Plein Air Salon portrait paintings
"Khoddy" (oil, 13 x 16 in.) by Carol Arnold, won the "Best Figure & Portrait" category for the June 2020 PleinAir Salon

Congratulations to Carol Arnold (, whose work has been recognized in the PleinAir Salon, an art competition with many categories.

About the Artist

Carol Arnold was first inspired to become a painter when as a child she became fascinated by the plein air painters her family encountered on vacations in seaside Gloucester, Massachusetts. After graduating from Vesper George School of art in Boston, she spent several years working in the commercial art field before turning her attention fully to fine art painting. Carol joined the Putney Painters group in 2006. At Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik’s request, she is now leading the Putney Painters group as they concentrate their efforts on passing their knowledge through their educational and inspirational books and videos.

Carol’s work, executed primarily from life, has been steadily winning recognition, including taking the First Honor award at the Inspiring Figures Exhibition at the Butler Institute of American Art in October of 2010. She won an Honorable Mention at the Portrait Society of America’s Members only competition in December of 2010, in April of 2011 she was awarded a Certificate of Excellence at the Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition and another Certificate of Excellence award in May of 2012. In 2015 and 2016 Carol was a part of the faculty for the Portrait Society’s annual conference where she taught a figure drawing workshop with Max Ginsburg along with many other tasks. She was juried into the first annual Cape Ann Plein Air Event held in Cape Ann, Massachusetts where she spent an inspiring week painting on the shores of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester by the Sea and Essex, with about 40 other plein air painters.

About the Portrait Painting “Khoddy”

“Before I start a painting I have to be inspired by my subject,” Carol said. “What inspired me most about ‘Khoddy’ was all the colors in her skin and also her quiet confidence. It’s easy to get great color from your paint tubes, but you can’t get confidence from a paint tube. I needed to find a way to pose her that would convey these feelings. I chose to set her up with a simple white cloth against the dark value of her skin, her chin raised slightly and I used a brightly colored cloth for a strong diagonal. The value difference was perfect for grabbing the viewer’s attention and her slightly raised chin gives the feeling of her confidence. The brightly colored cloth creates interest and flows perfectly with her braids and the shapes between them.

“I started with the general shape of her head and the diagonal of the cloth. I used the transparent oxide red (Rembrandt oil color) for an overall harmony. I loosely painted in the white of the cloth, using a large brush (you can learn about my Rosemary & Co set of brushes here. The white isn’t really white, it’s a combination of lots of colors at a high value that are harmonious with the rest of the painting. Her face is a combination of accurately placed brushstrokes, slight value changes and temperature shifts joining with the colorful cloth to create one larger dark shape.

“I use the highest quality supplies I can afford. Rembrandt oils are professional quality; they have a high pigment to binder ratio and extra fine grind. There are a wide range of colors to choose from at affordable prices. They’re very smooth, and flow easily without the use of a medium.

On Entering “Khoddy” in the Plein Air Salon

“I decided to enter ‘Khoddy’ into the Plein Air Salon because it’s a strong painting and I thought it may inspire someone, also if it was selected for an award, there would be a lot of exposure and a potential sale,” Carol said. “There are so many artists entering this competition every month, you never know if that particular judge will like your painting or not. If you enter and aren’t selected, it doesn’t mean that your painting wasn’t great, it just wasn’t for that judge. You may enter it the next month and win first prize. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t, but always paint from your heart and you can’t go wrong!”

Additional Paintings by Carol Arnold

Carol Arnold, “Dawn at the Coast,” 30 x 50
Carol Arnold, “My Sister’s Garden,” 10 x 18
Carol Arnold, “Impatiens,” 11 x 14
Carol Arnold, “Begonias and Petunias,” 10 x 20
Carol Arnold, “Peonies and Pansies,” 20 x 24

About the Plein Air Salon

Other categories for this 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 PleinAir Salon?

Because this art contest is created by PleinAir 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 PleinAir 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 PleinAir Salon deadline is coming soon!

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