“The Golden Hour, Port Clyde, Maine,” by Walter Bartman, 2012, oil, 24 x 36 in. Private collection

by Jeanne Mackenzie

In this series, plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie takes a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and points out why they succeed as painted images. This week, Walter Bartman’s “The Golden Hour.”

This is a very compelling piece, with its strong and varied shapes. The low-key values make the sunset glow even though the orange color used is not that light. The predominance of horizontal lines is nicely counterbalanced by the vertical masts and the figure on the dock. The water’s reflections read well as the value and chroma of a reflection are always more muted (lights are darker and darks are lighter) than the original reflected source.

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