Need of Focal Point?

“Art always emphasizes on the focal point of a picture. It is that spot where your eye fixes and the whole composition grows and revolves around it. That interpreted, if art then is nature, the focal point would be the crater atop the volcano as seen on plan where everything caves in. And everything that revolves around it are just bleak terrains. Of hardened lava perhaps? Where then is the garden where a child hops around splattering their feet in the stream? Where then are the decayed logs where the mushrooms sprout? And the spiders spin their webs? Where then does the rabbit burrows? Does such formality always apply on every subject matter in art? For someone who has been dabbling in art for four decades and growing, I would say no.

If someone painted humor, that humor would be constrained if the composition is symmetrical. That turns the painting into a whimper of giggles instead of listening to a big loud roar. Why is that so? Because where the focal points are, there, symmetry would be also. Symmetry draws stiffness unless that is what is intended in your composition.

The conclusion is, subject matters will decide your composition. A good composition is about balance, not symmetry. Good artist will know when to emphasize on focal points and when it needs to disintegrate into a landscape garden. Paintings with a focal point may draw attentions better initially, but given that if you are going to live with it and face it all day long for the next five years or more, it is those without a focal point that won’t bore you. Perhaps it may also be because men are all born hunters, their affinity to nature and garden is natural indeed. That said, paintings without focal points are not necessarily bad compositions. All in all, it still depends on the context. Especially in larger sized paintings, try to compose a garden. There are lots of stories to tell in a garden and people’s eyes wander around when in a garden. That’s what makes larger paintings come alive. The experienced aficionados of art has got to agree even when the conventional audience disagree.”

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