18" X 36" oil on canvas
Available from the studio
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From left to right in this painting are friend Blythe at age four, my youngest daughter Sarah at age 5, and Sarah’s cousin Amelia at age four. They spot me with the camera and start the typical voguing, as we spend a beautiful July day playing n a Pender Island beach. Pender is one of B.C.’s Gulf Islands.
Personal experience and numerous coffee-break discussions with my friends and father have led me to certain personal conclusions and theories when it comes to painting. One of these is the realization that composing a painting is not hard. There are numerous set guidelines that we are told in art school ... golden triangles and thirds, etc. Then there are ones that we discover through our own painting process.
When I was teaching illustration, 30 years ago, I made a list, for my students, of points to consider while composing a painting. It started with 12 points: contrast, perspective, focal point, light source, etc. I taped it to my drawing table as a reminder to myself, and kept adding to it over the years. In the end, there were 56 points to bear in mind as I composed a work. I’m sure I could add more now. When I handed the revised, comprehensive version my new students, I realized that it was the sum total of what I knew. I was a bit nervous about giving away all I had learned, but I realized that, as everyone is at a different level of experience, each point would mean something different to each person. I still have my original tabletop list in a box somewhere. It’s covered with paint splatter and random phone numbers.
I’ve now come to the realization that, in order to paint a piece of art that can stand out and be recognized as one of your own, you need to twist, bend and sometimes break the rules to suit your tastes – yet still create a painting that’s successful ... despite (and in fact because of) that. This painting is definitely about breaking some rules. Mark Heine