Soft Edges

February 28, 2024



Gallery One is pleased to announce the March show,Soft Edges,” open to the public February 28, through March 26, 2024.

 The terms hard edges and soft edges are used to describe two different ways in which objects can be painted. A hard edge is the term used when the edge of an object is painted in a definite way. There’s a strong sense of where the object ends. A soft edge is when it is painted so that it disappears or fades into the background. Typically, hard edges advance, and soft edges recede. A third type of edge is “lost” edges, they are soft edges on steroids, so “soft” that you cannot distinguish between where one shape stops, and the adjacent one begins. Artist Cindy Beyer’s watercolor painting, “Purple People Pleasers,” incorporates all these elements beautifully. Crisply painted green stems pop from the bright backlit background, surrounded by an explosion of purple vibrancy ebbing and flowing dramatically. As Cindy says, Watercolor is the perfect medium for our theme “Soft Edges. It is the only paint that has a life of its own, where there is water, it flows (with a little from me).  

Soft and hard edges naturally occur in the landscape and for a painter utilizing them can help to create depth and atmosphere. Artists Dale Sheldon, and Laura Hickman incorporate fog into their paintings to add an element of mood and ambience to their paintings. In Hickman’s pastel, “Sun and Fog,” the morning fog is lifting from the field and catching the golden rays of the rising sun.The piece is full of atmospheric soft edges. which are well suited to the medium of pastel. In Dale Sheldon’s acrylic, “Fog and Mist, light fog hangs over the wetlands, softening the edges and shades of distant trees and grasses, creating a peaceful scene. In “Meditation,” Cheryl Wisbrock’s, acrylic painting, everything seems to melt into the horizon as the edges are softened by the harsh sun.The distance and middle ground become somewhat blurry, but this creates clarity where the grasses meet the cooler water and the blue sky is reflected vibrantly in the water. The composition becomes soft and unstructured, almost meditative. In Marybeth Paterson’s oil, “Soft Sails,” interest is created by contrastingthe sharp lines of the boats and sails with the softness of the clouds and the shoreline in the background and even with the tones in the water and within the more prominent white boat itself. Lesley McCaskill’s acrylic, “Gliding Over the Pond,” utilizes the soft edge technique to create the beauty of the heron’s soft white feathers catching the sunlight on a bright day. With “Bluejay,” W. Scott Broadfoot shows the contrast of a delicate, soft feathered, Bluejay sitting in a sharp pointed pine tree. The background is soft blurred snow flurries against an ash grey sky.

Edges orchestrate how the viewer’s eye moves through a painting, control the edges and you control this movement. Edges also help to identify the areas of a painting that the artist wants to emphasize, and the secondary supporting areas as well, this can be a powerful tool to reinforce the story a painter wishes to convey particularly in an abstract painting where the narrative can be more subtle and subjective. In artist Eileen Olson’s acrylic painting, “Ode to Joy,” an explosion of naturescolors in spring inspired Olson to paint this mosaic-like abstract in all its glory. Winter is wonderful, but spring brings rejuvenation to my soul.”

In Mary Bode Byrd’s acrylic, “Traffic Pattern,” soft edges reveal the play of black against gold and ivory.