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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Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.


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