"Serious Business at Cadboro Bay" (oil, 16 x 20 in.) by Renee Brettler, won the "Best Figure and Portrait" category for the May 2021 Plein Air Salon

Realism Portraits > Congratulations to Renee Brettler  (reneebrettler.com), whose work has been recognized in the Plein Air Salon, a monthly art competition with many categories in which to enter your art.

On Painting “Serious Business at Cadboro Bay”


“Serious Business at Cadboro Bay” was inspired by my granddaughter Lilah Joan. The image itself is testament to a childhood spent immersed in the natural beauty of Victoria, British Columbia.

I love this moment! It so captures her intense concentration on the task at hand; surrounded by the beauty of the landscape around her.

For me, this piece is all about contrast.

I have always been fascinated by the use of Chiaroscuro: using a strong single light source to create depth and mood. Here, the light source is sunlight and the shadows cast by the main figure help create the drama. The deep blues of the water and sky and the bright orange of her bathing suit add yet another element of contrast. These complimentary colors help make the figure pop. A variety of textures and details add another element of contrast and visual interest.

I was very pleased to win “Best Portrait/Figure” in the PleinAir Salon. Winning an art competition is an achievement! It means my art will be seen and appreciated by more people.

I would definitely encourage other artists to enter competitions. They provide a wonderful opportunity to further develop your art career. Entering a competition can lead to more exposure and to possible exhibitions and/or publications … as well as boost your confidence.

Additional Realism Portraits by Renee Brettler:

Renee Brettler, "Another Whitehorse Winter II," pastel and colored pencil on ink and paper
Renee Brettler, “Another Whitehorse Winter II,” pastel and colored pencil on ink and paper
Realism Portraits - "The Girl in the Back Room" by Renee Brettler
“The Girl in the Back Room” by Renee Brettler
Realism Portraits - "Snowy Solitude" by Renee Brettler
“Snowy Solitude” by Renee Brettler
"Silent Sorrow" by Renee Brettler
“Silent Sorrow” by Renee Brettler
Realism Portraits - "Portrait of Earl" by Renee Brettler
“Portrait of Earl” by Renee Brettler

In the spirit of the French Salon created by the Academie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, this annual online art competition, with 11 monthly cycles, leading to the annual Salon Grand Prize winners, is designed to stimulate artistic growth through competition. The competition rewards artists with over $33,000 in cash prizes and exposure of their work, with the winning painting featured on the cover of PleinAir Magazine.

Winners in each monthly competition may receive recognition and exposure through PleinAir Magazine’s print magazine, e-newsletters, websites, and social media. Winners of each competition will also be entered into the annual competition. The 12th Annual Awards will be presented live at the Plein Air Convention & Expo in May 2023.

The next round of the PleinAir Salon has begun so hurry, as this competition ends on the last day of the month. Enter your best art in the PleinAir Salon here.