– 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, Adam Breakey’s “The Gift of Inner Peace.”
Lead Image: “The Gift of Inner Peace,” by Adam Breakey, oil, 6 x 8 in.
As calm and serene as this scene is, there is a lot of movement. Often artists want to put too much hard detail into figurative work. This only makes the image more static. By loosening up the brushstrokes, the figure embodies movement and action. There is action in the lone walker and a nice implication of distant figures. Looking at a plein air study by Joaquín Sorolla, you can see that refined detail in the figures is not needed to give the feeling of bathers frolicking in the water. The artist’s single figure is well placed in the lower third of the painting. The pier does help in adding balance to the painting, but there could be a benefit to having the pier a lighter, cooler version of itself. Looking at Alfred Sisley’s “The Beach at Saint Mammes,” one can see how a hard-edged object can recede. This would also keep your eye on the beach walker a little longer. The nice heavy texture of the sea foam brings the elliptical shapes of the surf to the foreground.