When everything is equal
in value and intensity, nothing stands out.
Now look at the second example. Where does your eye end up? Where does it return to over and over, even after exploring all of the painting?
If you said "the barn" you would be right! Here the intense red of the barn contrasts with the relative "dullness" or lowered intensities of the other colors, so that the barn becomes the focal point or the dominant element in the painting. If you want to use color intensity to create dominance, remember to use the "purest" color you can (i.e. not mixed with any other color).
In the third example, I dulled or lowered the intensity of the colors in the background of the painting, including the barn, and intensified the colors in the foreground, so that it pulls our attention to the grassy area at the bottom right area next to the road.
These color values are also lighter and warmer, and generally, lighter warmer colors will pull foreward and attract more attention than darker cooler ones.
Finally, look at the last example. What is the dominant area or focal point here? If you said the sky area you would be correct again.
This is accomplished by
making the sky the purest most intense color, and also the area with
the most contrast in value. The colors in the rest of the painting
have all been dulled or lowered in intensity. How do you lower intensity
(or dull) a color? By mixing it with its complementary color. (see
the color mixing tip, or go to www.handprint.com
for information on color complements)