Gary R. Haynes is one of the six judges who will choose bi-monthly contest winners in the PleinAir Salon.

Many artists find it useful to know who is judging their work at a given competition. The PleinAir Salon has announced its judges for the coming months. Do you know them? 

Over the next year, six highly respected members of the gallery scene will be judging the entries for the PleinAir Salon. The PleinAir Salon consists of six bi-monthly contests, with the First, Second, and Third Place winners of each contest, and the category winners, 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. Three additional finalists win $500. Aside from First, Second and Third Place overall, categories include Best Oil, Best Pastel, Best Watercolor, Best Acrylic, Best Plein Air, Best Building, Best Figure in the Landscape, Best Floral, Best Landscape, Best Outdoor Still Life, Best Nocturne, Best Water, and Best Artist Under 30.

The winner of each bi-monthly contest is featured in this e-newsletter and profiled on In April, the $21,000 in prizes will be awarded to the annual winners at the 2016 Plein Air Convention & Expo, in Tucson, Arizona.

The next chance artists have to enter into the contests, and ultimately, the $21,000 big annual payout, is right now, with the deadline for the April-May contest coming up fast on May 31. For that contest, PleinAir magazine asked David Leadman, the director of Fine Art at the Greenbrier Resort and owner of Walls Fine Art Gallery, both in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, to act as judge. 

For the June-July contest, PleinAir tapped the talents of Bob Malenfant, one of the partners at Southwest Gallery in Dallas. 

The general manager of the Legacy Gallery, with locations in Scottsdale, Arizona; Jackson, Wyoming; and Bozeman, Montana; will judge the August-September contest, and at this point, artists considering entry into the PleinAir Salon have realized that entering the contests doesn’t just get you a chance to win an art competition. It also gets your work in front of some of the most important folks in the gallery business. Like Scott Jones.

Jim Peterson, the owner of the Mockingbird Gallery in Bend, Oregon, will serve as the judge for the October-November contest. 

Gary R. Haynes has two galleries, one in Nashville and one in Thomaston, Maine. He’ll judge the December-January edition of the PleinAir Salon. 

And Catherine Saks, of Saks Gallery in Denver, will judge the tough February-March contest, which always draws many entries. The reason for the high volume of entries in that last contest before the big awards are given is likely twofold: Artists tend to procrastinate, but the temptation of competing for the $15,000 prize is too much and it finally pulls in those procrastinators. Logically, it’s smarter to enter at least one of the other contests, when the competition is thinner.


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