Frequently Asked Questions:

Before You Enter

What kinds of paintings can I submit?

Because this competition is created by PleinAir Magazine, which features not only plein air paintings but also studio paintings, including some still life and figurative, all types of paintings are eligible. Paintings do not need to have been completed in plein air, but all should have originated 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.

What are the criteria for entering the PleinAir Salon?

  1. The painting must be an original work and cannot be based on anything published elsewhere, paintings by other artists living or dead, or photographs taken by other people or found online. 
  2. It cannot have been partially painted by another person, such as a workshop instructor.
  3. It must be the sole work of the artist entering the competition. 
  4. The painting must meet the criteria of the category it is entered into. That is, to enter the Plein Air Only category, the piece must have been completed en plein air. If you are entering the Landscape category, the painting may have been completed in the studio, but should have started with a plein air study. The Figure and Still Life categories must be based on a plein air study or experience. If you are entering the watercolor category, your work must be done in watercolor. 

How old do you have to be to enter the PleinAir Salon?

Each entrant must be at least 18 years old. 

Can I enter the PleinAir Salon if I live in another country?

Yes, but only where it is permitted by law. 

Getting Started

How do I submit a painting?

  1. You start by creating a free account and creating a profile.
  2. Step two is purchasing credits for the number of paintings you want to submit.
  3. Step three is selecting a category, entering your painting details, and uploading the image. Here is a short tutorial video to show you how to enter your first painting. 

Why does it say I only have 24 minutes?

This is only to keep you on track. Nothing saves automatically so if you pause what you’re doing and forget to upload something it will not save and you’ll have to start over. At any point you can log back in and enter again or make changes. 

Can I share my account with another artist?

No, each submitting artist needs to have their own account. If two people share one account, all the paintings will be submitted under the name of the artist who created the account, and there is no changing it after the fact. Creating an account is free.

Do I have to upload a profile picture?

No, but we would really like to include a photo of each artist when we announce the winners of the competition, so we highly recommend it!

How do I change my profile picture?

Click the “Edit Profile” button in the upper right-hand corner. Near the bottom of the screen you will see your profile picture with a trash can icon next to it. Click that icon and it will allow you to delete that image and add another. 

Does my painting have to be recent?

No — we do not care how old or fresh your paintings are. If you’ve got a stellar one from 20 years ago, go ahead and submit it. In addition, the painting does not need to be in your possession. As long as it’s your painting and you have an image of it, you can submit it. 

Do I have to pay for an account with ArtCall?

No, it is completely free to create an account with ArtCall. You are charged only when you purchase submission credits. 

What are submission credits?

When you enter the Salon, you must decide how many credits you want to purchase. 1 credit = 1 submission. If you want to enter only one painting, then purchase one credit. If you know you want to enter three paintings, purchase three credits. 

How much are credits?

The first credit is $38, any credit purchased after the first is only $16.

What if I only purchase one credit and decide to enter another painting later?

That’s OK. Just log into your account and purchase as many additional credits as you would like. 

I didn’t use all my submission credits. Will they roll over?

No, all credits need to be used within the competition cycle in which they were purchased. Once the competition closes, all unused credits will be lost. 

Questions about Submitting

How many paintings can I submit in one submission?

Each individual painting is considered one submission. You can upload up to three images of that same painting if you want to provide the judge a close-up or a different angle. But you can submit multiple paintings in a competition.

How many paintings can I submit?

Each artist may submit up to 75 different paintings. Keep in mind that while you can enter a single painting in multiple categories, it can win in only one. However, you have the opportunity to win in multiple categories if you submit different paintings in each.

Can I upload one painting and enter it in multiple categories?

Yes, you can. However, each category distinction is considered a new submission, so if you want to enter it in three different categories, you must purchase three credits and enter it three times. 

Can I submit a painting of a photo my friend took?

Yes, if you have been given permission.

Can I submit a digital painting?

Sketches made on iPads or other tablets are allowed in the Drawing/Sketching category, but photography, computer-generated images, printed or painted-over photographs, or Photoshop and Photoshop-filtered images are PROHIBITED. The PleinAir Salon reserves the right to refuse any artwork if the method with which it was created is questionable. 

How to Submit an Entry

What information do I need to submit a painting?

The form will ask you for the following information for each painting you submit. 

  1. Which Category you wish to enter
  2. The Title of your painting
  3. The Dimensions of your painting
  4. A Brief Description of your painting
  5. What Medium you used

How do I know which Category to Select?

Categories can be selected for the subject matter or the medium used. There is a descriptor for each category selected if you’re unsure what it includes. For example, an oil landscape painting that includes water could be entered into the landscape, water and oil categories. You can enter the painting in as many categories that apply to the piece. 

Submitting Entry Details

Once you’ve entered the details for your painting you are required to accept the terms and conditions for the competition and click Submit Entry Details. This does NOT mean you are entered. You still need to upload your painting as an attachment. 

Can I enter a painting that has won another competition?

You may enter a painting if it has won another competition. If you have previously entered it into the PleinAir Salon and it won in the current year, you cannot enter it again in any category. All paintings that win in the PleinAir Salon are entered into the competition for the Grand Prize Award presented each spring at the Plein Air Convention & Expo. If you want to enter a painting that won in a previous year you are allowed to do that. 

How do I change the category for a painting I already uploaded?

Log in to your account and then click the “Edit” button (yellow with a pencil) next to the submission.

Attaching an Image

How do I attach an image?

Once you’ve purchased submission credits and have submitted the entry details, you will then go to the Entry Attachment Page. You can click “Add Attachment” and search your files for the image you want or you can drag and drop the file into the rectangle. There is an Upload Progress Bar so you can see it uploading. Once it’s complete you can click “Complete and View Entry”.

How do I share on Facebook?

Once you finish submitting a painting, you will be prompted to share it on Facebook with a message. Click this and share it on Facebook. In addition, you can also click the purple “Promote” button next to any of your entries to promote it on social. Once the submissions close we open up the People’s Choice Award voting, so sharing on Facebook will help you!

I uploaded a painting but decided I don’t like the picture. How do I change it?

Click the trash can icon next to an image to delete it. Then add a new image using the “Add New Attachment” button. NOTE: Use only the small trash can icon next to the painting, and NOT the one for the entire submission. 

Did My Image Upload?

If the image is successful you’ll see a green bar. If it was not successful the bar will be red and will tell you that the photo doesn’t meet the specifications. Once your upload is successful click “Complete & View Entry.” See “What size do my images need to be?” for information on sizing your painting. 

What size do my images need to be?

ArtCall requires that all attachments be less than 4mb and a maximum of 1920 pixels on the longest size, with a maximum resolution of 72 dpi. If it is larger than that, it will not be accepted. As a minimum, the image needs to be 960px on the longest side. The best free tool we’ve found for resizing images is Here is a quick tutorial on using it:

This video can also help you with resizing your Images:

What format should I submit my paintings in?

ArtCall accepts JPG, PNG, and GIF files.

What if my image is larger than 1920 on the longest side and/or not at 72 dpi?

During the uploading process, your image will be denied if it does not fit the requirements. You will see a RED BAR on the screen. See “What size do my images need to be?

What does dpi mean?

Dots per inch — this is standard monitor resolution. A resolution over 72dpi will NOT enhance the image on screen. Higher resolutions are for printing purposes only.

What software should I use to manipulate my images?

You should use image-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements ($79). You can also use if you only need to resize your image.

After Submission

How do I know my submission when through?

You will see a green bar at the top of the Entry Details Page that tells you the submission was saved. Once you add the attachment in Step 2 you will see a green bar at the bottom that says “Image File Successfully Uploaded”. In addition you will receive an automated email telling you that your submission was successful. If at any time you see red it means something is wrong with the details you entered or the image you uploaded doesn’t fit the specifications and you’ll need to modify it. Also, if you do not receive an email after completing your submission, log back into your account to double-check the submission is there. See “What size do my images need to be?” for information on sizing your painting.

How do I see what paintings I entered?

Log back into your account for the competition you entered and you will be able to see what you submitted. If you need to see what you submitted in a past competition, you’ll need to log in at to see all the past competitions you entered. Because each Monthly Competition is separate, there is no way for you to see all entries you’ve ever made to the Salon. You’ll have to look at each individual competition. 

How can I see all the submissions?

You can view submissions to the competition in a couple of ways. 

  1. Go to and click on Winners and then Monthly Winners. You can then click on the year and then month that you’d like to view. On this page you can view the winners and then click the “View All Entries” button to view every submission for that month. 
  2. Log in to and click on the competition you entered. Then click on WEb Gallery at the Top.

Why wasn’t my painting accepted?

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 if it does not meet the criteria.

How does the People's Choice Award Work?

Once the monthly competition closes we will open up voting for the People’s Choice Award. When you log in to your account you’ll need to navigate to the current competition you entered. Click on the purple “Promote Artwork” button that’s on the right of each submission. This allows you to share your artwork on Facebook. It will link to the ArtCall Web Gallery for the competition and people will be asked to sign in using Facebook before voting. Each person is allowed up to 5 votes. The more you share the better your chances of winning!

Why do I need Facebook to Vote for the People's Choice Award?

ArtCall requires voters to sign in using Facebook in order to authenticate each user and prevent fraud. Unfortunately there is no way around this feature, it’s the only way to ensure fair voting.

Judging Process

What is the process for judging the competition?

Once we close the PleinAir Salon, our selected gallery or museum professional will review ALL the paintings that were entered and select the winners. The process takes about two weeks and announcements are made on the 15th of the month.

Why didn’t I get a jury notice?

The PleinAir Salon accepts ALL paintings that are entered into the Salon. Therefore, we don’t send a jury notice. The email you receive when your submission goes through serves as your jury notice. 

Will the judge see my name?

At no time does the Salon judge ever see your name. All judging is anonymous and based solely on the artwork. The only things judges will see are the painting and its title. 

Can I see who the judges are?

The judge for each competition is announced at the beginning of that cycle and can be found at

Why wasn’t there an award for the category I entered?

Our judges have the option to choose not to award a category if there are not enough paintings entered into that category, or if they feel none of the paintings meet their quality or criteria for an award. 

When will I know if I’ve won?

The PleinAir Salon announces winners via email on the 15th of the month following the competition you entered. If you’re a winner, you will be notified by the Salon Manager. 

I’ve won before. Can I win again?

Yes, you can win as many monthly categories as judges grant you, but Grand Prize winners are not allowed to win the Grand Prize a second time within 12 months of their first win. 

Tips for photographing your own work:

*These notes were taken from a seminar given at the Southern California Artists Association.

  • Use a tripod to mount the camera. Check that it is plumb (straight up and down) with a small level or plumb bob to make sure the lens is parallel to the wall your artwork is on. The camera should be centered vertically and horizontally to the work being shot. Your work should be on a wall that is plumb as well. Make sure your work is mounted flush to the wall, unframed.
  • If you have more than one image to photograph, try to do them at the same time. That way you only set up once.
  • Natural light is the best lighting. Full-spectrum light on a bright, overcast day is best.
  • If you are using studio lights, the lights should be on both sides of the artwork. Light it equally, about 45 degrees from each side. It is preferable to use 5000-Kelvin light bulbs or a color-balanced light (look for “color balanced” on the box). Use a flood, not a spotlight. If possible, use a polarized filter in front of each light.
  • After the camera and lighting are set up, and you have made sure that everything is plumb, level, and parallel, use the self-timer to actually shoot the camera.
  • The camera will often save the image as a RAW or a TIF file. Photograph your work in this format, then save it as a JPEG, PNG, or GIF at the end of the process.
  • Be sure to check your camera to make sure it is set to the highest resolution and the largest image setting. Be sure your camera is at least 3 megapixels (all newer cameras are).
  • Even if your work is vertical, shoot it horizontally. You can always rotate it in the computer.
  • Always use a tripod. If possible, use an SLR (single lens reflex) camera; it’s better than a small “point and shoot.” Use a macro lens to avoid “pincushion” effects.
  • If using a “point and shoot” camera, do not use the macro setting. Set the zoom to a mid-zoom — a telephoto zoom loses too much light and the image will be distorted.
  • As a last resort, you can lay a piece on the ground and point the camera straight down.

Preparing your image for upload:

  • Adobe Photoshop Elements, NOT Adobe Photoshop, is recommended. They are very similar and are in fact made by the same company; just be sure it says “Elements” in the name. The cost is approximately $79.
  • After you purchase Photoshop Elements, you may want to purchase a book or similar tutorial material to learn the software.
  • Open your image in Adobe Photoshop Elements. Click on Image, then Image Size.
  • Change the longer side to 1920 pixels. Change the dpi to 72. Then click OK.
  • Save your image as a JPEG (.jpg), PNG (.png), or GIF (.gif). When you save, set the image quality to 12 or Very High.

*Note about color correction: Your monitor does not show accurate color. DO NOT color correct the image.