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Adventure Series 3


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Scott looks at different paintings to show how tension and balance help direct the viewers attention to the area of interest.

12min 36sec

The purpose of tension is to create opposition and/or balance in a painting.

Find the area of greatest visual interest in your painting. Look for ways to create tension by emphasizing supporting shapes, color, edges, etc. in opposing areas of the painting to create balance.

You can use tension points on opposing sides of your painting to create a sense of balance.

There is no best way.

There is not a best way just many different ways of going about moving your eye within a painting. Color, shapes, edges, etc. are some of the ways that artists achieve this when considering composition.

Either at your local library or on the internet, search for Dean Cornwell's painting titled It's Hard to Explain Murder (28x36).

  • Who is the main character?
  • Where is the opposition to the main character that creates balance for the entire painting?
  • Where are the leading lines? Notice the angle of these lines; where do they lead back to?

All of the choices are a relationship concentrating on the intent of the painting. Decisions are thought out. Look up other paintings by Dean Cornwell and E. Martin Hennings. Look for a strong intent and then try to find its opposition to figure out how the artist is creating balance. For example, when you see a strong vertical, look for a strong horizontal to oppose it. Look even at the dark and light passages and how they are set up. What do you notice?

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