Wednesday, September 23

Contrast is the Key to an Engaging Painting

Acrylic on Gallery-wrapped Canvas
30 x 24 in/76.2 x 61 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2015
I know most all the painting instructors and artistic rules say what it takes to make a good painting:

Yes, it's composition.

Yes, it's drawing ability (or draftsmanship)

Yes, it's subject matter (or motif).

Yes, it's color palette selection.

Yes, it's center of interest (or focal point).

Yes, it's technique.

Yes, it's style.

Yes, it's brushwork.

Yes, yes. yes. It's all these things.

However, in my opinion, if you want your paintings to be really engaging (or enthralling or even spellbinding) and more than merely good, contrast is the key.

Wait, what?

Yes, contrast is the key to an engaging painting. Contrast is that element that catches our human eye and brain and emotion and keeps us interested.

Contrast is in color; complementary colors attract our eye and make us look. Red vs. green, yellow vs. purple, blue vs. orange when placed next to or near each other appear to vibrate.

Contrast is in value; light versus dark is an even greater eye-catcher. Black vs. white or any combination of a darker value against a lighter value keeps us engaged.

Viva la difference. How about that?

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