The Nature of Art – Around the Edges

Zen. summer pond reflections photo

What type are you – soft edged or hard edged?  I love art images and paintings with soft blurred edges …..  I wondered why.  What type are you most drawn to?

summer pond reflections photo
Summer Pond Cool Reflections

Wandering through the galleries I instinctively am drawn into some artworks, but seem  blocked from others. I  wondered why.  For a while I was absolutely certain it all due to the colours used!    Sometime later, I thought it had to be the Light.

As time progresses,  I’m more and more aware that the images that invite me in with welcoming arms are those with a higher ratio of soft blurred edges. That’s not to say that colour and light tones don’t play a role, they most certainly do. They’re just not the deciding  factor for me.

Autumn Landscape prussian blue pb27
Autumn Aglow Landscapes, softly inviting –

Our innate personalities can influence edge dominance in our paintings and artworks.

Some artists are naturally outgoing and friendly.  Some of my artist friends are  fantastic hosts and hostesses, having mastered the art of hospitality with grace and ease. Its just who they are.  These artists do seem to  have more soft edge dominance in their work.

One can perhaps infer that the way an artist uses edges in their artworks coincides with their character and personality … or with what is going on with them in their life at that moment in time.


What if an artist feels the need for more structure, disciple, order  in life?  Thus, without really thinking about it, are using predominately harder, sharper edges to create that structure in their artworks.

By creating a painting realm of dominant soft edges, the artist may be creating a more welcoming world of gentleness that may not exist for them at that juncture in time. I think personally, with all the global events of late, I probably am in a way creating a realm that is just a little more kinder and gentler.  Perhaps!


Gallery images comparing gentle soft edges vs. hard defined edges


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Lives change.  Life circumstances fluctuate, health may decline and rise again. Many situations occur to  influence the mind, emotions and heart that may cause a change in edge dominance over time.


When I gaze upon a dominantly  soft edged painting,  I still.    It is zen.  Calming and relaxing, a contentedness fills me. There is peacefulness in the soft edges that I do not find in hard, sharp, bristly edges.


The lovely soft edges create an unequalled serenity and harmony that I can become lost in.


When I look at hard edged paintings, even though I’m not drawn  to them, I will look beyond my discomfort.

I think about them. The artist. The individual.  What their life must have been like.

Where they lived, what other things they enjoyed. What prompted their Edges, subjects, colours,  tonal keys, the media used. I reflect for a moment on what events and circumstances may have prompted the style of art I’m looking at.

What is interesting, I’ve noticed that I accept a much higher ratio of sharp edges in  photograph images than I will find comfortable in paintings.

Anyone else  ever thought about how you use your edges   and how your preference is linked to your unique quirks and traits?  I wonder……..



Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at and,

17 thoughts on “The Nature of Art – Around the Edges

  1. interesting question! I think with me it depends on the day/mood/space I’m in. Generally I love clear lines and bold colours – they make me feel clearer, bolder, more courageous. Which is how I’d prefer to be more often :). But like you, softer edges draw me in, leading to a more introspective contemplation, a calmer sense of self. I’ll take the balance :). So Monet’s lilies AND Franz Marc’s blue horses!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hi, Thank YOU for your response! It is an intriguing subject, these Edges. Other artists’ own insights definitely will give more weight than just my own conjecture.
      I loved your clear considered answer – “I’ll take the balance” 🙂 and Marc’s Blue Horses are awesome

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You raise an interesting point, Debi. I prefer soft lines at some times, hard lines at others. But I usually paint and draw soft. Lately I’ve been wanting to draw in perspective, buildings in landscapes, so it’s interesting your point about the artist wanting structure. I’ve definitely been seeking that structure in my own life. I’ll be thinking more about this! I appreciate your observation!

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    1. When I delved into the topic of soft blurred/sharp hard edges and found my own answer, I began to wonder what other artists thought about the subject.
      And, If many actually did give it consideration.
      so this post with its call to artists to respond ….both gives answer to me as well as solidifies within the artist themselves something they may never thought much about before. Providing them an understanding of their own “why” is of great value!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It is a wonderful observation, leading me to think it through alongside your words and images. How true. J. W. Turner’s 19th c. epochal sea and sky watercolours are a wondrous chaos of soft mergings and lighted drama, with only the merest attention to fine detail purposely applied at the chosen focal point, such as a steamship in distress. My thinking on this matter leads me to conclude that there are among us those who want paintings which seem to invite a partnership, whereby the painter apparently offers the viewer the opportunity to join in finishing the creative process. As painters we needn’t treat the viewer as one in need of having every blade of grass delineated. Their eyes wish to do their own finishing, their own work, their own participation in completing the canvas, the linoprint, the pastel. My particular favourite is the Penn. artist Philip Jamison who leaves great swaths of white paper to serve as snow, punctuated by undefined areas of field, forest, distant hills, all rather smoky and hazy. thank you for raising these interesting questions and inviting comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fantastic Feedback! Thank You 🙂 Turner was such an icon, and one of my inspirations. Love his work.
      Your comment on ‘every blade of grass’ …. absolutely agree with the idea of artist and viewer Partnership!! Brilliant.
      I’m going to have to look up Philip Jamison to see his smoky/hazy hills. They sound divine.
      thank you again for your excellent reply, Debi


  4. I prefer the soft paintings, too, Debi, like yours. They are wonderful. Some time ago I tried to paint from some blurred photos. Wasn’t easy to transfer this into a painting. Wishing you a wonderful week-end, regards Mitza

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    1. thank you Mitza, I think initially soft blurred edges can be daunting. But then, once you get the hang of it – it becomes second nature. that is, if it is the style that suits the artist! have a most lovely weekend in your gorgeous garden! Debi

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We have a few castles around Hamburg. And every town that ends with -burg means that there has been a castle once. Hamburg had one, too, but it has not been found yet. My home- town is nearly 1200 years old. 🙂


  5. Love seeing your creativity Debi – the first painting is my favorite for the atmosphere, cool colors against warm and awesome reflections.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hi Mary! thank you very much 🙂 I also like that image for its refreshing coolness! (it is one of my photographic images – I often include both paintings/photos in posts 🙂 but it …to me, was a bit Monet – ish, and I liked it!
      thank you for stopping in and for your comments !!! Debi

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a really interesting post Debi! You have left me with some questions to ponder. I tend toward soft edges… but then there are days and times I have gone for bright bold hard lines. Hmmmm….. interesting. Thanks for a great post! ~Rita

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Rita! I do like to pose questions I think 🙂 I really liked your post with the lilacs from a month back and reblogged/posted it on my google site, was going to do it onto my pinterest but didn’t see a pinterest button to do it? just wanted to mention that i’d shared that post!! cheers, Debi

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