Emphasis in Art
Emphasis is the principle of art that helps the audience put the story of a painting together in their own minds. So artists, might have one focal point in a painting or a photograph. An object or an area might serve as the ‘main character’ in a picture, like this red fruit that stands out in the green background.
Emphasis in Language
For a once English Language trainer, the word ’emphasis’ is something that I’m very familiar with. Impressing on trainees the rhythm of the English language and how it differs from their first language is always rather difficult. I would tell them how emphasis on certain words could change the meaning of sentences and impact the message they were trying to get across.
As an example, I’d get them to say the sentence : I didn’t say you were stupid. I asked them to keep saying the sentence, emphasizing a different word each time. I didn’t say you were stupid meant that I didn’t say, perhaps someone else did! I didn’t say you were stupid meant that I absolutely did not say that. Whereas, I didn’t say you were stupid, could mean that I didn’t say it, but I could have indicated it through email, messages, posters, even! You get the idea, right?
I read this cute story that really shouts loudly about emphasis and how it can change meaning at times.
A father was reading Bible stories to his young son. He read, “The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned to salt.” His son asked, “But what happened to the flea?”
What Are You Putting Emphasis On?
In our lives too we emphasize or give importance to various things. At different ages and stages of life our priorities keep changing as well. There’s a set of core values and principles that most often do not change. However, if these are no longer serving us, we might need to change them. Sometimes, some event or series of events will change things. For example, all of us put a greater value on our health during the pandemic than we did before.
From time to time, we need to re-evaluate where we are in life and what choices we’re making. I like these set of questions that Cheryl Richardson asked in one of her newsletters:
- Who am I at this time in my life?
- What do I value?
- What have I lost?
- What am I gaining?
- What can I no longer tolerate?
- What am I most afraid of? Why?
- What promises have I broken to myself that need to be kept?
- What do I need to heal and feel whole?
- What new gifts or strengths do I have to offer the world?