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Adventure Series 3

Hierarchy and Emphasis

Congratulations! You've finished the course!

Scott analyzes a photograph to identify repetitive elements that will be eliminated from the composition and then describes how he has used hierarchy and emphasis to develop the composition in two subsequent paintings.

5min 3sec

Establishing a hierarchy of major shapes will establish an inherent emphasis in your design.

Simply said, if your intent is to feature the sky, your biggest mass will occupy most of the sky space.

Rather than using traditional composition forms (letter shapes such as "L" or "S", etc.), Scott sees his center of interest as a circle or a series of concentric circles near the center of the painting.

Within the center of interest, Scott wants to continue moving your eye with a subordinate series of shape and line.

Once you have your center of interest, use the visual weight of shapes outside that area to balance the composition and direct the viewers eye.

Look up and study the work of Dean Cornwell and/or E.Martin Hennings. Specifically, study his unequal distribution of shape and scale that show obvious hierarchy and emphasis.

  • What does your eye pick up first in each painting? (Emphasis)
  • What else do you notice after looking more closely and studying each painting more in-depth? (Hierarchy of other elements)

Another example to watch is the video of 'The Hermit' by John Singer Sargent (in Building Your Library). Review the questions above while studying this work.

Begin observing this while you look at other artwork and beginning to note some of your ideas for the photographs you are using in this series.

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