Linear Focus

One of the most effective methods of creating a focal point is to use the lines in the picture to draw attention to the an area. This is called linear focus and it is derived from the viewer's tendency to not view lines or edges as static images. When viewing a picture, your eyes will tend to slide along a line. If many of the lines converge on a single point or area of the picture, a focal point is created. This also happens with values in tonal pictures. In Figure 6.41, Pieter Pauwel Rubens uses the form of the figure's body and other pictorial elements to draw the viewer's attention to the character's head.

The overlaid lines in Figure 6.42 indicate the general direction of the elements in Rubens' painting.

Figure 6.42 The lines show how the elements of the picture converge at the character's head. Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.

Figure 6.41 Rubens uses linear focus to draw attention to the character's head. Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY.

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