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, Rusty Jones‘s “Log Jam.”

This beautiful piece has a stunning focal point. The artist has enhanced it by putting the foreground in shadow, allowing the viewer to jump into the painting. There are well-placed diagonals in the logs that help lead you to the eye-catching evergreen. A focal point succeeds as the star of a painting when it incorporates the strongest color, contrast, detail, or edges. This artist worked several of these in to give his “star” a lot of pop. The distant shore acts as a supporting player, giving this scene an identifiable sense of place. At first glance there seems to be a lot of detail, but the economy of brushwork gives you just enough information to tell you what is a log, rock, or branch. It is not overworked, giving it energy and punch with well-placed color, values, and brushstrokes.


  1. Thank you Plein Air for your coverage of this event. I painted in the San Luis Plein Air Festival, and it was great! It was well attended and a lot of fun. I hope to do it again next year.

  2. Sounds like a great event! This isn’t too far from where I live and I’ll just have to see if I can attend next year’s festival!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here