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, Tina Bohlman’s “San Juan River.” 

A successful way to establish form is to use your brush in a way that tells the story of that shape. Here, the artist has used the brush to tell you the direction that the bushes and trees are growing, the angle of the rocks and the light that hits them, and the form of the hill as it flows to the valley floor. The vertical strokes of the reflection tell you that it is in the water and not of the surface. Using a harder edge for the rocks also separates them from the soft branches of the trees.


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