In third grade, my art teacher instructed us to never have too much white paper in our art. “Fill the white space!” Ah, Mrs. Raims. She was great. She gave sound art advice. If you have a small figure on a large canvas of white, it ought to be small for a reason. It ought to be making a statement.
Negative space, however, is not all bad.
“Negative space is, quite simply, the space that surrounds an object in a image. Just as important as that object itself, negative space helps to define the boundaries of positive space and brings balance to a composition.”
Jul 26, 2017 (Creativebloq)
The logo on the cup is for an adult-targeted alcohol and gourmet ice cream shop! (Creativebloq)
I embrace this philosophy of negative space. In a literal, every day sense, I love having lots of negative space in my house.
We are all so busy with life: our work, family, and hobbies. My job is very noisy. I’m a teacher in an elementary/middle school and the hallways are filled with children yelling and laughing from very early morning until late afternoon. My students and I have lively discussions and then there are meetings after school. My fellow teacher (and friend!) and I are also sponsoring the school talent show – another boisterous endeavor.
When I get home, my husband and I discuss our day, my kids practice violin and tell us about their day. It’s all good, but…it’s challenging – to say the least – to get some quiet time. And I LOVE, love, love quiet time.
In addition to walking my dog after work and walking in middle of the day, I have started mini-meditations. In mini-meditation, I focus on my breathing. This might last 60 seconds or three minutes. I also meditate for 8 minutes in the morning right after waking.
Eckhart Tolle suggests the mini-meditations throughout the day in order to incorporate it as part of your “real” life and not as a compartmentalized portion of one’s life.
It makes sense.
I’ve noticed that since I’ve started this practice of incorporating space into my day, I am experiencing spontanenous moments of peace within chaos. Where I used to feel anxious or stressed, I feel calm and centered.
On a document, we have margins or space to define boundaries between text and the edges of the paper. It’s aesthetically pleasing. It the words went to the edges of the paper, we’d find it a bit distracting and perhaps difficult to read.
Space devoid of things or noise or thoughts can bring joy, calm and purpose.
When you complain to me, if I take the space of time to process it before I respond, I’ll probably come up with something more equanimous than if I reacted immediately.
A room cluttered with things might bring a sense of anxiety or disgust.
If you clean it up and there is physical space to sit, lie down, and walk, it will be a more welcoming room.
When I meditate, I am focusing my attention on my breath. This allows me to not think any thoughts. The more I practice this, the easier it is for me to enter this state of space and calm. This is good. When something bad happens, I do not need to react. Also, when a good thing happens, there is no need to go crazy. “This, too, shall pass” means life is a rollercoaster and the secret to happiness is to not react to the crazy.