Determining the Focus
To determine the focal point of your painting, first ask yourself, “What do I wish to say?” The answer to this question will establish the focus of your painting. If you don’t know where your painting’s center of interest is, neither will your viewer! A focal point can be something obvious like a person or an object, or it can be more subtle, like gleaming highlights on the side of a hill or a pattern of shadows on a street.
MAKING CHOICESWhen deciding the focus of a landscape scene such as this one, you will be faced with several choices. Any of the elements of this painting could have been the center of interest—for example, the coastal houses in the background or the rocks off the shore. But this artist chose to “zoom in” on the colorful flowers, using them to frame the scene. That’s the beauty of being an artist—the choice is yours!Leading the Eye
Once you’ve determined the focal point of your painting, you need to decide its position. You don’t want your viewers to ignore the rest of the painting, so your focal point should be placed in such a way that the viewer’s eye is led into and around the entire painting, rather than focusing only on the center of interest. You can lead the eye using a number of techniques: incorporating diagonal and curving lines, avoiding symmetry, overlapping elements, and composing with light and color.