Glow! (An Alternate Method for Softening Edges)

Watercolor is great for creating soft edges, but sometimes it can be tough to control the shape of a soft-edged area, especially when negative painting around a lighter shape. One situation where this challenge comes up is in creating a glow or glare around a light at night, such as a candle, the moon or a streetlight. It can be tough to lay a wash around your light area, while keeping the shape you want AND getting back to soften the edge before it starts to dry.

In this video, I’ll show you an alternate method for softening edges that I find helpful in this situation.

You can also use this technique in daylight scenes with a bright light, such as sunsets, bright cloud edges or bright reflections on water or other shiny surfaces.

I use this technique primarily for creating a soft edge all the way around an light area that I’ve painted around (negative painting), but you can also try using it to soften other kinds of edges. (As always, when softening an edge laid over a previous wash, it can help if the base wash is a staining color, so there’s less chance of disturbing it as you soften the edge.)

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