Sixth Musing: “Using the Essence of Feng Shui in Displaying an Art Collection“
Feng Shui can be a tool that is used in the collection and display of art by utilizing its system of theories to create a gallery wall in our home that is pleasing to the viewer. Because art is all about creative energy being used to its fullest potential it fits in perfectly with the inherent concepts of Feng Shui.
Feng Shui is a Chinese system considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy. It is based on the belief that everything in the world resonates with either positive or negative energy known as Yin and Yang, and the whole of this positive and negative energy creates Chi. Chi can best be explained as the vital energy that animates our body; Chi means breath and is often translated as energy flow. And because Yin and Yang are opposite but interconnected forces it is necessary to use both in order to create the whole being of Chi. It may be thought of as tension or contrast between the two opposite forces but the outcome is balanced energy.
This musing can be considered “Feng Shui Light” as I won’t go into the depths of everything Feng Shui; this will only be an overview to creating a wall of art that flows but most of all feels beautiful to the person who is creating their personal space as this is the most important element in collecting art – loving what you choose because it resonates with you!
The first step in creating this balance on a wall of art is by creating a harmonious mix of Yin and Yang energies, which are the perfect combination of calm and grounding energies interspersed with vibrant and energetic energies. An example of this is in the musing I wrote when I spoke of Stuart Leask’s and Sten’s two very different paintings that when hung together created a perfectly balanced whole. This is an ideal example of tension or contrast being used as a resolution to create visual and aesthetic interest.
Another way of creating the flow of artful energy in your art hangings is to consider the directional orientation of an art work. In this pictorial example the two red cardinals (mixed media art by Stuart Leask) are placed at or near eye level on each side of this grouping of art. Red is considered the most auspicious color in Feng Shui and creates energy wherever you see it. Since the cardinal paintings are placed at eye level it will draw your eye into the gallery wall. The directional placing of these two pieces is quite important as the beaks facing inward toward each other invites your eyes to move into the wall display – inward to the parakeets (watercolors by Sarah Drum), and then up to the oil paintings (artists Susan Benigni Landis and Julie Riker); up a bit more to the watercolor bird (artist Thom Glace) around to the two oils of flowers (artist Rosanne S. Wolfe). You certainly won’t miss the mixed media works of two muses (artist Arlene Figueroa) and finally down to the bottom to the plein air oil by Linda Williard and across to Stuart Leask’s mixed media bird on a wire. Think of it as your eyes moving inward, upward into a figure eight or perhaps back and forth in a z-like pattern, in either case your eyes move back and forth, up and down to take in the entire wall without missing a thing. If the red cardinals were placed with their beaks facing outward and away from each other, notice how you may feel as if your eyes are bouncing outward and away from the entire display. Finally, observe how the mixing of shapes, sizes, colors, and artistic styles create a wall that will exhibit dynamic energy.
Wall color? For a long time, people were admonished to only use white or cream colors on walls if the walls were to be hung with art. Thank the goddesses and muses for bringing that strict rule to an end! Color pleases our soul and creates energy. Wall colors work quite well with art of many different colors and styles. The deep blue color of the walls in the room pictured below are calming and soothing. But yet, as you view this the art hung has various amounts of yellow which provides energy and welcomes you directly into the dining room with energetic walls of yellow. As you look through the entry way from the sitting room to the dining room, the painting on the wall that you see are in calming shades of blues and greens that mimic back to the first deep blue walled room. This may beckon you to stay a bit longer in this area of calm blueness. But once in the dining room your eyes are drawn to the floral paintings with bold reds on the yellow walls creating an energy that would definitely lead to vibrant conversation over a meal and perhaps stimulate your appetite!
A long hallway is a great place for mixing many elements of art, such as size, varying frames, various mediums, and subjects as in the discipline of Feng Shui this is believed to assist in slowing down the rushing Chi energy and allowing it to linger a bit longer – just as viewers will relax and slow down to closely examine the art hanging in a hallway.
Another example of art placement that allows your eyes to move into a wall of art is this grouping that immediately grabs your attention with the large oil painting by artist, Elide Hower. Your eyes may then move upward because of the energy of the 3 works above with large areas of red. These three paintings also exhibit varied framing techniques and mediums; a floral watercolor by Jennine Swartz, a watercolor rooster by Sarah Drum and an abstract acrylic by Sten. Your eyes then move down to the Gail Walden Coleman green framed abstract acrylics which speak to the motion in Hower’s painting. The gold framed oil below by Susan Benigni Landis begins a conversation with the two teal framed oils by Linda Williard as these three painting create a harmony with the theme of water and coast line. And as your eyes reach the teal framed oils, your eyes may move back to the teal at the bottom of Hower’s oil, thus creating a clockwise circular viewing of the wall.
There are many suggestions given in this musing but always remember that because art is about inspiration and creative energy, the most important factor is what energizes and resonates with you. What do you love; what makes you feel lighthearted, grounded, or meditative; what colors and artistic styles speak to you the most? Do you want various rooms in your home to create various vibrations?
The staff of The Smith Gallery & Fine Custom Framing in New Cumberland are always available for a discussion surrounding art and art placement. Also, an in-home consultation may be arranged and scheduled by stopping by the gallery.
Love your art, love your home, and feel confident in expressing exactly who you are by always choosing art which resonates with you!