Drawing & Composition

Tension Through Opposition

Scott discusses the use of opposing lines to create tension using the evolution (from photograph to study to multiple oil works) of a recent painting of a small waterfall.

5min 43sec

The purpose of tension is to create opposition for balance in a painting.

Find the area of greatest visual interest in your painting. Look for ways to create tension by emphasizing supporting shapes, colors, and lines in opposing areas of the painting to create balance. There is no best way.

You can use tension points on opposing sides of your painting to support a central area of interest.

Your understanding of tension will evolve over time as you experiment using different concepts such as:

  • Large shape.
  • Dramatic light or dark.
  • Sharp or soft edges.
  • High chroma color.
  • Opposing lines (the focus of this episode).

As you begin to analyze a scene, look for areas that are repetitious.

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