In his book on watercolor painting, Francis Russell Flint expressed a common rule of composition: "Avoid lines that cut a picture in half, both vertically and horizontally."
|View of Madrid, 1987-1994, 72x94 in. by Antonio López García, painted on location|
Antonio López García (born 1936) broke the rule with this painting View of Madrid from Capitán Haya. The horizon splits the composition in the center. In my opinion it succeeds because it sets up an opposition between the frenzy of the human-built world and the empty immensity of the sky.
Mr. López García also resisted the common practice of painting the view in romantic dawn light, choosing instead the stark midday sun, which he said is the main subject of the picture. After having painted other city panoramas early or late in the day, and having studied Hopper's use of light, he said he was at first "afraid to show it in broad daylight because it gave the scene a stark, frightening quality."
|Irises and Roses, oil on canvas, 1977–80 by Antonio López Garcia|
I believe Mr. López García's orientation to tradition and convention is a healthy one. He says: "There's no formula or recipe for this; each artist has to solve it in his or her own way, given their sensibilities and experience. The art of the past can set a high example, but all precedent, and all landscape conventions have to be brought into question and ultimately discarded in order to face the ultimate mystery of nature."
Quote from the book Antonio Lopez Garcia