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, Davis Perkins‘s “Hills Above Nicasio.”

This is a powerful painting with strong color and strong composition. The design is well thought-out. Actual trees and clouds may not have been in this exact shape, but the artist has taken license to place them where it “works.” The artist is the architect and can often make the scene much better than the reference at hand. The strong tree shape leads you up to the clouds and into an inviting ‘S’ curve, moving you around and through the painting. The strong greens of the landscape need to have a good supporting backdrop. These clouds hold their own and balance the high chroma field. Clouds are not white, puffy shapes. The artist has masterfully given the clouds personality with a variety of lost and found edges and warm and cool blues.


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