Plein Air Salon art competition -
"Serene" by Derek Harrison, won the "Best Figure & Portrait" category for the December/January 2020 Plein Air Salon

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

Derek Harrison is a representational painter who works in the “classical tradition,” creating contemporary figurative and landscape works. Inspired by many 19th century artists, Harrison’s work has become a culmination of classical techniques with the ability to portray contemporary subject matter in a timeless manner.

After his study at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, Derek continued his art education through workshops, seminars and classes with accomplished artists, including Jeremy Lipking, Morgan Weistling, and Sean Cheetham.

In 2014, Derek was featured in Southwest Art Magazine in their highly regarded “21 under 31.” Prior to his 31st birthday, Derek began winning several awards for his paintings. Two years in a row he received 1st place honors at the annual “Artists of Inspiration/Artwalk” at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. He was the 2nd place recipient in the 2013 Bold Brush painting competition and has since become a judge for the contest.

In addition to works published in Southwest Art, he has had his work published in American Art Collector, Fine Art Connoisseur and several collective art books.

He is currently a member of the California Art Club (exhibiting at the annual Gold Medal Exhibition), the OPA (Oil Painters of America) and the Portrait Society of America. His works are held in many private and corporate collections; including Disney, the collection of musician Richie Sambora and the collection of Sue Kroll (president of Warner Bros. worldwide marketing), The Warner Group. He has had paintings included/shown on Anthony Bourdain’s show “Layover,” Rob Dyrdek’s “Fantasy Factory,” and the feature film “Gringo” featuring Charlize Theron.

He currently works and resides in his downtown studio located in Santa Barbara, California.

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 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 Thousands 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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