I decided to make a brief post about painting the background of the Golden Bowl. It took quite a while, because there were a lot of fiddly bits that needed attention to soften the edges into each other. If you don’t soften the edges of a background they will “jump” and bring whatever that edge is to the front of the painting. It’s an illusion caused by the focus of our eyes – if you look a tree up close it’s crisp, high contrast and colourful, while that same tree at half a mile distance will look blurry, muted and grey. We can use this effect in painting by making the things we want to pop forward more defined, sharp-edged and rich in colour, while those things (like edges) that we want to drop back into the background are softened. A very handy trick.