“Melancholia”, 11×14, Oil, by Nick Eisele, Winner of Best of Show at the 2020 NOAPS Best of America Small Painting National Juried Exhibition.
The seemingly simple arrangement of objects seen in Nick Eisele’s painting becomes more complex as we look more deeply into the scene. Although the objects are separated by large amounts of space, they are united by the path of light and the unified color scheme. The blues of the small vase are repeated in the foreground and on the silver objects; and the warms of the brass are carried through in the background and the surface of the table. The value structure, established in dark tones, presents us with the small vase as the focal area. The highlights on the objects then lead us around the painting, keeping us engaged as we delight in the mysterious shadows. The drawing is superb, and the careful rendering is offset by the loose brushwork in the foreground. Reminiscent of artists such as Chardin and American painter Emil Carlsen, this painting is a worthy choice for Best of Show.
“Stepping Out”, 16×20, Oil, by Bill Farnsworth”
The painting by Bill Farnsworth is an excellent example of atmospheric perspective. The foreground is described by dark shadows and bright lights, while as the scene recedes the values are closer together along with more muted colors. The viewer has a place to stand, and is given the sense of being part of the scene. The composition is well constructed, with the linear elements and shadows on the left leading us to the chickens in the foreground. Our eyes then move to the middle ground where the fence leads us to the background and back to investigate the shadows in the barn. We have the sense of a warm, comfortable day, inviting us to linger and enjoy the peaceful scene.
“Lunch at the Brown Dog, (Telluride, CO), 12×16, Oil by Laurie Hendricks
This painting by Laurie Hendricks is a great example of not only light and shadow, but also of warm and cool colors. The cool colors of the interior contrast the warm light spilling in from the windows, casting the figures mostly in shadow. The viewer can feel the cool air in the space as a moment in the busy day is captured. The brushwork gives the feeling of movement, and as we view the painting we can imagine the next movement, the clink of the glassware, and the hum of lively talk at the bar. The impressionistic style of the painting is a perfect choice to give the viewer just a glimpse of place and time.
“Rocky Creek”, 16×20, Oil, by Neal Hughes.
This plein air painting by Neal Hughes is a contrast of stillness and movement. The peaceful pool of water allows us a place to rest after the rush of the stream above. The artist used texture to give his focal point volume and movement, while the calm areas are smooth and flat. We have a sense of light and shadow, with hints of blue indicating the sky above. The stream comes flowing out of darkness, giving the feeling of a dense and damp forest, from which the water escapes with joy. The trees create a framework for the composition, and the foreground rocks give the viewer a place to stand. The colors on the rocks are anything but grey, with hints of muted blues, violets and pinks. The sure strokes of the artist have given us a true impression of this fleeting moment, allowing us to share the beauty of nature as it hurries past.
Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS President