September Salon Stars

Robin Knowlton, Director Emerita of American Women Artists, has revealed her selections for the winners in the Plein Air Salon monthly art competition.

Congratulations to the winners of the September 2021 Plein Air Salon!

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 Plein Air Magazine. Could you be the next winner?

Plein Air Salon, September 2021 Winners:

1st Place Overall: The Common Thread

Plein Air Salon - Alisa Shea, "The Common Thread," watercolor, 25 x 16 in.
Alisa Shea, “The Common Thread,” watercolor, 25 x 16 in.

“[The Common Thread] is exquisite,” said juror Robin Knowlton. “It shows technical and compositional mastery; it’s a beautiful painting with warmth and nostalgia.”

2nd Place Overall: Tardes de Verano

Plein Air Salon - Luis Azon, "Tardes De Verano," oil, 52 x 37 in.
Luis Azon, “Tardes De Verano,” oil, 52 x 37 in.

Of “Tardes De Verano,” Knowlton said, “This painting has mood, composition, and energy in spades. The viewer can hear the music playing and feel themselves in the scene.”

3rd Place Overall: Golden Glow

Plein Air Salon - Deborah Tilby, "Golden Glow," oil, 12 x 16 in.
Deborah Tilby, “Golden Glow,” oil, 12 x 16 in.

“I love paintings that evoke a feeling,” said Knowlton. “[Golden Glow] oozes warmth. We’ve all seen the light at this time of day, which the artist has captured so perfectly. It’s a gem.”

Best Plein Air: Yampa’s Twin Butte

Orville Giguiento, "Yampa's Twin Butte," watercolor, 13 x 19 in.
Orville Giguiento, “Yampa’s Twin Butte,” watercolor, 13 x 19 in.

Best Landscape Painting: Not Yet Spring

Nadia Klionsky, "Not Yet Spring," oil, 28 x 38 in.
Nadia Klionsky, “Not Yet Spring,” oil, 28 x 38 in.

Best Outdoor Still Life: Lautenbach Cherries

Suzie Baker, "Lautenbach Cherries," oil, 9 x 12 in.
Suzie Baker, “Lautenbach Cherries,” oil, 9 x 12 in.

View the rest of the Plein Air Salon winners soon at
Note: Judges are not provided with contestant names.

The next round of the Plein Air Salon has begun so hurry, as this competition ends soon. Enter your best art in the Plein Air Salon here.

New This Year! We’re now offering a People’s Choice Award in each monthly cycle, with a prize of $100! (When you enter your painting, you’ll be able to “promote your artwork” with a special link.)

About the Plein Air Salon:

In the spirit of the French Salon created by the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, this annual competition, with monthly cycles leading to annual Salon Grand Prize winners, is designed to stimulate artistic growth through competition. The competition rewards artists with $30,000 in cash prizes and exposure of their work, with the winning painting featured on the cover of Plein Air 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 monthly competition may receive recognition and exposure through Plein Air magazine’s print magazine, e-newsletter, and social media. Winners of each monthly competition will also be entered into the annual competition.

Related Article > 3 Secrets to Winning Art Competitions


  1. I don’t understand why The Common Thread won first prize in the Plein Air Salon, September. Yes, it’s superbly executed, but not remotely plein air, is it?

    • Hello, Wanda! Our team has shared the following for you: “We are the PleinAir Salon because we were created By Plein Air magazine. Just as the magazine shows a variety of artwork, we want to award great artwork, not just those that are Plein air.” Thank you!


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