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Why is contrast in a painting important?

Contrast is the difference between light and dark in a painting or drawing. It focuses the art work. Look at it this way; when you injure yourself. The doctor orders an x-ray. The x-ray is a black and white representation of you. You see the area x-rayed and they the bone. The body tends to be dark and the bone white. If you have broken a bone, the break shows up on the x-ray.


The same is true in art. Contrast helps your focus on the painting as a whole. Without it your eyes would look only to the lightest lights and the darkest darks. Everything else would not play a role in how the painting is perceives.


Contrast does not have to be stark like black against white. However, the rule of thumb, is that for every dark, there is a light.

Sunflower in Black in White

Let's look at the sunflower. You see the darks and lights. Near every dark color is a light color. So when you look at the overall painting, you see the depth of petals on the flower, the height of the center. Your eye takes in the entire painting not just the parts. Here is another example using pencil of contrast. As you can see from the barn, the lights and darks create the shadows and show your eye where to go.



Barn Drawing

Contrast is critical to creating a balanced painting.

The above painting is a example of how the lights and darks create the depth of the rocks and the buttes. The nebula provides depth of the sky.


Contrast is an important.


Until the next blog...


(All art contained herein is the property of the author Catydid.)

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