Edges - A Confusing Illusion or  Not

Edges - A Confusing Illusion or Not

Becky Joy

Hard and Soft, Lost Found Edges

When to use lost found edges. I found edges to be one of the most confusing parts in creating a convincing painting.  When to soften and when not to. The first thing to do is squint, compare, squint some more and then you might see some of the edges for what they are. Remember that we are painting on a two dimensional surface which is in essence creating an illusion. Sometimes, it is necessary to exaggerate edges. Here is some useful information that might help you determine how to paint edges.

The farther something is away from the viewer, the softer the edges. The rounder the object, the softer the edges become. We also want to remind ourselves that we need to eliminate things and deal with the focal point. So, all else can have more soft edges. The eye will go to the hard edges which are used in and around the focal point.

Look at values. If a dark and light value are next to each other, this will usually create a harder edge.  If dark moves into dark areas, obviously that will make for a softer edge. Everything is comparison, softer than.... or harder than.... There should be variety. Look to see if an object has a soft edge on one side and hard on the other. That will help to create the illusion of form. It will help to integrate an object into it's surroundings.

Don't just use edges for the sake of variety, think about it. What would the best of use of edges be in your painting? Find the kinds of edges you see or the reasons for using them.

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