Categories to Enter

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. As we know, many studio paintings start with plein air sketches, and may plein air painters also paint figures and still lives. Our interest is in rewarding great paintings.

There are 19 categories to submit a painting in and paintings should be in the traditional 2D style.

plein air Acrylic

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

All subject matter eligible.

plein air Oil

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

All subject matter eligible. 

plein air Pastel

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

All subject matter eligible. 

plein air Watercolor & Gouache

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

All subject matter eligible. 

plein air LANDSCAPEs

Landscape paintings completed 100% en plein air in any medium.*

plein air outdoor still life

Still life paintings in an outdoor setting. Paintings completed 100% en plein air in any medium.*

Animals & Birds

Animals or birds in any medium. (plein air or studio)

Artist Over 65

Painting in any medium or subject matter. (plein air or studio) 

*Must provide proof of age if selected as the winner

beginner *new

Painting in any medium or subject matter. (plein air or studio) 

*Only for artists who have been painting 5 years or less.

building

Cityscapes, farms, architectural elements in any medium. (plein air or studio)

clouds & sky *NEW

Sunrises, sunsets, clouds of any variety in any medium. (plein air or studio)

drawing

Drawings in pencil, graphite, charcoal, etc. Any subject matter eligible. (plein air or studio)

figure & portrait

Figures and portraits, including figures in the landscape, in any medium. (plein air or studio)

floral

Gardens, fields, or flowers, etc. in any medium. (plein air or studio)

landscape

Landscape or outdoor environment without figures or animals in any medium. (plein air or studio)

nocturne

Outdoor night scenes in any medium. (plein air or studio)

vehicle

Running or run-down vehicles in any medium (plein air or studio)

Water

Seascapes, coastal, rivers, etc., in any medium. (plein air or studio)

western

Paintings featuring a western theme, landscape or figure in any medium. (plein air or studio)

Monthly Competition Awards (23 winners each cycle).

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 Plein Air Acrylic
  • Best Plein Air Oil
  • Best Plein Air Pastel
  • Best Plein Air Watercolor
  • Best Plein Air Landscape
  • Best Plein Air Outdoor Still Life
  • Best Animals & Birds
  • Best Artist Over 65
  • Best Beginner
  • Best Building
  • Best Clouds & Sky
  • Best Drawing
  • Best Figure & Portrait
  • Best Floral
  • Best Landscape
  • Best Nocturne
  • Best Vehicle
  • Best Water
  • Best Western

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