Sargent image from artrenewal.org
Sargent was a master at handling edges. One of the advantages to his working alla prima was that since whole passages were wet up at a time, he could blend edges easily. Blending a wet edge when both sides of that edge are wet is very effective blending a wet edge into a dry passage is never as good. Let me walk you through some of the hard and soft edges in this little girls head.
- There is a hard edge where the zygomatic arch meets the ear. Below this the edge go soft as the cheek is softer than the bone there.
- The turn of the jaw is represented with a hard edge.
- The line of the jaw goes from hard, to soft, to imperceptible at point 3
- The cast shadow of her hair is razor sharp, as cast shadows often are. This is a bony area too, so the edge helps communicate that.
- This edge at the top of the nose is very soft, showing the delicacy of her skin, but also giving contrast to the hard edge at 4 nearby.
- Another hard edge as the bony cage of the eye meets the upper lid.
- The lower lid and the white of the eye are treated as one shape. The edge is almost imperceptible here.
- The bottom of the earlobe here is hard as it sits in space away from the head.
- At 9 the line of the ear is softened again where the outside of the ear and the hair are fused together.