The Yin And Yang Of Visual Art – Creative Art Images
The principle of Yin and Yang is that all things exist with contradictory opposites, with the most common being male vs female, old versus young or left brain versus right brain as opposites. This principle is a basic idea in oriental philosophy and in culture as a whole and in creating creative art images. My Yin and Yang art has more to do with approaching my subject as a realistic exercise or as an abstract pursuit.
I’ve always had an affinity with realistic techniques in creating artwork. But I also loved taking in a view of the natural environment or in an urban setting and just admiring the structures and shapes, kind of like staring up at clouds and seeing animal shapes.
Abstract realism in my art
In many ways, this Yin and Yang art is like a conflict in my mind. What it creates is a tension. This approach of working my art with a realist approach, but wanting to loosen up means that I am able to view the scene, structure, person, or whatever with an eye for detail that can give me a new insight into a particular subject. This clarity lets me see things like I’ve never seen them before.
The left brain says this is how this landscape painting should be approached based on reality. The right brain says this painting should be approached by what my feelings are about what I am seeing. What my mood? Is there any tension in the atmosphere?
The Yin in my painting may be how I interpret the colours of an object or the sparkle of water on a lake. The Yang could be the broad shapes that define a building’s structure.
As I progress in my preliminary interpretation of a scene, I try to interpret which parts of my art will be the Yin and which will be the Yang. Will the art show a domination in one direction or another?
Viewing your environment
Have you ever driven a long stretch of highway and been asked what you thought of the area? Chances are, many times, you were completely unaware of your surroundings. You were deep in thought, enjoying music, or just following traffic.
By viewing a subject “realistically”, you become aware of nuances that can change the meaning of what you are viewing. This visual process or scrutiny can change the way you process your subject. Where colour, light, shape and movement now become more apparent.
As a passenger in a vehicle – car, bus, motorcycle or whatever – what you see may be focused as you stare at something. Or maybe fluid as you view a field of wheat nearing harvest as it billows in the summer breeze. Your thoughts may well have a Yin approach to your environment, or derived from your right side of the brain.
The driver of the vehicle will have viewed the scenery as a Yang or left side of the brain using logic to make decisions based on speed, weather and road conditions. Two different people, two different viewpoints, one location.
The dynamic of creative art images
By playing off these observations, the whole dynamic of your scene or subject can change and your view becomes a mix of hard reality and abstract senses and by focusing on these points, a new viewpoint is established. Mix in my Yin and Yang when creating my art, or, in other words, using my left and right brain.
View your art as a balance scale. Should it be weighted in realism or should it be weighted in abstraction – maybe an even balance of both.
Static or moving, Yin or Yang
While touring the streets of Budapest, Hungary, one autumn, I passed a parked motorcycle. This bike actually looks like its moving very fast while just parked. When I looked closely at it, I see incredible primary colours, forward thrusting angles, and mechanical components that look “aggressive”. Using the actual existing structure and colour, I reinterpreted the motorcycle to capture less what I actually saw and more what I felt.
Years before, I biked everywhere. I had experienced the movement, the wind, the blurred landscapes that were all part of what driving a motorcycle was all about. These previous experiences allowed me to view a static object in a unique way that expressed my underlying thoughts.
Right brain painting? Left brain illustration?
This brings us to an interesting point. What are your end goals as an artist in a particular situation. Are you trying to express a mood or are you trying to document a scenario? I created many illustrations over the years for clients who wanted an image that clarify ideas. Trying to assemble a product from abstract illustrations may not be a good idea, but putting extra flourishes when painting wild flowers may make the viewing experience more meaningful.
With many of my illustrations falling into a cartoon style, the Yin and Yang take place on another plane where the style alone can cover anything from serious to absurd and useful to senseless. But each direction may actually be appropriate for the mood you’re endevouring to create for the projected audience.
Painting becomes life. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s whimsical, all times it’s interesting!