Discovering Art: The Making of an Artist Part 78
Varying Levels of Focus and Detail
Varying Levels of Focus and Detail & Italy, Pianello
By Barry John Raybould
When you are looking at a view, your eye sees only one part of the scene clearly in focus. You see the rest of the scene in a more generalized way using your peripheral vision. You should do the same in your painting by keeping the objects in the focal point or focal area in sharper focus compared with objects in other parts of the painting.
Avoid making your painting look like a photograph in which the whole scene is in focus.
Two techniques you can use for varying the level of detail are:
Brush size: Use two brushes that have a great contrast of size and shape so you cannot create too much detail outside the focal point. Use the small brush only in the focal area.
Edges: Use soft edges in part of the painting and harder edges elsewhere.
In this painting, Geraniums, you can see the flowers and leaves in the foreground are much more defined than the plant pot and the table, which blend into the background. The areas of light hitting the pot also have some hard edges in their brushstrokes.