Gazing Direction in Composition
Gazing direction in a composition is the direction a subject is looking at in a scene. When creating a design, the artist should make sure that the gazing direction makes sense to the overall balance of the frame.
For example, in the painting below by Henri Fantin-Latour notice how the gazing direction and the angles of the women’s limbs create a circular motion in the composition. This calculated visual path, set up by the artist in the preliminary drawing phase, creates a dynamic energy in the design and allows the viewer to move around the picture fluidly without hesitation.
Painting above by Victor Gabriel Gilbert demonstrating gazing direction and pointing devices.
The painting above, “The Waterseller of Seville” by Diego Velázquez, demonstrates the use of gazing direction to create a visual path for the viewer to follow. Also, observe how the basic armature of the rectangle and the diagonal lines lock the composition firmly in place.
In the charcoal and pastel drawing above, "Self Portrait in Coitus" by Susan Hauptman, notice how the gazing direction of the man on the far left leads the viewer's eyes to the main subject in the center of the frame. Also, observe how the gazing direction matches the Baroque reciprocal in the root 2 Dynamic Symmetry rectangle.