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.