Virtual Art Academy
color spot exaggeration

How to Keep Your Viewers Interest Using Exaggerated Color Spots

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

color spot exaggeration
Segovia Cathedral by Barry John Raybould

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.

Comments from Barry’s Virtual Art Academy students

This is a far more superior school than anything I have seen being taught at colleges across the country

This is a far more superior school than anything I have seen being taught at colleges across the country 1

This is a far more superior school than anything I have seen being taught at colleges across the country and have learned much more from the Virtual Art Academy® than from any art course I have ever taken! I cannot begin to tell how the Virtual Art Academy has improved my observation of potential compositions in my daily travels. Because of the VAA2 I find myself looking at trees/buildings/landscapes as shapes and not as structures, etc. I find myself looking at values more closely and observing strong and weak notan in a particular subject as I go out and about. Thank you so much for VAA2, just one disagreement though; the Virtual Art Academy is not just the best online course, it is the best course period.

Steve Jorde
How to Keep Your Viewers Interest Using Exaggerated Color Spots

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