How to create a focal point in your abstract painting

Abstract artist, Claire Desjardins, painting colors in her art studio using acrylic paints.
Textured abstract painting of colors by artist / painter Claire Desjardins, "It's All Icing".

Today, I want to share some tips on one of the most important aspects of abstract painting: creating a focal point. As an abstract artist myself, I know how vital it is to guide the viewer's eye through the canvas and give them something to focus on. So, let's dive in!

Start with intent

Abstract artist, Claire Desjardins, paints colourful abstract floral painting in her art studio.Before even picking up your paintbrush, take a moment to think about what you want your painting to convey. What emotions do you want to evoke? What story do you want to tell? Having a clear intent will guide you in choosing the focal point of your piece.

Contrast is key

"Faraway Lands" by Canadian abstract painter / artist, Claire Desjardins.

Contrast is your best friend when it comes to creating a focal point. Play with contrasts in color, value, texture, and shape to make your focal point stand out. For example, if your background is mostly cool tones, consider adding a warm-toned focal point to create visual interest.

Size matters

Size can also help emphasize your focal point. Experiment with scale by making your focal point larger or smaller than other elements in the painting. This can draw the viewer's eye and create a sense of depth and perspective.

"A Bite of Fresh Mango" by abstract painter/artist, Claire Desjardins, is a melody of saturated colors.

Placement and composition

Think about where you want to place your focal point within the composition. According to the rule of thirds, placing your focal point off-center can create a more dynamic and visually pleasing composition. However, feel free to break this rule if it serves your artistic vision!

Use directional elements

Artist/painter, Claire Desjardins, sits in front of her red, purple and taupe abstract painting, "Right On!".

Incorporate directional elements such as lines, shapes, or brushstrokes that lead the viewer's eye towards your focal point. This subtle technique can help guide the viewer's gaze and reinforce the importance of your focal point.

Balance and harmony


Multi-coloured abstract painting with texture, by artist / painter, Claire Desjardins: "Spring Rains".


While your focal point should stand out, it's essential to maintain balance and harmony throughout your painting. Make sure that your focal point complements the rest of the composition rather than overpowering it.

Trust your instincts

Finally, don't be afraid to trust your instincts and let your intuition guide you. Abstract painting is all about experimentation and self-expression, so embrace the process and allow yourself to take creative risks.


Remember, creating a focal point is not just about drawing attention; it's about creating a visual journey for the viewer to embark on. So, have fun with it, and let your creativity flow!

I hope these tips inspire you to experiment with creating focal points in your abstract paintings. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers in art—only endless possibilities. Happy painting!

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