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Old 03-18-2011, 09:54 AM   #1
Clayton J. Beck III Clayton J. Beck III is offline
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Nude, a study in edges




This is a painting done with edges in mind. From the start this was a soft edge study. The paint handling was not mushy. The soft edges were created as the paint was being put down through tight value structure and paint application. The canvas, brushes, amount of paint and action of the brush all came together to create brushstrokes with ragged edges.

All work such as this can be very difficult because of the obvious inherent problems with drawing in a traditional sense. It is not possible to begin a work like this with a line drawing and then "soften" it up later. Every mark on the canvas is in concert with every other. Every time that two pieces of paint come together there is an edge created. The edge created must fit with all edges created previously and those yet to be. This requires a clear mental image and a great deal of planning before the work is begun.

I highly recommend doing this type of study, even if your drawing suffers a bit, in order to make advances in the area of edges. Edges, I believe, are the only way that we as painters can convey our true point of view to the viewer. This is something a camera will never capture because it requires understanding and choice, both of which the camera does not have.
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Old 04-03-2011, 04:42 PM   #2
Natalie Hunsaker Natalie Hunsaker is offline
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Reminds me of Schmid--one of my edge heroes. Well done, Clayton and thanks for sharing! Do you have any close-ups?
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:17 PM   #3
Claudemir Bonfim Claudemir Bonfim is offline
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Yes, close-ups would be great!
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:15 PM   #4
Clayton J. Beck III Clayton J. Beck III is offline
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This is a closeup view of the posted image. This section comprises most of the typical edges that I run into when working from life.

This is a closeup view of the upper back, shoulder, elbow and neck region.

Edges are areas where two pieces of paint come together. This is an impressionistic definition of edges. A renaissance definition of edges would be where one form meets another or were one form meets space. Both of these definitions are useful as they both relate to different areas of our perception.

An impressionistic definition is a purely visual one. A renaissance definition is one of tactile perception. Both of these ways of experiencing the world around us are valid. Both of these ways are true experiences. Dogmatically clinging to one or the other automatically reduces the fuller scope of experience that one has.

Visually as one thing passes in front of another edges tend to sharpen. This is simply the way that our eye focuses. As material gets softer to the touch our mind tells us that the edge should be softer. Neither one of the statements can be true throughout this entire setup and therefore I have made choices of when to use one and when to use the other.

There are many different ways to create soft and hard edges. Quantity of paint, brush handling, knife handling, value contrast are all used in this example to create a variety of edges. A few examples may be the idea that her hair is soft. The simple idea of repeating the value in the background around the hair has softened the edge. A small slightly darker brushstroke at top of the back has increased contrast and therefore sharpened the edge expressing the idea that the scapula is coming closer to the surface at this point. These are examples of impressionistic handling of edges. The brush-stroke used to show the direction of the muscle of the forearm passing in front of the bicep which is in-turn passing in front of the shoulder, each decreasing in sharpness with distance, are examples of form-renaissance handling of edges.

In this small example of a detail of a painting there are literally hundreds of choices of edges. I Here I have only discussed a few. The decisions made during the painting process about edges tells more of the experience I had during the process of painting than anything else. My thoughts and feelings about the subject cannot be expressed as clearly in any other way than through the careful study of edges.

The classes that I teach in edges at the Palette And Chisel Academy are some of the most exciting an enjoyable I've ever had the pleasure to teach.
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