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, Robert Matheson’s “The Equestrian Road.”

Lead Image: “The Equestrian Road,” by Robert Matheson, oil on linen, 20 x 24 in.

This is a good use of lost and found edges, with your eye first alighting on the closest tree and then moving up the road. Even though the distant greens are vibrant, they stay in the background because their edges are more diffused. There is a nice variety of shadow coming across the road. Having a solid dark shape in the foreground lets you hop into the painting rather than look at a lot of stripes. The edges soften and the color becomes less chromatic as the shadow shapes recede. Having just a touch of the sky at the base of the distant trees informs you that you may be cresting a hill.


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