“French Curve” Tells a Story, and Wins

Artist Peggy Immel has revealed her selections for the winners in the June 2023 PleinAir Salon

“When judging a show, the first thing I look for are paintings that stand out in some way visually from the other paintings,” Peggy said. “An artist’s responsiveness to the subject and a strong emotional component or a unique point of view are qualities that winning paintings always have. And of course, excellent technique and strong composition as well as an honest use of the artist’s chosen medium are crucial elements.”

PleinAir Salon Winners Preview:

1st Place Overall: “French Curve”

PleinAir Salon art competition - Timothy Horn, "French Curve," oil
Timothy Horn (Fairfax, California), “French Curve,” oil, 36 x 48 in.

Judge’s Comments: “French Curve” is a stunning example of a painting that tells, in the most compelling fashion, the story of someone admiring a classic car. I love the slight halation and subtle greys of the person’s shadow against the buttery yellow of the car’s fender. The luscious curves of the car’s chrome hubcaps and front bumper inspire the painting’s title and complete the story by reflecting a tiny image of the car’s admirer. It’s a great painting.

2nd Place Overall: “From the Bridge”

PleinAir Salon art competition - Barbara Coleman, "From the Bridge," oil
Barbara Coleman (Albuquerque, New Mexico), “From the Bridge,” oil, 12 x 16 in.

Judge’s Comments: I love the elevated perspective of “From the Bridge.” This aerial point of view allows us to see all the subtle colors reflected in the river, from the turquoise sky to the cool blue shadows of the bridge in the foreground. The warm glow of the low sun on the autumn cottonwoods perfectly sets off the river’s color and completes a beautiful and masterful composition.

3rd Place Overall: “Kinda Like Diamonds in the Sky”

PleinAir Salon art competition - Kim Lordier, "Kinda Like Diamonds in the Sky," pastel
Kim Lordier (Millbrae, California), “Kinda Like Diamonds in the Sky,” pastel, 20 x 24 in.

Judge’s Comments: The lack of much sky in “Kinda Like Diamonds in the Sky” is one of the things that sets it apart from a more traditional approach to landscape. We do see a tiny bit of sky just as the river turns out of the painting, but for the most part, the whole feeling is that of being deep in a sheltered forest in the winter. The warm blue iridescent flecks in the water and glowing sunspot are beautiful counterpoints to the cool blues and greens of the painting. All of it is supported by an excellent composition.

Best Plein Air Landscape: “Moonset by the Zong Kong River”

Chan Chen Yang, "Moonset by the Zong Kong River," oil
Chan Chen Yang (New Taipei City, Taiwan), “Moonset by the Zong Kong River,” oil, 10 x 14 in.

Best Plein Air Acrylic: “Light In the Mission”

Rick J. Delanty, "Light In the Mission," acrylic
Rick J. Delanty (San Clemente, California), “Light In the Mission,” acrylic, 24 x 30 in.

Best Plein Air Oil: “Safe Harbor”

Biruta Hansen, "Safe Harbor," oil
Biruta Hansen (Liverpool, Pennsylvania), “Safe Harbor,” oil, 11 x 14 in.

Best Plein Air Pastel: “Edmonds Marsh”

Alejandra Gos, "Edmonds Marsh," pastel
Alejandra Gos (Bothell, Washington), “Edmonds Marsh,” pastel, 9 x 12 in.

Best Plein Air Watercolor / Gouache: “Forsaken”

Brienne M. Brown, "Forsaken," watercolor
Brienne M. Brown (Julian, Pennsylvania), “Forsaken,” watercolor, 20 x 20 in.

“Entering a competition can be intimidating,” Peggy added, “but it is one of the best ways to learn how your work stacks up against that of other artists, especially if you enter often and can receive [feedback]. Different judges will look for different things so a painting that doesn’t receive recognition by one judge may be the next one’s favorite piece. In fact, even the same judge will have a slightly different opinion on any given day. A good mantra is ‘Enter your best work and enter early and enter often.’”

Enter the PleinAir Salon Today

The next round of the PleinAir Salon has begun so hurry, as this competition ends on the last day of the month. See the rest of this month’s winners and enter your best art in the PleinAir Salon here.

First place will receive a cash prize, plus all winners will be entered into the judging for the annual cash prizes, including the $15,000 grand prize for the best painting of the year, and they’ll see their painting on the cover of PleinAir™ Magazine.

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