Through human nature certain things draw our eyes more than others. Some of the things that tend to draw our eye are:
-Strong contrast of light and dark (Bright whites, dark shadows)
- Bright colors
- Lines in general, but also lines that lead in or out of an image (these lines can be anything from a branch or piece of grass, to a cloud or rock formation)
- Warm colors in a cool image
- Cool colors in a warm image
Keeping these things in mind when creating a work of art can certainly make us a better artist. Understanding compositional elements and how the eye moves helps me to make certain decisions about my works. The more complex the composition the more the artist needs to contemplate their decisions about HOW they place things in their art work - what direction it faces, how it is lit, how much contrast is on the item, etc.
Some artists are masters of leading the eye! One of my favorites is when they hide something in plain sight! Here are a couple of examples:
|Copyright Bev Doolittle - "Doubled Back"|
|Copyright Robert Bateman - "Winter Reflection Wolf"|
Probably one of the best known Bateman images is this one:
|Robert Bateman - "Midnight - Black Wolf"|
Why do you think it is so popular? Not only a popular subject matter, but masterfully crafted by the artist as well!
Of course even when you are not hiding something within the image composition is paramount! How can you keep the viewers eye traveling in a manner that brings attention to the most important aspects of the work and keeps bringing them back to it?
|Carl Brenders - "One to One"|
|Daniel smith - "Sun Struck"|
So next time think about your scene and how the viewers eye will travel through your work… Like what direction your grasses are pointing (do they all point out of the frame taking your eye out too). What about branches on a tree. How does your eye flow through them? Does it bring you back around to a location you want it to or again take you out of the image? How does the light affect the travel of your eye? Is there something you can add (or take away) that will improve how smoothly your eye travels through your work? Do you have many strong lines leading out of the image? If you want something hidden is it effective?
After all you are the master and commander of all who view your work!
While I don't consider myself a master at compositions like these artists I posted, I do certainly give them a moderate amount of time and though. How does your eye travel through this new version of "Edge of Darkness". How does the body shape of the wolf and my choice of grasses and values in the background trees help to lead your eye in a circle?