Priscilla S.

PART I - FOCAL POINT

I found this exercise more challenging than I thought itwould be.  It wasdifficult sometimes to figure out what the focal point was and/or what was happening with two or more focal points when my eye went back and forth between two elements.  

I would also add that this exercise and the one from last week, (i.e., looking at many paintings for the concept being discussed) is very helpful.  Generally, I’ve read books on composition and the words kind of go in , but it’s the actual trying to find the elements in several paintings that makes the concept more real.

Most examples below do not have their proper title as I inadvertently cut them off.

  1. THE LOVERS - VARO

     - Another from one of my very famous artists

     -  This could be viewed as having a double focal point interacting with each other. 

             The light faces surrounded by gold mirrors stand out from the surrounding background.  And the women’s bodies sitting on the bench also contrast with the background. 

      - There is a vertical feel with the women’s bodies and necks and mirror faces surrounded by the horizontal puffs of smoke from their love.

       - The background is crystallographic on the top with water drops and on the bottom with waves of water. 

2. ABSTRACT- BARLOW

        - At first this seemed entirely not to have a focal point.  But the more I look, I see all kinds of imagery hidden ....a large scary monster face in the upper middle; man standing facing outer edge of picture on the lower right; woman in upper left;  some bursts of bright color, etc.  I’ll still say this has no focal point. 

3.   WOMAN AND HORSE- DEGAS

       -  I tell myself a story. The woman is on the way to her wedding riding the horse with two hand maidens accompanying her and the horse needs a drink of water

      - The woman in the light blue gown with a white veil is the focal point.  The color of her dress contrasts with the background. And the red rose hanging down on her dressalso brings the eye to her.

       - Secondary roles are played by the woman playing a musical instrument and the woman sitting on a blanket beside the river and the horse.

4.  BROWN TREES

             -I made up a story. It feels like a dying world with ghosts of the past poking their heads up out of the ground.  So I see the focal point on the lower right, i.e., lighted circular forms sticking up from the ground.  

            - In other parts of the painting, there are vertical elements, dead trees, intersecting with the horizontal lines of the distant hills and mountains.

            -  There’s a peek of some bright colors at the top of the painting, but my eye still comes back to the bottom right.

             - Also,  the trees and mountains appear to be fairly representational while those forms in lower part are more amorphous.

5.  STARBURST

           - Central placement - radial

           - Fairly bright spot of color against a duller background

           - Secondary elements are the black triangular forms pointing toward the focus.

6.  TWO POLICEMEN - BASQUIAT

        - Three elements in a row with one, the black faced focal point, being different

        -  Black face focal point is at center of vertical and horizontal lines

        -  Secondary supporting story elements are two policemen and black vertical lines representing prison uniform

      - Background is primarily plain but with grafitti type scribbles

7.   WHITE HANDS 

          -  Black abstract circular form possibly with both a facial and a head image

          -  Secondary form is a tree/log form

          - These two forms are tied together both with small circular forms attached

          - One amorphous element and a background of representational elements

          - Dark focal point against light background

          - Focal point is larger than background elements

           -  These two forms might also be a closeup of dying tree limb with sap extruding

          -  Background is crystallographic filled with white hand prints

          -  And behind that another background layer ofbrown vertical lines

8.   WOMAN AND TWO DAUGHTERS- DEGAS

           - Even though the two girls and mother are dressed similarly and the two girls the same size, my eye kept going to the young girl’s face who was looking directly at me.  

           - The mother and other daughter play a secondary role in the story.  

           - The background is crystallographic with the blue wallpaper and printed rug.

9.  GIRL WITH TWO RED BIRDS- DEGAS

            - This was a piece I struggled with.  It seems like the focal pointshould be the girl’s face.  But my eye first goes to the two red birds and back and forth between them. But the longer I look at it, the girl’s face does take center stage and the two red birds supporting elements.

             - Background is a distant city seen from a balcony.

10.GIRL WITH HANDS ON WAIST- DEGAS

            - This was very interestingfrom a different perspective.  I see the focal point as the girl’s face.  And the contrast for me is in the incredible realism and carefully painted face with the lines of her body and dress which appear to be gestural....a much different feeling from the face.

            - Also a brighter blue color surrounds her face, again drawing your eye to it

11.  WOMAN IN YELLOW DRESS - DEGAS

          -   Vertical and horizontal elements pointing to focal point (not that you need them with that bright yellow dress)

          -   Bright spot of color against a duller background

          -  Supporting cast are the fine decorative accoutrements

          - I’m not sure what she’s holding?  a wig?  

12.   AFTER THE BATH - DEGAS

        -  The bather is the focal point.  Her body color is lighter than the background.  

        -  Her body is more representational than the background drape and rug.

13.   BRIDGE- MONET

        - I see the bridge as the focal point.  And the vegetation around it is made up of vertical and horizontal lines which intersect.  

         - Interestingly, although all the colors are the same blend of rusts, yellows, and greens, the bridge still stands out.  

         - Also, the bridge lines are representational and the vegetation more amorphous.