example above the eye goes straight to the area of maximum contrast between the white and black shapes. When the
tonal range is reduced, as in the second example, the eye
still goes to the area of maximum contrast, but the
design looses impact. Tonal contrast is one of the most
powerful tools we have to define the centre of interest
in a painting.
In this painting of a
fly, the strong tonal contrast between the light areas of the fly and
the dark background, cause attention to go immediately to this area.
The abstract lines and marks in the foreground lead the
eye back up to the centre of interest. Having less tonal
contrast in the foreground allows the fly to dominate and
so not confuse the viewer.
Simple abstract marks such as this foreground play an important part
in the composition of the painting. Their job is to lead the eye back
to the centre of interest . They must have enough strength to do this
while not drawing attention away from the centre of interest. Delicate
tonal adjustment is often necessary to get this balance right.