Top 10 Reasons to Enter the PleinAir Salon

“Plein Air Self Portrait,” by Jim McVicker, oil, 18 x 14 in. Winner of the 2015 Grand Prize in the PleinAir Salon

Need a reason to enter the PleinAir Salon art competition? We’ll give you 10.

  1. Publicity in PleinAir Magazine and Website. All the winners in the PleinAir Salon are featured in this newsletter and on the website. It is exceptionally good publicity, and several winners tell us that.
  2. Art Galleries Like Seeing the Winners. More than a few Salon winners have reported that galleries treated them differently after they won. Suddenly, top galleries wanted to represent them.
  3. Don’t Think You Can Win? Most of the winners interviewed say they didn’t either. This is a good testament to why it’s important to believe in your work.
  4. Join Your Contemporaries. “The value of entering these is in trying to achieve excellence and receiving the inspiration from the other contestants, whom I find inspiring,” says Daud Akhriev, the winner of the 2016 April-May contest. “When I receive an award I am really grateful, but when other artists win and show their best work, it is very exciting, too. Especially because in these competitions we artists are contemporaries, not dead museum artists, and one can follow their careers and feel camaraderie and, in a really healthy way, compete to do one’s best.”
  5. A Win Looks Good on Your CV. Galleries notice when artists win competitions.
  6. It’s Easy. You can enter online. You can start an account, and the process is incredibly simple. It’s not a hassle to enter the PleinAir Salon.
  7. Try, Try Again. The Grand Prize winner in 2015, Jim McVicker, entered his winning painting twice before it won. With a new judge for each bi-monthly contest, a painting has six chances to advance to the second round.
  8. $27,000. That’s how much the PleinAir Salon awards in prizes over the course of a year. That includes a $15,000 Grand Prize given in May. Could you use the money?
  9. The Judge. Who wouldn’t want to have their work examined and considered by some of the most influential people in the plein air painting world?
  10. Test Yourself. Going through your paintings, looking hard at what works and doesn’t, then seeing how your best might stack up with the art that’s out there — even if you don’t win, you’ve learned something.
“Andalusian Rooftops,” by Daud Akhriev. This past winner says camaraderie is another reason to compete.
“Andalusian Rooftops,” by Daud Akhriev. This past winner says camaraderie is another reason to compete.

Did you know that the PleinAir Salon got a little richer in prizes? There have long been big annual prizes, but now artists earn cash for the top prizes in the bi-monthly contests. The First Place winners in the six yearly contests each earn $1,000, with $500 going to Second Place and $250 going to the Third Place winners. The winner of each bi-monthly contest is also featured in the Plein Air Today newsletter and profiled on In the spring, the annual prizes will be awarded to the annual winners at the 2020 Plein Air Convention & Expo in Westminster, Colorado.

The next deadline is approaching soon. Enter now.


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