Every painting needs a focal point or center of interest, the final place where your eye rests and enjoys the artistic statement you are making, the “why” of the communication you are making in a visual way. We can make use of design contrasts in order to pull the eye in to that focal point: value contrasts: darks against lights; color contrasts: complementary hues beside each other or more muted neutrals against bright color; direction contrasts; shape and size contrasts; texture contrasts. All of these contrasts draw attention to themselves.We can use artistic licence to draw the viewer in, exaggerating the contrasts so that they “shout”.
Beneath these contrasts we can have a foundation of unity. The underlying washes in a watercolor are like toning a canvas – set the stage for warmth or coolness. Save a few highlights or paint around them in a looser painterly way. Now you’re set to work in planned glazes or exciting slightly uncontrollable washes – the nature of watercolor!