Principals Of Movement In Art

by bryantjaquez on January 1, 2013

Movement in art is a concept in art related to design. Here is a free version of the elements of art class we offer in the AAO store.
explaining movement in art, how to use it and how to understand its role in an artists tool set

Photo by landscape photographer: Eric Leslie.

 

What Is Movement In Art?

how to use movement in art

Artists will rely on many tools to establish the story as well as the ‘flow’ of the composition from one area to another. They use a visual sense of motion through the work to create this movement.

The artist can use different elementso move the eye along: How and where the artists places the elements and what tools and techniques he uses to move the eye from one area to the other will determine how we prioritize what the viewer looks at. Large objects placed far apart will cause the eye to bounce from one to the other. The artist can use other elements to create a trail, a pathway or serve as a bridge from one to the other and this help to create a sense of flow and order to the design.

Moving The Eye Through The Painting

how to move eyes through a painting Artists control the movement of the viewers eye by how they position the objects and elements in a composition. By framing the main subject with other elements can cause the eye to stay focused on the main subject. In the image above the eye focuses on the single bloom of the water lily. There, the contrast of interest, contrast of color and shape as well as texture create the main focal area. The lily pads that are positioned in a circle around the ‘star’ of the show, help to keep the eye focused in that area of the composition. Similarly, the ripples in the water around this duck help to frame the subject and restrict the viewers eye moving away from the duck. A simple trick that can be used in a very effective manner.

this bridge draws your eye through the paintingCan you see it? When you look at other paintings or photographs, try to find how the artist created the movement through the painting. In the example below, how do you enter the painting and where does the path take you to?

The artist will often use a combination of several ‘formal’ elements of art to move the viewers eye around and into the composition. For example, in the image above, the eye moves from the head to the book and back to the head . What makes us view the painting in this way? What are the tricks that the artist uses?

As shown in the example above, one can see that the artist has applied several elements of art to direct the viewers eye from the head of the old man and back to the book. We see where he has used light, color, texture and line to draw the eye downward from the head. The eye follows either of the arms and is pulled downward towards the open pages of the book. The eye moves along the pages of the book, back and forth horizontally and then follows the arms back up towards the head once again to complete the journey. This is movement through the painting.

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Harmony In Art

by bryantjaquez on December 31, 2012

How often do you find yourself saying, “I wish I knew how to advance my artistic knowledge?” Here is the internet’s most expertly crafted explanation of harmony in art.

What is harmony in art

What Is Harmony In Art?

this is a picture of a house that depicts harmony in art with color and composition.Cezanne stated, “When paintings are done right, harmony appears by itself. The more numerous and varied they are, the more the effect is obtained and agreeable to the eye”.

When we hear the word harmony, we may think about music and a particular song sung by a harmonious voice. This harmonic sound is pleasing to the ear and we can enjoy the feeling that it gives us. This is a pleasing arrangement of the elements or parts of the whole. All the notes and the pitch seem to work together to create a pleasing order. Harmony in Art is the same. In the painting on the left, the Dutch Master, Johannes Vermeer was a master at creating a harmonious blend of all the elements within a painting.

this basket of flowers is an example of harmony in painting Artists also create harmony in art. An artist uses color in much the same manner as music uses harmony. We can create harmony with color to help us build a particular relationship between the colors on the palette. When colors are harmonized the relationship that is established allows the colors to work together. By sharing something in common, they blend together creating harmony.  This painting by, Balthasar van der Ast shows total harmony in all areas.

When All The Elements Of Art Work Together, The Result Is Harmony In Art.

everything works together to create harmonyBoth during and after the painting session the artist can re-visit all aspects of balance, texture, space, form, color, line, and movement, to judge if they have a pleasing composition.
This check list will eventually become second nature to the artist but will be well worth the effort if learned and understood for their meanings and practical applications.Paul Cezanne was correct when he said that harmony occurs when the artist has established important working relationships between all the elements of art and design. Sometimes one may feel uneasy about a painting, not realizing what is missing or what is perhaps wrong. The answer is usually in the design aspects of the composition or the way the color management is handled and is not harmonious or pleasing to the artist’s eye. To correct this the artist can go through their check-list. ‘Balance, texture, space, form, color, line, and movement”.

harmony in color

 


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Why Create Harmony In Art?

Harmonize your colors with a complement…

There are several ways to create harmony in art with color, using a common ‘toner’ is very popular. However which ‘toner’ the artist chooses is a personal decision. Using the complement of a color will generally retain the original hue, and an unwanted hue shifting can be avoided.For example, if it is important for the rose and the leaves in a painting to remain fresh rather than become dull and muddy, special consideration to the ‘toner’ must be given. The choice of toner, in this case the complement, allowed the color to stay true yet remain soft and quiet.

this basket of flowers is an example of harmony in paintingHarmony can create boredom if there is not enough contrast between the compositional elements or colors to stimulate the viewer’s interest. The artist can over- harmonize, that is, all the colors in the painting appear flat or uninteresting. Imagine a dull grey day, the same thing can happen to a palette of colors if they are too dull and lifeless.

However, sometimes the simple beauty of a monotone composition can offer interest through texture or line.

 

is harmony in art boringA simple reflection can offer great pleasure. Artists learn that everything to do with art is personal and relative to what the artist’s statement is. Creativity comes into play, when the artist is able to visualize a simple composition as a more complex one. The viewer either makes a connection with the composition or not, and at times the connection may be different from the original intention. What else could you add to this simple birdbath to make it more interesting? What about a ripple?

 

 

harmony creates order in an art pieceWhen all the elements work in harmony, we get a feeling that there is order to the composition. In the image at left, the analogous colors work in harmony creating a unified image. But there is another component that can create harmony. Could it be line? The strong vertical lines of the vines create harmony with and against the line of the horizon. Again contrast is created between the horizontal and the vertical. This equals balance. Which in turn leads to harmony.

 

 

harmony creates vertical and horizontal unity in art The colors of this image relate to each other. The cool tones, teamed with the mist coming off the river create a ‘moody’ composition.

The lines of the bridge; the arches, the diagonals and strong verticals balance the horizontal planes creating a unified and balanced composition.

 

harmony creates moods like cheerful in artWhat could match the happy and summery mood of this image? Strong color contrasts create high energy and breathe life into a simple composition of oranges and leaves. The viewer can feel the warmth of sunshine!

When color creates mood: 

 

 

 

Artists who wish to follow the traditional concepts of art, will learn to interpret the ‘rules’ and utilize them to suit our own artistic needs in the traditional sense. Imagine listening to a very bad selection of music where your brain is bombarded by what you perceive as noise? The same applies to harmony in art as it does to harmony in music. For the artist, the degree of harmony is a personal decision or choice and each viewer will reacts in a different way to any individual composition.


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What Is The Connection Between Harmony in Art And Color?

The colors of this brightly colored flower below are in harmony with each other. Mother Nature knows what she’s doing.

All the colors that make up this particular flower all share one common hue, yellow.

The colors range from yellow to red orange which is part of an analogous color relationship on the artist’s color wheel.

 

how to select color relationships between harmonious colorsRhythm and balance: In this garden scene, the fence, with its repetitive vertical lines provides rhythmic order and predictability to the composition. The rose bushes that grow at the base of the fence are masses of texture with complementary color, greens with splashes of pinks dominate the scene.

Tertiary Harmony

Color schemes are used by the artist to create color relationships that are harmonious or share common relationships. These ‘color’ schemes are pre-determined groups of colors that either sit side by side on the color wheel or are opposite to each other or equally spaced from each other. Each scheme is a simple recipe that the artist can use to help them create harmony. Interior Designers, colorists, and web site designers etc. all rely on color schemes to work with. These are the tried and true recipes for successful color relationships.

an example of Harmony and landscape A pleasing composition gives the viewer an opportunity to view another world.

The mood is conveyed and the atmosphere is established through the play of color. The artist has been able to offer the senses a pleasurable experience when colors work together in harmony.

Harmony and Atmospheric Perspective in Landscapes
Nature has its own way to establish color relationships and harmony, it does so with light and atmosphere. Because these colors appear to be reduced in intensity, the artist when painting for this effect, would have to do something to the colors on the palette to make them work in a harmonious way.

If the artist was to paint this particular scene, they may choose to tone their palette with one of the earth pigments which is a tertiary color or with gray (black and white). The choice may be either or both.


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Harmonize With A Common “Toner” In Decorative Painting:

Creating harmony for pleasure – creating pleasing compositions…

You may ask why and how does the artist need to create harmony? There are several reasons for using this as an artistic design tool. First, it is used as a way for the artist to control the visual experience. To give pleasure to the viewer.

Harmony can be used to say and do many things. It can be used to create a unified and quiet composition or as a way to be bold. It can be used in such a way that it is interesting, or jarring. It can be used to stimulate and provoke.

But it is mostly used to create pleasure at some level and to speak to our appreciation of color, light and texture, line, movement, balance, etc.

In this painting, the artist first used a warm under-painting to establish basic harmony between the layers. Then in the developmental stage of the design, she uses a common ‘toner’.

This was the compliment of the orange hue which was the dominant pigment used for the rose. This allows the leaves to remain on the cooler side of the green spectrum which contrasts beautifully with the warmth of the large rose.


Still Want To Learn More About Harmony In Art?.

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Rhythm in Art

by bryantjaquez on December 12, 2012

How often do you find yourself saying, “I wish I knew how to advance my artistic knowledge?” Here is the internet’s most expertly crafted explanation of rhythm in art.

What is rhythm in art

What Is Rhythm In Art?

The concept of rhythm in art represents the easy movement of the viewer’s eyes following a regular arrangement or reproduction of elements in the art work. There are several ways to move the eye through a painting. The artist needs to do this so the viewer will appreciate the mood of the painting as a whole and while doing so they can stimulate the viewer in a certain emotional way.
The predictability of the rhythm in art, or the tempo can also be achieved by how the elements are placed within the composition. If elements are placed in a predictable manner they form a pattern. This pattern resembles a musical movement or fluid and flowing appreciation of the artwork. This pattern denotes order, the sequence of the order is what creates the ‘tempo’ of the rhythm. This photo exemplifies elements placed in a predictable arrangement to create a tempo or a beat.
how does movement and rhythm in artThe image of the roots of an old tree below shows how the eye will follow the fluid movement of the patterns that are formed. The power of the repeated pattern carries the eye to another area of the photograph. The rhythm of  the lines helps strengthen the movement and flow.
carries the eye as the eye follows the rhythmic flowObserve how the stroke border on the edge of the bowl of the design below also carries the eye as the eye follows the rhythmic flow, moving the eye from left to right in a particular direction.
lines in art allow your eye to move rhythmically through a paintingThis linear pattern creates rhythm, observe how the eye will be pulled from left to right horizontally, that is the movement of the eyes back and forth across the image or the eye can jump from one of the horizontal lines to the next, like running up a steep flight of stairs. Which movement of the eye has the most powerful pull or effect?
leaves example of rhythm in artBy contrast, observe how the outline of each of the leaf shapes in the photograph on the right form a repetitive pattern. This causes the eye to keep moving without rest. If this was a musical tempo it would be fast paced! Try to establish a co-relationship between this style of pattern on the left and a busy wallpaper design.

 


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Explaining Rhythm In Traditional Strokework

Rhythm in strokework. Rhythm in strokework creates a fluid movement around the border of this decorative bowl. The rhythmic movements of brush strokes flow in an undulating pattern, each stroke leading the way to the next. The strokes are positioned in a predictable manner and they causes the eye to flow and move in a particular way and at a particular speed.This antique bowl that is on display at the Getty Museum in California (period unknown), features intricate handwork on the rim of the bowl. The design on the bowl displays and describes the rhythmic movement of all the design elements. As we observe the ‘tempo’ of the border, we can see how the eye is stopped by the punctuation of larger elements between the fluid strokework.

The center motif, which is the sailing ship in the middle of the design is surrounded by the less formal border that is around it. On close observation, one can see and feel the effects of radial symmetry on the order of the pattern and the predictable rhythm that it describes.

Questions to ask yourself about rhythm?
1. Does Rhythm create predictability and order in a composition?
2. Does Rhythm regulate the movement of the eyes as they go from one interesting area to another creating a natural tempo or beat?
3. Does Rhythm is how create an organized movement of the eye?
4. Does Rhythm assist in creating mood for the artist’s composition?
5. Is Rhythm important?


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Explaining Rhythm In Gardenscapes, and Landscapes:

rhythm in flowers and gardensWhen painting garden scapes or garden themes its important to recognize what principles of art might come into play. It is not enough to just like a scene and paint it. If we, as artists and teachers are to become creative designers we have to return to the rules. Through careful observation the artist can learn how to utilize the principles of design and adjust them to suit specific needs. Rhythm is a strong component of the overall ‘mood’ of the painting as it can suggest the ‘tempo’ or beat of the painting.In the photograph, the lily’s are dynamic, yet there seems to be a great deal of visual discord in the composition. Take a close look and ask yourself why? There is no rhythmic tempo, no organization of lines of movement and as a result there seems to be an element of chaos. Look closely and you will also notice that the lines of many elements appear to be pointing to the lower right corner of the image. Where do these lines lead to? If you were painting this group of flowers, how could you improve on the composition? Try placing a finger over the right side of the image and see if there is any improvement. can you now see that by cropping the composition, this immediately improves the grouping.

landscape rhythmRhythm and balance: In this garden scene, the fence, with its repetitive vertical lines provides rhythmic order and predictability to the composition. The rose bushes that grow at the base of the fence are masses of texture with complementary color, greens with splashes of pinks dominate the scene.
Rhythm and contrast: Strong horizontal rhythm created by the old weathered boards of the building, the blue bench, the door and the window of the garden shed offer a charming backdrop for the flowers. In ‘contrast’, the flowers are very textural and offer a different ‘tempo’ to the lazy eye movement of the wooden shed. The mix of the two rhythms create greater balance for a harmonious garden composition. If painting from this photograph, the artist may change the shape of the flowers, and direct them to flow over the top of the blue bench. Can you magine what that would look like?
Rhythm and spacing: The vertical lines of the fence provide a strong base for the flowering climbing rose. However, if this photograph was to be used for reference material, the rose vine should continue along the fence. The composition is too heavy on the right side. In the middle of the composition is a division through the center, with too much weight on the right.
Stay a while… or not: Compared to the image above, this garden setting is different. We view the bench from behind but it does invite the viewer to stay. The bench is surrounded by roses. One almost gets the feeling that they could be held captive by the rose bushes. Certainly inviting to ‘stay a while’. The bench, with no texture, does offer horizontal lines that are restful.
Please stay awhile, or longer? Compared to the image above, this garden setting is different. We view the bench from behind but it does invite the viewer to stay. The bench is surrounded by roses. One almost gets the feeling that they could be held captive by the rose bushes. Certainly inviting to ‘stay a while’. The bench, with no texture, does offer horizontal lines that are restful.
The balance between the straight movement and a fast ‘tempo’ is slowed by the huge tree at the end of the path. Take note of the large branches of the trees, they burst forth in a crescendo, like fireworks in the sky. The linear line of the hedge is balanced by the curved diagonals of the tree.

Guaranteed Everything You Need To Know About Rhythm, Written In A Way That Is Easy To Understand With Real-Life Examples.

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Painting Leaves – What To Look For

by Neadeen Masters on November 24, 2012

When Painting Leaves what do artists look for?

Leaves are the accessories of the flowers and fruit that we artists love to paint. They usually play a supporting role with in any floral composition and provide us with opportunities to repeat and carry color for harmony and contrast. In any painting they frame the flowers or fruit and create color balance, create interest and add amazing detail. Note the way that the leaves in this fruit composition below, radiate out from the main stem, the artist and Mother Nature sure knows how to create!

Painting Leaves - What to Look For? - Art Apprentice Online

Look for Shape and Details when Painting Leaves

When we study leaves, it is important to look at their shape, details, edges, and color. Study their veins too… as the vein pattern on the front and the back of the leaf are very interesting to observe. Note the way the veins grow in relation to the outer edge and type of leaf.
Leaves come in all shapes and sizes, as a result the vein patterns and details will often be different on each leaf. Compare different types of leaves to see the variety of edges and details. Observe how they are attached to the stem.

Painting Leaves - Look for Shape and Details in Leaves - Art Apprentice Online

 

 

 

It was once said, that leaves are only green petals. The same basic principles of good art theory also applies to painting leaves. The artist will handle the flower petals in the same way as they paint the leaves. Relative to form, leaves are ‘cylinder-like’ shapes of turning, twisting, receding and advancing forms. All of which are described with shifting ranges of value, intensity, and temperature. The individual characteristics of each kind of leaf will also be taken into consideration.

Here’s an Important  Tip when Painting Leaves

In order to create depth and dimension in your painting, flowers and leaves positioned in the background of the painting should fade into the background. To do so the artist should understand the concept of lost and found edges and can paint them with softer edges. Some important flowers and leaves will come forward into the focal area, these will often have greater detail and more found or hard edges. The elements in the focal area should have crisper and sharper edges than the rest of the composition. Its all about contrasts between groupings, and leaves and flowers are no different from each other. As previously mentioned… leaves are just green petals. That is so very true.

Painting Leaves - Painting Pattern - Art Apprentice Online - Sharon Hamilton Painting Leaves – Painting Pattern – Art Apprentice Online – Sharon Hamilton

E-Book – Introduction to Painting Leaves with Sharon Hamilton. 

This short booklet is an in-depth study on the importance of how leaves impact a composition.  Sharon covers leaf structure including the many serration characteristics of leaves, vein development and how to work with turned edges.   There are a multitude of photos and illustrations throughout the text.  The artist uncovers some of the secrets to painting your own beautiful leaves.

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Focal Area – Use It to Enhance Movement

by Neadeen Masters on November 24, 2012

Creating Movement, starting with the Focal Area – Design Concept

Not all art forms rely on creating a ‘stand alone’ focal area. In the Russian Zhostovo style of decorative painting, successful designs use the focal area to create movement and flow. This Zhostovo artist draws the viewers eye from one area to another through the use of color, value and line. Sometimes artists will establish a main center of interest by using elements that are different from every other element, for example the two white birds in the painting below.  In the tray painting below, the Russian Master artist also used repetition of color together with the design principle of line to move the eye around the composition.

Creating A Focal Area using the principles of Design - Line
Slava Letkov, Russian Master Zhostovo Art work, Private Collection – 2007

Center of interest or Focal Area enhanced with the Principles of Design – Line 

On closer viewing, observe how the eye moves from one area to another, follow the shape of the bird’s wing…creating subtle movement pointing to the next flower, then onto the next area. The viewer is looking to see what shapes will pull them from one place to the next. The natural arch or profile of the flowers, the direction that they point towards all work together to establish movement.  This allows the viewer to observe and appreciate the whole painting as one travels around. All good designers will consider the concept of line (Principles of Design) to create a pathway through the composition.

How Does Your Focal Area help to Move the Viewer’s Eye?
In summary, the focal area of a painting can be used in many important ways. Yes certainly, it can be used as the star of the show. But it can also serve to be the starting point for inviting the viewer to take a journey through the rest of the composition. In this example, let’s think of the focal area as the welcoming host or hostess of a big party…they present a way for the viewer to enter the painting (party), greet the hosts and then be free to visit and greet the other guests at the party. Imagine if we get stuck interacting with the host or hostess with no way to move on? That would not suggest a successful party or painting. I always like to use analogies to explain these concepts, as sometimes we get lost in the technical jargon and miss the point of the exercise.
So remember this as you plan your next composition…who is the star of the show or the host at the party, and do they provide a way or point for you to meet and greet the other guests?

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Focal Area:Raindrops On Roses!

by Neadeen Masters on November 24, 2012

What details can we add to help us create the best ‘focal Area’ in a floral composition?

As we learn how to paint flowers we also learn more about making them stand out in dramatic floral paintings, we also learn that water drops or dew drops can add sparkle and interest like none other! These little transparent gems will catch the light and twinkle like precious jewelry on a ladies delicate hand! Painting perfect water drops on a rose flower or on any flowers or leaves will take a little practise. There is a specific way to paint realistic dew drops so they don’t look out of place. The painting techniques used to create water drops are simple, and there are a few steps to learn to give them realistic form and bring them to life! Your painted roses will look like they were freshly picked from the garden.

Realistic water drops add realism to the Focal Area of A Flower Painting

  • When painting water drops, consider where you place them. It is important to consider the contour of the flower petals. That is…the ‘bend’ or ‘fold’ of the flower petal as it curls to create the flower head.
  • Pay close attention to the values and shadows on the rose flower petals.
  • Water droplets and dew drops are the jewelry of the garden! They add the glitz and sparkle to the focal areas and can attract a lot of attention!!
  • Place them carefully and realistically. But remember not to overdo them – the rule less is more applies!

Painting Waterdrops - Focal Area - Art Apprentice OnlinePainting the jewelry of the garden – ‘water drops’  – Attract Attention in your focal area with Sparkle!

Here are seven tips when painting water drops in the focal area of your flower paintings or rose bouquet

  • Remember that a water drop is like glass – it’s transparent and light passes through it.
  • Where is the direction of the light source coming from – in the photo above the light enters from the right, and exits where we see the lightest values.
  • Where are the highlights?
  • What color is the water drop? – It is the same color as the surface it sits on.
  • What about the intensity of the color of the water drop?
  • Water drops also have ‘sit down’ shadows.
  • Look for the shadow under the edges of the droplet.

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Focal Area: Composition: Painting Flowers

by Neadeen Masters on November 24, 2012

Creating the Focal Area in a Flower Painting

There are many things to think about when painting flowers in a composition. One of the decisions we need to make is how will be portray the flowers we have chosen and what ways can we add interest to the ‘Focal Area’ to make it stand out from the rest of the flowers in the bouquet…That is, relative to the elements of art, and the principles of design, how can we place emphasis in a certain area? Here are just a few ideas to consider if you were painting a more ‘formal’ flower painting or floral bouquet.  You can select the largest flowers within the design, or perhaps the heaviest area of the floral composition or even look for the flowers that seem to embrace or face the light source. The latter always works well.

Artists who are interested in painting flowers need to learn how to stage their floral compositions so there is always a star among the players. Once you have settled on a focal area you may also wish to add some additional details to the area to really make it stand out and be different from the rest of the flowers. This is called creating emphasis, which is a design principle.  Consider the following:

  • try to mix textures of the flower petals
  • look for detail markings or visual patterning on petals and leaves
  • overall flower color
  • study the color of the flower’s details

Complex Flowers can offer great Interest for a Focal Area 

Build your Focal Area with Drama! Create Emphasis!

Within the main ‘focal area’ of a floral design artists may want to add some of the following additions for extra drama and to help support the area with the greatest design emphasis. These additions can help the flower painter tell a story and describe the composition with greater finesse. Each of these features can become supporting cast members for the main star (flowers) of the show…Remember the painting is a stage and the flowers are the payers. Who is going to be the star and how will they be dressed in the center of interest?

  • Water drops and clusters of water drops add sparkle and detail.
  • Intensity – Increase the intensity of the elements in this area, remember that they receive the most amount of light.
  • Details – add more details such as veins in leaves, veins on rose petals.
  • Leaf-tears – and rolled edges, dried edges etc.
  • Bugs, butterflies, caterpillars, dragon flies, bees, and insects, etc.
  • Bug Bites – and other details on leaves such as texture, shines etc.
  • Texture – look for the different textures between the flowers and the leaves.
  • Pay close attention to the differences between types of flowers. In the examples below, one can see the common colors, but can you see how different the shapes of the petals are and the overall shape of the flower head?

Look at the complexity of the Flower Heads – Are they interesting? 

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Focal Area or Center of Interest in a Painting: Composition

by Neadeen Masters on November 24, 2012

What is this focal area all about?
When it comes to composition in art, there is no difference between a Focal Point and a Focal Area, or the ‘Center of Interest’. This pretty much refers to the same place in a composition. It is not mandatory in order to have a successful painting however most artists will agree there should be one area of a painting that is outstanding, relative to the rest.  This area is the ‘Focal Area’ or also described as the ‘Center of Interest Area’.  The Focal Area acts as a guide to pull the viewer into a painting.  In conjunction with using proper values, light, color and temperature, as well as contrast, interest and drama if possible, each element will lead you from the focal area through the rest of the painting.  It’s all about telling the story of the painting and suggesting who the main character of the story is.

George Inness: Focal Area: Composition in Art

Look for the focal area that first gets your attention. What do you think it is?

Where is this focal area located? The artist establishes an area in a composition where the viewer’s eye will be first drawn into because of interest, vibrant color, contrasting values and differences, textures, etc. In the photograph above, the artist George Inness used the golden tree and the sunlit area behind and around it to attract and hold the attention from everything else in the painting.

How do I Start to decide where the focal area should be? Not all areas of a design are best for the Focal Area.  As a general rule of thumb the placement of the ‘Focal Area’ should be developed not generally in the center of the composition, but off to one side or another.  We can apply the ‘Rule of Thirds’ to almost any composition.

How do I find this area? The Rule of Thirds is a geometric method used to help find the most interesting area of the composition. Let’s try this using a sheet of paper as illustrated below.  Divide the paper into thirds vertically and horizontally) into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Open paper and place a dot at each intersection (see diagram).  One of the four intersections would be the better position for a ‘Focal Area’.

centerof
Now use the composition drawn onto the size of paper that fits your surface size.After the intersections are established, study each of the four areas to see which one has the most potential for colorful choices, interest, differences such as short versus tall, small versus big, round  versus square, smooth versus rough, etc.

 

Once you find the focal area, how do you lead away from the ‘Focal Area’? Try dividing the painting into three areas.  The Focal Area #1 area, #2 area, and #3 area.  The Focal Area #1 has the most of everything, the #2 area lessons slightly in the amount of interest, and the #3 area lessons slightly in interest from the #2.

Nothing In a Painting Stands Alone: To learn how to put it all together, we can learn about the ‘formal’ elements of art and the principles of design. Some of the other concepts that will help you understand this, are color Temperature, Value and Intensity and Contrast. Nothing stands alone, it all needs to work together to be harmonious.

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Focal Area: How To Choose One?

by Neadeen Masters on November 23, 2012

How to determine which area could be the most interesting focal area?

There are numerous ways to determine which area of the painting could be the most interesting for a focal area.  The number one way that comes to mind  is the area with the greatest contrasts.  We all know that too much of the same thing is boring, the eye will get tired and lose interest quickly.  To determine which area would be the most interesting we can follow these guidelines:

Looking for a ‘focal area’ in a composition – Where is best?

The greatest contrasts create the greatest Focal Area

For Example: Look for these textures, shapes, edges, color temperature, etc…and make a note of thich area of the composition might offer these to you. If you are working from a setup, you might want to keep these guidelines in mind as you position each of the elements to create your still life composition. These elements will also help you select interesting objects for the still life arrangement. This will help avoid choosing objects that all share the same properties and characteristics.

  • Smooth versus Rough – texture
  • Tall – Short – shape and form
  • Dark – Light – value
  • Cool – Warm – color temperature
  • Linear – Round – shape and form
  • Compliment – Compliment – color relationship
  • Neutral – Intense – color relationship
  • Soft Edge – Hard Edge – edges – Depth and dimension
  • Busy – Quiet – interest and details
  • Bright – Dull – Color Intensity,  chroma or saturation

These are just some of the concepts artists will consider before they decide on the actual ‘focal area’ or ‘center of interest’. Look closely at the photographs of the composition of the kitchen still life featured in this blog post. Based on the rule of thirds (also discussed in the previous blog post) Where do you think the main center of interest area could be? Take note of the details in the image below and use the list of properties to help you make your selection.

Focal Area – Could it be Lower left?

 Applying the ‘Rule of Thirds’ to find your Focal Area

Remember the Focal Area usually falls in one of the four intersecting areas as shown in the diagram below. Study the chart carefully to see where this might be in your composition. This design rule applies to most genres of paintings. Landscape, Floral Still Life, Still Life, can usually follow the same ideas. In the example above, the lower left side of the composition holds quite a lot of contrasts as there is texture, color, different shapes, etc. Do you agree?

centerof
Use the composition drawn onto the size of paper that fits your surface size.After the intersections are established, study each of the four areas to see which one has the most potential for colorful choices, interest and differences.Such as short versus tall, small versus big, round versus square, smooth versus rough, etc.

 

'Rule of Thirds' - Grid

‘Rule of Thirds’ – Grid

Can you see the focal area falling under the intersecting lines of the grid in the lower left quadrant of the photograph? This is referred to as applying the ‘Rule of Thirds’. Each section of the grid divides the composition into thirds. Always look for areas that offer the most interesting details or an area that is in close proximity to any one of the four areas of the intersecting lines of the grid.

As you learn more about painting and composition in general, there are specific design principles that become very helpful. This is only one of them. Understanding how the principles of art all work together to create outstanding paintings is all part of the artistic journey. The greatest investment you can make in your own art journey is to know what these elements of art are.

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Color Mixing – What is meant by Color Temperature?

by Neadeen Masters on November 10, 2012

When we think about “color temperature” relative to painting, color mixing, color theory and our paint palette, we first need to understand that color Temperature is an actual attribute of color. When we as artists describe color we think about its hue, intensity and value. We often forget that color temperature is as important as value when it comes to a successful painting.

First Impressions – Color Temperature

In the context of color theory and painting a picture, color temperature usually means the degree of overall warmth or coolness. Here’s a simple example…when you look at a painting and it has that golden  glow about it? That’s an overall warm temperature painting. Look at the two examples featured below. The palette that the artist used was predominantly made up of a selection of warmer color temperatures. Now think about the cool blue scene with the ducks…icy blues and blue greys. Our first impression might be one of ‘cool or cold’ relative to the other more yellowish painting.

Color Temperature - Color Mixing - Art Apprentice Online

Color Temperature – It’s all relative – Cool relative to warm!

Everything to do with color temperature in regards to mixing color and mixing paint is always relative. We measure the perceived temperature of color relative to something else or relative to the area around it.  Try not to judge a color saying that this IS a warm color, or this is a cool color. In a painting it all depends on where the color will sit and what it’s going to be next to.

“In reference to color temperature, the general perception is that warm means moderately warm or has predominant tones of Red or Yellow and that cool means moderately cold, lacks warmth or has tones of blue.” It is much more efficient to understand that the pigments on our palette already have a predetermined color temperature. This is usually written on the label of the color. If we choose to work with a limited palette of pure pigments this is something we can factor into the mixing equation. Pay attention to which of your paints are cool relative to warm. Take a look at your collection of red pigments, and try to determine which ones are cooler relative to the ones that seem warmer.

Generally speaking, color temperature is easier to understand if we judge it based on a comparison to another color. Color Temperature contrast between two colors makes ‘seeing’ the differences much easier to read.

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