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Day 15 Building a Daily Art Habit. Autumn leaves, How to make your centre of interest in a painting.

Art Blog Building a daily art habit painting advice personal art journey YouTube video

Day 15 of building a daily art habit I am painting autumn leaves on a abstract background.

Do you know how to make your centre of interest in your painting. Well I thought I did. Lately I have come across some information that has made me think and hone my skills in this area.


Sometimes the brain is just ready to take on the information and it all just starts to click in your head. That's is what has been happening to me lately. It's really exciting and I feel I'm ready to take my art to the next level. 

So while I paint these autumn leaves I am thinking about what I have been learning or reminded of lately. 

First off I am painting effects not things. Same with your centre of interest. This is not a thing but an effect. 

Example please I hear you ask. Cause what does that mean anyway. In other words you are not painting a rock in that seascape as your centre of interest, but the effect of the light hitting the water on that rock. Or the feel of movement as the splash hits the rock and the wind blows the spray. When you think about your painting in terms of effects rather than things it will direct how you paint that picture. 

In this painting I am trying to paint how the light is hitting the leaf. That is my centre of interest. It's not even the whole leaf. It's a small part of that leaf that I want the eye to mostly focus on. Now it's important not to get carried away here and have the whole picture all about the centre of interest and have nothing else to look at. Ask yourself how the centre of interest affects the rest of the painting and how are you going to lead the eye around the painting to give it energy and movement. Directing the viewers eye around the painting and back to the centre of interest. Is the light bouncing off your centre of interest on to other things in the picture.  How is that sea spray from rock effecting the things around it.

It's a lot to think about but it will get easier with practice. If you want to see how your centre of interest effects the rest of the painting you need to put that centre of interest in early on in the picture.  That way you can make sure you don't over shadow your centre of interest with other parts of the painting. You can see if you are getting to detailed elsewhere. You can check your tones and make sure that your greatest area of contrast is at your centre of interest.

Remember to use lost and found edges. Hard and soft edges is what I am talking about here. Not every edge on an object will be crisp, some will fade towards the back of the picture and some will be crisp and draw your eye to it.

This is where photo's can trip you up. They see differently from your own eyes. Our brain can only focus on a small area at a time, where as a camera will often put all the foreground in to sharp focus. That's is not how it would look in our mind in nature. 

As artists we get to decide what story we want to tell about a painting and we get to direct the viewer around the painting the way we would like. Puppet master here I come! Now it's not that I didn't already know all this stuff, but it seems like in the last couple of weeks it's suddenly making sense on a different level for me. Can't wait to try it all out on my next paintings. I find myself looking at older works and thinking. This would have so much more impact if I just did this....

So my advice is this. Just because you think you already know about something, don't stop learning. You never know when your brain will be ready to take in something new or suddenly things just start making more sense. A whole new world of how you see things could open up for you.


So before you start painting today ask yourself. What effect am I painting? Where do I want the viewer to look and why? How does this area effect the rest of the painting? See if this changes how you approach a painting.

Happy Painting Everyone see you tomorrow. 



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