PleinAir magazine presents the 11th annual PleinAir Salon Art Competition. In the spirit of the French Salon created by the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, this annual competition, with 11 monthly cycles, leading to the annual Salon Grand Prize winners, is designed to stimulate artistic growth through competition. The competition rewards artists with $33,000 in cash prizes and exposure of their work, with the winning painting featured on the cover of PleinAir magazine.

It is our belief that cash prizes provide further inspiration and an avenue for artists to thrive and create new work by helping alleviate financial pressure.

Winners in each monthly competition may receive recognition and exposure through PleinAir magazine’s print magazine, e-newsletter, and social media. Winners of each competition will also be entered into the annual competition which will take place at the Plein Air Convention & Expo May 17-20, 2022 in Santa Fe, NM. 

Annual Awards:

$21,500 in Annual Cash Awards

1st place

$15,000 cash prize
plus the cover of PleinAir magazine!

2nd place

$3,000 cash prize plus a feature
in the digital edition of PleinAir magazine

3rd place

$1,500 cash prize

People’s Choice Award

$500 cash prize

Three Honorable Mentions

$500 cash prize each

Plus, ALL Winners Receive:

Winners showcase in PleinAir Magazine (Over 32,000 readers)

Winners showcase in the PleinAir Today newsletter (Over 58,000 subscribers)

Inclusion in the winner artchives on PleinAirSalon.com

Issues of the PleinAir Magazine featuring your win

Promotion on PleinAir Magazine’s and PleinAir Salon’s Facebook and Instagram pages

Monthly Awards:

$12,100 in Cash Awards

1st place

$600 cash prize

2nd place

$300 cash prize

3rd place

$100 cash prize

People’s Choice Award

$100 cash prize

Plus, ALL Winners Receive:

Winners Showcase in PleinAir Magazine (Over 32,000 subscribers)

Winners Showcase in the PleinAir Today newsletter (Over 58,000 subscribers)

Inclusion in the Winners Archives on PleinAirSalon.com

Promotion on PleinAir Magazine’s and PleinAir Salon’s Facebook and Instagram pages. 

Issues of the PleinAir Magazine featuring your win

A certificate for your wall

Categories (Subject Matter)

Because this competition is created by PleinAir magazine, which features not only plein air paintings, but also studio paintings, all types of paintings are eligible and do not need to have been completed in plein air, but should originate from a plein air study or plein air experience.  As we know, many studio paintings start with plein air sketches. Our interest is in rewarding great paintings.

There are 18 categories to submit a painting in.

6th Annual Feb/Mar 2017 PleinAir Salon Winner
Acrylic

Paintings can be of any subject matter in the acrylic medium

Oil

Paintings can be of any subject matter, but only in the oil medium

7th Annual Aug/Sept 2017 PleinAir Salon Winner
Pastel

Paintings can be of any subject matter, but only in the pastel medium

5th Annual Aug/Sept 2015 PleinAir Salon Winner
Watercolor & Gouache

Paintings can be of any subject matter, but only in the watercolor/gouache medium

9th Annual Dec 2019/Jan 2020 PleinAir Salon Winner
FLORAL

Gardens, fields, or flowers, etc. (Plein air or studio work).

6th Annual Dec 2016/Jan 2017 PleinAir Salon Winner
LANDSCAPE

Landscape or outdoor environment without figures, animals, or birds (plein air or studio work).

5th Annual Aug/Sept 2015 PleinAir Salon Winner
NOCTURNE-Sunrise-Sunset
Night scenes, sunrises, sunsets (plein air or studio work).
4th Annual Oct/Nov 2014 PleinAir Salon Winner
FIGURE & Portrait

Figures and portraits, including figures in the landscape (plein air or studio work)

10th Annual August 2020 PleinAir Salon Winner
OUTDOOR STILL LIFE

Table settings, garden ornaments, etc. (plein air or studio work).

5th Annual Aug/Sept 2015 PleinAir Salon Winner
WATER

Seascapes, coastal, marine, rivers, and streams, etc. (plein air or studio).

7th Annual June/July 2017 PleinAir Salon Winner
Animals & Birds

Animals or birds (plein air or studio work).

7th Annual Aug/Sept 2017 PleinAir Salon Winner
Western

Any painting featuring a Western theme, landscape or figure (plein air or studio work).

3rd Annual Dec 2013/Jan 2014 PleinAir Salon Winner
BUILDINGS

Cityscapes, farms, architectural elements (plein air or studio work).

4th Annual Oct/Nov 2014 PleinAir Salon Winner
Artist under 30

Any subject matter. Must provide proof of age if selected as a winner.

9th Annual Dec 2019/Jan 2020 PleinAir Salon Winner
ARTIST OVER 65

Any subject matter. Must provide proof of age if selected as a winner.

9th Annual May 2020 PleinAir Salon Winner
Drawing & Sketches

Any subject matter. Can include drawings, sketches, travel sketching, (any subject and medium including iPad sketching (plein air or studio work)

8th Annual Aug/Sept 2018 PleinAir Salon Winner
PLEIN AIR WORK ONLY

Must be completed en plein air, all subject matter eligible.

8th Annual Aug/Sept 2018 PleinAir Salon Winner
VEHICLES

Running or run-down (plein air or studio work).

Monthly Competition Awards (22 winners each cycle).

Winners Showcase in weekly PleinAir Today newsletter.

The winner in each of these categories is automatically entered into the annual Grand Prize competition.

Overall Winner

  • 1st Place Overall
  • 2nd Place Overall
  • 3rd Place Overall
  • People’s Choice Award

Category Winners

  • Best Artist Under 30 (age verification required)
  • Best Artist Over 65 (age verification required)
  • Best Plein Air Work Only
  • Best Building
  • Best Figure & Portrait
  • Best Floral
  • Best Landscape
  • Best Nocturne, Sunrise, Sunset
  • Best Outdoor Still Life
  • Best Water
  • Best Vehicle
  • Best Drawing & Sketch
  • Best Animals and Birds
  • Best Western
  • Best Acrylic
  • Best Oil
  • Best Pastel
  • Best Watercolor