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Monday, 22 March 2010

Eye Movement in Paintings, About An Article by James Gurney

I read an interesting article in the April/May 2010, issue of the magazine, International Artist. The article was written by James Gurney, artist, author and illustrator of the Dinotopia books. The article was on eye tracking and the design of pictures. He had paintings reviewed by Eyetools, Inc. This firm’s technology records viewers’ gazes as they move through paintings. The findings showed that viewers’ eyes did not move in a curve or circular direction. Their eyes moved from one point of interest to another. Eyes do not necessarily go to an element on the golden grid. They went to strong elements in the painting. All viewers do not move through the painting in the same manner. Viewers are not passive and not controlled by a composition. Gurney concluded that artists shouldn’t think in abstract design elements alone. They have a role but human and narrative elements have a strong impact on the viewers’ movement through the painting. I was taught the elements and principles of art. I know that certain elements have more visual weight than other elements. Faces and figures have significant weight. Contrast of elements has weight. Principles of unity, balance and more are still necessary. For me the article confirmed my opinion that elements of art play an important role in paintings.

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