Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Losing my Edge

Old Teapot, Old Rose, Fresh Pears is a 9x12 oil done from life by Shirley Fachilla.

It’s an old-fashioned, tried-and-true still life subject, flowers, fruit and teapot. But that’s not what I mean by losing my edge. (Not that I’ve ever been very edgy.)

Edge is a sort of technical term for artists.  In a painting, where one value meets another, where one color meets another, there’s an edge. As you can tell from the definition, paintings are made up of a series of edges. A primary trick for representational artists, and for many abstract ones, is to make those edges mimic three-dimensional reality, to create the illusion of depth, form and weight on a two-dimensional surface.

Edges can be soft, can stutter and break or simply disappear entirely. The hard edge (sharp and well defined) is the easiest to create and the one to use the least.

I’m thinking a lot about edges these days because I just attended a Carolyn Anderson workshop and toured a Joaquin Sorolla exhibit, two masters of the edge. They each succeed at creating beautiful edges in completely different ways which gives me hope that I may find my own way to make wonderful edges. So I came home and made a still life, a still life that is all about the edge, when to hone it and when to make it vanish.


  1. This is a beautiful still life , Shirley! I love the tespot.. The colors are outstanding ....even the dark background is fantastic......!!

  2. Really it´s a little old-fashioned but I like this painting.

    P.s.: Sorolla is one of my favorite of my favorite painters, also Ignacio Pinazo, and not because they were from Valencia, like me. ;)

  3. Bonsoir chère amie,
    J'apprends en vous lisant et je me délecte en admirant votre oeuvre. Un très joli travail... Pas évident de mettre en application la leçon !
    Gros bisous

  4. Such a beautiful painting, Shirley. I love the looseness and subtle colors in this piece!! The Teapot is outstanding as well!

  5. Beautifully done, Shirley! Edge work in a painting is so intriguing! I love it when the edges of an object get lost in the background or merge with the object next to it. Recently, I've come to admire the disappearing edges in Gina Brown's work. It's a skill at which I wish I were more proficient. Your painting is such a fine example of expertise in this area!

  6. WONDERFUL POST and painting!!! beautifully done! and edges have been something i've struggled with for some time. thank you for this, it really is incredible.

  7. What a great observation about edges...something to consider always while painting. I love your work!


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Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...