Variety is the counterweight to harmony, the other side of organization essential to unity. Although an artist might bring a work together with harmony, it is variety that imparts individuality, arousing the viewer’s curiosity and holding his or her attention. It creates visual contrast – a separation of elements and images. Like a good sheepdog that singles out one animal from the flock, the introduction of variety actively separates areas or images to make them more exciting and let them stand apart.
If an artist creates a work using a complete equality of visual forces, the work may feel static, lifeless, and unemotional. Visual boredom is a sign of an overly harmonious composition. By adding degrees of variation, the artist introduces essential ingredients ( such as diversion or change) for sustaining attention.
Visual interest, then, results directly from adding variety to the composition. Variety causes visual separation – a pulling apart of related elements or images, differentiating and disassociating the componenets. This separation is achieved through the use of contrast and elaboration.
As a teacher of 2-dimensional design, I emphasize the fact that Variety, as one of the unifying principals of design is important to the completion of a successfully designed image. If you go to my blogsite , then follow me on Pinterest you’ll find a board that is labelled , APPLES. I have a quote that , very early on I posted as a quote of the day, dealing with this idea. It goes something like this: Art is about making choices… take a simple subject like an apple. Is it red or green? shrivelled , bruised , fresh, is it the BIG APPLE or the apple that the witch gave Snow White? The quote goes on , but eventually points out that with each decision made about that apple you change the meaning of the art. I decided to use this ideas and collect images of apples and on my Pinterest page you’ll find numerous examples. Enjoy! And for your own amusement, pick a simple object and set to creating imagery using assorted media you may have, collage, pencil, paint, makeup, finger nail polish, anything and everything will work if you keep an open mind!