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Focal Point

Stefan Baumann

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October 7th, 2019 - 12:22 PM

 Focal Point

What a great experience we had last night around the campfire while enjoying a light sprinkle of snow. We got about an inch of white snow, just enough to cover
the ground. The fire in our fire ring cast red and yellow reflections illuminating the trees in the forest and the entire Ranch was lit up by a fantastic full moon called
“the Super Frost Moon.” It was so bright that we could see every detail on oursnow-covered hillside. The view of the horses grazing in the pasture under the light of the full moon and our campfire created a perfect Christmas card.



Focal point in a painting and how do you know where to put it?


During our conversation, the question was asked “Why is it so important to have
a focal point in a painting and how do you know where to put it?” Choosing a
focal point or point of interest in your painting is a thoughtful and intuitive process
that is influenced by the artist’s interests, beliefs, and personal connections to
life. The methods used for selecting the subject or object of interest in a painting
changes with each painting and every location.

At a glance


Sometimes artists invest too little time thinking about their choice of a point of interest in their painting before they start to paint. Other times, artists fail to remember simple things that create a focal point. For example, the viewer can only see a limited number of objects
clearly at a glance must use all of their skills and techniques to bring their main message in the painting to the viewer.


Make the point of interest pop


After choosing the point of interest (which is usually placed in one the 4
intersecting quadrants of the painting) I recommend that the artist draw at least
three small sketches of the subject in pencil. This allows the artist to experiment
with computational elements and make changes rapidly until a pleasing
combination is chosen. Creating small drawings or field studies also allows the
artist to sample many of these techniques and make changes efficiently and
easily until discovering the desired effects that make the point of interest pop.
Then, select your preferred sketch and transfer the chosen composition on your
canvas with a brush and paint thinned with Turpenoid. Voila! The canvas is ready
and painting can begin.



Focus the attention

Some techniques that artists regularly use to focus the attention of the viewer on
the point of interest are intensity of light, contrasting values, directional focus,
linear movement, and variable sizes of the objects. Emphasizing the darkest or
the lightest spot on the canvas or using directional lines or eye magnets will lead
the viewer to the point of interest in the composition as well.


We at the Grand View Ranch are preparing for the spring workshop. If you have
not enjoyed the opportunity to come to a workshop, give me a call at 415-606-
9074 or email me at http://www.StefanBaumann.com for information about
painting outdoors in Mt. Shasta, California.


The eyes of the world are waiting to see what you have to say

-------Stefan Baumann


I have coached many students over the years. My goal as a coach is to help students discover their own style by instructing with a method that allows them to grow as they are. If you want increase your knowledge and skill to bring your art to the next level, I invite you to watch my YouTube videos, consider phone coaching with me, or attend a workshop in Mt. Shasta where we discuss art, passion and life with other artists around the campfire. All the information is on my website, www.stefanbaumann.com.

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