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, Julia Lesnichy’s “The Sugar Hollow Creek in December.”

Lead Image: “The Sugar Hollow Creek in December” by Julia Lesnichy, pastel 20 x 27 in.

This tranquil scene displays a wonderful handling of pastel. There is nice movement with the soft tree reflections drawing your eye back to the mid-ground. The secondary triad colors are strong but not unrealistic. The subtle muted tertiary tones of the trees act as a foil to give the colors an extra punch. Each of the trees also has its own personality rather than repetitive vertical sticks. The beautifully mottled water accents the sky while inviting you into the depths of the river.


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