Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Yet more about edges
Here's a recent painting of mine. I did this next to the historic' Fort Moultrie near Charleston South Carolina. Fort Moultrie was bombarded in both the revolutionary and the civil wars. I will use this painting to show you some softened edges. Below is a detail of the sky.
There are several different types of edges in this passage. The first and most obvious is the clouds at the top of the detail. I pulled them together as I painted them, with the same large bristle brush . I put them into the wet sky so the whole thing went down in one go. If it had not all been done at once I would have been unable to soften the clouds into the sky. Sometimes people call this wet into wet. I don't, because when I hear that I think of "method" painters . The ones with their books at the local craft supply barn.
The second set of soft edges are created by dragging the tops of the stunted trees up over the sky. Rather than blending the two together with a brush, I let the color break over the sky note below it, to represent the fine haze of branches there. I also threw some sky color into the mixture I used to do this. Thay way the two notes were not so different. They shared a common element and were close together in value.
I have blurred the ocean and the sky together at the horizon to get that to recede.
There are other edge games going on in here also. In the grass I am throwing different colors of the same value over one another giving in effect soft edges. I am also throwing in real hard edges there. I have for instance put a dark shadow under that bush and then pulled the grass up over it and left it as a crisp accent stroke.
Lastly if you look at the upper right hand corner of that bush you will see I have "loaded" the paint there with my palette knife. That gives me a super hard edge to serve as a contrast to my soft edges. I want a bone or two in there. If I used only soft edges I would get a weak kind of painting. Although soft paintings can look very real they can also look vapid, insipid, noncommittal, fluffy poodle like and indecisive. You don't want that. Dynamic paintings contain a variety of edges.
With every note I lay on the canvas I ask myself a list of questions. I will give you that in a later post. But one of the questions on it is." What about the edge?" If the edge is not right the brushstroke is not right. I consider my edges with every stroke I lay on a painting, just like I do color and value. If you handle your edges on the" fly" it becomes automatic and you get the edge right while the passage is still wet. An overly hard edge in a passage can command so much attention that you see it, instead of another fault lurking nearby. When you soften that edge you become aware of the concealed problem, and can fix that.
I guess I will say it one more time just to make sure you have the concept because it is crucial.
YOU CANNOT OBSERVE EXPRESSIVE EDGES INTO A PAINTING. THEY MUST BE INSTALLED.
IN ORDER TO DO THAT YOU MUST OBSERVE, THINK AND THEN DECIDE.
See you all tomorrow.,