Art and the 4 Astrological Elements
What is good art? As I was having this discussion with a friend, I came across this blog post from Franklin Einspruch at ArtBlog.net – The Four Elements of Art.
In his article, Einspruch defines good art as “…a successful alignment of materials, technique, composition, and feeling. Materials, of course, are the matter of the world. Technique is the handling of those materials. Composition is the handling of the technique. Feeling is the capacity of sensation, emotion, and intuition that makes us human.”
When I read this explanation, I could not help but associate each of the elements described above with one of the 4 astrological elements.
1. Materials: Earth
2. Technique: Air
3. Composition: Fire
4. Feeling: Water
Later that day, I was cleaning my desk when I found the notes I had taken from a lecture given by Claudia Bader for the San Francisco Astrological Society in May of 2010, entitled Astrology, Art, and the Chart. The lecture centered on “The psyche speaks to us through art in line, form, color, images and archetypes; and these elements have astrological correlates.”
The article and the notes inspired me to write about the intersection of astrology and creativity. In previous posts, I showed how writers could use the 4 elements (Fire, Earth, Air, and Water) to develop and characters and plots.
Today I want to show in more depth the correlation between what Claudia Bader said in her lecture and Einspruch’s post.
Let’s start with the earth element and materials, followed in the next few days with the other subsequent pairings.
I would like to speculate that an artist with an emphasis of planets in earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn) in his chart would have a preference for using natural materials to express himself.
I would also think that his earthy quality would also be reflected in his technique, composition and the general feeling of his work.
Earth and Materials: Definitions
Materials are essential to art. No materials, no art. Materials can be broadly defined as anything used by the artist as a medium to produce a work of art (stone, metal, glass, wood, clay, paper, paint, fabric, ink, yarn, etc…)
In astrology, people with a predominance of the earth element can be described as practical, realistic, sensible, structured, useful, tangible, grounded, sensual, and tactile.
How would a preponderance of earth in an artist chart translate in terms of artwork? What would be his guiding spiritual and psychological principle? What types of shape, materials, or color would he choose?
Artwork and the Earth Element
An earthy artist would center his work on the world of experiences, order, and structure, everything that can be grasped and examined with the senses. The senses would play an important role, as he would use all 5 of them to show others the true nature of reality, to depict what is out there and give it concreteness and realism.
His artwork would be realistic with none of the speculations characteristic of the fire signs (Aries, Leo and Sagittarius), the unfounded theories so dear to Gemini, Libra and Aquarius or the dreams and illusions so favored by water signs (Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces).
The psychological motivation of the earth signs is to always hold the environment, to show consistency in shape and form. The artist with a strong earth emphasis would a keeper of tradition, of tried-and true methods – a genuine artisan – since earth signs value the past and the present far more than the future because of its lack of structure and predictability.
Solid, dense, and/or textural shapes would be favored to depict body, sex, nature, or food themes (Taurus), organized in discrete, specific images where the part is more important than the whole (Virgo). The overall work would be organized, planned, and structured in a careful way (Capricorn) to emphasize realistic themes related to nature, but also to allow the observer to respond to the materials in a sensual way.
The palette of colors would revolve around earth, dark tones, hues and shades (brown, golden, green, red, black and white).
From what I described, can you think of any artist whose choice of medium mirrors the qualities of earthy people? Think about whom is your favorite potter, glass blower, sculptor, jewelry maker, or craftsman in general. Leave the names here, so other readers can check them out.
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Photos Credits: Flickr Creative Commons