Art is Not a Balancing Act
Has someone told you that you need to live a balanced life? Eat balanced meals and balance your finances? It seems balance is a big deal since we all are told to bring balance into our life. Yet what picture does this conjure up int your mind? I know that balance suggests 50/50. The scales of commerce seek to balance out to equal sums. Fail to balance your account and there is a problem. But this image is all wrong. To hit the sweet spot in life, as in art, we need to be forget about equal scales.
The fifty/fifty idea of balance is boring and potentially confusing. It is beige in colour and associated with sitting on the fence. It is in fact a dangerous notion. Think of financial well being. It is better to have more assets than liabilities. If you are out of balance in this way you are financially secure. If you are in the fifty/fifty zone then a slight financial commitment can send you toppling over in debt.
In art there is the Golden Section. That natural ideal found in all things. This roughly translates to one third to two thirds as an ideal composition in painting or photography. Consider the painting above. You can see the sweet spot follows this idea. Our eye is led there by the large curving shape on the right. If Millet place a figure in the middle of the canvas we would feel the tension such a composition brings.
If our daily lives are to have meaning and fulfillment then we need to reject balance and rather focus on one thing above all others. What is the one thing that is your passion? What is the one thing that will pull your life into the path of success? That is the area to focus energy and committed action. If it is art then devour as much as you can. Paint a lot. Study and paint more. That is the way to make real progress.
Too much can also be harmful. Yes the Golden Section allows a generous one-third for other activities so there is a counter weight to your passion work. So long as you have the most effort going to that one critical area of your life.
We have to be aware of where our energy is focussed. If you are not making real progress and you feel that you are drifting then you are probably not committed to that one thing. Figure this out and renew your energy for that single pursuit and you will see real results.
Malcolm Dewey: Artist. Country: South Africa