Acrylic Critique: "Napa"

by Dan Clarke, 2008,
acrylic, 36 x 36.

This is a delightful landscape. The artist has keyed the colors up and created a wonderful design. The painting gives just the right amount of information about the landscape, which then allows it to take liberties with other elements, such as color and light. Those “liberties” are what it’s all about. Good job. I have only one minor comment—and I emphasize “minor.” The field in the foreground has an abrupt linear shift of color and is also aligned with the perspective lines of the distant field. (See image below.) That tonal change (a ridge, I suspect) is so sharp that it looks forced, and it splits the landscape almost in half since it is somewhat centered. Because of that, the field flips up and seems not to recede into the distance.


About the Critic
Colin J. Callahan
teaches painting and art history at St. Paul's School, in Concord, New Hampshire, where he also runs the school's gallery. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, Massachusetts, and he studied painting at Centro Barbieri, in Rome. Callahan is represented by Anderson-Soule Gallery, in Concord, New Hampshire. To view the artist's work, visit

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About BrianRiley

Brian Riley is the managing editor for the American Artist family of titles (American Artist, Watercolor, Drawing & Workshop) and has been part of the AA team since 2003. He first became interested in art as a child, specifically drawing, but drifted away from the visual arts as he grew older, gravitating towards writing while in college. His position at AA has offered him the opportunity to reinvigorate his early passion and continue his education.  

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