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  • Writer's pictureShannon Gerrity

Balance a Being

Updated: May 29, 2020

Conjure up a balanced being with symmetry!

Art making episode and song, mini lesson for KTVU's SF Loves Learning television show below!

  • Reflective symmetry can be a way to energize your imagination, play with rhythm, and ignite mindfulness while making art.

  • Art and nature are intertwined. Look around the natural world to see examples of symmetry. Then, use the inspiration to create your own balance being!

  • See what happens to the expression and personality of your being when you add symmetrical lines, shapes, and colors.

  • If you enjoy this process and want to extend the experience further, check out the Philadelphia Museum of Art's information and art making activities.

Before You Begin:

Remember that art is ish, it's human, and whatever comes from you is what it's meant to be. There's no such thing as "good" or "bad," "right" or "wrong" in art, so get making!

When The Piece Feels Finished:

While art is never finished (it's alive and living!), share your art when you feel that it is grounded and whole - when you feel you have given it your full attention and care. Share your art by hanging it on a wall in your house, posting it on-line, or mailing it to someone you love.

Scroll down to see examples, extending ideas, and making steps!

Nature Is Art and mini lesson as seen on KTVU's SF Loves Learning television show:

Balance Beings art making episode:

Steps for Creating a Balance Being:

1. Yell: "5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Make Art!" (This transitions your brain; there's research about this!)

2. Get a piece of paper.

3. Collect three or more writing utensils (pen, pencil, highlighter, marker, crayon, color pencil).

4. Fold your paper in half, landscape style (also known as hot dog style).

5. Write your name so that the bottom of each letter/character touches the fold/crease.

6. Stand up and find a window.

7. Touch your letters to the window so that the blank side of the folded paper is facing you. With the light shining through the paper, trace the letters/characters, using the window as support. (The letters will be backwards!)

8. Open the paper to see that your name is now a symmetrical, mirror image.

9. Add lines different types of lines and make them symmetrical, balancing what you do on one side of the paper, with what you do on the other side of the paper.

10. Add color and different materials (also known as mixed media) to create texture and depth.

11. When your balance being feels grounded and whole, and you've given it your attention and care, introduce your balance being to your colleagues, friends, or family.

  • What's your balance being's name?

  • What does their voice sound like?

  • How do they live life? What's their purpose?

  • See if your viewer can find your name.

  • See if your viewer can find your symmetry.

  • See if your viewer would like to learn how to make a balance being with their name.

12. Spend some time seeing your balance being:

  • What ways does your symmetry give personality and balance to your being? (The symmetry emphasizes the important parts to look at; eye finds the different elements of the being easily because there is symmetrical repetition. With the symmetry, a character is born; this one has a lot of different personalities.)

  • How does this art piece make you feel? (This art makes me feel excited and interested in getting to know the being; I have a lot of questions to ask them. Do they know that there are many beings inside of them? What do they think of the being on the top of their head [and do they know it's symmetrical too?)

  • What does this art piece remind you of? (This piece also reminds me of animated cartoons. I think this character lives in an underworld.)

  • How might this art piece live in the world? (I think this would be fun to mail to my friend with a message. Or, I could use this balance being to create a cartoon.)

13. Notice your state-of-being: how do you feel? How can you describe your state-of-being?

14. After you create one balance being, try another one. Play with a different name (first name, middle name, last name, name of a colleague, friend, or family member).

Play with constraints:

  • change the number of colors you use

  • create a collaborative piece with someone else, taking turns filling in the empty areas and/or drawing different parts of the object or being

  • set a timer and only make for a specific amount of time

And, voilà: you've made a Balance Being!

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