Rhythm and harmony in artwork go hand in hand. They help our eyes travel and perceive an image, for instance, as a moving entity. Colors, lines, patterns, repetitions – all those elements play a role when it comes to the individual beholder’s perception of rhythm.
However, rhythm doesn’t necessarily mean only structure or repetition. Nature, for instance, is rhythmic when it comes to imperfectly perfect patterns, shapes, and lines. But those don’t have to be symmetrical to create a flowing, moving image. Rhythm in a work of art – whatever medium and elements used – ultimately leads to visual harmony.
Natural Art – Rhythm in Nature
Get lost in the wonderful landscape of Italian Tuscany – where life seems to be so easy and carefree. Smooth lines are found in the gently winding roads; warm colors follow a pattern of earthy tones. Even though complete symmetry per se is not a part of this photo, do you see structure in the alignment of trees on the green strip next to the field? They provide an overall rhythmic pattern to the landscape – and so does road forming a gentle s-curve. Smooth. Intertwined. Harmonious. In the back, spot the softly flowing hills that create a natural boundary between heaven and earth.
The clear blue sky is breaking the warm color rhythm as a gentle reminder that there is still a separation – contrast – between heaven and earth. While, in this particular image, the sky is a rather static element in a natural piece of art, it also highlights the rhythmic movement of the Tuscan landscape below. It is naturally flowing.
Nature as Art
As you look at this photo, you quickly realize that nature is art. It uses its own approach and methods to create an ever-changing seasonal portrait of itself. The underlying order in nature resembles effortless art. It maintains its self-sufficient beauty and has its own incredible rhythm. Photography is capturing this natural rhythm in nature and allows us a glimpse into what mother earth as both artist and beautiful canvas is capable of. It follows its own seamless, yet essential rhythm that we can all learn from.
It is in rhythm that design and life meet. – Philip Rawson
As humans, we have a deep-rooted connection with nature. We need to cherish and appreciate it, for when the pulse of life – nature, that is – faces a decay, our very own, pure existence won’t be the same anymore. Nature is incredibly artistic and capable of painting its own rhythmically moving patterns. Hence, it brings a photo that, as an art medium capturing this natural art, to life.
A Harmonious Interplay
Tying into the aforementioned, rhythm creates a soothing harmony for our physical eye, which – given our connection with nature and mother earth at large – is calming for our souls. Thus, we can find total alignment when spending time in nature. Sometimes, just looking at landscape photography can help us feel at ease. Our eyes travel with the rhythm of the image and get into a harmonious balance with our inner selves. Nature is the only place where we can truly find inner peace – because here, nature is peaceful. Its effortless, artistic flow and rhythm so naturally created are working like balm for the soul.
To seek, beneath the universal strife, the hidden harmony of things. – Will Durant
Nature is art and in nature’s approach to art, everything is intertwined, creating a harmonious whole, even though this might sometimes not be visible to the beholder at first sight. Just let the rhythm of the landscape, the photograph, take over and draw you in. The smoothness and interconnectedness of lines, patterns, shapes, forms might not be perfect but it’s exactly this imperfectly perfect that does, indeed, make nature such a wonderful work of art.