PleinAir Salon Steven Walker 052924

Congratulations to Steven Walker, who took home the 2nd Place prize in the 13th Annual PleinAir® Salon art competition, announced at this year’s Plein Air Convention & Expo. Here, he tells us about his winning painting, “Compliments of Fall.”

Eric Rhoads, Steven Walker, and Kari Stober at the PleinAir Salon awards / Plein Air Convention & Expo
Eric Rhoads, Steven Walker, and Kari Stober at the PleinAir Salon awards / Plein Air Convention & Expo

My Inspiration: I like to paint that type of scenery and things that almost make you realize how small we are. I even paint trees in a way that you’re looking up so you realize just how tall they are. I don’t usually paint a barn that’s off in the distance – I want to make it like a portrait.

I was trying to create something grand because the barn wasn’t really that big but I wanted to make it grand. So I initially knew that when I saw it, and did all the perspective stuff but the setting wasn’t right. So I had to basically compose another image from Iowa with a barn from Wisconsin to make it aesthetically pleasing.

The Challenge: Scale is always a challenge. It’s 30 by 30 inches. I knew it needed to have a presence. I usually pass my work by my boss / wife. She’s an artist herself, so she’s really good with aspects such as scale (she’s also very biased she wants everything to be big, but we don’t have the physical space). It really just fell into place once I had the two images and an understanding of what I wanted to end up with.

Why I Entered: I’m not going to get very far just painting in my studio and talking with my dog; she’s not a very good conversationalist. I knew I needed to get my name out there and if I could get into the Top 100 at least, it would work for me and I could continue what I’m doing a little bit easier, just trying to make life easier for myself. I feel like now I’m working a little less hard as I did when I was in my mid-20s; I was busting my butt to do everything, and not getting really good results as far as painting. I realized that I need to venture out of my little space, my little studio, my little town.

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