Competition Rules

Welcome to the 14th Annual PleinAir Salon Online Art Competition!

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 plein air painters finish paintings in the studio or also work in entirely different subject matter. Our interest is in rewarding great paintings.

*This is a traditional 2d painting and drawing competition. Photography, digital, AI-generate or 3d art is NOT eligible.


Early Bird Entry Fee: From the 1st-15th each month. First entry is $29, all additional entries are $12.*

Regular Entry Fee: From the 16th-month-end. First entry is $38, all additional entries are $16.*

*Paintings entered in multiple categories are considered separate entries, and will require a fee for each category entered.

Non-refundable: All entry fees are non-refundable and must be paid via credit or debit card prior to entering. If you have any questions or concerns please reach out to us using the Contact Us page.

Credits: These are purchased for each painting you want to enter. Credits need to be used during the same monthly competition in which they were purchased. Unused credits will not roll over to the next competition. 

See also “Why Are Entry Fees Required” in our FAQ.


Original Artwork: All entries must be original compositions and cannot be based on anything that has been published elsewhere. Copies of other artists’ work are NOT considered original and are not eligible.

Photographs: Paintings based on another person’s photograph (even if copyright-free) are NOT eligible. Reference photos must belong to the artist entering. 

One Artist Only: All entries must be 100% painted by the artist entering and cannot have been painted partially by an instructor. Nor can someone enter the artwork of an artist who is now deceased. Paintings that were created as part of a group workshop where multiple artists painted the same image are NOT eligible.

Paintings/Drawings ONLY: Photography, AI, digital, printed or painted over photographs are PROHIBITED.

The PleinAir Salon reserves the right to refuse any artwork if the method with which is was created is questionable. And any artist who enters digitally altered images will be banned for future competitions.

Employees or associates of Streamline Publishing, Inc., or their immediate families may not enter.

Grand Prize: An artist can only win the Grand Prize once. Grand Prize winners can continue to enter the PleinAir Salon, but with the understanding they are no longer eligible to win the Grand Prize again. 


ArtCall Account: When first entering the PleinAir Salon Art Competition, you’ll be asked to create a profile on If you do not have an artist account at, click here. This is FREE, and takes just a few minutes. Then you can begin entering paintings. 

Categories: There are 19 categories to enter. Please read the criteria for each category clearly, as some have restrictions. If a painting does not meet the criteria for the category it was entered into, it will be disqualified.

Click here to view all the Categories.

Plein Air Categories: Paintings entered into any of the Plein Air categories must have been completed 100% in plein air. This can take place over multiple sessions, but it CANNOT have been finished in the studio. 

Image Sizes: Before uploading your images, make sure they are smaller than 4MB, and no more than 1920 pixels on the longest side at 72 dpi. Images should be in JPEG format, sRGB color space. Help in photographing your work can be found HERE. Help resizing your painting can be found HERE

Please review our extensive FAQ for additional questions. If you still need additional assistance you can contact us HERE.

Online Only: Paintings do not need to be new or fresh, or even in your possession. Since this is an online competition, older, and sold, paintings are accepted.

Entry Limits: There is a limit of 75 entries you can enter in each monthly competition. Because there are multiple categories you might increase your odds by entering multiple categories.

Winning Paintings: A painting can win only once. If the painting has been entered in multiple categories, it can only win in ONE category. Additionally any painting that has not previously won a category award, can be re-entered in subsequent competitions. For example, a painting that receives an honorable mention award can be re-entered the next month. 

Note: All monthly winners are included in the judging of the Annual Competition, so there is no need to enter a winning painting multiple times.

Inappropriate images: PleinAir magazine reserves the right to reject or not display any image that it feels is inappropriate or distasteful, if the image’s resolution quality is poor, if we believe the image is a copy of another painting, or it does not meet the above criteria.


Judges: Guest judges include prominent artists, gallery owners, and museum curators and directors.

In the event a judge, who has been promoted, is unable to judge, an alternate judge will be appointed. If one cannot be found, judging will be done by an editor or publisher of either Fine Art Connoisseur or PleinAir magazine.

Click here to view our judges.

Judging Timeframe: After the close of each monthly competition, the judge scores ALL the paintings based on a blind judging system. This means that the judge only sees the painting, title and medium. At no point during the judging process is the judge given the artist’s information. 

Top 100: The paintings with the highest scores will become the Top 100 finalists for that month. (There could be more depending on scores.) The Top 100 Finalists are announced 1 week before the awards announcement.

Awards: The winners will be announced on the last day of the month following the competition. This allows our judges ample time to review all the paintings that were entered, and then select the winners.

There will be one Winner and one Honorable Mention selected in each category of each monthly competition, and three overall awards.

Winners of each monthly competition, including each category winners, will be entered into the judging for the Annual PleinAir Salon Competition. Honorable Mention recipients are not entered into the annual competition and can therefore re-enter their paintings into subsequent competitions.

No Awards: In the event a category does not have enough entries, or paintings of high enough quality, judges may decide not to award recognition in that particular category for that competition period.

Awards Announcement: An email will be sent with a link to watch the live Awards Announcement which takes place on the last day of the month. If the last day falls on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, the awards will be held on the last Thursday of the month. Artists will be notified via email following the announcement. All winners can be viewed on the Winners Page.

Click here to view all of the $50,000 Cash Awards. 


The PleinAir Salon consists of 12 Monthly cycles and one Annual Competition.

Annual Competition Entry Deadline: The Annual Competition runs from April 1st to March 31st. The 23 winners from each monthly cycle during this time automatically become the Semi-Finalists in the Annual Competition.

People’s Choice Voting: Voting for the Annual People’s Choice Award will open on April 15th. All winners from the prior year are eligible to share their paintings on social media. The painting with the most votes wins.

Top 25 Finalists: A panel of jurors will review and score all 276 entries. The 25 paintings with the highest scores will become the Top 25 Finalists for the year.

Plein Air Convention & Expo: The Top 25 Finalists are all invited to attend the Plein Air Convention where the PleinAir Salon Awards will be announced live on stage.

By entering the PleinAir Salon, you agree that you are submitting images of your own original artwork and not that of other artists or material in which you do not hold the copyright. The original work does not have to currently be in your possession. You are also agreeing, in advance, to have your submitted artwork and your image published to any print or digital/electronic property of Streamline Publishing, Inc. This includes, but is not limited to, print and digital magazines, newsletters, websites, e-mails, social media pages, and promotional materials in perpetuity.

At times, Streamline Publishing, Inc. may request a higher-resolution image than was submitted through the PleinAir Salon. When entering, you agree to fulfill this request in a timely manner in order for Streamline Publishing, Inc. to promote the competition winners.