This series returns, with plein air painter and instructor Jeanne Mackenzie taking a look at new paintings by contemporary artists and pointing out why they succeed as painted images. This week, Aimee Erickson’s “Shaft of Sunlight.” 

“Boxing Raisins,” by Joaquín Sorolla

“Peppers,” by Joaquín Sorolla, 1903, 37 3/4 x 51 1/4 in. Collection of the Hispanic Society of America, New York 

Aimee Erickson with “Shaft of Sunlight” at Sonoma Plein Air, where the piece won top honors

This tonal painting imparts a wonderful mood and quietness. The shaft of light shows a sunny day outside of an unused or forgotten workspace. It reminds me of a few of Joaquín Sorolla’s paintings, “Boxing Raisins” and “Peppers.” Both of Sorolla’s paintings show myriad values at the dark end of the scale, while jumping across to a strong highlight. Careful placement of this vibrant accent needs to be taken into consideration. 


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