Mohamed  Hirji

Fine Art

Twitter @mkhirji

The Concept Of Value Contrast

Apr 27, 2018

Blog Post

On the previous posts, I have discussed where the artists place the focal spot and why. In this blog, I wish to relate the concept of contrast to grab the viewers attention to the focal spot. The foremost of these principles is the value contrast. In art, value means the lightness or darkness of a tone, where black would be the darkest value, white the lightest value and the value halfway between these two extremes, the middle grey value and several in between.

Our eyes gravitate to the area of maximal value contrast. In the following example, our eyes first notice the sun surrounded by the clouds before wandering off to explore the rest of the image.

Clouds surrounding the bright sun - Maximal Contrast.

If however, the dark clouds were not present around the sun, the impact would be far less.

No dark clouds around the sun to create the intense contrast.

Alternately, the dark clouds could completely surround the sun and reduce the contrast.

Clouds obscuring the sun, reducing the value contrast.

As you can see from the above. the greater the value contrast around the focal spot, the more likely our eyes will gravitate to the area of interest.

Now let us look at this painting of mine called The Glow. You will notice your eyes instantly gravitate to the area of maximal value contrast ( lightest lights surrounded by darkest darks) which is outlined with the red circle.

The area of maximal value contrast outline by the red circle.

And here is another example from another paintingcalled the Colours Of Canadian Maple where the maximal value contrast is outlined by the white circle.

Maximal Value Contrast around the white circle.

Stay tuned, and share with your friends and social media contacts. The next series of blogs will tackle other devices for augmenting the focal spot. Comments or questions appreciated.

Mohamed Hirji