AN ARTIST IN HIS STUDIO (detail) 1904
John Singer Sargent painted himself at his palette.
In my opinion and many others,
Sargent was a master at painting edges.
For me personally, exploring painting edges is part of the pleasure of using paint.
I am not setting myself up as an expert, but I have had the satisfaction
of seeing my own ability increase through doing the following exercises.
I hope these will be of interest to those artists who do not have the advantage
of having access to a teacher.
I have included a black and white of each to help those who
have problems seeing values in color.
Click on any image to enlarge.
#1. Back-lighting using value and color changes.
We have all seen the sunlight behind a tree or flowers,
illuminating the edges. This is easy with a dark
background, but how do you get it to glow
against a light area?
Shown is both an apple and a shrub.
The principle is the same for both of them.
Place a glowing color on the edges changing down in
value at least three times before
hitting the core shadow.
Here the light is warm
so I used a warm/temperature on the first layer
going slightly cooler after that.
Do not make the mistake of over blending
these values together. Be careful to step down each
value change with a gentle transition.
Tickle the edges together with the SIDE
of a soft brush very lightly
if you want a smooth appearance.
#2 Losing an edge using value and/or color changes.
I think this one is important because it prevents the
undesirable, "cookie cutter" look. See example here.
for when a similar
color and value is
all the way around
Usually it also has
the halo, this is where
the artist caries the
paint almost up to
the edge but not quite,
leaving a halo effect
Cookie Cutter and halo.
Make sure to find a place where two values can
merge at an edge.
On the apple below there is a darker blue area against
the shadow side of the apple.
On the shrub, the band of hill color and the shadow
make two areas of similar value changes
#3 Focal Point
The principle here is - lightest/darkest/sharpest area
Be sure that the main dark
and light has no competition.
Here the shadow side of the
apple and the cast shadow
do not have the same degree
of contrast as the
focal area. It is still dark but
not to the same degree.
The edges are
different all around the
apple using value and color.
Tomorrow I will show different brush and knife techniques