.5 MB, maximum resolution of 2240 x 1680 pixels, saved on a compact disk (CD/DVD) in the required format (see: the CSPWC website for FAQs).

Your image files must be named in the following format, including the commas:

Artist’s Last Name, First Name,Image Number, Painting Title, Height X Width in inches, Medium, Year of completion.jpg
Example: Smith, John,1, A Day on the River, 22 X 30 in, wc, 2010.jpg

Image numbers must correspond to the number provided on the written application form. It is essential that you do this properly to avoid any confusion with your submitted images. Test your material before submission to ensure that it is formatted correctly.

Artwork should be photographed to as high a standard as possible. Good lighting is critical. Crop digital images to remove any extraneous material – frames, mats, or studio background. Paintings should be photographed squarely from the front, not angled within the frame of the photo. If you are unfamiliar with digital photography, have your paintings photographed by someone who is, even professionally.

What is the Supporting Print Document?

The supporting document consists of a total of two pages or less, and might take the form of a Curriculum Vitae, Biography, and/or Artist’s Statement or combination of these. This must be neatly typed in black ink on standard 8.5 x 11 inch letter size white bond paper (no paper that is patterned/coloured/or a letterhead). If the supporting document is created on a computer please use Word not PDF format, and save an electronic copy of this supporting document onto the same CD/DVD that contains your images and also include a printed copy in your application package.

What is the Verification Stage?

Allow at least three months for the initial jurying process. Applicants who receive a majority of the votes by the membership jury will be contacted by one of the jurors to review their original paintings.

The applicant will make arrangements to ship or hand deliver THE SAME six paintings that were submitted digitally,unframed to this juror. The original works must show the artist’s proficiency in the use of transparent watercolour, the digital images must accurately reflect the original paintings, and the works conform to the CSPWC/SCPA definition of watercolour.

When does Activation of Membership occur?

Membership becomes active when the successful applicant delivers their UNFRAMED Diploma Collection work to the CSPWC/SCPA head office, all follow up membership information forms are completed, and annual membership fees are paid. Current annual membership fee of $125, as of May 2010.

Newly elected members will be presented at the Annual General Meeting, traditionally the first Saturday in May, where their Diploma Paintings will be displayed and a 150 word bio/artist’s statement will be presented. At the AGM it is best if they are displayed matted but not framed as they will be stored unmatted in the Diploma Collection in the Peel Archive Room.


Attn: Membership Committee
Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour
La Société Canadienne de Peintres en Aquarelle

80 Birmingham St, Unit B3
Toronto Ontario M8V 3W6, Canada
Phone: (416) 533-5100

If you have questions, please forward by E-mail to :

Your Completed Mail-In Application Package will contain:

CD/DVD with Six images with properly named and sized jpg files.

Supporting Word Document (no PDF’s) with a Biography &/or Artist’s Statement &/or CV to a MAXIMUM of 2 pages

Printed copy of your Word Document

Completed signed Membership Application Form

Self Addressed Canadian Stamped letter sized Envelope

Cheque or Money Order made out to “CSPWC” in the amount of $50 in Canadian funds

Your Completed On-Line Application Package will contain the following
and be sent to: Attn: Membership Committee by E-mail to :

If more than one email is required , please maintain the subject matter as Attn: Membership Committee

Six images with properly named and sized jpg files.

Supporting Word Document (no PDF’s) with a Biography &/or Artist’s Statement &/or CV to a MAXIMUM of 2 pages

Supporting Word Document (no PDF’s) with a list of the six images submitted and identification of which three paintings would be available for selection for the Diploma Collection.

Supporting Word Document (no PDF’s) with your name,address, phone number and an active email address for notification

In submitting via Paypal the payment to
“CSPWC” in the amount of $50 in Canadian
funds, you agree that you have read and understood
the conditions of the membership application and
attest that your submission meets all of the required
conditions. You understand that breaching any of
these conditions will disqualify your membership

New Member Application Fee

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