The longer a viewer is drawn to look at your painting, the more eye movement in art you can create, the more interesting that painting is to them. One measure of the quality of a painting is how long you can keep the viewer looking at it, by encouraging eye movement in your artwork.
Your goal is to keep the viewer’s interest by keeping their eye movement all over your artwork, while at the same time preventing the eye leaving the painting, or getting trapped in one spot. Getting viewers to be interested in your art is not easy, but here are a few simple ways you can promote visual interest through eye movement.
The pathway can be created using:
- brushwork and visual lines
- patterns of lights and darks
How can I use color to create eye movement in art?
The easiest way of creating eye movement in art is to repeat a specific color throughout the canvas. The viewer’s eye bounces from one color spot to another in the painting, and in the process ends up looking at all of the painting surface.
In the painting of Maya I used the color red to make the eye movement bounce around the painting.
- The folds of the skirt are painted in saturated color to direct the eye.
- The red in the pattern of the chair is picked out.
- Red color spots are repeated in the features, particularly in the lips and ear.
- There are red brushstrokes in the background.
- Even the signature, in cadmium red light, becomes part of the design.
How can I use brushwork to create eye movement in art?
A method of increasing eye movement in art is to use your brushwork to reinforce the composition and direct the eye where you want it to land. You can add a perspective line, such as a path moving into the distance, or the graceful curve of a tree.
In this painting you can see how I used long, thick brushstrokes in the foreground to lead the eye movement into the painting and toward the focal area.
How can I use lights and darks to create eye movement?
Sprinkle dark and/or very light areas around your painting to promote eye movement in art and keep your painting interesting.
For example, if you sprinkle areas of darks and lights in your painting, it encourages the eye to jump from one to the other so they notice more things in your composition.
In this painting of the flowers in my garden, I used lots of areas of light paint on top of a dark background, to keep the eye movement flowing around the art.
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No need to buy expensive art books…. Just do the VAA 4 year course. I still refer to it
I finished the VAA course a few years ago, but always refer to the notes, rereading the course many times. This is not a course the day you are finished, you are done. No, you keep practising the assignments getting better and better over time. When I look back at my work when I had just finished VAA, I can see that I have grown over the years as well. I will always be grateful to Barry John Raybould for taking the time and sharing his knowledge with us. You don’t need to buy expensive art books to help you with your paintings. Just do the VAA four year course. I still refer to it. The course is most informative and you will never regret doing the course. I certainly am glad I did.