Focal points and focal areas in Art Composition

Focal points and focal areas in Art Composition

How create focal points and focal area in you drawing and painting? This article explain the basic principles to create them in your artwork and make them more interesting.

When a viewer looks at your painting his eyes will travel different paths on the canvas. Having the right knowledge you can ride through these paths as well as a GPS system guides you through the streets of a city you do not know. See the following figure.

Focal points and focal areas in Art Composition

In Figure 1 the eye wanders without reference points. In Figure 2 the dot in the bottom right is the focal point (or point of intrest). In Figure 3, the biggest dot in the lower right corner will have a higher precedence over the second dot, which in turn will have higher precedence than the farest. The arrows indicate the path that the viewer’s eye will make.

So, in a painting there may be more focal points linked together through an implicit or explicit path.

A focal point can also be a line, a complex object or even a region.

In Figure 4 the eyes go from the big house in the lower left corner to the small  house in the upper right corner. The road is the explicit path that helps the viewer’s eyes to go from a point of interest to another.The road, however, is too straight and the eye moves too quickly from a point of interest to another.

In the Figure 5 the problem is eliminated using a zig zag road. The new road allows to the viewer’s eyes a slower journey who will also have time to dwell on the tree between the two houses.

A further improvement has been done in Figure 6, where the road is located on different levels.

The principles reported in this articles come from the book Drawing Scenery: landscapes and seascapes (*). This book contains lot of info on ladnscapes composition and perspective. I suggest to read it if you love to draw and paint landscapes.

Credit: Drawing Scenery: landscapes and seascapes (*)

* Disclaimer: the links for the Drawing Scenery: landscapes and seascapes book are affiliate links and I do earn a commission through any purchases that you make. If you do make a purchase, I appreciate it! If you wish, send me an email so I can thank you personally.

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