Clues carefully incorporated into this painting of a family returning from vacation assist us in unfolding the details of where the family went, what they did, and how they may have enjoyed it. Travel, Rockwell's only passion other than art, is the subject of many of his paintings. By the time of this painting, Rockwell had been to South America, made three trips to Europe, and just returned from an extended trip to California where he met and married his second wife, Mary Barstow. Soon after, troubled by problems with his work, Rockwell began experimenting with Jay Hambidge's theory of dynamic symmetry in which composition is determined by a system of diagonal lines that are proportional to each other and that create movement. In Home From Vacation (Tired But Happy), strong diagonals give a static subject feeling of movement and life. He employs another device-the classic triangle-for his arrangement of the three figures. Touches of red lead our eye around the canvas and up into the faded lettering of the travel poster, where the subject is announced, in case we have not guessed.
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