I liked the intentional inclusion of women artists in this lesson and sought them out for my examples.
This a painting by Anna Ancher, one of the Skagen artists from around the turn of the 19th century. I have had a print of this hanging in my house for over 30 years since I visited the little museum in Skagen, Denmark and saw this painting in person. I never get tired of looking at it. Even though it is a simple domestic scene, the placement of the furniture, the flowers and the gold at the window draw me into the room. I suppose I assumed for a long time that the flowers were the focal point. Butthe bright yellow in the window is where my eye loves to go with the complimentary colors of blue and yellow. And its placement pretty much in the center. After listening to your talk and reading the essay on focal point, I have considered the chair with its round open shape and small red (contrasting color) flowers on the cushion, off center but still prominent, balancing the flowers and the bright yellow in the window. The chair is empty...did the occupant find the light outside irresistible and wander off to seek it out?
This is another painting by Anna Ancher. The focal point here is the light coming through the window, reflecting off the girl’s head and washing the whole room really, and creating the pattern on the wall. The lines on the carpet below lead to pattern on the wall and the picture of the woman (Madonna?) looks down on it. The girl is facing toward it also. Another simple scene that I find so inviting and of which light is the focal point.
This is a painting by Cecelia Beaux, Dressing Dolls, 1928. There is so much gorgeous color in this picture. And it circles around the woman: the yellow leaves in the upper right corner point down, which leads our eye to her arm, the girl is facing left and the doll leads our eye up to the pop of bright green which brings us to the woman’s red hair. I think the focal point here is the woman’s shoulder and arm and the light reflecting off of it. It stands in contrast to all the color circling her.
This is a photograph by Dorothea Lange. I’ve seen some famous photographs by her, but after watching a documentary about her life around a year ago, I have a whole new appreciation for her courage and her eye. She photographed (among other things) the dust bowl. This photograph shows the land leveled by the dust that blew in covering everything. The furrows in the distance were created to try to stop the drifting of the dust further. The focal point in this could be the dead tree branch as a fence post - an ineffectual fence since the dust moved over and through everything. But I think the horizon is the focal point. (Is that possible?) The completely level dust covered land against the hazy sky as far as you can see. It could also be the furrows which lead our eye into that empty flat barren distance.
This is a painting by Louise Bourgeois, Beautiful Night. I love the color and shapes and movement in this piece. The triangle of two white trees and the white moon could be the focal point. Or the darker red wavy line in contrast to the other colors. The two taller mounds in the back in bright pink maybe? I go with the trees and moon, because in spite of all the bold color and shapes, my eye rests on the contrast of the small white shapes of these three items.
This is a textile piece that I was working on it at the beginning of this class and I made changes in it twice from things I learned in the class. This is an early not-yet-finished version. It’s for a Lenten meditation exhibit at my church. The guidelines were that the piece had to be 8”x8” and in black and white only. This is from the biblical story of Peter after he denied Christ 3 times. I wanted the figure to be the focal point. But also the contrast of dark and light. The darkness is behind him and though he is weakened by what has just happened, he is facing into the light. So that is meant to be a significant part of the piece’s story.