Martha T.

LESSON 1:  Balance Strategies

Have observed that I have strong and sometimes dismissive opinions about some of the four balance strategies.  Jane’s explanations have challenged my prejudices, for example that crystallographic balance requires little skill to execute.  The Warhol piece, which causes the eye to move and search, is a good example of Jane’s point that this design strategy can be used effectively.

In contrast, assymetrical balance seems challenging to execute well, and the most interesting of the four strategies.  I would like assymetrical to be my default mode but am not at ease with using it.


Image 1: Jane LaFazio Quilt

Jane LaFazio Quilt/People In The Sun

Jane LaFazio Quilt/People In The Sun

Assymetrical balance with crystalliographic elements?  Bird is focal point, with 2 rectangles anchoring it.  Orange flower on lower right is less dominent than 2 strong rectangles, therefore is part of background like the other lesser images.

Edward Hopper - People In The Sun

Alright, Jane, I’ll take up your challenge to analyze this weekly!

Assymetical balance.

The diagonal lines (human legs, chair backs and legs, woman’s hat, man’s book) grab and hold my attention with their detail, repetition and opposition.

The bold horizontal landscape blocks in contrasting colors & values create almost a stripe pattern.  They stabilize the picture world.

The vertical lines behind the sunbathers give my eye a stopping point that seems to gives the block of people something to lean against.

Image 2:  Edward Hopper – Girl at Sewing Machine

Girl At A Sewing Machine/West Bay 1

Girl At A Sewing Machine/West Bay 1

Assymetrical with elements of symmetry.

The central figure of girl plus sewing machine and table is flanked by bold, stabilizing vertical windows on right and mirror plus dresser on left, although these two bookending elements do not equal each other in mass.

The subtle diagonals (sunlight, hair, arm, chair back) make this composition interesting and give it movement.

Sandra Meech – West Bay 1

Leaving the most challenging for last, the assymetrical composition of this quilt fascinates me.  Not sure whether it is balanced horizontally because the detailed house image has been placed on far right edge of the picture world.

Vertical balance is achieved with the horizon line between the sky and complementary colored cliff.  Top and bottom halves are almost equal in mass.  Those two masses are mostly abstract and give the piece stability.

In contrast, the photo image of the house on far right is the focal point, I believe, although my eye goes back and forth between the detailed house and the textured yellow-orange cliff.


Image 3:  Symmetrical

Image 4:  Asymmetrical

Top picture, from Symmetrical group, becomes asymmetrical when turned 90 degrees.

Image 5:  Radial

Amoeboid shape at lower left might be a hybrid between Radial and Assymetrical.

Image 6:  Crystallographic

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