Control the edges in your painting.

There are five keys to every successful painting.

Composition or Design, Color, Values, Drawing, and Edges.

That means that if your painting isn't as successful as you'd like, there is something that isn't working in one or more of those five areas.

I've talked about four of these areas in previous emails. Today I want to talk about the one key that's often ignored: edges.

"Whoa, wait a minute, brother. My life is complicated enough trying to control design and color and values all at the same time. I don't have time to worry about edges. Why should I even care about them?"

Hey, I hear what you're saying. I can remember when I used to mumble similar words to myself.

And I will admit that painting can seem a little complicated at times.

So, why should you care about them?

Because sharply defined areas call attention to themselves and seem to come forward in a painting. Your eyes are instantly drawn to areas that are sharply defined.

Softer areas are quieter and seem to recede.

The trouble is many artists create far too many sharply defined areas in a painting, which means that too many places are shouting for attention at the same time.

The viewer doesn't know where to look first, so his eyes kaboing through the painting from one hard edge to another, never getting a chance to rest.

One of the ways you create the star of your picture, and tell the viewer where to find it, is by creating some well-chosen hard lines in or around your star.

That's what I did in the painting at left.

Your eyes go first to the dome-shaped fountain, and one reason is because the bottom of it has a hard, clearly defined line.

It seems to come forward compared to its softer left side.

No other line in the painting stands out quite as much as the bottom of the fountain. That's one way I tell you where my star is and where I want you to look first.

If you will incorporate this lesson into your paintings, one painting at time, it will gradually become so ingrained in your mind that you will use it without really thinking about it.

That is when painting really gets fun.

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