Oil Painters of America
Show/Competition Submission Rules

When submitting to Oil Painters of America shows and/or competitions, please strictly adhere to our rules outlined below. OPA strives to maintain the highest ethical practices and levels of integrity in oil painting. Our intent is to be true to the history of oil painting and the traditions that have been upheld for centuries.

  • Paintings must be created on one singular flat substrate and framed and wired for hanging. Multiples are unacceptable - i.e., diptychs, triptychs.
  • The substrate must not exceed the maximum size set forth in the prospectus. Be sure to read each prospectus carefully, as the acceptable size of the substrate changes depending on the gallery/museum.
  • Copyright infringement of any kind is unacceptable. It is unethical and against OPA policy for artists to submit work created from another person's drawing/painting/photo or other artwork that is not solely the artist's copyright.
  • Digital apps and programs may be used for cropping your reference photos, etc., but no digital, mechanical, photo, or other transferring to the substrate of any kind is acceptable. You must draw and/or paint the image on your substrate yourself.
  • Your submission must be originally conceived: your own reference, your own drawing, your own concept and must have been self-painted.
  • No direct copies of stock images, historic photos, or of any reference to which you do not hold total copyright are allowed. You must be able to provide signed documentation of total copyright should OPA request.
  • Paintings created in an instructional setting, including but not limited to workshops and art classes are not considered original artwork. A painting created from a group photo shoot set-up by another artist is not considered original artwork. Paintings created in an open studio where artists share the model are acceptable provided there was no instruction being given of any kind.
  • Paintings must have been created within the last 3 years.
  • An artist may submit a painting for a National Exhibition that has previously been accepted into an OPA Regional Exhibition, Salon Show or entered in OPA's Online Showcase.
  • An artist may not submit a painting for a National Exhibition if it has previously been accepted into another OPA National Exhibition.
  • An artist may not submit a painting for a Regional Exhibition that has previously been accepted into a Regional Exhibition, Salon Show or an OPA National Exhibition.
  • The artist retains copyright to his/her image(s). However, accepted images do become part of OPA archives and may be used for future OPA event promotion.
  • All work must be for sale. No NFS. Paintings that do not reflect the artist's current pricing structure may be disqualified from the competition.
  • An artist who withdraws an entry after acceptance into the exhibition shall not be eligible to enter any OPA exhibitions for the next two years.



ACCEPTABLE SUBSTRATES: Any primed, smooth, flat substrates including: primed canvas or linen, stretched or on a panel, wood, gesso board, acrylic gessoed dibond, aluminum, aluminum composite panel. Acrylic primer is acceptable. Oil primed paper is acceptable if adhered with archival adhesive to a proper archival substrate. Paintings should NOT require being placed under glass.

UNACCEPTABLE SUBSTRATES: Paintings on decorative copper and tooled aluminum, natural stone, barn wood or on three-dimensional objects. A substrate containing any printed image or photograph is prohibited regardless of whether it is your own or someone else's image/photograph. Paintings should NOT require being placed under glass.


ACCEPTABLE MEDIUMS: Oil paints, alkyd resin, water soluble oils, oil sticks/bars. Metal leaf (ie: gold, silver, etc.) is acceptable if it doesn't comprise more than 20 percent of the visible surface.

UNACCEPTABLE MEDIUMS: Watercolor, acrylics, mixed media, Genesis paints, oil pastels.


ACCEPTABLE FRAMING: All paintings must be framed and wired for hanging. When framing deep-edged paintings (museum wrap canvas or deep board), the frame must be of adequate depth that the substrate does not extend more than half an inch beyond the back of the frame. Floater frames are acceptable for paintings on museum wrap canvas or deep board panels.


Artists eligible to compete are citizens - both natural born or otherwise - of the United States, Canada, or Mexico who are current OPA members. Nonresident aliens who currently live in the United States, Canada, or Mexico are eligible to participate if they have been physically present at the address provided to OPA for eight of the last twelve months and that the residency is their permanent domicile.

A domicile is a fixed, permanent home to which an individual intends to return whenever absent. Nonresident aliens whose North American residency is in question will be asked to provide proof of residency including, but not limited to, employment history, references, and utility bills in the individual's name. Nonresident aliens falsifying claims of residency by providing an address in which they do not reside will be asked to resign from the organization. The decision of the Board is final.


OPA Associate & Signature members may submit an entry into one of two regional shows held each year. Artists should submit an entry into either the Western Region or Eastern Region that corresponds with where they reside.

Western Regional Exhibition: Alaska, Alberta, Arizona, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Manitoba, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Oklahoma, Oregon, Saskatchewan, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Yukon Territories, and all of Mexico.

Eastern Regional Exhibition: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Newfoundland, North Carolina, Nova Scotia, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

If for any reason you are in doubt as to whether your painting, reference, substrate, etc. is acceptable please call/email (815) 356-5987, mail@oilpaintersofamerica.com to determine acceptability in advance of submitting your work.