Well, yes and no. I think it’s a good idea to have a star in your painting. But not all paintings need to have a strong focal point to be successful. Paintings can have multiple focal points or none at all and still be works of the highest quality. In general I think paintings need a star and a supporting cast. The supporting cast is there to make the star look good! If everything was the star, then there would be no star! It’s the idea of simultaneous contrast; something is only light in relation to something that is dark, something is only tall in relation to something that is short. I’m striving for artistic inequality in my pieces. Something wants to be dominant.

There is more than one way to achieve a focal point. I like to use a variety of techniques to get there. We can use line, color + intensity. I tend to orchestrate all my actions in a painting to get my viewer to look to where I want them to look. If you take a look at this piece from my 100 Variation series, you’ll notice that the area of greatest contrast is near the focal point. Also the area of greatest intensity. All the movement and gesture of the piece is intended to guide my viewer towards the focal point. There is also a gradation from the bottom towards the middle of the piece which is intended to move your eye to the focal point and this is also true of the sky.

In fact all marks, value, color intensity it in service of the focal point.

With Warmest Regards,

Painting Minilessons
with Marla Baggetta

These “mini-lessons” grew out of my blog. I love sharing my experience behind the easel, so these are free. I write a new one every two or three weeks, so please feel free to share with artist friends.

​These lessons are mostly written text with graphics…short but useful tidbits from the foundations of painting that touch on subjects such as aerial perspective, simultaneous contrast or using negative spaces. I guide you through different aspects of painting and art that will get you comfortable with using pastels. You’ll gain confidence to attempt work that you might have otherwise been timid about.

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