The PleinAir Salon is quickly becoming the place where the best painters are putting their best paintings next to one another to gauge their growth. The proof is this last contest, the October-November edition, in which juror Nancy Tankersley found herself with the joyful but daunting job of choosing just 11 winners out of the hundreds of strong entries.

“An Empty Nest,” by Tim Kelly, oil, 8 x 6 in. Second Place

“I’m happy with the choices, though as is always true with judging, there could have been a completely different group of winners and it would have been equally good,” says Tankersley. “The level of quality was so high. I had 96 possibilities for prizes, and it was tough narrowing it down. When you have so many equally excellent paintings it really comes down to what resonates with you personally. It comes down to personal choice.”

“Shallows,” by Debra Nadelhoffer, oil, 24 x 30 in. Third Place

In the end, one image stood out from all the rest: Carl Bretzke’s oil painting “Vintage Truck, Carmel, California.” Bretzke wins a feature article on and PleinAir Today, plus entry in the annual contest for his First Place win.

“Mysterious Morning,” by Sara Linda Poly, oil, 30 x 30 in. Best Landscape, Studio or Plein Air

“Last Chance,” by Valerie Craig, oil, 10 x 8 in. Best Plein Air

“Sky Meadow Autumn,” by Hiu Lai Chong, oil, 30 x 40 in. Best Figure in the Landscape

Baltimore painter Tim Kelly nabbed Second Place with “An Empty Nest.” Third Place went to Debra Nadelhoffer for her oil painting “Shallows.”

“Buoy Oh Buoy,” by Nancie King Mertz, pastel, 10 x 10 in. Best Outdoor Still Life

“Rocks of Ages,” by Ned Mueller, oil, 11 x 14 in. Best Water, Studio or Plein Air

The Salon names winners in several categories, including Best Landscape (Sara Linda Poly’s “Mysterious Morning”), Best Plein Air (Valerie Craig’s “Last Chance”), Best Figure in the Landscape (Hiu Lai Chong’s “Sky Meadow Autumn”), Best Outdoor Still Life (Nancie King Mertz’s “Buoy Oh Buoy”), Best Nocturne (Michael Kotarba’s “Moon Rise”), Best Floral (Kaye Franklin’s “Hollyhocks”), and Best Building (Anne Blair Brown’s “Not Forgotten”).

“Moon Rise,” by Michael Kotarba, watercolor, 20 x 14 in. Best Nocturne

“Hollyhocks,” by Kaye Franklin, oil, 12 x 9 in. Best Floral

“Not Forgotten,” by Anne Blair Brown, oil, 12 x 16 in. Best Building

The PleinAir Salon consists of six bi-monthly contests, with the First, Second, and Third Place winners of each contest automatically entered into the annual competition. First prize in the annual competition is $15,000 cash and the publication of the winning image on the cover of PleinAir magazine, along with a feature story. Second Place earns an artist $3,000 and an article in the digital edition of PleinAir magazine. Third Place yields $1,500 in cash. Eight additional finalists win $500.

The next deadline for the PleinAir Salon is January 31. For more information, visit the Salon’s website.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here