A blind canvas is a neutral space that holds endless tension.
This is the space where unlimited possibilities live. The dawn that holds the new day. And as soon as a mass is placed in this blank space, a pole is created. Life on earth is created. A force field. A gravity.
The balance is broken.
Now, every single new object that enters the force field will either be pulled towards a pole — if its own gravity is weaker than the former — or creates a new pole — if its gravity is stronger instead. (In the former case, the object obeys the dominant trend within the field, and in the latter, it creates a new trend that overpowers the existing forces.)
A tension is created.
This push and pull between objects continue until a state of balance is achieved, which is an extremely rare state that’s present for no longer than a brief moment in time. This state is somehow similar to a stationary point, or maybe a snapshot in time. I would even argue that balance is never something we can achieve, but rather only aspire to. It’s such an ideal that this intention itself is often the tangent to a balance state. The duality of Yin and Yang, which is a perfect and dynamic equilibrium within the micro- and macrocosms is omnipresent and flowing towards its alteration. As life is always moving, the composition is always evolving, and balance is always broken to be recreated over and over again.
So the perception of balance as a moment of inertia might be a paradox.
However, this also means that we can only speak of balance in presence of, not necessarily two, but definitely multiple objects (or elements or things or flavours or sounds or colours or movements or any other artistic ingredient). So balance is a relationship in flow state. The astrological sign Libra, which has the scales as its symbol, rules relationships, as well as balance. In particular, it rules relationships of one-to-one, where a precise fairness has to be maintained by a constant flow.
Hence balance is a constant equal give and take, the flirt between the female and male.
It’s a peaceful tension, where the presence feels at ease. The more tension there is, the closer we are to quietude. Or balance. Like the moment before a rubber band snaps. Or tip of a rollercoaster. Or the tiny plato of a climax.
Aesthetically, balance can create a peaceful pleasure to senses and hence we’re attracted to it.
A balanced face is a beautiful symmetry, where every feature is counterpoised by an opposite one; and the gaze can rest there as long as they please. It feels like the artist’s job is done. To the outside view, it can look perplexing to analyse the meticulous calculations that were put into the construction of this perfect piece. Because there is not a single extra grain that tips the scale. A perfect nothing. The lack of tension. It is flawlessly decluttered. Not in the sense that it’s minimalistic. Not necessarily. But rather, it’s crystal clear that every single element in the composition exists to fulfil a noble purpose in the exactly right place. Like the way, god created each of us with a special purpose that no-one else but us can fulfil that in the perspective of wholeness contributes to a complex system. It’s without a doubt impossible to substitute any single object with another.
Nothing is redundant, or arbitrary.
I love Hemingway’s quote “Write drunk, edit sober”. It may take courage to start the creative process, so losing your head over it might certainly help. But equally, it takes a sharp mind, a steady hand and a strong will to refine the outcome by taking things out, rather than adding more. And the latter is what makes the work great. Getting rid of the unnecessary and stripping the work down is what makes mastery. And in my own experience, and according to others like Hemingway, this is the hardest part. Artists ultimately manifest a human nature, which more often than not holds onto overstatement.
I have a personal story about this.
I recently went to a shaman in order to fix my issues that I can’t solve with a sharp mind, a steady hand and a strong will. I am highly addictive and am drawn to extremes. I’ve been looking for a long time to find my state of balance. And this particular shaman told me that my soul wasn’t willing to let go of the soul of a long passed loved one, even though he wanted to let go of me already. She said that our souls finally separated peacefully through her guidance and that when two souls do separate, they always do so with love. And I was so so so angry to hear this. So angry. I could not believe that I was being dumped by a passed on love. I was just so so so angry. And after a while, I was so so so sad. Following this experience, I felt like a freshly grief striven for days. But in an ironic way, I felt like weight was off my shoulders. And I found my zen.
Finding balance can be dramatic.
You might have to be very brave to let go of things, that you know bring you (or your work) harm. It’s quite heartbreaking to “kill your darlings.” It might feel like cutting off your own limbs. But in fact, the more you dare to lose things, the more you (or your work) get stronger.
So indeed, balance can only be achieved by letting go, in that as an artist, we tip the scale by creating anything in the first place.