Artist Eligibility

  1. Entrants must be a Minnesota Watercolor Society (MNWS) member with dues paid through the current membership year.
  2. Entrants may join MNWS or renew their membership during the online entry process.

Submission Requirements

Water-based media and surfaces

  1. All paintings must use water-based media on a paper, YUPO, canvas or board surface up to ¾” thick.
  2. Surfaces can be coated or treated to accept water-based media such as gesso or gel medium.
  3. Water-based media must be applied in a transparent and/or opaque manner. No impasto textures.
  4. Drawing elements including ink, pastel, crayons, pencil, etc. may be used.
  5. Any collage must be treated with water-based media only and cannot dominate the painting. Found materials (leaves, twigs, petals, jewelry pieces, buttons, etc.) can NOT be used.


  1. All paintings must be original and may not be copies of other artists’ or photographers’ work.
  2. Photo references must have been taken by the artist. Photos taken by friends, family members, or obtained online or from other sources are not allowed, even if usage permission has been granted by the photographer.
  3. Paintings may not be painted in an instructor-led workshop or class, or created under the supervision of an instructor.
  4. Paintings must be completed with the last two years.
  5. Paintings previously shown in an MNWS Exhibition are not eligible.

Matting and Framing

  1. Paintings must be framed and under glass or an acrylic surface unless they are gallery wrapped canvas or painted on boards.
  2. Gallery wrapped canvas or board paintings must have finished edges AND the surface must be protected from possible water damage with a fixative, wax or varnish.
  3. Matting must be white or off-white only. No colored or colored mat liners are allowed.
  4. Frames must be simple, sturdy and in black, white or neutral tones only.
  5. No colored frames or frames with designs, embellishments or colored accents are allowed.
  6. Exterior size of framed or unframed canvas or board paintings cannot exceed 41” vertically or horizontally.
  7. All works must include a hanging wire that is 2 inches down from the highest point at the top of the frame, canvas or board. NO SAWTOOTH hangers or other hanging mechanisms will be accepted. Rubber pads must be affixed to both lower corners. (See image below)
  8. Paintings must include the MNWS ID label affixed to the back in the upper left hand corner. Business cards or other identification labels are not allowed in lieu of the MNWS label. Access a MNWS label here.

MNWS Frame Diagram

Permission and Agreement to the Rules

  1. Entrants give MNWS permission to make digital images of submitted paintings for MNWS archives.
  2. These images may be used in an exhibition catalog, in future prospectus applications and/or for publicity.
  3. Artists are required to agree to all MNWS Exhibition Rules at the time of online registration.

Submission and Registration Process

  1. Registration is available ONLINE ONLY.
  2. Links to register become available during the registration period usually two to three months prior to the exhibition opening date. There are separate links for the Spring and Fall Shows listed under the “Exhibition” Tab.
  3. You must be a member to register. Click here to join.
  4. Information needed to register:
    1. Name, address, phone number, email address
    2. Title of the painting
    3. Painting height and width
    4. Digital image of the painting no larger than 3.5 MB* to send via email to the show chairperson; Digital images should be of the painting only; no mat or frame visible. See the Spring or Fall Exhibitions web page for the specific email address.
  5. Entrants are required to agree to the “Minnesota Watercolor Society Show Submission Rules Agreement”  as part of the registration process.

*Digital Images

Entrants may be asked to provide a higher resolution image if the entry receives an award. Using the highest setting on a digital camera including most smart phones camera when taking a photo of the painting usually works to get a high resolution image. This is often described as 2084 pixels at 72 ppi (pixels per inch) or more. 300 dpi is another way to describe a high resolution image.

Another option is to take the painting to a copy business such as FedEx Office or Office Max and ask to have a high resolution scan made.