Sunday, March 3, 2013


Lately, I have found myself reflecting on relationships.
What makes a relationship a relationship? Does a relationship really have a beginning and end? Or is it that once something touches our life the relationship is formed and becomes infinite?
When we are in a relationship do we lose sight of where we begin and end? Or do our own lines become blurred?
What do we need from them? What do we give to them? How do we make them work? Why do some not work? 

Our worlds are made up of all different relationships; Work relationships, personal relationships, romantic relationships, relationships with our parents, relationships with our children. Every time something or someone touches our life, a shape, space, form and tension is born.

So what do we do with this energy?
Unfortunately, in our relationships with people, the rules aren't always clear. Relationships live and breathe and change. They need nurturing to grow and balance to tame tensions that threaten to break the delicate bonds that sustain them. Positive or negative, balanced, unbalanced, complimentary, inspiring, toxic, depressing. Relationships take on all different forms of energy and the way the energy touches us is what creates the momentum for that directional movement.
So when something touches our world, it takes shape and it shapes us forever.

So how do we know if a relationship is working?
This is where I relate my life reflections to art as a way of illustrating (no pun intended) my musings. And hopefully imparting a little knowledge  about art to you. Well, and life. Not that I’m an expert by any means. Just sharing my thoughts.

In art school, we were taught the Principles of Design, the guidelines that, when skillfully executed, should result in a well-crafted visual composition. These principles are to be used to create visual relationships in your work. A good relationship that is working should have balance, rhythm, contrast, a center of interest, harmony, and directional movement. In Art. And in Life.
I believe these are fundamental elements of the Natural world and can greatly inform how we approach our people-relationships. I think these fundamentals provide a natural compass to help us gage if we are on the right track in our relationships.

Principles of Design: 
(courtesy of

Center of interest - is an area that first attracts attention in a composition. This area is more important when compared to the other objects or elements in a composition.  This can be by contrast of values, more colors, and placement in the format.

Balance - is a feeling of visual equality in shape, form, value, color, etc.  Balance can be symmetrical or evenly balanced or asymmetrical and un-evenly balanced.  Objects, values, colors, textures, shapes, forms, etc., can be used in creating a balance in a composition.

Harmony - brings together a composition with similar units.  If your composition was using wavy lines and organic shapes you would stay with those types of lines and not put in just one geometric shape. (Notice how similar Harmony is to Unity - some sources list both terms)

Contrast - offers some change in value creating a visual discord in a composition. Contrast shows the difference between shapes and can be used as a background to bring objects out and forward in a design. It can also be used to create an area of emphasis.

Directional Movement - is a visual flow through the composition. It can be the suggestion of motion in a design as you move from object to object by way of placement and position.  Directional movement can be created with a value pattern. It is with the placement of dark and light areas that you can move your attention through the format.

Rhythm - is a movement in which some elements recurs regularly.  Like a dance it will have a flow of objects that will seem to be like the beat of music.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post! I really enjoyed your deep insight on relationships and at the same time, I love learning about the principles of art :-)


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