Have you been introduced to Mark Keathley's work before? If not, then you have been missing out.

Many people compare him to Thomas Kinkade because of his use of light, but, in my humble opinion, he far outshines Kinkade. Kinkade uses light liberally throughout his paintings which gives them an illuminated two-dimensional feel. Mark Keathley, however, uses one main light source which gives his paintings more drama and creates a sense of depth in them. Mark also uses more realistic imagery instead of the fantasy scenes you get with Kinkade. Obviously, they are both great artists, and they each fill their own niche. A lot of our visitors ask if Keathley ever studied under Kinkade. As far as I am aware, the answer is no. Mark is self-taught and has a style that is very much his own.

Today's piece that I want to share with you is  Bedtime Stories. It has the same feel of the weather and the season that we are experiencing her in Tennessee right now. It is named as it is because it has a mother with two cubs walking along a lake shore at night. In fact, he said this about the piece:

Over the centuries, story telling has been a vital source for connection of community throughout the world. Often the elders would pass on a pivotal event or interesting tale to the new generation. Then their memory could carry on the legacy or even the legends of the tribe/family. This form of communication is a type of glue that holds the family together when times are tough because “I belong” is stronger than fear. This act of telling inevitably knits the listener to the story teller as they laugh or even cry as the story is told. While we read books alone or even watch movies in a fantasy world of our own, this form of “retelling” is becoming a lost art form. So, next time you see the moon rising, take a little time and recall an event from your childhood or your parents life and pass it on to your children so they feel like they belong to something more than their soccer team or their school. Make your past interesting, embellish it a bit, and recapture the great moments and the legacy of telling Bedtime Stories. --Mark Keathley


Now, let's dissect it to see what makes it so great...

1. One main light source... in this case, the moon. Using this technique, he can create more drama by where he chooses to put the light source and what it illuminates.

2. The S shape. If you look at the emptier space, the sky and the water, it makes kind of an S shape which makes it much more dynamic than if he would have had everything in a straight line.

3. The main subject (the bears) are slightly off center. He has actually placed the bears and the moon using the rule of thirds which can be achieved by placing a tic tac toe grid over an image. Where the lines intersect is where you put your focal points. By having more than one focal point and a way to connect them. he allows your eye to be drawn through the painting.

4. The colors. He has used a palette that works together. Even though he uses all three primary colors quite a bit, he does it in such a way that it doesn't create the uncomfortable tension that it could. Instead, they work together to create a very harmonious image.

So... these are some of the reasons that you could consider this a great painting. The biggest and best reason a painting is great, however, is because it resonates with something inside you; i.e. if you like it, it's great.