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, Jose De Juan’s “Westminster Abbey.”

Lead Image: “Westminster Abbey,” by Jose De Juan, 2015, oil on canvas board, 10 x 8 in.

This is a piece that has a nice variety of warms and cools. The green of the trees and cars in shadow let the viewer know from where the sun is coming. You know that the abbey is rich with texture, but the artist has minimized the detail to give you just the essence of the building. Viewers love to fill in the detail themselves. This puts a mile between the foreground and background, setting the church in with the sky “family” of values and temperatures. The artist has tied the foreground and background together by putting a wonderful warm light reflecting off the bell tower.


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