Today in class we continued work on the landscape we started in the last class. My focus today was on strengthening the story in your image by emphasizing and/or deemphasizing the various elements of your composition.
In my demo painting I wanted the castle to be the main point of interest. I wanted it to feel dark and ominous. In order to clarify that statement visually I tried several different things I thought would emphasize the castle and deemphasize the other parts of the scene. Generally when we talk about emphasizing or deemphasizing we are talking about increasing or reducing contrast.
There are many kinds of contrast we can manipulate. Value contrast is one of the strongest kinds of contrast we can use. So I darkened the castle and lightened the sky around the castle to increase the value contrast in that part of the composition. I also made the value of the sky on the opposite side of the composition closer to the value of the trees to decrease value contrast on that side of the painting.
Another kind of contrast is hue contrast. The greatest hue (or color) contrast is complimentary colors. With all the green in the painting I chose to add some bright red to the castle roof to create high color contrast. I also wanted to create "anomaly" which is when one thing is different than everything else.
We talked about several other kinds of contrast during the critique but the basic idea is that we can clarify the story we are trying to tell by increasing contrast in the area(s) of a composition that are most important and decreasing contrast in the areas that are least important. Doing this will clarify and empower your visual storytelling.
Next week is our last class. We will be painting self portraits. Bring a small mirror or a recent photograph if you can. I will provide paint and a surface to paint on (but come prepared with your usual stuff just in case:)).
Also feel free to bring food or drink to class for our last class.