Thursday, December 9, 2010

Playing with Edges

Here's an assignment to practice edges in watercolor. Surely there are many more edge possibilities!

Using a simple object as a subject (fruit, pear, cup, vase, etc.) as reference,
paint 5 small (approximately 5"-7") paintings of each edge below.
Apply large wash areas.

Edge to edge
1) Edge to edge - Your background area/wash will barely meet your foreground/object wash. Bump up one wash to another so they barely meet and do not overlap.

Overlapping edges
2) Overlapping edges - The background wash area slightly overlaps the foreground/object wash, creating a line. This is what one refers to as a glaze. Only this is a narrow area that can be defined as a line.

Wet in wet blurry edges
3) Wet in wet, blurry, undefined edges -
Wet the entire 7" square evenly with clean water, allowing it to sit until the area has a slightly mat finish. You want the water to soak into the paper for a minute or two. Apply a color to your object/foreground with a brush loaded with color. Use lots of pigment, not much water! Using another brush, quickly apply the background while the paper is still wet. Again lots of pigment! (Watercolor dries lighter in value and intensity) Your edges between the object and background should be soft and undefined.

With line
4) Lines defining edges -
Draw your object using a pencil, brush or marker. Then apply paint.
For line in this image, I used a black Stabilo pencil. It's Water soluble. You can use anything, graphite, black or colored marker, colored pencil etc.

5) Incorporate all 4 edges above. I'm leaving that to your imaginations.

The purpose of this assignment is to explore various ways watercolor can be applied to define edges of objects. Or not define them! Consider lost edges, particularly in shadow areas in future paintings.

This project is also posted under the tab "Watercolor Projects."


  1. I love all of these. So enjoyable to cruise through your blog.

  2. Thanks so much, Don. I really enjoy your work and blog also.