All images shown are copyright Dan D'Amico and may not be used for any purpose without his written permission.
The edges of shapes in your composition can be manipulated to great advantage in creating a sense of depth. Hard edges can focus the viewers eye and make an object appear to come forward and soft edges can help in making an object recede.
Notice how the harder edges on the bear's face bring the head forward, and the soft edges in the background slopes push them behind the trees.
This painting has a lot of varied edges, including lost edges. It's not necessary to paint each blade of grass with a defined edge. In fact, doing so usually loses any feeling of depth.
Notice how the soft edges on the background trees push them farther back than the cottonwood tree in the middle ground. The hardest edges are reserved for the horses, my center of interest.
The eyes in this painting have the sharpest edges. Compare them to the edges of the tail.