Uta L.

case study – 

Analyzing a picture that one has never really liked nor understood is probably a good exercise. But difficult. Certainly the naked lady is the fcoal point, but I wonder if the painting hadn’t been much better without HER! All the detail in the picture that goes unnoticed because everybody’s eyes are drawn to that white naked body. She is the first player – the hidden animals are the second players, and the whole composition would have been much improved if there had been more of those, instead of the lady, then the flute player and the moon would have been two focal points, though of slightly different importance. And of course, the space where the lady is would have needed to be taken care of somehow – so I guess this rambling is not really getting us anywhere...

Other examples

A family walk on a bright and sunny Sunday (well, sort of.) It’s the Dad’s birthday, the boy is ten, pre-puberty and definitely opposed to taking Sunday walks. The normal order of participants really was Dad – I – son, but I stayed behind a bit to take the picture. The boy’s jacket makes for a focal point, and that shows very well the importance of the two persons because although it should have been the Dad’s festive day, and it was his wish to go for a walk, the boy’s sulking usurped all attention to keep him walking and the whole arrangement from disintegrating. 


The contrast of the different shades of green (although rather dull on this brigth and sunny day) leads the viewers eyes into the direction of the field in the lightest green in the back, before the dark pine forest. The contrast/focal point effect is even more noticeable when the picture is cropped.

The examples of others: 

Paul Klee – three pictures, though I failed to take down every title

“Ad Parnassum” 

The intensive and delicate texture of the tiny marks throughout the picture dominates the overall effect and is a unifying force. Changes in color (complementary blue and orange mostly, with a little bit of darker shades) and the well-defined lines, traingle shapes and half-circle in the lower left hand third give the viewer the impression of seeing a house with an entrance. The orange circle in the upper right hand corner differs from the other shapes in that it is a circle by itself and not surrounded by a defining line, thus drawing a lot of attention to itself. But I think this is a faux, misleading ‘focal point’, and that the real focal point is the door, catching the viewers imagination. 

No clearly defined focal point. First players are the colors/Lines defined by the change in colors, and second players are the different signs or symbols. If there is something that could be considered focal pointish, I would say it is the two orange ‘lines’ around the middle, focussing the viewers attention around the middle, but this again is counterweightes by the stronger values of color in the upper half of the picture as compared to the lower half of the picture.

this one has a ‘focal area’ on the left side of the painting, defined by the fact that there is much more red on that side, and that the smaller sections are also concentrated on this side. So therre is color contrast, contrast in ‘texture’. I like the way that the arrangement of colors/size of areas keeps the viewer moving around while looking, making sure that despite the fact that ther is a focal area neverthelsee the entire picture gets looked at. 

photography by Dorothea Lange

Here we find two focal points: 1. the star on the policeman’s coat, and, secondary, the single man looking at the photographer, on the right hand side of the picture. The policeman is a ‘first player’, the men in the background are the secondary players, and the signs are the third players, despite the fact that most of them can’t be read in their entirety, or understood because of the fact that they were written in Chinese characters. The wide ‘line of bodies’ divides the picture into half, and the lower end, the pavement, is what the entire picture ‘rests on’, pushing a lot of attention to the signs and the fact that there is indeed a demonstration going on, even though it is being held under full control.

The focal point in this one is not the woman’s white dress/robe, although contrasting to her dark sking. The central position of her sitting on the rocking chair is strengthened by the way the tobacco leaves are arranges around her, pointing towards the setting. But the real focal point are her eyes, not looking at the photographer, but to the photograper’s right. 

own photography: 

focal point is the yellowish blob in the upper left, in a different texture than the rest of the picture, and different shape. found abstract art.

I don’t think this one has a focal point. But it has several contrast features: texture (the edges), shape (the darker ‘squares’), the shadows, the non-parallel lines (although if I were taking it today I would probably try to get a frontal shot, at least for comparison, must not have thought about that then)

own art in making:  – not finished yet.

this will be 12”x12”. The entire area on the right will be stitched as indicated. The various washers will be attached through stitches. And I haven’t decided on the entirety of quilting stitches yet, at this stage it is not layered yet.