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-   -   P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft.... (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1319232)

Charlie's Mum 05-10-2013 11:01 AM

P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
This is a read-only thread, the original thread can be found here.

Welcome to anyone who would like to join this paint-a-long thread in which we are studying edges – those hard-and-soft-and-lost-and-found ones or even leading and receding ones!:)
There really is no mystery to what these are – just edges of different tonal qualities and definition. By contrasting hard and soft we make a painting more interesting and also more realistic; we allow the eye to wander and rest, to see the obvious and to ‘fill in the gaps’ where things are ‘lost’. In life, as we focus on an object we see only impressions of other areas and shapes – shift focus and the hard and soft focus changes; we don’t ever see all around us in the same hard focus at the same time. Hence, lost and found, hard and soft.

Put an object, say a mug, against a background, add light (easier from one side) and study it.
You understand its shape, you know the object, but how much of it do you actually see clearly defined?

For example, this image is from JEFranz and in the RIL -

- Note how we understand the shape of each pot even though we cannot see a clearly defined edge all round. The light on the pots gives us enough information; the shadow sides are ‘lost’, either in another shape or in the background.

This little painting (acrylic inks) also explains this –

Tone is the element that makes edges soft or hard – lost or found.
Using computer software allows us to differentiate tone quite easily by changing an image to greyscale but the best practice is to use our eyes and SQUINT! Looking at an image/object/scene through half-closed eyes eliminates all unnecessary detail and allows us to see the contrasts in tone; a painting depends more on the distribution and correct use of tone than on almost any other element. Colour can be a personal choice but unless the tonal balance is right, the painting will not ‘work’.

In this illustration I have marked the soft, hard and subtle edges and then asked you how you would define another. Squint at it – is it hard and defined? soft and lost? Somewhere between the two?

A little exercise -

Colour, large scale version

This is an image by Jade Fox in the RIL and I’ve put it into greyscale – see if you can identify the kind of edges on bowl, fruit and leaves.

Next are two illustrations with contrasting light.
First a Still Life with Beer Mug and Fruit by Van Gogh

The lighting is fairly dark but drama is created by some hard edges contrasting with the majority of very soft and lost edges in most of the painting….
.. and just to prove it doesn’t all have to be gloomy to have different tonal contrast, here’s an image by She-She (from the RIL) of light against light, but still we have lovely tonal contrast.

Can you identify hard/soft.lost.found areas?

Of course, hard and soft, lost and found don’t only relate to Still Life – look at this painting by Emil Carlson from 1887 (I think) – of the lovely yellow flowers getting lost on the right – so soft! – but what an impact they make with the hard, ‘found’ edges on the left!

Hard edges can be light or dark – confusing? :)

Leading and receding edges:
Think of something coming towards you – a leaf perhaps, its leading edge if light will bring it forward; for maximum impact, set it against a darker background.
Receding parts of the same leaf would be darker to send them back and the back edge of a leaf might be against a lighter area behind.
Perhaps a leaf is curling towards you and then away near the point … the area closest to you, if made lightest part, will appear to come forward. The rest of the leaf would be darker (gradually perhaps) to the darkest area away from you.
Tones make it curve - just as they would with a cup/mug/vase etc.
Of course, you always must bear in mind the direction of the light source!

How can you make an edge soft, or lose it a bit, send it ‘back’? … here’s one way …

One more piece of ‘homework’ for you –
From the RIL, by backlash …….. (I think this arrangement looks like Snoopy!!!)

Large version


Are you ready to paint now?
This is the image for our P.A.L. and it’s also by Jade Fox

Higher resolution version

I would suggest you first SQUINT to sort out the tonal balance (or make it into greyscale) and then do one or more thumbnail size pen/pencil sketches to get your composition sorted correctly for your canvas/paper/card (especially important if you want to alter or crop the image). Sketches need only be 2x3” and can save a lot of grief!
If you would like to, do a slightly larger try-out in greyscale – just rough – to check your tones in paint … say about 4x6”?
Paint in your own style – you don’t have to go for realism, photorealism or hyperrealism!
It can be impressionistic, expressionistic or semi-abstract; change the colours if you wish BUT, the tonal distribution and balance must be there so we can see those hard/soft, lost/found edges!

As usual, post any and all stages of your work in this thread and explain if you can, how you’ve approached it, what pitfalls you’ve found – or, indeed, how easily it’s all come together!
There’s no rush, the thread will stay open as long as needed – and for newcomers, this is a HELP thread where we share our ‘how to’ and ‘how not to’ efforts!
As the thread won’t be a sticky, it will probably help if you subscribe to it so you will be kept up to date with any additions.

One other suggestion - the reference is biased towards reds - why not try a red background/base - any little un-painted spots will then blend in with the painting.:D

When you’re ready, paint! I do hope you enjoy the experience. :D

ColinS 05-10-2013 11:32 AM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
Wow this looks fantastic Maureen. What a great idea. I will be watching with interest.

Geekette 05-10-2013 11:48 AM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
Ooh, this would be a helpful exercise! Count me in!

Charlie's Mum 05-10-2013 12:11 PM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
Colin - I expect you to sit overlooking the Med and join in!!!! :lol: ....... glad you can pop in still :D

Geekette -welcome!:)

ColinS 05-10-2013 12:19 PM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....

Originally Posted by Charlie's Mum
Colin - I expect you to sit overlooking the Med and join in!!!! :lol: ....... glad you can pop in still :D

Geekette -welcome!:)

Thanks to my IPad and good quality hotel WiFi where we are staying in Valencia. Sadly we leave here tomorrow so who knows if there will be WiFi at the next place in Andalusia.

Violetta 05-10-2013 01:02 PM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
This looks fantastic and just what I need. Count me in too. I just got back from a 5 day art retreat with friends where all we did was paint, talk, play games. And paint some more. As soon as I get all my stuff stowed away again, I'll go through this more closely and begin some homework. Thanks for doing this Maureen!

susme48 05-10-2013 01:10 PM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
I told myself that I would go slowly...:lol: since I should be cleaning, or packing...or something. I did do a preliminary 'sketch'/painting on the back of an old 12x12 piece of paper...

I so tend to just jump right in (which probably shows), but I am going to try and slow myself down. I know...all of you are laughing...I am too....

I drew the objects loosely in black water color pencil...then grabbed a 2" brush and filled in some black on the left and in the shadows, and van dyke brown for the next darker. I took the ref photo, and looked at it in grayscale...then used my program to posterize it...and just started painting in a few colors, using cheap paints (orange, yellow, and flesh colored) just to give an idea of shapes. Amazingly...I almost like it as it is...hopefully the one I do on canvas works as well!

bhavani.krishnan 05-10-2013 02:05 PM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
Maureen, thank you so much for this wealth of information :heart:. I will revisit in the evening to read everything properly and do the homework :D

susme48 05-10-2013 03:36 PM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
:angel: Maybe I just can't paint slower?

Trying to make myself stop and take photos...

First of the underpainting....mixed a 'black' with the van dyke brown and hookers green, tho' it's not quite as dark as I want. Brown as the second dark....used flesh instead of white to lighten that. A few dabs of green scattered here and there...The first underpainting of the iron hook is in the brown green....

Then I used cad orange, yellow ochre, and cad yellow to fill in the apples...mixing in a bit of the brown and green where it seemed to be appropriate. "Cheated" and just used ivory black to go back over the outline of the hook and its shadow...

This is an 18x24 canvas...
Being a 'good girl' and letting this dry, before starting the next layers...

I hope you don't mind my doing things so fast...I so love to paint, and being by myself...well, with no interruptions, I just paint and paint... :lol: Plus I am really not sure how much time I will have to paint during this stay at my daughter's...since she will be trying to teach me how to feed and care for the 2 potbellies...oh my!

Charlie's Mum 05-10-2013 04:09 PM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
*Gasp* Susan - I really did do a jaw-drop gasp when I saw your painting -I really like the raw energy and vitality of that first painting. I think you should frame it as is - honestly - it comes across (to me) as a tremendous piece.
I also like the way the more 'careful' one is shaping up - but if I could produce a quick and vital piece like that first I'd be ahappy bunny!:D

Glad others are signing in too - wondered if I should PM you that this thread was up - but see you homed in without that - thank you everyone! :D
Judy - that paint-away sounds fun - would love to do that with friends ....... we can manage a 'sewing B' but not painting:) Our local village art club is little more than a talking shop so I never could work while there!

I guess Susan is pushing me to paint - tomorrow, hopefully!

Geekette 05-10-2013 04:44 PM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
Susan - wow, I'm impressed at your progress! And here I am still stuck at work. You've got me fired up to work on this over the weekend. The newer piece is coming along well. Looks to me like you're on the right track.

Vivien Maloney 05-10-2013 05:10 PM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
Maureen - Just found this thread and thank you for putting so much info and work into it about lost and found edges! :clap:
I'm definitely in.
As you know, I'm having my own personal fight with Atelier Interactive Acrylics, but I've completed a few small paintings with them and I'm getting the hang of them now. So I thought I could use this painting to try out some of the Interactive Mediums which I haven't used yet. Goodness know what will develop but we'll see.

Susan - My goodness you're fast! I love the first one too...such a bold vibrant painting. And the second one is coming along well also.:thumbsup:

Charlie's Mum 05-10-2013 05:11 PM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
:clap: :clap: - great Vivien :D

Off to bed - night all :D

gakinme 05-10-2013 05:30 PM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
Susan, that first one has so much energy. I like it!

Maureen, thank you so much for putting this tutorial. So once every two years, I come by and participate and learn about acrylics. :lol: Not much progress if I do it only once every two years.

Here's mine.

Golden fluid acrylics and Liquitex acrylics.

5x7 inch acrylics paper

I got the jar and apple all lost. :eek:

susme48 05-10-2013 07:57 PM

Re: P.A.L. (Paint-a-Long): Edges, lost and found, hard and soft....
Looking good, Sandra!

Somehow I simply cannot do apples...sigh. I have tried over the years, and have so far NEVER gotten one. So far today, I have had oranges, and tomatoes, but nothing that looks even close to an apple...:lol: Part of me is determined...part of me says..."hey...they don't have to be apples"... :angel:

Oh...had some onions once too....:D :evil:

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