Contemporary realism watercolor portrait
Marco Campos, "Reminiscentia," watercolor, 16.5 x 13 in. (Plein Air Salon, June 2021 Best Watercolor)

Congratulations to Marco Campos, whose work has been recognized in the Plein Air Salon! Learn his inspiration behind the painting “Reminiscentia,” as well as why he chose to enter this international art competition.

About “Reminiscentia”


‘Reminiscentia’ is latin for ‘reminiscence’, which means “the act of remembering events and experiences from the past.”

I wanted to express a specific feeling in this painting: the memory of a difficult situation that happened in life, and the courage to get up and continue, learning from what happened and to be able to go on. It was very important for me that the person portrayed in the painting was the subject remembering her past, but at the same time that the artwork felt like a memory itself.

“Reminiscentia” was painted using the wet on wet watercolor technique, which I think was very important to achieve the level of realism I wanted. I use Daniel Smith watercolors, and an interesting fact is that the greenish-blue hue evident everywhere in this painting is a color created from real amazonite, which is related to hope.

Contemporary realism portrait drawings
Marco Campos, “Thais,” Charcoal on Strathmore Paper, 24 x 18 in, 2021

I always thought Plein Air Salon was just for plein air paintings. One day I realized the competition is also open to other painting methods as well and not only for plein air artworks. The contest itself has a very appealing structure: a monthly winner in lots of different categories, and then, every monthly winner is entered into the bigger annual competition. To me, this is a great way to have exposure, showing your artworks to other artists, collectors, and to the judges, who are owners of art galleries most of the time.

Contemporary realism still life painting
Marco Campos, “The Colors of Italian Cuisine,” Oil on canvas, 12 x 16 in, 2019

I think that entering your artworks into contests is extremely important, even more for emerging artists as myself. Aside from the great exposure, it makes you try to do your best, which is a good way to help you level up your artwork, and if you win, it’s not only extremely gratifying, but it also helps your art career in a great way. All of this added to the fact that the contest is organized by PleinAir Magazine, makes entering it an extremely good decision to make.

Connect with Marco Campos at

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?

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 Plein Air 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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