Thursday, May 8, 2014

Keep Away From the Edge

River Edge, oil, 12x9
Vickery Creek Curve, pastel, 10x8

I've noticed that many of my students often fall into the trap of defining too many edges within the landscape too soon in the painting process. So for this month's classes at my studio, I revisited an exercise I did a couple of years ago Click here to see that earlier blog post, and from whom I got the idea. Although this approach works especially well for landscapes in hazy, overcast conditions, it can work for any type of landscape if you're trying to train yourself to be selective with your edges.

With this approach, you begin the painting without defining any edges, but to only block in the large shapes with soft, vague edges. This way, as the painting progresses, you can be selective with which edges to define, and which to leave "lost." I specifically chose subject matter that was packed full of fine details that we wanted to look past in the early stages.

Below are some progression shots from each demo, starting with the "vague," and not very "edgy" block in. (Except for that foreground rock in the oil demo...those sharp edges in the beginning must have snuck in there!)

Also a note on the oil piece, "River Edge"...I thought that small tree trunk crossing over the larger one would make an interesting shape, but I later decided that it's more awkward than interesting. I've already scraped out the smaller one. I may either leave it out completely or make it thinner. We'll see how it goes.


  1. You're a brilliant artist and teacher. Sometimes people are gifted with one ability or the have both. Great post!

    1. What a sweet comment, Kim. I really appreciate that! :-)