Color on the edge? In painting we put a lot of focus on the shapes, the content, but a whole universe is happening on the edges! What is happening where shadow meets light? What is to be found where the sky kisses the horizon? For me that’s the good stuff, the juice!

There is a shimmering a luminosity that I want to capture. I want to say something about it! Spend some time on the edges. Stare at the edges. You could get spiritual about the edges and say there are auras on the edges. You could also get all sciencey (is that a word?) and talk about the physics and how there really are no defined edges. In any case, there is something to glean from lingering on the edges.

For me, pastel is the perfect media to explore on the edge. I use every opportunity to create a vibration of color by simply putting a more intense stroke on the edge of a form or where shadow meets light.  Just look at the examples below for some ideas. The examples on the left has much less brilliance than the ones on the right.

Take a look at these examples. First the figure; all the good stuff is happening on the edge! Next the landscape; this one has a watercolor underpainting. The underpainting is left exposed particularly on the edges, to take advantage of the luminosity of the watercolor.


There is much more to say about edges such as the relative hardness or softness of an edge can be very descriptive about spatial relationships. A crisp edge will come forward and a soft one, recede.

So, we need to take some time and be sensitive about the edge!

With Warmest Regards,


Painting Minilessons
with Marla Baggetta

These “mini-lessons” grew out of my blog. I love sharing my experience behind the easel, so these are free. I write a new one every two or three weeks, so please feel free to share with artist friends.

​These lessons are mostly written text with graphics…short but useful tidbits from the foundations of painting that touch on subjects such as aerial perspective, simultaneous contrast or using negative spaces. I guide you through different aspects of painting and art that will get you comfortable with using pastels. You’ll gain confidence to attempt work that you might have otherwise been timid about.

Recent Minilessons

Follow Us

Sign Up For Minilessons

Be the first to know when a new miniliesson and new courses are released!

Scroll to Top