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Composition: Area Of Interest

Introduction

An area of interest is where you want the viewer to look. It is an area that should attract the viewer's attention. The area of interest often contains the sharpest edges, the brightest colors, the highest contrast, and the most detail. In addition, it often contains a color that exists nowhere else on the painting. This is the area toward which visual movement is directed.

The area of interest is sometimes called the area of interest, the area of emphasis, the center of interest, the focal area or the focal point.

There are four decisions that need to be made regarding an area of interest: whether to have an area of interest, where to place it, how to design it so that the eye is attracted to that area, and how to lead the viewer to the area of interest. Each of these decisions relate directly to the setting on your personal purpose meter.

The first decision is whether to include an area of interest at all. Some artists insist that an area of interest is essential for any painting. Others are equally adamant that an area of interest is not necessary. Andy Warhol's Marilyn and Jackson Pollock's abstracts are just two examples of paintings with no area of interest other than the painting as a whole.

If you decide to include an area of interest, the second decision is where to place it in the painting. The link below illustrates a variety of approaches artists have taken to find the most desirable location for the area of interest.

Read more about placing the area of interest >>

The third decision is how to attract attention to the specific region of the painting reserved for the area of interest.

The area of interest is an "eye magnet." It is a region of the painting that draws the viewer's eye first. It is usually something that stands out as different from its surroundings.

Our eyes are naturally drawn to contrasts: contrasts of size, contrasts of dark and light, contrasts of bright and dull, contrasts of warm and cool colors, contrasts of hard and soft edges, contrasts of uniform and different, contrasts of a group and one isolated object, contrasts of organic or geometric shapes, contrasts of normal and unusual, contrasts of man-made or natural objects.

Our eyes are also naturally drawn to humans and animals that are included in a scene.

Read more about designing the area of interest >>

The fourth decision is how to design the rest of the painting to lead the viewer's eye to the area of interest.

Directional lines are often used to direct attention to the area of interest. Edges of objects, such as roads, paths, rivers, buildings, trees, folds in clothing or even people's line of sight can create lines that direct the eyes of the viewer to the area of interest.

Read more about guiding the eye to the area of interest >>


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