Emphasis (PowerPoint)

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					               • Used by artists to create
                 dominance and focus in
                 their work. Artists can
Also called,     emphasize color, value,
dominance        shapes, or other art
                 elements to achieve
                 dominance. Various
                 kinds of contrast can be
                 used to emphasize a center
                 of interest.
• When something in your life is exciting, you will tell
  others – and emphasize the most important facts. In
  works of art, visual emphasis is placed on the most
  important parts of the work – the focal area. Other
  things in the artwork may be important, but we look
  in the focal area to see what the artists emphasized.
 Emphasis is the stressing of a particular
area of focus rather than the presentation of a
 maze of details of equal importance. When a
   composition has no emphasis nothing
   stands out. However the effective use of
 emphasis calls attention to important areas of
  the artwork. By placing emphasis on certain
   areas of the composition, an artist creates
  elements of interest which causes the eye to
           return to again and again.
One way of achieving emphasis is by creating center of
 interest, a.k.a. a focal point. A focal point is an area
   where the eye tends to center. It is the focus of the
                    viewer's attention.
Examples of the effective
   use of Emphasis
             • In this painting it is
               easy to see how the
               artist used light to
               emphasize the chef.
               He stands out as the
               main focal point of
               the entire the
Effective use of Emphasis
             • The artist created
               emphasis in this
               painting through the
               use of color. By
               painting the
               cowboy's shirt red
               he was able to
               create a center of
• A focal area is often a
  place of contrast,
  where something
  different is featured.
• A person amid stone
  buildings is different,
  and therefore is the
  focus, or emphasis in
  this photograph by
  Georgia Brommer.
• Most of this dock scene is painted in cool colors,
  so the warm-colored boat and house become the
  focus of the work. Temperature contrast is a
  way to show emphasis or the focal area.
• It is easy to find focus in this painting. It is where the value
  contrast is strongest. The shape of the towers is also
  different from anything else in the painting. Contrasting
  shapes become focal areas.
• This might simply look like a painting of a cabbage, but it is
  actually a carefully designed painting. Light and dark value
  paths create movement to the focus – the most complex part
  of the work. The focal area is also a contrasting warm
  shape in a cool painting.
• The focus of this carved
  and painted wood
  sculpture is the face. It is
  emphasized by
  movement on forms and
  edges toward the face.
  See the body, arms and
  wings. The face is a
  lighter value, the wings
  and red sleeves are a
  darker value and which
  frame the face.
• Also, the lines in the
  aprons pattern lead
  upwards towards the face.
• The focal area in a radial design is at the center.
  Lines and shapes lead us there. The warm sun
  image is the focus in a cool stained glass window
  (temperature contrast).
• Focal areas are often much more detailed and more
  complex that other areas of the work. This is true in both
  realistic and nonobjective, or abstract works.
     A focal point is
   created by making
  one area or element
     of the painting
   dominant, or most
   important visually
  with all other areas
    contributing but

Claude Monet
The Red Kerchief: Portrait
of Camille Monet
 The focal point may
   be the largest,
brightest, darkest, or
most complex part of
the whole, or it may
get special attention
because it stands out
   for some other
                                      No more than one
                                      component should
                                        vie for primary
                                      attention. Where
                                      components get
                                        equal billing,
                                         emphasis is
                                        canceled out
                                      and confusion is

M.C. Escher's "Relativity" (c) 2006
  The second way to create
 emphasis is by contrasting
 the primary element with
its subordinates, or emphasis
 can be created by a sudden
   change in direction, size,
shape, texture, color, tone or
  In this painting by Gustav
  Klimt, he used swirls in the
  background which contrast
  with the solid brown ovals.
The hair on the individuals is
   also darker in value, and
      therefore, different.

 Gustav Klimt - Fulfilment
   No matter what element is
  chosen for emphasis it should
    never demand all the
     attention. Emphasis is
      necessary, but a good
 composition is one in which all
the elements work together for a
         unifying effect.
The center of interest is the
   placement of the most
 important conceptual and
visual portion of the image.
  The focal area does not
 have to be located in the
 center of the image, as a
matter of fact, placing it off
  center to the left or right
 and either above or below
 the center line adds to the
   interest of the piece by      Edvard Munch
      giving the viewer          The Scream
introductory or supporting
• Claude Monet - Impressions: soleil levant [Impressions]
• Monet places the dark valued boat below the horizon
  line, and it easily becomes the focal point.
• Andy Goldsworthy
• In this photograph by
  Goldsworthy, the
  center darker circle
  becomes the focal
  point. The flowers
  get closer together and
  become more dense.
  Placement is creating
  a focal point.
  Color                        • The overall use of a color or
                                 color family is often used to
Dominance                        set a tone or mood, as
                                 context. Color is usually the
                                 first thing we see. Don't
                                 confuse color domination
                                 with strong composition. The
                                 composition should work in
                                 gray scale or black and white
                                 and come to life when you
                                 add color. Most of us love a
                                 picture of a beautiful flower.
                                 We fall in love with the
                                 color. Show me a flower that
                                 has been powerfully
                                 composed and then we have
                                 something in which to sink
                                 our eyes, mind, and heart.
Georgia O'Keefee - Red Canna
  Color     • Jean-Michel Basquiat
Dominance     - Election Day
            • In this painting by
              Basquiat, the cool
              color of blue in the
              background is
              different than the
              warm colors of red
              and yellow so the face
              and mouth become the
              focal point.
Color Dominance
        • Tamara de Lempicka
        • This painting by
          Lempicka uses cool
          colors in the dress and
          hat, and warm colors
          in the face and arms.
          The hat and arms
          create lines and
          shapes which make
          the face the focal area.
            • Marc Chagall
  Color     • Marc Chagall created
              paintings based on
Dominance     dreamlike states. In this
              painting, the dark red
              color of the background
              contrasts with the floating
              lovers. An eerie figure
              approaches with flowers,
              which are lighter in value
              and assist us in identifying
              the focal point. The
              lighter value of the dress
              also creates a line leading
              us to the faces, creating
Color Dominance
        • Piet Mondrian
        • Mondrian created
          many paintings like
          this which use lines
          and blocks of pure
          color. The colored
          areas become focal
          points, and the largest
          becomes the most
            • Henri de Toulouse-
  Color       Lautrec - The Kiss
            • Latrec used the bold
              color of red in this
              painting to emphasize
              the passion in the
            • His figures are made
              up mostly of cooler
              colors and lines from
              the blouse lead us to
              the lovers faces.
 Value              • Strong light and dark
                      value contrasts highlight
Contrasts             the focal point. Value
                      shows dimension. Value
                      draws the viewer through
                      the subtle undulations
                      and gradual changes in
                      surface angles. Value
                      creates the illusion of
                      form - depth, height, and
                      width. Value brings
                      objects off the surface.

 Georgia O’Keeffe
            • Wayne Thiebaud - Boston
Contrasts     Creames
            • In this painting of pieces
              of boston cream pie,
              Wayne Thiebaud uses
              value contrasts of shape
              and shadow to lead our
              eye to the piece of pie at
              the center of his painting
              becoming the focal point.
              The dark values along
              with the light values
              create visual movement
              to lead our eye through the
              entire piece of art.
Value & Texture
• Andy Goldsworthy
• Goldsworthy used
  value and texture
  contrasts in this
• The raked sand creates
  light and dark value
  contrast and the soft
  sand and rough rocks
  create texture
Color Value
              • Max Ernst – Aquis
 Contrasts    • In this painting, Ernst used a
                variety of color value contrasts
                with light, middle and dark
                values of the color red.
              • He also used tones of red by
                mixing with it’s complimentary
                color, green, muting some areas
                of the painting creating shadows.
              • The focal point becomes the
                moon and the lady in the pool
                because they are brighter in
                value, and the statue in the front
                because it is darker in value.
                The three organic shapes are
                similar to each other and
                different than the geometric
                hard edged shapes in the rest of
                the painting.
 Visual             • Elements of different color,
                      value, or shape direct the
Movement              viewer's eyes to a focal
                      point. The smallest butterfly
                      moving across an other wise
                      still background grabs our
                      attention. Elements, almost
                      regardless of size, that are
                      irregular, that create the
                      illusion of movement stand
                      out. The lines and shapes
                      in this painting by O’Keeffe
                      change shape and value
                      and create visual
 Georgia O'Keeffe
 Visual    • Joseph Mallord
             William Turner –
Movement     Snowstorm
           • This painting creates a
             feeling of blowing and
             swirling snow with its
             swirling brushstrokes.
             The darker value
             towards the center
             becomes the focal
             point, as a vortex
             would in a tornado.
           • Robert Indiana – Love
 Visual    • If this sculpture were
Movement     horizontal and spelled
             LOVE it would not be
             as interesting. The
             tipping of the “O”
             creates visual
             movement in that it
             appears to have fallen
             over accidentally,
             when in fact it was
             very purposeful and
             leads our eye to the
             rest of the word.
                  • Japanese grocery store
Visual Movement     shelves
 In Advertising   • Go to a grocery store and
                    look at all of the packages
                    lined up shelf after shelf.
                    Your eye goes to the
                    brightest colors, but also
                    to designs on an angle.
                  • You notice the blue and
                    red cartons on the third
                    shelf up on the right,
                    because of this.
                  • It's called a mnemonic
                    device. You could also
                    call it visual movement.
           • Marc Chagall
 Visual    • Here is another painting
             by Chagall. The figures
Movement     are floating through space,
             which is common in his
             works. The white colored
             gown and swirling
             background create that
             feeling of floating and
           • The warm colors balance
             out in the shape of the
             sun, spots in the sky and
             the bouquet of flowers.
 Visual    • Georgia O‘Keeffe
Movement   • In this painting
             O'Keeffe used warm and
             cool colors, along with the
             long lines of the river to
             create visual movement
             to the focal point at the
             top of the painting, which
             has warm colors, which
             are different than the rest
             of the painting.
           • The lines create visual
 Visual          • Alexander Calder
                 • Calder was known for
Movement           his mobiles and
                   stabiles, which move
                   with the wind.
                 • He also specifically
                   placed his wires and
                   shapes to create lines
                   which will lead you
                   through his works.
                 • This creates visual
                   and actual movement
                   in his works.

                              You can also create emphasis
   Difference                   by emphasizing an
                                element that is different.
                                You can use color, shape,
                                line, texture, value,
                                space, and or form in a
                                way that distinguishes one
                                element or area from the
                                whole to focus the viewer
                                through the piece. Think
                                about how we notice
                                things that do not "fit in"
                                to it's environment. When
                                we see one dead tree in a
                                healthy forest, it stands
                                out from all the rest.

Henri Matisse   In this work by Matisse, the figure is different
                than the rest of the work, creating emphasis.

• Edward Hooper – Nighthawks
• In Nighthawks, by Hopper, the darker values contrast with
  the lighter value in the coffee shop, which is different and
  becomes the focal point.
             • Wassily Kandinsky
             • In Kandinsky’s
Difference     work, the organic
               circles are different
               than the geometric
               straight edges and
               lines, and therefore
               become the focal
             • This is considered
               an abstract work of
               art. It does not
               represent anything
Differenc   • Frida Kahlo was a very
              odd and depressed
    e         woman after having lost
              several babies and her
              twin sister had an affair
              with her husband. Her
              work showed this
              depression and personal
            • In many of her works
              she shows her face on
              animals which are being
              tortured. Because this
              looks so odd, the focal
              point is her face and is
              different than what we
              are used to seeing.
Shape   • Emphasize an element
          that has a different
          shape. Again, we are
          focusing on difference
          based primarily on
        • What is different in
          this work that makes it
          the focal point?

        Eliezer Lissitzky - Proun G7
Shape   • Paul Klee - March
          to the Summit
        • Klee used a teal
          color triangle to
          show us the story in
          this painting,
          although to be
          honest, I don’t get
   • Milton Glaser - Bob
   • How are shapes used
     to show emphasis in
     this painting by Milton
   • Did the artist use any
     other elements to
     create emphasis?
Shape   • Wassily Kandinsky

        • Where is the focal
          point in this painting
          by Kandinsky?
        • How does this shape
          or shapes lead us to a
          particular area of the
Emphasis by   • In realistic art the
 Contrast       focal point is
                usually quite easy
                to spot. Larger
                figures, usually
                found in the
                foreground, provide
                a focal point. Even
                in non-realistic art,
                it is usually easy to
                spot the focal point.
                If most of the
                figures are
                horizontal, a vertical
                element will stand
                out as a focal point.
• If the rest of the
  elements are
  irregular, a
  geometric shape
  will stand out.
• If most of the
  elements are dark,
  a splash of light
  color will catch the
Emphasis by Isolation
           • If most of the
             elements in a work
             of art are grouped
             closely together,
             an object by itself
             stands out as a
             focal point.
   Emphasis by
   Placement or                    • An object
                                     placed in the
     Isolation                       center will often
                                     be perceived
                                     as a focal
                                     point. If all
                                     eyes in the
                                     painting look at
                                     one object, or if
                                     an object is
                                     placed at the
                                     center of the
                                     lines of
 This painting by John Trumbull,     perspective,
 entitled The Surrender of Lord      that object will
 Cornwallis, shows how a focal       be perceived
point can be emphasized both by      as the focus of
 placement or isolation and by       the work.
          eye direction.
 The point, emphasis shows that you have a point to
 your piece. You have something to say, literally or
      figuratively. You know what you want to
  communicate and you have the technical acumen
(keen insight), skills, to direct the viewer through the
 work in a way that provides visual interest, multiple
   levels of information, and ultimately, leaves the
              viewer with a sense of awe.
  You want to create a feeling that they have spent
their time wisely. Certainly emphasis does not make
 a work appealing to everyone, but without a focal
point or emphasis you might as well be looking at
                  a big pot of stew.
      What we have learned about
• Used by artists to create         • A focal Point may be the
  dominance and focus in              largest, brightest,
                                      darkest, or most complex
  their work.                         part of the whole
• Also called, dominance            • Emphasis may be
• One way of achieving emphasis       achieved with the use
  is by creating center of
  interest, a.k.a. a focal point.     of art elements such
• A focal point is an area
                                      as line, texture, color,
  where the eye tends to              value, form, space,
  center.                             shapes, to achieve
• Movement is a way to lead the viewer to the
  focal point of artwork.
• When a composition has no emphasis
  nothing stands out.
• A focal area is often a place of contrast, where
  something different is featured
• Temperature contrast is a way to show
  emphasis or the focal area
• Value contrast is a way to show emphasis or
  the focal area
• The focal area in a radial design is at the
• Focal areas are often much more detailed
  and more complex than other areas of the
• No matter what element is chosen for
  emphasis it should never demand all the
• The focal area does not have to be located
  in the center of the image
• Elements of different color, value, line,
  texture, space, forms or shape direct the
  viewer's eyes to a focal point
• Emphasis by Isolation - If most of the
  elements in a work of art are grouped
  closely together, an object by itself
  stands out as a focal point
• Where several components get equal
  billing, emphasis is canceled out and
  confusion is developed.

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