Many artists think they gain an edge by knowing who the judge for a competition is and what they generally look for in an entry. Here’s what the judge for the PleinAir Salon‘s April-May contest will be looking for in the batch of submissions he’ll be examining.

“I have spent enough time studying art in school and as an artist myself that I know what was involved in the work I see,” says David Leadman, this period’s PleinAir Salon judge, director of Fine Art at the Greenbrier Resort, and owner of Walls Fine Art Gallery, both in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. “It all comes down to composition. If the composition isn’t sound, the painting is not there. Every painting is just shapes, be it abstract or realist.”

There you have it. Enter now. The deadline is just days away — May 31, at midnight.

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

The winner of each bi-monthly contest is featured in this e-newsletter and profiled on In 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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