I have discovered many ways to emphasize your focal area. One is to use your more saturated, or “purer” colors in that area to draw your eye there. If you use highly saturated colors all over your painting, you would not know where to look – if everyone is shouting in a room, you don’t know who to listen to. This technique is called contrast of saturation. I painted “Segovia Shadows” in Spain outdoors towards the end of the day (my favorite times for painting).
At this time of the day the warm setting sun emphasized the redness in the shutters of one of the small windows. It was a scene ready made for a focal point using color saturation. Because of the falling light and shifting shadows I had to paint extremely quickly to capture this scene and the color relationships before they changed drastically. I probably finished the complete painting in about one hour. I had backed up to a wall so I would not be disturbed while painting, needing all my concentration to paint quickly.
When I finished I turned around and found about a dozen people had clambered up on to the wall to watch the performance!
To learn more quick techniques to improve your compositions skills, see the focal point and contrast lessons in workshops C and D of the Virtual Art Academy Apprentice Program. You will learn all of the ways to emphasize the focal point in your work and to give your painting more meaning, such as: contrast of detail, contrast of value, contrast of shape, contrast of saturation, directing lines, isolation, and many other techniques.
Click the Join Now button to join as a Virtual Art Academy Apprentice Member and you will receive 4 lessons a month just like this one, including the associated assignments to help you practice and assimilate the information. Once you are an Apprentice Member, you will be able to upload your assignments to the VAA online campus and discuss them with other students from around the world. When you click the Join Now button, you will see the approximate pricing in your local currency. For customers in Europe: VAT will be added at the appropriate rate.
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