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Handling edges is a skill that all fine artists will need to learn sooner or later. Edges that are out of focus are vital in paintings in order to create the 3D illusion of making things look like they recede in a landscape painting, for example. Edges that are blurred make things appear they are moving.
The handling of edges is to be applied in all mediums, although some are more cooperative than others. For example, with pastels all you need to do is massage the dust with your finger and you can achieve any degree of softness, whereas in acrylics the paint dries too fast and it's impossible to blur, like with oils. Watercolor requires experience to know exactly when to apply the pigment to the wet paper.
There are three kinds of edges in all mediums:
The contour of forms can become completely lost, leaving little or no definition. Use diffused edges for the following:
• The last plane in your background, when indicating foliage
• To create ethereal cumulous clouds
• To create realistic waterfalls that appear to be moving
• To indicate crashing waves in seascapes
The edge is recognizable, but blurry.
• Distant trees and evergreens in backgrounds
• Distant hills
• Things in the peripheral areas of a painting
• Water reflections
Clearly defined with no sense of being out of focus.
• Rocky mountains
Advice on how to achieve soft or diffused edges:
Oil and Pastel:
Massage the paint to the degree of blurriness desired. These tow mediums are very easy.
1) Apply water to the paper.
2) Wait about 5 minutes for the water to be absorbed and/or until the paper is no longer glossy.
3) Add just enough water to create pasty (not runny) pigment. If necessary suck the excess water out of the brush by squeezing the bristles where they meet the ferrule while holding the brush vertical to the paper. Note: Rough paper is more cooperative than cold-pressed paper when it comes to controlling soft edges.
Scumble the adjacent color (such as the sky on the edges of trees) and lightly feather it in until the transition creates the blurred contour.
"Landscape Painting Essentials" and other video courses are available at NorthLightShop.com. North Light has also just released a new eBook written by Johannes titled Landscape Painting Essentials. Join his online art classes at http://improvemypaintings.com.
The Bridge and Castel Sant'Angelo with the Cupola of St. Peters, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Corot painted in several styles through his career, but this is an example of my favorite type of approach on his part.
To Corot, this small piece — roughly 10×17 in (27×42 cm), painted in oil on paper, later mounted to canvas — was likely a study. It was painted in 1826 or 1827, half a century before the first Impressionist Exhibition in Paris.
What strikes me, other than how beautiful, painterly and appealing I find it, is how contemporary it looks.
I've often thought in looking paintings like this, that you could draw a line straight from Corot to the standards of much contemporary landscape and plein air painting — without going through the Impressionists on whom he was so influential, and the American Impressionists, on whom they were so influential — a straight line from Corot to contemporary painterly realism.
I recently went to see Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, a curious film in the sense that it focuses much more on the subject's love life than it does her love of art. Still, it was good overall and I'm glad I went.
The film showcases the development of several abstract and other non-traditional artists, including Jackson Pollack. I've always liked Pollack's work, but I don't think I understood the audacity of it until seeing this new film.
I often feel inspired when I hear about larger-than-life figures who pursued big ambitions. People like Pollack, and Peggy Guggenheim, did big things.
Then I went home and I thought: "What big thing am I doing?"
I've done big things in the past. But the past is … the past. It's not something that can be reclaimed or relived.
In an interview for her biography that was later used for the film, Peggy said:
"I can't be jealous of the past, I can only be jealous of the future."
And I thought that was a pretty good way of thinking about it. What's done is done, in other words, so you'd better make something of yourself in the days to come. Or at least that's how I interpreted it.
So what big thing am I doing now, I wondered.
The natural objection is to say that not everything has to be big, which of course is true. But this observation misses the point. First of all, if you can do something big, why wouldn't you?
Second, "big" doesn't have to refer only to size. Moving to a tiny house could be a pretty big idea for many people. A lot of small businesses and charities have big impacts on those they serve.
So big doesn't necessarily mean "huge"—but it does mean impactful, audacious, groundbreaking, and—I think—challenging.
So yeah, I have to step it up. And maybe you do, too?
Otherwise, you have to accept that the best was in the past, and that seems depressing. When apathy is the alternative, it's time to think big.
Though she also paints landscape and still life subjects, South African artist Natalie Hirschman finds her primary inspiration in figures and portraits.
These are portrayed against rough, textural backgrounds. Hirschman's use of lost and found edges allows her subjects to both be set off by their backgrounds and blend with them, giving her compositions a sense of unity and wholeness.
Artur Sadlos is a concept artist, illustrator and art director based in Poland and working in the gaming industry. His projects include For Honor, Total War: Warhammer, Halo 5, Batman Dark Flight and Dead Island.
Though his ability to display work from some of his professional projects is apparently limited by rights agreements, the work I find most interesting is from his personal projects — notably one called "Conceptverse", which has its own website.
Graphic designer Silas Amos' new book A Bigger Spectrum features a bespoke, one-off art print by Supermundane in each copy, aiming to emphasise the relevance of digital printing. Inspired by the agility and versatility of digital print, this ode to the format sees Silas collaborate with art director James Lunn to produce a series of double-page spreads reflecting the diverse styles and printing needs of the graphic design world.
Designer Jim Wong has created this fun and friendly identity for social innovation festival, 10DayFest that took place in Hong Kong last month. Organised by the catchily named Jockey Club Design Institute for Social Innovation, the festival featured a programme of workshops, film screenings and exhibitions.
Preschool children aged three and four have created designs for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The original logo for the Olympics was scrapped over a plagiarism row earlier this year, and the design has since been put out to an open crowdsourced competition. US-based designer Michael Raisch responded to this by asking his daughter's preschool class to create logo designs, all of which worked within the official IOC design guidelines. Michael took the children's creations and developed them into a logo, creating mockups of its application across everything from billboards and posters to flags and an aeroplane livery. "As a creative professional working in the sports branding field, I felt it was important to discuss the significance of creativity and expression in logo design over the trend of crowdsourcing," says Michael. No designs were submitted to the Japanese design contest, as they were created in the US.
London design event Clerkenwell Design Week has unveiled a new visual identity, created by Studio Parallel. "We feel that it's the right time for a change in design direction," says the agency's creative director Paul Fox. "We worked to achieve the right balance to add a new visual narrative, and still make it instantly recognisable as Clerkenwell Design Week to the audience." Set designer Kei Yoshino and photographer Lydia Whitmore worked on the campaign with the agency, creating five thematic images in total. The event's signature magenta colour palette was retained from previous years.
Like the Cher of the set design world, Elise needs just the one name. That quiet confidence may seem arrogant, but that's until you see the work and it's beautiful pastel shades of otherworldly brilliance. We assumed at first they were computer generated renders, but lo, they are in fact carefully constructed sculptures that have been commissioned for clients including The New York Times Magazine and Wallpaper*. Another sublime characteristic of Elise's work is in its ability to appear at once digital and organic, as forms curve around one another. This is most apparent in Pink Love, which Elise describes as boasting "pink curvaceousness." She adds: "Its fleshy corporeal forms press and push against the edges of its circular plinth; both plinth and final photograph of the work questioning the boundaries of its sculptural space."
Losing Tupperware and dishes to mould is a pitfall of a lazily led modern life. But photographers Nikita Teryoshin and Max Slobodda have captured the beauty in these clusters of fungal growth in their ongoing series, Küchendienst, German for "kitchen patrol."
Scientific illustrator Jane Kim (of Ink Dwell) spent around 16 months to paint birds of 243 different species on a wall. Everything began during her internship at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, when her director proposed her the frescos' project. To make everything more impressive, she enlarged the size of each bird and even represented 26 extinct species such as the dodo. We also find parrots, budgies, smaller birds like sparrows and raptors like owls and eagles.