Harmony lies between he two extremes of monotony and discord. It combines the character of both.
The dictionary defines it as "A consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity."
Here's one of my family treasures.
My dad acquired this sign and hung it in his Sigma Chi frat house when he was going to Butler University in the forties. He met my mom on campus at the library and the rest is history. She told me recently that the sign was hung in their first house, as well as every house they lived in during their 20 year marriage.
I remember it hanging in the basement where my dad had his office. When mom and dad split up the sign went with her. (So much for marital harmony!) Years later when my mom remarried the sign appeared over the back door in the garage. A few years ago my brother spoke up and said he would love to have the sign, and it traveled with him to California. This year my brother moved to Cebu City in the Philippines. He sent me some boxes of his personal momentos for safe keeping, and guess what was in one of the boxes?
Now it proudly hangs over my work space, where I endeavour daily to visually harmonize my artwork.
You don't always know beforehand how to harmonize. You gotta take what is at hand and make it work. I think about how on the show "chopped" they are given three totally incongruous food ingredients, and expected to come up with gourmet dishes that excel in presentation and taste in like 20 minutes. That's how it is in visual design as well. The artist works with totally unrelated colors, shapes, line, form and texture and has to make it harmonize.
Aesthetic design depends on striking the balance between monotony and discord. An art piece can be harmonized by the use of similar colors and shapes. Somewhere there is a balance between too much and too little, too loud and too quiet, too big and too small. There are many ways to achieve that balance; and the artist chooses the way that he or she sees fit.
Here is one of my show pieces for 2015:
Here are some jewelry pieces by Alexander Calder.
I love how each piece is a harmonious blend of colors, shapes, line, and form. Even though there is repetition of elements, the overall effect is far from monotonous.
So what's the deal with harmony?
I would love to read your thoughts, but I can't unless you share them with me!