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, Ed Cahill‘s “Height of the Season.”

This piece celebrates the peak colors of autumn. There is a wonderful sense of sunlight in the highlighted trees and cast shadows.

It is very easy to get to spotty with colored leaf “dots.” The artist has unified these areas of light, holding the tree shapes together. The distant trees recede nicely with lower-chroma yellows. To counter the bravado of brushwork, the artist has a resting area with the calm water. The vertical strokes of the reflections give the water depth while the surface tension ripples lay the water down.


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