Spectacular artworks from more than 50 of the world’s most acclaimed watercolour painters will be showcased at an international festival of art in Shropshire this Spring.

Visitors to the International Watercolour Masters at Lilleshall Hall will be able to marvel at hundreds of masterpieces on display, watch the experts in action during a series of live demonstrations and even learn some skills from the best of the best during hands-on workshops.

The winning entries from the IWM2023 international art contest will also be available to view in an online exhibition running alongside the main event. 

Master watercolourists will be arriving in Shropshire from across Europe, North and South America and beyond for the event, which takes place from May 15-24.

Hundreds more across the globe are expected to tune in to the new IWM TV live stream, which will broadcast across the festival.

International Watercolour Masters 2024 is organised by Shropshire-based artist David Poxon, who is an elected member of the prestigious Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours and an acclaimed master watercolourist in his own right.

David, who will also be exhibiting works at the event and running live demonstrations, said: “People are sometimes a bit intimidated by the idea of an art exhibition, but you really don’t have to be an art expert to appreciate the stunning paintings on display and marvel at the skills of the artists in the live demonstrations.

“This is an event for experts, connoisseurs and interested laypeople alike, and whatever your level of interest I can guarantee you will receive a warm welcome from our lovely team.

“All of the pictures in the exhibition will be on sale, so this is a unique chance to buy a piece of art from the person who painted it, while finding out something about that artist’s back story, inspirations and painting methods.

“Workshops are booking up fast but if you don’t want to get hands-on, you are free to just watch the live demonstrations, take a look at the paintings on display and just soak up the ambience of this fabulous historic venue.

“Watercolour was established as a medium by three English masters during the 18th and early 19th century, and was exported to Europe via the fabled Grand Tour. It was created in England – watercolour is now coming home.

“This will be the third IWM biennale in this series, and it already has a first-class reputation for its presentation and organisation thanks to our amazing support team.”

There will be more than 150 watercolour paintings on display from some of the world’s best, including acclaimed botanicals artist Fabio Cembranelli, from Brazil, Patricia Guzman from Mexico, who is renowned for her deeply spiritual portraits, and former Hollywood storyboard artist Alex Hillkurtz, who creates stunning cityscapes of Paris.

IWM 2024 will be based in a specially-built arena inside Ford Hall at Lilleshall, which is also known globally as the training base of some of the UK’s top sports stars. As well as the exhibition, live demonstrations and workshops, the venue offers cafes, restaurants, and 1,000 acres of English Heritage landscape, with walking trails and Capability Brown-inspired Italian gardens. There is a hotel on site, and plenty of free parking.

The IWM arena will host the exhibition and the live demonstrations, which will be projected onto large screens either side of the arena for guests to watch. Special teaching rooms next to the main show will host three or four workshops every day, hosted by the master artists themselves. 

This is the third time the event has been held in the area, as it was also at Lilleshall in 2022 and before that, at nearby Weston Park in 2018.

David added: “IWM 2024 will see the biggest concentration of contemporary elite international watercolour talent anywhere in the world, and it’s happening in this little corner of Shropshire.

“Shropshire is a unique and very special county and I’m delighted that we will be able to show it off to people from across the world.

“We have already had ticket bookings from as far away as Australia, so we really will bring the world to our doorstep.

“The individual styles of the master artists attending are very different, but the quality of all their work is as good as you will find anywhere.

“The paintings will showcase everything from traditional landscapes and portraits to the mystical and spiritual and some more dystopian interpretations of the world around us.”

David is renowned for his own work examining how nature reclaims man-made structures that have been discarded and abandoned over time. He has also written two books about drawing as well as the autobiographical Watercolour Heart & Soul, and has had his artworks exhibited all over the world.

He added: “Watercolour is seen as the easiest medium to learn and the hardest one to master. There aren’t many artists alive today who can genuinely be regarded as masters – of those that are, most of them will be at Lilleshall for IWM 2024.

“Some of the names in the line-up will be very familiar to art lovers, some are just beginning to get more recognised. They are all exceptional artists though, and being able to watch them produce a picture before your eyes, or learn some tips and skills in a workshop, is an amazing opportunity.

“Couple that with everything Lilleshall Hall itself has to offer, and you have the recipe for a great day out. Visitors can come and go as they please during the day, mingling some stunning art with a cream tea on the terrace or a stroll through the woodland walks.

“We’re the Glastonbury of the art world!”

Entry to IWM 2024 costs just £10 per day, with discounts for a 10-day pass. Tickets to take part in workshops are available to purchase separately and are already selling fast.

All event information, including information about the artists, booking tickets and workshops, hotels and travel is available at www.IWM2024.com