Plein Air Salon - Ming Luke painting of a cat
"My Friend's Cat" (oil, 12 x 16 in.) by Ming Luke won the "Best Animal" category for the May 2021 Plein Air Salon

Congratulations to Ming Luke, whose work has been recognized in the Plein Air Salon, a monthly art competition with many categories in which to enter your art.

Ming tells us that “My Friend’s Cat” is based on a 2017 visit to a friend’s house and farm in Utah. On the second morning of the visit, he was waiting for his friend; together they were going to feed the cows.

“The farm cats drew my attention,” Ming said. “One with a yellow stripe came closer and seemed to want me to pet her. The morning sunlight poured on her beautifully, so I quickly snapped a picture of it for future reference.”

Ming added that he spent many hours studying the techniques of masters such as David Leffel, Sherrie McGraw, Jeff Legg, and Michael Klein.

Additional Paintings by Ming Luke:

Realism art - painting of a horse

.Narrative painting of musicians

.Contemporary realism art - floral painting

.Contemporary realism art - floral painting

Ming encourages others to submit their work to the Plein Air Salon: “Since it’s a monthly competition, you always have the chance to show off your work and skills. My advice is to know what painting subject you’re good at and work hard on your interests.”

Other categories for the Plein Air Salon art competition include Best Building, Best Drawing and Sketches, and many more! Visit to view the complete list.

Why should a contemporary realist enter the Plein Air Salon art competition?

Because this art contest is created by Plein Air magazine, which features not only plein air paintings, but also studio paintings, all types of paintings are eligible and do not need to have been completed in plein air, but should originate from a plein air study or plein air experience. As we know, many studio paintings start with plein air sketches. Our interest is in rewarding great paintings.

The Plein Air Salon awards $33,000 in CASH each year! Learn more at, and enter your best work for your chance to win this art competition. Enter now – the next deadline is coming soon!

Enter Now

If you’ve never entered, it only takes a couple of minutes to create your own account. Once you do that, just upload the images of your best work and select the categories you wish to enter – very manageable to do!

All of our awards are CASH, with the grand prize winner getting called up on stage at the Convention & Expo to claim their check for $15,000. That grand prize winner will also have their winning painting featured on the cover of Plein Air magazine (can it get any better?).

There are smaller cash awards, too, and you can find out all about them here. Remember, even if a previous judge did not select your painting, our current judge just might find it to be a winner!

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