Due to COVID-19 we had to postpone our 9th Annual Plein Air Convention where the awards would normally have been held. We included three additional months of competitions from April to June, in hopes that we would be able to announce at the convention rescheduled for August. Unfortunately, we had to completely cancel the convention which has now moved to May of 2021. Wanting to still award the 9th annual we are planning a Virtual Award ceremony to announce the winners. Timing for this event has yet to be determined. Check the website for updates.
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.
- 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.
- It cannot have been partially painted by another person, such as a workshop instructor.
- It must be the sole work of the artist entering the competition.
- 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.
Each entrant must be at least 18 years old.
Yes, but only where it is permitted by law.
You start by creating a free account and creating a profile. Step two is purchasing credits for the number of paintings you want to submit. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Yes, if you have been given permission.
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.
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.
You may enter a painting if it has won another competition. If you have previously entered it into the PleinAir Salon and it won, 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.
Yes, you can win as many bi-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.
We announce the winners on the 15th of the month after a Salon cycle closes. We’ll send out an announcement e-mail, and if you’re a winner, you will be notified by the Salon Manager. You will be able to review the winning paintings on the Salon website.
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.
That’s OK. Just log into your account and purchase as many additional credits as you would like.
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.
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.
Click the “Edit” button (yellow with a pencil) next to the submission.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 criteria for an award.
Yes! Once you finish submitting a painting, you will be prompted to share it on Facebook with a message. Please let people know you’ve entered; it helps bring more attention to the competition. And once the submissions close we open up the People’s Choice Award voting, so sharing on Facebook will help you!
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 https://imageresizer.com Here is a quick tutorial on using it: https://youtu.be/16lusvi0hGc
This video can also help you with resizing your Images: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cLfrF2x_OA
ArtCall accepts JPG, PNG, and GIF files.
During the uploading process, your image will be denied if it does not fit the requirements. See “What size do my images need to be?”
You should use image-editing software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements ($79).
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.
No, your image will not be distorted. Your image will be shown inside a square box, with black bars on either side. This is done for fairness during viewing by the judges.
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.
The judge for each competition is announced at the beginning of that cycle.
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.