Maxine Bone Artist Review


Landscapes in paintings has been a favorite subject matter for artist’s for thousands of years. The earliest pure landscapes are found in Greek frescos from around 1500 B.C.E. However, it was not until landscape paintings saw their beginnings in East Asian art when spiritual elements were included that drew from philosophical traditions such as Daoism. In these ink paintings, human presence was only glimpsed and the focus was entirely on the landscape. They focused on balance, harmony and the use of positive and negative space to create dreamlike landscapes that made the viewer see more that just a pretty place. These imaginary landscapes became the most prestigious form of visual art as the aesthetic theory of the region placed imagination above all else in importance. 
Pure and Remote View of Streams and Mountains, 1180-1230 Xia Gui
Pure and Remote View of Streams and Mountains, 1180-1230


Xia Gui



The Western interpretation of landscape painting had new noticeable influences and major contrasts from Asian landscape paintings. Most notably was the low position landscape painting occupied in the Western art world until the 19th century. The natural world was certainly present in the art world previously, however the landscapes and natural elements always acted as secondary focuses for artists who’s primary focus was on the human influence in the landscapes they occupied. From these history focused paintings, landscape painting branched off and became its own valued artistic subject matter in the West. In the United States, the Hudson River School which was prominent in the middle to late 19th century is possibly the best-known native development in landscape art. This mid century art movement depicted American landscapes such as the Hudson River Valley, the Catskills and the Adirondack mountains. Similarly to Eastern Asian landscapes, these paintings were created to evoke an emotional response from the viewer and not to simply serve as a place for man to occupy.

Mt. Aetna, 1805-1857 Sarah Cole 
Mt. Aetna, 1805-1857
Sarah Cole

Maxine Bone has a modern take on traditional Western landscape painting. Like many landscape painters, Maxine works from photographs to create her paintings. Unlike most landscape painters however, Maxine often works from multiple reference photos to render compositions that do not exist in one exact place. She creates places and moments in time that no one has ever existed in, letting the viewer discover a more beautiful and perfect place that feels all their own. This method pushes what landscape artists traditionally do in creating paintings and transcends beyond reality to dreamy perfection. Maxine’s landscapes which often feature animals look so lifelike and real it is hard to not get lost in them and to take your eyes off of the details that entice the viewer. 



Principals of Art:

Space: Maxine creates space in her work by painting with high detail in the foreground and letting her brushwork becomes more loose and less defined as it recedes into the background. In A River Runs Through It the atmospheric depth of the mountains is demonstrated with subdued colors and fading details. This pushes the mountains away from the foreground and creates space in the composition.

Color: Maxine’s color use is bright and vivid in the foreground, and becomes softer as it transitions into the background. This classical use of color creates depth in the same way nature does. She also favors colors that contrast brilliantly against one another, for instance how the golds of the aspens pop against the cool tones in the rest of the painting in A River Runs Through It. Orange sits opposite of blue on the color wheel, meaning they are complimentary colors that are highest in contrast to each other, so in the painting they pop against each other strikingly.  

Shape: Shape plays an interesting roll in Maxine’s work as most of her work is composed of natural elements that she realistically recreates. Restricted by creating life like representations, the roll of shapes comes into play when Maxine is creating each unique landscape. Since she works from multiple photos and creates her own landscapes, she can place shapes in ways that offer visual harmony. In A River Runs Through It the river takes a staggered horizontal shape. This Z like shape takes the eye from the foreground to the background and is an example of the subtle ways Maxine uses shape to create depth in her landscapes.

Form: Circle is to shape as sphere is to form. The forms Maxine creates give her work life. By utilizing strong shadows and highlights Maxine creates visual depth which breathes life into her forms. Notice how the light falls onto the moose in A River Runs Through It. The light falls on the moose from above and behind, which highlights the moose’s antlers and back. If this light source was not clear on the figure, it would appear two dimensional. A strong understanding and application of how light behaves gives form to Maxine’s work.

Value: Value relates to the tint/shade of a hue (color). Every color can be tinted by adding white or shaded by adding black. The purpose of considering value in a painting is to help create both dimension and a mood. In landscapes colors fade as they recede and the atmosphere dulls colors and details. Strong and deep colors are used in the foreground of A River Runs Through It and light pastel colors used in the far mountains. This change in value creates visual depth.

Texture: The texture use in Maxine’s work is almost entirely visual as she prefers to paint smoothly on the canvas. Texture is something Maxine creates as an illusion with her paint brush. In A River Runs Through It the texture Maxine creates with painstakingly small details makes the moose’s fur look so real you can almost feel it.

Line: The line work in A River Runs Through It serves to break up the composition and create new spaces. The foreground is separated from the middle ground with a diagonal line that leads the eye to the zigzag river which leads the eye to the horizontal line of the far trees and the jagged lines of the distant mountains. The line use is done in a way as to not be distracting to the viewer and only act as subconscious cues for the eye to move about the composition.

rocky mountain high colorado rocky mountain landscape painting by artist maxine bone

Principals of Design:

Balance: Maxine creates balance herself as she composes her landscapes. In A River Runs Through It the heavy focal point of the moose is counter balanced by the aspens on the right. The aspens sit a little further back and are less defined than the moose and flowers which keeps them from balancing 50/50 which would be less interesting than the 60/40 they currently balance at.

Unity: The unity of a piece is what creates a sense of completeness. Maxine’s work is unified by her continued use of details and colors. These characteristic details not only tie the piece together, but all of Maxine’s body of work as recognizably hers. 

Variety: Variety is what adds interest into a work of art. In A River Runs Through It the bright contrasting colors add visually variety and give the eyes new things to discover as they move around the painting.

Emphasis: Emphasis is what the artist uses to create a focal point. Focal points can vary viewer to viewer, but a truly successful composition will have one clear focal point that the eye is continually drawn to over and over again. Maxine likes to have animals served as her focal points, recognizing the importance of these creatures in these wild spaces they roam.

Movement: Movement implies motion is a snapshot of time. There are three factors of movement in A River Runs Through It. The moose, which moves towards the viewer as indicated by the raised leg. The river, which winds it’s way toward the moose then onwards out of the scene. Lastly, by the clouds which display a soft and almost unnoticeable movement in the sky above. These elements of motion breath life into the painting.

Pattern: Think of pattern as the visual skeleton that organizes the parts of a composition. This underlying structure uses consistent and regular repetition. You can have both natural and man made pattern. The natural pattern of the extended aspen grove show a rhythm of form and line. It is an organic way of showing a subtle pattern.

Perspective: Perspective is what creates a three dimensional painting vs a two dimensional painting. In A River Runs Through It the viewer sees the landscape from an immersed position, as if they are part of the scene they are viewing. This perspective is reflective of a humans natural perspective of the world and adds to the hyperrealism touch of Maxine’s paintings.


Maxine paints with oils on canvas, a traditional favorite for landscape painters. Oil paints, which are oil based as the name suggests, have a long drying time. This is advantageous to artists who will work on a piece for an extended amount of time. Oil paints are thinned down with terpenoids which can take the paint from thick and heavy to thin and light. An artist who uses oil paints learns over time their own tricks to work in a way that makes the most sense for their composition. It takes time, patience and practice to master this difficult medium. Lastly, Maxine adds a matte varnish once her painting are completed and dry. The varnish will protect the oil paints to last hundred of years.