Emerging artists enter to get attention, veteran artists submit entries to keep fresh against the competition, and all benefit from the fact that the judges change for each bimonthly contest. What does master artist Ned Mueller say about the PleinAir Salon, which closes its August-September contest tonight?

Lead Image: “Lowtide — Mevagissey, England,” by Ned Mueller, oil, 16 x 20 in. Third Place in the June-July contest of the PleinAir Salon

Many have a hard time seeing art as a competition at times, but not Mueller. “I really enjoy entering the PleinAir Salon as by nature I am a pretty competitive person from many years of playing many different sports,” he says. “I also have an advantage over younger artists as I have more than 50 years of images to choose from, and so a higher number of my better paintings from which to choose.”

Like other winners in the Salon, Mueller notes that perseverance is the key. If at first you don’t win a prize, try, try again. “I am well aware that it is a bit of a crapshoot, as there is a wide diversity of prejudice and taste from all the different judges, and one never is quite sure what they will pick,” he says. “I often get a painting rejected by one judge and am given an award on it by another —no surprise there! Each year the contest seems to draw more and better artists as the awards are big and the exposure quite nice, and that raises the bar for all of us.”

Enter now — as in immediately, this minute — as the deadline for the August-September contest is literally just hours away. The contest closes at midnight Pacific Time.

In April, $21,000 in prizes will be awarded to the annual winners at the 2016 Plein Air Convention & Expo. 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 OutdoorPainter.com.


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