The current Colour & Composition class is having fun learning about contrast. The foundational topic is values (how dark or light a colour is), since that is one of the most powerful and frequently used methods of making contrast.
In the majority of the painting above, there are soft edged transitions between the colour and value changes. By putting the strong dark and light contrasts near the focal point, the lighthouse comes forward with good contrast to the background.
The power of contrast can be applied to any type of painting: dark vs light, texture vs smooth, intense vs unsaturated, and lots more. Painting is complicated - and that makes it a constant adventure for painters. And is also why I will never get tired of exploring the many diverse ways to handle paint.