The last PleinAir Salon of our year is always a hotly contested one. The artists are eager to get a last-minute spot in the larger competition for the biggest prize — the $15,000 Grand Prize, delivered each April at the Plein Air Convention & Expo (PACE). Who made the final cut?
Catherine Saks, the owner of Saks Gallery in Denver, had the tough job of picking the February-March contest. Her First Place winner was painted en plein air by Timur Akhriev of Chattanooga, Tennessee: “Resting,” an 18”-x-30” oil painting.

“God’s Gift,” by John Buxton, oil, 36 x 21 in. Second Place

“Overlook,” by Grace Schlesier, oil, 16 x 20 in. Third Place

John Buxton won Second Place with “God’s Gift,” and Grace Schlesier won Third with “Overlook.”

“Should Lanterns Shine,” by Wyatt LeGrand, oil, 48 x 48 in. Best Artist Under 30

“Silver Light,” by Delia Bradford, acrylic, 48 x 60 in. Best Acrylic

Best Artist Under 30 went to Wyatt LeGrand, thanks to his piece “Should Lanterns Shine.”

”Dance Upon the Evening Sky,” by Frederic Michael Wood, oil, 24 x 30 in. Best Oil

“Le Lac Initiatique,” by Danielle Richard, pastel, 30 x 40 in. Best Pastel

In the media awards, Best Acrylic was won by Delia Bradford for “Silver Light,” Best Oil went to Frederic Michael Wood for “Dance Upon the Evening Sky,” Best Pastel went to Danielle Richard for “Le Lac Initiatiqe,” and Erin Dertner won Best Watercolor for “Backlit Beauties.”

“Backlit Beauties,” by Erin Dertner, watercolor, 22 x 15 in. Best Watercolor

“The Old Hay Barn,” by Jason Sacran, oil, 14 x 18 in. Best Plein Air

“Dream Interior #1,” by Patrick Lee, oil, 36 x 40 in. Best Building

The prestigious Plein Air award was won by Jason Sacran for his oil painting “The Old Hay Barn.”

“The Hummingbird Feeder,” by Ardith Staroska, oil, 30 x 20 in. Best Figure in the Landscape

“Ready to Squeeze,” by Kyle Stuckey, oil, 24 x 18 in. Best Floral

A number of awards are given to artists based on subject matter. Best Building was won by Patrick Lee’s “Dream Interior #1,” Best Figure in the Landscape was won by Ardith Starostka’s “The Hummingbird Feeder,” Best Floral went to Kyle Stuckley for “Ready to Squeeze,” Best Landscape was won by Paula Holtzclaw for “After the Storm,” Best Nocturne was won by Stephen DeOrio’s “Winter Walk,” the Best Outdoor Still Life award was given to Richard Sparks’ “Jack,” and the award for Best Water was won by Kirk Larsen for his painting “Into the Light.”

“After the Storm,” by Paula Holtzclaw, oil, 24 x 20 in. Best Landscape

“Winter Walk,” by Stephen DeOrio, oil, 26 x 32 in. Best Nocturne

The PleinAir Salon consists of six bi-monthly contests, with the First, Second, and Third Place winners of each contest, as well as 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.

“Jack,” by Richard Sparks, oil, 20 x 24 in. Best Outdoor Still Life

“Into the Light,” by Kirk Larsen, oil, 20 x 36 in. Best Water

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


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