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Old 11-05-2019, 12:04 PM
gee wiz's Avatar
gee wiz gee wiz is offline
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Focal point

The attached is from my sketchbook. A beautiful area down by a lake. I like the composition and value study however do I need a focal point do I need a canoe or kayak a fisherman...what do you guys think?
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Old 11-05-2019, 02:31 PM
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Re: Focal point

I think it can work without the boat.
Right now my focal point is that large white area
in the water.
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Old 11-06-2019, 01:56 PM
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Re: Focal point

i ditto that^
the focal point could easily be the sheen on the water, a little brighter than the rest, a little calmer or a little extra rippled.
not saying a boat or whatever wouldn't work, it would work just fine, i just prefer natural scenes without human involvement.

la
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Old 11-06-2019, 02:30 PM
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Re: Focal point

A dramatic sky can be a focal with nice reflections on the water..
You can decide what or if you want a specific focal. Then enhance that area..
But there usually is something that will tend to draw the eye even if not a planned focal..

I don't think boat or figure or birds are needed unless you want them..
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Old 11-06-2019, 07:00 PM
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Re: Focal point

Well...what is your painting about? What's the story?

Sling paint,
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:53 PM
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Re: Focal point

We are all centrists it seems. You are asking about roughly the center of you composition. It is where the minds eye will go, try working the shapes around it and leave it blank (like my mind)? lol. The point is to have atmosphere and not subject matter be your composition.
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Old 11-26-2019, 12:21 PM
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Re: Focal point

Does a beautiful scene by a lake need a story? hmmm... maybe that's why I thought of a fisherman. Many times when I see people in paintings I want to be that person. When I see an empty chair on the beach I want to be in the chair. I do struggle with the "why" not so much the "what" or "how".

back to C&D...I like what you are saying about the center or the sky or the reflection being the focal point...when I was thinking composition for this sketch, I was thinking of design principles. (balance, texture, contrast, three or more planes, golden section, rule of thirds, etc. )

I like "atmosphere and not subject matter be your composition"

thanks everyone....
Greg
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Old 01-16-2020, 02:44 PM
Causality Causality is offline
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Re: Focal point

The idea that a painting ought to have a focal point is attractively simple and fits many instances, but does that make it true as a fundamental principle? I'll just say a flat no to that.

Let your own values (in the sense of things you like) and experience of the scene be your guide. Your mind already organizes your attention to the field of view according to your values. Become aware of those values and you will know the proper basis for the organization of your painting. Some things are essential aspects that make the scene what it is to you, other things relate to and inform those essentials. Some things have their own cognitive weight, other things may need help getting their visual impact to match their value to you.

Composition is an interplay of factors. If the rule you are following doesn't serve the values that make you want to create the painting, it's not a fundamental principle of composition.
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Old 01-17-2020, 10:58 AM
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Re: Focal point

Quote:
Originally Posted by Causality
...Composition is an interplay of factors. If the rule you are following doesn't serve the values that make you want to create the painting, it's not a fundamental principle of composition.

...for that particular painting!
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Old 01-19-2020, 04:56 PM
Causality Causality is offline
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Re: Focal point

Quote:
Originally Posted by claude j greengrass
...for that particular painting!
A principle is a fundamental general truth in a given sphere. Something that only applies to particular painting cannot be a principle of composition. So if you are aware of some compositional issue that applies only to a given painting, the trick would be to see if there is some broader truth that explains it and which does apply to all other paintings, at least of a given type. Then you would be on the trail of a principle.

To clarify a bit: my original point was that "have a focal point" is not a principle of composition. This is not to say that one could not have valid compositional guidelines to the effect of "If your painting has a focal point, how well that focal point functions in your painting will depend on X, Y, and Z."

Last edited by Causality : 01-19-2020 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 02-08-2020, 03:09 PM
Newatercolorist Newatercolorist is offline
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Re: Focal point

Quote:
Originally Posted by Causality
The idea that a painting ought to have a focal point is attractively simple and fits many instances, but does that make it true as a fundamental principle? I'll just say a flat no to that.

Let your own values (in the sense of things you like) and experience of the scene be your guide. Your mind already organizes your attention to the field of view according to your values. Become aware of those values and you will know the proper basis for the organization of your painting. Some things are essential aspects that make the scene what it is to you, other things relate to and inform those essentials. Some things have their own cognitive weight, other things may need help getting their visual impact to match their value to you.

Composition is an interplay of factors. If the rule you are following doesn't serve the values that make you want to create the painting, it's not a fundamental principle of composition.

Couldn't agree more with this. If you do want to "speak" about something in particular it makes perfect sense to have it as the focal point and subdue the rest of the painting. An extrene example of this would be a portrait photography in which only the face is 100% defined, then hair and neck are around 80% and anything else is a blur. But on the other hand you can have an scene in which the overall composition is so well balanced that you could crop it in 4 or 5 pieces and make little paintings that can stand by their own.

That all being said, i do think thats you can't have the same level of detail everywhere, for me that is a no no. But you can organize detail in a way that is ilogical from the camera or human eye stand point but that is works well as a composition. Chien Chung-Wei has some paintings that are just like that, there are compositions inside compositions. For me that guy is a total master of "painting design".

Last edited by Newatercolorist : 02-08-2020 at 03:11 PM.
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