Dakota Art Pastels introduces its first annual Soft Pastel Only Juried Competition to promote and advance the creativity and possibilities of this unique painting medium. This is an annual online competition with quarterly segments. There will be cash prizes awarded in each quarter to contest winners. Quarterly winners are advanced to the final Grand Prize selections at the end of the year.
To encourage entrants from all levels of skill and accomplishment, we are dividing our competition into TWO SKILL LEVEL CATEGORIES:
ESTABLISHED: As the title alludes, this category is for artists who have gained success with their artwork, through competitions, awards, gallery showings and/or commercial success.
EMERGING: This category is for those artists beginning or continuing their journey with pastels, who are serious about their work and are excited to get their paintings seen and to see what others at their stage of development are doing!
We expect the Established & Emerging categories to be largely self and/or peer policing. Our goal, as a materials supplier to the Pastel Community, is to have artists at all levels of development be encouraged to enter at a level of competition that showcases their skill and promotes sharing their level of development. All genres of work will be juried together – no further breakdown by categories (i.e. Landscape, Portrait, etc.)
Total prizes for the year are $23,000 in Cash and Gift Certificates. Winners and all entries will be available to view through the Dakota Art website.
• 1st PLACE $1000
• 2nd PLACE $500
• 3rdPLACE $250
• 4th PLACE $200
• 8 Honorable Mentions $100 (Gift Certificates)
• 1st PLACE $500
• 2nd PLACE $250
• 3rdPLACE $125
• 4th PLACE $100
• 8 Honorable Mentions $50 (Gift Certificates)
1st thru 4th Place Awards are CASH in both categories. Honorable Mentions are in the form of Gift Certificates to Dakota Pastels.
• 1st PLACE $2000
• 2nd PLACE $1000
• 3rdPLACE $600
• 4th PLACE $300
• 5th PLACE $200
• PEOPLES CHOICE $500
• 1st PLACE $1000
• 2nd PLACE $500
• 3rdPLACE $300
• 4th PLACE $200
• 5th PLACE $100
• PEOPLES CHOICE $300
All FINAL Awards are CASH in both categories.
• ENTRY OPEN JANUARY 15, 2020
• CONTEST CLOSES MARCH 15, 2020
• PRIZES AWARDED MARCH 31, 2020
• ENTRY OPEN APRIL 1, 2020
• CONTEST CLOSES JUNE 10, 2020
• PRIZES AWARDED JUNE 30, 2020
• ENTRY OPEN JULY 1, 2020
• CONTEST CLOSES SEPTEMBER 10, 2020
• PRIZES AWARDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2020
• ENTRY OPEN OCTOBER 1, 2020
• CONTEST CLOSES DECEMBER 10, 2020
• PRIZES AWARDED DECEMBER 31, 2020
• Entrants must be at least 18 years of age.
• Competition is open to residents of any state or country where acceptable by law.
• Select one of the two Categories to enter: Established or Emerging.
• In the ESTABLISHED Category, the submitted artwork should NOT have previously received a MAJOR award in a National Competition.
• Employees or associates of Dakota Art Store, Ltd. or their immediate families may not enter.
• Workshop instructors may not enter within 2 years of having a workshop at Dakota Art Pastels.
• Entries should be work produced within the last two years.
Each painting must be accompanied by an entry fee.
ESTABLISHED: The fee for each image submitted is $25.
EMERGING: The fee for each image submitted is $15.
All entry fees are non-refundable and must be paid via credit card at the time of entry.
This Soft Pastel Competition is created and sponsored by Dakota Art Pastels to promote the medium of Soft Pastels.
• Entries will be original works not based on previously published artwork or copies of other artists work.
• Artwork must be produced exclusively by the entering artist.
• Artwork may have a mixed media component (underpainting, etc.) but predominantly (80%) featuring Soft Pastel.
• Dakota Art Pastels reserves the right to refuse any artwork if the origin, method or materials it was created with is questionable.
You may enter as many times as you wish in each quarterly competition.
Paintings not chosen by a juror for recognition in one quarterly competition, may be entered in another quarter (different juror!). Any Dakota Pastel award winning painting, at any award level or in either category, may not be re-entered at a later time.
Year-End Grand Prize 1st Place winning artists in either Category are not eligible to win the Grand Prize again within 12 months. Spreading the recognition and the wealth!
Dakota Art Pastels reserves the right to reject or not display any image that it feels is inappropriate, distasteful, has poor image resolution quality, is deemed a copy of another painting, or does not meet other criteria specified above.
• Each quarterly competition will be open for entry for two months. After the close of each quarterly competition, our designated juror will select the paintings for the awards in each category.
• The winners will be notified via email. In the unlikely event a juror is unable to jury for any reason, an alternative juror will be appointed. If one cannot be found, jurying will be done by a representative of Dakota Art Store, Ltd.
• All prizes will be awarded in both the Established and Emerging categories for each quarterly competition. 24 Winners (12 each from the Established and Emerging) in each quarterly competition will be advanced to the jurying for the Dakota Pastel final year-end competition. Final awards will be announced by January 10, 2021.
• The Year-End Final will have a PEOPLES CHOICE award – details later on how to vote!
By entering the Dakota Art Pastel Competition, you agree that you are submitting images of your own original artwork and not that of other artists or material in which you do not hold the copyright. The original work does not have to currently be in your possession. You are also agreeing, in advance, to have your submitted artwork and your image published by Dakota Art on its website or in other printed material. This includes, but is not limited to, print and digital magazines, newsletters, websites, e-mails, social media pages, and promotional materials in perpetuity.
Each quarterly competition ends at midnight Pacific Time on the published final day of that competition. Only electronic submissions through the competition’s official website will be accepted. Entries received by mail or physical delivery in the form of photographs, discs, or actual paintings will not be accepted.
Your picture should include the painting only. Do not include the frame, mat, easel or studio space in your image.
Use a tripod if available. Check that your artwork is centered and flat. Natural light is the best lighting. Full spectrum light on a bright overcast day is best.
If you are using studio lights, the lights should be on both sides of the artwork. Light it equally, about 45 degrees from each side. It should be preferred that the artwork photographed is removed from behind glass.
Setting your camera to take a photo on a timer will help reduce any movement of the camera when the picture is taken.
Use your preferred software to make any corrections to color and sizing (this includes cropping the image to show only the artwork to be submitted.)
The optimal size for an image to be uploaded should be about 1920 pixels wide at a resolution of 72 pixels per inch. When saving as a JPG, adjust the compression settings to 12 (low/no) compression, or quality at 100%.
Save your image(s) as JPG or PNG
Your final file size should be less than 1mb/1000kb
This page has good information on photographing artwork.
If you need further assistance, please email Dakota Art here.
Do I need to ship my paintings? No, the competition will be held 100% online. No shipping of fragile artwork!
Is the contest international? Yes! You can enter from anywhere in the world.
I'm not a beginner. Should I enter the Emerging or Established category? The Emerging category is the appropriate choice for most artists who are not professional pastelists. We use "emerging" to describe artists who are eager to show their work, but are not career pastel artists and/or have not gained wide recognition in pastel societies or other competitions. That said, it's up to each artist to decide the level at which they'd like to compete!
What if my painting won in Pastel Journal's Pastel 100? Dakota considers all grand prizes and placed awards (i.e. 1st through 5th place) to be "major" awards in the Pastel 100, including category winners. If you are entering as an ESTABLISHED painter, please refrain from entering the winning painting (congrats on the win!) Honorable mentions are still eligible.
Can I use my iPhone/tablet/mobile device to take photos of my painting? Yes. Just make sure that your photo follows the guidelines on the submission & image upload pages. For best results, make sure that your photo is oriented upright, well-lit and cropped so that no background (such as a mat/frame, tabletop or easel) is showing.
Do pastel pencils / hard pastels count? Yes! We use the term "soft pastel" to differentiate from oil pastels and other media. Harder pastels such as NuPastel, Cretacolor, etc., and pastel pencils are still eligible as Soft Pastel.
Can I use reference photos? Yes - use of reference photos is not prohibited, but please make sure you are using photos with permission! We want to encourage the spirit of originality in your submissions, and suggest that if you use someone else's photograph, your painting should be artistically distinct to stand alone from the photo. Avoid using photographs that a painting instructor used in demonstrations.
Can I edit my entry? Yes! You can edit the details of each submission, even delete and re-upload images, up until the deadline of each contest period.