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We often get the question, “Why did that painting win? It’s not a plein air painting.”

Well, because this competition was created by PleinAir magazine, we do have plein air in our name. However, a lot of artists paint in various styles, mediums and subjects, and PleinAir magazine features not only plein air paintings, but also studio paintings. So we also accept studio paintings. Our goal is in rewarding great paintings, no matter how they were created.

With that said, check out the 19 categories you can enter. There are plein air-specific categories as well as a variety of other subject matter categories to choose from. The PleinAir Salon Art Competition is for traditional painting/drawing. Photography, digital paintings, sculpture, etc. are not eligible. 

Animals-Derek-Penix-August-2022-Best-Animals-Winner-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
Animals & Birds

Paintings that feature animals and/or birds in any setting.

All mediums eligible. (plein air or studio)

Artist-Over-65-Peggy-Immel-July-2022-Best-Artist-Over-65-PleinAir-Salon-Art-CompetitionArtist-Over-65-Peggy-Immel-July-2022-Best-Artist-Over-65-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
Artist Over 65

Paintings by artists over the age of 65.

All subject matter and mediums are eligible. (plein air or studio)

Daniel Bailey The Light of Our Lives February 2023 Best Beginner Winner-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
beginner

Paintings by artists that have started painting in the last 5 years.

All subject matter and mediums are eligible. (plein air or studio)

Building-Kourosh-Aria-November-2022-Best-Building-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
building

Paintings that feature cityscapes, houses, barns, or other architectural elements.

All mediums are eligible. (plein air or studio)

Figure-Stan-Miller-December-2022-Best-Figure-and-Portriat-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
figure & portrait

Paintings that feature figures and portraits, including figures in the landscape/cityscape.

All mediums are eligible. (plein air or studio)

Floral-Kathy-Anderson-September-2022-Best-Floral-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
floral

Paintings that feature gardens, fields, flowers, etc.

All mediums are eligible. (plein air or studio)

Landscape-Deborah-Tilby-November-2022-Best-Landscape-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
landscape

Paintings that feature the landscape or outdoor environment, without figures or animals.

All mediums are eligible. (plein air or studio)

Nocturne-Gavin-Glakas-December-2022-Best-Nocturne-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
nocturne

Paintings that feature outdoor night scenes.

All mediums are eligible. (plein air or studio)

Plein-Air-Acrylic-Steve-Browning-Best-Plein-Air-Acrylic-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
plein air Acrylic

Paintings must be 100% completed en plein air using only the Acrylic medium.

All subject matter eligible. Plein Air Only.

Plein-Air-Landscape-Kathie-Odom-April-2022-Best-Plein-Air-Landscape-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
plein air landscape

Paintings that feature the landscape or outdoor environment without figures to animals.

All mediums are eligible. Plein Air Only.

Plein-Air-Oil-Mike-Bagdonas-Best-Plein-Air-Oil-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
plein air Oil

Paintings must be 100% completed en plein air using only the Oil medium.

All subject matter eligible. Plein Air Only.

Plein-Air-Pastel-Terri-Ford-August-2022-Best-Plein-Air-Pastel-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
plein air Pastel

Paintings must be 100% completed en plein air using the Pastel medium.

All subject matter eligible. Plein Air Only.

12th Annual PleinAir Salon Art Competition Annual Awards Semi-Finalist Richie Vios Yellow Canopy Cityscape Watercolor Painting
plein air Watercolor & Gouache

Paintings must be 100% completed en plein air using the watercolor or gouache mediums.

All subject matter eligible. Plein Air Only.

Still-Life-Abigail-McBride-October-2022-Best-Still-Life-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
still life*NEW

Paintings that feature a still life , or scene, in an indoor or outdoor setting.

All mediums are eligible. (plein air or studio)

Vehicle-Luis-Azon-December-2022-Best-Vehicle-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
vehicle

Paintings that feature running or run-down vehicles.

All mediums are eligible. (plein air or studio)

WaterKimball-Geisler-August-2022-Best-Water-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
Water

Paintings that feature water, seascapes, coastal, rivers, etc.

All mediums are eligible. (plein air or studio)

Western-Laurie-Kersey-July-2022-Best-Western-PleinAir-Salon-Art-Competition
western

Paintings that feature western themes (landscape or figure).

All mediums are eligible. (plein air or studio)

PleinAir Salon Art Competition Awards

We award $2,150 in each monthly competition. 

In addition, our guest judges select an honorable mention for each of our categories. 

The winners will be automatically entered into the Annual Competition held in the spring where we award $24,200. The Grand Prize winner will receive a check for $15,000, and that winner will also have their painting featured on the cover of PleinAir Magazine.

Check out all the awards HERE.

*Paintings in any of the Plein Air categories must have been 100% completed outdoors (in a single or multiple sessions) on location.