Once again I’m painting boats and using a palette with a warm dominance, perhaps in anticipation of nicer weather to come. My composition involves 3 layers and 3 values:  light sky, dark background, and mid-tone water. The light/white boats were placed to show well against the almost-black trees on the shore.

Thinking about what I like about this particular painting, it’s the fact that there are a few “lost edges” around the largest vessel. These are spots around the boat where its edges merge with the background or with the water below. The lost (or soft) edges serve to integrate the sailboat into the painting. If I had just outlined it with dark values it would have looked rigid or “pasted on.”

When painting, look for opportunities for losing edges around a shape, and see how many you can find while still keeping focus on the center of interest.