Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Libra the Balancing Act

Libra design available on zazzle.com (©Taylor Barnes 2010)

Today was the autumnal equinox and the beginning of the astrological sign of Libra. The equinox is one of two times in the year when the day and the night are of equal length and Libra represents the sign of balance. So it seems fitting to reflect at this moment on balance in design and life.

As artists we strive for balance in our work. We try to create a visual that is weighted equally between many elements (type, illustration, color, etc.) and allow the viewer to take in the whole message without distraction. But there is the opposite end of the spectrum – that rare designer that can take chaos and orchestrate it so artfully that it is a delight to feel "off-balance."

But if you dig deeper the working artist also needs balance in the home and studio. Emotional distraction (such as my daughter just now walking into the room to yell "hi" to me as I am writing this blog post) or financial imbalance can retard the creative process. 

I once knew an artist who taught me this lesson (ironically he was born under the sign of Libra.) I noticed that although he worked a full time job he was very productive in the studio and always showing his work. I asked him what his secret was and he said that he had simplified every other area of his life so that the most complicated thinking happened when he was making art. He had five white button down shirts, five pairs of jeans, he ate the same lunch every day, and kept to this routine no matter how boring it might seem. But he produced a lot of work and seemed very happy.

I tried this for myself and found I did get more done. I have also discovered that whenever I give in to my caprices and let go of structure I get nothing done creatively. I end up "giving away" my creativity to my teaching, my child or my clients. In the end I am disappointed, out of whack and want to get back to center artistically. My survival instinct as a creative will kick in and cause me to do something to correct the situation but that causes a new imbalance as well.

Balance – the equinox of ebb and flow of ideas, money, love and harmony in one's life. That is the goal. However... that being said, it is the chaotic times that have produced some of the greatest inspiration in my life. Being human is not easy!

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