Sunday, November 21, 2010

Edges

Edge modeling is an essential ingredient to successful representational painting. The first thing I look for is what Reilly called the "Big Blur". Where does the subject blend into the atmosphere? Look for areas where the value on the subject is nearly the same value as the adjacent background and obliterate the edge. This is your softest edge.

Go to the light side and look for the main (light) effect, the focal point in the light. Establish your hardest edge here. 

All other edges can vary between these two extremes. Hard edges help project the form toward the viewer, and soft edges help make the form recede. I use edge-modeling as a design tool to control the viewer's visual path around the painting.

"Purple Scarf"  oil  30"x24"  by John Ennis



From Reilly's notes:
Edge Modeling is basically a skill, without it no painter excels. 
It helps to create atmosphere, putting the model in the room, existing in space. 
It relates the form to the background.
It heightens the effect of light on the subject.
It aids selective looking.
It is done at every stage, Wash-in, Lay-in, Painting.

The diagram below illustrates the variety of edges and the process for softening edges of varying hardness. The two strokes of paint adjacent to each other represent a hard edge. A slightly softer edge can be made by dragging a clean brush over the border of where the strokes meet. To create an even softer edge, take a clean brush and zig-zag the brush, pulling paint into the adjacent areas all along the length of the stoke. Then with a clean brush softly brush down over the zig-zag creating the soft transition. When the size of the area to be softened exceeds the width of your biggest brush, lay in a half-tone value, and brush the light into the halftone and the halftone into the shadow using the technique described.


© John Ennis 2010

Next Topic: The Munsell Color Notation

29 comments:

Cindy Pickup said...

I just found out about your effort to share the Reilly Papers from "Underpaintings". Thank you so much for this effort!

ARMAND CABRERA said...

Thanks for doing this, it will be much appreciated by all.

briansart said...

Hi John;
Thank you for publishing these wonderful notes. They will help me as well as all of my students. I look forward to future editions.
Brian Smith

Charles Valsechi III said...

Great post, definitely interested in seeing more of his methods.

mfrank said...

^^^^ Agreed. I promise this great info will be put to good use!!

Burl said...

These are awesome. Thanks!

Zanne said...

Thanks for sharing this. I will be following closely

tinoradman said...

I also just found out about your blog from "Underpaintings". (Btw, your art was not unfamiliar to me, though - I remember several years ago I saw your portraits in Int'l Artist mag). Keep up the good work!

Lori kiergaard said...

Thank you for your efforts! What a treasure to make these notes available to artists.

sara star said...

I'll be following along as you make these lectures public! Thank you for your efforts. Education in representational art is harder to find these days and I appreciate anything I can find.

pete said...

Can't wait to see more! Thanks for sharing!

jake gumbleton said...

Thanks so much for doing this, what a brilliant idea for a blog!

kev ferrara said...

Greatly looking forward to the presentation of this material. Already loving the first few posts.

Shoki said...

Thank you, John, for sharing with us this priceless knowledge. I love reading your explanation of the notes, looking forward to more great posts from you.

Kevin Mizner said...

I am really looking forward to the wealth of information I can learn!

Dave Golas said...

Thank you , thank you, thank you. I am an art student and I can tell you without any doubt that this will be tremendously helpful information for anyone who reads it. I have Doug Higgin's book, Apollo Dorian's book and I have read Faragasso's and Covino's books. I am enthralled with Reilly's teachings and have in my own blundering way attempted to study and implement them. This information is tremendously valuable and I thank you so much for choosing to share it freely with us.

atomikdog said...

Do you think this is similar to or different from "shapewelding"? I've seen it referred to a lot recently, thanks to James Gurney. In other words, I'm wondering if it's a term Mr. Reilly used?

Steven Zapata said...

Love this. Please keep going.

Steven Zapata said...

I love this. Please keep going.

jeff said...

Thank you for doing this it's an amazing effort and I will be visiting this site a lot.
Your amazing!

bhanu pratap said...

This is some awesome information and knowledge that you are passin on,sir.
Thanks. I will do my best to something good with it.

jsuarez said...

Thank you.

Erik said...

Very interesting, thanks for the effort!

Matthew Campbell said...

Thank you for taking the time to do this. I'm excited to see what's coming next.

Mary Byrom said...

I just found out about this blog. Great notes! Thank you for doing this.

Jefferson Wand said...

I was a student of Glen Orbik, so it's always great to see Reilly get some love. I got to visit John Asaro's studio last year and saw a lot of his own notes from Reilly's classes. I look forward to seeing more.

Glen Orbik said...

Very cool! Thanks for posting these.
I am a Big fan of Jerry Allison as well and would love to hear more on him too if possible.

iridescentFUZZ said...

Thanks a lot for the effort of making this knowledge available to people!

Lisa said...

Instantly bookmarked! Thanks so much for posting!