HeeJune Shin

“I am thrilled to be able to paint. Although my formal training is in public health nutrition, all my life I dreamt about being a painter. When the opportunity to enroll at an art school came in 1998, I took it with commitment and gratitude. After working with watercolors exclusively for nearly 10 years, I found oils just as fascinating.

Whether a painting is a still life or a landscape, the object of my painting is the light. What the light does to the color and form never ceases to intrigue me. Light provides endless possibilities that are momentary but can be explored by observation and interpretation. Since Claude Monet’s Haystacks series, artists have been wrestling with many nuances of the ephemeral quality of the light. I like to approach the light with respect and honesty. To that end, I strive to have all the fundamental elements, such as drawing, value, shape, color and edge in my paintings. Recently I added one more dimension to my painting: color temperature. I attribute this ability to gifted teachers, Camille Przewodek in California, and Kami Polzin in Minnesota.

I consider myself a student of Representational Painting with an emphasis on color realism. Through Przewodek, I was acquainted with American impressionists Charles Hawthorne (1872-1930), Henry Hensche (1899-1922), and contemporary colorists in the tradition of the Hawthorn-Hensche approach. Colorists attempt to see and render objects in color variations to create an illusion of reality in the light key in which they are seen. This visual realism is different from mechanical realism. I have sought visual growth through many plein-air painting sessions, striving for finer color quality and truer interpretation.

The foundation of my painting is composition of abstract shapes in colors of right relationship to each other. In my oil painting, I start out with division of large masses of light and dark, putting down a color note in each shape in their proper relationship to one another. Then gradually I refine colors in smaller divisions keeping the integrity of the large mass. Through these thoughtful processes, the forms and the depth are defined in the way they appear to my eyes. Indeed it is a thrill when a painting emerges from these shapes of colors: a strikingly beautiful illusion of light! I also relish the intimacy and immediacy of strokes that a palette knife brings to a canvas.

I am continually challenged and inspired as a life-long student of art. Through an interest in art history and travels to museums worldwide, my desire is to become a representational artist of the post impressionism era with an emphasis on visual perception of color. During an art tour to the Musée Matisse in Nice, France, I was greatly encouraged to observe that it was the result of 60 years of study that brought Matisse to where he was. There is no ‘royal road’ to it. The good news is that it is attainable through passion and diligence. In the end, I hope to be guided by uniquely perceptive eyes and a deft hand to make my paintings show the beauty of light and add joyous awareness to the world around us.”

Born in Seoul, Korea, HeeJune Shin holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Seoul National University and a Master of Public Health from the School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Starting in 1973, she studied Chinese calligraphy and painting with several artists, and is a member of the Minnesota Watercolor Society, Outdoor Painters of South Eastern Minnesota, Oil Painters of America, and the American Impressionist Society. Shin has participated in several exhibitions throughout Minnesota, and in Korea.