Fearless Friday, Focal Point


Happy Fearless Friday!


I’m going to play the role of teacher today because I have had very little time to paint, but things are settling down and I am adjusting, so I am hoping to have lots more time for serious painting soon…


Today let’s talk about focal points, and stroll through part of my gallery


“Peacock Dreams” acrylic, gold leaf, commissioned




The focal point of a composition is the point where your eyes land or are led when viewing the artwork, an area of contrast, intense color or vivid texture such as the area of intense blue-green and deep blue lower left center


It can also be the point where the warmest, brightest or lightest colors are as in the painting below

“Heartbeat” acrylic with gold leaf, commissioned



In “Heartbeat,” your eye travels up and down the vertical lines and settles on the bright gold, deep pink and white area, lower left contrasting with the fattest black lines



Also if there are people or animals in the painting, the eye is quickly drawn to them

In the portrait of “Ben” below,  the eye immediately starts at the bright large white area of his chest, contrasted by his black fur,  and quickly travels up and settles on his eyes where there is the biggest contrast, white against black

You are aware of the background but your focus is totally on his sweet face

By the way, Ben is my “granddog,” CC and Charlie Brown’s dog, a Greater Swiss Mountain breed, and he is a huge, tail wagging teddy bear…


“Ben” acrylic, commissioned




The focal point is the predominant point that grabs the eye’s attention

In the “At the Masters” painting below, the bright, bright yellow green grass, lower left grabs your eye and takes you to the golfer putting on the green center right, and then his red sweater leads the eye to the foliage behind him and ultimately up to the sun

Your eyes have traveled through the scene diagonally from the bottom left of the canvas to the upper right


“At the Masters” acrylic, private collection




In “Casa Charro”, below, you automatically follow the road to the pink tower and wonder what’s around the bend


“Casa Charro” San Miguelle de Allende, Mexico, acrylic, private collection



It is your responsibility as the artist, to direct the viewer’s eye through the painting with a “path.”   This does not have to be literally a path or road, but a “path” of color, contrast or texture leading the eye to the focal point where it is rewarded with something interesting to see


“Lobster Buoys” acrylic, private collection



In “Lobster Buoys” the path is actually through the center of the painting, the path being the bright and intense colors, bouncing from the left center, the blue & white buoy to the orange, blue and yellow buoy, center right, and on to the far right, the intense cobalt blue carrying your line of sight all the way through the painting



“Sunset” acrylic, private collection



In the abstract, “Sunset,” above, your eyes travel through the waves, from the bright aquas left and right, to the setting sun where you are rewarded with the very bright yellow sky contrasted by hot pinks and reds, lower center


Your eyes are naturally attracted by bright or intense color or sharp contrast


In “Lidy’s Flowers,”  below,  the large lower left plate of oranges grabs your eye and then your eye travels up, through the fat rose blooms to the far orange on the center right, guided by the dark green leafy stems


“Lidy’s Flowers” watercolor, private collection


The vertical paths are obvious in “Liquid Gold,” below, and the eye travels up the aqua rivers to the brightest whites and golds in the upper right


“Liquid Gold” acrylic, commissioned


Are you familiar with the Rule of Thirds?

You divide your space into 1/3s vertically and horizontally and where the lines intersect, the red dots, are the areas best for focal points



If your focal point is in the dead center, X, you run the risk of loosing the viewer’s interest to see the entire painting as a whole, as their eyes often stay stuck on the center

In “Breaking Waves,” below, the bright whites in the lower left grab your attention and then your eye is led by the white foam and bubbles to the next breaking wave in the upper right.  You take in the entire painting, but your focus is on the breaking waves


“Breaking Waves”  acrylic, commissioned


Finally, be careful not to make your focal point so intense that the viewer sees nothing else, and only have one main focal point, one star of the show, to keep your composition from being confusing

In “New Beginnings,” below, the focal point is in the upper right, but your eyes are initially drawn down the path to the bright white bush  on the left and the distant sunset, upper left,  but quickly you’re drawn over to the lighter sky and contrasting shadows upper right.  Your eyes have traveled around and taken in the complete canvas


“New Beginnings” acrylic, comissioned



When you are planning a painting, keep these things in mind:


1.  Use the rule of thirds to determine the best place for your focal point

2.  Soften, or blur the areas furthest away from the focal point to emphasize it

3. It is your job as the artist to guide the viewer through your painting

4. The focal point is where there is the most value or color contrast, dark against light or the point where the warmest, brightest or lightest colors are

5. Be careful not to make your focal point so intense that the viewer sees nothing else


“Dreams and Plans” acrylic, private collection




“Turn your can’ts into cans and your dreams into plans”

Kobi Yamanda


Be Fearless!


The paintings with green highlighted titles have tutorials, just click on the title and it will take you to the link


🎨   🎨  🎨


I will be joining these fabulous parties and blogs:

Dishing it & Digging it, 

Between Naps on the Porch, Cooking and Crafting with J&J

Merry Monday   Make it Pretty Monday    Celebrate and Decorate,

Delicious Dishes Recipe Party   Oh My Heartsie Girl  Full Plate Thursday

Thursday Favorite Things  Creatively Crafty   Home Matters 

Weekend Potluck   Sweet Inspirations   Happiness is Homemade

23 Responses to “Fearless Friday, Focal Point”
  1. Jenna, what a fabulous collection of your work in one post. I enjoyed letting my eye go straight to the focal point and then take in all the beauty of each painting. Each piece is unique and stunning. Thank you for sharing your talent with us and you are fearless, my friend❤️

  2. Rita C. says:

    Very interesting. Love many of these of yours, Jenna, but best of all New Beginnings. Happy Friday.

  3. Well stated and beautifully painted. I always think of focal point with photos, especially landscapes and often when I paint that translates. But when I’m working cold it can be easy to forget in the angst of trying to get the art itself sort of right. Thanks for good reminders.

    Your work dazzles me in part because it is so versatile. You can draw cute, you can draw “real,” you can draw sophisticated. I should say draw-and-paint because it is both and I so admire that.

  4. Kari says:

    You are so talented Jenna and everytime you post your art and techniques I learn something. I hear ya on finding the time to do the things we love to do….If I had your painting abilities, I would be sitting by a sea shore painting all day long….well, maybe that is the romantic in me and I have seen too many movies. Reality for me. LOL

  5. Vicki says:

    Love all of your paintings Jenna especially mine!!!! You are very talented! Love everything you paint!

  6. Sharon Mann says:

    Beautiful art show!

  7. I enjoyed seeing all your paintings in this post, Jenna. You are such an inspiration! I find abstract so difficult, yet you are the master of it!

  8. Jenna, this collection of your work is fabulous. You do have it all, you paint everything and you paint beautifullly. I love how you do the fun and the serious. I enjoyed reading the description of each and looking at it in that way. Your are truly a very talented artist Jenna. I enjoyed viewing your gallery……..Hope your weekend is wonderful.

    • Thank you Emily, I hope I can get back into my studio to paint regularly soon, writing this post has made me realize how much I have missed it! Thank you for the very kind words, a paint brush makes me a happy girl…

  9. Hope Smitherman says:

    I love getting to look into your gallery! Those first few with the gold leaf and all the blendy colors really catch my eye. You are able to paint in so many styles, you’ve definitely got a talent that encompasses so much!

    • Thank you Hope! The gold leaf abstracts were fun to paint, and I have done quite a few commissions…but you never quite know what the gold leaf is going to do, it’s got a mind of it’s own! I hope you have an art filled week!

  10. Rebecca Tillett says:

    Your Halloween decorations are lovely. I love Halloween and have since I was a child. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Cyndi Raines says:

    Very informative art lesson, thank you.

  12. Mary says:

    Love seeing all your works Jenna! Happy October ♥

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