Monday, May 2, 2011

Coloring inside the Lines


Coloring inside the Lines 14x11 oil by Shirley Fachilla

I had a request to write about what Carolyn Anderson had to say about edges. (For those who didn’t see the last post here, I’m just back from an outstanding Carolyn Anderson workshop.)

An edge definition might be handy. To a painter, edges are those transitions between one color and/or one value and another. Think of a coloring book. The lines defining where to put one color and where to end it are a painter’s edges. The lines in a coloring book are also a primer on how not to handle edges when you’re a grown-up artist.
In representational paintings that attempt a “realistic” version of the world, there would be few "hard" sharp edges (think knife and cliff edges). And they would be used to call attention to something the artist considered important within the canvas. “Soft” edges (think folds in chiffon, shiny windblown hair) would be the usual rule with the very fun vanishing edge functioning as a way to marry one form to another.
Now Carolyn really said none of the above. She talked about edge variety and explained edges with pictures rather than words. She did this, I think, because edges are a nuanced skill. There are many different kinds of edges within the broad categories of hard and soft. Lots of soft edges without variety create a dull painting; lots of hard edges make a confusing one. To discover how to go about making the right edge, an artist needs first to study how it’s done in many good paintings. Carolyn used Sargent, Sorolla, Fechin as some of her examples. There are, however, some beautiful, illuminating and educational words about edges, on the first page of Carolyn’s website.

Coloring inside the Lines was done from one of Carolyn’s assortment of photos while at her workshop. One afternoon we worked from photos rather than from life. I loved and envied her many great photos of ballerinas.

14 comments:

  1. Never tire of reading about edges! This piece has such great soft edges!

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  2. Lovely ballerina. Thanks for reminding me about edges and for sharing your impressions from the workshop

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  3. Thanks for repostting that....always good to hear again!
    Your painting is just lovely!

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  4. This painting is gorgeous! The subject matter and the artists (your) rendition of it, is just lovely.

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  5. This is so beautiful...your inspiration is coming through...I love it! I especially like how you handled the fingers.

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  6. Thank you everyone. She was a joy to paint.

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  7. Shirley, Another way to handle edges - check out Tang Wei Min. On his pieces he outlines every edge but sometimes so faintly that you can barely see it. It makes for an old master, yet thoroughly modern look. I mention it because it is another way to go and the results are amazing. I wish I could post a photo showing what I mean. How do I do that?

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  8. Carole, I did check-out his images. They are beautiful. Wish I could see them up really, really close! As to posting, I'm a techno dummy and only understand how to post images to my own blog which I'm sure you understand as well.

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  9. Beautifully done and a great post!

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  10. Thank you, Suzanne. Carolyn's workshop was a joy and a real learning experience.

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  11. Really pretty and I love the background.

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  12. Gorgeous piece, and the post is very interesting.

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  13. What a lovely painting. You've captured the soft mood of this costumed dancer with grace and skill.

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