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Exhibition and festival featuring the world's best watercolour artists.

For ten days in May (Wed 15 - Fri 24) Shropshire will host the largest concentration of contemporary international watercolour talent anywhere in the world. Leading Masters of watercolour from all corners of the globe will come together at Lilleshall Hall, outside Newport, to exhibit, demonstrate, and lead workshops at this historic venue.

The spectacular watercolour show IWM2024 will feature 50 elite artists, including renowned Brazilian botanicals artist Fabio Cembranelli; Mexican artist Patricia Guzman, known for realistic and deeply spiritual portraits; and Veneta Docheva, from Bulgaria, who creates fantasy landscapes full of light and mystery. 

It is the third time the UK has hosted an international watercolour exhibition of this calibre. The first International Watercolour Masters event, at Weston Park in 2018, was a huge success and it has continued to grow, with more than 150 paintings set to be exhibited this year in the magnificent surroundings of Lilleshall Hall. 

The event is organised by British master watercolourist David Poxon, an elected member of the prestigious Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours. David’s own work explores abandoned man-made structures, reclaimed by the natural world. He has exhibited all over the world and is the author of two books on drawing, plus the autobiography ‘Watercolour Heart & Soul’. He will also be demonstrating at the event (Sat 18 May). 

“People come from all over the world to see these artists,” David says. “They are world-class, superstar masters of watercolour - the best of the best practising anywhere on the planet today and they are all coming to Shropshire in May. There’s nothing like it in the UK or anywhere in Europe.

“All paintings in the show are for sale - this is a great opportunity to collect a masterpiece from the world’s best painters.”

During the show, a select group of masters will give live demonstrations: “Demos will be projected onto giant screens, each side of the stage in the main exhibition arena, so that the audience can follow every brush stroke,” David adds. “There will be two or three demos each day, of 55 minutes each, when the masters will paint amazing things in front of your very eyes.”

There will also be a ‘virtual exhibition’ running in tandem online, to showcase the winners of the IWM2023 international contest. 

Also in the lineup are: Alex Hillkurtz, a former Hollywood storyboard artist, who captures the streets of Paris in his cityscapes; Eudes Correia, a Brazilian artist, who likes to paint ‘ordinary folk who travel through life unnoticed’; and Julia Ustinovich, who was born in Siberia and escaped to Poland in 2016 where she now works as a successful contemporary artist; her sensual and erotic paintings depict love in all of its manifestations.

“It is a mix of very established stars with massive followings, plus some up and coming stars who deserve the opportunity that IWM gives them to be seen world-wide,” David explains. 

“Our great English masters of the past (Turner, Langley and David Cox) took watercolour painting to the world in the 18th and 19th centuries. Watercolour painting is regarded as the easiest medium to pick up and the hardest one to master. There are very few who have perfected it. Now, modern-masters of this alluring medium will return to watercolour’s historic home.

“The artists in this show have taken watercolour to a whole new dimension. Their work would grace any museum anywhere in the world.

“Historic Lilleshall Hall has so much to offer visitors to the show, including woodland walks and a nature trail, or they can refuel with a cream tea on the beautiful terrace overlooking the Italian Gardens. We’re the watercolour version of The Glastonbury Festival! With free parking, and all facilities available, people can come and go, watch a demo, plus we’ll have four workshops running simultaneously alongside. There’s lots going on - it makes a great day out!”

IWM2024 will be held at Lilleshall Hall  in Shropshire from Wednesday 15 May - Friday 24 May, 2024. 

Admission is by advance ticket only via the event website and eventbrite.

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