Principles of design in the painting Controlled Burn by Tim Davis.

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The painting Controlled Burn by Tim Davis uses the closely related design principles of contrast and emphasis. These principles work in tandem to create an eye-catching image of a fire that presents no urgency or danger.

While there is not any particularly stark or jarring light/dark contrast in the painting, there is color contrast between the orange of the flames and the earthy green tones of the surrounding forest. The colors of the fire sit directly on top of the green, giving the center left of the painting a sense of transformation and leaving the more complementary browns to reflect what has already occurred. The fire is clearly visible and draws the viewer's immediate eye, even though it is a comparatively small part of the painting.

As the viewer looks to the scenery in the back and foreground, the plume of smoke draws emphasis away from the fire, providing a linear path for the viewer to examine other details. While the color contrast brings attention to the burning the smoke continues moving and diffuses the focus, dwarfing the size of the fire and minimizing its visual severity. This is how the fire can be the focus of the painting without any prevalent sense of stress.

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