Pastel still life painting
"Barbara S. Groff, "Irma's Nest," pastel, 14.5 x 15.5 in.

Congratulations to Barbara S. Groff, whose pastel work has been recognized in the Plein Air Salon, a monthly art competition with many categories in which to enter your art.

Groff’s still life, “Irma’s Nest” (14.5 x 15.5 in.) won in the “Best Pastel” category of the January 2021 Plein Air Salon.

She shared her painting process at, explaining, “My technique involves the building up of several fine layers of pastel until a patina-like quality is reached, creating a depth and richness to the colors. The look is akin to a patina on old wooden furniture that has become evident after years of wear. This process requires patience, but the end result is aesthetically pleasing.

“My preferred working surface is white, archival sanded paper for pastel. Once my drawing is complete and transferred to my paper the process begins. I utilize a variety of pastel sticks for the base colors and for building details and the fine layers, I use pastel pencils. I rarely begin with a watercolor or value underpainting before applying my pastels.”

Additional Still Life Pastel Paintings by Barbara Groff:

Pastel still life painting
Barbara Groff, “My Favorite Things,” pastel, 20 x 20 in.
Pastel still life painting
Barbara Groff, “Just Some Common Things,” pastel, 11.5 x 16.5 in.
Pastel still life painting
Barbara Groff, “Yellow, Silver, Red,” pastel, 18 x 14 in.
Pastel still life painting
Barbara Groff, “Inspired by Vermeer,” pastel, 9.75 x 17.5 in.
Pastel still life painting
Barbara Groff, “Blue, Green, and Gold,” pastel, 15 x 11 in.

Browse more pastel paintings here 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 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!

Pastel Live

Pastel Live is coming soon! Save up to $600 by registering before June 20, 2021!


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