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Be sure to read the prospectus in its entirety before continuing.

Solomons Plein Air Festival
Solomons Plein Air Festival 2017

Solomons Plein Air Festival 2017

Sept. 18 - 24, 2017

Hosted by carmen’s gallery


JUROR:  Jason Sacran is the juror for both the entries and the awards.

The Solomons Plein Air Festival is unique in that it offers the artists such diversity in painting subject matter.  Solomons Island is an historic fishing village where working boats of the Chesapeake Bay were built in the 1800s.  Recently, it was chosen by Coastal Living Magazine as “one of the top 15 happiest seaside towns in the U.S.”  It is located just an hour from the Beltway in D.C. at the "other end of Pennsylvania Avenue" where the Patuxent River meets the Chesapeake Bay.  It is now a picturesque mix of workboats, pleasure boats, marinas, old fishermen's cottages, rural farmland, and quaint architecture with a few shops scattered amongst historic waterfront buildings.  Stand in one spot on the Solomons Riverwalk and you can paint any of these things and more.

The Solomons Plein Air Festival allows artists the opportunity to enjoy not only painting but sharing their creativity with the public.  To the viewers, this art form can be very exciting because it invites them into the creative process:  the sight, sound, and even smell of the artists' world.  The competitive side of the process pits artists against each other for monetary prizes awarded after 4 days of painting "en plein air" (outside on location).

The Awards: Cash awards will be given for “Best of Show” as well as 2nd, and 3rd place and the Artists’ Choice Award.  Additional awards may be presented at the committee’s discretion.  Last year’s cash awards equaled $15,000, with “Best of Show” winning $3500. Artists were given additional awards including an ad in Plein Air Magazine, and gift certificates.

Special Events planned for the Artists: One of the things that sets the Solomons Plein Air painting competition apart from others is the hospitable nature of the town.  From the host families to the special events offered, artists are welcomed and made to feel part of the community.  The SPAF committee arranges social activities nightly for those artists wishing to participate.  These events tentatively include watching sailboat races on a sunset schooner or yacht cruise, evenings of fun at the local restaurants and bars, complimentary refreshments during the painting times, and a culminating Chesapeake Bay sail on a local Skipjack.

Artists will have the opportunity to paint not only on beautiful Solomons Island, but in other picturesque locations around Calvert County.  Monday, September 18, artists will have the opportunity for “preregistration” beginning at 9 a.m. at carmen’s gallery on Solomons Island. This will give artists the opportunity to begin painting at any time on Monday, if they so choose. Artists who do not want this bonus day of painting may arrive for the “Kickoff Event” at a local restaurant on Monday evening. Artists must paint within the competition boundaries and without the assistance of photographs.  Any medium may be used, although photography is not acceptable in this competition. Judged events within the competition include a Sunset Quick Draw, Paint the Town for a Cause, and the overall competition to culminate at the Affaire of the Arts exhibit and sale.

We thank you so much for your interest in being part of our Solomons Plein Air Festival 2017.  We anticipate that this will be the best ever - thanks to you!

A portion of the profits from the Solomons Plein Air Festival are donated to charitable causes, including a student art scholarship at the College of Southern Maryland. In 2016, SPAF was able to donate $18,000 to our worthy local and regional charities!



Eligibility:  Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

Entry and Application requirements:   Application fee is $40. Application fees are non-refundable and must be paid by the entry deadline. Artists must complete the application along with uploading 3 high quality jpgs of recent plein air work.  All submissions must have been painted without the use of photographs.

Entering Your Images:
Entry form must be filled out in its entirety.  List sizes up to the nearest inch.  Submitted images must not include matting or frame.  Crop the photos to include only the artwork.  Be sure your images are right-side-up.

Before uploading your images, make sure they are smaller than 4MB, but at least 1920 pixels on the longest side at 72 dpi.  Images should be in JPEG format, sRGB color space.  Help in photographing your work and properly sizing your images can be found at:  If you need help entering your images or are unable to, please write to us here:

Please add and to your safe senders list to ensure notifications are received.

Applications must be received by Sunday, April 2, 2017, 11:59 p.m. PST. Applications received after this date will not be considered. Images will be used at the discretion of the committee for publicity purposes.  All applicants will be contacted by June 1, 2017 as to whether they are accepted in this competition.  A list of accepted artists will be posted online at Incomplete applications will not be processed.

Artist’s Statement:  Please include an artist statement that describes your background, your work, and something about why you are interested in plein air painting.  This information will be used for publicity purposes only. Please ensure that your statement is between 100 and 250 words.

To enter your artist's statement:  After entering your images and paying your entry fee, go back to and log in using your email address and password.  Right above where you just logged in, click "Your Artist Profile."  You are now in your account.  Click "Personal Info" and follow the instructions in the "Artist Statement" section.


By entering Solomons Plein Air Festival 2017 on, I affirm that I have read the entire prospectus and I agree to be bound by all terms outlined in it.  If I am accepted, I understand that I am expected to participate in both the plein air competition and the exhibition and sale (including the Affaire of the Arts and the additional Sunday sale).

During the dates of the competition, I agree to not sell any work done during the Solomons Plein Air Festival 2017 unless I pay a 40% commission to Solomons Plein Air Festival.  My paintings which I exhibit must be priced commensurate with my normal pricing structure.  A 40% commission on all works sold will be retained by Solomons Plein Air Festival.  All sales will be handled by representatives of carmen’s gallery.

I hereby agree that the Solomons Plein Air Festival committee, the Solomons Business Association, the College of Southern Maryland, carmen’s gallery, the town of Solomons, and Calvert County are not responsible or to be held liable for personal injuries or loss or damage to my property.  I, the Artist, agree to defend, indemnify and hold Solomons Plein Air Festival 2017 harmless from and against any and all claims, demands, suits, losses, cause of action, damages, liabilities, obligations, costs, expenses, and judgments (including, without limitation, death and damages to property) caused by the Artist’s acts or omissions or failure to abide by the rules of Solomons Plein Air Festival 2017 arising out of the Artist’s involvement in the 2017 competition.