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How to Keep Your Viewers Interest Using Exaggerated Color Spots

color spot exaggeration

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Prevent the viewer’s eye getting stuck in one part of your painting

This is a painting I did on location (“en plein air”) in Segovia, Spain. The problem I faced in this composition was how to tie together the masses of warm colored buildings with the large green areas of the pine forest. There was a potential problem of the viewer’s eye getting stuck in the architecture and not moving around the rest of the painting. Color spots came to the rescue.

Exaggerate what you see for better composition

exaggerating color spots
The reds and oranges in these roofs needs
balancing elsewhere in the painting.

You do not always have to paint things exactly as they appear. There are times when you can make your painting much more interesting by exaggerating what you see in front of you.

To tie together the two parts of “Segovia Cathedral” I exaggerated the warm color spots in the midst of the green areas to balance the warm colors of the cathedral and town.

The orange accents created a color interest in the green areas. If I had not created those accents, the painting would have been divided into two: a red patch and a green patch, and would not have been so interesting.

Exaggerating Color Spots

The touches of warm orange color spots in the trees help balance the red roofs and at the same time create an interesting abstract quality in the brushwork. In reality there was no strong orange there, but there were some warm patches in the foliage in the pine trees where the pine needles had died, creating a dark rich brown color. All I had to do was to exaggerate the color spots.

For intermediate and advanced artists

  • To learn more about exaggeration, study the lessons on Visual Music & Poetry in our Apprentice Program. In this course you will learn how to focus the various elements in the painting to help you communicate your message, concept, or idea to your viewers and give your paintings more impact. It is this communication, the “Visual Poetry” in a painting that distinguishes art from illustration and that distinguishes all the great masters.
  • To learn more about using color and color spots to harmonize your paintings, see the lessons on Color Harmonies in our Apprentice Program.

Thank You

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Please feel free to share it with friends. If you are interested in a structured approach for learning how to paint, take a look at my online painting classes.

Happy painting!

Barry John Raybould
Virtual Art Academy

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How to Keep Your Viewers Interest Using Exaggerated Color Spots

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