When I read the first prompt (which I will be writing about), one of the first things I thought about was what rhythm means. I looked online the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and found that the first definition given was “a regular, repeated pattern of sounds or movements” (Merriam-Webster) which lead me to the conclusion that “rhythm” isn’t necessarily predominantly a musical term because of its ties with movement. This makes perfect sense to me, the two ideas of sound and movement should be intertwined because music so often causes people to move. We learned in class that some music caused people to stand up and riot. In a less violent function music is what causes to dance. Music causes people to sway and move naturally. Painting in a basic sense also falls in line with the definition of rhythm: a painter moves their brushes repeatedly in some sort of pattern in order to create what they want on their canvas. With all of those things tying together it doesn’t seem as strange to describe paintings in the terms of rhythm. Something much like music, which inspires dance, must inspire a painter to pick up their brushes and create. Where it fails to meet the definition exactly is where rhythm is described as being “regular” which many paintings are not, nor should they always be. Yet there is some regularity to some of the paintings in the Butler reading like the Piet Mondrian. All of the shapes painted are regular squares and rectangles. Not blobs or faces or stars. The painting is brought together in a way that not one of the shapes overwhelms the painting. The viewers’ eyes can move from shape to shape as we are drawn to the large red square. Still, not a thing seems out of place perhaps because the shapes are regular enough that our eyes can move from one to another without confusion. This painting is not difficult to look at and take in. It is not traditional or what we see in nature, but looking at different colored squares is easy to take. The message and purpose is the more difficult task.
This then brought me to the idea of a painting having rhythm. Like a dance, shouldn’t a painting move from one place to the next with grace a purpose? If it does not have grace, it should at the very least have purpose. A painting should draw a view’s eyes from one place to the next with some sense of intent, unless this is not the artist’s intention. Like many dances, two or more things must work together in order for something to move in unity to create something worth looking at and not just a mess of tripping limbs. Butler says that for the Piet Mondrain painting, “our feel for harmony and balance” (Butler, 24-25) is much may determine if the viewer likes the painting of not. Harmony and balance are also essential parts of dance also, though they mean slightly different things in that application. For the painting things like color and shape must have harmony that is either pleasing or aggravating depending on what is being portrayed. Balance is important to a painting because if one side of the painting is too busy or heavy in color, the view may feel like they are falling into one side and completely ignore the other. Space is important to art, but the space must be there to counterbalance a weight somewhere else. All art, not just aural, require some finesse and attention to what is happening and what the piece is doing.
With so many tools for artists to work with, taking those that seem to belong to other parts of art can create a new connected feeling where the painting has more life than the one on the wall. By combining the techniques and ideas connected to music and art the viewer may move and sway with the painting as much as they would when listening to music. If we try to bring language into this it may become even more complex. Yet, isn’t that what many musical productions are? Musicals are a combination of visual art, music, and language used to portray something about life whether it is a lesson, story, or just an emotion. Although the visual aspect was less important, for a long time, this was one of the highest and most entertaining versions of art. Visuals have become more important in things like sets and costumes and movie magic, but still, it is the playing of all these things together that can be the most emotional and do the most for people. It can inspire people to laugh, to cry, and to riot, and all that coming from one piece of art is amazing.