Why This Works: Using Both Symmetry and Asymmetry

“Big River Calling,” by Tom McGregor, 2016, oil on linen panel, 11 x 14 in.

by Jeanne Mackenzie

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, “Big River Calling,” by Tom McGregor.

Symmetry and asymmetry come into play in this engaging painting. Each shape-mass helps to balance the one in front of it. The large trees on the right keep your eye from leaving the painting. The overlapping middle ground trees —breaking the horizon line —add greater distance to the painting.


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