Focal Point

Focal Point

What kind of museum goer are you? Do you take in the scene standing way back or do you press your nose to the canvas to see how the strokes are applied?

Do you walk into a room and notice a signature element or do you take in the entire space? For example an accent wall, artwork, books, flower arrangements or the way the light filters the space versus seeing the entire area for its specific purpose or aesthetic. 

“The eye should not be led where there is nothing to see.” — Robert Henri, American Painter

Depending on the day, the hour, the circumstance we have the ability to look at life magnified in great detail or in a wide angle format. Naturally our lives need a framework, a backdrop, a foundation to achieve results. Our goals, aspirations and futures cannot exist purely on hopes and dreams. We have to make plans, set-up routines and learn where to focus our efforts and attention. 

Photographers use focal length to describe how much of a picture or scene is captured. It’s a mathematical calculation allowing a lens to “expand” or “compress” the perspective and scale of images. It is also described as when a camera lens is focused on infinity. Whoa — INFINITY is boundless, endless, limitless. I’ll leave the abstract concept of infinity to my son who is studying Discrete Mathematics this semester or the theological premise that our potential is limitless. 

Part of what I am trying to say is, focal length changes how we view life and our subject matter. You can stand in the same location and capture a broad view of life or hone in on the finer points. But you cannot capture both with a single click of a camera shutter or when making a quick decision.

Minute by minute we are adjusting our focus; directing our attention to the foreground, middle ground and background. Most of us find comfort in seeing the world either from a distance, at arms length or in close up. 

Every year we get better at composing the life we want: learning where to focus our efforts, appreciating the value of the wisdom gained and that our outlook and attitude each and every day prepares us for the next.

How do we stay focused? In my opinion — FOCAL POINT.

Focal point is a dominant element that draws your attention. Our eyes and our smiles provide the perfect examples of which to draw one's attention. In a split second we can determine joy, excitement, sorrow or we can see one’s beauty, brilliance, hardness or ugliness in another person. 

The purpose of focal point is to draw the viewer to the most important part of an image area you want to be the center-of-attention. The reason focal points are important is that when you look at an image your eye needs a resting place, something of interest to hold it. 

Creating a successful focal point happens when there is contrast, unusual placement, convergence, bold colors, shapes…. Focal points can require simplifying a design. I love isolating, cropping, highlighting a subject from its background. This is often achieved simply with black and white contrast, a curated color palette, a distinctive light source, dramatic or subtle shadows, shimmer or reflective qualities along with playing with the scale or angle of the image.

The beauty and freedom of creating vignettes allows the artist to filter the world through their own unique prism, allowing for as much or as little detail as they like.

I continue to be inspired by classical, decorative and ornamental design but I also love the opportunity to embrace what speaks to me every time I sit down at the drawing board. Hopefully you'll discover the whimsy, delight and charm I try to incorporate into my designs. 

Life often gets diluted, muddied or distorted because we get overwhelmed or hesitate to see that the possibilities are infinite. I am often reminded that everything you seek is right in front of you.

“Welcome” the opportunity to step back and take in the beauty of our wide and vast world on a regular basis for we are all created to be a part of this divine universe. In contrast, take time and pleasure in the people, the objects of your affection (touch, sight, smells, taste, & sound) and the past, present and future events that bring energy and intention to your world.

Think Positive and Keep it Simple!


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