In this quick little study, I was experimenting with soft edges, especially around the vase.
Once, long ago at the Palette and Chisel in Chicago, the historic art league where I used to paint, I heard Richard Schmid talk about how he likes to handle edges (contours around objects) in painting. He felt that both the eye and the camera see the picture plane and edges the same way - as only being able to focus on one spot at a time. Therefore to manipulate the viewer into resting on a center of interest, the artist should make that area the most detailed, most vibrant, with the hardest edges, and juxtapose it against softer areas within the image.
Lately I have been experimenting with this idea in my still lifes. The question for me lies rather in how much or how little. I think my natural painting style leans in the direction of the overall sharpness of the French naturalists, but I would like to pull away from that a bit. Or do I? I'm just not sure yet.