Symmetry in Art and Beauty

New Year. New Class. New Concepts. I'm ready to go!

I started a new "Patterns and Textures in Nature" class. For the first assignment we had to "break a rule". The rule I chose to break was "the rule of thirds". This rule of creating art asymmetrically is a rule I learned as a little girl. My mother always said to use an odd number of things when setting up a picture, a centerpiece, a display. "The odd number will make it more interesting", she would say. I learned it in early art classes. Never center your subject, you want the eye to be drawn around the whole piece. So, my assignment was to fight my natural inclination and provide a picture of texture in nature with bilateral symmetry. Here are a few examples... or as close as I could get!

This was hard to do. I also felt the pictures I took were not as interesting as when I went back to my old instincts:

I turned in two from the first group for my class to see, but I am more proud of the second group. This got me thinking.....

We tend to think people with symmetrical features are more beautiful than people with less symmetrical faces. (Click here for info) Babies are cute to us because their faces haven't developed enough to create asymmetric features. That, and, well, babies are just plain cute! As we age, we develop "character" in our faces. Our noses may grow to tilt to one side. One eyebrow may be higher that the other. And mostly, our wrinkles creates different nooks and crannies near our eyes, mouths and foreheads.

My instructor's purpose in having us break a rule is to inspire creativity. But for me, it had more impact. It caused me to rethink what I believe to be beautiful. When I reflect on what I see, I will now think differently.

In people, I will see how asymmetry creates interest. It keeps us engaged and draws us in to the "canvas" per se.

In art, I will respect when I see someone who was able to create a piece with symmetry that draws my eye, keeps my attention, and engages an emotion in me. I will know it wasn't easy to do.

As always... learning behind the lens...