PleinAir Salon art competitions - Kim Lordier pastel paintings
“Zion Calls,” by Kim Lordier, pastel, 11 x 14 in.

One plein air painting inspired several exceptional studio pieces by this California pastelist, the winner of the December-January contest in the PleinAir Salon (2017). If you enter and win, your work could be featured here!

Kim Lordier took home $1,000 in cash and secured a spot in the annual competition in the PleinAir Salon with “Azure Wonderland,” a studio piece based on the plein air study “Zion Calls.” That plein air painting also spurred another studio painting. One never knows what an outdoor painting session will yield, when you are at the skill level of Lordier.

PleinAir Salon art competitions - Kim Lordier pastel paintings
“Azure Wonderland,” by Kim Lordier, pastel, 22 x 24 in. Winner of the December-January 2017 contest of the PleinAir Salon

Azure Wonderland’ and the study, ‘Zion Calls,’ inspired another painting, ‘Winter’s Coat Afire,’ which I created for a collector this year,” Lordier explains. “You can see the thread of inspiration through all three pieces, and I am realizing the importance of creating works in a series. I feel this is a new part of my artistic journey. ‘Evenings Retreat’ was also created during same trip to Utah, and I have held on to this piece because I wish to explore the ideas behind it further.”

PleinAir Salon art competitions - Kim Lordier pastel paintings
“Timeless Rhythm,” by Kim Lordier, pastel, 8 x 10 in.

Lordier’s win is a strong endorsement for experimentation, perseverance, and bravery. “I haven’t entered many competitions in the last several years — I’ve had mixed feelings about my work, feeling as if it is not good enough to compete with all the amazing work that I keep seeing winning awards through venues like the PleinAir Salon, Boldbrush, and other magazine competitions,” she says. “But this particular painting, ‘Azure Wonderland,’ is a bit of a departure for me aesthetically, and a creative path that I am deeply interested in following.

PleinAir Salon art competitions - Kim Lordier pastel paintings
“Variation on a Theme,” by Kim Lordier, pastel, 24 x 18 in.

“The piece was honored with the Patron’s Choice Award at the last Maynard Dixon Country. So, I thought, just do it! Send it in to the Salon and see what happens. I believe it is important to get a read on how others view your work, and one way to do that is through a competition. I also know the pain of rejection — but understand that this is as subjective a field as any. Even though jurors, including myself, do their utmost to honor the foundations of picture making, there will always be an element of personal aesthetics that go into selecting awards. And that is also the beauty of what we do.”

PleinAir Salon art competitions - Kim Lordier pastel paintings
“Evenings Retreat,” by Kim Lordier, pastel, 10 x 10 in.

We wanted to know the story behind her winning piece, in terms of painting process. Lordier told us, “Inspired by a plein air study from a painting trip to southern Utah, ‘Azure Wonderland’ was created in the studio. The study, ‘Zion Calls,’ was pretty busy, as the landscape was populated with snow, sagebrush, piñon, and low-lying mountains just east of Zion National Park. My focus for the winning painting was the backlit paint horses. I love implying the detail of the hibernating sagebrush with abstract strokes of the pastel, creating a rhythm that moves your eye through the painting. The key to this painting was keeping the horses embedded within the landscape, and using warm and cool temperature vibrations to keep interest in the snow patterns. I really dug into the idea of color, pushing the blues to offset the neutral flora and warm coat of the main horse.”

art competitions - Kim Lordier pastel paintings
“Winter’s Coat Afire,” by Kim Lordier, pastel, 24 x 30 in.

Lordier wished to share one more painting, one that reminds her of the good times she had at the Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE). “‘Timeless Rhythm’ was painted on the patio of the El Conquistador in Tucson at the convention,” Lordier says.

art competitions - Kim Lordier pastel paintings
“Ornamental Figuration,” by Kim Lordier, pastel, 16 x 20 in.

About the PleinAir Salon:

PleinAir magazine presents the ninth annual PleinAir Salon Art Competition. In the spirit of the French Salon created by the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, this annual competition, with six bi-monthly cycles leading to annual Salon Grand Prize winners, is designed to stimulate artistic growth through competition. The competition rewards artists with $27,000 in cash prizes and exposure of their work, with the winning painting featured on the cover of PleinAir magazine.

It is our belief that cash prizes provide further inspiration and an avenue for artists to thrive and create new work by helping alleviate financial pressure.

Winners in each bi-monthly competition may receive recognition and exposure through PleinAir magazine’s print magazine, e-newsletter, and social media. Winners of each bi-monthly competition will also be entered into the annual competition.

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