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, Spike Ress’ “Winter Moisture Boulder.” 

I especially like the colorful shadows on these butte cliffs. It has the feel of a plein air painting. Working from a photo, the shadows would be almost black. There would be no discernible color or texture. There is light and life in these shadows. There is also a wonderful lead-in through the foreground — not detailed enough to draw attention, but important enough to be a design element.



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