Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Emphasizing the Focal Point

If you can stop and identify what you want the focal point of your painting to be before you start to paint, there are there are at least three ways to emphasize that area.

First, size.  A large shape will obviously command more attention than lots of scattered shapes.  In the case of this painting of a lobster boat, I brought it closer to the viewer than it actually was.  If it were smaller, the water area would have increased, thereby diminishing the attention on the boat.

Second, color.  It was the bright yellow buoys and flags that caught my eye on site.  Emphasizing them required both contrast with more muted colors surrounding them, and the use of yellow's complement, violet. 

Third, elimination of background "noise".  On location, the rest of the harbor with its wharves, boats and buildings were all visible.  The temptation to be accurate and "truthful" is strong, but eliminating distracting objects is crucial to keep the viewer's eye from wandering away from your chosen focal point.

Naming the focal point prior to painting will aid you in deciding how to draw attention to it.

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