Rhythm in Art

by bryantjaquez on December 12, 2012

How often do you find yourself saying, “I wish I knew how to advance my artistic knowledge?” Here is the internet’s most expertly crafted explanation of rhythm in art.

What is rhythm in art

What Is Rhythm In Art?

The concept of rhythm in art represents the easy movement of the viewer’s eyes following a regular arrangement or reproduction of elements in the art work. There are several ways to move the eye through a painting. The artist needs to do this so the viewer will appreciate the mood of the painting as a whole and while doing so they can stimulate the viewer in a certain emotional way.
The predictability of the rhythm in art, or the tempo can also be achieved by how the elements are placed within the composition. If elements are placed in a predictable manner they form a pattern. This pattern resembles a musical movement or fluid and flowing appreciation of the artwork. This pattern denotes order, the sequence of the order is what creates the ‘tempo’ of the rhythm. This photo exemplifies elements placed in a predictable arrangement to create a tempo or a beat.
how does movement and rhythm in artThe image of the roots of an old tree below shows how the eye will follow the fluid movement of the patterns that are formed. The power of the repeated pattern carries the eye to another area of the photograph. The rhythm of  the lines helps strengthen the movement and flow.
carries the eye as the eye follows the rhythmic flowObserve how the stroke border on the edge of the bowl of the design below also carries the eye as the eye follows the rhythmic flow, moving the eye from left to right in a particular direction.
lines in art allow your eye to move rhythmically through a paintingThis linear pattern creates rhythm, observe how the eye will be pulled from left to right horizontally, that is the movement of the eyes back and forth across the image or the eye can jump from one of the horizontal lines to the next, like running up a steep flight of stairs. Which movement of the eye has the most powerful pull or effect?
leaves example of rhythm in artBy contrast, observe how the outline of each of the leaf shapes in the photograph on the right form a repetitive pattern. This causes the eye to keep moving without rest. If this was a musical tempo it would be fast paced! Try to establish a co-relationship between this style of pattern on the left and a busy wallpaper design.


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Explaining Rhythm In Traditional Strokework

Rhythm in strokework. Rhythm in strokework creates a fluid movement around the border of this decorative bowl. The rhythmic movements of brush strokes flow in an undulating pattern, each stroke leading the way to the next. The strokes are positioned in a predictable manner and they causes the eye to flow and move in a particular way and at a particular speed.This antique bowl that is on display at the Getty Museum in California (period unknown), features intricate handwork on the rim of the bowl. The design on the bowl displays and describes the rhythmic movement of all the design elements. As we observe the ‘tempo’ of the border, we can see how the eye is stopped by the punctuation of larger elements between the fluid strokework.

The center motif, which is the sailing ship in the middle of the design is surrounded by the less formal border that is around it. On close observation, one can see and feel the effects of radial symmetry on the order of the pattern and the predictable rhythm that it describes.

Questions to ask yourself about rhythm?
1. Does Rhythm create predictability and order in a composition?
2. Does Rhythm regulate the movement of the eyes as they go from one interesting area to another creating a natural tempo or beat?
3. Does Rhythm is how create an organized movement of the eye?
4. Does Rhythm assist in creating mood for the artist’s composition?
5. Is Rhythm important?

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Explaining Rhythm In Gardenscapes, and Landscapes:

rhythm in flowers and gardensWhen painting garden scapes or garden themes its important to recognize what principles of art might come into play. It is not enough to just like a scene and paint it. If we, as artists and teachers are to become creative designers we have to return to the rules. Through careful observation the artist can learn how to utilize the principles of design and adjust them to suit specific needs. Rhythm is a strong component of the overall ‘mood’ of the painting as it can suggest the ‘tempo’ or beat of the painting.In the photograph, the lily’s are dynamic, yet there seems to be a great deal of visual discord in the composition. Take a close look and ask yourself why? There is no rhythmic tempo, no organization of lines of movement and as a result there seems to be an element of chaos. Look closely and you will also notice that the lines of many elements appear to be pointing to the lower right corner of the image. Where do these lines lead to? If you were painting this group of flowers, how could you improve on the composition? Try placing a finger over the right side of the image and see if there is any improvement. can you now see that by cropping the composition, this immediately improves the grouping.

landscape rhythmRhythm and balance: In this garden scene, the fence, with its repetitive vertical lines provides rhythmic order and predictability to the composition. The rose bushes that grow at the base of the fence are masses of texture with complementary color, greens with splashes of pinks dominate the scene.
Rhythm and contrast: Strong horizontal rhythm created by the old weathered boards of the building, the blue bench, the door and the window of the garden shed offer a charming backdrop for the flowers. In ‘contrast’, the flowers are very textural and offer a different ‘tempo’ to the lazy eye movement of the wooden shed. The mix of the two rhythms create greater balance for a harmonious garden composition. If painting from this photograph, the artist may change the shape of the flowers, and direct them to flow over the top of the blue bench. Can you magine what that would look like?
Rhythm and spacing: The vertical lines of the fence provide a strong base for the flowering climbing rose. However, if this photograph was to be used for reference material, the rose vine should continue along the fence. The composition is too heavy on the right side. In the middle of the composition is a division through the center, with too much weight on the right.
Stay a while… or not: Compared to the image above, this garden setting is different. We view the bench from behind but it does invite the viewer to stay. The bench is surrounded by roses. One almost gets the feeling that they could be held captive by the rose bushes. Certainly inviting to ‘stay a while’. The bench, with no texture, does offer horizontal lines that are restful.
Please stay awhile, or longer? Compared to the image above, this garden setting is different. We view the bench from behind but it does invite the viewer to stay. The bench is surrounded by roses. One almost gets the feeling that they could be held captive by the rose bushes. Certainly inviting to ‘stay a while’. The bench, with no texture, does offer horizontal lines that are restful.
The balance between the straight movement and a fast ‘tempo’ is slowed by the huge tree at the end of the path. Take note of the large branches of the trees, they burst forth in a crescendo, like fireworks in the sky. The linear line of the hedge is balanced by the curved diagonals of the tree.

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