Jamie - Sometimes breaking the rules is a GOOD thing
I think in this case, breaking the rules worked out just fine...there is so much going on here that the "rules" don't even seem to come into play. I think Robert did a great job of putting the painting together without letting the rules hinder him. The painting works in one way because the road really isn't the focal point...the buildiing is and it's certaintly off-center enough to hold interest. The pole on the right, to me, kind-of creates the right side of the painting...it holds my eyes in to the left so to me, the painting really doesn't look equally divided because of that pole. Great job, Robert!!!
Did you ever hear the story about Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas??? The one associated with the picture "Girl Arranging Her Hair"????
I'm remembering this from art school a LONG time ago, but the gist of it is this: Edgar and Mary hung out together a lot. One day as they were sitting in a cafe, Edgar was getting all down on women "artists" - he essentially didn't think women could ever become true artists because all they ever could do was to make pretty pictures by rote (following "the rules"). Mary, being a very strong, determined woman, took this as a personal challenge. She went out and hired the least pretty model she could find (in fact, kinda homely), put her in a rather ungraceful pose, and proceeded to paint against all of the "rules" she'd ever learned. She showed it to Degas later and he recanted, saying that she had painted a true masterpiece. He eventually bought the painting from her. Take a look at the attached pic and see all of the rules that Mary broke
So breaking the rules can be good
assuming you know what you're doing....