It has been said that the amount of time a visitor spends looking at a painting at an art show is around 3-5 seconds. The viewer pauses, glances and moves on. That’s one reason why a point of interest in a composition is important: to grasp the attention of the viewer long enough that they are drawn in to look further, for the message and the beauty and more.
What defines a point of interest? Like many definitions and labels in art the answer is not simple. It can be an object such as a pet, a child, a sail boat?. But what about a painting containing none of these. Take abstract paintings. The artist uses contrasting colours, sharp edges and rhythms for example to make their point. What about abstract impression paintings showing large areas of solid colour? You decide.
There is no particular point of interest in my painting, Temple to the Winter Sun, (above). I suggest, however, the rhythms, play of light and a narrative combine to deliver a message that is strong and intriguing. That was my goal.
Points of interest are a fundamental part of a composition. They are not always positive. Several unintentional intersecting lines can distract the viewer and spoil a painting. Similarly, objects located in the exact centre of a canvas may mix the message. It takes time to develop a trained eye that recognizes problem areas as the painting progresses.
From my point of view, and from what I was taught, the solution is for artists to decide on a narrative and a composition, including a point of interest before paint is applied. I never start with a blank canvas and an open mind but I know some wonderful artists that would rather let their brush decide. It’s all ART in the making.
To artists, I wish you good painting. To those who enjoy seeing good art, I suggest spending a bit more time with each piece, attempting to go deeper, examining the artist’s narrative (story) and the beauty within.
The Art of Charles Spratt