These are paintings from my Wine Series (gouache on Arches paper, 19" x 15") and I'm using them to illustrate another point from Arnheim's book. My previous post was a synthesis of Arnheim's ideas about visual weight and description when establishing balance in a drawing or painting. Continuing with the balance theme, he examines the influence of the left cerebral cortex of the brain which is dominant in most people upon our perception of elements placed in the left and right halves of the visual field of a work of art. BTW - the left cerebral cortex controls speech, writing, and reading. Here's a paraphrase of three points:
If there are two objects equal in size and one is shown in the left half and the other in the right half of the painting, the one on the right will look larger. In order to make them appear equal, the one on the left has to be increased in size.
Most people read pictures from left to right. Therefore, it's easier for us to see, for example, a rider traverse a picture from left to right. If the rider traverses from right to left, the viewer must overcome resistance and invest more effort to read the painting. It slows down the viewer.
The right side of a picture is more conspicuous and carries greater visual weight. To compensate, the artist must pay more attention to the left.
If I had to "nutshell" Arnheim's book, it's really about how the artist must create optical illusions to get his/her point across. This author tells us how the "normal" brain works and what the artist must do to compensate for that. I'll share a little more on the next post.