I plunged my shovel into the flowerbed as I planted a rosebush.  I was shocked, mortified and stunned motionless.  There in my shovel was the cute little head of a mole.  It was dead; it was motionless.  I’ve seen the little critters in action.  They move.  Movement means life.  The same is true in the arts.  Movement illustrates life.

The principle of visual movement applies to all art forms.  A static sculpture or building has no physical movement while it possesses the visual quality of implied movement.  For example, the prevailing style of domestic architecture of the 1950s was single-story, ranch-like structures.  Trends have moved upward as of late; homes are far more vertical.  Neither style actually moves, yet both styles have a sense of directional movement in their forms.  The ranch homes are lower to the ground and elicit a horizontal movement while the two-story and three-story homes project a more vertical sense of movement.   

Physical movement may be employed in some art forms, such as this mobile sculpture by Alexander Calder. 

Implied movement, which results from the artist’s use of composition, directs the observer’s eyes to travel about the canvas, sculpture or building.  The observer journeys through or around the work of art.  The artist’s composition influences the path of perception.


How one reads a picture is a culturally learned behavior.  The western world reads written material from left to right.  Likewise, Westerners read art the same way.  In Asian cultures the traditional reading path flows from the top of a page to the bottom.  The behavioral pattern carries over from reading words on a page to reading art in a frame.

Perhaps these differences stem from philosophical paradigms about life.  The western approach can be rather concrete - tied to a tangible and physical reality, whereas the Oriental approach to life and art has traditionally been more spiritual, depicting a state of being.  These differences appear in the artist’s use of space and movement.


In the two images above, (a traditional painting on the left and a contemporary mosaic on the right) the artists evoke an illusive, other-world approach to space.  The illustrations actually defy physical reality.  The intentional absence of gravity elevates the imagery to a spiritual realm, or to an imaginary place where weightlessness and endless space free the soul. 


This same flock of Asian birds presumably found their way to Rock Port, Massachusetts.  Oddly enough, an American artist painted the fowl with an American spin on space and movement.  Check it out!  Every bird has his feet firmly planted, with the full effect of gravity governing the entire scene.  The perspective keeps this image true to physical reality.  Do you see any possible hint of mystery about the western artist’s use of space?  No!  His depiction comes from western thought - visual reality based on observations and natural experiences.  It lacks the intrigue of a more spiritual reality.  


Movement is always directional, and every direction genders an specific impression.  

A horizontal composition feels stable.  Almost all of the subject matter rests in a reclining position.  The earth is flat, the stream is still, and the clouds drift horizontally - the perfect equation for peace and tranquility.  

The same composition abstracted nearly yields the same sense of repose.  The visual elements of color and shape add a little excitement to the overall composition.  

Flipping the canvas and adding a stylizing filter transforms the composition into a far more active visual statement.  Where are the calm and the peaceful feelings?  Our experience with gravity sets the precedent for how we read vertical lines, shapes, forms, and colors.

A predominantly vertical arrangement of visual elements tends to give a greater feeling of energy and movement.  Consider our choice of words used to define our state of mind; “Are you feeling up today, or are you down?  Maybe you are flying high.”  Our moods change directionally, and we naturally transfer these directional feelings to how we perceive art.   

Look at what happens when this image is turned horizontally.  The direction of its movement has changed, yet the visual activity, its energy has increased.  Why? The sharper contrast and color saturation fuel the activity of this image.  Increasing the black and obliterating the gaps between the tree trunks simplified the image by eliminating details.  It’s easier to read.  

By understanding the gamut of what influences perception, the graphic artist anticipates how his audience will read his work.  He becomes skilled at visually articulating his message.  Horizontal compositions are generally less active, but let’s analyze the above image.  

The obvious movement bolts from the left to the right, and feels faster than the movement in the vertical composition.  Gravity plays a huge role in this image.  The heavy black at the bottom is a base.  This is settling, while the black at the top is unsettling.  It hangs overhead.  It’s an impending disaster.  The upper black is about to fall.  We know this because several branches are already drooping.  The viewer feels the force of what gravity will do.  What will happen to the viewer?  He has two choices: He will either stop looking at the image, turn and run, or he’ll make a dash to leap over the black in the foreground and jump into the sweet safety of the distant blue.  

Although Chyenne moves to the right, her hair flows to the left.

Diagonal movement creates the greatest sense of activity and excitement.  Experience and reason tell us that when we lie down on the floor, we can’t fall.  That’s makes sense.  When we stand up, we are ready for action, and our chances of falling increase.  When we run our bodies are in a diagonal position, and the likelihood of falling increases greatly.  Our kinesthetic experiences program how we process visual information.  

This streaked photo of city signs, taken from inside a moving city bus, captures the city vibe.  The bustle of pedestrians and wafting music from the store-lined street can almost be heard.  Everything that is not visual about this photo is alive to only one person - the photographer.  He’s immersed by baptism in the city.  He’s drenched!  His photo conjures sounds and smells that only he remembers.  He drank of the city cup.  It’s all over him, in him and flows from him in his graphics!  (Likewise, may we experience baptism and drink the cup of Jesus Christ!)

How different is your experience of this photo?  
Embrace two points here:  
1.  The artist’s firsthand experience cannot be fully appreciated by all of his viewers.
2.   Although a viewer has not experienced a deluge of city life, he still relates to the diagonal movement in the photo.  The imagery offers every viewer this common factor. 

The subtle abstraction of the dancers offers a more readable subject matter than streaking city lights.  One can easily connect with the content.  The image prods our brains into making sense of what our eyes behold.  

Perhaps cognition deprives the view of processing raw visual data as a newborn, with a clean cranial database.  How would these photos impress you if the subjects were totally foreign to you? Good question!

Recognizable subject matter takes on a lively sense of movement in diagonal positions.  

Unnerving, fascinating, defiant, hi-tech, playful, and curious!    The principle of diagonal movement in three dimensions erupts in this Beijing architecture.  This structure dominates the landscape, and everyone within the range of its spell.  


Crosswalks and traffic signals keep vehicles and pedestrians from colliding.  Generally speaking, this is a good thing.  It’s safe.  However, safe and boring can be synonymous in the graphic world.  Visual collisions make a composition exciting.  With slight-of-hand and a slow shutter speed, photo magic redefines this vertical composition of students and lockers.  It hypes the energy with diagonal overlays; it creates intersections without traffic signals.

The moving components of this painting have a mutual respect for one another.  They don’t get in the way of each other; they don’t collide.  The subjects actually embrace their pictorial neighbors.  The gate is nestled by the stone walls.  The vegetation caresses the architectural structures.  The element of movement is more of a buzz or humming vibrations generated by the fellowship between the parts of this Cotswold landscape.  The puzzle pieces fit well together, but they don’t sit still.  


This bungee jumper bolts through space like an human rocket.  The slow shutter and poor lighting translate the experience into a morphed image of someone suspended in time travel.  

Can you identify the variety of movements in this work?  We see the evidence of air currents in the clouds and the water.   The movement of light and its reflections add a new dimension of movement to the experience.  What is the message of this imagery?  Would a few words help enlighten us, or is the message best left to personal interpretation?  

Overlapping translucent movement, with the help of words, elevates this image to a spiritual realm.  Experience the movement in this image: In-your-face type is horizontal and stable.  The two girls lying diagonally are crisscrossed with dotted streaks of light.  The use of visual movement helps communicate the idea that spiritual movement is needed.  


Everything is moving.  Earth circles the sun; one day follows another leaving nothing as it was.  We are changing - aging - moving farther away from our youthfulness.  Movement is God’s idea.  It may be one of His greatest concepts.  He loves it.  Why?  

Scan the whole of Scripture and discover that God’s love compels Him to move His people forward.  Israel traveled down to Egypt, through the wilderness, into Canaan, into exile and back again.  The early church was moved by the Holy Spirit from Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the world.  His moving still moves us!  

God’s greatest movement is that which moves an individual to love Him entirely.  This is the movement of life, two becoming one as Jesus and the Father were one.  Jesus prayed that we would experience this oneness (Jn.17), that He will move in with us and live inside of our minds and hearts.  That’s salvation and then spiritual growth!  When two people love each other, they live together. 

Jesus stands at the door and knocks; you answer.  Yet, there’s so much more to salvation than an introduction to Jesus - there’s the possibility for perpetual spiritual movement and growth.    


We shouldn’t be like Israel in the wilderness.  They rejected God’s invitation to come higher, to ascend Mt. Sinai and experience Him.  This elementary drawing illustrates the possibility of spiritual, upward movement.  The multitude camped at the base of the mountain, but Moses ascended.  Was he crazy?  The mountain was ablaze.  It was smoking; it quaked!  Perhaps Moses recognized that nothing in life would satisfy him more than a friendship with God Almighty.  Amen!  Is this your core desire?

Like Moses, we are invited to move forward in our relationship with the Lord; we’re invited to ascend a mountaintop relationships with our Lord.  We are actually invited to live in His presence. But you absolutely don’t have to.  It’s possible to camp out anywhere along the journey.  Are you a camper or a climber?  Great question! 

Please note: Every single one of the Israelites who reject God’s forward movement, every one of them who God saved out of Egypt, every one of them who were saved through the Red Sea, every one of them who were fed with manna from Heaven, would DIE IN THE WILDERNESS.  Why?  They rejected this one essential principle of spiritual movement.  

In the New Testament, everything Jesus said pertained to us moving closer to Him - developing an maturing relationship.  Everyone who is moved by Him becomes like Him.  Such Christians yield as living sacrifices, and leave their old sinful nature at the mountain base, and take on His new nature while ascending.  The closer we move toward the Lord the more we become like Him (Jam. 4:8, Rom. 6:4).

This is a process by which His Bride is perfected.  He’s inviting us to come higher, live closer, and be one with Him.  Who will follow His leading?  Many are called, yet few are chosen.  Why?  The answer: Few love Him enough to follow His lifestyle of sacrificial living. 


How could God, the Artist, tolerate imperfection in His ultimate work of art: mankind?  The canvas of our lives is marred with sin like bad inner city graffiti.  Does God sit back and tolerate this?  Did He simply send Jesus to forgive us, and hand out free tickets to heaven?  

Perhaps God the Artist, having sent the Word, continues sending his living Word through the Holy Spirit.  I think this is true.  After all, we live by every word that comes from His mouth (Mt. 4:4).  This word of faith comes by hearing Him (Rom. 10:1).  The word is like the Artist’s paints.  He’s painting a portrait of His Bride on the canvas of our lives.  His workmanship emerges as a masterpiece.  His perfecting process in our lives makes us more like Him, a more radiant and spotless Bride.  She is washed with the water of the word (Eph. 5:26-28).  She lives in spiritual movement with Him.  Where He leads she follows.  The Bride and Groom complete one another.  Becoming His Bride is the ultimate creative process.


2Tim. 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”  
These verse list exactly how the washing of the word prepares the Bride.  It reproves her, corrects her, instructs her in ways to become inwardly righteous.  This is God’s ongoing creative work in her life.
Heb. 6:1 “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.”
Some truths are foundational.  Once these are laid, God builds upon them to create His perfect home in the Bride of Christ.   
Mat. 19:21 “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me.”
This verse illustrates that Jesus gave a specific word to move this man in a new direction.  Jesus allowed him to choose spiritual perfection or earthly wealth.    
Mat. 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
Was Jesus joking?  Not at all.  When we are born again, we begin to resemble our Heavenly Father, having inherited His spiritual DNA.  The first Adam moved us into sin, and the Last Adam moves us away from sin.  As many as are moved by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Rom. 8:14). 
Mat. 16:24-25 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
How do we maintain our spiritual movement?  Jesus reminds us that everyone has a proverbial cross, an instrument of death to encounter.  The 1st Century cross was a hideous tool of execution.  Through the victory of Jesus Christ, the cross has become a Christian experience of great deliverance from daily influences of death.  Jesus tells us to follow Him by taking up this cross.

Remember, there are campers and climbers.  The Israelite campers became complainers and died in the wilderness.  Be a climber, be the Bride!


Create a poster.  Use the example above to inspire your thoughts.  Your poster design will integrate the following concepts from this chapter:
 An oriental concept of space and movement - defy gravity
 Multi-directional overlapping movement of visual elements
 Words (large or small) that communicate a message of spiritual movement


Click this image to view a Bible Verse Video and challenge guide.


-	Visual movement illustrates life.
-	The principle of movement applies in all of the arts.
-	Movement is both physical and visual.
-	Movement is directional. 
-	The artist’s arrangement of lines, shapes, form, textures and colors directs the viewer’s eyes about the work of art.
-	How we read a work of art is culturally determined
-	The oriental mode of illustration tends to use space and movement in a more spiritual way.
-	The western world tends to use perspective to illustrate concrete reality.
-	Horizontal compositions are usually more stable feeling.
-	Vertical compositions tend to have a more energetic movement about them. 
-	Our lifelong experience with gravity influences how we read visual subject matter.
-	Diagonal compositions create the greatest sense of movement and power.
-	Every photographer brings his photo-shoot experience with him when he views his photo.
-	The use of visual movement in graphics can illustrate the principle of spiritual movement.
-	God’s greatest movement happens when He move on our hearts to be one with Him.
-	 The Lord would love to live with us by inviting Him to move with us, in our hearts. 
-	 The children of Israel were campers more than they were climbers.  
-	People who do not move on with God often die in the wilderness.
Jesus came to offer a maturing relationship with Him.  He did not come to earth to merely handout free tickets to heaven. 








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