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, Dan F. Gray’s “Madrona Point With Sea Lions and Widgeon.” 

The artist has chosen an interesting focal point and nicely leads the viewer’s eye to the tree’s interesting shape. The lone tree is set off by the sharp value contrasts while being supported by the lovely neutrals behind it. All of the neutral hues make the vibrant green pop. The diagonal lines lead you back to the focal point. Notice that, even in the sky, the artist has balanced the sharp rock diagonals with subtle cloud counter-balanced diagonals. 


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