Oil Critique: "Colors of Fall"

Colors of Fall
2002, oil, 14 x 18.

Wow—I admire this artist’s bold texture. It is hard to use a lot of paint and stay in control, but this artist does it well. A few comments on technical points. The sky, the distant trees, and the high marsh grass hold up well. However, the trees on the right side receding from the foreground to the distance are somewhat mechanical. They run in a severe diagonal line and stop almost exactly at a visual point with the green trees in the distance, flattening out the space. It should work with the rules of perspective, but it is so straight and exact in where it stops that it seems unnatural. In contrast, look at the trees on the left—they are grouped intermittently and overlap in various areas, making for a more credible space. Compositionally, the artist might be better off breaking that perspective run of trees on the right side. The trees might be like that in nature, but as an artist you sometimes need to make certain changes to help the illusion. Always be careful of objects that line up and flatten space.

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 www.colincallahan.com.

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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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