There are two great disciplines in art that stand opposite one another.
And you can throw the concept at business or any other endeavor you choose. It sticks. And rather than being a master of one or the other, having a balance between them is what’s truly awe inspiring.
Walking past a gallery, I saw a print in the window. It was a painting by Italian artist Pino called First Glance. It stopped me cold. I always like it when that happens.
The Two Great Disciplines
Maybe we should call them gifts. But regardless, they stand opposite each other and most works of art lean towards one or the other. Most artists do one better than the other …
Detail, exactness, realism. Precision is all about space. And capturing that space in perfect detail with line and color. If you’ve ever drawn something and had someone look at it dog-eared and ask “What is it?”, you missed the precision of capturing the space.
At it’s best and most extreme, a precise representation is easily recognized. It’s also dead and dormant.
This is harder to pin down. But the easiest way to understand it is as motion. Time. While a very detailed painting captures a single moment in time with no measureable value, a painting full of life captures a moment and a bit. It takes you there.
Hold your hand out rock-steady. Watch it for a few seconds. It barely moves, but move it does. That’s life.
Just like with precision, life has it’s flaws. By itself it’s a blur. There’s nothing recognizeable in it.
Balancing Space And Time
The balance of these two elements is what makes some of the greatest pieces of art in history what they are. It’s something that artists, maybe unknowingly, strive to achieve. Some do.
You might have heard the phrase “It ain’t no David“. It means something is less than perfect. Which means it’s out of balance.
In everything we do, there are compromises. There’s a balance in business between quality and efficiency. There’s a balance for athletes between strength and stamina. There’s a balance between work and play. Between free abandon and a common good.
These compromises are not compromises at all. They’re balance.
And to really get things done, to be the best at what you do, there has to be balance.