– Jeanne Mackenzie reporting –

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, Patrick Sims’ untitled plein air piece from February.

Lead Image: “Untitled,” by Patrick Sims, 2016, oil on linen, 8 x 10 in.

This painting is a wonderful example of how an artist can invite viewers into the painting and then ask them to participate in the completion and interpretation of the elements. The strong, dynamic shape of the shore bank is the anchor to the painting — darkest dark, hardest edge, and punch of color. One can’t help but jump into the painting at that point. The nice diagonal water shapes give a supporting base to that bank shape. You immediately jump to a distant plane as the mid-ground soft trees hold court over the distant forms with their soft, cool, ambiguous shapes. Here is where the viewer fills in the rest of the pieces. Cover up the lower focal point and a few of the upright tree trunks, and you can see where the abstract shapes become trees through viewer assumption and interpretations.


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