How To Use Increased Color Saturation To Draw Attention To Your Focal Point

An amazing technique for drawing attention to your focal point is to use increased color saturation to contrast against areas of more muted colors.

I used this technique in my most recent painting, Queenstown From the Shore:

Dan Scott, Queenstown From the Shore, 2017
Dan Scott, Queenstown From the Shore, 2017

This was a fairly gloomy painting with mostly muted colors. But this presents a perfect opportunity to draw the viewer towards the focal point using small areas of saturated colors.

Here is a close-up of the painting:

How To Use Color Saturation To Draw Attention To Your Focal Point

You can see all those beautiful reds, yellows, and blues in almost full saturation. This creates a sharp contrast against the muted colors in the rest of the painting and really draws you in towards this area.

The small areas of saturated colors also create the illusion of increased activity and movement. It just looks like there is more going on in this area.

In the painting below by Claude Monet, you are drawn toward the flowers in the foreground which have a beautiful color saturation compared to the rest of the painting.

Claude Monet, Roses In The Hoshede's Garden At Montregon, 1876
Claude Monet, Roses In The Hoshede’s Garden At Montregon, 1876

When you look closely at the flowers in the foreground, you will see all sorts of saturated colors such as reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and blues. This creates a very vibrant area of color which contrasts nicely against the rest of the painting.

Many of the great Russian impressionists were masters of using small areas of increased color saturation to attract your attention. Bato Dugarzhapov is one artist that comes to mind.

Thanks for Reading!

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Happy painting!

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Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy


Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.

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