8 methods to develop a Focal point in your Painting

In my years of teaching, i have noticed the artists frequently ask what mine focal suggest will be prior to I show a painting. Fortunately, I have a go-to response that turns the concern a tiny bit ~ above its head: In order because that there to be a focal point, there should be peripheral areas that aren’t in focus. If whatever is in focus, climate the focal distance area is weakened. That’s a beginning point. That course, there are likewise a variety of strategies because that bringing an ext attention to the area you execute want to be the focus of interest.




You are watching: Creating a focal point by placing different values together.

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Santa Fe by john Vloothuis

What is the focal allude in art?

The focal area is considered the predominant ar where the eye enjoys seeing:

The most value comparison (dark against light)Color contrast (chroma matches grayness, red against gray)Hard edge (agrees v the fovea that the eye)Detail (complexity of shape)Warm colors (yellows and also reds entice the eye)TexturePeople, animals and also vehicles, i m sorry become strong focal points also if they’re smallAnything that is peripheral and is not consisted of in the focal point will covers low value contrasts, low shade contrasts, soft edges, simplicity in form or the lack of information and, as soon as applicable, the colors will be less saturated. This have to be even an ext taken into account near the edges of the painting, i beg your pardon I describe as the “peripheral area.”

The focal allude isn’t just where the eye chooses to see. In paintings, we don’t desire the eye come just pick to see what it desires to look at for. It’s the painter’s obligation to straight the eye, come orchestrate its activity within the paint through the consumption of straight paths. ~ the artist has manipulated the viewer, lock reward them using some or all of these facets mentioned.

Four Options

Most artists will agree the there room four alternatives to ar focal areas in a painting: top right, peak left, bottom right, and also bottom left. Which is the best? The dominion of ignorance (and over there are always exceptions) is that the height right area it s okay 5 stars since we read left to right and also our eye will linger longest there.


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Focal point Demo

A focal point should not be overstated; neither need to the viewer make a wild guess: v to identify it. Listed below on the left is an example of a painting with a strong focal point. As well strong? Possibly. We must be mindful with focal distance points. We have the right to overstate a focal suggest and the eye does not feel compelled to move approximately to explore.


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In the modified variation on the right, we have a an ext subtle focal point and the eye does no feel glued to the orange evergreen tree. This palliation in intensity enables the viewer’s eye to wander and much more thoroughly watch all the details that the rest of the painting.


More painting Strategies come Discover

You have the right to findJohannes Vloothuis’ indict videos in ~ theArtists Network Shop. And also for live, interaction instruction workshops, sign up with him because that aPaint Along!


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