creating a focal point

attract the viewer

what is a focal point in art?

The focal point of a painting is the main attraction. It is the area that attracts the viewer into the painting. It is the main emphasis of a painting.

The viewer's eye is first attracted by the painting's focal area, then it moves on to other areas of the painting.

how do you create a focal point?

There are a number of different tools the artist can use to attract the eye of the viewer into their paintings.

Use one or more of these methods to make your paintings attractive

value contrast

The easiest and the most valuable tool for the artist is the use of values.

Value is the contrast between light and dark. The eye is automatically drawn to a contrast between light and dark.

The artist uses light against dark in many areas of the painting. But the strongest value contrast is used in the focal area.

single element

The viewer is more comfortable when objects are placed together or near other objects.

Elements of the painting that are placed by themselves will automatically attract attention.

The "Lone Egret" attracts the viewer because it is all by itself.

people, animals and vehicles

People, animals or vehicles become the star of the show when they are placed in a painting.

Just be sure and give them adequate space in front of their face to head into the painting.

Do not place them close to the edge of the painting, looking out. Their view would carry the viewer's eye out of the painting.

Detail draws attention to the focal area.The Details On "Lacey"
Draw The Attention Of The Viewer.


Use more detail in the focal areas compared to other areas in the painting.

There is more detail on the chicken's face and on her feathers compared to the background of the painting.

soft and hard edges

Soft edges are easier to look at. Hard edges attract more attention.

Notice the hard edges on Lacey compared to the soft edges in the rest of the painting.


Brighter, more saturated color attracts attention. Notice the red comb and wattles on the chicken are the brightest red in the painting.

Complimentary colors are a good way to attract attention to the focal area of a painting.Complimentary Colors Attract
Attention To The Focal Area

complimentary colors

Colors directly across from each other on the color wheel are called complimentary colors.

Blue and orange, red and green and yellow and violet are the complimentary colors.

They vibrate when they are placed next to each other. They are great for attracting the viewer's attention to the focal area.

When you are selecting colors for your paintings, complimentary colors are an ideal choice.

warm verses cool colors

Placing warm colors against cool colors is another great tool for the artist to use in the focal point of their paintings.

The warm colors, red, orange and yellow automatically attract attention. When we place them against some cool colors, they really sparkle.


Use any or all of these tools to create the focal point of your paintings.

Your paintings will be sure to attract the viewer's attention.

Happy painting!

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