The Lowdown on Lost Edges

“Lost edges add an element of mystery and looseness to a painting,” says Andy Evansen. “To achieve that effect in watercolor, I paint large shapes and work on damp paper in the early stages of a piece, covering the entire surface with pigment in a matter of minutes. Working this way, I’m forced to make decisions fairly rapidly and don’t have time to overanalyze the details. I have to stay focused on what’s important and not sweat the small stuff, which I’m sure I would be inclined to do if I was working with a slow-drying medium such as oil. I was a medical illustrator for over 20 years, and it’s not easy to transition from that extreme accuracy to painting an impression.”

“Backlit Cloud” (watercolor, 11 x 15 in.)
“Late Afternoon Sun” (watercolor, 11 x 15 in.)

Lost edges are a soft gradation between two adjacent shapes. They indicate movement and atmosphere, and allow the viewer’s eye to move easily from one area to another.

“Radio Flyer” (watercolor, 11 x 15 in.)

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