27 October, 2010

Monday's Art Tip 8 - Lost and Found

This is another tip that my Mum has taught me, and it's about directing the viewer's eye to the focal point you want them to, well, focus on!

There are a few ways to do this, and they can all work together.

You can make sure the focal point has the greatest contrasts (the lightest lights and the darkest darks). As in the butterflies below.

And / or you can make sure the focal point has the brightest colours (here is a detail shot of the full painting at the top of this post, it's by Diana Battle).

And / or you can make sure it has the most 'found' edges.  To explain. Here's a 'lost' edge.

It's blurry, not sharp... it's 'lost'.

Here's a 'found' edge.

It's sharper, painted more deliberately, more precisely, it's 'found'.

Here's another example of found edges at the focal point, in this mixed media painting by my friend, Nic Hohn (if you haven't visited her site yet, do go, it's lovely there).

Now you can look out for more examples of this tip! I was thinking Mona Lisa, Monet's waterlillies... and if you use it yourself, please add your links in a comment below.

And for the record, yes, I know it's Wednesday, but my son just bought himself an itouch and (strangely) our internet limit has been reached... so my speed is throttled and it's driving me slightly bonkers. Things are going to have to change around here, I'm thinking!


  1. Clever. Is that only the eighth tip? I feel like I've learned a lot more. Smart artist lady.

  2. We just changed internet plans, seems 4 schoolies use up a lot of gigs!! The art lesson was fabulous. I just did an arty blog post myself - of an edible kind. Love Posie

  3. Anonymous9:25 pm

    edge work is an important thing that can't be talked about enough - thanks for this.
    yes, the focal point and leading the viewer's eye to it is the main thing.

    If you don't mind, I would have loved to see the points more explained as regards the example paintings, how to achieve it etc. that way I could imagine better what is meant.

    also, the thing, that our eyes get attracted by the greates contrast and we focus those spots more and physically see sharp edges there...(saying that, we often see parts, that have very close values more blurry) with or without a focal point... this seems very helpful when looking at a scene and deciding where to put lost and hard edges...
    another tip would be to squeeze the eyes a bit (one eye only maybe) so we can see where the sharpest spots are... very helpful too.
    especially for the beginner... a good start though, perhaps you could post some more in this subject some time...would appreciate it (consider myself more a beginner that looks for a good explanation in this important and sophisticated subject..
    thanks a lot.
    rene (germany - excuse my poor english)


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