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Title: The Painter in Oil - A complete treatise on the principles and technique - necessary to the painting of pictures in oil colors
Author: Parkhurst, Daniel Burleigh
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: =November Beechwood.= _D. Burleigh Parkhurst._]

                          THE PAINTER IN OIL

                          A COMPLETE TREATISE
                             NECESSARY TO

                      DANIEL BURLEIGH PARKHURST


        "_La peinture à l'huile est bien difficile;
        Mais beaucoup plus beau que la peinture à l'eau._"

                      LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO.

                 COPYRIGHT, 1898, BY LEE AND SHEPARD

                        _All Rights Reserved_

                          THE PAINTER IN OIL

                   TYPOGRAPHY BY C. J. PETERS & SON

                             NORWOOD MASS.

                               A. M. P.

  _September 4th, 1897._


Books of instruction in the practice of painting have rarely been
successful. Chiefly because they have been too narrow in their point
of view, and have dealt more with recipes than with principles. It is
not possible to give any one manner of painting that shall be right
for all men and all subjects. To say "do thus and so" will not teach
any one to paint. But there are certain principles which underlie all
painting, and all schools of painting; and to state clearly the most
important of these will surely be helpful, and may accomplish

It is the purpose of this book to deal practically with the problems
which are the study of the painter, and to make clear, as far as may
be, the principles which are involved in them. I believe that this is
the only way in which written instruction on painting can be of any

It is impossible to understand principles without some statement of
theory; and a book in order to be practical must therefore be to some
extent theoretical. I have been as concise and brief in the
theoretical parts as clearness would permit of, and I trust they are
not out of proportion to the practical parts. Either to paint well, or
to judge well of a painting, requires an understanding of the same
things: namely, the theoretical standpoint of the painter; the
technical problems of color, composition, etc.; and the practical
means, processes, and materials through which and with which these are
worked out.

It is obvious that one cannot become a good painter without the
ability to know what is good painting, and to prefer it to bad
painting. Therefore, I have taken space to cover, in some sort, the
whole ground, as the best way to help the student towards becoming a
good painter. If, also, the student of pictures should find in this
book what will help him to appreciate more truly and more critically,
I shall be gratified.

                                                         D. B. P.

  _December 4, 1897_


                          PART I.--MATERIALS
    CHAPTER                                                   PAGE
         I. Observations                                         3
        II. Canvases and Panels                                  6
       III. Easels                                              15
        IV. Brushes                                             20
         V. Paints                                              33
        VI. Vehicles and Varnishes                              61
       VII. Palettes                                            65
      VIII. Other Tools                                         69
        IX. Studios                                             76

                       PART II.--GENERAL PRINCIPLES

         X. Mental Attitude                                     85
        XI. Tradition and Individuality                         95
       XII. Originality                                        103
      XIII. The Artist and the Student                         107
       XIV. How to Study                                       110

                     PART III.--TECHNICAL PRINCIPLES

        XV. Technical Preliminaries                            123
       XVI. Drawing                                            126
      XVII. Values                                             138
     XVIII. Perspective                                        146
       XIX. Light and Shade                                    151
        XX. Composition                                        166
       XXI. Color                                              184

                     PART IV.--PRACTICAL APPLICATION

      XXII. Representation                                     209
     XXIII. Manipulation                                       224
      XXIV. Copying                                            236
       XXV. Kinds of Painting                                  242
      XXVI. The Sketch                                         245
     XXVII. The Study                                          254
    XXVIII. Still Life                                         260
      XXIX. Flowers                                            280
       XXX. Portraits                                          286
      XXXI. Landscape                                          309
     XXXII. Marines                                            335
    XXXIII. Figures                                            347
     XXXIV. Procedure in a Picture                             371
      XXXV. Difficulties of Beginners                          389

                        LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

  NOVEMBER BEECHWOOD                    _Parkhurst_ _Frontispiece_
  STRETCHERS                                                    11
  CANVAS PLIERS                                                 13
  DOUBLE-POINTED TACK                                           13
  EASEL                                                         16
  EASEL                                                         17
  SKETCHING EASEL                                               18
  SKETCHING EASEL                                               19
  BRUSHES.--Red Sable, Round                                    22
            Red Sable                                           23
            Red Sable, Flat                                     24
            Round Bristle                                       26
            Flat Bristle                                        28
            Flat pointed                                        29
            Fan                                                 30
  BRUSH CLEANER                                                 31
  OIL COLORS                                                    54
  OVAL PALETTE                                                  65
  ARM PALETTE                                                   67
  THE COLOR BOX                                                 70
  PALETTE KNIFE                                                 71
  THE SCRAPER                                                   72
  THE OIL-CUP                                                   73
  MAHL-STICKS                                                   73
  THREE-LEGGED STOOL                                            74
  SKETCHING CHAIR                                               74
  SKETCHING UMBRELLA                                            75
  DRAWING OF HANDS                      _Dürer_                134
  EGGS. WHITE AGAINST WHITE                                    154
  THE CANAL                             _Parkhurst_            156
  BOHEMIAN WOMAN                        _Franz Hals_           159
  SEWING BY LAMPLIGHT                   _Millet_               161
  DESCENT FROM THE CROSS                                       163
  THE GOLDEN STAIRS                                            174
  THE SOWER                             _Millet_               175
  RETURN TO THE FARM                    _Millet_               178
  THE FISHER BOY                        _Franz Hals_           217
  BOAR-HUNT                             _Snyders_              221
  GOOD BOCK                             _Manet_                227
  SKETCH OF A HILLSIDE                                         246
  THE RIVER BANK                        _Parkhurst_            250
  STUDY OF A BLOOMING-MILL              _Parkhurst_            257
  STILL LIFE, NO. 1                                            265
  STILL LIFE, NO. 2                                            266
  STILL LIFE, NO. 3                                            267
  STILL LIFE, NO. 4                                            269
  STILL LIFE, NO. 5                                            270
  STILL LIFE, NO. 6                                            271
  SWEET PEAS                                                   282
  DÜRER                                 _by Himself_           289
  PORTRAIT OF HIS MOTHER                _Whistler_             291
  PORTRAIT OF HIMSELF                   _Valasquez_            293
  PORTRAIT                              _Parkhurst_            297
  HAYSTACKS IN SUNSHINE                 _Monet_                307
  ON THE RACE TRACK                     _Degas_                314
  WILLOW ROAD                           _Parkhurst_            317
  ENTRANCE TO ZUYDER ZEE                _Clarkson Stanfield_   337
  GIRL SPINNING                         _Millet_               345
  SKETCH OF A FLUTE PLAYER              _Parkhurst_            355
  MILTON DICTATING "PARADISE LOST"      _Munkacsy_             363
  BUCKWHEAT HARVEST                     _Millet_               368
  STUDY OF FORTUNE                      _Angelo_               373
  ÉBOUCH OF PORTRAIT                    _Th. Robinson_         379
  LANDSCAPE PHOTO. NO. 1                                       394
  LANDSCAPE PHOTO. NO. 2                                       395

                                PART I


                          THE PAINTER IN OIL

                              CHAPTER I

                         GENERAL OBSERVATIONS

There is a false implication in the saying that "a poor workman blames
his tools." It is not true that a good workman can do good work with
bad tools. On the contrary, the good workman sees to it that he has
good tools, and makes it a part of his good workmanship that they are
in good condition.

In painting there is nothing that will cause you more trouble than bad
materials. You can get along with few materials, but you cannot get
along with bad ones. That is not the place to economize. To do good
work is difficult at best. Economize where it will not be a hindrance
to you. Your tools can make your work harder or easier according to
your selection of them. The relative cost of good and bad materials is
of slight importance compared with the relative effect on your work.

The way to economize is not to get anything which you do not need.
Save on the non-essentials, and get as good a quality as you can of
the essentials.

Save on the number of things you get, not on the quantity you use. You
must feel free in your use of material. There is nothing which hampers
you more than parsimony in the use of things needful to your painting.
If it is worth your while to paint at all, it is worth your while to
be generous enough with yourself to insure ordinary freedom of use of

The essentials of painting are few, but these cannot be dispensed
with. Put it out of your mind that any one of these five things can be
got along without:--

You must have something to paint _on_, canvas or panel. Have plenty of

You must have something to set this canvas on--something to hold it up
and in position. Your knees won't do, and you can't hold it in one
hand. The lack of a practical easel will cost you far more in trouble
and discouragement than the saving will make up for.

You must have something to paint with. The brushes are most important;
in kind, variety, and number. You cannot economize safely here.

You must have paints. And you must have good ones. The best are none
too good. Get the best. Pay a good price for them, use them freely,
but don't waste them.

And you must have something to hold them, and to mix them on; but here
the quality and kind has less effect on your work than any other of
your tools. But as the cost of the best of palettes is slight, you may
as well get a good one.

Now, if you will be economical, the way to do it is to take proper
care of your tools _after you have got them_. Form the habit of using
good tools as they should be used, and that will save you a great deal
of money.

                              CHAPTER II

                         CANVASES AND PANELS

You should have plenty of canvas on hand, and it would be well if you
had it all stretched ready for use. Many a good day's work is lost
because of the time wasted in getting a canvas ready. It is not
necessary to have many kinds or sizes. It is better in fact to settle
on one kind of surface which suits you, and to have a few practical
sizes of stretchers which will pack together well, and work always on
these. You will find that by getting accustomed to these sizes you
work more freely on them. You can pack them better, and you can frame
them more conveniently, because one frame will always do for many
pictures. Perhaps there is no one piece of advice which I can give you
which will be of more practical use outside of the principles of
painting, than this of keeping to a few well-chosen sizes of canvas,
and the keeping of a number of each always on hand.

It is all well enough to talk about not showing one's work too soon.
But we all do, and always will like to see our work under as favorable
conditions as possible. And a good frame is one of the favorable
conditions. But good frames are expensive, and it is a great advantage
to be able to have a frame always at hand which you can see your work
in from time to time; and if you only work on four sizes of canvas,
say, then four frames, one for each size, will suit all your pictures
and sketches. Use the same sizes for all kinds of work too, and the
freedom will come, as I say, in the working on those sizes.

Don't have odd sizes about. You can just as well as not use the
regular sizes and proportions which colormen keep in stock, and there
is an advantage in being able to get a canvas at short notice, and it
will be one of your own sizes, and will fit your frame. All artists
have gone through the experience of eliminating odd sizes from their
stock, and it is one of the practical things that we all have to come
down to sooner or later, and the sooner the better,--to have the sizes
which we find we like best, not too many, and stick to them. I would
have you take advantage of this, and decide early in your work, and so
get rid of one source of bother.

=Rough and Smooth.=--The best canvas is of linen. Cotton is used for
sketching canvas. But you would do well always to use good grounds to
work on. You can never tell beforehand how your work will turn out;
and if you should want to keep your work, or find it worth while to go
on with it, you would be glad that you had begun it on a good linen
canvas. The linen is stronger and firmer, and when it has a "grain,"
the grain is better.

=Grain.=--The question of grain is not easy to speak about without the
canvas, yet it is often a matter of importance. There are many kinds
of surface, from the most smooth to the most rugged. Some grain it is
well the canvas should have; too great smoothness will tend to make
the painting "slick," which is not a pleasant quality. A grain gives
the canvas a "tooth," and takes the paint better. Just what grain is
best depends on the work. If you are going to have very fine detail in
the picture use a smoothish canvas; but whenever you are going to
paint heavily, roughly, or loosely, the rough canvas takes the paint
better. The grain of the canvas takes up the paint, helps to hold it,
and to disguise, in a way, the body of it. For large pictures, too,
the canvas must necessarily be strong, and the mere weight of the
fabric will give it a rough surface.

=Knots.=--For ordinary work do not be afraid of a canvas which has
some irregularities and knots on it. If they are not too marked they
will not be unpleasantly noticeable in the picture, and may even give
a relief to too great evenness.

=Twilled Canvas.=--The diagonal twill which some canvases have has
always been a favorite surface with painters, particularly the
portrait painters. This grain is a sympathetic one to work on, takes
paint well, and is not in any way objectionable in the finished

=The best.=--The best way is to try several kinds, and when you find
one which has a sympathetic working quality, and which has a good
effect in the finished picture, note the quality and use it. You will
find such a canvas among both the rough and smooth kinds, and so you
can use either, as the character of your work suggests. It is well to
have both rough and smooth ready at hand.

=Absorbent.=--Some canvases are primed so as to absorb the oil during
the process of painting. They are very useful for some kinds of work,
and many painters choose them; but unless you have some experience
with the working of them, they are apt to add another source of
perplexity to the difficulties of painting, so you had better not
experiment with them, but use the regular non-absorbent kinds.

=Old and New.=--The canvas you work on should not be too freshly
primed. The painting is likely to crack if the priming is not well
dried. You cannot always be sure that the canvas you get at stores is
old, so you have an additional reason for getting a good stock and
keeping it on hand. Then, if you have had it in your own possession a
long while, you know it is not fresh. Canvas is all the better if it
is a year old.

=Grounds.=--The color of the grounds should be of interest to you.
Canvases are prepared for the market usually in three colors,--a sort
of cool gray, a warm light ochrish yellow, and a cool pinkish gray.
Which is best is a matter of personal liking. It would be well to
consider what the effect of the ground will be on the future condition
of the picture when the colors begin to effect each other, as they
inevitably will sooner or later.

Vibert in his "_La Science de la Peinture_" advocates a white ground.
He says that as the color will be sure to darken somewhat with time,
it is well that the ground should have as little to do with it as
possible. If the ground is white there is so much the less dark
pigment to influence your painting. He is right in this; but white is
a most unsympathetic color to work over, and if you do not want to lay
in your work with _frottées_, a tint is pleasanter. For most work the
light ochrish ground will be found best; but you may be helped in
deciding by the general tone of your picture. If the picture is to be
bright and lively, use a light canvas, and if it is to be sombre, use
a dark one. Remember, too, that the color of your ground will
influence the appearance of every touch of paint you put on it by
contrast, until the priming is covered and out of sight.

=Stretchers.=--The keyed stretcher, with wedges to force the corners
open and so tighten the canvas when necessary, is the only proper one
to use. For convenience of use many kinds have been invented, but you
will find the one here illustrated the best for general purposes. The
sides may be used for ends, and _vice versa_. If you arrange your
sizes well, you will have the sides of one size the right length for
the ends of another. Then you need fewer sizes, and they are surer to
pack evenly.

[Illustration: =Stretchers.=]

=Stretching.=--You will often have to stretch your own canvases, so
you should know how to do it. There is only one way to make the canvas
lay smoothly without wrinkles: Cut the canvas about two inches longer
and wider than the stretcher, so that it will easily turn down over
the edges. Begin by putting in _one tack_ to hold the _middle_ of one
end. Then turn the whole thing round, and stretch tightly lengthwise,
and put a tack to hold it into the _middle_ of the other end. Do the
same way with the two sides. Only four tacks so far, which have
stretched the canvas in the middle two ways. As you do this, you must
see that the canvas is on square. Don't drive the tacks all the way in
at first till you know that this is so. Then give each another blow,
so that the head binds the canvas more than the body of the tack does;
for the pull of the canvas against the side of the tack will tear,
while the head will hold more strands. This first two ways stretching
must be as tight as any after stretching will be or you will have
wrinkles in the middle, while the purpose is to pull out the wrinkles
towards the corners. Now go back to the ends: stretch, and place one
tack each side of the first one. In a large canvas you may put two
each side, but not more, and you must be sure that the strain is even
on both sides. Don't pull too much; for next you must do the same with
the other end which should bear _half_ of the whole stretch. Do just
the same now with the two sides. Now continue stretching and
tacking,--each side of the middle tacks on each end, then on each
side, then to the ends again, and so gradually working towards the
corners, when as you put in the last tacks the wrinkles will
disappear, if you have done your work well. Don't hurry and try to
drive too many tacks into a side at a time, for to have to do it all
over again would take more time than to have worked slowly and done it
properly. You may of course stretch a small canvas with your hands,
but it will make your fingers sore, and you cannot get large canvases
tight without help. You will do well to have a pair of "canvas pliers"
which are specially shaped to pull the canvas and hold it strongly
without tearing it, as other pliers are sure to do.

[Illustration: =Canvas Pliers.=]

When you take canvases out-doors to work, you will find it useful to
strap two together, face inwards, with a double-pointed tack like this
in each corner to keep them apart. You will not have any trouble with
the fresh paint, as each canvas will then protect the other. You can
pack freshly painted canvases for shipping in the same way.

[Illustration: =Double-pointed Tack.=]

=Panels.=--For small pictures panels are very useful, and when great
detail is desirable, and fine, smooth work would make an accidental
tear impossible to mend well, they are most valuable. They are made of
mahogany and oak generally.

Panels are useful, too, for sketching, as you can easily pack them.
They are light, and the sun does not shine through the backs. You can
get them for about the same cost as canvas for small sizes, which are
what you would be likely to use, and they are often more convenient,
particularly for use in the sketch-box.

                             CHAPTER III


The important thing in an easel is that it should be steady and firm;
that it should hold the canvas without trembling, and so that it will
not fall as you paint out towards the edges. You often paint with a
heavy hand, and you must not have to hold on to your picture with one
hand and paint with the other. Nothing is more annoying than a poor
easel, and nothing will give you more solid satisfaction, than the
result of a little generosity in paying for a good one. The ideal
thing for the studio is, of course, the great "screw easel," which is
heavy, safe, convenient, and expensive. We would like to have one, but
we can't afford it, so we won't speak of it. The next best thing is an
ordinary easel which doesn't cost a great deal, but which is firm and
solid and practical. Don't get one of the various three-legged folding
easels which cost about seventy-five cents or a dollar. They tumble
down too often and too easily. The wear and tear on the temper they
cause is more than they are worth. It is true that they fold up out of
the way. But they fold up when you don't expect them to; and you
ought to be able to afford room enough for an easel anyway, if you
paint at all.


The illustration shows one of the firmest of the inexpensive easels,
and one which will fold up into as small a compass as any practical
easel will. It will hold perfectly well a good-sized canvas, even with
its frame, and will not tumble over on slight provocation.

Another good easel is shown on p. 17. It is more lightly made, not so
well braced, but is more convenient for raising and lowering the
picture, as the catch allows the whole thing to be raised and lowered
at once.

If you are to save money on your easel, don't save on the construction
and strength of it, but on the finish. Let the polish and varnish go,
but get a well-made easel with solid wood. The heavier it is, the less
easily it packs away, to be sure, but the more steadily it will hold
your picture.


=Sketching Easels.=--The same things are of importance in an easel for
out-of-door work that are needed in a studio easel, except that it
must also be portable. So if you must have a folding easel, get a
_good_ sketching easel; or if you can't have one for in-doors and one
for out-doors, then pay a good price for a sketching easel, and use it
in doors and out also. There are two things which are absolutely
essential in a sketching easel. It _must_ have legs which may be made
longer and shorter, and it _must hold_ the canvas firmly. It is not
enough to lean the canvas on it. The wind blows it over just when you
are putting on an interesting touch, or the touch itself upsets it,
either of which is most aggravating, and does not tend to
satisfactory work. You must not be obliged to sit down to work just
where you don't want to, a little this side or a little that side of
the chosen spot, because the ground isn't even there and the easel
will not stand straight. You must be able to make a leg longer or
shorter as the unevenness of the ground necessitates. It is impossible
to work among rocks or on hillsides if you cannot make your easel
stand as you want it. These things are not to be got round. You might
as well not work as to sketch with a poor sketching easel. And you
must pay a good price for it. The sketching easel that is good for
anything has never been made to sell for a dollar and a half. Pay
three or four dollars for it, at any rate, and use it the rest of your
life. I use an easel every day that I have worked on every summer for
twelve years. Most artists are doing much the same. The easel is not
expensive _per year_ at that rate! It is such an easel as that shown
on the opposite page, and is satisfactory for all sorts of work.


If you are working in a strong wind, or if you have a large canvas,
such an easel as this illustration shows is the best and safest yet
invented, and it is as good for other work, and particularly when you
want to stand up. And either of these easels will be perfectly
satisfactory to use in the house.


                              CHAPTER IV


An old brush that has been properly cared for is generally better than
a new one. It seems to have accommodated itself to your way of
painting, and falls in with your peculiarities. It is astonishing how
attached you get to your favorite brushes, and how loath you are to
finally give them up. What if you have no others to take their places?

Don't look upon your brushes as something to get as few of as
possible, and which you would not get at all if you could help it.
There is nothing which comes nearer to yourself than the brush which
carries out your idea in paint. You should be always on the lookout
for a good brush; and whenever you run across one, buy it, no matter
how many you have already. Don't look twice at a bad brush, and don't
begrudge an extra ten cents in the buying of a good one. If you are
sorry to have to pay so much for your brushes, then take the more care
of them. Use them well and they will last a long while; then don't
always use the same handful. Break in new ones now and again. Keep a
dozen or two in use, and lay some aside before they are worn out, and
use newer ones. So when at last you cannot use one any more, you have
others of the same kind which will fill its place.

Have all kinds and sizes of brushes. Have a couple of dozen in use,
and a couple of dozen which you are not using, and a couple of dozen
more that have never been used.

What! six dozen?

Well, why not? Every time you paint you look over your brushes and
pick out those which look friendly to what you are going to do. You
want all sorts of brushes. You can't paint all sorts of pictures with
the same kind of brush. Your brush represents your hand. You must give
every kind of touch with it. You want to change sometimes, and you
want a clean brush from time to time. You don't want to feel that you
are limited; that whether you want to or not these four brushes you
must use because they are all you have! You can't paint that way. That
six dozen you will not buy all at once. When you get your first
outfit, get at least a dozen brushes. As you look over the stock and
pick out two or three of this kind, and two or three of that, you will
be astonished to see how many you have--yet you don't know which to
discard. Don't discard any. Buy them all. Then, if you don't paint, it
will not be the fault of your brushes. And from time to time get a
half a dozen which have just struck you as especially good ones, and
quite unconsciously you acquire your six dozen--and even more, I hope!

=Bristle and Sable.=--The brushes suitable for oil painting are of two
kinds,--bristle and sable hair. Of the latter, _red_ sable are the
only ones you should get. They are expensive, but they have a spring
and firmness that the black sable does not have. Camel's hair is out
of the question. Don't get any, if you can only have camel's hair. It
is soft and flabby when used in oil and you can't work well with such
brushes. The same is true of the black sable. But though the red
sables are expensive, you do not need many of them, nor large ones, so
the cost of those you will need is slight.


The only sables which are in any degree indispensable to you are the
smaller sizes of _riggers_. These are thin, long brushes which are
useful for outlining, and all sorts of fine, sharp touches. You use
them to go over a drawing with paint in laying in a picture, and for
branches, twigs, etc. As their name implies, you must have them for
the rigging of vessels in marine painting also. The three sizes shown
in the cut on the opposite page are those you should have, and if you
get two of each, you will find them useful in all sorts of places.
When you buy them, see that they are elastic and firm, that they come
naturally and easily to a good point, without any scraggy hairs. Test
them by moistening them, and then pressing the point on the
thumb-nail. They should bend evenly through the whole length of the
hair. Reject any which seem "weak in the back." If it lays flat toward
the point and bends all in one place near the ferrule, it is a poor


These three larger and thicker sizes come in very useful often and it
would be well if you were to have these too. Sometimes a thick, long
sable brush will serve better than another for heavy lines, etc.

All these brushes are round. One largish flat sable like this it would
be well to have; but these are all the sables necessary.


=Bristle Brushes.=--The sable brush or pencil is often necessary; but
oil painting is practically always done with the bristle, or "hog
hair," brush. These are the ones which will make up the variety of
kinds in your six dozen. A good bristle brush is not to be bought
merely by taking the first which comes to hand. Good brushes have very
definite qualities, and you should have no trouble in picking them
out. Nevertheless, you will take the trouble to select them, if you
care to have any satisfaction in using them.

=The Bristle.=--You want your brush to be made of the hair just as it
grew on the hog. All hair, in its natural state, has what is called
the "flag." That is the fine, smooth taper towards the natural end of
it, and generally the division into two parts. This gives the bristle,
no matter how thick it may be, a silky fineness towards the end; and
when this part only of the bristle is used in the brush, you will have
all the firmness and elasticity of the bristle, and also a delicacy
and smoothness and softness quite equal to a sable. But this, in the
short hair of an artist's brush, wastes all the rest of the length of
the hair; for it is only by cutting off the "flag," and using that,
which is only an inch or so long, that you can make the brush. Yet the
bristle may be several inches long, and all this is sacrificed for
that little inch of "flag." Naturally the "flag" is expensive, and
naturally also the manufacturer uses the rest of the hair for inferior
brushes. These latter you should avoid. These inferior brushes are
made from the part of the bristle remaining, by sandpapering, or
otherwise making the ends fine again after they are cut off. But it is
impossible to make a brush which has the right quality in this way.

=Selection.=--Never buy a brush without testing its evenness, as has
been advised in the care of sables. Feel carefully the end of the
bristles also, and see that the "flag" is there. All brushes are kept
together for packing by paste in the bristles. See that this is soaked
off before you test your brush.

=Round or Flat.=--It will make little difference whether you use round
or flat brushes. The flat brush is most commonly preferred now, and
most brushes are made that way. So you had better get that kind,
unless you have some special reason for preferring the round ones.

=Handles.=--Whether the handles are nicely polished, also, is of no
importance. What you are to look to is the quality of the bristles and
of the making; the best brushes are likely to be nicely finished all
over. But if you do find a really good brush which is cheaper because
of the plain handle, and you wish to save money, do it by buying the
plain-handled one.

=Sizes and Shapes.=--You will need some quite large brushes and some
smaller ones, some square ones and some pointed.


Here are three round brushes which, for all sorts of painting, will be
of very general utility. For most of your brushes select the long and
thin, rather than the short and thick ones. The stubby brush is a
useless sort of thing for most work. There are men who use them and
like them, but most painters prefer the more flexible and springy
brush, if it is not weak. So, too, the brush should not be too thick.
A thick brush takes up too much paint into itself, and does not
change its tint so readily. For rubbing over large surfaces where a
good deal of the same color is thickly spread on the canvas, the
thick, strong brush is a very proper tool. But where there is to be
any delicacy of tone, it is too clumsy; you want a more delicate
instrument. The same proportions hold with large and small brushes, so
these remarks apply to all.

=Flat Brushes.=--This is particularly applicable to the flat brushes,
and the more that most of your brushes will be flat.

You should have both broad-ended and pointed brushes among your flat
ones. For broad surfaces, such as backgrounds and skies, the broad
ends come in well; and for the small ones there are many square
touches where they are useful. The most practical sizes are those
shown on page 28. But you will often need much larger brushes than the
largest of these.

For the smaller brushes you will have to be very careful in your
selections. For only the silkiest of bristle will do good work in a
very small brush, and then the temptation is to use a sable, which
should be resisted. Why you should avoid using the sable as a rule is
that it will make the painting too "slick" and edgy. There is a
looseness that is a quality to prize. All the hardness, flatness, and
rigidity that are desirable you can get with the bristle brush. When
you work too much with sables, the overworking brings a waxy and
woodeny surface, which is against all the qualities of atmosphere and
luminosity, and of freshness and freedom of touch.


Some of the most useful sizes of the more pointed brushes are shown on
opposite page. There are, of course, sizes between these, and many
larger; but these are what you will find the best. It would be better
to have more of each size than to have more sizes. You should try to
work with fewer rather than more sizes, and, as a rule, work more with
the larger than with the smaller brush, even for fine work. You will
work with more force and tend less to pettiness, if you learn to put
in small touches with the largest brush that will do it. Breadth is
not painting with a large brush; but the man who works always with a
small brush instinctively looks for the things a small brush is
adapted to, and will unconsciously drift into a little way of working.


The fan brush, such as here illustrated, is a useful brush, not to
paint with, but to flick or drag across an outline or other part of a
painting when it is getting too hard and liney. You may not want it
once a month, but it is very useful when you do want it.


=Care of Brushes.=--The best of economy in brushes lies in your care
of them. You should never let the paint dry on them nor go too long
without careful washing. It is not necessary to wash them every day
with soap and water, but they would be the better for such treatment.

Quite often, once a week, say, you should wash your brushes carefully
with soap and water. You may use warm water, but don't have it hot, as
that may melt the glue which holds the bristles together in the
ferrule. Use strong soap with plenty of lye in it--common bar soap, or
better, the old-fashioned soft soap. Hold several brushes together in
one hand so that the tips are all of a length, dip them together into
or rub them onto the soap, and then rub them briskly in the palm of
the other hand. When the paint is well worked into the lather, do the
same with the other brushes, letting the first ones soak in the soap,
but not in the water. Then rinse them, and carefully work them clean
one by one, with the fingers. When you lay them aside to dry, see that
the bristles are all straight and smooth, and they will be in perfect
condition for next painting.


=Cleaning.=--But from day to day you need not take quite so much
trouble as this. True, the brushes will keep in better condition if
washed in soap and water every day, but it is not always convenient to
do this. You may then use the brush-cleaner. This is a tin box with a
false bottom of perforated tin or of wire netting about half-way down,
which allows the liquid to stand a half-inch or so above it; so that
when you put your brush in and rub it around, the paint is rinsed from
it, and settles through the perforations to the bottom, leaving the
liquid clear again above it. If you use this carefully, cleaning one
brush at a time, not rubbing it too hard, and pulling the hairs
straight by wiping them on a clean rag, you may keep your brushes in
good condition quite easily. But they will need a careful
soap-and-water washing every little while, besides. The liquid best
for use in this cleaner is the common kerosene or coal oil. Never use
turpentine to rinse your brushes. It will make them brittle and harsh;
but the kerosene will remove all the paint, and will not affect the

                              CHAPTER V


Of all your materials, it is on your paints that quality has the most
vital effect. With bad paint your work is hopeless. You may get an
effect that looks all right, but how long will it stand, and how much
better may it not have been if your colors had been good? You can tell
nothing about it. You may have luck, and your work hold; or you may
not have luck, and in a month your picture is ruined. Don't trust to
luck. Keep that element out as much as you can, always. But in the
matter of paints, if you count on luck at all, remember that the
chances are altogether against you. Don't let yourself be persuaded to
indulge in experiments with colors which you have reason to think are
of doubtful quality. Keep on the safe side, and use colors you are
sure of, even if they do cost a little more--at first; for they are
cheaper in the long-run. And even in the time of using of one tube,
generally the good paint does enough more work to cover the difference
of cost.

=Bad Paints.=--Suspect colors which are too cheap. Good work is
expensive. Ability and skill and experience count in making artists'
colors, and must be paid for. If you would get around the cost of
first-class material you must mix it with inferior material.

The first effect you will notice in using poor colors is a certain
hindrance to your facility, due to the fact that the color is
weak--does not have the snap and strength in it that you expect. The
paint has not a full color quality, but mixes dead and flat. This you
will find particularly in the finer and lighter yellows. You need not
fear much adulteration in those paints which are naturally cheap, of
course. It is in those higher-priced colors, on which you must largely
depend for the more sparkling qualities, that you will have most

Unevenness of working, and lack of covering or mixing power, you will
find in poor paints also. They have no strength, and you must keep
adding them more and more to other colors to get them to do their
work. All these things are bothersome. They make you give more
attention to the pigments while working than you ought to, and when
all is done, your picture is weak and negative in color.

Another effect to be feared from bad colors is that your work will not
stand; the colors fade or change, and the paint cracks. The former
effect is from bad material, or bad combinations of them in the
working, and the latter mainly from bad vehicles used in grinding

I have seen pictures go to pieces within a month of their
painting--bad paint and bad combinations. Of course you can use good
colors so that the picture will not stand. But that will be your own
fault, and it is no excuse for the use of colors which you can by no
possibility do good work with.

=Good Paints.=--The three things on which the quality of good paint
depends are good pigment, good vehicles, and good preparation.

The pigments used are of mineral, chemical, and vegetable origin. The
term _pigment_ technically means the powdered substance which, when
mixed with a vehicle, as oil, becomes _paint_. The most important
pigments now used are artificial products, chiefly chemical compounds,
including chemical preparations of natural mineral earths.

As a rule, the colors made from earths may be classed as all
permanent; those from chemicals, permanent or not, as the case may be;
and those of vegetable origin fugitive, with few exceptions. Some
colors are good when used as water colors, and bad when used in oil.
Further on I will speak of the fugitiveness and permanency of colors
in detail. I wish here to emphasize the fact that the origin of the
material of which the pigment is made has much to do with the sort of
work that that pigment will do, and with the permanency of the effect
which is produced; and therefore that while a paint may look like
another, its working or its lasting qualities may be quite different.

=The Vehicles.=--The vehicles by which the pigment is made fluent and
plastic are quite as important in their effects. They not only have to
do with the business of drying, owing to the substances used as
dryers, but they may have to do with the chemical action of one
pigment on another.

=The Preparation.=--Finally, the preparation of the pigment demands
the utmost skill and knowledge, if the colors are to be good. The
paints used by the old masters were few and simple, and the fact that
they prepared them themselves had much to do with the manner in which
they kept their color. The paints used now are less simple. We do not
prepare and grind them ourselves, and we could hardly do so if we
wished to, so we are the more dependent on the integrity of the
colorman who does it for us.

The preparation of the paint begins with the chemical or physical
preparation of each pigment, and then comes the mixing of several to
produce any particular color; and finally the mechanical process of
grinding with the proper vehicle to bring it to the proper fineness
and smoothness.

=Grinding.=--The color which the artist uses must be most evenly and
perfectly ground. The grinding which will do for ordinary house paints
will not do for the artist's colors. Neither will the chemical
processes suitable for the one serve for the other. Not only must the
machinery, but the experience, skill and care, be much greater for
artist's colors. Therefore it is that the specialization of
color-making is most important to good colors for the use of the

=Reliable Makers.=--If you would work to the best advantage as far as
your colors are concerned, both as to getting the best effects which
pure pigments skilfully and honestly prepared will give you, and as to
the permanency of those effects when you have gotten them, see to it
that you get paint made by a thoroughly reliable colorman.

It is not my province to say whose colors you should use; doubtless
there are many colormen who make artists' materials honestly and well.
Nevertheless, I may mention that there are no colors which have been
more thoroughly tested, both by the length of time they have been in
the possession of painters, and by the number of painters who have
used them, than those of Winsor and Newton of London. No colors have
been so generally sold and for so long a time, particularly in this
country, as these, and none are so well known for their evenness and
excellence of quality.

I do not say that these manufacturers do not make any colors which
should not go on the palette of the cautious artist--I believe that
they do not make that claim themselves; but such colors as they do
assert to be good, pure, and permanent, you may feel perfectly safe in
using, and be sure that they are as well made as colors can be. This
is as much as can be said of any paints, and more than can be said of
most. I have used these colors for many years, and my own experience
is that they have always been all that a painter need ask.

The fact that Winsor and Newton's colors can be found in any town
where colors can be had at all, makes me the more free to recommend
them, as you can always command them. This fact also speaks for the
general approval of them.

Inasmuch as certain colors are not claimed to be permanent and others
are, it is for you to compose your palette of those which will combine
safely. This you can do with a little care. Some colors are permanent
by themselves or with some colors, but not in combination with certain
others. You should then take the trouble to consider these chemical

It is not necessary for you to study the chemistry of paints, but you
may read what has been ascertained as to the effects of combinations,
and act accordingly. There are practically duplications of
color-quality in pigments which are bad, and in pigments which are
good; so that you can use the good color instead of the bad one to do
the same work. The good color will cost more, but there is no way of
making the bad color good, so you must pay the difference due to the
cost of the better material, or put up with the result of using bad

=Chemical Changes.=--The causes of change of color in pigments are of
four kinds, all of them chemical effects. 1, the action of light; 2,
the action of the atmosphere; 3, the action of the medium; and 4, the
action of the pigments themselves on each other. The action of light
is to bring about or to assist in the decomposition of the pigment. It
is less marked in oil than in water color, because the oil forms a
sort of sheath for the color particles. The manner in which light does
its deteriorating work is somewhat similar to that of heat. The action
of light is very slow, but it seems to do the same thing in a long
time that heat would do in a short time.

Some colors are unaffected or little affected by light, and of course
you will use them in preference to all others. The atmosphere affects
the paint because of certain chemical elements contained in it, which
tend to cause new combinations with the materials which are already
in combination in the pigment. The action of the oxygen in the air is
the chief agent in affecting the pigment, and it is here particularly
that light, and especially sunlight, assists in decomposition. The air
of towns and cities generally contains sulphuric and sulphurous acids
and sulphuretted hydrogen. This latter gas is most effective in
changing oil paintings, because of its action in turning white lead
dark; and as white lead is the basis of many qualities in painting,
this gas may have a very general action.

Moisture in the atmosphere is also a cause of change, but there is
little to be dreaded from this, as the oil protects the colors.

Oil absorbs oxygen in drying, and so is apt to have an effect on
colors liable to change from that element, and many vehicles contain
materials to hasten the drying which further aid in the deterioration
of the pigment. Bad oil will tend to crack the picture also. The
greatest care should be used in this direction, as the most permanent
colors may be ruined by bad vehicles.

Pigments will not have a deteriorating effect on each other as long as
they are solid. But if one of them is soluble in the medium, then
chemical action commences; but as most pigments are somewhat soluble,
there is always some danger in mixing them. The best we can do is, as
I said before, to try to have on the palette, as far as possible,
only colors which are friendly to each other.

As a student you should not be much occupied, however, with all this.
You must expect that all color will change somewhat. But you need not
use those which change immediately or markedly, and you may use them
in a way which will tend to make them change as little as may be.
Colors have stood for years, and what is practical permanence, not
perfect permanence, is all you need look for. If you think too much of
the permanence of your colors, it will interfere with the directness
of your study. Therefore, decide on a palette which is as complete and
safe as you can make it, excluding the notably bad pigments, and think
no more about it.

When you need to add a new color to your palette, choose it with
reference to those already on it, and go ahead. This is what the whole
subject resolves itself to, practically, for you as a student.

=Opaque and Transparent Colors.=--Some colors, like the madders, have
a jelly-like consistency when mixed with oil, others, the earths among
them, are dense and opaque. We speak of them respectively as
"transparent" and "solid" colors. These qualities, which divide the
paints into two classes, have no relation to their permanency. As far
as that is concerned you use them in the same way, as some
transparent colors are safe and some fugitive; and the same with the
opaque colors.

The only difference is in the fact that, as a rule, the solid colors
are better dryers. But you will notice that while you may mix these
colors together as though this difference between them did not exist,
in certain processes you use them differently. So you will see,
farther on, that for a "glaze" you can use only the transparent or
semi-opaque colors, for a scumble you naturally use the solid ones.
You should know, however, for the sake of clearness, just what is
meant when "solid" or "body" or "opaque" color is spoken of, and what
is meant by "transparent" color.

=Safe and Unsafe Colors.=--Beyond what has been said of the causes of
change in colors it is not necessary that you should know the chemical
constituents of them. If you want to look into the matter further
there are books, such as "Field's Chromatography," which treat fully
of the subject, and which you may study.

But practically you should know which colors are to be depended on and
which not. Let us consider the principal colors in detail then, merely
as to their actual stability. I will speak of them in connection with
the plates of colors at the end of this book. I would like you to
compare what is said of each color with the corresponding color in the
plates. Those colors in the plates which are not spoken of here, you
may consider as useful in showing you the character of different
colors which are made, but which may or may not be used, according as
you may need them. I shall not attempt to mention all the pigments
that are in the market. You need never use more than fifteen or twenty
all told. Many painters use more, it is true; but if you know how to
make the best use of that number, you may safely wait till you "grow
to them" before you bother with more. And I shall speak only of those
which you will find essential or most generally useful, and those
which should be particularly avoided.

=Permanency.=--It should be stated what is meant by a permanent color.
There is no color which is not to be influenced in some way. The most
sound of pigments will change if the conditions favor the change. When
we speak of a permanent color, we mean only one which under the usual
conditions will stand for an indefinite time. By which is meant
ordinary diffused daylight, not direct sunlight, and the ordinary air
under normal conditions. If there be direct sunlight, you may expect
your picture to change sooner or later. But one does not hang his
pictures where the sun's rays will fall on them. If there is any
exceptional condition of moisture in the air, the picture may suffer.
Or if from any cause unusual gases are in the atmosphere, or if the
picture be too long in a dark, close place, the picture may smother
for lack of fresh air, just as any other thing, plant or animal, which
depends on normal conditions of atmosphere would do.

Let us say, then, that what we mean by a permanent color is one which
will stand unchanged for an indefinite length of time in a room which
is of the usual condition of temperature and freedom from moisture,
and where the light is diffused, and such that the direct rays of the
sun are not on the picture often, or to any great extent. Cold will
not hurt a picture if the canvas is not disturbed in that condition,
but to bend or roll it while it is very cold will of course crack it,
and sudden and extreme changes of temperature may have the same
effect. In other words, some care must be used with all pictures as a
matter of course.

                              COLOR LIST

=Whites.=--_Zinc white_ is the only permanent white, but it lacks body
and is little used. The lead whites, _flake_, _silver_, _cremnitz_,
will darken in time, and will turn yellow with oil, and may change
with or affect change in other pigments. The zinc white is liable to
crack. We have no perfect white, so practically you may consider the
lead whites as permanent enough, as other painters do.

=Yellows.=--_Cadmium_ is permanent in all three of its forms. It is a
color the permanence of which is of great importance; for its
brilliancy is quite essential to modern painting, and if it were not
permanent, the picture would soon lose the very quality for which the
color was used. _The chromes_, which are of similar color-quality, are
less permanent, and are almost sure to turn to a horny sort of yellow;
and a green, which by their use was bright and sparkling, will, in a
few months, lose its freshness--this cadmium will not do. Cadmium is
also to be preferred to chrome, because it is of a much finer
tonality. Greens and yellows made by the admixture of chrome are apt
to be crude as compared with those in which cadmium was used.

_Strontian yellow_ is a permanent and most useful light yellow, much
to be preferred to all other citron yellows except the pale cadmium,
and can be used in place of that if necessary. They are both expensive
colors of about the same cost.

_Naples yellow_ was a very prominent pigment with the older painters.
It is still very much used, but in the simplification of your palette
you may as well leave it out, as you can get the same qualities with
cadmium and white. It is durable and safe, but adds another tube to
your palette which you can well dispense with.

_The ochres_ are among the oldest and safest of pigments. You can use
them with any colors which are themselves permanent. There are several
of them,--_yellow ochre_, _Roman ochre_, _transparent gold ochre_, and
others. They are all native earths, and though they contain iron, they
are sufficiently inert to be thoroughly sound colors.

_The siennas_, burnt and raw, are like the ochres, native earths, very
old and permanent colors, and may be used anywhere.

_The umbers_ are in the same class with the siennas and ochres. They
should all rank among the yellows. The browns of umber and sienna will
make greens with blues.

_Indian yellow and yellow lake_ should both be avoided as fugitive.

_Aureolin_ is a rich, warm golden yellow of the greatest permanence,
and should be used when Indian yellow and yellow lake would be used if
they were permanent.

=Reds.=--The _vermilions_ are permanent when well made. They are of
great body and power, as well as delicacy. They are of two
kinds,--_Chinese_, which is bluish in tone, and _scarlet_ and _orange
vermilion_, which have the yellow quality. Both kinds are useful to
the palette because of the practical necessities of mixing.

_Light red_ is a deep, warm red earth, made by calcining ochre, and
has the same permanence as the other ochres. It is a fine color, of
especial value in painting flesh, and mixes with everything safely.

_The madders_--_rose_, _pink_, _purple_, and _madder carmine_--are the
only transparent reds which are permanent. Whatever the name given
them, they should not be confounded with the _lakes_, which are
absolutely untrustworthy. By reference to the plates you will see that
the madders are practically the same as the lakes in color when first
used. But the lakes fade and the madders do not. The madders cost
about twice as much as the lakes; but you must pay the difference, for
the lakes cannot be made to stand, and you must have the color. There
is nothing for it but to pay twice as much and buy the madders.

_The lakes_--_scarlet_, _geranium_, _crimson_, and _purple_--are all
bad. The madders and lakes are all slow dryers; but unless carelessly
used with other colors which are not yet dry they need not have a bad
effect on the picture from cracking.

Distinguish the so-called _madder lakes_ and the _lakes_; and between
_carmine_, which is a lake, and _madder carmine_, which is a madder.

=Blues.=--The _ultramarine_ of the old masters is practically unused
to-day because of its cost. But the artificial ultramarines, while not
quite of the same purity of color, are equally permanent, and are in
every respect worthy to be used. Of these the _brilliant ultramarine_
is the nearest in color to the real lapis lazuli. The _French
ultramarine_ is less clear and vivid, but is a splendid deep blue, and
most useful. The so-called _permanent blue_ is not quite so permanent
as its name implies, but permanent enough for practical purposes.

_Cobalt blue_ and _cerulean blue_ are two pigments, one very light and
clear, the other darker, which are made of the oxide of the metal
cobalt. In oil they are permanent, and do not change when mixed with
other colors. For delicate tints, when the tones are to be subtly gray
yet full of the primary colors, the cobalts are indispensable. You
should always have them on hand, and generally on your palette.
Cerulean blue is of less importance than the other, but in very clear,
delicate blue skies it is often the only color which will get the

_Prussian blue_ possesses a depth and power and a quality of color
which make it unique. The greenish tone gives it great value in
certain combinations _as far as its tinting effect is concerned_. But
it is not reliable as a pigment. It changes under various conditions,
and fades with the light. It is not to be depended upon. _Antwerp
blue_, a weaker kind of Prussian blue, is even more fugitive. It is a
pity that these colors will not stand, but as they will not, we must
get along without them.

_Indigo_ has a certain grayish quality which is useful sometimes, but
it cannot be placed among the even moderately permanent colors.

_The blacks_ may be classed as blues, because they will make green if
mixed with yellow. Considered as blues, they are, of course, dense and
negative, and should not be too freely used. But they are all
permanent. The only ones we need speak of are _ivory black_, which has
a reddish cast, and _blue black_, which is weaker, but lacks the
purplish note, which is often an advantage.

=Greens.=--We need mention only a few greens. There are numerous
greens, of various degrees of permanence, but it is not necessary to
speak of all the colors on the market. You could not use them all if
you had them, and we may as well confine ourselves to those we really

_Veridian_, or _emeraude green_, is the deepest and coldest of our
greens, and is permanent. It is too cold, and looks even more so at
night. In use it needs the addition of some yellow which holds its own
at night, such as yellow ochre, or the painting will be impossible in
gaslight, and even worse under electric light.

_Emerald green_ is the same as the French _Veronese_ green, and is
generally permanent. It is said to turn dark, and does lose some of
its brilliancy with time and the effect of impure air. But there are
places where one needs it, especially in sketching, and it is well to
use it sometimes. But bear in mind that it is not absolutely
permanent, and as the quality that it gives, brilliant light green, is
the very one it will lose should it change, don't expect too much of

_Terre verte_ is a very weak color. But it is most tender in its
quality, and is permanent to all intents and purposes. It may get
slightly darker in time, but will not lose the qualities for which it
will be used. It is very useful to use with ivory black or elsewhere,
to slightly modify a reddish tendency, and is a fine glazing color.

_The chrome greens_, by whatever name, Brunswick green, or the
better-known Cinnabar or Zinnober greens, are all bad. They are useful
colors as color, but they will not stand, and you will even get better
color by mixing certain yellows and blues than these will give you, so
you had better lay them aside, tempting as they are.

=Other Colors.=--You will notice that I have said nothing about the
various browns and olives and purples. It is simply because it is
better for you to make all these colors than to get them in the tubes.
The earths and the browns of madder are all good, and the mixing of
madders and good blues will make all the shades of violet and purple
you can possibly want in their purity.

=Palettes.=--We have, then, a number of pigments which are solid and
safe, of each of the primary colors, and of such variety of qualities
that the whole range of possible color is practicable with them in
combination. To recapitulate, let us make a list of them.

                        THE PERMANENT COLORS.


Here is a list of colors which will work well together, and with which
you can do as much as is possible with colors as far as our present
materials go.

Most of these colors, I am aware, are among the more expensive ones.
This I am sorry for, but cannot help. The good colors are at times the
expensive ones, but as there are no cheaper ones which are permanent
to take their places, it would be the falsest of economy to use

=Palette Principles.=--In making up your palette, you must so arrange
it that you can get pure color when you want it. There is never any
trouble to get the color negative; to get richness and balance is
another matter. If you will refer to the color plates, you will see
that in each of the three primary colors there are pigments which lean
towards one or the other of the other two. The scarlet red is a yellow
red. The Chinese vermilion and the rose madder are blue reds. The same
holds with yellows and blues, as orange cadmium is a red yellow, and
strontian yellow is a greenish yellow. This is, in practice, of the
utmost importance in the absence of the ideal color, for when we deal
with the practical side of pigment, we deal with very imperfect
materials which will not follow in the lines of the scientific theory
of color. If we would have the purest and richest secondary color, we
must take two primaries, each of which partakes of the quality of the
other. To make a pure orange, for instance, we must use a yellow red
and a red yellow. If we used a bluish red and a bluish (greenish)
yellow, the blue in both would give us a sort of tertiary in the form
of a negative secondary instead of the pure rich orange we wanted.
This latter fact is quite as useful in keeping colors gray without too
much mixing when we want them so, but nevertheless we must know how to
get pure color also.

These characteristics have a bearing on the setting of our palette,
for we must have at least two of each of the three primary
colors--red, yellow, and blue--and white. There may be as many more as
you want, but there must be at least that number.

But the character of the work you are doing will also have an
influence on the colors you use. You may not need the same palette for
one sort of picture that is essential to another. You can have a
palette which will do all sorts of work, but a change in the
combinations may often be called for in accordance with the different
color characteristics of your picture.

I will suggest several palettes of different combinations which will
give you an idea of how you may compose a palette to suit an occasion.
I do not say that you should confine yourself to any or all of these
palettes, nor that they are the best possible. But they are safe and
practical, and you may use them until you can find or compose one
better suited to your purposes. They will all be made up from the
colors we have in our list, and will all have the arrangement I called
your attention to as to the use of two of each primary.

It would be well if you were to compare each of the colors with the
corresponding one in the plates at the end of the book, and get
acquainted with its characteristic look.

[Illustration: =No. 1.= =No. 2.= =No. 3.=]

=Expense.=--I have several times referred to the relative expense of
colors, and stated that when the good color was of greater cost than
others, there was nothing for it but to get the best. I cannot modify
that statement, but it is well to say that as a rule the expensive
colors are not those that you use the most of, although some are used
constantly. Vermilion is so strong a color that the cost hardly
matters. Of the deep blues the same is true. But the light yellows,
and the madders and cobalt, will often make you groan at the rapidity
of their disappearance. But you can get more tubes of them, and their
work remains, while were you to use the cheaper paints, the flight of
the color from the canvas would make you groan more, and that
disappearance could never be made good except by doing the work all

=Sizes.=--The cheapest colors come in the largest tubes. In the
illustration, No. 3 represents the full size of the ordinary tube of
the average cost. Some of the most commonly used colors come in larger
tubes at corresponding price. Only professionals get these large sizes
except in the case of white. You use so much of this color that it
hardly pays to bother at all with the ordinary tube of it. Get the
quadruple tube, which is nominally four times as large, but contains
nearly five times as much.

No. 2 represents the actual size of the second size of tubes in which
a few regular-priced colors come; while the smallest tube is the size
of No. 1. In this sized tube all the high-priced colors are put up;
the cadmiums, the madders, vermilions, and ultramarines and cobalts.
The cheap colors are the ordinary earths, such as the ochres, umbers,
siennas, the blacks and whites, and all sorts of greens and blues and
lakes, which you had better have nothing to do with.

=Arrangement.=--In the following palettes I shall give the names of
the colors, as you would look down upon them on your palette. The
arrangement is that of a good many painters, and is a convenient one.
It is as well to arrange them with white at the right, then the
yellows, then the reds, the browns, blues, blacks, and greens. But I
have found this as I give it, to be the best for use, simply because
it keeps the proper colors together, and the white, which you use
most, where it is most easily got at, and I think you will find it a
good arrangement.

=A Cheap Palette.=--This palette I give so that you may see the range
possible with absolutely sound colors which are all of the least
price. You can get no high key with it. All the colors are low in
tone. You could not paint the bright pitch of landscape with it, yet
it is practically what they tried to paint landscape with a hundred
years ago, and it accounts largely for the lack of bright greens in
the landscapes of that date. But for all sorts of indoor work and for
portraits you will find it possible to get most beautiful results. You
will notice there is no bright yellow. That is because cadmium is
expensive and chrome is not permanent. Vermilion is left out for the
same reason. Add orange vermilion and cadmium yellow and orange
cadmium, and you have a powerful palette of great range and absolute

                    WHITE.  NAPLES YELLOW.
          VENETIAN RED.             YELLOW OCHRE.
        LIGHT RED.                     ROMAN OCHRE.

=An All-Round Palette=:--

                         WHITE.  STRONTIAN YELLOW.
        ROSE MADDER.                 ORANGE CADMIUM.
      BURNT SIENNA.                      YELLOW OCHRE.

This palette is a pretty large one, and you can do almost anything
with it. But for many things it is better to have more of certain
kinds of colors and less of others. This is a good palette for all
sorts of in-the-house work, and if you call it a still-life palette,
it will name it very well. For a student it will do anything he is apt
to be capable of for a good while.

=A Rich Low-Keyed Portrait and Figure Palette=:--

                        WHITE.  CADMIUM.
      LIGHT RED.                        YELLOW OCHRE.

=A Landscape Palette.=--Landscape calls for pitch and vibration. You
must have pure color and great luminosity, yet a range of color which
will permit of all sorts of effects. The following will serve for
everything out-of-doors, and I have seen it with practically no change
in the hands of very powerful and exquisite painters. There are no
browns and blacks in it because the colors which they would give are
to be made by mixing the purer pigments, so as to give more life and
vibration to the color. The blackest note may be gotten with
ultramarine and rose madder with a little veridian if too purple; the
result will be blacker than black, and have daylight in it. The ochre
is needed more particularly to warm the veridian.

                        WHITE.  STRONTIAN YELLOW.
      PINK MADDER.                    ORANGE CADMIUM.
    ROSE MADDER.                        YELLOW OCHRE.

If you paint figures out-of-doors you will need this same palette.
Madder carmine or purple madder, and cerulean blue may also usefully
added to this list.

=A Flower Palette.=--For painting flowers the colors should be capable
of the most exquisite and delicate of tints. There should be no color
on the palette which cannot be used in any part of the picture. The
range need not be so great in some respects as in others, but the
richness should be unlimited. In the matter of greens, it is true
though hard to convince the amateur of, that if there were no green
tube in your box, and you mixed all your greens from the yellows and
blues, the picture would be the better. As to the browns, they will
put your whole picture out of key. In this palette I am sure you will
find every color which is needed. There are few greens, but those
given can be used to gray a petal as well as to paint a leaf;
therefore there is no likelihood of your using a color in a leaf which
is not in tone with the flower.

I am calculating on your using all your ability in studying the
influence of color on color, and in mixing pure colors to make gray.
Here as elsewhere in these palettes I have in mind their use according
to the principles of color and light and effect as laid down in the
other parts of the book, which deal specially with those principles.
If you do not understand just why I arrange these palettes as I do,
turn to the chapters on color, and on the different kinds of painting,
and I think you will see what I mean, and understand better what I
say, about these combinations.

Of course you do not need all of these colors on your palette at the
same time. Some are necessary to certain flowers whose richness and
depth you could hardly get without them. The colors you should have as
a rule on your palette are these:--

                         WHITE.  STRONTIAN YELLOW.
      PINK MADDER.                       YELLOW OCHRE.

To add to these when needed, you should have in your box, pale and
deep cadmium, Chinese vermilion, madder carmine, and purple madder.

                              CHAPTER VI

                        VEHICLES AND VARNISHES

A vehicle is any liquid which is mixed with the color to make it
fluent. The vehicle may be ground with the pigment or mixed with it on
the palette, or both. Oil colors are of course ground in oil as a
vehicle; but it is often necessary or convenient to add to them, in
working, such a vehicle as will thin them, or make them dry better.
Those which thin or render more fluent the paint are oils and spirits;
those which make them dry more quickly are "dryers" or "siccatives."

All vehicles must of necessity have an effect on the permanency of the
pigments. Bad vehicles tend to deteriorate them; good ones preserve

=Oils.=--The most commonly used oils are linseed and poppy oil. They
are neither of them quick dryers, and are usually mixed with sugar of
lead, manganese, etc., to hasten the drying. These have a tendency to
affect the colors; but if one will have recourse to none but the pure
oils, he must be patient with the drying of his picture. For this
reason it would be well to use vehicles with the colors on the palette
as little as possible--and that is against thin and smooth painting.

Oil has the tendency to turn dark with time, thus turning the color
dark also. The only way to reduce this tendency is to clarify the oil
by long exposure to the sunlight. The early German painters used oil
so clarified, and their pictures are the best preserved as to color of
any that we have. But the drying is even slower with purified oil than
with the ordinary oil.

It would be best, then, to use oil as little as may be in painting,
and if you need a dryer, use it only as you actually need it in bad
drying colors, and then very little of it.

The essences of turpentine and of petroleum may be used to thin the
paint, and are preferable to oil, because they have less darkening
tendency. They do not, however, bind the color so well, and the paint
should not be put on too thinly with them. Usually there is enough oil
ground with the pigment as it comes in the tubes to overcome any
probability of the paint scaling or rubbing when thinned with
turpentine, but in the slow-drying, transparent colors there will be a
liability to crack. Moderation in the use of any and all vehicles is
the best means of avoiding difficulty. Use vehicles only when you need
them, not habitually, and then only as much as there is real need of.
If you use oil, use the lighter oils, and expect some darkening in
time. Prefer turpentine to oil, and expect your color to dry rather
"dead," or without gloss, by its use. If you intend to varnish, this
is all right. If you do not intend to varnish the picture, keep the
color as near the pure tones as you can. The grayer the color, the
more the "dead" or "flat" drying will make it look colorless.

=Varnishes.=--When the picture is done, after it is dry, varnishes are
used to bring out the freshness of color, and to preserve the surface
from outside influences of all sorts. A picture must be well dried
before it is varnished, or it is likely to crack; six months is not
too long to be safe. If you are in a hurry to varnish, use a temporary
or retouching varnish.

The best varnish is necessary for use on pictures. Never use any
except a varnish especially made for the purpose by a reliable
colorman. Those made by Winsor and Newton may all be depended upon.
Pay a good price for it, and don't use too much.

Mastic varnish is that which is most favorably known. Be sure you get
a good and pure quality.

Varnishes are made from various gums or resins dissolved in a solvent
such as alcohol, turpentine, or oil, as the case may be. The lighter
gums are the best for pictures, because they do not affect the color
of the picture. Much care should be used in putting on the
varnish--that it is even and as thinly distributed as will serve the
purpose. It should not be flowed on, but carefully worked out with a
clean brush, and then kept from dirt and dust until dry.

The finer varnishes in oil or turpentine are best for ordinary use.
Those in alcohol do not hold their freshness so well.

Varnishes are sometimes used as siccatives, and to mix with colors
which are liable to affect other colors, or to lack consistency.
Usually, however, they are not needed.

                             CHAPTER VII


The most important qualities in a palette are that it should be large
enough, and that it should balance well on the thumb. Whether it is
round or square is a slight matter. The oval palette is usually best
for the studio because the corners are seldom of use, and add weight.
But for sketching, the square palette fits the box best.

[Illustration: =Oval Palette.=]

Get a palette much larger than you think you want. When you get it on
your thumb the mixing-surface is much less than there seemed to be
before it was set, for all the actual surface is between the row of
colors and the thumb. If the palette is polished it is not essentially
better; it is easier to keep clean, as far as looks go, but of no
greater real service. If the choice is between a larger unpolished and
a smaller polished one, the price being the consideration, get the
larger one.

Get a light wood in preference to a dark wood for a choice of color,
but not if there is better grain or lighter weight in the darker
palette. It is an assistance in painting not to have to compare the
tint you are mixing with too dark a surface, for the color looks
lighter than it is; so the light wood will help you to judge justly of
the color while the palette is new. When it has been worked on a while
it will come to have a sympathetic color anyway.

This bears on the cleanliness of your palette. It is a mistake to
consider that cleanliness demands that the palette should be cleaned
to the wood and polished after every painting. On the contrary, if a
little of the paint is rubbed out over the palette every time it is
cleaned, after a few weeks there will come a fine smooth polish of
paint, which will have a delicate light gray color, which is a most
friendly mixing surface.

=Adapting.=--When you get a new palette, before you use it take a
little trouble to carve out the thumb-hole to fit your thumb. Make it
large enough to go over the ball of the thumb, and set easily on the
top of the hand. When the hole is too small the thumb gets numb after
working a little while, which this will obviate.

=Cleanliness.=--The cleanliness of a palette consists in its being
always in such a condition that you can handle it without getting
dirty; that the mixing-surface will not foul the freshly mixed paint;
and that the paint around the edge is always so that you can pick up a
fresh, clean brushful. If you try to clean off all your color every
day and polish your palette nicely, you will not only take up more
time with your palette than you do with your painting, but the fact
that some left-over paint may be wasted will make you a little stingy
in putting on fresh paint, which is one of the worst habits a beginner
can fall into. You cannot paint well unless you have paint enough on
your palette to use freely when you need it. It is all well enough to
put on more, but nothing is more vexing than to have to squeeze out
new paint at almost every brushful. You must have paint enough when
you begin, to work with, or you waste too much time with these

[Illustration: =Arm Palette.=]

If you are painting every day, leave the good paint where it is at the
end of your work, and scrape off all the muddy or half-used piles, and
clean carefully all the palette except those places where the paint is
still fresh and pure. Then, when you have to add more to that, clean
that place with the palette-knife before squeezing out the new color.
In this way the palette will not look like a centre-table, but it will
be practically clean, have a good clear mixing-surface, and you will
neither waste paint nor be stingy with it.

=The Arm Palette.=--For painting large canvases, where the
largest-sized brushes are used and paint must be mixed in greater
quantities, the arm palette is a most convenient thing if it is well
balanced. It is in the way rather than otherwise for small pictures,
and is useful only as it is particularly called for.

                             CHAPTER VIII

                             OTHER TOOLS

It remains to speak of those tools which are not essentials, but
conveniences, to painting. Even as conveniences, however, they are of
importance enough to have an influence on your work. You can paint
without them, but you will work more easily for the having of them;
and something of the sort, although not necessarily of the same kind,
you must have. You may improvise something, in other words, to take
the place of these, but you would be wiser to get those which are made
for the purpose.

=The Box.=--First, the box. You must keep your things together
somehow, and it would be as well that you keep them in a box which is
portable and suited to the purpose. When you sketch you must have a
proper box, and why not have one which is equally serviceable in the
house? Those most commonly sold to amateurs are of tin, and they are
various in size and construction, and not too expensive. The only
thing against them is the difficulty of adapting them to service
different from that they were designed for; that is, if you want to
put in a different sort of panel, or if you want to fix it in the
cover for convenience, or anything like that, you cannot readily do
it, because you cannot use tacks in them. This counts for more than
would seem on a sketching trip. But the tin box is light, and is not
easily broken, and while it is in shape is practical.

[Illustration: =The Color Box.=]

The box to be most recommended is the wooden one. It costs more than
the tin one,--about twice as much; but you can always arrange it for
an emergency very readily, and if it gets broken you can fix it
yourself, or get any carpenter to do it for you, while you may be a
good many miles from a tinner, who would be necessary to mend your tin

You had better not get too large a box. Get one long enough for the
brushes; but if you are going to use it out-of-doors much, get a
narrow one with a folding palette, so as to save weight. In this way
you will get a larger palette than you could get in a smaller and
wider box, which is an important consideration.

[Illustration: =Palette Knife.=]

=The Palette-Knife.=--Of more immediate necessity to your painting is
the palette-knife. You cannot keep the palette clean without it. Now
and again you may want to mix colors, or even paint with it. But you
constantly get rid of the too much mixed color on your palette with
it, and this is essential to good painting. Take some care to select a
good knife; have the blade long enough to be springy and flexible, but
not too long. About five inches from the wood of the handle to the end
of the blade is a good length. And see that it bends in a true curve
from one end to the other, and is not stiff at the end and weak in the
middle. It should have the same even elasticity that a brush should

For painting you need a "trowel palette-knife," which has a bent
shank, making the blade and the handle on different levels, so that as
you press the blade to the canvas, the fingers are kept away from the
painted surface. The shank should be round, and the blade very fine
and flexible. The knife should balance nicely in the hand, and turn
freely in the fingers, so that you can paint with either face of the
blade with equal balance. It takes some care to pick out a good
trowel-knife, as a poor one is worse than none.

=The Scraper.=--You frequently need to scrape rough paint from a
canvas or a picture, and you need to scrape strongly to get a dirty
palette clean. You can use an old razor for the first purpose, or a
piece of broken glass, if you use it carefully, and any old knife can
be used to clean your palette. But a regular tool is better than
either. The scraper here shown is the best.

[Illustration: =The Scraper.=]

=The Oil-Cup.=--Do not use oils and vehicles very much. But when you
need them you must have something to keep them in, convenient to the
brush when working. It should have a spring to hold it on to the
palette, and of such form that the contents are not easily spilled by
the movement of the hand or the body when painting. The form here
illustrated is the best that has been brought out so far.

[Illustration: =The Oil-Cup.=]

=The Mahl-Stick.=--Sometimes you want to rest the hand when painting,
for steadiness. The "mahl-" or rest-stick has a ball on the end, which
one usually covers with a wad of rag, so that it can be placed against
the canvas without injury, and the hand rested on it. It is so light
that it can be held with the brushes in the palette hand, and stiff
enough to support the brush-hand.

[Illustration: =Mahl-Sticks.=]

=Sketching Adjuncts.=--Out-of-doors you must have a seat, and you
should have an umbrella. The best seat for a man, because it can be
folded into so small a space, is the three-legged stool. This is not
usually satisfactory for a woman, whose skirts tip it over. The better
seat for her is shown below. The back is not very firm, but it does
give support, and the whole is light and strong.



The umbrella should be large and light, and one such as the
illustration, with a valve in the top to let the wind and hot air
through, will be found cooler and less easily blown over. You should
have some strong rings sewed on to it, so that you can fasten it from
four sides by strings, to keep it steady if the wind blows hard. The
umbrella should be of light-colored material, preferably white; but if
it is lined with black, the shade will be better, and give no false
glow to the color.


                              CHAPTER IX


A painting-room is always a matter of serious consideration, and to
the beginner one of difficulty. The arrangement of light is not easy,
and a special window is almost always out of the question; yet in some
way the light must be so managed that the canvas is not covered with
reflected lights which prevent one from seeing what the paint is
really like.

=The North Light.=--The first thing to be looked for is a steady light
which will be always about the same, and not be sunny part of the time
and in the shade the rest. A window looking to the north for this
reason is generally selected. The sun does not come into it, and the
light is diffused and regular. The effect of the light in the studio
is cool, but colors are justly seen in it, and the light that falls on
any object or model in it will be always the same. If there is to be a
skylight, this should be arranged in the same way. The sash must not
be flat, but must be nearly enough to the vertical to prevent the
sun's direct rays from entering, and it must for that purpose face to
the north. This makes the skylight practically a high north light in
the roof or ceiling, and that is what it should be.

Whether the sash is above the ceiling or just below it, in the roof or
in the wall, is of no particular importance. The thing to be seen to
is that it is high enough for the light to enter above the head of the
painter, and that it be so directed that only north light can come in.

The size of the window is also to be carefully considered. It should
not be too large. Too much light will be sure to interfere with the
proper control of light and shade on your model, and too little will
make your painting too dark. The position of the window with reference
to the shape of the room has to do with this. The most probable form
of a room is long and narrow. For painting it is better that the
window be in the middle of the end wall, high up, rather than in the
middle of the side wall. You will find that you can more easily get
distance from your model, and at the same time get the light both on
him and on your canvas. But a painting-room should not be too narrow.
About one-third longer than it is wide, with the window in one end,
will give you a good light, and the further end of the room will not
be too dark, as it would be apt to be if the room were longer.
Preferably, too, the window should be to the left of the centre of the
wall rather than to the right, as you face it; so that when you are
as near the side wall as you can get, with the light over your left
shoulder (as it should be), the light will strike on the canvas well,
and not too directly on the front of the model. It will give you a
better lateral position to the window, in other words. If you have to
accept a window in a side wall, this is even more to be looked for. If
the window is to the right of the centre, you will have a strong
side-light on your model; but you will either have no light on your
canvas, or you will have to turn so that the light falls on your
canvas from the right, which is awkward, as the paint is in the shadow
of the hand and brush which puts it on.

The height of the lower part of the window should be at least six feet
from the floor, and for ordinary purposes the proportion of window
space to floor space should be about one-tenth. It is impossible to
give a rule; but if the floor is about twelve feet by sixteen, say, a
window about five feet by four will be enough, or six and a half by
three if it is placed horizontally. If you want intense light with
strong contrast of light and shade on your model, have the window
smaller and squarer, and place your easel just under it, where the
light is good. The rest of the room will be dark. Better have the
window large enough, and have it so curtained that you can cut off as
much light as you need to. All this is if you are going to make
yourself a window; in which case you will think well before you commit
yourself. More probably you will have to get along as best you can
with the ordinary room and the ordinary window. In which case get a
high room with the window running up as close to the ceiling as
possible, and facing north, then you can curtain it so as to control
the light.

=Arrangement of Ordinary Windows.=--For a good working light you
should have only one window in your room; for the light coming in from
two openings will make a crossing of rays which will not only
interfere with the simplicity of the effect of light and shade on your
model, but will make a glare on your canvas. You can either close the
light out of the right-hand window, or, better, arrange a curtain so
the light from one window will not fall on the same place as that from
the other.

When you are working from still life or from a model this is often an
advantage, for you can have a strong side-light on the model, and a
second light on the canvas. To arrange this, have a sort of crane made
of iron, shaped like a carpenter's square, which will swing at right
angles with the wall, the arm reaching, say, six feet into the room.
Swing this by means of staples well up to the ceiling, so that the
light cannot get over it, and near to the right-hand window. From
this arm you can hang a thick, dark curtain, which will cover and shut
out the light from the right-hand window when swung back over it. If
you want to pose your model in the light of that window, while you
paint in that of the other, swing the curtain out into the room at
right angles to the wall, and it will prevent a cross light from the
two windows; so that when the model is posed back of the curtain the
light from that window will not fall on the canvas, nor the light from
the other fall on the model.

The light will be best on your picture coming from well above you as
you work. There will then be no reflections on the paint. You may find
it necessary to cover entirely the lower half of the window which
gives your painting-light. You will find it useful to have a shade of
good solid holland, arranged with the roller at the bottom, and a
string running up through a pulley at the top; so that you may pull
the shade _up_ from the bottom instead of _down_ from the top, and so
cut off as much of the lower part of the window as is necessary.

If you need the light from the lower part of the window, you may make
a thin curtain of muslin to cover the lower sash, which will let the
light through, but diffuse the rays and prevent reflection.

=The Size of the Studio.=--Of course a large studio is a good thing,
but it is not always at one's command. But you should try to have the
room large enough to let you work freely, and have distance enough
from the model. The size that I have mentioned, twelve feet by
sixteen, is as small as one should have, and one that you can almost
always get. If the room is smaller than that, you cannot do much in
it, and fifteen by twenty will give ample space.

                               PART II

                          GENERAL PRINCIPLES

                              CHAPTER X

                           MENTAL ATTITUDE

There is a theoretical and a practical side to art. The business of
the student is with the practical. Theories are not a part of his
work. Before any theoretical work is done there is the bald work of
learning to see facts justly, in their proper degree of relative
importance; and how to convey these facts visibly, so that they shall
be recognizable to another person.

The ideals of art are for the artist; not for the student. The
student's ideal should be only to see quickly and justly, and to
render directly and frankly.

Technique is a word which includes all the material and educational
resources of representation. The beginner need bother himself little
with what is good and what is bad technique. Let him study facts and
their representation only. Choice of means and materials implies a
knowledge by which he can choose. The beginner can have no such
knowledge. Choice, then, is not for him; but to work quite simply with
whatever comes to hand, intent only on training the eye to see, the
brain to judge, and the hand to execute. Later, with the gaining of
experience and of knowledge, for both will surely come, the
determination of what is best suited for the individual temperament or
purpose will work itself out naturally.

The student should not allow the theoretical basis of art to interfere
with the directness of his study of the material and the actual.
Nevertheless, he should know the fact that there is something back of
the material and the actual, as well as in a general way what that
something is.

Because the student's business is with the practical is no reason why
he should remain ignorant of everything else. It is important that he
should think as a painter as well as work as a painter. If he has no
thought of what all this practical is for, he will get a false idea of
his craft. He will see, and think of, and believe in, nothing but the
craftsmanship: that which every good workman respects as good and
necessary, but which the wise workman knows is but the perfect means
for the expression of thought.

Some consideration, then, of the theoretical side of art is necessary
in a book of this kind. A number of considerations arise at the
outset, about which you must make up your mind:--

Is judgment of a picture based on individual liking?

Can you hope to paint well by following your own liking only?

Is it worth your while to try to do good work?

Can you hope to do good work at all?

You must decide these questions for yourself, but you must remember
that it depends upon how you decide them whether your work will be
good or bad.

To take the last consideration first, you may be sure that it is worth
while to try to do good work, and mainly because you may hope to do as
good work as you want to do. That is, precisely as good work as you
are willing to take the trouble to learn to do. Talent is only another
name for love of a thing. If you love a thing enough to try to find
out what is good, to train your judgment; and to train your abilities
up to what that judgment tells you is good, the good work is only a
matter of time.

You will notice that you must train your judgment as well as your
ability; not all at once, of course. But how can you hope to do good
work if you do not know what good work is when you see it? If you have
no point of view, how can you tell what you are working for, what you
are aiming at? And if you do not know what you are aiming at, are you
likely to hit anything?

=Train Your Judgment.=--Let us say, then, that you must train your
critical judgment. How are you to set about it?

In the first place, don't set up your own liking as a criterion. Make
up your mind that when it comes to a choice between your personal
taste and that of some one who may be supposed to know, between what
you think and what has been consented to by all the men who have ever
had an opinion worthy of respect, you may rest assured that you are
wrong. And when you have made up your mind to that, when you have
reached that mental attitude, you have taken a long step towards
training your judgment; for you have admitted a standard outside of
mere opinion.

Another attitude that you should place your mind in is one of
catholicity--one of openness to the possibility of there being many
ways of being right. Don't allow yourself to take it for granted that
any one school or way of painting or looking at things is the only
right one, and that all the other ways are wrong. That point of view
may do for a man who has studied and thought, and finally arrived at
that conclusion which suits his mind and his nature,--but it will not
do for a student. Such an attitude is a sure bar to progress. It
results in narrowness of idea, narrowness of perception, and
narrowness of appreciation. You should try all things, and hold fast
to that which is good. And having found what is good, and even while
holding fast to it, you should remember that what is good and true for
you is not necessarily the only good and true for some one else. You
must not only hold to your own liberty of choice, but recognize the
same right for others. If this is not recognized, what room has
originality to work in?

The range of subject, of style, and of technical methods among
acknowledged masters, should alone be proof of the fact that there is
no one way which is the only good way; and if you would know how to
judge and like a good picture, the study of really great pictures,
without regard to school, is the way to learn.

=How to Look at Pictures.=--The study of pictures means something more
than merely looking at them and counting the figures in them. It
implies the study of the treatment of the subject in every way. The
management of light and shade; the color; the composition and drawing;
and finally those technical processes of brush-work by means of which
the canvas gets covered, and the idea of the artist becomes visible.
All these things are important in some degree; they all go to the
making of the complete work of art: and you do not understand the
picture, you do not really and fully judge it, unless you know how to
appreciate the bearing on the result, of all the means which were used
to bring it about. All this adds to your own technical knowledge as
well as to your critical judgment, both of which ends are important
to your becoming a good painter.

=Why Paint Well.=--You see I am assuming that you wish to be a good
painter. There is no reason why you should be a bad painter because
you are not a professional one. The better you paint the better your
appreciation will be of all good work, the keener your appreciation of
what is beautiful in nature, and the greater your satisfaction and
pleasure in your own work. There are better reasons for painting than
the desire to "make a picture." Painting implies making a picture, it
is true; but it means also seeing and representing charming things,
and working out problems of beauty in the expression of color and
form: and this is something more than what is commonly meant by a
picture. The picture comes, and is the result; but the making of it
carries with it a pleasure and joy which are in exact proportion to
the power of appreciation, perception, and expression of the painter.
This is the real reason for painting, and it makes the desire and the
attempt to paint well a matter of course.

=Craftsmanship.=--The mechanical side of painting naturally is an
important part of your problem. You cannot be too catholic in your
opinion with regard to it. It is vital that you be not narrowed by any
prejudices as to the surface effect of paint. Whether the canvas be
smooth or rough, the paint thick or thin, the details few or
many,--the goodness or badness of the picture does not depend on any
of these. They are or should be the result, the natural outcome
because the natural means of expression, of the manner in which the
picture is conceived. One picture may demand one way of painting and
another demand a quite different way; and each way be the best
possible for the thing expressed. It all depends on the man; the
make-up of his mind; the way he sees things; the results he aims to
attain,--all of them controlled more or less by temperament and
idiosyncrasy. What would produce a perfect work for one man would not
do at all for another. The works of the great masters offer the most
marked contrasts of ideal and of treatment, and painters have varied
greatly in their manner of some painting at different periods of their
lives. Rembrandt, for instance, painted very thinly in his early
years, with transparent shadows and carefully modelled, solidly loaded
lights. Later in life he painted most roughly; and "The Syndics" was
so heavily and roughly loaded that even now, after two hundred years,
the paint stands out in lumps--and this is one of his masterpieces. So
again, if you will compare the manipulation in the work of Raphael
with that of Tintoretto, that of Rubens with that of Velasquez, or
most markedly, the work of Frans Hals with that of Gerard Dou, you
will see that the greatest extremes of handling are consistent with
equal greatness of result.

=Finish.=--From this you may conclude that what is generally
understood by the word "finish" is not necessarily a thing to be
sought for. The tendency of great painters is rather away from
excessive smoothness and detail than towards it. While a picture may
be a good one and be very minute and smooth, it by no means follows
that a picture is bad because it is rough. The truth is that the test
of a picture does not lie in the character of the pigment surface _in
itself_ at all, nor in whether it be full of detail or the reverse,
but in the conception and in the harmonious relation of the technique
to the manner in which the whole is conceived. The true "finish" is
whatever surface the picture happens to have when the idea which is
the purpose of the picture is fully expressed, with nothing lacking to
make that expression more complete, nor with anything present which is
not needed to that completeness. This too is the truth about
"breadth," that much misunderstood word. Breadth is not merely breadth
of brush stroke. It is breadth of idea, breadth of perception; the
power of conceiving the picture as a whole, and the power of not
putting in any details which will interfere with the unity of effect.

=Intent.=--In this connection it would be well to bear in mind the
purpose of the work on which the painter may be engaged. A man would,
and should, work very differently on canvases intended for a study, a
sketch, and a picture. The study would contain many things which the
other two would not need. It is the work in which and by which the
painter informs himself. It is his way of acquiring facts, or of
assuring himself of what he wants and how he wants it. And he may put
into it all sorts of things for their value as facts which he may
never care to use, but which he wishes to have at command in case he
should want them.

The sketch, on the other hand, is a note of an effect merely, or of a
general idea, and calls for only those qualities which most
successfully show the central idea, which might sometime become a
picture, or which suggests a scheme. A carefully worked-up sketch is a
contradiction in terms, just as a careless study would be.

A picture might have more or less of the character of either of these
two types, and yet belong to neither. It might have the sketch as its
motive, and would use as much or as little of the material of the
study as should be needed to make the result express exactly the idea
the painter wished to impart, and no more and no less.

All these things should be borne in mind, as you study the
characteristics of paintings to learn what they can mean to you beyond
the surface which is obvious to any one; or as you work on your own
canvas to attain such power or proficiency, such cleverness or
facility, as you may conclude it is worth your while to try for.

                              CHAPTER XI


A picture is made up of many elements. Certain of them are essentially
abstract. They must be thought out by a sort of _mental vision without
words_. This is the most subtle and intimate part of the picture.
These are the means by which the ideal is brought into the picture.

=Line, Mass, and Color.=--Such are the qualities of _line_,
dissociated from representation; of _mass_, not as representing
external forms; and _color_, considered as a _quality_, not as yet
expressed visibly in pigment, nor representing the color of any
_thing_. When these elements are combined they may make up such
conceptions as proportion, rhythm, repetition, and balance, with all
the modifications that may come from still further combination.

It is because these elements are qualities in themselves beautiful
that actual objects not beautiful may be made so in a painting, by
being treated as _color_ or _line_ or _mass_, and so given place on
the canvas, rather than as being of themselves interesting. A face,
for instance, may be ugly as a _face_, yet be beautiful as color or
light and shade in the picture. These qualities, I say, do not
represent--they do not necessarily even exist, except in the mind to
which they are the terms of its thought. Nevertheless, they are the
soul of the picture. For whatever the subject, or the objects chosen
for representation, it is by working out combinations of these
elements, through and by means of those objects, that the picture
really is made.

The picture, _as a work of art_, is not the representation of objects
making up a subject, but a fabric woven of color, line, and mass; of
form, proportion, balance, rhythm, and movement, expressed through
those actual objects in the picture which give it visible form.

I do not purpose to go deeply into these matters here. Elsewhere, as
they bear practically on the subject in hand, as in the chapters on
"Composition" and on "Color," I shall speak of them more fully. But I
wish here to call attention to this abstract side of painting in order
to show the relation between the two classes of things, the one
abstract and the other concrete, which together are needed to make up
a picture.

The concrete, or material, part of a picture includes all those things
which you can look at or feel on the canvas; and by seeing which you
can also see the abstract qualities, which do not _visibly_ exist
until made visible through the disposition of these tangible things,
on the canvas.

Beyond this is included all the technical qualities of expression;
form, as _drawing_; all representations of objects; the pigment by
means of which color is seen; and all those technical processes which
produce the various kinds of surface in the putting on of paint, and
bring about the different effects of light and shade and color, form
or accent.

In learning to paint, it is with these concrete things that you should
concern yourself mainly. The science of painting consists in the
knowledge of how to be the master of all the practical means of the
craft. For it is with these that you must work, with these you must
express yourself. These are the tools of your trade. They are the
words of your art language--the language itself being the abstract
elements--and the thoughts, the combinations which you may conceive in
your brain by means of these abstract elements.

You must have absolute command of these _materials_ of painting. No
matter how ideal your thought may be, no matter how fine your feeling
for line and color and composition, if you do not know how to handle
the gross material which is the only medium by which this can all be
made visible and recognizable to another person, you will fail of
either expressing yourself, or of representing anything else.

Now you will see what I have been driving at all this time; why I
have been talking in terms which may well be called not practical. I
want to fix your attention on the fact that there are two qualities in
a picture: that one will be always within you, mainly, and will
control the character of your picture, because it will be the
expression of your mental self; and the other the practical part,
which any one may, and all painters must learn, because it is the only
means of getting the first into existence.

The one, the abstract part, no one can tell you how to cultivate nor
how to use. If I tried to do so, it would be my idea and not yours
which would result. I can only tell you that it is the _thought of
art_, and you must think your own thoughts.

But the other, the material, the concrete, the practical, it is the
purpose of this whole book to help you to understand and to acquire
the mastery of, so far as may be done by words.

Teaching by words is difficult, and never completely satisfactory. But
much may be done. If you will use your own brains, so that what does
not seem clear at first may come to have a meaning because of your
thinking about it, we may accomplish a great deal. I cannot make you
paint. I cannot make you understand. I can give you the principles,
but you must apply them and think them out.

Everything I say must be in a measure general; for the needs of every
one are individual, and the requirement of each technical problem is
individual. I must speak for all, and not to any one. Yet I shall
state principles which can always be made to apply to each single
need, and I will try to show how the application may be made.

=Technique.=--The science of painting consists of a variety of
processes by means of which a canvas is covered with pigment, and
various objects are represented thereon. The whole body of method and
means is called technique; the several parts of technique are called
by names of their own. That part which applies to the putting on of
the paint may be generally called _handling_, although the word
_painting_ is sometimes restricted to this sense, and _brush-work_ is
often used for the same thing. The other technical means will be
spoken of in their proper place. Let me say now a few words as to
_handling_ in general.

Where did all this technique come from?

From experiment.

Ever since art began, men have been searching for means of fixing
ideas upon surfaces. But it is only within the last four hundred years
that the processes of oil painting have been in existence--simply
because they are peculiar to the use of pigments ground in oil as a
vehicle, and the oil medium was not invented until the middle of the
fifteenth century.

With the invention of this medium new possibilities came into the
world, and a continual succession of painters have been inventing ways
of putting on paint, the result being the stock of methods and
processes of handling which are the groundwork of the art of painting

From time to time there have been groups of artists who have used
common methods, and who have developed expression through those
methods which became characteristic of their epoch; and because the
resulting pictures were of a high degree of perfection, their methods
of handling acquired an authority which had a very determining effect
on different periods of painting.

In this way have come those ideas as to what kind of painting or what
ways of putting paint on canvas should be accepted as "legitimate."
And the methods accepted as legitimate or condemned as illegitimate
have been varied from time to time--those condemned by one period
being advocated by another; and the processes themselves have been
almost as varied as the periods or groups of men using them.

In the long run, methods and processes have received such
authoritative sanction from having been each and all used by undoubted
masters, that they have become the traditional property of all art,
which any one is free to use as he finds need of them. They have
become the stock in trade of the craft.

The artist may use them as he will, provided only he will take the
trouble to understand them. He must understand them, because the
manipulations which make up these different processes accomplish
different effects and different qualities; and as the painter aims at
results, if he does not understand the result of a process when he
uses it, he will get a different one from that which he intended.

The painter should not be hampered by process; he should not be
controlled in the expression of himself by tradition. He should feel
free to use any or all means to bring about the result he aims at, and
he should allow no tradition or point of view to prevent him from
selecting whichever means will most surely or satisfactorily bring
about his true purpose.

Of course there are many ways of using paint which are unsafe. Some
pigments are unsafe to use because they either do not hold their own
color, or tend to destroy the color of others. You should always bear
this in mind; and if you care for the permanence of your work, you
should not use such materials or such processes as work against it.
But beyond this, the whole range of the experience and experiment of
the workers who have gone before you are at your command, to help you
to express yourself most perfectly or completely; to represent
whatever of visible beauty you may conceive or perceive.

And this is the whole aim of the painter; to stand for this is the
whole purpose of the picture.

                             CHAPTER XII


Originality is not a thing to strive for. If it comes, it is not
through striving. The search for originality seldom results in
anything worth having. It is a quality inherent in the man; and the
best way of being original in your work is to be natural. Perhaps the
most useful advice which you could receive is that you be always
natural. Never be artificial nor insincere; never copy another
person's subject, manner, or method, with the intention of doing as he
does. The most original things are often the most simple, because they
have come naturally from a sincere desire to express what has been
seen or felt, in the most direct way.

If every one were content to be himself, there would be no dearth of
originality. No two people are alike, neither are any two painters
alike; they could not be. They do not look alike, nor see alike, nor
feel alike, nor think alike. How, then, should they paint alike? The
attempt to do a thing because another has made a success of that sort
of thing is the most fruitful source of the commonplace in painting.

Paint that which appeals to you most fully. Don't try to paint what
appeals to some one else. If you like it, then do it; and do it in the
most direct way you can find; only do it so as to fully and completely
convey just what it is that _you_ like, unaffected by anything else.
And because you have seen or felt for yourself in your own way, and
expressed that; and because you are not another, nor like any other
that ever was, what you have done will not be like anything else that
ever was--and that is originality.

But never imitate yourself, either. Be open. Be ready to receive
impressions and emotions. And if you have done one thing well,
accept that in itself as a reason for not doing it again. There
are always plenty of things--ideas, impressions, conceptions,
appreciations--waiting to be painted; and if you try to paint one
twice, you fail once of freshness, and lose a chance of doing a new

That is what a painter is for, not to cover a canvas with paint, hang
it on a wall, and call it by a name. The painter is the eye of the
people. He sees things which they have no time to look for, or
looking, have not learned to see. The painter serves his purpose best
when he recognizes the beautiful where it was not perceived before,
and so sets it forth that it is recognized to be beautiful through his
having seen it.

There is the difference between the artist and the photograph, which
sees only facts as facts; which while often distorting them does so
mindlessly, and at best, when accurate, gives the bad with the good in
unconscious impartiality. But back of the painter's eye which sees and
distinguishes is the painter's brain which selects and arranges, using
facts as material for the expression of beauties more important than
the facts.

But what is a picture? I have met some strange though positive notions
as to what is and what is not a picture. Some persons think that a
certain (or uncertain) proportion of definite forms and objects are
necessary to make canvas a picture; that it must contain some definite
and tangible facts of the more obvious kind. I remember one man who
asserted that a canvas in an exhibition was not a picture, but only a
sketch, because it had nothing in it but an expanse of sea and sky. To
make a picture of it there was needed at least a moon, and some birds,
or better, a ship and some reflections. All this sort of thing is
idle. A picture is not a picture because it has more of this or less
of that; it is a picture because it is complete in the expression of
the idea which is the cause of its existence. And that idea may be
tangible or not. It may include many details or none. It is an idea
which is best or only expressed by being made visible, and which is
worthy of being expressed because of its beauty; and when that idea
is wholly and fully visible on canvas or other surface, that surface
is a picture. What the contents of a picture shall be is a matter
personal to the painter of it. The manner in which it is conceived and
produced is determined by his temperament and idiosyncrasy.

A picture is a visible idea expressed in terms of color, form, and
line. It is the product of perception plus feeling, plus intent, plus
knowledge, plus temperament, plus pigment. And as all these are
differently proportioned in all persons, it is only a matter of being
natural on the part of the painter that his picture should be

                             CHAPTER XIII

                      THE ARTIST AND THE STUDENT

It is a mistake to make pictures too soon. The nearest a student is
likely to get to a picture is a careful study, and he will be as
successful with this, if he makes it for the study of it, as if he
made it for the sake of making a picture--better probably. The making
of a picture for the picture's sake is dangerous to the student. His
is less likely to be sincere. He is apt to "idealize," to make up
something according to some notion of how a picture should be, rather
than from knowledge of how nature is. Real pictures grow from study of

They are the outcome of maturity, not of the student stage. This
implies something deeper than superficial facts, and a power of
selection,--of choice and of purpose which must rest on a very broad
and deep knowledge. The artist is always a student, of course; but he
is not a student only. He is a student who knows what and why he wants
to study; not one who is in process of finding out these things.

=Aims.=--It should be noted that the aim of the student and the aim
of the artist are essentially different. The student's first aim is to
learn to see and represent nature's facts; to distinguish justly
between relations. It is the training of the eye and the judgment.
Imitation is not the highest art; but the highest art requires the
ability to imitate as a mere power of representation. The mind must
not be hampered in its expression by lack of knowledge and control of
materials, and the painter who is constantly occupied with the
problems he should have worked out in his student days, is just so far
from being a master. He must have all his means perfectly at his
command before he can freely express himself.

The acquirement of this mastery of means is the student's business.
Everything he does which aids him in this makes him so much nearer to
being a painter. But he must remember that he is still a student, and
as he hopes to be a painter, must have patience with himself; must not
hurry himself, must work as a student for the ends of a student.

All the facts of nature art uses. But she uses them as she needs them,
simplifying, emphasizing, suppressing, combining as will best meet the
necessities of the case in hand. All this requires the utmost
knowledge, for it must be done in accordance not only with laws of
art, but with the laws of nature.

There are changes which can be made, and be right--made as nature
might make them. Other changes which would be false to nature's ways,
and so false to art also. For art works through nature always, and in
accordance with her. This is the aim of the painter, to express ideas
through nature, not to express notions about nature.

The facts of nature are the material of art; the words of the language
in which the ideas of art are to be conveyed. But there are truths
more important than these facts. The underlying sentiment of which
they are the external manifestation, and which is the vivifying spirit
of them. This is the true fact of the picture.

It is more important to give the sentiment of the thing than to give
the fact of it; not merely because it is more truly represented so,
but because the beauty is shown in showing the character. For the
character of the fact is the beauty of the fact.

To bring out the beauty which may lie in the fact is the aim of the
artist; to acquire the ability to do this is the aim of the student.

                             CHAPTER XIV

                             HOW TO STUDY

There is a right and a wrong way to study, and it all centres around
the fact that what you aim to learn is perception and expression. What
you are to express you do not learn; you grow to that. But you must
learn how to use all possible means; all the facts of visible nature,
and all the characteristics of pigments. All qualities, color and form
and texture, are but the means of your expression, and you must know
how they may be used. Your perception and appreciation must be
trained, and your mind stored with facts and relativities. Then you
are ready to recognize and to convey the true inwardness you find in
conditions commonplace to others.

You are to see where others see not; for it is marvellous how little
the average eye sees of the really interesting things, how little of
the visual facts, and how rarely it sees the picture before it is
painted. All is material to the painter. It is not that "everything
that is, is beautiful," but that everything that is has qualities and
possibilities of beauty; and these, when expressed, make the picture,
in spite of the superficial or obvious ugliness. In one sense nothing
is commonplace, for everything exists visibly by means of light and
color, and light and color are of the fundamental beauties. So arrange
or look upon the commonplace that light and color are the most obvious
qualities, and the commonplace sinks into the background--is lost.
There is nothing like painting to make life fascinating; for there is
nothing which brings so many charming combinations into your
perception, as the habit of looking to find the possibilities of
beauty in everything that comes within your view.

You must form the habit of looking always from the painter's point of
view. The painter deals primarily with pigment, and what can be
represented with pigment; chiefly color and light in the broadest
sense, including form and composition, as things which give bodily
presence and action to the possibilities of pigment. Shade, or shadow,
of course, is an actuality in painting, because it is the foil of
light and color, and furnishes the element of relation.

=Methods.=--Two general methods are at the command of the student from
the first,--to study at once from nature, or to copy. I think I may
safely claim to speak for the great body of teachers who are also
professional artists, in saying that copying is a means of study
rather for the advanced student than for the beginner. You cannot
begin too soon to study nature with your own eyes, and to accumulate
your own facts and observations and deductions. The use of copying is
not to find out how to paint, but to see how many ways there are of
painting. The great end of all study in painting is to train the eyes
to see relations, to see them in nature. It is not to see that there
are relations, but to see where they are; to recognize and to measure
and to judge them. Painting is the art of perception before
everything, and when you copy you only see, accept, what some one else
has already perceived. Copying does not help you to _perceive_, it can
only help to show you how something can be _expressed after_ it has
been perceived, and that is not the vital thing in the study of
painting. Handling, composition, management of color, technique of the
brush generally, may be studied by copying. These only--and for these
things it is useful and wise. But the beginner is not ready for these,
for they are not the alphabet, but the grammar of painting.

=Danger.=--The danger of too early copying is that the student learns
to set too much value on surface qualities rather than those to which
the surface is merely incidental. With this is the danger (a serious
one, and one hard to overcome the results of) that the student becomes
clever as a producer of pictures before he has trained his power to
see. He becomes a student of pictures rather than a student of nature,
and when in doubt will go to art rather than to nature for help and
suggestion. Could anything be more fatal? Consider the things that
student will have to unlearn before he can think a picture in terms of
nature--the only healthy, the only prolific way of thinking. He sees
always through other people's eyes, and thinks with other people's
brains, and feels other people's emotions; that is not creation; that
is the attitude for the spectator, not for the painter.

These things are all useful and good, but not for the beginner. Later,
when you have found out something for yourself, when you have ground
of your own to stand on, then you may not only without danger, but
with benefit, go to the work of other men to see the range of possible
point of view and expression, to see the scope of technical material
and individual adaptation; and so broaden your own mental view and
sympathy, possibly reform or educate your taste, and perhaps get some
hints which will help you in the solving of some future problem.

But rather than the undue sophistication which can result from unwise
copying,--the over-knowledge of process and surface, and
under-knowledge of nature,--is to be preferred a frank crudeness of
work which is the result of an honest going to nature for study. You
should not expect a perfect eye for color and form too soon. Better a
healthily youthful crudity of perception based on nature, and standing
for what you have yourself studied and worked out, which represents
your own attainment, than a greater show of knowledge which is
insincere and superficial because it represents a mere acceptance of
the facts set down by others; and not only that, but even with it an
acceptance also of the actual terms used by those others.

Often copying is the most convenient way in which you can get help.
There is really much to be learned from it, and you can make a picture
serve as a criticism on your own work. Particularly in the matter of
color or tone, as something to recognize the achievement of for its
own sake. If you can recognize good color as such, aside from what it
represents, if you can appreciate tone in a picture which is the work
of some one else, you are so much the more likely to notice the lack
of those qualities in your own work. So, too, there are qualities of
brush-work which are always good, and some which are always bad. You
can study the former positively, and the latter negatively, in
studying and copying other pictures.

I have mentioned the training of your critical judgment as a necessity
in your education. You can do it slowly in learning to paint, but you
can facilitate that training by copying and studying really good
pictures, if you do it in the right way.

=The Right Way.=--So if you do copy, do it in the right way, so as to
get all the real help out of it, and not so as to have to unlearn the
greater part of it. Don't copy "to get a picture." Don't make a copy
which at a distance has a resemblance to the original, but which on a
more careful study shows none of the qualities which make the original
what it is. Not only see to it that the same subtleties of perception
and representation are preserved in your copy, but that they are
attained in the same way. Use the same brush-work or other execution.
Use the same pigments in the same places, with the same vehicles;
study the original with your brain as well as with your eyes and
hands; try to see not only how the painter did a certain thing but
why. So that as you work, you follow him in the working out of his
problem, and make it your problem also. In this way you will get some
real good from his picture, and not a mere canvas which has been of no
use to you, nor can be of any satisfaction to any one else who knows a
good picture (copy or original) when he sees it.

=Why Copy.=--There are only two good reasons for making a copy,--to
study the original as a problem, and to have something to serve as an
example of the master on a work which you like. And in either case
such a sincere manner of copying as I urge is the only possible way to
get what you want. To "get a picture," regardless of whether it really
does justice to the original, is the wrong way, and this leads always
through bad copying to bad painting, and you are fortunate if you
escape an entire perversion of your point of view.

You may be able to make some money now and again by doing this sort of
thing, but you will never learn anything from it. On the contrary, it
is the surest way you could find of closing your eyes to all that is
worth seeing.

=Get to Nature.=--If you would really learn to paint, to see for
yourself, to represent what you see in your own way, you cannot get to
nature too soon. Don't bother about what the thing is, so long as it
is nature herself. By nature I mean anything, absolutely anything
which exists of itself, not painted. Whether it be the living figure,
or a cast, or a bit of landscape, or a room interior--all things which
actually exist must show themselves by the facts of light falling upon
them: the relation of color, and the contrasts of light and dark.
Whatever you see is useful to you in this way, for these bring about
all the qualities and conditions which you most need to study. But
models are not always at command, interiors do not easily stay a long
time at your disposal, and bits of landscape which interest you are
not always easy to get at; for a student is apt to be either far
advanced or unusually ardent who will find interest in the first
combination which falls under his eye. Therefore the most practically
useful material for study, which is always "nature," is what we call
"still life,"--_"morte" nature_, dead nature is the better or more
descriptive name the French give to it. By this is meant any and all
combinations of objects and backgrounds grouped arbitrarily for
representation. Bottles and jugs and fruits, books and bric-a-brac;
all sorts of things lend themselves readily and interestingly to this

The great value of still life for the student lies in the variety of
combinations of color and form, of light and shade and texture, that
he can always command. There is practically no problem possible to
in-the-house light which may not be worked out by means of still life.
The training in perception and representation, in composition and
arrangement, and in technique, which it will give you is invaluable;
and most important of all, while you can always make such arrangements
as will interest you, because you need place only such things or
colors as you like, you are really studying nature herself, you are
looking at the things themselves, and the result you get is the
product of your own eyes and brain. The problem is entirely your own,
both in the stating and the solving, and what you learn is well
learned, and represents a definite progress along the right line.

You have worked for the sake of the working, and there is nothing
which you have got from it that may not be applicable to any future
work you may do, that does not directly lead to the great object you
have in view,--to learn how to paint well.

=Be Sincere.=--But, above all, be sincere with yourself; don't do
anything to be clever, nor because it pleases some one else. Painting
is difficult enough at best. You need all the interest and fascination
that the most charming thing can have for you to help you to do it so
that it is worth the trouble. Don't take away the whole life of it by
insincerity. A very thoughtful painter said to me once that he
believed that all really good pictures could be shown to be good by
the sole criterion of conviction. Can you think of any painting being
good without it? Can you think of any amount of cleverness and ability
making a picture good without that. And it is quite as important in
study as elsewhere. Never do anything except seriously; take yourself
and your work seriously; only by serious work can serious results

=Joy in Your Work.=--Do it because you like to. But like good work and
hate bad work; and, above all, hate half-way work. Understand
yourself: what you want to do and why you want to do it, and then be
honest enough with yourself to work till you have honestly done what
you wanted to do, and as you wanted to do it.

                               PART III

                         TECHNICAL PRINCIPLES

                              CHAPTER XV

                       TECHNICAL PRELIMINARIES

=Reasons.=--Painting is something more than laying on paint. It implies
a certain amount of knowledge of necessary preliminaries--technical
matters which are not strictly painting, but without which good painting
is impossible.

It is all well enough to put paint on canvas, but there must be a
knowledge on which to base the where and the why of laying it on, as
well as the knowledge of how to lay it on. If anything, the where and
why are more important than the how. There are almost infinite methods
and processes of getting the paint onto the surface. Every painter may
select or invent his own way, and provided it accomplishes the main
purpose--the bringing about of combinations of form, relative color
and pitch, the expression of an idea--it is all right. But there are
laws which govern the positions of the different spots of paint, and
the reasons for placing them in certain relations. These laws are back
of personal idiosyncrasy. They are a part of the laws which control
all material things. The painter may no more go contrary to them in
painting than he may go contrary to physical laws in any of the
practical matters of life. If pigments are not used in accordance with
the laws governing their chemical composition, they will not stand. If
the laws of proportion are not observed in composition, the picture
will not balance. The laws of color harmony are as mathematically
fixed as the law of gravity. So, too, the relations of size, which
give the impression of nearness or distance to objects, rest on the
laws of optics. You have infinite scope for individual expression
inside of those laws, but you cannot go outside of them.

=Scientific Knowledge not Necessary.=--It is not necessary that you
should have any special knowledge of all these laws nor even of the
application of them; but you must recognize their existence, and have
some practical notions about them and their effect on your work.

You can of course carry the study as far as you are interested to go.
The farther the better. The more you study them the more you will find
them interesting, and the easier will it be for you to work freely
within their limitations. But this is not the place for special study.
There are books which treat particularly of these things, and you must
go to them.

But a superficial consideration of these subjects cannot be left out
of any book which would be really helpful to the student of painting.
I can go into the theory of things only so far as to give you that
amount of practical knowledge which is absolutely necessary to you as
a painter. What I shall give is given only because it cannot be wisely
left out, and the form of it as well as the substance and quantity are
determined by the same reason.

As you hope to become a painter, then, do not neglect to study and
think of this part of the book, not merely as a preliminary to the
process of painting, but as containing matter which is continually
essential to it--which is part and parcel of it.

Another reason for the careful reading of these chapters is that any
discussion of the art of painting necessarily demands the use of words
or phrases which must be understood. To speak of technical things
presupposes the use of technical phrases, and without a knowledge of
the words there can be no comprehension of the thought.

                             CHAPTER XVI


Drawing is basic to painting. Good painting cannot exist without it. I
do not mean that there must be always the outline felt or seen, but
that the understanding of relative position, size, and form must be
felt; and that is drawing. Drawing is not merely form, but implies
these other things, and painting is not legible without them. They go
to the completeness of expression. Movement, and action, as well as
composition and all that it implies or includes, depend upon drawing,
and they are vital to a painting.

=Importance of Drawing.=--Much has been said and written of drawing as
being the most important thing in a picture; so much so, as to excuse
all sorts of shortcomings in other directions. This is a mistake.
Drawing is essential because you cannot lay on color to express
anything without the colors taking shape, and this is drawing. But
still the color itself, and other characteristics which are not
strictly a part of drawing, are quite as important to painting, simply
because the thing without them could not be a painting at all: it
would be a drawing.

All painters fall into two classes,--those who are most sensitive to
the refinements of form, and those most sensitive to refinements of
color and tone. But the great colorists, the painters _par
excellence_, the workers in pigment before everything else, those who
find their sentiment mainly there, these are the men who have made
painting what it is, and who have brought out its possibilities. And
looking at painting from their point of view, drawing cannot be more
important than other qualities.

=Neglect of Drawing.=--Great artists have sometimes not been perfect
draughtsmen. They have been careless of exactness of form. But they
have always been strong in the great essentials of drawing, and they
have made up for such deficiencies as they showed, by their greatness
in other directions. Delacroix, for instance, sometimes let his
temperament run him into carelessness of form in his hurry to express
his temperamental richness of color. These things are superficial to
the greater ends he had in view, but we have to distinctly forgive it
in accepting the picture. And a great colorist may be so forgiven; he
makes up for his fault by other things. But there is no forgiveness
for the student or the painter who is simply a poor draughtsman.

The effect of neglect of drawing is to make a weak picture. A painter,
who was also an exceptionally fine draughtsman, once spoke of work
weak in drawing as resembling "boned turkey." Lack of firmness,
indecision, characterize the painter who cannot draw. Those firm,
simple, but effective touches which are evident somewhere in the work
of all good painters, are impossible without draughtsmanship. They
mean precision. Precision means position. Position means drawing.

=Proportions.=--All good work is from the general to the particular,
from the mass to the detail. Keep that in mind as a fundamental
principle in good work, whatever the kind. You should never place a
detail till you have placed your larger masses. The relative
importance of things depends on the consideration of those most
important first. Let this be your first rule in drawing.

Proportions next. Largest proportions, then exactness of relative
proportions. Study first in masses. See nothing at first but the large
planes. As Hunt said, "Hang the nose on to the head, not the head on
to the nose." In getting proportions of the great masses, let no small
variations of line or form break into your study of the whole.
Therefore, see outlines first in straight lines and angles. If you
cannot see them at first, study to find them; look at the long lines
of movement; mass several curves into one line representing the
general direction of them. Train yourself to look at things in this
way. There is nothing which will not fall into position so. This will
not be easy at first. The training of a quick perception of these
things is a part of your training in drawing--the first essential. It
is not that the straight lines are to be sought for themselves, but
that they simplify the first breaking up of the whole into its parts,
and so makes more easy the study of proportion. The accuracy of the
general masses makes possible a greater accuracy of the lesser
proportions which come within them.

You see form more truly also, when the perception of it is founded on
a mass or a line indicating the larger character of it. It saves time
for you, too. You do not have to rub out so much. The great lines and
planes once established, everything else falls naturally into place.
Spend much time over this part of a drawing. Cut the time you give to
a drawing into parts, and let the part given to the laying in of
larger proportions be from a third to a half of the whole time, and
study and correct these until they are right.

Once these are right a very slight accent tells for twice what it
would otherwise, and so you need much less detail to give the effect.

=Modelling.=--In the same way that you have laid out the proportions
in mass, lay out your proportions of light and shade. Model your
drawing by avoiding the small until the large variations of shade are
in place. Avoid seeing curves in relief as you have avoided curves of
outline. Try to analyze the modelling into flat planes, each one large
enough to give a definite mass of relief. Don't be afraid of an edge
in doing this. Let your flat tone come frankly up to the next tone and
stop. This again is not for any effect in itself, but only for
facility and exactness. Later you can loose it as much as you see fit
in breaking up the drawing into the more delicate planes, and these
again into the most subtle.

Study first the outline and then the planes. Constantly compare them
as to relation; you will find it suggestive. Remember that your aim is
to produce a whole, not a lot of parts, and although a whole includes
the parts, the parts are incidental.

=Measurements.=--You will always have to use measurements for the sake
of accuracy. Probably you will never be able to dispense with them.
The best way would be to take them as a matter of course, and get so
that you make them almost mechanically, without thinking of it. You
will save yourself an immense deal of time and trouble by accepting
this at once; for accuracy is impossible without measurements, and the
habit of accuracy is the greatest time-saver.

Hold your charcoal in your hand freely, so that your thumb can slip
along it and mark off parts of the object when you sight at them
across the coal. Measure horizontal and vertical proportions into
themselves and into each other. Height and breadth are checks to each
other. If the height is a certain proportion of the breadth, then the
smaller proportions of height must have equivalent proportions to each
other _as well as to breadth_. Measure these and you are sure of being

=Steps.=--Divide your drawing into steps or stages of work. You will
find it a helpful thing in studying. You will do it quite naturally
later. Do it deliberately at first, as a matter of training.

_First step._--Measure the extreme height and breadth of the whole
group or object of your drawing, with accuracy, and mark each extreme.

_Second step._--Outline the great mass of it with the simplest lines
possible. Give the general shape of the whole. This blocks it in.

_Third step._--Measure each of the objects in the group, or the parts
most prominent, if it be a single object. Measure its height and
breadth, both in its own proportion and in proportion to the
dimensions of the other parts and of the whole. Enclose it in straight
lines as you did with the whole mass.

_Fourth step._--Find the more important of the lesser proportions in
each object, and block them out also. This should map out your drawing
exactly and with some completeness.

_Fifth step._--Lay in simple flat tones to fill in these outlines,
and keep the relations of light and dark very carefully as you do so.

_Sixth step._--This should leave your paper with a few large masses of
dark and light, which can now be cut into again with the next smaller
masses, giving more refinement to the whole. This also should so break
up the edges as to get rid of any feeling of squareness or edginess.

_Seventh step._--Put in such accents of dark, or take out such of
light, as will give necessary character and force to the drawing.

I do not say that this method produces the most finished drawing; but
it is a most excellent way to study drawing, and, more or less
modified, is practically the basis of all methods. In practised hands
it allows of any amount of exactness or freedom of execution. I have
seen most beautiful work done in this way.

=Home Study.=--It is not necessary to have a teacher in order to draw
well; but it is necessary to find out what are the essentials of good
drawing, and to work definitely and acquire them.

Good drawing is a combination of exactness and freedom; and the
exactness must come first. The structure of the thing must be shown
without unnecessary detail. You should always look at any really good
drawing you can come at, and try to see what there may be in it of
helpful suggestion to you.

[Illustration: =Drawing of Hands.= _Dürer._]

=Study the Masters.=--Get photographs of drawings by the masters of
drawing, and study them. See how they searched their model for form
and character. Do not make so much of the actual stroke as the manner
in which it is made to express and lend itself to the meaning.

In this drawing by Albrecht Dürer you have a splendid example of
exactness and feeling for character. You could have no better type of
what to look for and how to express it. Although it is not important
that you should lay on the lines of shading just as this is done, it
is important to notice how naturally they follow, and conform to, the
character of the surface--which is one of the ways in which the point
helps to search out the modelling.

This drawing is made with a black and a white chalk on a gray ground;
a very good way to study.

A good hint is also offered in this drawing, of the modesty of the old
masters, in subject. A hand or part of any object is enough to study
from. There is no need to always demand a picture in everything you

=Materials.=--For all purposes which come in the range of the painter
you should use charcoal. For purposes of study it is the most
satisfactory of materials; it is sensitive, easily controlled, and
easily corrected. For sketching or preliminary drawing on the canvas
it is equally good.

You should have also a plumb-line with which to test vertical
positions of parts in relation to each other, and this, with the
pencil held horizontally for other relative positions, gives you all
you need in that direction.

In drawing on the canvas it is not often necessary to do more than
place the various objects and draw their outlines carefully and
accurately. Sometimes, however, as in faces, or in pictures which
include important figures, you will need a shaded drawing, and this
can be done perfectly with charcoal, and fixed with fixative

=Imitation.=--Perfect drawing, in the sense of exact drawing, is not
the most important thing. A drawing may be exact, and yet not be the
truer for it. It may be inexact, and yet be true to the greater
character. So, too, the drawing may have to change an accidental fact
which is not worth the trouble of expression or which will injure the
whole. There is something more important than detail, and the
essential characteristics can be expressed sometimes only by a drawing
which is deliberately false in certain things in order to be the more
true to the larger fact.

Then, too, there is an individuality which the artist has to express
through his representation of the external; and he is justified in
altering or slighting facts in order to bring about that more
important self-expression. Of course the self must be worth
expressing. There is no excuse for mere falsification nor for mere
inability. But a good workman will not be guilty of that, and the
complete picture in its unity will be his justification for whatever
means he has taken.

=Feeling.=--Drawing must be a matter of feeling. A perception of
essential truth of a thing, as much as of trained observation of the
facts. The good draughtsman becomes so by training his observation of
facts first, always searching for those most important, and
emphasizing those; and with the power which will come in time to his
eye and hand easily and quickly to grasp and express facts, will come
also the power of mind to grasp the essential characteristics. And the
trained hand and eye will permit the most perfect freedom of
expression. This is the desideratum of the student; this is the end to
be aimed at,--the perfect union of the trained eye and hand to see and
do, and the trained mind to feel and select, and the freedom of
expression which comes of that perfect union.

                             CHAPTER XVII


=The Term.=--The word "values" is seldom understood by the average
individual, yet it should not be difficult to take in. It means simply
the relation between degrees of strength of light and dark, and of
color considered as light and dark. Translate the word into
"importance," and think what it means. The relative importance,
strength, force, power, value, of a touch of color to make itself felt
in the whole--that is its value. A weak value is a note which does not
make itself felt; a strong value is one which does. A false value is a
touch of color which has not its proper relation to the other spots or
masses of color in the picture, _considered_ as _light and dark_--_not
as color per se_.

=Importance.=--As soon as you grasp this idea you see at once how
important values must be to the whole picture. It is not possible to
do any good work, either in black and white or color, without it. In
one sense it is incidental to drawing. When you consider drawing as
the expression of modelling, the relative roundness of parts, and of
relief, as well as outline, values come into play to give the
relations of planes of light and dark in black and white. In this it
becomes part of drawing.

=Values and Color.=--As soon, however, as color becomes a part of the
picture, values become the basis of modern painting as distinguished
from the painting of previous centuries. Values, of course, always
existed wherever good painting existed, because you cannot paint
without recognizing the relations, the relative pitch and relative
strength of tones. But the word is never heard in relation to old
masters. It is apparently of quite modern coinage and use, and it
probably was coined because of a new and greater importance of the
fact which it represents.

The older painters in painting a picture kept parts of a whole
object--a head or a figure, say--in relation to itself; and that was
values--but restricted values. The whole picture was arranged on the
basis of arbitrary lighting, which entered into the scheme of
composition of that picture. This is not values, but what is generally
understood by the older writers when they speak of "chiaroscuro." The
modern painter deals little with chiaroscuro. It is almost obsolete as
a technical word. Arbitrary arrangement of light and shade in a
picture is not usual nowadays, and consequently the word which
expressed it has dropped somewhat into disuse.

=Basis of Modern Painting.=--Instead of the old composition in
arbitrary light and shade, the modern painter accepts the actual
arrangement of light as the basis of his picture, and spreads the
values over the whole canvas. In this way the quality of "value"
becomes the very foundation of the modern picture. For you cannot
accept the ordinary or actual condition of light, as governing the
light and shade of your picture, without extending the same scheme of
relations over the whole canvas. Every most insignificant spot of
light and shade and color, as well as the most significant, must keep
its place, must hold its true relation to every other spot and to all
the rest. Each value must keep its place according to the laws of
fact, or it is out of touch with the whole. The whole picture must be
either on a scheme of general fact, or a scheme of general arbitrary
arrangement. Any one piece of arbitrary arrangement in this connection
must be backed up by other pieces of arbitrary arrangement, or else
there must be no arbitrary arrangement at all. The modern painter
accepts the former; and the importance of "values" is the result.

=Absolute and Relative Values.=--We may speak of values as absolute or
relative. This relates to the key or pitch of a painting. It is the
contribution to the art of painting which was made by the French
painter, Manet. You may paint a picture in the same pitch as nature,
or you may transpose it to a higher or a lower pitch.

The relations of the different values of the picture will hold the
same relation to each other as the values of nature do to each other.
But the actual pitch of each, the relation of each to an absolute
light or an absolute dark, will be higher or lower than in nature.
This would be relative values.

Or the pitch, relation to absolute light and dark, of each value may
be the same, value for value, as in nature. This would be absolute

The attempt at absolute values was not made at all before Manet's
time. A landscape was frankly painted down, or darker, from the pitch
of nature, and an interior as frankly painted up, or lighter. In both
cases the values had to be condensed,--telescoped, so to
speak,--because pigment would not express the highest light nor the
lowest dark in nature; and to have the same number of gradations
between the highest and lowest notes in the picture, the amount of
difference between each value had to be diminished--but _relatively_
they were the same. The degree of variation from the actual was the
same all through.

With absolute values the painter aims at giving the _just note_,--the
exact equivalent in value that he finds in nature. He tries to paint
up to out-door light or paint down to in-door light.

=Close Values.=--This naturally calls for a fine distinction of
tones--the utmost subtlety of perception of values. To paint a picture
in which the highest light may not be white nor the lowest dark black,
and yet give a great range and variety to the values all through the
picture, the values must be _close_; must be studied so closely as to
take cognizance of the slightest possible distinction, and to justly
express it. This sort of thing was not thought of by the older
painters. It is the distinguishing characteristic of modern painting.
It is a substitution of the study of _relation_ for the study of

=Study of Values.=--You see at once how important, how vital, the
study of values is to painting. Even if you paint with arbitrary
lighting, as is still done by many painters, especially in portraits,
you have to consider and study them as they apply to _parts_ of your
picture. You will find no good painter of old time who did not study
relations. If you look at a Velasquez, you will find that he knew
values, even though he did not use the word.

But if you are in touch with your century, if you would paint to
express the suggestion you receive from the nature you study, or if
you would convey the idea of truth to the world around you, as that
world exists, frankly accepting the conditions of it, you will have to
make the study of values fundamental to your work.

="The Fourth Dimension."=--You study values with your eyes only, but
you cannot _measure_ values. Length, breadth, and thickness you can
measure; but values constitute what might be called a "_Fourth
Dimension_," and you must measure it by your eye, and without any
mechanical aid. Your eye must be trained to distinguish and judge
differences of value.

=Helps.=--There are, however, several things which you can use to help
you in training your eye to distinguish values. When you look for
values you do not wish to see details nor things, you wish to see only
masses and relations. You must _unfocus_ your eye. The focussed eye
sees the fact, and not the relation. Anything which will help you to
see outlines and details less distinctly will help you to see the
values more distinctly.

=Half-closed Eyes.=--The most common way is to half close the eyes,
which shuts out details, but permits you to see the values. Some
painters think this falsifies pitch, and prefer to keep the eyes wide
open, but to focus them on some point _beyond_ the values they are
studying. This is not so easy to do as to half close the eyes, but
becomes less difficult with practice.

=The Blur Glass.=--An ordinary magnifying-glass of about 15-inch
focus, which you can get at an optician's for fifteen or twenty cents,
will blur the details, and help you to see the values, because it
makes everything vague except the masses. You can frame it for use by
putting it between two pieces of cardboard with a hole in them, or you
can do the same with two pieces of leather sewed around the edge. Of
course the glass itself is all you need, but it will be easily broken
if unprotected.

Do not try to look _through_ the glass at your subject, but _at_ the
glass and the image on it.

=The Claude Loraine Mirror.=--This is a curved mirror with a black
reflecting surface. The object is reflected on it, _reduced_ both in
size and pitch. It concentrates the masses and the color, and so helps
to distinguish the relative values.

You can make a mirror of this sort for yourself by painting the back
of a piece of plate glass black. The real Claude Loraine mirror is

=The Common Mirror= is also very helpful in distinguishing values. It
reduces the size of things, and reverses the drawing so that you see
your subject under different conditions, and a fresh eye is the
result. Place the group and your painting side by side, if you are
painting still life, and look at both at the same time in the mirror.
Do the same with a portrait and the sitter.

=Diminishing Glass.=--Much the same effect can be had by using a
double concave lens. The picture is not reversed, but it is reduced,
and the details eliminated.

In using any of these means you must remember that it is always the
relations and not the things you are studying; and the most useful of
these aids is the blur glass, because you cannot possibly see anything
in it but the values and color masses, everything else being blurred.

                            CHAPTER XVIII


There are two kinds of perspective, linear and aërial. The former has
to do with the manner in which horizontal lines appear to converge as
they recede from the foreground, and so produce the effect of
distance. The latter has to do with the effect of distance, which is
due to the successive gradations of gray in color noticeable in
objects farther and farther away from the observer.

=Aërial Perspective.=--To the student, aërial is _color_ perspective,
because of the modifications which colors undergo when removed to a
distance. Modifications of tone are largely due to varying distance,
and so aërial perspective is largely a matter of _values_. That they
are due to the greater or less thickness of the atmosphere is only a
matter of interest, not of importance, to the artist; the important
thing to him is that the careful study of values is necessary to
relief, perspective, and particularly, atmosphere and envelopment in a

To the student, aërial perspective should be only a matter of
observation and of the study of relations of color and value. There
are no rules. The effect depends on greater or less density of
atmosphere. Near objects are seen through a thin stratum of air, and
farther objects through a thicker one. All you have to do to express
it is to recognize the relative tones of color. Paint the colors as
they are, as you see them in nature, and you need have no trouble with
aërial perspective.

But though I say "this is all you have to do," don't imagine that I
mean that it is always easy, or that it can be done without thought
and study. You will have to use all your powers of perception if you
wish to do good work in this direction. Especially on clear days, or
in those climates where the air is so rare that objects at great
distances seem near, you will find that atmospheric perspective is
simply another name for close values. And close values, you remember,
are the most subtle of relations of light and shade and color.

The only rule for aërial perspective is to use your eyes, and do
nothing without a previous careful study of nature.

=Linear Perspective.=--For most kinds of painting, a technical
knowledge of linear perspective is not necessary, although every
painter should understand the general principles of it. In most cases
all the exactness needed can be obtained by comparing all lines
carefully with the pencil or brush handle held horizontally or
vertically, and studying the angle any line makes with it. Apply to
all objects in perspective the same observation that you do in any
other kind of drawing, and you will have little trouble, as long as
you are drawing from an object before you. But if you go into
perspective at all, go into it thoroughly. A little perspective is a
dangerous thing, and more likely to mix you up by suggesting all sorts
of half-understood things than to be of any real help.

There are some kinds of subjects, however, which require a complete
knowledge of all the rules and processes of perspective. Whenever you
have to construct a picture from details stated but not seen; when you
have a complicated architectural interior or exterior; when figures
are to be placed at certain distances or in definite positions, and
they are too numerous or the conditions are otherwise such that you
cannot pose your models for this purpose; then you may have to make
most elaborate perspective plans, and lay out your picture with great
exactness, or the drawing which is fundamental to such a picture will
not be true.

Such men as Gérôme and Alma-Tadema plan their pictures most carefully,
and so did Paul Veronese, and it requires a thorough and practical
knowledge of perspective.

But this is not the place to teach you perspective. It is a subject
which requires special study, and whole volumes are given to the
elucidation of it. In a work of this kind anything more than a mention
of the bearings of perspective on painting would be out of place. If
you do not care to take up seriously the study of perspective, avoid
attempting to paint any subjects which call for it; or, if you do care
to study it, get a special work on that subject, give plenty of time
to it, and study it thoroughly.

=Foreshortening.=--In this connection I may speak of something which
is akin to perspective, yet the very reverse of it. As its name
implies, foreshortening means the way in which anything seems
shortened or in modified drawing as it projects towards you; while
perspective is the manner in which lines appear as they recede from
you. Like aërial perspective, the best way to study foreshortening is
to study nature, not rules.

Perspective can be worked out by rule, foreshortening cannot. Pose
your model, or if it be a branch of a tree, or anything of that sort,
place yourself in the proper position with reference to it, and then
study the drawing _as it appears_, thinking nothing of _how it is_;
make your measurements, and place your lines as if there were no
problem of foreshortening at all, but study the relations of lines,
of size, and of values, and the foreshortening will take care of

After all, foreshortening is only good drawing, and a good draughtsman
will foreshorten well, while a bad draughtsman will not. Therefore,
learn to draw, and don't worry about the foreshortening.

                             CHAPTER XIX

                           LIGHT AND SHADE

=Chiaroscuro.=--A few words about chiaroscuro will be useful. This is
a term of great importance and frequent use with artists and writers
up to within the last thirty or forty years. It has of late become
almost unused. The reason for this was explained in the chapter on
"Values." Nevertheless, it is well that the student should know what
the word meant, and still means. Although he may hear and use it less
frequently than if he had lived earlier in the century, the pictures,
certain qualities of which no other word expresses, still exist, and
are probably as immortal as anything in this world can be. He should
know what those qualities are, and he should understand their relation
to the work of to-day.

Chiaroscuro is described by an old writer as suggesting "a theme which
is the most interesting, perhaps, in the whole range of the art of
painting. Of vast importance, great extent, and extreme intricacy.
Chiaroscuro is an Italian compound word whose two parts, _chiar_ and
_oscuro_, signify simply _bright_ and _obscure_, or _light_ and
_dark_. Hence the art or branch of art that bears the name regards
all the relations of light and shade, and this independently of
coloring, notwithstanding that in painting, coloring and the
clair-obscure are of their very nature inseparable. The art of
clair-obscure, therefore, teaches the painter the disposition and
arrangement in general of his lights and darks, with all their
degrees, extreme and intermediate, of tint and shade, both in single
objects, as the parts of a picture, and in combination as one whole,
so as to produce the best representation possible in the best manner
possible; that is, _so as to produce the most desirable effect upon
the senses and spirit of the observers_. In a word, its end and aim
are fidelity and beauty of imitation; its means, every effect of
light; chromatic harmonies and contrasts; chromatic values,
reflections; the degradations of atmospheric perspective, etc." The
italics are mine.

You see at once that this covers a pretty wide field. But it is to be
again noted that the use of chiaroscuro by the old painters meant not
only the expression of the light and shade of nature, but the so
arranging of the objects and the way that the light was permitted to
fall on them, that certain parts of the picture became shadow, while
the light was concentrated in some other part or parts. In this way
the arrangement of the light and shade of a picture became a distinct
element of composition, and a very important one. The _quality_ of
"light" was something to be emphasized by contrast. It is stated
(whether truly or not) that the proportion of light to dark was
according to a definite rule or principle with certain painters, some
permitting more, and some less, space of canvas to be proportioned to
light and to dark. The gradations of light and dark were studied of
course; but the quantity of light spread over the canvas was
calculated upon, so that the less space of light and the greater the
space of dark, the more brilliant would be the main spot of light in
the picture. They wrought with the _quality of light and shade_ as an
_element_, just as they would with the quality of line or of color,
considered apart from objects or facts they might represent.

=Arbitrary Lighting.=--This is the arbitrary light and shade spoken of
in the chapter on "Values"; and although the older painters included
what we now call values in their word chiaroscuro, it is this fact of
arbitrary lighting as opposed to accepting the light as it does fall,
or selecting those places or times where it does naturally fall as we
would like it to, that makes the difference between modern painting
generally and the older method, and has made chiaroscuro as a word and
as a quality of painting so much a thing of the past.

=Light and Shade.=--But we may use the old word with a more
restricted meaning. If we use it to mean literally light and shade,
the way light falls on objects and the relief due to the light side
and the shadow side of them, we get a use which implies a very
important and practical matter for present study.

[Illustration: =Eggs. White against White.=]

=Objects Visible by Light and Shadow.=--If you will put a white egg on
a piece of white paper, with another white paper back of it, you will
see that it is only because the egg obstructs the light, the side of
it towards the light preventing the light rays from touching the other
side, and so casting a shadow on itself and on the paper, that the egg
is visible. You will also see, if you manipulate the egg, that
according as the light is concentrated or diffused, or according to
the sharpness of the shadow and light, is the egg more or less

=Contrast.=--Apply these facts to other objects, and you will see how
important the principle of contrast is to the representation of
nature. Not only contrast of light and shade, but contrast of color.
And you should make a study, both by setting up groups of objects in
different lights, and by studying effects of lights wherever you are,
of the possibilities and combinations of light and shadow.

=Constant Observation.=--The painter is constantly studying with his
eyes. It is not necessary always to have the brush in your hand in
order to be always studying. Keep your brain active in making
observations and considering the relations in nature around you. The
amount of material you can store up in this way is immense, to say
nothing of the training it gives you in the use of your eyes, and in
the practice of selection of motives for work. Schemes of color or
composition are not usually deliberately invented within the painter's
brain. They are in most cases the result of some suggestion from a
chance effect noticed and remembered or jotted down, and afterwards
worked out. Nature is the great suggester. It is the artist's business
to catch the suggestion and make it his own. For nature seldom works
out her own suggestions. The effect as nature gives it is either not
complete, or is so evanescent as to be uncopyable. But the habit of
constant receptivity on the part of the artist makes nature an
infinite mine of possibilities to him.

[Illustration: =The Canal.= _Burleigh Parkhurst._
Effect of diffused out-door light to be compared with effect of studio
light in "Bohemian Woman," and artificial light in "Woman Sewing by

=Perception.=--Only by continually observing and judging of contrasts
and relations can the eye be trained to perceive subtle distinctions;
yet it must be so trained, for all good work is dependent on these

=Effects of Light.=--It is important to study the different qualities
of light. Take, for instance, the difference of character on a sunny
day and on a gray day. On the former, fine distinctions of color are
less pronounced; they are lost in the contrasts of sunlight and
shadow. On a gray day the light is diffused; contrast is less, but the
finer distinctions are more marked. For the study of the subtleties of
color choose a gray day.

So, too, is the difference marked between the general light of
out-doors and the more concentrated light of the house. The pitch is
different. Outside, even in a dark day, the general character of light
is clearer, more full, than in-doors.

There is nothing possible under the open sky like the strong contrasts
you get from a single window in an otherwise unlighted room.

Compare, for instance, the character of the light and shade as shown
in the illustrations on pages 156 and 159. The one is the diffused,
out-of-door light, the other that from a studio window. The character
of the subject has nothing to do with this quality. The head would
have less of sharpness and contrast in the open air, and more
reflected light.

Other differences to be studied as to quality of the light in the
manner of its contrast, and also for its color quality, are to be seen
in moonlight or nightlight as compared with daylight. Artificial
light, such as lamp- and candle-light, gives marked effects also,
which may be compared with daylight both as it is out-of-doors and in
its more concentrated effects in the studio. Compare the picture of
the "Woman Sewing by Lamplight," by Millet, with the "Canal" and the
"Bohemian Woman" given above. The effects of gas and electric light
also should be studied. Their characteristics both of contrast and,
particularly, of color are worth your attention as a student, inasmuch
as the essence of some pictures lies in these qualities.

Another matter of great importance to the student, and one which the
same three illustrations just referred to may serve to show, is the
effect on objects of the position of the point of entrance of the
light with reference to them and to the observer. The simplest light
is the side-light from a single window. This gives broad, sharp masses
of light and shade, and makes the study of drawing and painting more
simple. With the observer in the same relative position to the
subject, as the light swings round towards a point back of him the
contrasts become less, the relations more subtle and difficult of
recognition, and naturally the study of them more difficult. In this
position of light the values become "close." To make the object seen
at all, it is necessary that the finest distinctions shall be

[Illustration: =Bohemian Woman.= _Frans Hals._
Effect of contrast of light and shade in studio to be compared with
diffused light of open air in the "Canal," and artificial light in
"Woman Sewing by Lamplight."]

[Illustration: =Sewing by Lamplight.= _Millet._
Effect of artificial light contrast to be compared with natural light
in illustrations of "Canal" and "Bohemian Woman."]

[Illustration: =Descent from the Cross.=]

Portrait painters have always been fond of a top light, which gives a
direct concentrated light descending on the sitter, very similar in
character to the side-light, but more favorable to the expression and
drawing of the face.

=Cross Lights.=--The most confusing and difficult of study and
representation are the "_cross lights_." If there are several windows
or other points for the admission of light, and the sitter or object
painted is between them, the light comes from all sides, so that the
rays cross each other and there is no single scheme of light and
shade. The rays from one side modify the shadows cast from the other
side, and a perplexing and involved arrangement of values is the
result. This is a favorite technical problem with painters, and its
solution is splendid training; but the student who can successfully
solve it is not far from the end of his "student days."

                              CHAPTER XX


=Importance.=--Composition is of the utmost importance. It is
impossible that a picture should be good without it. You may define it
as that study by means of which the balance of the picture comes
about. But you must understand the word balance in its broadest sense.
There is nothing in the planning of the picture which has not to be
considered in making the picture balance.

The arrangement of the lines, of the forms, of the masses, and of the
colors must all be right if the composition be right. Composition is
the planning of the picture; and it is more or less complicated, more
or less to be carefully studied beforehand in exact accordance with
the simplicity or complication of the scheme of the picture. You may
not need more than the consideration of a few main facts. It may
almost be done by a few moments' deliberation in some simple studies
or even pictures. But even then there is possible the most subtle
discrimination of selection, and a perfect gem of composition may be
found in the arrangement of a picture having the simplest and fewest
elements. The more complicated the materials which are to be worked
into a picture, the more careful must be the previous planning; but,
for all that, the genius will find scope for his utmost powers in a
simple figure, just because the fewer the means, the more each single
thing can interfere with the balance of the whole, and the more a fine
choice will tell.

=The Æsthetic.=--I have already mentioned briefly the æsthetic
elements of a picture. I have called to your attention that back of
the obvious facts of a subject and the objects in the picture, and the
theme which the painter makes his picture represent; back of the
technical processes and management of concrete material which make
painting possible, is the æsthetic purpose of the work of art; without
this it could not be a work of art at all: it would be merely a more
or less exact representation of something, a mere prosaic description,
the interest in which would lie wholly in the _fact_, and would perish
whenever interest in the fact should cease. It is not the _fact_, nor
even the able expression of the fact, which makes a work of art a
thing of interest and delight centuries after the bearing of the fact
has been forgotten. The perennial interest of a work of art lies in
the way in which the artist has used his ostensible theme, and all the
facts and objects appertaining to it, as a part of the material with
which he expresses those ideas which are purely æsthetic; which do not
rest on material things. These have to do with material things only by
rendering them beautiful, giving to them an interest which they
themselves could not otherwise have.

=Theory.=--Does this sound unpractical? Well, it is unpractical. Does
it seem mere theory? It is theory. I want to impress it on you that it
is theory. For it is the theory which underlies art, and if you do not
understand it, you only understand art from the outside. Consciously
or unconsciously every artist works to express these purely æsthetic
qualities, and to a greater or less extent he expresses himself
through them.

=Art for Art's Sake.=--This is the real meaning of the much-debated
phrase, "Art for art's sake." The mistake which leads to the
misconception and most of the discussion about it, is in confounding
"art for art's sake" with "technique for technique's sake," which is a
very different thing. Certainly every painter will work to attain the
most perfect technique he is capable of. But not for the sake of the
technique, but for what it will do. The better the technique the
better the control of all the means to expression. If you take
technique to mean only the understanding and knowledge of all the
manipulations of art, technique is only a means, and it is so that I
mean it to be understood here. If you broaden its meaning to include
all the _mental_ conceptions and means, that is another thing, and one
likely to lead to confusion of idea. So I use the word technique in
its strictest sense.

=The Æsthetic Elements.=--What, then, are these æsthetic qualities I
have spoken of? Will you consider the quality of "line"? Not _a_ line,
but line as an element, excluding all the possible things which may be
done with lines in different relations to themselves and to other
elements. Now will you consider also the other elements, "mass" and
"color"? Do you see that here are three terms which suggest
possibilities of combination of infinite scope? and they are purely
intellectual. What may be done with them may be done, primarily,
without taking into consideration the representation of any material
fact whatsoever. Take as the type, conventional ornament. You can make
the most exquisite combinations, in which the only interest and charm
lies in the fact of those combinations in line and mass and color.

Take architecture. Quite aside from the use of the building is the
æsthetic resultant from combinations of line and mass and color.

And so in the picture the question of _art_, the question of æsthetic
entity, lies in the intellectual qualities of combinations of line and
mass and color which permeate through and through the technical and
material structure that you call the picture, and give it whatever
universal and permanent value it has, and which make it immortal, if
immortal it ever can be.

=Composition.=--The bearing of all this on composition should be
obvious, for composition is the technique of combination. In the
composition of a picture all the elements come into play. It is in
composition that the management of the abstract results in the

Let us look at it from a more practical side. Frankly, there are
qualities, which you always look for in a picture,--good drawing, of
course, and good color. But there are such things as these: Harmony,
Balance, Rhythm, Grace, Impressiveness, Force, Dignity. Where do they
come from? Must not every good picture have them, or some of them, to
some extent? How are you going to get them? If you have fifteen or
twenty square feet or square yards of surface, you will not get them
onto it by unaided inspiration. Inspiration is, like any other
intellectual quality, quite logical, only it acts more quickly and
takes longer steps between conclusions perhaps. You will get these
qualities onto your canvas only by so arranging all the objects which
make up the body of your picture that these qualities shall be the
result. It is arrangement then.

=Arrangement.=--But arrangement of what? how? The objects. But on some
principle back of them. Consider another set of qualities: proportion,
i.e., relative size; arrangement, relative position; contrast;
accent,--these are what you manipulate your objects with, and your
objects themselves are only line and mass and color in the concrete.
Objects, figures, bric-a-brac, draperies, houses and trees, skies and
mountains, and every and any other natural fact, you may consider as
so many bits of form and color with which you may work out a scheme on
canvas; and how you do it is to consider them as pawns in your game of

With these as materials, what you really do is to combine mass and
line and color by means of proportion, arrangement, contrast, and
accent, that a beautiful entity of harmony, balance, rhythm, grace,
dignity, and force may result. And this is composition.

=No Rules.=--Naturally in dealing with a thing like this, which is the
very essence of art, rules are of very little use. Ability in
composition may be acquired when it is not natural, but it calls for a
continuous training of the sense of proportion and arrangement, just
as the development of any other ability calls for training.

The best thing that you can do is to study good examples and try to
appreciate, not only their beauty, but how and why they are beautiful.
Cultivate your taste in that direction; and with the taste to like
good and dislike bad composition will come the feeling which tells you
when it is good and when it is bad, and this feeling you can apply to
your own work, and by experiment you will gain knowledge and skill.

Rules are not possible simply because they are limitations, and the
true composer will always overstep a limitation of that kind, and with
a successful result.

Principles of composition, too, must be variously adapted, according
to the kind of picture you have in hand. The principles are the same,
of course; but as the materials differ in a figure painting and a
landscape, for instance, you must apply them to meet that difference.

=Suggestions.=--The first suggestion that might be made as a help to
the study of composition is to consider your picture as a whole
always. No matter how many figures, no matter how many groups, they
must all be considered as parts of a _whole_, which must have no
effect of being too much broken up.

If the figures are scattered, they must be scattered in such a way
that they suggest a logical connection between them as individuals in
each group, and groups in a whole. There should usually be a main
mass, and the others subsidiary masses. There should be a centre of
interest of some sort, whether it be a color, a mass, or a thing; and
this centre should be the point to which all the other parts balance.

=Simplicity= is a good word to have in mind. However complicated the
composition may seem superficially, you may treat it simply. You will
control it by not considering any part as of any importance in itself,
but only as it helps the whole; and you may strengthen or weaken that
part as you need to. Don't cut the thing up too much. Let a half a
dozen objects count as one in the whole. Mass things, simplify the
masses, and make the elements of the masses hold as only parts of
those masses.

=Study placing= of things in different sizes relative to the size of
the canvas. Make sketches which take no note of anything but the
largest masses or the most important lines, and change them about till
they seem right; then break them up in the same way into their
details. Apply the _steps_ suggested for drawing to the study of
composition, searching for balance chiefly, or for some other quality
which is proper to composition.

=Line.=--Each of the main elements of composition can be used as a
problem of arrangement. You can study _composition_ in line, in mass,
or in color.

"The Golden Stairs," by Burne-Jones, is almost purely an arrangement
in _line_, and beautifully illustrates the use of this element as the
main æsthetic motive in a picture.


Compare this composition in line with the "Descent from the Cross," in
which the _line_ is equally marked, but more complicated, and used in
connection with _mass_ to a much greater extent, and involved with
interrelations of chiaroscuro and color. Consider the effect which
each picture derives as a whole from this management of these
elements. The one emphasizing that of line, with the resultant of
rhythm and grace; the other balancing the elements, and so gaining
power and impressiveness.

[Illustration: =The Sower.= _Millet._
To show arrangement in mass and line, in which the mass gives weight
and dignity without weakening the emphasis of rhythm in the line.]

Often the whole composition should be a balancing of the elements, as
in this case. But the emphasizing of one element will always emphasize
the characteristics to which those elements tend as the main
characteristic of the picture.

Grace, rhythm, movement, come most naturally from arrangement chiefly
in _line_. If _mass_ comes into the picture, the masses may be
arranged to help the _line_, or to modify it. In "The Sower" the
management of mass is such as to give great dignity, and almost
solemnity, to the picture, yet not to take away from the rhythmic
swing and action of the figure which comes from line, but even to
emphasize it. Compare this in these respects with the lighter grace of
"The Golden Stairs" and the less unified movement, but greater
activity, of the "Descent from the Cross."

Of course masses will come into the picture; but either the masses
themselves can be arranged into line, or there can be emphasis given
to lines which break up or modify the masses, so that the character of
the picture is governed by them.

=Mass.=--In the arrangement of mass, light and shade and color are
effective. Smaller groups may be made into a larger one, and
individual objects also brought together, by grouping them in light or
in shade, or by giving them a common color.

[Illustration: =Return to the Farm.= _Millet._
To show the effect of mass in giving qualities of "scale" and "the

Weight, dignity, the statuesque, scale, are characteristics of _mass_.
Line in this connection only takes from the brusqueness that mass
alone would have, or helps to break up any tendency to monotony. The
"Return to the Farm," by Millet, shows this combination, the reverse
of "The Sower." In this, the _line_ is used to enrich the repose and
weight, the statuesque of the _mass_. In the other, the _mass_ gives
dignity and impressiveness to the grace and rhythm of the _line_.

The color scheme of course will have an equal effect in the
emphasizing or modifying of the motive of line or mass. Color will not
only have an effect on it, but must be in sympathy with it, or the
balance will be lost.

=Color.=--This is mainly where composition in color will come in.
Light and shade or chiaroscuro, as I explained in the last chapter,
are necessarily intimately connected with composition here. And you
never work in color or mass without working in light and shade also.
Of color itself I shall speak in the next chapter. It is only
necessary to point out the fact of connection here. Of course in
painting, all the elements are most closely related. Although it is
necessary to speak of them separately in the actual working out, you
keep them all in mind together, and so make them continually help and
modify each other.

=A Principle.=--There is a well-established principle in architecture,
that you must never try to emphasize two proportions in one structure.
A hall may be long and narrow, but not both long and wide; in which
case the proportions would neutralize each other--you would have a
simple square, characterless. You may emphasize height or
breadth--not both, or you get the same negative character.

So you may apply this principle more or less exactly to the
composition of a picture. Don't try to express too many things in one
picture, or if you do, let some one be the main thing, and all the
rest be subordinate to it. There is perhaps no law more rigid than the
one which denies success to any attempt to scatter force, effect, and
purpose. One main idea in each picture, and everything subordinated to
lend itself to the strengthening of that.

To a certain extent this will apply to line and mass, though not
absolutely. As a rule, line or mass, one or the other, must be the
main element.

=Leverage.=--I have often thought that much insight into the
principles of balance of masses, and of mass and line, could be gained
by thinking of it analogously to equilibrium in leverage. A small
mass, or a simple line or accent, may be made to balance a very much
greater mass. The greater part of a canvas may be one mass, and be
balanced by quite a small spot. But leverage must come in to help.
Somewhere in the picture will be the point of support, the fulcrum.
And the large mass and the small one will have an obvious relation
with reference to that point. Or the element of apparent density will
come in. The large mass will be the least dense, the small one the
most dense, and the equilibrium is established. For composition is but
the equilibrium of the picture, and equilibrium the picture must have.

There are many rules as to placing of mass and arrangement of line,
but they are all more or less arbitrary and limiting in influence.
Individuality must and will ignore such rules, just because
composition deals chiefly with the abstract qualities rules will not
help. A fine feeling or perception of what is right is the only law,
and the trained eye is the only measure. As in values, so in
composition you must study relations in nature, and results in the
work of the masters, to train your eye to see; and you must sketch and
block in all sorts of combinations with your own hand, to give you
practical experience.

=Scale.=--One point of great importance should be noticed. That is the
effect on the observer of the size of any main mass or object with
reference to the size of the canvas. This is analogous to what is
called _scale_ in architecture.

If the mass or object is justly proportioned to the whole surface of
the canvas, and is treated in accordance with it, it will impose its
own scale on all other objects. You can make a figure impress the
observer as being life size, although it may really be only a few
inches long. A house or castle coming into the picture may be made to
give its scale to the surroundings, and make them seem small instead
of itself seeming merely an object in a picture. This will be due to
the _placing_ of it on the canvas, largely, and more in this than in
anything else. The manner of painting will also lend importantly to
it; for an object to appear big must not be drawn nor painted in a
little manner.

The placing of objects of a known size near, to give scale, is a
useless expedient in such a case. At times it may be successful, often
of use; but if the scale of the main object is false, the other object
of known size, instead of giving size to the main one, as it is
intended to do, will be itself dwarfed by it.

=Placing.=--This matter of placing is one which you should constantly
practise. Make it a regular study when you are sketching from nature.
Try to concentrate in your sketches so as to help your study of
composition. In making a sketch, look for one main effect, and often
have that effect the importance of some object, studying to give it
_scale_ by the placing and the treatment of it, and its relation to
the things surrounding it in nature and on the canvas. In this way you
will be studying composition in a most practical way.

=Still Life.=--For practical study of composition, the most useful
materials you can have are to be found in still life. Nowhere can you
have so great freedom of arrangement in the concrete. You can take as
many actual objects as you please, and place them in all sorts of
relations to each other, studying their effect as to grouping; and so
study most tangibly the principles as well as the practice of bringing
together line and mass and color as elements, through the means of
actual objects. This you should constantly do, till composition is no
more an abstract thing, but a practical study in which you may work
out freely and visibly intellectual æsthetic ideas almost
unconsciously, and train your eye to see instinctively the
possibilities of all sorts of compositions, and to correct the
falsities of accidental combinations.

=Don't Attempt too much.=--Don't be too ambitious. Begin with simple
arrangements, and add to them, studying the structure of each new
combination and grouping. When you are going to paint, remember that
too much of an undertaking will not give you any more beauty in the
picture, and may lead to discouragement.

In the Chapter on "Still Life" I will explain more practically the
means you may take, and how you may take them, to the end of making
composition a practical study to you.

                             CHAPTER XXI


The subject of color naturally divides, for the painter, into two
branches,--color as a _quality_, and color as _material_. Considered
in the former class, it divides into an abstract a theoretical and a
scientific subject; considered in the latter, it is a material and
technical one. The material and technical side has been treated of in
the Chapter on "Pigments." In this chapter we will have to do with
color considered as an æsthetic element.

=The Abstract.=--The quality of _color_ is the third of the great
elements or qualities, through the management of which the painter
works æsthetically.

Just as he uses all the material elements of his picture as the means
of making concrete and visible those combinations of line and mass
which go to the making of the æsthetic structure, so he uses these in
the expression of the ideal in combinations of color. In this relation
nothing stands to him for what it is, but for what it may be made to
do for the color-scheme of his picture. If he wants a certain red in a
certain place, he wants it because it is red, and it makes little
difference to him, _thinking in color_, whether that red note is
actually made by a file of red-coated soldiers, by a scarlet ribbon,
or by a lobster. The scarlet spot is what he is thinking of, and what
object most naturally and rightly gives it to him is a matter to be
decided by the demands of the subject of the picture; and its fitness
as to that is the only thing which has any influence beyond the main
fact that red color is needed at that point. If he were a designer of
conventional ornament, the color problem would be the same. At that
point a spot of red would be needed, and a spot of paint would do it.
The painter thinks in color the same way, but he expresses himself in
different materials.

=The Ideal.=--This is the reason that a still-life painting is as
interesting to a painter as a subject which to another finds its great
interest in the telling of a story. To the painter the story, or the
objects which tell it, are of minor importance. That the picture is
beautiful in color is what moves him. As composition and color the
thing is an admirable piece of æsthetic thinking and æsthetic
expression, and so gives him a purely æsthetic delight; and the
technical process is secondary with him, interesting only because he
is a technician. The representation of the objects incidental to the
subject is as incidental to his interest, as it is to the picture
considered as an æsthetic thought.

This is what the layman finds it so impossible to take into his mental
consciousness. And it is probable that many painters do not so
distinguish their artistic point of view from their human point of
view. But consciously or unconsciously the painter does think in these
terms of color, line, and mass when he is working out his picture; and
whether he admits it to himself or not, these characteristics are the
great influencing facts in his judgment of pictures, as well as in the
growth and permanency of his own fame. That is why a great popular
reputation dies so rapidly in many instances. The æsthetic qualities
of the man's work are the only ones which can insure a permanent
reputation for that work; for the art of painting is fundamentally
æsthetic, and nothing external to that can give it an artistic value.
Without that its popularity and fame are only matters of accidental
coincidence with popular taste.

If a painter is really great in the power of conception and of
expression of any of the great æsthetic elements, his work will be
permanently great. It will be acknowledged to be so by the consensus
of the world's opinion in the long run; nothing else can make it so,
and nothing but obliteration can prevent it.

I am explicit in stating these ideas, not because I expect that you
will learn from this book to be a great master of the æsthetic, but
because I am assured that you can never be a painter unless you
understand a painter's true problems. You must be able to know a good
picture in order to make a good picture, and however little you try
for, your work will be the better for having a painter's way of
looking at a painter's work. The technical problems are the control of
the materials of expression. The painter must have that control. The
student's business is to attain that control, and then he has the
means to convey his ideas. But those ideas, if he be a true painter,
are not ideas of history or of fiction, but ideas of line and mass and
color, and of their combinations.

=The Color Sense.=--Therefore color is a thing to be striven for for
its own sake. Good color is a value in itself. You may not have the
genius to be a good colorist, but you need not be a bad one; for the
color sense can be definitely acquired. I will not say that color
initiative can always be acquired; but the power to perceive and to
judge good color can be, and it will go far towards the making of a
good painter, even of a great one.

I knew one painter who came near to greatness, and near to greatness
as a colorist, who in twelve years trained his eye and feeling from a
very inferior perception of color to the power which, as I say, came
near to greatness. He was an able painter and a well-trained one
before that; but in this direction he was deficient, and he
deliberately set about it to educate that side of himself, with the
result I have stated. How did he do it? Simply by recognizing where he
needed training, and working constantly from nature to perceive fine
distinctions of tone; and by careful and severe self-criticism. Summer
after summer he went out-doors and worked with colors and canvas to
study out certain problems. Every year he set himself mainly one
problem to solve. This year it might be luminosity; next it might be
the domination of a certain color; another year the just
discrimination of tones--and he became a most exquisite colorist.

So, as I knew his work before and after this self-training, and as I
know personally of the means he took to attain his purpose, I think I
can speak positively of the fact that such development of the color
sense is possible.

=Taste.=--It is well to remember that taste in color is not dependent
on personal judgment alone; that what is good and what is bad in color
does not rest on mere opinion. That a good colorist's idea of color
does not agree with your own is not a matter of mere whim or liking,
in which you have quite as good a right to your opinion as he has to
his. The colorist, it is true, does not produce or judge of color by
rule. He works from his feeling of what is right. But there is a law
back of his taste and feeling. The laws of color harmony are
definite, and have been definitely studied and definitely calculated.
Color depends for its existence on waves of vibration of rays of
light, just as sound is dependent on sound waves.

=Color Waves.=--These waves of light give sensations of color which
vary with the rapidity or length of the wave, and certain combinations
of wave lengths will be harmonious (beautiful), and others will not
be. This is a matter of scientific fact; it is not a notion. The
mathematical relations of color waves have been calculated as
accurately as the relations of sound waves have been. It is possible
to make combinations of mathematical figures which shall represent a
series of harmonious color waves. And it is possible to measure the
waves radiated from a piece of bad coloring and prove them,
_mathematically_, to be bad color.

It is a satisfaction to the artist to know that this is so; because
although he will never compose color-schemes by the aid of
mathematics, it gives him solid ground to stand on, and it diminishes
the assurance of the man who claims the right to assert his opinion on
color because "one man's taste is as good as another's." It is also
encouraging to the student to know it, because he then knows that
there is a definite knowledge, and not a personal idiosyncrasy, on
which he can found his attempts to cultivate this side of his artistic

=Color Composition.=--The artist's problem in color composition is
analogous to that of line and mass, but is of course governed by
conditions peculiar to it. The qualities which derive from line and
mass are emphasized or modified by the management of color in relation
to them. The painter in this direction uses the three elements
together. Contrast and accent are attributes of color. Dignity and
weight, as well as certain emotional qualities, such as vivacity and
sombreness, may give the key to the picture in accordance with the
arrangement of its color-scheme.

The mass may be simplified and strengthened, or broken up and
lightened, by the color of the forms in it. By massing groups of
objects in the same color, or by introducing different colors in the
different forms in the same group, the mass is emphasized or weakened.
So in line, the same color in repetition will carry the line through a
series of otherwise isolated forms, and effect the emphasis of line.
Masses can be strung into line, like beads, on a thread of color. In
the great compositions of the old Venetian painters this marshalling
of color groups constituted a principal element. The decorative unity
of these great canvases could have been possible in no other way.

As I have said, the key of the color-scheme has a direct emotional
effect, so adding to the power and dignity or the grace and
lightsomeness of the composition. The analogy between color and
imagination is marked. Certain temperaments instinctively express
their ideals through color. To the painter color may be an
all-influencing power; it is the glory of painting.

Drawing appeals to the intellect, but color speaks directly to the
emotions, and conveys at a glance the idea which is re-enforced
through the slower intellectual perception of the meaning of forms. In
some unexplained way it expresses to the observer the temperamental
mood; the joyousness, the severity or agitation which was the cause of
its conception. In this strange but direct manner the color note aids
the expression by line and mass of the æsthetic emotion which is the
meaning of the painter's thought.

=Key.=--The key, then, is an important part of the picture. The very
terms _warm_ and _cold_ applied to colors suggest what may be done by
color arrangement. The _pitch_ of the picture places it, in the
emotional scale.

=Tone.=--Tone is harmony; the perfect balance of color in all parts of
the picture. Fine color always means the presence, in all the color of
the picture, of all the three primaries in greater or less proportion.
Leave one color out in some proportion, and you have just so much less
of a balance. I do not mean that some touch may not be pure color. On
the contrary, the whole picture may be built up of touches of pure
color. But the balance of color must be made then by touches of the
different colors balancing each other, not only all over the picture,
but in each part of it, to avoid crudity or over-proportion of any
color. Generally the color scheme is dominated by some one color:
which means that every touch of color on the canvas is modified to
some extent by the presence of that color, keeping the whole in key.
Each color retains its personal quality, but the quality of the
dominant color is felt in it.

=False Tone.=--This is not to be attained by painting the picture
regardless of color relations, and then glazing or scumbling some
color all over the whole. This is the false tone of some of the older
historical painters, particularly of the English school of the earlier
part of this century. They "painted" the picture, and then just before
exhibiting it "toned" it by glazing it all over with a large brush and
some transparent pigment, generally bitumen. This did, in fact, bring
the picture in tone after a fashion. But it is not a colorist's
method. It is the rule of thumb method of a false technique and a
vicious color sense. True tone is not something put onto the picture
after it is painted. It is an inherent part of its color conception,
and is worked into it while the picture is being painted, and grows to
perfection with the growth of the picture. It is of the very essence
of the picture. It is the dominant balance of color qualities; the
result of a perfect appreciation of the value of every color spot
which goes to the expression of the artist's thought.

In one sense it is the same as _atmosphere_ in that the tonality of
the picture is the atmosphere which pervades it. It may perhaps be
best described by saying that it is that combination of color which
gives to the picture the effect of every object and part in it having
been seen under the same conditions of atmosphere; having been seen at
the same time, with the same modification, and with the same degree
and quality of light vibration. Tone is _color value_ as distinguished
from value as degree of power as light and shade; and in this is the
perfection of subtlety of color feeling.

=Tone Painters and Colorists.=--Some painters have been called "tone
painters," while others have been called "colorists;" not that tone
painters are not colorists, but that there is a difference. It is a
difference of aim, a difference of desire. Those painters who are
usually called colorists, like Titian and Rubens, are in love with the
richness and power of the color gamut. They are full of the splendor
of color. They paint in full key, however balanced the canvas. Each
note of color tells for its full power. Their stop is the open
diapason, and their harmony is the harmony of large intervals and full

The tone painter deals with close intervals. He is in love with subtle
harmonies. What he loves is the essence of the color quality, and not
its splendor. With the closest range he can give all possible
half-tones and shades and modulations of color, yet never exceed the
gray note perhaps; never once go to the full extent of his

The utmost delicacy of perception and feeling, and the most perfect
command of materials and of values, are necessary to such a painter.
Above all, is he the "painter's painter," for the infinite subtlety
and the exquisiteness of power are his. And yet this is the thing
least appreciated by the lay mind, the most difficult to encompass,
and requiring the most knowledge to appreciate.

=Scientific Color.=--To the scientist color is simply the irritation
of the nerves of the retina of the eye by the waves of light.
Different wave lengths give different color sensations. It is the
generally accepted theory now that there are three primary sensations;
that is, that the eye is sensitive to three kinds of color, and that
all other shades and varieties of color are the results of mingling or
overlapping of the waves which produce those three colors, and
irritating more or less the nerves sensitive to each color
simultaneously. These three primary colors are now stated to be red,
blue, and _green_. The older idea was that they were red, blue, and
_yellow_; and was based on experiments with pigments. Pigments do give
these results; for a mixture of blue and yellow _pigment_ will give
green, and a mixture of red and green _pigment_ will not give yellow,
while the reverse is the fact with _light_.

White light is composed of all the colors. And the white light may be
broken up (separated by refraction or the turning aside of light rays
from their true course) into the colors of the rainbow, which is
itself only this same decomposition of light by atmospheric
refraction. Black is the absence of light, and consequently of color.
This is not the case with pigment, for pure pigment has never been
produced. The pigment simply reflects light rays which fall on it;
that is, pigments have the power of absorbing, and so rendering
invisible, certain of the rays which, combined, make up the white
light which illumines them; and of transmitting others to the eye by
reflection. We see, that is, our nerves of sight are irritated by,
those rays which are not absorbed, but which are reflected.

All pigment is more or less absorbent of color rays, and more or less
reflective of them; certain color rays being absorbed by a pigment,
and certain other rays being reflected by it. The pigment is named
according to those rays which it reflects. As a color-producing
substance, then, the pigment is practically a mirror reflecting color
rays. But a true mirror would reflect all rays unmodified. If we could
paint with mirrors, each of which would reflect its own color
_unsullied_, we could do what the scientist does with light; but the
painter deals with an imperfect mirror which gives no color rays back
unsullied by rays of another class, and so our results cannot be the
same as the scientist's. So that just in accordance with the degree of
purity of transmitting power of a pigment will be the purity of the
color which we get by its use. But absolute purity of pigment we
cannot get, so we cannot deal with it as we do with light, and we deal
with a practical fact rather than a scientific fact, as painters.

=Primaries and Secondaries.=--As all the other shades of color are
produced by the combinations (over-lappings) of the waves or
vibrations in the light rays from the primary colors, we have a series
of colors called secondaries, because they are made up of the rays of
any two of the three primaries: as purple, which is a combination of
blue and red. When dealing with _light_ the secondaries are: shades of
violet and purple from red and blue; shades of orange red, orange,
orange yellow, yellow, and yellowish green from red and green; and
bluish green and greenish blue from blue and green--the character of
the color being decided by the proportions of the primaries in the

These conclusions have been reached mainly through experiments in
white light. The primaries so obtained do not hold good with pigment,
as I have stated, but the principles do. It will avoid confusion if I
speak hereafter of the combinations as they occur with pigment, it
being borne in mind that it is a practical fact that we are dealing
with rather than a scientific one.

In dealing with _pigment_ the primaries are red, blue, and _yellow_,
not _green_. Of course the secondaries are also changed; and we have
purple and violet shades from red and blue, orange from red and
_yellow_, and green from blue and yellow--all of which vary in shade
with the proportion of the mixture of the primaries, as is the case
with light.

=Tertiaries.=--Another class of shades or colors is called _tertiary_,
or third; for they are mixtures of all the three primaries, or of a
primary with a secondary which does not result from mixture with that
primary. Tertiaries are all _grays_, and grays are practically always
tertiaries. If you keep this in mind as a technical fact, it will help
you in management of color. Grays are, to the painter, always
combinations of color which include the three primaries. The usual
idea is that gray is more or less of a negation of color. This is not
so. Gray is the balancing of all color, so that any true harmony of
color, however rich it may be, is always quiet in effect as a whole;
that is, grayish--good color is never garish. It is very important
that the painter should understand this characteristic of color. You
cannot be too familiar with the management of grays. If you try to
make your grays with negative colors, you will not produce harmonious
color, but negative color, and negative color is only a shirking of
the true problem. Grays made of mixtures of pure colors, balancings of
primaries and secondaries, that is, modifications of the tertiaries,
are quite as quiet in effect and quite as beautiful as any, but they
are also more luminous; they are _live_ color instead of _dead_ color.
Grays made by mixing black with everything are the reverse, and should
not be used except when you use black as a color (which it is in
_pigment_), giving a certain color quality to the gray that results
from it.

=Complementary Colors.=--Two colors are said to be complementary to
each other when they together contain the three primaries in equal
strength. Green, for instance, is the complementary of red, for it
contains yellow and blue; orange (yellow and red) is complementary to
blue; and purple (red and blue) is complementary to yellow.

The knowledge of complements of colors is very important to the
painter, for all the effects of color contrast and color harmony are
due to this. Complementary colors, in mass, side by side, contrast.
The greatest possible contrast is that of the complementaries.

Complementary colors mixed, or so placed that small portions of them
are side by side, as in hatching or stippling, give the tertiaries or
grays by the mixing of the rays.

=The Law of Color Contrast.=--"When two dissimilar colors are placed
in contiguity, they are always modified in such a manner as to
increase their dissimilarity."

=Warm and Cold Colors.=--Red and yellow are called warm colors, and
blue is called a cold color. This is not that the color is really cold
or warm, of course, but that they convey the impression of warmth and
coldness. It is mainly due to association probably, for those things
which are warm contain a large proportion of yellow or red, and those
which are cold contain more blue. There is a predominance of cold
color in winter and of the warm colors in summer.

From the primaries various degrees of warmth and coldness characterize
the secondaries and tertiaries, as they contain more or less
proportionately of the warm or cold primaries.

In contrasting colors these qualities have great effect.

=Color Juxtaposition.=--In studying the facts of color contrast and
color juxtaposition you will find that two pigments, if mixed in the
ordinary way, will have one effect; and the same pigments in the same
proportions, mixed not by stirring them into one mass, but by laying
separate spots or lines of the pigment side by side, produce quite
another. The gain in brilliancy by the latter mode of mixing is great,
because you have mixed the _color rays_, which are really light rays,
instead of mixing the _pigment_ as in the usual way. You have really
mixed the color by mixing _light_ as far as it is possible to do it
with pigment. You have taken advantage of all the light reflecting
power of the pigment on which the color effect depends. Each pigment,
being nearly pure, reflects the rays of color peculiar to it,
unaffected by the neutralizing effect of another color mixed with it;
while the neutralizing power of the other color being side by side
with it, the waves or vibrations of the color rays blend by
overlapping as they come side by side to the eye; and so the color,
made up of the two waves as they blend, is so much more vibrant and
full of life.

="Yellow and Purple."=--It is this principle which is the cause of the
peculiarity in the technique of certain "Impressionist" painters. The
"yellow lights and purple shadows" is only placing by the side of a
color that color which will be most effective in forcing its note.

Brilliancy is what these men are after, and they get it by the study
of the law of color contrast and color juxtaposition. The effect of
complementaries in color contrast is what you must study for this, for
the theory of it. For the practice of it, study carefully and
faithfully the actual colors in nature, and try to see what are the
real notes, what the really component colors, of any color contrast or
light contrast which you see. Purple shadows and yellow light
re-enforcing each other you will find to exist constantly in nature.
Refine your color perception, and you will be able to get the result
without the obviousness of the means which has brought down the
condemnation on it. Closer study of the relations is the way to find
the art of concealing art.

But yellow and purple are not the only complementaries. All through
the range of color, the secondaries and tertiaries as well as the
primaries, this principle of complement plays a part. There is no
color effect you can use in painting which does not have to do, more
or less, with the placing of the complementary color in mass, to
emphasize; or mixed through to neutralize, the force of it. Train your
eyes to see what the color is which makes the effect. Analyze it, see
the parts in the thing, so that you may get the thing in the same way,
if you would get it of the same force as in nature.

=Practical Color.=--All these theoretical ideas as to color have their
relation to the actual handling of pigment, which is the craft of the
painter. The facts of contrasting and harmonizing color relation have
a practical bearing on the painter's work, both in what he is to
express and how he is to do it; as to his conception of a picture and
his representation of facts. In his conception he must deal with the
possibilities of effect of color on color. The power of one color to
strengthen the personal hue of another, or its power to modify that
hue, is a fact bearing on whether the color in the picture is the true
image of the color he has seen in his mind. In the same degree must
this possibility affect his representation of actual objects.

The greatest possibilities of luminosity in sunlight or atmospheric
effects come from the power to produce vibration by cool contrasted
with warm color. You will find that a red is not so rich in any
position as when you place its complementary near it. At times you
will find it impossible to get the snap and sparkle to a
scarlet--cannot make it carry, cannot make it felt in your picture as
you want it without placing a touch of purple, perhaps, just beside
it; to place near by a darker note will not have the same effect. It
is the contrast of color vibration, not the contrast of light and
shade, which gives the life. And at the same time that you enhance the
brilliancy of the several notes of color in the picture, you harmonize
the whole. For the mosaic of color spots all over the canvas brings
about the balance of color in the composition, and harmony is the

=Study Relations.=--You must constantly study the actual relations of
color in nature. You will find, if you look for it, that always, just
where in art you would need a touch of the complementary for strength
or for harmony, nature has put it there. She does it so subtly that
only a close observer would suspect it. But the thing is there, and it
is your business to be the close observer who sees it, both for your
training as a colorist, and your use as an interpreter of nature's
beauties. It is your business to see subtly, for nature uses colors
subtly. The note sparkles in nature, but you do not notice the
complementary color near it. Can you not also place the complementary
color so that it is not seen, but its influence on the important color
is felt? It is by searching out these _finesses_ of nature that you
train your eye. You must actually see these colors. At first you may
only know that they must be there because the effect is there. But
your eye is capable of actually recognizing them themselves, and you
are no painter till it can. The theoretical knowledge is and should be
a help to you, but the actual power of sight is most important. A
painter may use theoretical knowledge to help his self-training, but
power of eye he must have as the result of that training. The
instantaneous recognition of facts and relations, the immediate and
perfect union of eye and thought, are what make that intuitive
perception which is the true feeling of the artist.

Work this out with eye and palette. Study the color and its relation
in nature, and study its analogy in the pigment touches on the canvas.

=The Palette.=--You try to attain nature's effects of light with
pigment. Pigment is less pure than light. You cannot have the same
scale, the same range, but you must do the best you can, and the
arrangement of your palette will help you. As you have not a perfect
blue, a perfect red, and a perfect yellow, you must have two colors
for one. Your paints will always be more or less impurely primary. No
one red will make a pure purple with blue, and an equally pure orange
with yellow. Yet pure purple and pure orange you must be able to make.
Have, then, both a yellowish or orange red and a bluish or purplish
red on your palette. Do the same with blue and yellow. In this way you
can not only get approximately pure secondaries when you need them,
but the primaries themselves lean somewhat towards the secondaries, so
that you can make very delicate combinations with pure colors. A
bluish yellow and a yellowish blue, for instance, will make a rather
positive green. By using a reddish yellow and a bluish or purplish
red, you practically bring in the red note, and make a grayer green
while still using only two pigments.

So, too, you get similar control of effects by the use of opaque or
transparent pigments, the transparent ones tending to richness, the
opaque to dulness of color. Various processes in the manner of laying
on paint bring about these different qualities, and will be spoken of
in the chapter on "Processes."

Classify your pigments in your mind in accordance with these
characteristics. Think of the ochres, for instance, as mainly opaque,
and as yellows tending to the reddish. With any blue they make gray
greens because of the latter quality, and they make gray oranges with
red because of the dulness of their opacity and body. For richer
greens think of the lighter chromes and cadmium yellows or citrons;
and for the richer oranges, the deeper cadmiums and chromes. With
reds, work the same way, scarlet or orange vermilions for one side of
the scale, and the Chinese or bluish vermilion on the other side. The
deeper and heavier reds fall in line the same way. Indian red is
bluish, light red and Venetian red are yellowish.

                               PART IV

                        PRACTICAL APPLICATION

                             CHAPTER XXII


Although much has been said about the theoretical and abstract side of
painting, and the importance of the æsthetic elements in art have been
insisted upon, it is not to be supposed for a moment that painting
does not deal with actual things. All painting which is not purely
conventional must deal with and represent nature and natural facts.
These are the body of the picture; the æsthetic elements are the heart
of it. I believe that it is important that you should know that there
is that side to painting, and should have some insight into it; that
you should see that there is something else to think of than the
imitation of natural objects. I would have you think more nobly of
painting than to believe that "the greatest imitation is the greatest
art." Beneath the imitation of the obvious facts of nature are the
deeper facts and truths, and in and through these may you express
those qualities of intellectual creation by means of which only,
painting is not a craft, but an art.

But for all that, painting does, and always must, deal with those
obvious facts; and however much you may give your mind to the problems
of composition and color, you must base it on a foundation of ability
to represent what you see. Represent well the external objects, and
you are in a position to interpret the spirit of them. For as nature
only manifests her inner spirit through her outward forms and facts,
you must be able to paint these well before you can do anything else.

The intellectual action which perceives and constructs is the art, the
skill which represents and reproduces is the science, of painting.

Painting is the art of expression in color. The fact of color rather
than form is the fundamental characteristic of it. The use of pigment
rather than other materials is implied in its name. Therefore the
science of painting deals with the materials with which to produce on
canvas all manner of visible color combinations; and those processes
of manipulation which make possible the representation of all the
facts of color and light, of substance and texture, through which
nature manifests herself.

It is not enough to have the pigment, nor even that it should get
itself onto the canvas. Different characteristics call for different
management of paint. Luminosity of light and sombreness of shadow will
not be expressed by the same color, put on in the same way. Different
forms and surfaces and objects demand different treatment. The
science of painting must deal with all these.

It has been said that there are as many ways of painting as there are
painters. Certainly there are as many ways as there are men of any
originality. For however a painter has been trained, whatever the
methods which he has been taught to use, he will always change them,
more or less, in adapting them to his own purposes. And as the main
intent of the art of an epoch or period differs from that of a
previous one, so the manner of laying on paint will change to meet the
needs of that difference. The manner of painting to-day is very
different from that of other times. Some of the old processes are
looked upon by the modern man as quite beneath his recognition. Yet
these same methods are necessary to certain qualities, and if the
modern man does not use or approve of those methods, it is because he
is not especially interested in the qualities which they are necessary

There is probably no one statement which all fair-minded painters will
more willingly acquiesce in, than one which affirms that the method by
which the result is attained is unimportant, provided that the result
_is_ attained, and that it is one worth attaining. Every man will,
whether it is right or not, use those methods which most surely and
completely bring about the expression of the thing he wishes to
express. In the face of this fact, and of the many acknowledged
masterpieces, every one of which was painted in defiance of some rule
some time or other alleged to be the only right one, it is not
possible to prescribe or proscribe anything in the direction of the
manipulation of colors. The result _must_ be right, and if it is, it
justifies the means. If it be not right, the thing is worthless, no
matter how perfectly according to rule the process may be. As Hunt
said, "What do I care about the grammar if you've got something to
say?" The important thing is to say something, and if you do really
say something, and do really completely and precisely express it, as
far as a painter is concerned it will be grammatical. If not to-day,
the grammar will come round to it to-morrow. Henry Ward Beecher is
reported to have answered to a criticism on grammatical slips in the
heat of eloquence, "Young man, if the English language gets in the way
of the expression of my thought, so much the worse for the English
language!" In painting, at any rate, the _complete_ expression of
thought _is_ grammatical, and if not, so much the worse for the

=Try Everything.=--Know, then, all you can about all the ways of
manipulating paint that have ever been used. Use any or all of those
ways as you find them needful or helpful. There is none which has not
the authority of a master behind it, and though another master may
decry it, it is because, being a master, he claims the very right he
denies to you.

Experiment with all; but never use any method for the sake of the
method, but only for what it is capable of doing for you in helping

=Safety.=--The only real rule as to what to use and what not, applies
to the effect on the permanence of your canvas. Never use pigments
which will fade; nor in such a way that they will cause others to
fade. Avoid all such using of materials as you know will make your
picture crack, or in any other way bring about its deterioration.

=Good Painting.=--But for all I have just said, there is an
acknowledged basis of what is good painting. If any man or school lays
on paint in a frank, direct way, getting the effect by sheer force of
putting on the right color in just the right place, with no tricks nor
affectations, that is good painting; and the more simple, direct, and
frank the manner of handling, the better the painting.

Let us understand what direct painting is first, and then consider
varieties of handling. For whatever may be the subsequent
manipulations, the picture is generally "laid in" with the most direct
possible manner of laying on paint, and the other processes are mainly
to modify or to further and strengthen the effect suggested in the
first painting. And generally, also, in all sketches and studies
which are preliminary preparations for the picture, the most direct
painting is used, and the various processes are reserved for working
out more subtle effects on the final canvas.

=Old Dutch Painting.=--Probably there are no better examples of frank
painting than the works of the old Dutchmen. You should study them
whenever you have a chance. Waiving all discussion as to the æsthetic
qualities of their work,--as _painters_, as masters of the craft of
laying on paint, they are unexcelled. And in most cases, too, they
possessed the art of concealing their art. You will have to use the
closest observation to discover the exact means they used to get the
subtle tones and atmospheric effects.

The only obvious quality is the perfect understanding and skill of
their brush-work. In the smoothest as well as in the roughest of their
work, you can note how perfectly the brush searches the modelling, and
with the most exquisite expressiveness and perfect frankness, follows
the structural lines. No doubt there were often paintings, glazings,
and scumblings; but they always furthered the meaning of the first
painting, and never in the least interfered with or obscured the
effect of _naïveté_, of candor of workmanship.

It is, however, this simple and sincere brush-work that you should
strive to attain as the basis of your painting. Learn to express
drawing with your brush, and to place at once and without indecision
or timidity the exact tone and value of the color you see in nature at
that point. Until you are enough of a master of your brush to get an
effect in this way, do not meddle with the more complex methods of
after-painting. You will never do good work by subsequent
manipulation, if you have a groundwork of feebleness and indecision.
Direct painting is the fundamental process of all good painting.

Let me take the type of old Dutch painting to represent to you this
quality of direct painting. First of all notice a basis of perfect
drawing,--a knowledge, exactness, and precision which admits of no
fumbling, no vagueness, but only of a concise and direct recognition
of structure. Note that this drawing is as characteristic of the
brush-work as of the drawing which is under it. Observe that the
handling of the whole school, from the least to the greatest, is
founded on a similar and perfect craftsmanship,--the same use of
materials; the same deliberateness; the same simple yet ample palette;
the same use of solid color candidly expressing the planes of
modelling, freely following the lines of structure; the absence of
affectation or invention of individual means. Whatever the
individuality of the artist, it rests on something else than
difference of technique. From the freest and most direct of painters,
Frans Hals, to the most smooth and detailed, Gerard Dou, the
directness and ingenuousness of means to ends is the same, and founded
on the same technical basis of color manipulation. The one is more
eager, terse, the other more deliberate and complete; but both use the
same pigments, both use the same solid color, are simple, lucid, both
occupied solely with the thing to be expressed, and the least degree
in the world with the manner of it. That manner comes from the same
previous technical training which each uses in the most
matter-of-course way, with only such change from the type, as his
temperament unconsciously imposes on him.

There is nothing like it elsewhere. Study it; notice the
unaffectedness of brush-stroke in Rembrandt. See how it is the same as
Hals, but less perfunctory. See how the brush piles up paint again and
again along the same ridge of flesh, taking no notice of its
revelation of the insistence of attempt at the right value, nor of its
roughness of surface. To get that drawing and that color in the
freest, frankest, most direct way: that is the aim. The absolute
conviction of it: that is the essence of this technique of the old
Dutch masters. And whatever else it may have or may not have, you will
find in it all that you can find anywhere of suggestion of direct and
frank and sincere painting, and nothing I can say will give you any
such clear idea of what you should strive for as the basis of all the
different sorts of brush-work necessary or useful in the production of
an oil painting.

[Illustration: =The Fisher Boy.= _Frans Hals._
To show the directness and sureness of brush-stroke, and candor and
simplicity of means, always present in Dutch work, though never so
free as with Hals.]

=Detail.=--The question of detail may well come in here. How far are
you to carry detail in your painting? The Dutch painters went to both
extremes. Gerard Dou worked two weeks on a broom-handle, and hoped to
finish it in a few days more. Frans Hals would paint a head in an
hour. The French painter Meissonier paints the high light on every
button of a trooper's coat, and De Neuville barely paints the button
at all. What way are you to turn? Which are you to choose? We have a
great deal said nowadays against detail in painting. Much is said of
breadth and broad painting. Which is right?

=True Breadth.=--The answer lies in the central idea of the picture.
There are times when detail may be very minute, and times when the
greatest freedom is essential. True breadth is compatible with much
even minute detail in the same canvas. For breadth does not mean
merely a large brush. It never means slap-dash. It is the just
conception of the amount of detail necessary (and the amount necessary
to be left out) in order that the idea of the picture may be best

Detail is out of place in a large canvas always, and in proportion to
its size it is allowable. A decorative canvas, a picture which is to
be seen from a distance, or is to fill a wall space, wants effect,
much justness of composition and color. Largeness of conception and
execution, and only so much detail as shall be necessary to the best
expression compatible with that largeness. On the other hand, a
"cabinet picture," a small panel, will admit of microscopic detail if
it be not so painted that the detail is all you can see. And just here
is the heart of the whole matter. Whether you use much or little
detail, it is not for the sake of the detail, not for any interest
which lies in the detail itself, but for what power of expression may
lie in it. If the picture, large or small, be largely conceived, and
its main idea as to subject and those qualities of æsthetic meaning I
have spoken of are always kept in view, and never allowed to lose
themselves in the search for minuteness, then any amount of detail
will take its place in true relation to the whole picture. If it does
not do this it is bad.

The relations of parts to the whole are the key to the situation

Nothing is right which interferes with the true relations in the
picture. This is where the working for detail is most likely to lead
you astray. It takes great ability and power to keep detail where it
belongs. Detail is always the search for small things, and they are
almost sure to obtrude themselves to the neglecting of the more
important things. Details which do not stay in their places had better
be left out of the picture. There is such a thing as _values_ in
_facts_ as well as other parts of your work. And this applies to
breadth as well as to detail.

[Illustration: =Boar-Hunt.= _Snyders._
To show relation of detail to the whole picture. The detail is carried
far, yet does not interfere with emphasis of action and life. The
picture is broad in spirit and effect if detailed in execution.]

Gerard Dou remains a great painter, and even a broad painter, strange
as it may sound, in spite of his microscopic work. But only because of
his breadth of eye. The detail is not the most important thing with
him. It is in the picture, and you can see it when you look for it.
But as you look at the picture it is not peppered all over with
pin-points of detail, until the picture itself cannot be seen. Every
detail stays back as it would in nature; loses itself in the part to
which it belongs; modestly waits to be sought out; is not seen until
it is looked for. This is broad painting, because the main things are
emphasized; and if the details are painted they are seen in their true
relations, and the power of the whole is not sacrificed to them.

With much or little detail, this is what is to be aimed at. Whether
with big brushes or little ones, the expression of the main idea, of
the important, the vital things,--this is broad painting, and this

                             CHAPTER XXIII


=Premier Coup.=--Something similar to what I have spoken of as "direct
painting" has long been a much-advocated manner of painting in France,
under the name of _Premier Coup_; which means, translated literally,
"first stroke."

It is taught that the painter should use no after or overworkings at
all; but that he should carefully and deliberately select the color
for his brush-stroke, and then lay it on the canvas at one stroke,
each after-stroke being laid beside some previous one, until the
canvas has been covered by a mosaic of color each shade representing a
single "first-stroke," with no after-stroke laid over it to modify its
effect. Such a process tends to great deliberation of work and
exactness of study. Probably no better thing was ever devised for the
training of the eye and hand. But it has its limits, and is not often
rigidly adhered to in the painting of pictures; although the fresh,
direct effect of this sort of work is preserved as far as possible in
much modern French work, and that quality is held in great esteem.

This manner of painting is especially useful in the making of sketches
and studies, and leads to a strong control of the brush and the
resources of the palette.

In all painting of this character the color should have body.
Transparent color should not be used alone, but only to modify the
tint of the more solid pigments; for the transparent colors used
indiscriminately are apt to crack, which characteristic is avoided
when the heavier color forms the body of the paint.

=Solid Painting.=--In most cases solid painting is the safest,--the
least likely to crack, and the most safely cleaned from varnish and
dirt without injury to the paint itself. It is firmer in character
too, and gives more solidity of effect to the picture.

=Mixing.=--In mixing colors you should be careful not to over mix.
Don't stir your paint. Too much mixing takes the life out of the
color. Particles of the pure color not too much broken up by mixing
are valuable to your work, giving vibration and brilliancy to it. The
reverse is muddiness, which is sure to come from too much fussing and
overworking of wet paint. Don't use more than three pigments in one
tint if you can help it, and mix them loosely. If you must use more
colors, mix still more loosely. Put all the colors together, one
beside the other, drag them together with the brush, scoop them up
loosely on the end of it, and lay the tint on freely and frankly.
Never muddle the color on the canvas. Don't put one color over another
more than you can help; you will only get a thick mass of paint of one
kind mixing with a mass of another, and the result will be dirty
color, which of all things in painting is most useless.

Keep the color clean and fresh, and have your brush-strokes firm and
free. Never tap, tap, tap, your paint; make up your mind what the
color is, and mix it as you want it. Decide just where the touch is to
go, and lay it on frankly and fairly, and leave it. If it isn't right,
daubing into it or pat-patting it won't help it. Either leave it, or
mix a new color, and lay it on after having scraped this one off.

Don't try to economize on your mixing. A color mixed for one place
will never do for another, so don't try to paint another place with
it. Have the patience to proceed slowly, and mix the color specially
for each brush-stroke. On the other hand, don't be niggardly with your
paint. Don't use less paint than you need. Mix an ample brushful and
put it on; then mix another, and use judgment as to how much you
should use each time. The variety of tone and value which comes of
mixing new color for every touch of the brush is in itself a charm in
a painting, aside from the greater truth you are likely to get by it.

[Illustration: =Good Bock.= _Manet._
To illustrate direct and solid painting.]

=Corrections.=--As far as you can, make corrections by over-painting
when the paint is dry, or nearly so. When I say don't work into wet
color to correct, I do not mean that you are never to do so, but that
to do it too much is likely to get your work muddy and pasty. Of
course it is almost impossible to avoid doing so sometimes, but when
you do, do it with deliberation. Don't lose your head and pile wet
paint on wet paint in the vain hope of getting the color by force of
piling it on. You will only get it worse and worse. Get it as nearly
right as you can. If it is hopeless, scrape it off clean, and mix a
fresh tint. If it is as near right as you can see to mix it now, go
ahead; and put a better color on that place to-morrow when it is dry,
if you can.

=Keep at it.=--But above all don't be permanently satisfied with the
almost. Don't be afraid to put paint over dry paint till it is right.
Work at it day after day. Let the paint get thick if it will, if only
you get the thing right. The secret of getting it right is to keep at
it, and be satisfied with nothing less than the best you can do. When
you can see nothing wrong you can do no better. But as long as your
eye will recognize a difference between what is on the canvas and what
ought to be there, you have not done your best, and you are shirking
if you stop. Never call a thing done as long as you can see something
wrong about it. No matter what any one else says, your work must come
up _at least_ to the standard of what you yourself can see.

=Loose Painting.=--Sometimes it is necessary to lay on paint very
loosely in order to get vibration of warm and cool color or of pure
pigment in the same brush-stroke, or to let the under paint show
somewhat through the loose texture of the paint over it. Too much of
this sort of thing is not to be desired, but its effect in the right
place is not to be obtained in any other way. The paint may be dragged
over the canvas with a long brush charged with color more or less
thoroughly mixed, as seems most effectual, or it may be flipped into
its place, or it may be hatched on with parallel strokes. All these
ways will be spoken of as they suggest themselves in other chapters.
Solid color, generally, is used in this manner, and the effect of body
is rather strengthened by it than the reverse.

=Scumbling.=--Another means of modifying the color and effect of a
painting has perhaps always been more or less commonly in use. This is
called _scumbling_, and may be considered under the head of solid
painting, as it is always done with body, and never with transparent,
color. The process consists of rubbing a mixture of body color,
without thinning, over a surface previously painted and dried.
Generally this _scumble_ is of a lighter color than the
under-painting, and is rubbed on with a stubby brush slightly charged
with the paint. As much surface as is desired may be covered in this
way, and the result is to give a hazy effect to that part, and to
reduce any sharpness of color or of drawing. Often the effect is very
successfully obtained. Distant effects may be painted solidly and
rather frankly, and then brought into a general indefiniteness by
scumbling. Too much scumbling will make a picture vague and soft, and
after a scumble it is best to paint into it with firm color to avoid

The scumble may be used with the richer and darker colors, too, to
modify towards richness the tone of parts of the picture, or to darken
the value. Most often, however, its value lies in its use to bring
harsher and sharper parts together, and to give the hazy effect when
it is needed.

Scumbling will not have a good effect when it is not intended to
varnish the picture afterwards; for the oil in the paint is absorbed
immediately, and the rubbing of color gives a dead look to the canvas
which is very unpleasant, and decidedly the reverse of artistic.

=Glazing.=--A very valuable process, the reverse of scumbling, is
glazing. It has always been in use since the invention of the oil
medium. All the Italian painters used it; it is an essential part of
their system of coloring. The rich, deep color of Titian, the warm
flesh of Raphael, and the jewel-like quality of the early German
painters are impossible without some form of glaze. The Germans
perhaps made glazes with white of egg before oil was used as a
vehicle. But to glaze is the only way to get the fullest effect of the
quality characteristic of the transparent paints.

A glaze is a thin wash of transparent color flowed over an
under-painting to modify its tone or to add to its effect. It is not
always transparent color, but usually it is. Sometimes opaque or
semi-opaque color may be used, and it is a glaze by virtue of the fact
that it is thinned with a vehicle either oil or varnish, and _flowed_
on. A scumble is _rubbed_ on, and is never pure transparent color.

=Advantages of Glazing.=--The advantages are the gain in harmony, in
force, in brilliancy; you may correct a color when it is wrong, or
perfect it when it is not possible to get the force or richness
required without it. These are the qualities which have made it used
by all schools more or less.

=Disadvantages.=--There are, however, quite as evident and marked
disadvantages. The free use of oil as a thinning vehicle, although it
makes possible a greater degree of richness of color, is very likely
to turn the picture brown in time. Oil will always eventually have a
browning effect on all paints, even when mixed with them as little as
is absolutely necessary. If you make a tinted varnish of oil (which
is practically what a glaze is), you add so much, to the surely
darkening action of the oil on the picture.

If, again, you depend upon a glaze for the richness of color for your
picture, and you use a color which is not permanent, your glaze fades,
and your color is not there. A glaze is particularly liable to be
injured by the cleaner if it ever gets into his hands. He works down
to fresh color, and what with the browning of the glaze and the fact
that the cleaner is more anxious that the picture should be cleaned
than that its color should be fine, he will, in nine cases out of ten,
_clean_ off the glaze which may be the final and most expensive color
the painter has put on it.

Glazing is little used nowadays, compared with what it once was. But
there are times when you cannot get what you want in any other way,
and when you are sure that glazing is the only thing which will give
you your result, the only law for the painter comes in,--get your

=Precautions.=--If you do glaze, however, there is a right and a wrong
way. You should not use a glaze as a last resort. It is better to
calculate on it beforehand; for you always glaze with a darker tint
upon a lighter one, so that if you have not allowed for this, you will
get your picture too low in tone before you know it.

If you want to make your picture, or a part of it, brighter and
lighter, bring it up in pitch with body color first, with solid
painting, and then glaze it.

Do not glaze on color which is not well dried. The drying of the under
color and the drying of the glaze are apt to be different in point of
time, and the picture will crack. If the vehicle is the same as was
used in the under-painting, and the drying qualities of both paintings
are the same, there is no danger. But when color dries, it shrinks and
flattens, and two kinds of colors shrinking differently are sure to
pull apart, and that causes cracking. If the under-painting is well
dry, but not hard and glossy on the surface, and is capable of still
absorbing enough of the new color's vehicle to bind the coats
together, your glaze will stand. But rather than have it too soft,
have the under-painting too hard, and then before you glaze go over it
with a little thin, quick-drying varnish, and glaze into that. The
varnish will hold the two coats of paint together.

Glazing, as well as scumbling, implies the obligation to varnish your
picture. Whenever you use oil freely you will have to varnish your
picture to keep it bright and fresh in color.

It would be wise never to use a glaze as a final process. Glaze to get
the tone or to modify it, but paint into the glaze with body color,
and you keep the advantage of the glaze without many of the
disadvantages of it, and the picture has a more solid effect of

=Frottée.=--Closely akin to the glaze in manner, but very different in
use, is the _frottée_, or "rubbing." This is generally used on the
fresh surface of the canvas, to "rub in" the light and shade or the
first coloring of the picture after the drawing is done. It is one of
the safest and wisest ways of beginning your picture. You can either
rub in the picture with a _frottée_ of one color, as sienna or umber,
or you can use all the colors in their proper places, only using very
little vehicle, and making something very thin in tint, somewhat
between a glaze and a scumble. You can make a complete drawing in
monochrome in this way, or you can lay in all the ground colors of the
picture till it has much the effect of a complete painting. Then, as
you paint and carry the picture forward, every color you put on will
be surrounded with approximately the true relations, instead of being
contrasted by a glare of white canvas.

A _frottée_ is a most sympathetic ground to paint over.

                             CHAPTER XXIV


Copying may well be spoken of here, as it is in a sense a kind of
manipulation. It is a means of study to the student, and a useful,
sometimes necessary process to the painter. In the transferring of the
results of his sketches and studies to the final canvas, the painter
must be able to copy, and to know all the conveniences of it. Before
the painting begins on a picture, the main figures in it must be
placed and drawn on the canvas with reference to the plan of it, and
their relation to that plan. This calls for some method of exact
reproduction of the facts stored in the artist's studies for that
purpose. The process of copying is that method.

From the side of study, the copy gives the student the most practical
means of understanding the intent and the expression of the painter
whose work he wishes to know. There is no way of understanding the why
and the how of technical expression so sure and complete as to study
with the brush and paint, following the same method and processes as
the master you copy, and trying to comprehend the meaning and the
expression at the same time.

This is not the best means of study for a beginner, as I have said
before. It trains the understanding of processes rather than the eye;
and the training of the power of perception rather than the
understanding of methods is what the young student needs. The
processes with which he may put on canvas the effect he sees in nature
are secondary matters to him. Let him really see the thing and find
his own way of expressing it, clumsily, rudely most probably, it is
still the best thing for him. He may take such help as he can find, as
he needs it; get such suggestions as the work of good painters can
give to him, when he cannot see his own way. But the searching of
nature should come first. The _seeing_ of what is must precede the
_stating_ of it.

But when you do undertake to make a copy, there is something more to
be tried for than an approximation of the right colors in the right

Certainly to get out of copying all there is to get, one must try for
something more than a recognizable picture. When a serious student
makes a copy, he not only tries to get it like in color and drawing,
but also in manner of treatment, peculiarities of technique, and
whatever there may be that goes to make up the "manner" of the

This is not only for the sake of the copy, for the sake of really
having a picture which is more than superficially like the original;
but in this way can be gained much real knowledge of technique which
cannot be gotten so easily otherwise.

Study your original carefully before and while working on your own
canvas. See how it was done if you can (and you can), and do it in the
same way, touch for touch, stroke for stroke, color for color. Use a
large brush when he used a large brush; if the original was done with
a palette-knife, use yours; and particularly never use a smaller brush
than the painter used on the picture you are copying.

The same thing holds as to processes. If your original was painted
solidly, with full body of color, do so on your copy. Never glaze nor
scumble because _you_ can't get the colors without. Your business is
to try to get the same qualities _in the same way_. And any other
manipulation is not only getting a different thing, but shirking the
problem. Because, if you can't get the effect in the way he did, you
certainly won't get the _same one_ any other way. You are not
originating, you are not painting a picture, you are copying another
man's work; and common honesty to him, as well as what you are trying
to learn, demands that you shall not belie him by stating on your
canvas implicitly, that he did the thing one way, when as a matter of
fact his canvas shows that he did it another way.

This may seem commonplace, because one would think that as a matter of
course any one would naturally make a copy this way. But this is
precisely what the average person does not do when copying, and I have
found it constantly necessary to insist upon these very points even to
advanced students.

So in the pigments, the vehicles, the tools, and even the canvas if
you can, as well as in the handling of the paint and the processes
used, follow absolutely and humbly, but intelligently, the workmanship
of the picture you copy, if it is worth your while to do it at all.

In making copies it is not usual to make the preliminary drawing
freehand. It takes time that may better be given to something else,
and often it is not exact enough. When a painter has made careful
studies which he wishes to transfer to his canvas, they may have
qualities of line or movement, or of emphasis or character which the
model may not have had. These studies, probably, are much smaller than
they will be in the picture. The same things may be true of the
characteristics of the sketches. These are problems which have been
worked out, and to copy them freehand makes the work to be done over
again on a larger scale on the canvas of the picture. This would not
only take too much time, but the same result might not follow. For
this purpose a more mechanical process is commonly made use of, which
combines the qualities of exactness with a certain freedom of hand,
without which the work would be too rigid and hard.

="Squaring up."=--This process is called "squaring-up," and consists
of making a network of squares which cut up the study, and map out its
lines and proportions, and make it possible to be sure that any part
of the original will come in the same relative place in the copy no
matter what the size may be, and at the same time leaves the actual
laying out of the thing to freehand drawing.

The process is a very simple one. You mark off a number of points
horizontally and vertically on the study. Make as many as you think
best--if there are too few, you will have too much of the study in one
part; if too many, it makes you more trouble. It is not necessary that
there be as many points one way as the other; make the number to suit
the lines of the study.

Draw straight lines across the study from each of the points, keeping
them carefully parallel, and seeing to it that the horizontal lines
cross the vertical ones exactly at right angles. These lines cut the
study into right-angled parallelograms, which may be squares or not
according as the vertical lines are the same distance from each other
that the horizontal ones are, or not.

Number the spaces between the lines at the top, 1, 2, 3, etc., and at
one side the same.

Now if you square off a part of your canvas with the same number of
spaces at the top and the same number at the side as you have done
with the study, and keep the relation of the spaces the same, you can
make it as large or as small as you please, and you can draw the
outlines within those squares as they fall in the study, and they will
be the same in proportion without your having the trouble of working
to scale. The squares furnish the scale for you, and the proportion is
not of the study to the picture, but as the vertical spaces are to the
horizontal, in both the study and the picture.

By numbering the squares on the canvas to correspond with those on the
study, and noticing in which square, and in what part of it, any line
or part of a line comes, you can, by drawing that line in the same
part of the corresponding square on the canvas, repeat the line in the
same relation and with exactness, while still leaving the hand free to
modify it, or correct it.

In this way the simplest or the most complex, the largest or the
smallest study sketch or drawing may be accurately transferred to any
surface you please.

                              CHAPTER XXV

                           KINDS OF PAINTING

Why not recognize that conviction, intense personal attraction to a
certain sort of thing is the life of all art. How else can life get
into art than through the love of what you paint? A man may understand
what he does not love, but he will never infuse with life that which
he does not love. Understand it he should, if he would express it; but
love it he must, if he would have others love it.

You see it is not the thing, but the manner; not the fact, but what
you can find in it; not the object, but what you can express by it.
"_Un chef d'oeuvre vaut un chef d'oeuvre_" because perfect delight in
loveliness found in a small thing is as perfect as perfect delight in
loveliness found in a great thing. And still life uninteresting as a
fact, may be fascinating if "seen through the medium of a

Don't let the idea get into your head that one thing is easier to do
than another thing. Perhaps it is, but it is a bad mental attitude to
think so. And even then, you may find that when you have worked out
all that its easiness shows you, some one with better knowledge or
insight may come along and point out undreamed-of beauties and
subtleties. And are they easy? To see and express the possibilities in
easy things is the hardest of all.

=Classification.=--Divide paintings into two classes,--those
representing objects seen out-of-doors, and those representing objects
in-doors. This is the most fundamental of all classifications, and it
is one which belongs practically to this century. Before this century
it was hardly thought of to distinguish out-door light from in-door

Some of the Dutchmen did it. But it is only in this century that the
principle has made itself felt. It is this which makes the difference
of pitch or key so marked between the modern and the ancient pictures.
It has changed the whole color-scheme.

An out-door picture may be still painted in the studio, but it must be
painted from studies made out-doors. It is no longer possible to pose
a model in a studio-light and paint her so into a landscape. It was
right to do it when it was done frankly, when the world had not waked
up to the fact that things look different in diffused and in
concentrated lights. It is not right now. You cannot go back of your
century. To be born too late is more fatal than to be born too soon.

Whatever kind of picture you take in hand, remember that what
distinguishes the treatment of it from that of other pictures depends
on the inherent character of it. That the difficulties as well as the
facilities in the working of it are due to the fact that it demands a
different application of the universal principles. Don't think that
landscape drawing is easier than that of the figure because smudges of
green and blue and brown can be accepted as a landscape, while a
smudge of pink will not do duty for the nude figure. It is only that
the drawing of the figure is more obvious, and variations from the
more obvious right are more easily seen.

You must study the necessities, the demands of treatment of the
different sorts of subjects--see what is peculiar to each, and what
common to all. You must find to what æsthetic qualities each most
readily lends itself, what are the subtleties to be sought for, and
what are the problems they offer.

                             CHAPTER XXVI

                              THE SKETCH

The sketch is the germ of the picture. It contains the idea which may
later become the finished work. In your sketches you gather effects
and suggestions of possibilities, of all kinds. You do not work long
over a sketch, nor do you work perfunctorily. You do not make it
because you ought to, but because you see something in nature which
charms you; or because you have found an idea you wish to make a note

Understand thoroughly the use and meaning of sketches, and you will
get more good from the making of them. For your sketching is an
important matter to your painting. You do not learn how to paint by
sketching; but you can learn a great many things, and some of them you
can learn no other way. A sketch is not a picture; neither is it a
study. Each of these things has its special purpose and function, and
its proper character.

A sketch is always a note of an idea--an idea seen or conceived.
Everything is sacrificed in the sketch to the noting of that idea. One
idea only, in one sketch; more ideas, more sketches.

There are two kinds of sketches: those made from nature to seize an
effect of some sort; and those made to work out or express tersely
some composition or scheme of color which you have in your mind. Both
are of great use to the student as well as essential to the work of
the artist.

[Illustration: =Sketch of a Hillside blocked in from Nature, First
Suggestion of Composition, etc.=]

The first conception of a picture is always embodied in the form of a
sketch, and the artist will make as many sketches as he thinks of
changes in his original idea. It is in this form that he works out
his picture problem. He is troubled here by nothing but the one thing
he has in mind at this time. It may be an arrangement of line or of
mass. He changes and rearranges it as he pleases, not troubling
himself in the least with exactness of drawing, of modelling, of
color, nor of anything but that one of composition. It may be a scheme
of color, and here again the spots of pigment only vaguely resemble
the things they will later represent; now they are only composition of
color to the painter, and everything bends to that. When this has been
decided on, has been successfully worked out, then it is time enough
to think of other things. And think of other things he does, before he
makes his picture; but not in this sketch; in another sketch or other
sketches, each with its own problem, or in studies which will furnish
more material to be used later; or in the picture itself, where the
problem is the unity of the various ideas within the great whole in
the completed painting.

It is the sketch on which the picture rests for its singleness of
purpose. No picture but begins in this way, whether it is afterwards
built up on the same canvas or not. The sketch points the way. But all
the preliminary sketches of a painting are not problems of composition
or color; are not conceptions of the brain. There are suggestions
received from nature which the painter perceives rather than
conceives. Possibilities show themselves in these, but it is in the
sketch that they first become tangible and stable. This is the sketch
from nature, always the record of an impression, the note of an idea
hinted by one fact or condition seen more sharply or clearly than any
or all of the thousands which surrounded it at the moment.

The painter must always sketch from nature. Only by so doing can he be
constantly in touch with her, and receive her suggestions unaffected
by multitudinous facts. The sketch preserves for him the evanescent
effects of nature, which the study would not so entirely, because not
so simply, grasp. The sudden storm approaches; the fleeting cloud
shadow; or the last gleam of afterglow; these, as well as the more
permanent, but equally charming effects of mass against mass of wood
and sky, or of meadow and hill, he can only store up for future use or
reference in his sketches.

=Main Idea Only.=--In the making of the sketch, then, no problem
should come in but that of the expression of the main idea,--no
problem of drawing or of manipulation of color. To get the idea
expressed in the most direct and immediate and convenient way,
anything will do to sketch on or with; that which presents the least
difficulty is the best. The matter of temperament, of course, comes
in largely, and technical facility. That which you can use most
freely, use in your sketching, and keep for other occasions the new
means or medium. Use freely, if you can, black and white for whatever
black and white will express, and pigment for all color effects. Oil
for greatest certainty and facility of correction.

=Quick Work.=--Make your sketch at one sitting, or you will have
something which is not a sketch. Work long enough, and it may be a
study; but more than one sitting makes it neither one thing nor the
other. To say nothing of the fact that the conditions are unlikely to
be exactly the same again, you are almost sure on the second working
to have lost the first impression,--the freshness and directness of
purpose which the first impress gives; and this is the very heart of a
sketch. You must never lose sight of what was the original purpose of
it; never forget what it was which first made you want to paint it. No
matter what else you get or do not get, if you lose this you lose all
that can give it life or reality.

The very fact that you have limited yourself to one working makes you
concentrate on that which first caught your attention, and that is
what you want to seize.

Overworkings and after-paintings will only interfere with the
directness and force with which this is expressed.

Remember that nature is never at rest. You must catch her on the wing,
and the more quickly you do it the more vivid will be the effect.

[Illustration: =The River Bank.= _D. Burleigh Parkhurst._
Half-hour sunset sketch.]

"Nature is economical. She puts her lights and darks only where she
needs them." Do the same, and use no more effort than will suffice to
express that which is most important. The rest will come another time.

Try to keep things simple. Keep the impression of unity; have the
sketch one thing only.

Express things as they look. As they look to _you_ and at _this time_.
How they seem to some one else, or seemed at some other time, is not
to the point. What you know they are or may be will not help you, but
only hinder you in a sketch. The more facts the worse, in sketching.
Remember always what a sketch is for. Don't be beguiled into trying to
make a picture of it, nor a study of it. Above all, don't try to make
a clever thing of it. Make something sincere and purposeful of it, and
have it as concise, as terse, as direct, and as expressive of one
thing as you can.

=Keep Looking.=--Always keep your eyes open and your mind receptive;
do not be always looking for reasons. Accept the charm as it presents
itself; note it, if you have anything handy to express it with; if
not, study it, and get something into your mind and memory from it.
The simplest way of expressing it, and the simplest elements which
cause it, you can study without the materials to preserve it, and you
so keep your receptivity and quicken your power of observation.

Your sketch will be more quickly done, directly and more forcefully,
if you map out the thing rather deliberately first with a few very
exact lines and masses in some way: then you have a free mind to
concentrate on the effect. A few values and masses well placed are the
things you most want; you can almost always spare time to ensure
their exactness by a few measurements and two or three rubs of color
first. Of course if the sketch is of a passing gleam you can do
nothing but get a few smudges of color. But get them true in value and
in color relation; get the glow of it, or you will get nothing.

=Canvases of a Size.=--In sketching from nature, have the habit of
using always the same sized canvases or panels. They pack better, and
you learn to know your spaces, and so you do quicker and better work.
Make them big enough to do free work on, yet small enough to cover
easily, so that you lose no time in mere covering of surface. Ten
inches by fourteen is plenty small enough, and fifteen by twenty large
enough, for most persons. Suit yourself as to the size, but settle on
a size, and stick to it. Nothing is more awkward and inconvenient than
to have stacks of canvases of all sizes and shapes.

Always have plenty of sketching materials on hand. You will lose many
a good effect which will pass while you are getting your kit ready.

In sketching, avoid details. When you want them, make a study of them.
In a sketch they only interfere with frankness of expression. One or
two details for the sake of accent only, may be admitted.

Make a frame with your hand, or, better, cut a square hole in a card,
and look through it. Decide what is the essence of it, what is vital
to the effect, and do that; concentrate on that. Put in what you need
for the conveying of that, and leave out everything else.

=Work Solidly.=--Work in body color, and lay on your paint fully and
freely. In getting an effect of light, don't be afraid of contrast
either of value or of color. Paint loosely; get the vibration which
results from half-mixed color. Don't flatten out the tone. Load the
color if you want to. In twenty years you will wonder to see how
smooth it has become.

Freedom and breadth give life to a sketch. Don't work close to your
work. Don't bend over it. Use plenty of color, large brushes, and
strike from the shoulder.

                            CHAPTER XXVII

                              THE STUDY

The qualities which make a good study are the reverse of those which
make a good sketch. In the sketch all is sacrificed to the effect, or
to the one thing which is its purpose. The study is what its name
implies, and its purpose is not one thing, but many. In a study you
put in everything which may be valuable. You store it with facts. You
leave out nothing which you wish to put in. It is all material. You
can take and leave in using it afterwards, as you could from nature.
Of course every study has some main intention, but you must take the
trouble to give everything that goes to the making of that.

A study is less of a picture than a sketch is. For unity of effect is
vital to both a sketch and a picture. But this quality is of no
essential value in a study--unless it be a study of unity. For you can
make a _study_ of anything, from a foreground weed to a detailed
interior, from a bit of pebble to a cavalry charge.

But in a study of one thing you concentrate on that thing, you
deliberately and carefully study everything in it, while in a sketch
you work only for general effect. The study is the storehouse of facts
to the painter. By it he assures himself of the literal truths he
needs, collecting them as material in color or black and white, and as
mental material by his mental understanding of them, only to be gained
in this way.

In making a study you may work as long as you please, timing yourself
by the difficulty and size of the thing you are studying. A study of
an interior or a landscape may occupy a week or two; one of a simple
object for some detail in a picture may be a matter of only a few
hours. But in any work of this kind you should be deliberate, and
remember that what you are doing is neither a sketch nor a picture,
but the gathering of material which is to be useful, but which can be
useful only so far as it is accurate.

In making studies, don't try for surface finish; get the facts, and
leave all other qualities for the picture. Don't glaze and scumble,
but work as directly as you can. Study the structure and texture of
whatever you are doing. Understand it thoroughly as you go on, and
search out whatever is not clear to you. This is no place for effects;
nor for slighting or shirking. If you do not do work of this kind
thoroughly, you might as well not do it at all--better; for you are at
least not training yourself to be careless.

There are places where you may be careless, but the making of a study
is not that place.

Take plenty of trouble with preliminaries. Get all your foundation
work true. Have a good drawing, get the groundwork well laid in, and
then build your superstructure of careful study.

Don't be afraid of over-exactness, nor of hardness and edginess here.
All that is only an excess of precision, and it is just as well to
have it. You can leave it out if you want to in your picture, but a
groundwork of exactness is not to be despised.

Be exact also with your values. If your study is not sure of its
values, it will weaken the results you should get from it later.

Make your studies in the same light as that which the picture will
represent. You can paint a picture under any light you please if your
studies give you the facts as to light and shade that the truth to
nature requires; but studies made in one light for a picture
representing another are useless to that picture.

No good painting was ever made without preliminary studies. When you
are to make a picture, therefore, take plenty of time to prepare
yourself with all the material in the form of facts that you may
require. Don't trust to building up a picture from a sketch or two and
your "general knowledge." That sort of thing is something which a
painter of experience may do after storing his mind for years with
all sorts of knowledge; but it will not do for most people--least of
all for a student. And it is a dangerous way for any one to work. Even
the experienced painter is apt to do the worse work for it, and if he
does so constantly, his reputation may suffer for it. Take time to be

[Illustration: =Study of a Blooming-Mill.= _D. Burleigh Parkhurst._]

Don't be afraid of taking measurements. Every one who did anything
worth looking at took measurements. Leonardo laid down a complete
system of proportions. You can't get your proportions right without
measurements, and if your proportions are not right, nothing will be
right. Use a plumb-line: use it frequently, and measure horizontals
and verticals. If you are in doubt about anything, stop a minute and
measure. It takes less time than correcting.

Whatever you do, get the character first, then the details. Character
is not a conglomeration of details. The detail is the incident of
character. See what the vital things are first, then search farther.

Use your intelligence as well as your eye and hand. Think as you work.
Don't for a moment let your hand get ahead of your brain. Don't work
absent-mindedly, nor without purpose. If your mind is tired, if your
eye won't see, stop and rest a while. Tired work runs your picture
down hill.

                            CHAPTER XXVIII

                              STILL LIFE

The name of still life is used in English for all sorts of pictures
which represent groupings of inanimate objects except flowers. The
French word for it is better than ours. They call it "_nature morte_"
or dead nature.

There is no kind of painting which is more universally useful--to the
student as well as to the painter. It furnishes the means for
constant, regular, and convenient study and practice. You need never
lack for something interesting to paint, nor for a model who will sit
quietly and steadily without pay, if you have some pieces of drapery,
and a few articles, of whatever shape or form, which you can group in
a convenient light.

You can make the group as simple or as difficult as you wish, and make
it include any phase of study. The advantage of its possible variety,
scope, and particularly, its convenience and cheapness and
manageableness, make it the fundamental work for the beginner.

=Materials.=--Practically anything and everything is available for
still life. You should be constantly on the lookout for interesting
objects of all kinds. Try to get a collection which has as much
variety in form, size, and surface as you can. Old things are
generally good, but it is a mistake to suppose old and broken things
the best. An object is not intrinsically better because of its being
more or less damaged, although it sometimes has interesting qualities,
as of color or history, because of its age.

What you should avoid is bad proportion, line, and color in the things
you get. The cost is not of any importance at all. You can pick up
things for a few cents which will be most useful. Have all sorts of
things, tall slim vases, and short fat jugs. Have metals and glass,
and books and plaques. They all come in, and they add to the variety
and interest of your compositions.

=Draperies.=--The study of drapery particularly is facilitated by
still-life study. You can arrange your draperies so that they are an
essential part of your study, and will stay as long as you care to
paint from them, and need not be moved at all. This fact of "staying
power" in still life is one of importance in its use, as it reduces to
the minimum the movement and change which add to the difficulties in
any other kinds of work. The value of the antique in drawing lies in
its unvarying sameness of qualities from day to day. In still life you
have the same, with color added. You can give all your attention and
time unhurriedly, with the assurance that you can work day after day
if you want to, and find it just the same to-morrow morning as you
left it to-day. This as it applies to drapery is only the more useful.
You can hardly have a lay figure of full size, because of its cost. To
study drapery on a model carefully and long, is out of the question,
because it is disarranged every time the model moves, and cannot be
gotten into exactly the same lines again.

Still life steps in and gives you the power to make the drapery into
any form of study, and to have it by itself or as a part of a picture.

In draperies you should try to have a considerable variety just as you
have of the more massive objects,--variety of surface, of color, and
of texture. Do not have all velvet and silk. These are very useful and
beautiful, but you will not always paint a model in velvet and silk.
Satins and laces are also worn by women, and cloth of all kinds by
men, and so you should study them. Sometimes you want the drapery as a
background, to give color or line; and yet to have also marked surface
qualities (texture), would take from the effect of those qualities in
the other objects of the group.

As to color, in the same way you should have all sorts of colors; but
see to it that the colors are good,--in themselves "good color," not
harsh nor crude. It does you no good as a student to learn how to
express bad color. Neither is it good training for you, in studying
how to represent what you see, to have to change bad color in your
group into good color in your picture.

Good useful drapery does not mean either large pieces, or pieces with
much variety of color in one piece; on the contrary, you should avoid
spotty or prominent design in it. Still, the more kinds you have, the
more you can vary your work.

If your drapery is a little strong in color, you can always make it
more quiet by washing or fading it to any extent. There is very little
material which is absolutely fast color. But when it is so, and the
color is too strong, don't use it.

Don't scorn old and faded cloth, especially silk and velvet, or plush.
The fact that it would look out of place on furniture or as a dress
does not imply that it may not be beautiful as a background or as a
foreground color. These old and faded materials furnish some of the
most useful things you can have; a fact the reverse of what is true in
general of other still-life things.

=The Use of Still Life.=--There is no way in which you can better
study the principles of composition than by the use of still life. The
fact that you can bring together a large number of objects of any
color and form, and can arrange and rearrange them, study the effect
and result before painting, and be working with actual objects and not
by merely drawing them, gives a positiveness and actuality to
composition that is of the greatest service to you. You can use (and
should at times) the whole side or corner of a room, and so practise
composition on the large scale, or you can make a small group on a
table. That you are using furniture and drapery or vases, flowers, and
books, instead of men and women, does not affect the seriousness and
usefulness of the problem; for the principles of composition and color
do not have to do with the materials which you use to bring about the
effect, but the effect itself.

It is practically impossible for the student and the amateur to make
very advanced study of composition in line and mass with more than one
or two living models; but with still life he may and should get all
the practical knowledge possible.

=Practical Composition.=--Suppose you were going to work with still
life, how would you begin? In the first place, get a good composition.
Never work from a bad one. You must learn composition some time, so
you might as well study it every time you have occasion to start a
still-life study. Take any number of things and put them on a table,
get a simple background to group them against. Consider your things,
and eliminate those which are not necessary, or will not tell in the
composition. It is a law that whatever does not help your picture (or
composition) tells against it; so get rid of anything which will not
help the composition.

[Illustration: =Still Life, No. 1.=]

For instance, here are a lot of things indiscriminately grouped on a
table. You might paint them, but they are not arranged. There is no
composition. They would lack one commanding characteristic of a good
picture if you were to paint them so. What do they lack as they are?
They have no logical connection with each other, either in arrangement
or in the placing, to begin with. They do not help each other either
in line or mass. They are crowded, huddled together. You could do with
less of them; or, if you want them all, you can place them better. But
suppose we take some of them away for simplicity, and rearrange the

[Illustration: =Still Life, No. 2.=]

Here are some of the things, with others taken away. The combination
is simpler, but still it is not satisfactory. There is some logical
connection among the objects, but none in the grouping. They are still
huddled; there is no line; it is too square; no attempt at balance;
they are simply things. If you change them about a little, having
regard to size, proportion, balance, and line, you can get something
better out of these same objects.

[Illustration: =Still Life, No. 3.=]

Here the coffee-pot is moved toward the centre, to give height and
mass, and to break up the round of the plaque; the handle turned
around to give more looseness and freedom; the pitcher is placed where
it will break the line of the plaque, yet not too obviously or
awkwardly; the handle is placed at a good angle with that of the
coffee-pot, and the relation of distance with the coffee-pot in
balancing the whole is considered. The drapery is spread out so as to
have some probability. It does not help much in line, but it does in
mass and in color (in the original). It could be bettered, but it will
do for the present. The cup also has a reasonable position, and helps
to balance and to give weight to the main mass, which is the
coffee-pot. There is not much light and shade in this composition, nor
much distinction. But it does balance, and would make a good study,
and is a very respectable piece of composition,--simple, modest, and

Now if you wanted to add some of those things which were eliminated,
and make a more complicated composition, you would look for the same
things in it when completed. We have simply the same group, with the
bottle and glass added. The stout jug in the first group is left out
because it is not needed, and it will not mass with the rest easily.
The tall glass vase is left out because it is too transparent to count
either as line, mass, or color, and does not in any way help, and
therefore counts against, because it does not count for, our
composition. The things we have here are enough, but they are not
right as they are now. They injure rather than help the last
arrangement. The bottle and glass are in the composition, but not of
it; a composition must be _one thing_, no matter how many objects go
to the making of it. This is two things. Draw a line down between the
bottle and glass and the other things, and you get two compositions,
both good, instead of one, which we must have for good arrangement.

[Illustration: =Still Life, No. 4.=]

Let's change them again. This is worse, if anything. We have now got
two groups and a thing. The coffee-pot and cup and saucer alone, the
bottle and glass alone, and the pitcher; the drapery tries to pull
them together, but can't. The plaque has no connection with anything.
They are all pulled apart. In the last group at least there was some
chief mass, the first complete composition. Now every one is for
himself; three up and down lines and a circle--that's about what it
amounts to.

[Illustration: =Still Life, No. 5.=]

Let's group them,--push them together. Place the bottle near the
coffee-pot. Because they are about the same height, one cannot
dominate the other in height; then make them pull together as a mass.

[Illustration: =Still Life, No. 6.=]

Place the cup about as before, and the mass pretty well towards the
centre of the plaque. Put the pitcher where it will balance, and the
glass where it will count unobtrusively, and help break the line of
the bottoms of the objects. The drapery now helps in line also, and
gives more unity, as well as mass and weight and color, to the whole.
This group is about as well placed as these objects will come. There
is balance, mass, proportion, dignity, unity.

Of course you may make a paintable and interesting composition with
only two things. But you must give them some relation both as to fact
and as to position. The same elements of unity and balance and line
come in, no matter how many or how few are the objects which enter as
elements in your group.

In this way study composition with still life. Move things about and
see how they look; use your eye and judgment. Get to see things
together, and apply the principles spoken of in the chapter on
"Composition" to all sorts of things in nature.

=Scope of Study.=--Drawing is always drawing, whatever the objects to
which it is applied, and you can study all the problems of drawing and
values with still life. The drawing is not so severe as that of the
antique, nor so difficult as study from the life, but you can learn to
draw and then apply it to other things, and advance as far as you
please; and as I said at first, you need never lack an amiable model.

All sorts of effects of lighting you can study easily with still life;
and of color and texture also. The study of surface and texture is
most important to you. If you were to undertake to paint a sheep or a
cow the first time; if you were to paint without previous experience
a background which contained metal and glass, or a model with a velvet
or satin dress, you would not succeed. These all involve problems of
skill and facility of representation. When you paint a portrait or
figure picture, or a landscape with animals, you should not have to
deal with, as new, problems of this sort. You should have arrived at
some understanding of this sort of thing in studies which are not
complicated by other problems of greater difficulty. This is where
still life comes in again to make the study of painting easier.

=Interest.=--But the use of this sort of painting is not only its
practical _use_. You need not feel that it is all drudgery--which is
something that most students do not love! You may make pictures with a
much clearer conscience along this line; for the better the picture,
and the more interesting and charming it is, the more successful is
your work as study. You can be as interested in the beauty and the
picture of it as you please, and it will only make you work the
better. To see the picture in a group of bottles and books is to be
the more able to see the picture in a tree and sky. An artist's eye is
sensitive to beauty of color and line and form wherever he sees it.
The student's should be also. No artist but has found delight in
painting still life. No student should think it beneath his serious

=Procedure.=--Study painting first in still-life compositions. When
you set up your canvas first, and set your palette, let it be in front
of a few simple objects grouped interestingly; or, better, set up a
single jar or a book, with a simply arranged background for color
contrast. All the problems of manipulation are there for you to study.
No processes of handling, no manner of color effect, which you cannot
use in this study.

Learn here what you will need in other lines of work.

=Beginning.=--The best way to make a study from still life is to begin
with a careful charcoal drawing on the canvas. You may shade it more
or less as you please, but be most careful about proportions and
forms. The shading means the modelling and the values in black and
white; and you can do this either in charcoal as you draw, or it can
be put in with monochrome when you begin with paint. But you must have
the drawing sure and true first; for drawing is position, locality.
You must know _where_ a value is to go before you can justly place it.
The value is the _how much_. You must have the _where_ before the _how
much_ can mean anything in drawing. It would be well to lay in some of
the planes of light and shade, because you feel proportion more
naturally and truly so than with mere outline. The outline encloses
the form, but with nothing but outline you are less apt to feel the
reality of the form. The planes of values fill in the outline and give
substance to it. They map it out so that it takes thickness and
proportion; it is more real. And any fault of outline is more quickly
seen, because you cannot get your masses of shade of the right form
and proportion if the outline enclosing them is not right.

=The Frottée.=--Make, then, a careful light-and-shade drawing with
charcoal directly on the canvas, working in the background where it
tells against the group, but without carrying it out to the edges of
the canvas.

Be accurate with your modelling and values, and keep the planes simple
and well defined. Draw all characteristic details, but only the most
important, nearly as if it were not to be painted, but were to remain
a drawing.

Fix this drawing with fixative and an atomizer.

In beginning with paint go over the drawing with a thin _frottée_
which shall re-enforce the drawing with color. You may do this with
one color, making a monochrome painting very thin, leaving the canvas
bare for the lights. Many of the best painters lay in all pictures
this way. What color is to be used is a matter for consideration. It
should be one so sympathetic to the coloring of the whole picture that
if it is left without any other paint over it in places it will still
look all right. Raw umber is a good color, or raw umber modified with
burnt sienna and black. You can make a mixture that seems right. This
establishes your larger values, and gives you something better than a
bare canvas, and something with which you can have a more just idea of
the effect of each touch of color you put on.

If there is much variety of color in the various objects of your
composition, it is better to make your _frottée_ suggest the different
colors. Instead of making a monochrome _frottée_, rub in each object
with a thin mixture, approximating the color and value, but not solid,
nor as strong as it will become when painted, of course. Nevertheless,
you can get in this first rubbing in, a strong effect, which at a
distance has a very solid look, though the relations are not so
carefully studied. When you come to put on solid color with this sort
of an under-painting, it is easy to judge pretty closely of color as
well as light-and-shade relations, and you can work more frankly into

Into this painting, when it is dry, you may begin to paint with body
color, beginning with the true color and value of the lights, and
working down through the half darks into the darks. Paint the
background pretty carefully as to color and value, but loosely as to
handling. Paint slowly, deliberately, and thoughtfully. There is no
need to pile up masses of wrong color. You should try to be sure of
the color before you lay it on. Study the color in the group, mix on
the palette, and compare them. Think at least two minutes for every
one minute of actually laying on paint. You save time in the end by
being deliberate and by working thoughtfully. Put on color firmly and
with a full brush, but there is no need to load color for the sake of
the body of it.

=Loaded Lights.=--It was a principle with the older painters to paint
the shadows thinly and with transparent color, and to load the lights.
It gave a richness to the shadows and a solidity to the lights which
was much valued. But don't think about this; don't let it influence
the frankness of your painting. The theory is in itself largely
obsolete now, and in fact has been disregarded by almost every able
painter who ever lived, in practice, no matter what he said about it.
I only speak of it because almost all books on painting have laid it
down as a rule, and you had better know its true relation to painting.
Like all other traditional methods of painting it has been used by the
greatest of painters, and has also been disregarded by the greatest of
painters; and as far as you are concerned, you may use it or not as
suits your purpose. The main thing is to get the right color and value
in the right place, in the most direct and natural, in the least
affected, manner possible.

You may work into your _frottée_, then, more or less solidly as you
feel will give you the best representation of the color you see.

=Solid Painting.=--Don't paint always in the same way. It is a mistake
to get too accustomed to one manner of procedure. Different things
require different handling. Let the thing suggest how you shall paint
it. If you want to paint directly, paint solidly from first to last
instead of rubbing in thinly first. But always have an accurate
drawing underneath.

In working solidly without previous laying in, begin where each
brush-stroke will have the greatest effect toward establishing the
appearance of reality. If the canvas is light, begin by putting in the
main darks, and if the canvas is dark, do the reverse. You get the
most immediate effect of reality by the _relief_; the relief you get
most directly by putting in first those values which contrast with
what is already there. Establish your most telling values first, then
work from them towards less immediately effective things.

=Color and Values.=--Study the color at the same time you do the
value. Put on no touch of paint as a value or a color alone. If you
do, you will have to paint that spot twice,--once for the value, and
again for the color. You might as well paint for the two qualities in
one stroke. It takes more thought, but it gives you more command of
your work. It doesn't load your canvas with useless paint, and it
saves time in the long run.

=Relations and Directness.=--Study to give the true relations of
things. Try to get the just color quality. Give it at once. Don't get
it half way and trust to luck and a subsequent painting to correct it.
You will never learn to paint that way. Paint intensely while you
paint. Use all the energy you have. Paint with your whole strength for
a half or a whole hour, and then rest. You will accomplish more so
than by painting all day in a languid, half-hearted way.

=Directness.=--Directness comes from making up your mind just what
tint of color and value is needed, and just where it is to go, first,
then putting it there with no coaxing. Get the right color on your
brush and plenty of it; then put the brush deliberately and firmly
down in the right place, and take it directly away, and look at the
result without touching it again till you have made up your mind that
it needs something else, and what it is that it needs. Then do that
and stop.

Directness and justness of relation are the most important things in
painting. They tell for most, result in most, both to the picture and
to the student. Whatever you do, work for that. Try to have no
vagueness in your mind as to what you will do or why you do it, and
the effect of it will show on your canvas.

                             CHAPTER XXIX


Flower painting is the refinement of still life. You have the same
control of combination, but you have not the same control of time.
Flowers will change, and change more rapidly than any other models you
can have; and at the same time they are so subtle that the most
exquisite truth and justness are necessary to paint them well.

People seem to think that any one can paint flowers. On the contrary,
almost no one can paint them well. There are not a dozen painters in
the world who can really paint flowers as they ought to be painted.
Why? Because while they are so exquisite in drawing and color, and so
infinitely delicate in value, they are also even more infinitely
subtle in substance and sentiment.

When you have got the drawing and the color and the value, you have
not got the _quality_.

What is the petal of a flower? It is not paper, and it is not wax,
neither is it flesh and blood, of the most exquisite kind. All these
are gross as substance compared to the tender firmness of the flower
petal; and the whole bunch of flowers is made up of petals.

Yet you cannot paint the _petals_ either, else you lose the _flower_.
You must paint the _quality_ of the petal, and the _character_ of the

All these things make the mere perception of facts most difficult, and
it must be done with full knowledge that in an hour it will be
something else, and you can never get it back to its original form
again. Yet you cannot paint a bunch of flowers in an hour. What will
you do?

=Mass and Value.=--There is something besides the flower and the
petal; there is the _mass_. The mass is _one thing_, and it is
surrounded with air, and air goes through the interstices of it. You
must make this visible. The difference in value in flowers is
something "infinitely little," as a great flower painter said to me
once. Yet the difference is there. The bunch has its nearer and its
farther sides, and the way the light falls on it is the most obvious
expression of it.

When you begin a group of flowers, get the _whole_ first. Make up your
mind that you cannot complete your work from the flower you have in
front of you, and that you must constantly change your models. Do not
paint the little things, the personal things first then. Paint what is
common to all the flowers in the group first. Paint the mass and the
rotundity of it, and express most vaguely the _forms_ of the accents,
and of the darks which fall between the flowers, but get their
values. For you will have to change these, and you should have nothing
there which will influence you to shirk. In this way only can you get
the larger things without hampering your future work by what may be

[Illustration: =Sweet Peas.=]

Get the large values, and as little as possible of the expression of
the individual flowers; then as the flowers fade and change,
substitute one or two fresh ones at a time, in this or that part of
the partially wilted group, using the same kind of flower as that
which was in that place before; then work more closely from these new
flowers, letting the whole bunch preserve for you the mass and general
relation. As you work, the bunch will be gradually changing and
constantly renewed from part to part, and you can work slowly from
general to particular. Finally, from new flowers, put in those more
individual touches which give the personal flowers.

This is the only way you can work a long time, and it is not easy. But
it should not discourage you. Nothing takes the place of the flower
picture, and the only way to learn to paint flowers is to paint

=General Principles Hold Always.=--Still, the principles of all
painting hold here as elsewhere, and what is said of painting in
general will have its application to flowers.

Paint flowers because you love them; and if you love them, love them
enough to study patiently to express the qualities most worth
painting, even if there be difficulties.

=Details Again.=--Don't make too much of unimportant things. The whole
is more than the part; the flower than the petal. Of course you can't
paint a flower without painting the petals, but you need not paint the
petals so that you can't see anything else. If the character of the
flower as a whole is to be seen at a glance without the emphasis of
any special petal, suggest the petals only. If the petal is important
to the expression of character, then paint it; and if you do, paint it
well. Use your judgment; make the less expressive of the greater, or
do not paint it at all.

=Colors.=--Colors and tints in flowers are always more rather than
less subtle than you think them. If you have a doubt, make it more
delicate--give delicacy the benefit of the doubt. Still, flowers are
never weak in color. Subtle as they are, it is the very subtlety of
strength. Black will be the most useless color of your palette. Make
your grays by mixing your richer colors. A gray in a flower is shadow
on rich color, and it must not be painted by negation of color, but by
refinement of color.

=Sketches.=--Make sketches of flowers constantly. Try to carry the
painting of a single flower or of a group as far as you can in an
hour. Practise getting as much of the effect of detail as possible
with as little actual painting of it, and then apply this to your

Get to know your work in studies and sketches, and you will work
better in more difficult combinations.

When you have, as you generally will have, still-life accessories to
your flowers, rub in quickly the color and values of the vase or what
not first, but leave the painting of it till the flowers are done. It
will be a more patient sitter than they.

Apply the ways of painting spoken of with reference to still life to
the sketching of flowers. Either rub in quickly a _frottée_ and then
paint solidly into that, or work frankly and solidly but deliberately
to render the characteristic qualities. When you sketch flowers don't
take too many at a time; calculate to work not more than an hour and a
half or two hours, and have no more flowers in your sketch than you
can complete in that time.

When you sketch, quite as much as when you work at more ambitious
canvases, get the mass first, especially if the group is large. Then
put in the accents which do most to give the character or type of the
flower. Make studies of single flowers and sketches of groups. In the
study search detail and modelling; in the sketch search relations and
relief, effect and large accent.

                             CHAPTER XXX


Don't look upon portraits as something any one can do. A portrait is
more than a likeness, and the painting of it gives scope for all of
the great qualities possible in art. Only a great painter can paint a
great portrait. Some great painters rest their fame on work in this
field, and others have added by this to the fame derived from other
kinds of work.

You must not think it easy to paint a portrait, or rest satisfied with
having got a likeness. Likeness is a very commonplace thing, which
almost any one can get. If there were no other qualities to be tried
for, it would hardly be worth while to paint a portrait. Back of the
likeness, which a few superficial lines may give, is the character,
which needs not only skill and power to express but great perception
to see, and judgment to make use of to the best advantage.

=Character.=--The first requisite in a good portrait is
character,--more than likeness, more than color or grace, before
everything else, it needs this; nothing can take the place of it and
make a portrait in any real sense of the word. Everything else may be
added to this, and the picture be only so much the greater; but this
is the fundamental beauty of the portrait. Some of the greatest
painters made pictures which were very beautiful, yet the greatest
beauty lay in the perception and expression of character. Holbein's
wonderful work is the apotheosis of the direct, simple, sincere
expression of character in the most frank and unaffected rectitude of
drawing. There are masterpieces of Albrecht Dürer which rest on the
same qualities, as you can see in the Portrait of Himself by Dürer.
Likeness is incidental to character; get that, and the likeness will
be there in spite of you.

Hubert Herkomer said once that he did not try for likeness; if only he
got the right values in the right places, the likeness had to be
there. The same can hardly be said of character, for this depends on
the selection from the phases of expression which are constantly
passing on the face, those which speak most of the personality of the
man; and the emphasis of these to the sacrifice of others. The
painting of character is interpretation of individuality through the
painting of the features, and, like all interpretation, depends more
on insight and selection than on representation. Try for this always.
Search for it in the manner, in the pose and occupation, of your
sitter. Get likeness if you will, of course; but remember that there
is a petty likeness, which may be accident or not, which you can
always get by a little care in drawing; and that there is a larger
character which includes this, and does not depend on exaggeration of
feature or emphasis of accidental lines, but on the large
expressiveness of the individual. You may find it elsewhere than in
the face. The character affects the whole movement of the man. The set
of the head and the great lines of the face, the head and shoulders
alone would give it to you even if the features were left out. Study
to see this, and to express it first, and then put in as much detail
as you see fit, only taking care never to lose the main thing in
getting those details.

=Qualities.=--There are other great qualities also which you can get
in a portrait. All the qualities of color and tone, of course. But the
simplicity of a single figure does not preclude the qualities of line
and mass. The great things to be done with composition may as well be
done in portrait as elsewhere. If you would see what may be done with
a single figure, study the Portrait of his Mother, by Whistler. You
could not have a better example. It is one of the greatest portraits
of the world. Notice the character which is shown in every line and
plane in the figure. The very pose speaks of the individuality. Notice
the grace and repose of line, and the relations of mass to mass and
space--the proportion. See how quiet it is and simple, yet how just
and true. Of the color you cannot judge in a black and white, but you
can see the relations of tones, the values and the drawing. It is
these things which make a picture; not only a portrait, but a great
work of art as well.

[Illustration: =Dürer=, _by Himself_.
To be studied as an example of directness and naïveté of painting.]

[Illustration: =Portrait of his Mother.= _Whistler._]

=Drawing.=--Good work in portraiture depends on good drawing, just as
other work does. Don't think that because it is only a head you can
make it more easily than anything else. As in other kinds of work,
the drawing you should try for is the drawing of the proportions and
characteristic lines. Get the masses and the more important planes,
and don't try for details. You can get these afterwards, or leave them
out altogether, and they will not be missed if your work has been well

Don't undertake too much in your work. Make up your mind how much you
can do well, and don't be too ambitious; the best painters who ever
lived have been content to work on a head and shoulders, and have made
masterpieces of such paintings. You may be content also. See how
little Velasquez could make a picture of! and notice also the placing
of the head, and the simplicity of mass, and of light and shade.

=Painting.=--Of course you can help your color with glazing and
scumbling, but work for simplicity first. It is not necessary to use
all sorts of processes; you can get fine results and admirable
training from portrait studies, and the more directly you do it, the
better the training will be.

Study the Portrait of Himself, by Albrecht Dürer. You will find no
affectation here; the most simple and direct brush-work only. You will
not be able to do this sort of thing, but that is no reason why you
should not try for it. It will depend on the brush-stroke. It implies
a precision of eye as well as of hand. It means drawing quite as much
as painting,--drawing in the painting. You will not get this great
precision; nevertheless, try for it, and get as near it as you can.
Don't try for too much cleverness; be content with good sincere study,
and the most direct expression of planes that you can give.

[Illustration: =Portrait of Himself.= _Velasquez._]

Let your brush follow lines of structure. Don't lay on paint across a
cheek, for instance. Notice the direction of the muscle fibre. It is
the line of contraction of the muscle which gives the anatomical
structure to a face. If your brush follows those, you will find that
it takes the most natural course of direction.

Do the same with the planes of the body and of the clothing. Note the
lines of action, and the brush-stroke will naturally follow them.

See that the whole form, and particularly the head, "constructs." The
head is round, more or less; it is not flat. The planes of it cross
the plane of the canvas, recede from it, cross behind, and return.
This in all directions. You must make your painting express this. It
is not enough that there be features, the features must be part of a
whole which is surrounded, behind as well as in front, by the
atmosphere. The hair is not just hair, it is the outer covering of the
skull, and of necessity follows the curves of the skull; and there is
a back part to the skull which you cannot see, but which you can
feel--can know the presence of, because of the way it is connected
with the front part by the sides. All this you must make evident in
your painting, as well as the facts which are on the side of the skull
turned toward you. How make it evident? By values and directness of

=Background.=--Never treat the background as something different from
the head. The whole thing must go together. The slightest change in
the background is equivalent to that much change of the head itself.
For the change means necessarily a different contrast, either of color
or light and shade, and it will have its effect on the color or relief
of the head.

Paint the two together, then. Make the head and all that goes with it
or around it as equally parts of the picture, which all tend to affect
each other. Your background is not something which can be laid in
after the head is finished. True you can paint the background
immediately around the head first, and then, after painting the head,
extend the background to the edge of the canvas; but the color, tone,
and character of the background must be decided upon at the time the
head is painted, and carried on in the same feeling.

It is never good work to paint the head and then paint a background
behind it. Particularly is this true when there are windows or any
objects whatever in the background. It is most important that the
whole thing shall be seen in the same kind of light, and in the same
relation of light. This is hardly to be done when the head is one
painting and the background another.

[Illustration: =Portrait.= _D. Burleigh Parkhurst._]

This is not rigidly true, however, in cases when the whole thing is
planned beforehand, and studies made for each part, as in elaborate
portraits and compositions which include several figures or special
surroundings. But the principle holds good here also. The relation
must be kept of the head to the surroundings, and the effect of the
one upon the other always kept in mind.

=Complex Portraits.=--It is often possible to pose your model so as to
bring out some characteristic occupation. This is often done in
portraits of distinguished men. Such a treatment gives opportunity for
composition both of the figure and of the various objects which may
make up the background.

In such pictures you should study arrangement of line and mass, to
make the thing æsthetically interesting as well as interesting as a
portrait. Composition in mass,--the consideration of the head and
shoulders in relation to the space of the canvas,--is necessary in the
simplest head; but as soon as the canvas takes in a representation of
action on the part of the figure, line and movement must be
considered, as was done so beautifully in Whistler's portrait. In this
the study of composition is your problem. You may study it all the
time and in every picture you do, but it should be worked out before
you begin to paint.

Plan your canvas carefully always. Know just where everything is
coming. When you leave things to chance, you are pretty sure to have
trouble later.

=Portraits Good Training.=--I would not have you undertake to paint a
portrait rashly. You should know what you are to expect. If you are
not pretty sure of your drawing, and of the first principles of seeing
color in nature, and of representing it on canvas, you are likely to
get discouraged. Particularly if a friend poses for you, you may
expect disappointment on both sides. Drawing a head from the life is a
very different thing from drawing an inanimate object which will stay
in one position as long as you can pay the rent. So in the painting of
it, too, the color itself is alive. Flesh is something very elusive to
see the color of. And when you find that just as you begin to get
things well under way, or are in a particularly tight place, just at
that moment your model must rest, you must stop while the position is
changed and gotten back to again; then you will begin to realize that
"_la nature ne s'arrête pas_."

I would have you know all this, I say, before you begin on your first
portrait; but, nevertheless, if you can get a start at it you will
find it extremely good practice. The very difficulties bring more
definitely to you the real problems of painting. The fact that it is
really the representation of something which has life has an interest
quite of its own. The constant change of position on the part of the
model will make you more observant, and less regardful of details; or
if you do regard the details, and forget the other things, it will
show you how inadequate those details are to real expression, unless
there is something larger to place them on.

Don't undertake the painting of a head without considering well that
you are likely to have trouble, and that the trouble you will have is
most likely to be of a kind that you don't expect. But, having begun,
keep your head and your grit, and do the best you can. Remember that
you learn by mistakes, and failures are a part of every man's work,
and of every painter's experience, and not only of your own.

You will save your self-esteem from considerable bruising if you make
it a point never to let your sitter see your work till you are pretty
well over the worst of it. The knowledge that it is to be seen will
make you work less unconsciously, and you will find yourself trying
for likeness, and all that sort of thing, when that is not what you
should be thinking about; and if, after all, the thing is a failure,
it is a great consolation to know that no one but yourself has seen

=Beginning a Portrait.=--The ways of beginning portraits are
innumerable. There is no one right way. Some are right for one painter
or subject, and some for others; but there are some methods which are
more advisable for the beginner.

You can begin and carry through your painting entirely with body
color, or you can begin it with _frottées_, and paint solidly into
that. Take these two methods as types, and work in one or the other,
according to what are the special qualities you want your work to

If you have never painted a head, and have some knowledge of the use
of paint and of drawing, I would suggest that you make a few studies
of the head and shoulders, life size, in solid color, and on a not too
large canvas, say sixteen by twenty inches. This will leave you no
extra space, and you can devote your whole attention to the study of
the head, with only a few inches of background around it. You will
probably make the head too large. A head looks larger than it really
is, especially when you are putting it on canvas. If you measure them
you will find that few heads will be longer than nine inches from the
top of the hair to the bottom of the chin. Take this as the regular
size in drawing it on your canvas, and make the other proportions
according to that.

Make a drawing of the outlines in straight lines, which shall give
only the main proportions of the head, neck, and shoulders. Within
this, block out the features largely. Don't draw the eyes, but only
the shape of the orbit; nor the nostril, but only the mass of light
and shade of the nose.

=Construction.=--In these studies avoid trying to get anything more
than what will be suggested by this simple drawing. Use body color.
Don't think of anything but what you have to represent. Never mind how
the paint goes on, nor what colors you use, except that it is right in
value, and as near the color as you can get. Put it on with the full
brush, and try to get first the large masses and planes. Get it light
where it is light, and dark where it is dark, and have contrast enough
to give some relief. Don't try for any problems. Set your model in a
simple, strong light and go ahead.

No details, no eyes, only the great structural masses. Try to feel the
skull under these planes of light and dark. Have the edges of them
pronounced and firm.

Do a lot of these studies; learn structure first. You will never be
able to put an eye in its place in the orbit till you can make the
plane of dark which expresses the bony structure of the orbit. You
will feel the edge of the brow, of the cheekbone, and where the light
falls on the temple and on the side of the nose. Inside of this is
the dark of the cavity, broken for your purpose only by the light on
the upper lid. Lay these in. Do the same with the other planes, and
put your brush down firmly where you want the color, with no
consideration but the simplest and most direct expression of value and

Now, when you can lay in a head in this way, so that you can express
the likeness with nothing but these dozen or so of simple planes, you
have got some idea of what are the main things which give character to
a head. You will begin to understand how it should "construct." Into
this you can put all the detail you want, and if the detail is in
value with this beginning it will keep its proper relation to the

Always when painting a head solidly, work this way. Get the action and
character of the head as a whole. Block in the planes of the face and
the features; and then go ahead to give the details which express the
lesser characteristics. But always get the character, even the first
look of resemblance, with this blocking in. Details and features will
not give you the likeness, to say nothing of the character, if you
have not gotten the character first by the representation of those
proportions which mean the structure which underlies all the
accidental positions of the detail of feature.

=The Frottée.=--If you want to be more exact with your drawing before
you begin to paint, lay in your canvas with a light-and-shade drawing
in charcoal. Then make a _frottée_ in one color, and paint into and
over that, as was described in the Chapter on "Still Life."

By careful and studious use of these two methods of work you can learn
the main principles of painting portraits, and modify the handling as
you have need; for all the various methods of manipulation are
modifications of one or the other, or combinations of both of these
fundamentally different ways of working.

If you paint more than one sitting, get as good a drawing as you can
the first day. Put in your _frottée_ the next, or make your blocking
in; then after that do your painting into the _frottée_, or the
working out of such details as you decide to put in.

Titian painted solidly, probably with no details; then worked these in
and glazed, then touched rich colors into the glaze.

But you had better not bother with all these ways of painting. When
you can work well in the simplest way, you will find yourself making
all sorts of experiments without any suggestions from me. Work first
for facts of utmost importance, and technical methods are not such
facts. Perception and representation by any most convenient means are
the first things to be thought of, and nothing else is of importance
until a certain amount of advance is made along this line.

Learn to see and paint the wholeness of the thing at once, not the
details, but the _fact_ of it. Try to lay in things so that you have a
solid ground to work onto and into later.

Look for the vital things. Don't try for "finish." Finish is not
worked for nor painted into a picture; finish _occurs_ when you have
represented all you have to express. When you have got character and
values and true representation of color, you will find that the
"finish" is there without your having bothered about it.

The masses you are to look for and emphasize are the great spaces
where the light strikes and the shadows fall. Close your eyes. The
lines disappear. You only see large planes of values; express these at
once and simply.

Don't be afraid of rudeness, either of handling or of color, at first.
Don't try for finesse. All these delicacies will come later. But you
must get the important things first. Learn to be strong _first_, or
you never will be. Delicacy comes after strength, not before.

So, too, freedom comes after knowledge--is the result of knowledge. So
paint to learn. If it is rigid at first and hard, never mind. Get the
understanding and the representation as well as you can, and try for
other things later.

[Illustration: =Haystacks in Sunshine.= _Monet._
To show certain characteristics of handling in "Impressionist" work.]

                             CHAPTER XXXI


From the usual rating of figures as the most important branch of
painting, it would be natural to speak of that kind of work first. But
work from the head must come before you attempt the figure, and there
are a good many things that you can learn from landscape which will
help you in figure-work. The manner of painting figures has been much
modified, too, of late years, owing to certain qualities and points of
view which are due to the study of landscape and the important
position that it has come to occupy.

In the old days landscape was only a secondary thing, not only as a
branch of art in itself, but particularly as it was used by figure
painters. In this century it has so broadened in its scope that it is
now recognized to be as important a field of work as any. But further
than this, it has become the most influential study in the whole range
of painting. From the development of the study of outdoor nature, and
particularly outdoor light, it has come about that certain facts of
nature have been recognized which were before neglected, ignored, or
unsuspected, and these facts bear quite as much on the painting of the
figure as on the painting of landscape. So that it is no more possible
to paint the figure, in some respects, as it was painted as a matter
of course a hundred years ago, while other ways of painting the
figure, which were undreamed of at that time, are the matters of
course now.

The whole problem of light has taken a new phase, and the treatment of
color in that relation is modified in the painting of figures as well
as in the other branches of work.

=Pitch.=--In no direction is this more marked than in the matter of
_pitch_, or _key_. With the study of landscape, the range of gradation
from light to dark has broadened. A picture may now be painted in a
"high key;" the picture may be, from the highest to the lowest note in
it, far lighter than would have been thought possible even thirty
years ago.

This question of "bright pictures" is one which demands consideration.
One has only to go into any exhibition of pictures to-day to be struck
with the fact that the key of almost every picture in it, of whatever
kind, has changed from what it would have been in the last generation.
This is not merely the result of the spread of the "Impressionist"
idea. That influence has only been strongly felt in this country
within the last ten years. It is not that which I am speaking of now.
I mean the fact that even the grayer pictures--those which do not in
any ordinary sense of the word belong to Impressionist work--are light
in color, where they would once have been dark, or at least darker.
The impressionists have had a definite influence, it is true; but the
work of the earlier "_plein air_" men--the men who posed their models
out-of-doors as a matter of principle, who studied landscape
out-of-doors--was the first and most powerful influence, and that of
the impressionists, coming along after it, has simply emphasized and
carried it farther.

=Bright Pictures.=--Whatever may be thought of the work of those
painters who are called "impressionists," it must be recognized that
they have taught us how some things may be possible. And the present
quality of brightness will necessarily be to a certain extent a
permanent one in art. For like it or not as we may, it is true--true
to a certain great, fundamental characteristic of nature. For outdoor
light _is bright_, even on a gray day. The luminosity of color is too
great to be represented with dark paint or lifeless color. And once
this fact is recognized, it is a fact which will inevitably influence
all kinds of work. What is possible and right at a certain stage of
knowledge or recognition may be impossible when other points of view
have once been accepted. We see only what we look for, and we look
for only what we expect to see or are interested to see. You cannot go
out-of-doors now and paint as you would have painted a hundred years
ago. Then you would have painted what you saw then; but you would not
have seen nor looked for things which you cannot help seeing now. For
our eyes have been opened to new qualities and new facts, and once the
eyes have been opened to them they can never be closed to them again.

=Average Observation.=--I say we see only what we look for, what we
expect to find; anything out of the ordinary is hard to believe at
first. In looking at nature the average observer does not even see the
obvious. Certain general facts he accepts in the general, but as a
rule there is no real recognition of what is there; no perception of
the relations of things; no analysis; no real _seeing_, only a
conventional acceptance of a thing as a _thing_. Men look at nature
with one idea, and at a picture of nature with an entirely different
idea. Nature in the picture is to most people just what they have been
accustomed to see in other pictures. They get their idea of how nature
looks from those pictures, and if you show them a picture differently
conceived they have difficulty in taking it in.

For this reason the "bright picture" does not "look right." I remember
being asked by a man in a modern exhibition what I thought of "these
bright pictures." When I asked which pictures he had reference to, I
found that he meant the work of a man whose whole aim in painting
landscape was, as he once said to me, to get "the just note" in color
and value. One would think that the fact that the whole force of an
extremely able and sincere mind was directed to that purpose, would
produce a picture with at least truth of observation. Yet this was not
what my passing acquaintance wanted to see. The picture he liked,
which "had some nature in it," as he pointed out to me, was an
extremely commonplace landscape with a black tree against a garish
sky, reflected in a pool of water. The "bright picture" seemed to me
exquisitely gray and quiet, though high in key, and the one with
"nature in it," harsh and crude, but conventional; and that was just
the point. The average observer wants to see, and does see, in nature
what he is accustomed to accept in a picture as nature.

But a painter cannot go on such a basis. He may paint a dark picture,
but he must find a subject which is dark to do so. He may not paint
daylight with false pitch and false relations, and say he sees it so.
With every liberty for personal seeing, there are still certain facts
so established and obvious that personality must take them and deal
with them, must use them and not ignore them, in its self-expression.

[Illustration: =On the Race Track.= _Degas._
To show relations of pitch and contrast out-doors.]

The pitch of daylight is one of these facts. Light and luminosity may
not be qualities which appeal to your temperament. You may therefore
not make them the main theme of your painting of landscape; but you
cannot paint a daylight picture without in some way making it obvious
that luminosity is a fundamental characteristic of day light. There is
no other quality so universally present and pervasive. In sunlight it
is the most vital quality. You might as well paint water without
recognizing the fact that water is wet, as to paint daylight without
recognizing the fact that diffused sunlight is brilliant.

=A Help.=--You will find it very useful as a help in seeing pitch as
well as color to have a card with a square hole cut in it to look
through at your landscape. Have one side covered with black velvet and
the other left white. Compare darks with the black, and the lights
with the white, and make the picture compose in the opening as in a

=Key and Harmony.=--But you should remember that the high key for
out-of-door work does not mean crude nor unsympathetic color, neither
does it mean that there is nothing but sunshine and shadow. Your
picture may be as high as you please in pitch, and yet be harmonious
and pleasing. I have seen impressionist pictures of most pronounced
type hung in the same room with old pictures and in perfect harmony
with them. It means that good color is always good color, and will
always be harmonious with other good color, whatever the pitch of
either. One picture is simply a different note from the other, that is
all. The color in nature is not crude in not being dark. The relations
of spots of color are just; you have only to be as just in observing
them, and your picture will be harmonious.

Make your notes just _all over_ your canvas. Have some of them just
and the rest false, and of course it will be wrong. Or if you try to
make crudity take the place of brilliancy, you will not get harmony.
The harmony which comes from the presence in just relation of all the
colors is none the less beautiful because more alive. You need not try
for the most contrasting and most sparkling qualities of out-of-door
color, but you should feel for the out-of-doorness of it.

The space, the breadth, lack of confines, the largeness and movement,
vibration and life,--these are the things which the modern painter has
discovered in landscape and has emphasized; and this is what has made
modern landscape a vital force in modern art. Whatever you do or do
not see, feel, and express in your painting, these you must see, feel,
and express; for once these qualities are recognized and accepted they
are as universal as the law of gravity, and can be as little ignored.

=Landscape Drawing.=--Landscape is more difficult to draw than is
generally thought; not only is the character affected by the _scale_
of the main masses, but there is great probability of overdrawing. The
curves that mark the modelling of the ground are very difficult to
give justly. The altitude and slope of mountains are almost invariably
exaggerated. The twists and windings of roadways and fences are
seldom carefully drawn; yet the most exquisite movement of line is to
be gained by just representation of them. To give the character of a
tree, too, without making out too much of the detail of it, needs more
precise observation than it generally gets.

[Illustration: =Willow Road.= _D. Burleigh Parkhurst._]

Get the character; get the sentiment of it. Search for the important
things here first, and be more particular about the placing of each
line than about the number of lines.

Don't draw too many lines in a landscape; don't draw too many
objects. Carefully study the scene before you till you have decided
what parts are most essential in giving the character that you want to
express, and then draw most carefully those parts. See which are the
_most expressive lines_ in it. Get the swing and movement of those
lines in the large; then study the more subtle movement of them. Get
these things on the canvas first, and put everything else in as
subsidiary to them. Have all this well placed before you begin to
paint, and allow for little things being painted on to this.

Don't get too many things into one landscape. The spirit of the time
and place is what will make the beauty of it, not the details nor the
mere facts. This spirit you will find in a few things, not in many.
Having found which lines and forms, which masses and relations of
color and value, express this, the more carefully you avoid putting in
other things the more entirely you emphasize the quality which is the
real reason of existence of your picture.

In studying landscape, work for one thing at a time. What has been
said of sketching and studies applies here. Landscape is the most
bewildering of subjects in its multiplicity of facts and objects and
colors and contrasts. If you cannot find a way to simplify it you will
neither know where to begin nor where to leave off. I cannot tell you
just what to do or not to do, because no two landscapes are alike.
Recipes will do nothing in helping you to paint. But there is the
general principle which you may follow, and I try to keep it before
you even at the risk of over-repetition. In no kind of picture can you
drag in unimportant things simply because they exist in nature. In
landscape more than elsewhere, because you cannot arrange it, but must
select in the actual presence of everything, you must learn to
concentrate on the things which mean most, and to refuse to recognize
those which will not lend themselves to the central idea.

=Selection.=--When you select your subject, or "_motif_," as the
French call it, select it for something definite. There is always
something which makes you think this particular view will make a good
picture. State to yourself what it is that you see in it, not in
detail, but in the general. Is it the general color effect of the
whole, or a contrast? Is it a sense of largeness and space, or a
beautiful combination of line in the track of a road, or row of trees,
or a river? Perhaps it is the mass and majesty of a mountain or a
group of trees. Something definite or definable catches you--else you
had better not do it at all; and what that something is you must know
quite precisely, or you will not have a well-understood picture.

When you have distinctly in your mind what you want to paint it for,
then see that the composition is so placed on your canvas that that
characteristic is the main thing in evidence. With this done it is a
very easy thing to concentrate on that characteristic, and to leave
out whatever tends to break it up or distract from it. This is the
only way you can simplify your subject. First by a distinct conception
of _what_ you paint it for, then by so much analysis of the whole
field of vision as will show you what does and what does not help in
the expression of it.

=Detail.=--Much detail in landscape is never good painting. Whether
big or little, your canvas must express something larger and more
important than detail. Give detail when it is needed to express
character or to avoid slovenliness. Give as much detail _where the
emphasis lies_ as will insure the completeness of representation--not
a touch more.

=Structure.=--Have your foreground details well understood in drawing
and value. This does not require the drawing of leaf and twig, but it
does require _structure_. Everything requires structure. _Structure is
fundamental to character._ If you will not take the trouble to study
the character of any least thing you put in, don't put it in at all.
Nothing is important enough to put in, if it is not important enough
to have its character and its purpose in the picture understood.

I spoke of structure in speaking of the head. If I said nothing but
"structure, structure, structure" to the end of the section, you would
get the impression of what is the most important thing in drawing. If
you will look for and find the line and proportion expressing the
anatomy which makes the thing fulfil its particular function in the
world, you will understand its character, and that is what is
important, everywhere.

=Work in Season.=--Make your picture in the season which it
represents. I don't say that a good summer picture may not be made in
winter; but I do say that you are more likely to express the summer
quality while the summer is around you. There is too much half
painting of pictures, and then leaving them to be "finished up"

Of course you can make all your studies and sketches, and then begin
and finish the picture from them. If you are careful to have plenty of
material, to accumulate all your facts with the intention of working
from those facts, all right; but it would be better if you were to
work your picture in the season of it, as long as you are a student at
least. For until you have had a great deal of experience, you will
find when you come to paint your picture that some very much needed
material you have neglected to collect, and you cannot safely supply
it from memory. If this occurs in the time of year represented in the
picture, you can just go out and study it.

=Out-of-door Landscapes.=--The most important movement in modern art,
the most important in its effects on all kinds of work, is what I have
mentioned as the _plein air_ movement. It was thought by some
clear-headed men that the best way to paint an out-door picture was to
take their canvases out-of-doors to paint it. Instead of working from
a few color sketches and many pencil studies, they painted the whole
picture from first to last in the open air. Working in this way,
certain qualities got into the pictures unavoidably. Necessarily the
color was fresher and truer. Necessarily there was more breadth and
frankness, and less conventionality and mere picture-making. The
spirit of the open got onto the canvas, and the whole type of picture
was changed. For the first time out-of-door values were studied as
things in themselves interesting and important. The result on
landscape pictures was that pictures painted in the studio seemed
unreal and insincere, and that men looked and studied less for the
making of pictures, and more for what nature had to reveal.

It would be a good thing for you as a student if you would do as these
men did whenever you want to do any work at landscape, whether for
itself, or for background. If you wish to pose any kind of figure with
landscape background, pose and paint your figure out-of-doors. Make
sketches as much as you please, make studies as much as you please;
but make them for the suggestions and knowledge they will give you,
and not for material to be used in painting a picture at home. For
your picture, start, and go on with, and finish it out-doors; you will
get a feeling of freshness and truth in your work which you cannot get
any other way. You will also acquire a power of concentration and of
selection and rejection in the presence of nature which is of the
utmost importance to you.

=Impressionism.=--It is not possible to speak of landscape and _plein
air_ without mention of the "Impressionists." You should understand
what "impressionism" really is, and what it is not, and what the
impressionist stands for. Whether we like it or not, this work is not
to be ignored. It has tried for certain things, and has shown that
they can be much more justly represented than had before been believed
to be possible, and fad or no fad, that result stands.

In the first place, impressionism does not mean "purple and yellow."
Any one who says "purple and yellow" and throws the whole thing aside,
is a very superficial critic. The purple and yellow are incidental to
the impressionist, not essential. It is only one of the ways of
handling color by means of which it was found possible to express
certain qualities of light.

Before everything else the real impressionist stands for the
representation of the personal conception and method as against the
traditional. He believes that if a man has anything of his own to say,
he must say it in his own way; and that if he cannot find that nature
has anything to say to him personally, if nature cannot give him a
personal message, if he can only paint by giving another man's ideas
and another man's method, then he had better not paint at all; so that
whatever he may see to paint, and however he finds a way to express
it, the value of it and the truth of it lie in the fact that it is
_his_, his way of seeing, and his way of expressing,--that it is

=Luminosity.=--The impressionist is imbued with the fact that all the
light by means of which things are at all visible is luminous--that it
vibrates. He does not think that living light can be represented by
dead color. He strives to make his color live also. This is the secret
of the purple and yellow. By the contrast of these two colors, by the
combination and contrast and juxtaposition of the complementary colors
and the use of pure pigments, he can make his colors more vibrant, and
so give more of the pitch of real sunlight. He actually applies on his
canvas the laws which are known to hold with light and color
scientifically. He applies practically in his work those laws which
the scientist furnishes him with theoretically. The result in some
hands is garish, crude. But the best men have shown that it is
possible to use the means so as make a subtle harmony and a luminous
brilliancy that have never before been attained. The crudity is the
result of the man, not of the method.

=The Application.=--The application of all this to your own work is
that when you want pitch and sunlight you can get it through the
observance of the laws of color contrast, and such a laying on of
pigment as will bring this about. Try to study the actual contrasts of
color, not as they seem, but as they are in nature. Study the facts
which have been observed as to colors in their effects on each other,
and then try to see these in nature and to paint the results.

=The Luminists.=--This is the principle of all "loose painting"
carried out scientifically. It is the cause of the peculiar technique
of those impressionists who paint in streaks and spots of pigment. The
manner of putting on paint does interfere with the continuity of
outline in the drawing necessarily, but there is a marked gain in the
quality of light; and as these men are "luminists," and light is what
they want primarily, the sacrifice is justifiable, or at any rate

Now if you understand the scientific principle, and the practical
application and its result on canvas, you have in your hands one of
the main instrumentalities in the rendering of one great quality of
out-of-doors. How far you adopt it is a matter for you to decide for
yourself. If the complete adoption of it implies too much of a
sacrifice of other things of equal or greater value to you, then
modify it, or take advantage of it as much as will give you the
balance of qualities you most want. There is one way to get light and
brilliancy and life into your color: adapt it to your purpose if you
need it.

This is the application of color juxtaposition to mixing. The placing
of complementaries so as to increase contrast is another way of adding
to the brilliancy of light. You will find this most useful when you
want to give the greatest possible emphasis to the effect of sunlight
and shadow. If you keep your shadows cool, your lights will be the
richer and more sparkling because of that contrast. If you want more
strength in a note of color, get its complement as near it as you can.
Look for their iridescence of edges of shadow, and of the contours of
objects. You will get greater relief of light and shade by contrast of
warm and cool than contrast of light and dark.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not advising you to be an impressionist.
I wish only that you shall see what there is in this way of looking at
nature and of representation of certain effects of nature, which will
be of use to you in the painting of landscape. I would have you know
what means are at your command, what is possible to accomplish in
certain directions, and how it is possible to accomplish it; then I
would have you make use of whatever will most directly and completely
serve your purpose.

Do not use any color or colors, any method or point of view, because
of any advocacy whatsoever. Know first what you want to paint and why.
Let nature speak to you. Go out and look at landscape. Study and
observe; see the effect which makes you want to paint it, and then use
the means and method which seem most entirely adapted to it. Don't ask
yourself, nor let any one else ask you, Is this So-and-So's method?
or, Does this belong to this or that school? Don't bother about
schools or methods at all. Look frankly to see, accept frankly, and
then work to render and convey as frankly as you have seen. Be
sincere--sincere with yourself and with your painting: then you will
surely work at whatever you do from conviction, and not from fad; and
whether it makes you paint as an impressionist or not is a very minor
matter, because sincerity of purpose is the most important thing in
painting, and method of representation one of the least.

=Atmosphere.=--A universal characteristic of nature will be a
fundamental one in landscape. A landscape which you cannot breathe in
is not a perfect one. We live and breathe in atmosphere, and the
expression of atmosphere will go far to make your landscape true. But
atmosphere is not haziness. Neither is it vagueness nor negativeness
of color. Truth of color-quality, and justness of relation will do
most in getting it. You had better not try for atmosphere as a thing,
but as a result. Anything so universal and so indefinite can be
expressed by no one thing. If you try to get it by any one means you
will miss it. Study, then, the subtlety of color relation and justness
of value. Try to be sensitive to the slightest variety of tone, and be
satisfied with no least falsity of rendering, and you will find that
your picture will not lack atmosphere.

=Color of Contour.=--An important thing for you to look for and to
study is the color of contours. You will not find it easy; not easy
even to know what it is that you are looking for. But consider it as a
combination of contiguous values and color vibrations, and things will
reveal themselves to you.

No form is composed of unvarying color. No combination of color
surrounding it lacks variety. All along the edge of forms and objects,
of whatever kind, the value and color relation constantly change. The
outline is not constant. Here and there it becomes lost from identity
of value and color with what surrounds it, and again defines itself.
The edge is not sharp. The color rays vibrate across each other. The
inevitable variety of tint and value, of definiteness and vagueness,
gives a never-ending play of contrasts and blendings. These are
qualities which go to the harmonizing of color, to the expression of
light, and particularly to the feeling of atmosphere. This constant
variety of contrasting edges is the constant movement and play of the
visual rays, and the study of it gives life and vibration to the
picture, and all the objects represented in it.

Outdoors, particularly when the play of diffused light and the
movement of all the objects is continually felt, either through their
own elasticity or because of the heat and light waves, this study is
most necessary, if you would get the feeling of freedom, space, and

=Skies.=--In the painting of the sky there are several points to be
kept in mind. The sky, even on the quietest day, is full of movement.
Cloud masses change continually. If there are no clouds there is
constant vibration in the blue; constant variety in the plane of
color,--a throb of color sensation which is not to be expressed by a
dead, flat tint.

Paint the sky loosely. Lay on the color as you will, with a broad,
flat brush, or with a loose, smudgy handling; put it on with
horizontal strokes, or with criss-cross touches, but never make it a
lifeless tone. Have variety in it; keep a pulsation between the warm
and cool color. You can work in the separate touches of half-mixed
color, warm and cool, all through the sky, so that the whole tone will
be flat and even, but not dense and dead. So far as the sky is
concerned, the atmosphere is essential, and is to be represented not
by dense color, but by free, loose, vibrating color.

=Clouds.=--If you have clouds to paint, do not draw them rigidly. Get
the effect of the mass and movement, and the lightness of them. As
they constantly change in form, any one form they may assume cannot be
characteristic. The type form is what you must get, and the suggestion
of the motion and lightness. You can suggest, too, the direction of
the wind by the way they mass and sway and flow. The direction of the
sun's rays, too, counts in the color of them. The outline of a cloud
mass is never hard, never rigid. The pitch and luminosity and subtlety
are what give you most of the effect of it.

Study the type of cloud, of course. It is a _cumulus_, _cirrus_,
_stratus_, or what not. This character is important; but the character
lies in the whole body of the cloud form, not in the accidental
outlines or the special position of it for the moment.

=Sky Composition.=--The massing of cloud forms is a very useful factor
in the composition of the landscape. The cloud bank or cloud line is
capable of giving accent or balance to the picture. As it is not
constant in position any more than in form, you can place it with
truth to nature pretty nearly always where it will do the most good as
an element in the composition. Make use of them, then, and study the
forms and the possible phases of them so as to make the best use of

=Diffused Light.=--Much of the characteristic quality of out-door
light is the result of the diffusion of light due to both the
refraction and the reflection of the sky. The light which bathes the
landscape comes in all directions from the sky. Necessarily, then, the
sky will be in most cases far higher in value than anything under it.
Even the blue of the sky, which looks darker than some bit of light in
the landscape, you will find, if you can manage to get them to tell
against each other, will be the more luminous of the two, and will
look lighter. There are times when the sun glares on a white building
or a piece of white sand, when the white tells light against the blue.
But these are exceptions, and if we could get a blue paint which would
give the intensity of color, and also the brilliancy of the light,
even these cases would be most truly represented with the sky as the
higher value. It is a case of whether to sacrifice value to color, or
the reverse, as we cannot have both.

Sometimes, however, in a storm, the dense dark of the storm sky is
really lower in value than some white object against it, especially if
there be a bit of sun breaking through on it.

But in general, nevertheless, you should consider the sky as always
lighter and more luminous than anything under it.

=Three Planes.=--It will help you in understanding the way the light
falls on landscape to consider everything as in one of three planes,
and these planes taking greater or less proportions of light according
to the position of the sun with reference to them.

The position of the sun changes from a point immediately over, to a
point practically at right angles to all objects in nature. Everything
that can exist under the sun will come in one of these planes, and at
some time in the day in each. The vertical, the horizontal, or some
sort of an oblique between these two. If the sun is overhead exactly,
the flat ground, the tops of trees and houses, will get the full
amount of sunlight. The vertical planes, sides of houses, depths of
foliage, etc., will get the least, some of them being lighted only by
diffused and reflected light. The planes lying between these two
extremes will get more or less, according as they are more or less at
right angles to the direct rays of the sun. And as the sun declines
from the zenith, the vertical planes get more and more and the
horizontal planes less and less of the light, till in the late
afternoon the banks of trees and sides of buildings and cloud-masses
are gilded with light, and the broad horizontal plains of land and
water are in shadow.

However obscured the sun may be, this principle holds more or less;
and it makes clear and helps you to observe and notice many facts in
landscape light and shade which it is necessary to know.

Millet said that all the beauty of color and value, and the whole art
of painting, rested on the comprehension and observance of these

He said that as the planes of any form turned towards or away from the
light and so got more or less of it, and as one form stood more or
less far back of another and the atmosphere came between, the color
and value changed; and in the observance of this, and its
representation as applied to any and every object or group of objects,
lay the whole of painting. All the possible beauties of the art rested
on it. He showed a painting of a single pear in which these things
were most subtly observed, and said that that painting was as complete
and perfect as any painting he could do simply because in the
observance of these relations was implied the observance of everything
which was vital to painting.

=Short Sittings.=--This characteristic, and the steady change of
position of the sun and its effects on all the objects which are
directly lighted by it, make it necessary, whenever you are painting
from nature out-of-doors, that you should not paint at one thing very
long at a time. The light changes pretty rapidly; at high noon it only
takes a few moments to exactly reverse the light. It is seldom that
you can do any just study for more than an hour or an hour and a half
at a sitting. Some men do work two or three hours, but they are not
studying justly all that time; for that which was light is dark three
hours later, and any true study of value and color is impossible under
these conditions. Of course on gray days this is less marked, but you
must suit your sittings to the time and facts.

It would be better if you had more canvases, and worked a short time
on each, and many days on all. You would have the truest work.

Monet works never more than a half-hour on one canvas; but when he
starts out he takes a half-dozen or more different canvases, and
paints on each till the light has changed. Theodore Robinson seldom
worked more than three-quarters of an hour, or at most an hour, on one
canvas; but, he worked for twenty or thirty days on each canvas, and
sometimes had a single canvas under way for successive seasons.

Any man who would truly study for the just value and note of color
must work more or less in this way when he works out-of-doors.

                            CHAPTER XXXII


All that has been said on landscape painting applies to marines. You
have the same open-air feeling and vibration of light and color. There
is no need to say the same things over again. It is only necessary to
take all these things for granted, and emphasize certain other things
which are peculiar to the sea.

=Sea and Sky.=--To begin with, the relation of the sky to what is
under it is markedly different in color from any other relations in
painting. The sea is always more or less of a perfect reflecting
surface, and always strongly influenced in color, value, and key by
the reflections of the sky on its surface. The sky color is always
modifying the water--when and how depends on the condition of the
weather, and the degree of quiet or movement of the water. Sometimes
the water is a perfect mirror; sometimes the mirror quality is almost
lost, but the influence is there.

This relation is the most important thing, because the sea and the sky
is always the main part of your picture; and no matter what else is
there, or how well painted it may be, if these things are not
recognized, if they are not justly observed, your picture is bad.

I cannot tell you all about these things. The variety of effects and
relations is infinite. You must study them, paint them in the presence
of nature, and use your eyes; only remember the general principles of
air and atmosphere and light and color that I have spoken of
elsewhere--all have most vital importance on marine painting. You must
study these, and think of them, and in the presence of sea or sky
observe their bearings, and apply them as well as you can.

=Movement.=--If "_la nature ne s'arrête pas_" ordinarily, the fact is
even more marked in marines; for the water is the very type of
ceaseless motion. Somehow, you must not only study in spite of the
continual motion, but you must manage to make that motion itself felt.
This you will find is in the larger modelling of the whole
surface--the "heave" of it as distinguished from the waves themselves.
The waves are a part of that motion of course; but give the
wave-drawing only, without their relation to the great swing of the
whole body of water, and you get rigidity rather than movement. The
wave movement is in and because of this larger motion. See that first,
and make it most evident, then let the waves themselves cut it up and
help to express it.

[Illustration: =Entrance to Zuyder Zee.= _Clarkson Stanfield._]

=Wave Drawing.=--How shall you "draw" so changeable a thing as a wave?
Every wave has a type of form, has a characteristic movement and
shape; and as it changes it comes into a new position and shape in
logical and practically identical sequence of movement. You can only
study this by constant watching. You look at the wave, and then turn
your eyes away to fix it on your canvas; as you look back, the wave is
not there. Well, you can only not try to make a portrait of each wave;
it isn't possible. Don't expect to. Study the movement and type forms;
think of it; fix it in your mind; decide on the mass and suggestive
relation of it to other masses, and put that down.

There is never a recurrence of the same thing either in exact form or
color, but fix your eyes on one place, and over and over again you
will see a succession of waves of similar kind. Or look at a wave and
follow it as it drives on; changes come and go, but the wave form in
the main keeps itself for some time.

Look over a large field of the water without too sharply focussing the
eyes, you will see the great lines and planes of modelled surface over
and over again taking the same or similar shapes, positions, and
relations. And as you look your eye will follow the movement in spite
of yourself. Your gaze will gradually come nearer and nearer; but
meanwhile, in following the wave, it will have felt that the wave was
the same in shape, but only varied in position.

In this way you will come to know the wave forms. Jot them down,
either in color or with charcoal; but do not look for outline too
much. Try to study the forms and relations, mainly by the broad touch,
with a characteristic direction and movement. No amount of explanation
will tell you anything. You must sit and look, think, analyze, and
suggest, then generalize as well as you can.

=Open Sea and Coast.=--The open sea is all movement. Even a ship, the
most rigid thing on it, moves with it. But you do not have to study
these things from the standpoint of invariable movement. You can start
from a stable base. Study coast things first. You have then the
relation of the movement of the water to the rock or land, and you can
simplify the thing somewhat. What has been said of motion holds good
still; but you can get something definite in a rock mass, and study
the changes near it, and then extend your study as you feel strong

The study of coast scenery is quite as full of changing beauty as the
open sea, and it has certain types that belong to it alone. Breakers
and surf, and the contrast of land and sea colors and forms, give
great variety of subject and problem. In the drawing of rocks the
study of character is quite as important, but not so evasive, as the
study of wave forms. You must try to give the feeling of weight to
them. The mass and immovability add to the charm and character of the
water about them.

=Subject.=--Don't undertake too much expanse on one canvas. Of course
there are times when expanse is itself the main theme; but aside from
that, too much expanse will make too little of other things which you
should study. Whether your canvas be big or little, to get expanse
everything in the way of detail and form must be relatively small,
otherwise there is no room on the canvas for the expanse. So if you
would paint some surf, or a rock and breakers, or a ship, place the
main thing in proper proportion to the canvas, and let the expanse
take care of itself, making the main thing large enough to study it
adequately. If it is too small on the canvas, you cannot do this.

=Ships.=--The painting of the sea necessarily involves more or less
the painting of vessels of different kinds. You may put the ship in so
insignificant a relation to the picture that a very vague
representation of it will do, but you must have a thorough knowledge
of all the details of structure and type if you give any prominence to
the ship in your picture.

=Detail.=--You do not need to put in every rope in a vessel. You do
not need to follow out every line in the standing rigging even, in
order to paint a ship properly. To do this would miss the spirit of
it, and make the thing rigid and lifeless. But ignorance will not take
the place of pedantry for all that. Every kind of vessel has its own
peculiar structure, its own peculiar proportions, and its own peculiar
arrangement of spar and rigging. Whether you are complete or not in
the detailing of the masts and rigging, you must know and represent
the true character of the craft you are painting. You must take the
trouble to know how, why, and when sails are set, and what are the
kinds, number, and proportion of them, and their arrangement on any
kind of vessel or boat you may paint. There is again only one way to
know this. If you are not especially a painter of marines, you may
find that the study of some particular vessel in its present condition
and relation to surrounding things will serve your turn; but if you go
in for the painting of marine pictures generally, you can only get to
know vessels by being on and about them at all seasons and places.
Your regular marine painter fills dozens and hundreds of sketch-books
with pencilled notes of details and positions and accidents and
incidents of all sorts and conditions of ships. Ships under full sail
and under reefed canvas; ships in a squall and ships in dead calm--he
can never have too many of these facts to refer to.

The true marine painter is nine parts a sailor. If he does not take,
or has not taken a voyage at sea, at least has passed and does pass a
large part of his time among vessels and sailors. He knows them both;
his details are facts that he understands. And what he puts in or
leaves out of a painting is done with the full knowledge of its
relative importance to his picture and to the significance of the

All this sounds like a good deal to undertake; but to the man who
loves the water and what sails upon it, it is only following his
liking, and any one who does not love all this should content himself
with only the most incidental sea painting; for sea pictures are not
to be painted from recipes any more than any other thing, and ships
particularly cannot be represented without an understanding of them.
And after all, you do not have to do all this study at once. If you
will only study well each thing that you do, and never paint one
vessel or boat without understanding that one; if you will study the
one you are doing now, and will do the same every time,--eventually
you will have piled up a vast deal of knowledge without having
realized how much you were doing.

=Color of Water.=--You must study the color of water in the large when
you paint it. Remember that its color depends on other things than
what it is itself. The character of the bottom, whether it be rocky
or sandy, and the depth of the water, will affect its color; and to
one accustomed to see these things, the picture betrays its truth or
falsity at a glance, especially as the character of the wave and the
great movement of the whole surface are influenced by the same things.

[Illustration: =Girl Spinning.= _Millet._
Example of "_contre jour_" and out-of-door contrast of light and

                            CHAPTER XXXIII


The broadest classification of figure pictures is to consider them as
of two kinds,--those painted in an out-door or diffused light, and
those painted in an in-door or concentrated light. The painting of
figures out-of-doors you will find more difficult if you have had no
experience in painting them in the studio. The problems of light and
shade and color are more complex in the diffused light, and the
knowledge of structure and modelling, as well as of special values
gained by studio study, will be most helpful to you when you paint
out-of-doors. I should say, then, don't attempt any serious painting
of the human figure in the open air till you have had some experience
with its special problems in the house.

=The Nude.=--No good figure-work has ever been done which was not
founded on a knowledge of the nude. Whether the figure is draped or
not, the nude is the basis of form. The best painters have always made
their studies of pose and action in the nude, and then drawn the
draperies over that. This insures the truth of action and structure,
which is almost sure to be lost when the drawing of the form is made
through drapery or clothing. The underlying structure is as essential
here as in portrait. It is the more imperative that the body be felt
within the clothes from the fact that it cannot be seen. There must be
no ambiguity; no doubt as to the anatomy underneath; for without this
there can be no sense of actuality.

I do not say paint the nude. On the contrary, if you want to go so far
as that in the study of the figure, you must not attempt to do it with
the aid of a book. Go to a good life class. But I wish to emphasize
the principle that when you undertake to paint anything involving the
figure, you must know something of the structure of what is more or
less hidden, and must make allowance for the disguising of form which
the draping of it will inevitably cause.

And when you draw your figure, you should lay in your main lines, at
any rate, from the nude figure if you can. If you cannot command a
professional model for this purpose, you can only be more careful
about your study of the underlying lines and forms as they are
suggested by the saliencies of the draperies.

If this is the case, be most accurate in those measurements which
place the proportions of the parts which show through the covering,
and try to trace out by the modelling where the lines would run. By
mapping out these proportions, and drawing the lines over the drapery
masses wherever you can make them out, you can judge to a certain
extent of the truth of action in your drawing.

The use of a lay figure will help you somewhat if you can get one
which is true in proportion. It will not help you much in the finer
modelling, but it will at least insure your structural lines being in
the right place, and that is as much as you can hope for without the
special study of the nude.

A lay figure is expensive, costing about three hundred dollars in this
country. You will hardly be apt to aspire to a full-sized one, as only
professional painters can afford to pay so much for accessories. But
small wooden ones are within the means of most people, and will be
found useful for the purpose I have mentioned, and one should be

When you have assured yourself, as far as you can by its use with and
without special draperies, of the right action of your drawing, you
must do your painting from the draped model.

=The Model.=--Never paint without nature before you. If you paint the
figure, never paint without the model. For the sake of the study of
it, it goes without saying that you can learn to paint the figure only
by studying from the figure. But beyond that, for the sake of your
picture, you can have no hope of doing good work without working from
the actual object represented. The greatest masters have never done
pictures "out of their heads." The compositions and æsthetic qualities
came from their heads it is true, but they never worked these things
out on canvas without the aid of nature. And the greater the master,
the more humble was he in his dependence on nature for the truth of
his facts.

Much more, then, the student needs to keep himself rigidly to the
guidance of nature; and this he can only do by the constant use of the

=One Figure or Many.=--Whether you have one or more figures, the
problem may be kept the same. The canvas must balance in mass and line
and in color. When you decide to make a picture with several figures,
study the composition first as if they were not _figures_, but groups
of masses and line. Get the whole to balance and compose, then decide
your color composition. Simplify rather than make complex. The more
you have of number, the more you should consider them as parts of a
whole. Keep the idea of grouping; combine the figures, rather than
divide them. Have every figure in some logical relation to its group,
and then the group in relation to the other parts. Don't string them
out or spot them about. Study the spaces between as well as the
spaces they occupy. And don't fill up these spaces with background
objects. That will not bind the group together, but will separate it.
Fill the spaces with air and with values--even more important!

All this arranged, paint each group and each figure as if it were one
thing instead of many. As you treat the head, the body, the dress, and
the chair as all parts of a whole in a single sitting figure, so treat
the various heads, bodies, dresses, etc., in a group as parts of a
whole, by studying always the relations of each to each. And then
study to keep the different groups as parts of whole canvas in the
same way.

=Simplicity of Subject.=--But do not be too ambitious in your
attempts. Keep your subjects simple. Don't be in a hurry to paint many
figures. Paint one figure well before you try several.

You will find plenty of scope for your knowledge and skill in single
figures. Practise with sketches and compositions, if you will, in
grouping several figures, and try to manage them so that the whole
shall be simple in mass and effect; but do not attempt, as a student,
without experience and skill in the painting of one figure, to paint
pictures containing several. By the time you can really paint a single
figure well, you can dispense with a manual of painting, and branch
out as ambitiously as you please. In the meantime, everything that
you have knowledge enough to express well, you can express with the
single figure.

With the model, the background, the pose and occupation, the clothing
and draperies, and whatever accessories may be natural to the thing as
elements, it is possible to work out all the problems of line and mass
and color. If a really fine thing cannot be made with one figure, more
figures will only make it worse.

Look again at Whistler's portrait of his mother. Consider it now, not
as a portrait, but as a single figure. What are the qualities of it
which would be helped if there were more in it? The very simplicity of
it makes the handling of it more masterly.

Look also at the one simple figure of Millet's "Sower;" all the great
qualities of painting that are likely to get themselves onto one
canvas you will find in this.

See what movement and dignity there are in it. How statuesque it is!
It is monumental. It has scale; it imposes its own standard of
measurement. There are air and envelopment and light and breadth. Are
these not qualities enough for one canvas?

=Nature the Suggester.=--Take your suggestions, your ideas, for
pictures from nature. Keep your eyes open. Observe all poses which may
hint of possible schemes of light and shade, of composition, or of
color. It is marvellous how constantly groupings and poses and effects
of all kinds occur in every-day life. Humanity is kaleidoscopic in its
succession of changes; one after another giving a phase new and
different, but equally suggestive of a picture if you will take the
hint. The picture which originates in a natural occurrence is always
true if it is sincerely and frankly painted. Truth is more various
than fiction. It is easier to see than to invent. And in the
arrangement of the material which nature freely and constantly
furnishes to him there is scope for all the invention of man.

=Action and Character.=--The picture comes from the action--resides in
it. The action comes from the act, and is natural to it, expressive of
it. Any gesture or position which is the natural and unaffected result
of an essential action will be true and vital, suggestive of nature,
and beautiful because it will inevitably have character--be
characteristic. The beauty of the picture is not something external to
the costumes, occupations, and life which surround you, but is to be
found, contained in it, and brought out, manifested, made visible, by
the mere logical working out of the need, the custom, or the occasion.

Emphasis is only the salience of the most natural movement.

Daily life swarms with pictures. You do not need to go to other places
and other times for subjects. If you are awake to what is going on
around you, if you see the essential line of the occupation, or the
mass and color which is incidental to every least activity, you will
have more suggested to you than you have time to do justice to. And it
is your business to see the beautiful in the commonplace. Everything
is commonplace till you see the charm in it. The artistic possibility
does not lie in the unusual in any subject, but in the fact that the
thing cannot get done without action and grouping and color and
contrast; and these are the artist's opportunities. Keep your eyes
open for them; learn to recognize them when you see them; look for
these rather than for the details of the accidental fact which brings
them out. See the movement of it, and the relation of it to what
surrounds it, and you will hardly avoid seeing the picture in it.

Here is a composition which is an almost literal rendering of the
movement and light and shade effect of a position quite accidentally

The whole effect of lighting and of line, the grouping and the pose,
resulted purely from the musician's desire to get a good light on his
music. There was no need to add to it. It was simply necessary to
recognize the charm of it, and to represent that charm through it as
frankly as it could be done.

[Illustration: =Sketch of a Flute Player.= _D. Burleigh Parkhurst._]

=Posing the Model.=--Let the character of the model suggest the pose.
If you have a scheme for a picture, choose a model whose personality
will lend itself naturally to the occupation or action natural to that
scheme. Then follow the suggestion which you find in the model. Some
rearrangement will always be necessary if you do not use as a model
the same person who originally gave you the idea for the picture.
Every human being has a different manner. You cannot hope for exactly
the same expression in one person that you found in another. But put
the model as nearly as you can in the same situation and pose, and
then when the model eases from the unnatural muscular balance into the
one natural to him, you will find the idea taken from your first
observation translated into the characteristics of your present model.

Never try to place a model in a pose which he can only hold by an
unnatural strain. You will not get a satisfactory result from it.
Study your model; see what poses he most naturally falls into, and
then take advantage of one of these, and arrange your picture with
reference to it.

Never attempt to represent a character in your picture by using a
model of a different class or type from it; you will not be successful
either in painting a lady from a model who is a peasant, nor in
painting a peasant from a model who is a lady. The life and occupation
and thought common to your model will get into your painting of her;
and if that is not in accordance to the idea in the picture, your
picture will be false. The dress, no less than the pose and
occupation, must be such as is natural to your model. The accessories
of your picture must befit the character you wish to paint; otherwise
your model becomes no more than a lay figure.

Take note of the characteristics which are peculiar to your model, and
use them; do not change them nor idealize them. Rather paint them as
they are, and make them a vital part of your study of the subject.
This is the best you can do with these characteristics. They may be
the most expressive thing in your picture. If they are of such a
nature that you cannot use them in this way, then do not use this
model at all; you cannot get rid of these things. In trying to obscure
or idealize them, you only lose character, or paint a character into
your model which is unnatural to him; the result will not be

=Quiet Sitters.=--An inexperienced painter should not use a model with
too much vivacity of body or of expression. The quiet, reposeful,
thoughtful model, who will change little in position or manner, will
simplify the problem. A model too wide awake or too sleepy will either
of them give you trouble.

Avoid very young children as models, and particularly babies. They are
never quiet, and the problems you will have even with the best of
models will be made enormously more difficult by their restlessness.

For your first work choose models with well-marked faces, and pose
them in a direct light which will give you the simplest and strongest
effect of light and shade.

See that your sitter is in as comfortable a position as you can get
him into, so that the pose can be held easily. Don't attempt difficult
and unusual attitudes. Such things require much skill and knowledge to
take advantage of, and to use successfully. Make your effect more in
the study of composition and color than in fanciful poses. Later, when
you have gained experience, you may do this sort of thing.

If you are painting a face, see that the eyes are in at a restful
angle with the head, and that they are not facing a too strong light,
nor are obliged to look at a blank space. Give them room to have a
restful focus, and perhaps something pleasant or interesting to look

=Length of Pose.=--No sitter can hold a pose in perfect
motionlessness. Do not expect it. You must learn to make allowance for
certain slight changes which are always occurring. You must give your
model plenty of rest, too, especially if he be not a professional
model. A half-hour pose to ten minutes' rest is as much as a regular
model expects to do as a rule. If you have a friend posing for you,
particularly if it be a woman, twenty minutes' pose and ten minutes'
rest, for a couple of hours, is all you should expect; and if the
pose is a standing one, this will probably be more than she can
hold--make the rests longer.

An inexperienced model--and sometimes even a trained one--is likely to
faint while posing, particularly if the room be close. Look out for
this; watch your sitter, and see that she is not looking tired. The
minute that you see the least sign of fatigue, if she shows
pallor--rest. Do not get so absorbed in your canvas that you do not
notice your model's condition. If you are observing and studying your
model as closely as you should, you can hardly fail to notice any
change that may occur, and you should at once give her relief.

=Distance.=--Don't work too near your model, nor too near your canvas.
As regards the first, be far enough away to see the whole of the
figure you are painting, or of that part which you are doing, entirely
at one focus of the eye, and yet near enough to see the detail
clearly. If you are too near, you see parts at a time, and do not see
it as a whole. If you are too far, you see too generally for good
study. You might make it a rule to be away from your subject a
distance of about three or four times the extreme measurement of it.
If it is a full length, say fifteen to twenty feet, if you can get so
large a room. If it is a head and shoulders, about six or eight feet.
Never get closer than six feet.

As to your canvas, work at arm's length. Don't bend over--again you
see parts, and you must treat your canvas as a whole. Never rest your
hand or arm on the canvas. Train your arm to be steady. Sit up
straight, hold your brush well out at the end of the handle, and your
arm extended; now and then, if you need closer work, lean forward, and
if necessary use a rest-stick; but as a rule your work will be
stronger and hang together better if you work as I have suggested. Of
course you will often get up, and walk away from your work. Set your
easel alongside the model, and go away to a distance, and compare
them. Too intense application to the canvas forgets that relations,
effect, and wholeness of impression are of the greatest importance,
and are only to be judged of when seen at some distance.

=Background.=--Under the general title of background you may place
everything which will come in as accessory to the figure, and against
or alongside of which it stands. The picture must "hang together";
must have envelopment; must be a whole, not an aggregation of parts.
Everything that goes to the making up of this whole must have a
natural and logical connection with it. From the first conception of
the picture you must consider the background as an essential part of
it, and as something which will have a vital effect upon the figure.
The color of the background must be thought of as a part of, because
affecting, the figure itself. The simplicity or variety in the
background, the number of objects in it, must be considered as to the
effect on the figure also. You cannot make the background a patchwork
of objects and colors without interfering with the effect of the main
thing in the picture.

If your figure is simple and quiet, keep the background the same. Make
it a principle to treat the background simply always. If the character
of the case demands some detail, and a variety of objects, then treat
them so that their effect is as simple as possible; and the figure
must be made stronger, in order that the variety in the background
shall not overpower it. Control it by the way the light or the color
masses, or simplify the painting of them. Keep the background in value
as regards prominence and relief of objects as well as in the matter
of color.

=Composition of Backgrounds.=--You can make the background help the
figure, not merely by the painting of objects which help to
explain,--that is of course,--but in the placing and arranging of them
you may emphasize the composition. Whether the background be a curtain
with its folds, or an interior with its furniture, you can and must
make every object, every fold of the drapery, every mass of wall or
object, distinctly help out in the composition as line and mass. Your
composition must balance; the line and movement of the figure must
have its true relation. The way you use whatever goes into the
picture, the objects which make up the background, the way they group,
and the spaces between them, must have a helpful reference to that
movement, and to the balance of the whole.

=Simplicity.=--Lean always towards simplicity in composition as
against complexity. In backgrounds particularly, avoid detail and
over-variety. Don't have the whole surface of the canvas spotted with
_things_. If it is necessary, put it in; if it is not necessary, leave
it out; and if there is the slightest doubt which it is, leave it out.

The most common and the most fatal mistake is to make the picture too
"interesting." The interest in a picture does not lie in the quantity
of things expressed, but in the character of them, and in the quality
of their representation. If you cannot treat a simple composition
well, if you cannot make a picture balance well, and make it
interesting with a quiet background, be sure a multitude of objects
will not help it. The more you put into it the worse it will be. Learn
to be master of the less before you try to be master of the more.

[Illustration: =Milton Dictating "Paradise Lost."= _Munkacsy._
To show use of background. Notice also the composition.]

=Lighting.=--I have spoken of lighting in general in other chapters.
You must apply the principles to your use of figures. Study the
different effects which you can get on the model by the different ways
of placing in reference to the window. Whatever lighting will be
difficult in one kind of painting will be no less so in another. Avoid
cross-lights, and do not be ambitious to try unusual and exceptional
effects. If one should occur to you as charming, of course do it, if
it is not too difficult, but don't go around hunting for the strange
and weird. There is beauty enough for all occasions in such effects as
are constantly coming under your observation. What was said about
simplicity of subject will apply here as well, for the light and color
effect is naturally a part of the subject. The most practical lights
are those which fall from one side, so as to give simple masses of
light and dark; they should come from above the level of the head, so
as to throw the shadow somewhat downwards.

="Contre Jour."=--One kind of posing with reference to lighting, gives
very beautiful effect, but calls for close study of values, and is
very difficult. It is called in French, _contre jour_; that is,
literally, "against the day," or, against the light. It is a placing
of the model so that the light comes from behind, and the figure is
dark against the light. From its difficulty it should not be taken as
a study by a beginner, for modelling and color are difficult enough at
best. When they are to be gotten in the low key that the light behind
necessitates, and with the close values which this implies, the
difficulty is enormously increased. But before you attempt the human
figure in the open air, you will find it very good study to work in
the house _contre jour_. The effect of a figure out-doors has many of
the qualities of _contre jour_. The diffusion of light and the many
reflections make the problem more complex; but the contrast, the close
values, and the subtle modelling which you must study in _contre jour_
will be good previous training before going out-doors with a model.

Look at Millet's "Shepherdess Spinning," at the head of this chapter,
as an example of _contre jour_.

=Figures Out-of-doors.=--In painting, an object is always a part of
its environment. So a figure must partake of the characteristics of
its surroundings. Out-of-doors it is part of the landscape,
characterized by the qualities which are peculiar to landscape. The
diffusion of light, the vibration and the movement of it, the
brilliancy and pitch, the cross-reflections and the envelopment,--all
these give to the figure a quality quite different from that which it
has in the house. There is no such definiteness either of drawing, or
of light and shade, or of color. The problem is a different one. You
must treat your figure no more as something which you can control the
effect of, but as something which, place it in what position, in what
surroundings, you will, it will still be affected by conditions over
which you have no control.

Textures and surface qualities, local or personal colors, lose their
significance to the figure out-of-doors. They become lost in other
things. The pose, the action, the mass, the note of color or
value,--these are what are of importance. The more you search for the
qualities which would be a matter of course in the house, the more you
will lose the essential quality,--the quality of the fact of

When in the house, you can have things as definite as you wish;
out-doors you will find a continual play of varying color and light.
The shadows do not fall where you expect them to. The values are less
marked. The stillness of the pose is interfered with by the constant
movement of nature. The color is influenced by the diffused color of
the atmosphere and the reflected color of the grass, the trees, and
the sky. The light does not fall _on_ the face so much as it falls
_around_ it. The modelling is less, the planes are not precise. The
expression is as much due to the influence of what is around it as to
the face itself.

All this means that you must study and paint the figure from a new
point of view. You do not make so much of what the model is as how the
model looks in these surroundings. You must not look for so much
decision, and you must study values closely. Look more for the
modelling of the mass than for the modelling of surface. Look more for
the vibration of light and air on the flesh and drapery colors than
for these colors in themselves. Look for color of contours in the
model. Study the subtleties of values of contours, and make your
figure relieve by the contrast of value in mass rather than by the
modelling within the outline. See how the figure "tells" as a whole
against what is behind it first, and keep all within that first

[Illustration: =Buckwheat Harvest.= _Millet._]

It is possible to look for and to find many of the qualities which
distinguish the figure in the studio light; sometimes you may want to
do so. The telling of a story, the literary side of the picture, if
you want that side, sometimes needs help that way. But in this you
lose larger characteristics, and the picture as a whole will not have
the spirit of open air in it.

What has been said of the painting of landscape applies to the
painting of figures in landscapes. Pose your figure out-of-doors if
you would represent it out-of-doors. Then paint it as if it were any
other out-door object. If the figure is more important to the
composition than anything else in the landscape, as it often will be,
then study that mainly, and treat the rest as background, but as
background which has an influence which must be constantly recognized.

Never finish a figure begun out-doors by painting afterwards from a
model posed in the house. Leave the figure as you bring it in. If it
is not finished, at least it will be in keeping with itself; and this
will surely be lost if you try to work it from a model in different

=Animals.=--Animals should be considered as "figures out-of-doors."
There is no essential difference in the handling one sort of a figure
or another. The anatomy is different, and the light falls on different
textures, but the principle is not changed. You must consider them as
forms influenced by diffused light and diffused color, and paint them
so. You will find that often, especially in full sunlight, the color
peculiar to the thing itself is not to be seen at all. The character
of the light which falls on it gives the note, and controls. In the
shade the effect is less marked, but the constant flicker makes the
same sort of variation, though not to the same extent.

There is no secret of painting animals either in the house or
out-of-doors which is not the same as the secret of painting the human
figure. If you would paint an animal, get one for a model and study
it. Work in some sort of a house-light first, in a barn or shed, or,
if it be a small animal, in your studio. Study as you would any other
thing, from a chair to a man. The principles of drawing do not change
with the character of anatomy. The animal may be less amiable a poser,
but you must make allowance for that.

When you have got a knowledge of the form, and the character of color
and surface, take the animal out-doors, get some one to help hold him,
and apply the same principles that would govern your study of a rock
or a tree in the open air.

As for fur, and all that sort of thing, treat it as you would any
other texture-problem in still life.

                            CHAPTER XXXIV

                        PROCEDURE IN A PICTURE

Some pictures, particularly those begun and finished in the open air,
may be frankly commenced immediately on the canvas from nature as she
is before the painter, and without any special processes or methods of
procedure carried on to completion. But many pictures are of a sort
which renders this manner of work unwise or impossible. There may be
too many figures involved. The composition, the drawing, or other
arrangement may be too complicated for it, and then the painter has to
have some methodical and systematic way of bringing his picture into
existence. He must take preliminary measures to ensure his work coming
out as he intends, and must proceed in an orderly and regular manner
in accordance with the planning of the work. It is in this sort of
thing that he finds sketches and studies essential to the painting of
the picture as distinguished from their more common use as training
for him, or accumulation of general facts.

=Preliminaries.=--There must be made numbers of sketches, first of the
slightest and merely suggestive, and then of a more complete, kind,
to develop the general idea of composition from the first and perhaps
crude conception of the picture. All the great painters have left
examples of work in these various stages. It is a part of the training
of every student in art schools to make these composition sketches,
and to develop them more or less fully in larger work. In the French
schools there are monthly _concours_, when men compete for prizes with
work, and their success is influenced by a previous _concour_ of these
composition sketches.

This preliminary sketch in its completed stage gives the number and
position and movement of the figures and accessories, with the
arrangement of light and shade and color. There is no attempt to give
anything more than the most general kind of drawing, such details as
the features, fingers, etc., being neglected. The light and shade on
the single figures also is not expressed, but the light and shade
effect of the whole picture is carefully shown, and the same with the
color-scheme. It is this first sketch that establishes the character
of the future picture in everything but the details. Sometimes this
work is done on a quite large canvas, but usually is not more than a
foot or two long, and of corresponding width.

=Studies.=--After this there must be studies made for the drawing of
the single figures, and for more exactness of line and action in the
bringing of all together into the whole. This work is usually done in
charcoal, from the life, and sometimes on a piece of drawing-paper
stretched over the same canvas that the picture will be painted on, or
otherwise arranged, but of the same size. Often, however, this work,
too, is done on a smaller scale than that of the picture, especially
when the picture is to be very large. This is based on the preliminary
sketch as composition, and is intended to carry that idea out more in
full, and perfect the drawing of the different figures, and to
harmonize the composition. The composition and relation of figures
both as to size and position on the final canvas depend on this study.

[Illustration: =Study of Fortune.= _Michael Angelo._]

=Corrections.=--In making these studies and in transferring them to
the canvas, corrections are of course often necessary. The correction
may or may not be satisfactory. To avoid too great confusion from the
number of corrections in the same place, they are not made always
directly on the study or canvas, but on a curtain of tissue paper
dropped over it. The figure may be completely drawn, and is to be
modified in whole or in part. The tissue paper receives the new
drawing, and the old drawing shows through it, and the effect of the
correction can be compared with that of the first idea. The study
itself need not then be changed until the alteration which is
satisfactory is found, as the process may be repeated as many times
as necessary on the tissue paper, and the alterations finally embodied
in the completed study.

=Figure Studies.=--The studies for the various single figures are now
made in the nude from the model, generally a quarter or half life
size--a careful, accurate light and shade drawing of every figure in
the picture, the model being posed in the position determined on in
the study just spoken of. Sometimes further single studies are made
with the same models draped, and generally special studies of drapery
are made as well; these studies are afterwards used to place the
figures in position on the canvas before the painting begins.

=Transferring.=--The composition study must now be transferred to the
canvas, to give the general arrangement and relative position, size,
and action of the figures, etc. If the drawing is the same size as the
canvas it is done by tracing, if not, then it is "squared up." In this
stage of the process mechanical exactness of proportion is the thing
required, as well as the saving of time; all things having been
planned beforehand, and freedom of execution coming in later. This
establishes the proportions, the sizes, and positions of the several
figures on the final canvas. The drawing is not at this stage
complete. The more general relations only are the purpose of this.

Onto this preparation the studies drawn from the nude model are
"squared up," and the drawing corrected again from the nude model.
This drawing is now covered with its drapery, which is drawn from the
life in charcoal, or a _frottée_ of some sort. At this stage the
canvas should represent, in monochrome, very justly, what the finished
picture will be in composition, drawing, and light and shade. If the
_frottée_ of various colors (as suggested in the chapter on "Still
Life") has been used, the general color scheme will show also. This
completes the preliminary process of the picture, and when the
painting is begun with a _frottée_, this stage includes also the
_first painting_.

="The Ébouch."=--An _ébouch_ is a painting which, mainly with body
color, blocks in broadly and simply the main masses of a composition.
Sometimes an _ébouch_ is used as one of the preliminary color studies
for a picture, especially if there is some problem of drapery massing
to be determined, or other motive purely of color and mass. Or if
there is some piece of landscape detail such as a building or what not
to come in, _ébouches_ for it will be made to be used in completing
the picture. But more commonly the _ébouch_ is the first blocking-in
painting of the picture, by means of which the greater masses of color
and value are laid onto the canvas, somewhat rudely, but strongly, so
as to give a strong, firm impression of the picture, and a solid
under-painting on which future work may be done. Whether this
_ébouch_ is rough or smooth, just how much of it will be body or solid
color and how much transparent, just what degree of finish this
painting will have,--these depend on the man who does it. No two men
work precisely the same way.

Some men make what is practically a large and very complete sketch.
Some paint quite smoothly or frankly, with more or less of an effect
of being finished as they go, working from one side of the picture
gradually across the whole canvas. Others work a bit here and a bit
there, and fill in between as they feel inclined. Another way is to
patch in little spots of rather pure color, so that the _ébouch_ looks
like a sort of mosaic of paint.

In the matter of color, too, there is great difference of method. Some
men lay in the picture with stronger color than they intend the
finished picture to have, and gray it and bring it together with
after-painting. Others go to the other extreme, and paint grayer and
lighter, depending on glazings and full touches of color later on to
richen and deepen the color. All the way between these two are
modifications of method. The main difference between these extremes is
that when stronger color is used in the first painting, the process is
to paint with solid color all through; while if glazings are to be
much used, the _ébouch_ must be lighter and quieter in color, to allow
for the results of after-painting. For you cannot glaze _up_. You
always glaze _down_. The glaze being a transparent color, used without
white, will naturally make the color under it more brilliant in color,
but darker in value, just as it would if you laid a piece of colored
glass over it. And this result must be calculated on beforehand.

[Illustration: =Ébouch of Portrait.= _Th. Robinson._
One sitting of one hour and a half.]

Which of all these methods is best to use depends altogether on which
best suits the man and his purpose in the picture or his temperament.
A rough _ébouch_ will not make a smooth picture. A mosaic gives a
pure, clear basis of color to gray down and work over, and may be
scraped for a good surface. It is a deliberate method, and will be
successful only with a thoughtful, deliberate painter. If a man is a
timid colorist, a strong, even crude, under-painting will help to
strengthen his color. A good colorist will get color any way. For a
student, the more directly he puts down what he sees, the less he
calculates on the effect of future after-painting, the better.

But whichever way a man works as to these various beginnings, the
chief thing is, that he understand beforehand what are the peculiar
advantages and qualities of each, and that he consider before he
begins what he expects to do, and how he purposes to do it.

=Further Painting.=--The first painting may be put in from nature with
the help of the several models in succession. More probably it will
be put in from the color sketch which furnishes the general scheme,
and from a number of studies and _ébouches_ which will give the
principal material for each part of the canvas. With the next painting
comes the more exact study from models and accessories themselves. The
under-painting is in, the color relations and the contrasts of masses,
but all is more or less crude and undeveloped. Every one thing in the
picture must be gradually brought to a further stage of completion.
The background is not as yet to be carried farther as a whole. If the
canvas is all covered, so that the background effect is there, it is
all that is needed as yet. The most important figures are to be
painted, beginning with the heads and hands, and at the same time
painting the parts next to them, the background and drapery close
around them, so that the immediate values shall all be true as far as
it has gone.

No small details are painted yet. The whole canvas is carried forward
by painting all over it, no one thing being entirely finished; for the
same degree of progress should be kept up for the whole picture. To
finish any one part long before the rest is done, would be to run the
risk of over-painting that part.

After the heads and other flesh parts, the draperies should be brought
up, and the background and all objects in it painted, to bring the
whole picture to the same degree of completion. This finishes the
second painting. It is all done from nature direct, and is painted
solidly as a rule. Even if the first painting has been a _frottée_
this one will have been solidly painted into that _frottée_, although
the transparent rubbing may have been left showing, whenever it was
true in effect; most probably in the shadows and broader dark masses
of the backgrounds. In this second painting no glazings or scumblings
come in. The canvas is brought forward as far as possible with direct
frank brush-work with body color before these other processes can be
used. Glazes and such manipulations require a solid under-painting,
and a comparative completion of the picture for safe work. These
processes are for the modifying of color mainly; you do not draw nor
represent the more important and fundamental facts of the picture with
them. All these things are painted first, in the most frank and direct
way, and then you can do anything you want to on a sure basis of
well-understood representation. There will be structure underneath
your future processes.

=The Third Painting.=--The third painting simply goes over the picture
in the same manner as the second, but marking out more carefully the
important details and enforcing the accuracy of features, or
strengthening the accents of dark and bringing up those of the lights.
The procedure will, of course, be different, according as the picture
was begun with an _ébouch_ of body color or a _frottée_ of transparent
color. The third painting will, in either case, carry the picture as a
whole further toward being finished.

=Rough and Smooth.=--If body color has been used pretty freely in the
two first paintings, the surface of paint will be pretty rough in
places by the time it is ready for the third painting. Whether that
roughness is a thing to be got rid of or not is something for the
painter to decide for himself. Among the greatest of painters there
have always been men who painted smoothly and men who painted roughly.
I have considered elsewhere the subject of detail, but the question of
detail bears on that of the roughness of the painting; for minute
detail is not possible with much roughness of surface; the fineness of
the stroke which secures the detail is lost in the corrugations of the
heavier brush-strokes. The effect of color, and especially luminosity,
has much to do with the way the paint is put on also, and all these
things are to be considered. As a rule, it might be well to look upon
either extreme as something not of importance in itself. The mere
quality of smoothness on the canvas is of no consequence or value, any
more than the mere quality of roughness is. If these things are
necessary to or consequent upon the getting of certain other qualities
which are justly to be considered worth striving for, then these
qualities will be seen on the canvas, and will be all right. The
painter will do well to look on them as something incidental merely to
the picture. If he will simply work quite frankly, intent on the
expression of what is true and vital to his picture, the question of
the surface quality of his canvas will not bother him beyond the
effect that it has upon his attaining of that expression.

=Scraping.=--The second painting will be well dry before the third
begins, especially if the paint be more rough and uneven than is for
any reason desirable. Almost every painter scrapes his pictures more
or less. There is pretty sure to be some part of it in which there is
roughness just where he doesn't want it. For the third painting, that
is to say, after the main things in the picture are practically
entirely finished, there remains to be done the strengthening and
richening and modifying of the colors, values, and accents, and the
bringing of the whole picture together by a general overworking.
Before this begins, the picture may need scraping more or less all
over. If it does need it, you may use a regular tool made for that
purpose; or the blade of a razor may be used, it being held firmly in
such a position that there is no danger of its cutting the canvas.

It is not necessary to scrape the paint smooth, but only to take off
such projections and unevenness of paint as would interfere with the
proper over-painting.

The third painting represents any and all processes that may be used
to complete the picture. There is no rule as to the number of
processes or "paintings." You may have a dozen paintings if you want
them, and after the first two they are all modifications and
subdivisions of the third painting; for they all add to furthering the
completion of the picture. They are all done more or less from nature,
as the second painting was. There should be very little done to any
picture without constant reference to nature.

If you glaze your picture, glaze one part at a time. Don't "tone" it
with a general wash of some color. That is not the way pictures are
"brought into tone," nor is that the purpose of the glaze. The glaze,
like any other application of paint, is put on just where it is needed
to modify the color of that place where the color goes. The use of a
scumble is the same; and both the glaze and the scumble will be
painted into and over with solid color, and that again modified as
much as is called for. The thing which is to be carefully avoided is
not the use of any special process, but the ceasing from the use of
some process or other before the thing is as it should be,--don't stop
before the picture represents the best, the completest expression of
the idea of the picture.

This completeness of expression may even go to the elimination of what
is ordinarily looked upon as "finish." Finish is not surface, but
expression; and completeness of expression may demand roughness and
avoidance of detail and surface at one time quite as positively as it
demands more detail and consequent smoothness at another.

And this final completeness comes from the last paintings which I
group together as the "third." Scumble and glaze and paint into them,
and glaze and scumble again. Use any process which will help your
picture to have those qualities which are always essential to any
picture being a good one. The qualities of line and mass, composition
that is, you get from the first, or you never can get it at all. Those
qualities of character, and truth of representation, and exactness of
meaning, you get in the first paintings, together with the more
general qualities of color and tone. Emphasis and force of accent,
such detail as you want, and the final and more delicate perceptions
of color and tone, you get in the third or last painting, which may be
divided into several paintings.

=Between Paintings.=--When a painting is dry and you begin to work on
it again, you will probably find parts of its surface covered with a
kind of bluish haze, which quite changes its color or obscures the
work altogether. It is "dried in." In drying, some of the oil of the
last painting is absorbed by what is beneath it, and the dead haze is
the result. You cannot paint on it without in some way bringing it
back to its original color. You cannot varnish it out at this stage,
for this will not have a good effect on your picture.

="Oiling Out."=--You can oil it all over, and then rub all the oil off
that you can. This will bring it out. But the oil will tend to darken
the picture; too much oil should be avoided. Turpentine with a little
oil in it will bring it out also, but it will not stay out so long,
but perhaps long enough for you to work on it. If you put a little
siccative de Harlem in it, or use any picture varnish thinned with
turpentine, it will serve well enough. There is a retouching varnish,
_vernis à retoucher_, which is made for this purpose, and is perfectly
safe and good.

The picture must be well dried before it is finally varnished.

                             CHAPTER XXXV

                      DIFFICULTIES OF BEGINNERS

All painters have difficulty with their pictures, but the trouble with
the beginner is that he has not experience enough to know how to meet
it. The solving of all difficulties is a matter of application of
fundamental principles to them; but it is necessary to know these
principles, and to have applied them to simple problems, before one
can know how to apply them to less simple ones.

I have tried to deal fully with these principles rather than to tell
how to do any one thing, and to point out the application whenever it
could be done.

There are, however, some things that almost always bother the
beginner, and it may be helpful to speak of them particularly.

=Selection of Subject.=--One of the chief objections to copying as a
method of beginning study is that while it teaches a good deal about
surface-work, it gives no practical training just when it is most
needed. The student who has only copied has no idea how to look for a
composition, how to place it on his canvas, or how to translate into
line and color the actual forms which he sees in nature. These things
are all done for him in the picture he is copying, yet these are the
very first things he should have practised in. The making of a picture
begins before the drawing and painting begins. You see something
out-doors, or you see a group of people or a single person in an
interesting position. It is one thing to see it; how are you
practically to grasp it so as to get it on canvas? That is quite a
different thing. How much shall you take in? How much leave out? What
proportion of the canvas shall the main object or figure take up? All
these are questions which need some experience to answer.

In dealing with figures experience comes somewhat naturally, because
you will of course not undertake more than a head and shoulders, with
a plain background, for your first work. The selecting of subject in
this is chiefly the choice of lighting and position of head, which
have been spoken of elsewhere; and the placing of them on the canvas
should be reduced to the making of the head as large as it will come
conveniently. The old rule was that the point of the nose should be
about the middle of the canvas, and in most cases on the ordinary
canvas this brings the head in the right place. As you paint more you
will put in more and more of the figure, and so progress comes very

But in landscape you are more than likely to be almost helpless at
first. There is so much all around you, and so little saliency, that
it is hard to say where to begin and where to leave off. Practice in
still life will help you somewhat, but still things in nature are
seldom arranged with that centralization which makes a subject easy to
see. Even the simplicity which is sometimes obvious is, when you come
to paint it, only the more difficult to handle because of its
simplicity. The simplicity which you should look for to make your
selection of a subject easy is not the lack of something to draw, but
the definiteness of some marked object or effect. What is good as a
"view" is apt to be the reverse of suitable for a picture. You want
something tangible, and you do not want too much or too little of it.
A long line of hill with a broad field beneath it, for instance, is
simple enough, but what is there for you to take hold of? In an
ordinary light it is only a few broad planes of value and color
without an accent object to emphasize or centre on. It can be painted,
of course, and can be made a beautiful picture, but it is a subject
for a master, not for a student. But suppose there were a tree or a
group of trees in the field; suppose a mass of cloud obscured the sky,
and a ray of sunlight fell on and around the tree through a rift in
the clouds. Or suppose the opposite of this. Suppose all was in broad
light, and the tree was strongly lighted on one side, on the other
shadowed, and that it threw a mass of shadow below and to one side of
it. Immediately there is something which you can take hold of and make
your picture around. The field and hill alone will make a study of
distance and middle distance and foreground, but it would not make an
effective sketch. The two effects I have supposed give the possibility
for a sketch at once, and what suggests a sketch suggests a picture.

This central object or effect which I have supposed also clears up the
matter of the placing of your subject on the canvas. With merely the
hill and plain you might cut it off anywhere, a mile or two one side
or the other would make little or no difference to your picture. But
the tree and the effect of light decide the thing for you. The tree
and the lighting are the central idea of the picture. Very well, then,
make them large enough on your canvas to be of that importance. Then
what is around them is only so much more as the canvas will hold, and
you will place the tree where, having the proper proportionate size,
it will also "compose well" and make the canvas balance, being neither
in the middle exactly nor too much to one side.

Here are two photographs taken in the same field and of the same view,
with the camera pointed in the same direction in both. One shows the
lack of saliency, although the tree is there. In the other the camera
was simply carried forward a hundred yards or so, until the tree
became large enough to be of importance in the composition. The
placing is simply a better position with reference to the tree in this

=Centralize.=--Now, as you go about looking for things to sketch,
look always for some central object or effect. If you find that
what seems very beautiful will not give you anything definite
and graspable,--some contrast of form, or light and shade, or
color,--don't attempt it. The thing is beautiful, and has doubtless a
picture in it, but not for you. You are learning how to look for and
to find a subject, and you must begin with what is readily sketched,
without too much subtlety either of form or color or value.

=Placing.=--Having found your subject with something definite in it,
you must place it on your canvas so that it "tells." It will not do to
put it in haphazard, letting any part of it come anywhere as it
happens. You will not be satisfied with the effect of this. The object
of a picture is to make visible something which you wish to call
attention to; to show something that seems to you worth looking at.
Then you must arrange it so that that particular something is sure to
be seen whether anything else is seen or not. This is the first thing
to be thought of in placing your subject. _Where_ is it to come on
the canvas? How much room is it to take up? If it is too large, there
is not enough surrounding it to make an interesting whole. If it is to
be emphasized, it must have something to be emphasized with reference
to. On the other hand, if it is too small, its very size makes it

[Illustration: =Landscape Photo. No. 1.=]

If it is a landscape, decide first the proportions of land and
sky,--where your horizon line will come. Then, having drawn that line,
make three or four lines which will give the mass of the main effect
or object--a barn, a tree, a slope of hill, or whatever it be, get
merely its simplest suggestion of outline. These two things will show
you, on considering their relation to each other and to the rest of
the canvas, about what its emphasis will be. If it isn't right, rub it
out and do it again, a little larger or smaller, a little more to one
side or the other, higher or lower, as you find needed. When you have
done this to your satisfaction, you have done the first important

[Illustration: =Landscape Photo. No. 2.=]

=Still Life, etc.=--If your subject be still life, flowers, or an
animal or other figure, go about it in the same way. Look at it well.
Try to get an idea of its general shape, and block that out with a few
lines. You will almost always find a horizontal line which by cutting
across the mass will help you to decide where the mass will best come.
First, the mass must be about the right size, and then it must balance
well on the canvas. Any of the things suggested as helping about
drawing and values will of course help you here. The reducing-glass
will help you to get the size and position of things. The card with a
square hole in it will do the same. Even a sort of little frame made
with the fingers and thumbs of your two hands will cut off the
surrounding objects, and help you see your group as a whole with other
things out of the way.

=Walk About.=--A change of position of a very few feet sometimes makes
a great difference in the looks of a subject. The first view of it is
not always the best. Walk around a little; look at it from one point
and from another. Take your time. Better begin a little later than
stop because you don't like it and feel discouraged. Time taken to
consider well beforehand is never lost. "Well begun is half done."

=Relief.=--In beginning a thing you want to have the first few
minutes' work to do the most possible towards giving you something to
judge by. You want from the very first to get something recognizable.
Then every subsequent touch, having reference to that, will be so much
the more sure and effective. Look, then, first for what will count

=What to look for.=--Whether you lay your work out first with
black-and-white or with paint, look to see where the greatest contrast
is. Where is there a strong light against dark and a strong dark
against light? Not the little accents, but that which marks the
contact of two great planes. Find this first, and represent it as soon
as you have got the main values, in this way the whole thing will tell
as an actuality. It will not yet carry much expression, but it will
look like a _fact_, and it will have established certain relations
from which you can work forward.

=Colors.=--It ought to go without saying that the colors as they come
from the tube are not right for any color you see in nature however
you think they look. But beginners are very apt to think that if they
cannot get the color they want, they can get it in another kind of
tube. This is a mistake. The tubes of color that are actually
necessary for almost every possible tint or combination in nature are
very few. But they must be used to advantage. Now and then one finds
his palette lacking, and must add to it; but after one has
experimented a while he settles down to some eight or ten colors
which will do almost everything, and two or three more that will do
what remains. When you work out-of-doors you may find that more
variety will help you and gain time for you; that several blues and
some secondaries it is well to have in tubes besides the regular
outfit. Still even then, when you have got beyond the first frantic
gropings, you will be surprised to see yourself constantly using
certain colors and neglecting others. These others, then, you do not
need, and you may leave them out of your box.

=Too Many Tubes.=--If you have too many colors, they are a trouble
rather than a help to you. You must carry them all in your mind, and
you do not so soon get to thinking of the color in nature and taking
up the paint from different parts of your palette instinctively--which
means that you are gaining command of it. Never put a new color on
your palette unless you feel the actual need of it, or have a special
reason for it. Better get well acquainted with the regular colors you
have, and have only as many as you can handle well.

=Mixing.=--Use some system in mixing your paint. Have your palette set
the same way always, so that your brush can find the color without
having to hunt for it. Have a reasonable way too of taking up your
color before you mix it. Don't always begin with the same one. Is the
tint light or dark? strong or delicate? What is the prevailing color
in it? Let these things affect the sequence of bringing the colors
together for mixing. Let these things have to do also with the
proportionate quantity of each. Suppose you have a heavy dark green to
mix, what will you take first? Make a dash at the white, put it in the
middle of the palette, and then tone it down to the green? How much
paint would you have to take before you got your color? Yet I've seen
this very thing done, and others equally senseless. What is the green?
Dark. Bluish or warm? Will reddish or yellowish blue do it best? How
much space do you want that brushful to cover? Take enough blue, add
to it a yellow of the sort that will make approximately the color.
Don't stir them up; drag one into the other a little--very little. The
color is crude? Another color or two will bring it into tone. Don't
mix it much. Don't smear it all over your palette. Make a smallish dab
of it, keeping it well piled up. If you get any one color too great in
quantity, then you will have to take more of the others again to keep
it in balance. Be careful to take as nearly the right proportions of
each at the first picking up, so as to mix but few times; for every
time you add and mix you flatten out the tone more, and lose its
vibration and life.

Now, if the color is too dark, what will you lighten it with? White?
Wait a minute. Think. Will white take away the richness of it? White
always grays and flattens the color. Don't put it into a warm, rich
color unless it belongs there. Then only as much as is needed.

Treat all your tints this way. Is it a high value on a forehead in
full light? White first, then a little modifying color, yellow first,
then red; perhaps no red: the kind of yellow may do it. When you have
a rich color to mix, get it as strong as you can first. Then gray it
as much as you need to, never the reverse. But when you want a
delicate color, make it delicate first, and then strengthen it

These seem but common-sense. Hardly necessary to take the trouble to
write it down? But common-sense is not always attributed to artists,
and the beginner does not seem able always to apply his common-sense
to his painting at first. To say it to him opens his eyes. Best be on
the safe side.

=Crude Color.=--The beginner is sure to get crude color, either from
lack of perception of color qualities, or inability to mix the tints
he knows he wants. In the latter case crude color either comes from
too few colors in the mixture, or from inharmonious colors brought
together, which is only another form of the same, for an added
complementary would make it right. For instance, Prussian blue and
chrome yellow mixed will make a powerful green which you could hardly
put anywhere--a strong, crude green. Well, what is the complementary?
Red? And what does a complementary do to a color? Neutralizes, grays.
Then add a very little red, enough to gray the green, not enough to
kill its quality.

Or if you don't want the color that makes, take a little reddish
yellow, ochre say, and possibly a little reddish blue, new blue or
ultramarine; add these, and see how it grays it and still keeps the
same kind of green. This is the principle in extreme. Still, the best
way would be not to try to make a green of Prussian blue and chrome
yellow. It is better to know the qualities of each tube color on your
palette. Know which two colors mix to make a crude color, and which
will be gray, more or less, without a third.

=Muddy Color.=--Dirty or muddy color comes from lack of this last. You
do not know how your colors are going to affect each other. You mix,
and the color looks right on the palette, but on the canvas it is not
right. You mix again and put it on the canvas; it mixes with the first
tint and you get--mud. Why? Both wrong. Scrape the whole thing off.
With a clean spot of canvas mix a fresh color. Put it on frankly and
freshly and let it alone--don't dabble it. The chances are it will be
at least fresh, clean color.

Over-mixing makes color muddy sometimes, especially when more than
three colors are used. When you don't get the right tint with three
colors, the chances are that you have got the wrong three. If that is
not so, and you must add a fourth, do so with some thoughtfulness, or
you will have to mix the tint again.

=Dirty Brushes and Palette.=--Using dirty brushes causes muddy color.
Don't be too economical about the number of brushes you use. Keep a
good big rag at your hand, and wipe the paint out of your brush often.
If the color is getting muddy, clean your palette and take a clean
brush. Your palette is sure to get covered with paint of all colors
when you have painted a little while. You can't mix colors with any
degree of certainty if the palette is smeared with all sorts of tints.
Use your palette-knife--that's what it's for. Scrape the palette clean
every once in a while as it gets crowded. Wipe it off. Take some fresh
brushes. Then, if your color is dirty, it is your fault, not the fault
of your tools.

=Out-door and In-door Colors.=--There is one source of discouragement
and difficulty that every one has to contend against; that is, the
difference in the apparent key of paint when, having been put on
out-of-doors, it is seen in the house. Out-of-doors the color looked
bright and light, and when you get it in-doors it looks dark and gray,
and perhaps muddy and dead. This is something you must expect, and
must learn how to control.

As everything that the out-door light falls upon looks the brighter
for it, so will your paint look brighter than it really is because of
the brilliancy of the light which you see it in. You must learn to
make allowance for that. You must learn by experience how much the
color will go down when you take it into the house.

Of course an umbrella is a most useful and necessary thing in working
out-of-doors, and if it is lined with black so much the better for
you; for there is sure to be a good deal of light coming through the
cloth, and while it shades your canvas, it does to some extent give a
false glow to your canvas, which a black lining counterbalances.

Mere experience will give you that knowledge more or less; but there
are ways in which you can help yourself.

When you first begin to work out-doors try to find a good solid shade
in which to place your easel, and then try to paint up to the full
key, even at the risk of a little crudeness of color. Use colors that
seem rather pure than otherwise. You may be sure that the color will
"come down" a little anyhow, so keep the pitch well up. Then, if the
shade has been pretty even, and your canvas has had a fair light, you
will get a fairly good color-key.

=Predetermined Pitch.=--Another way is to determine the pitch of the
painting in some way before you take the canvas out-of-doors. There
are various ways of doing this. The most practical is, perhaps, to
know the relative value, in the house and out-doors, of the priming of
your canvas. Have a definite knowledge of how near to the highest
light you will want that priming is. Then, when you put on the light
paint, if you keep it light with reference to the known pitch of the
priming, you will keep the whole painting light.

=Discouragement.=--We all get discouraged sometimes, but it is
something to know that the case is not hopeless because we are. That
what we are trying to do does not get done easily is no reason that it
may not get done eventually. Often the discouragement is not even a
sign that what we are doing is not going well. The discouragement may
be one way that fatigue shows itself, and we may feel discouraged
after a particularly successful day's work--in consequence of it very
probably. Make it a rule not to judge of a day's work at the end of
that day. Wait till next morning, when fresh and rested, and you will
have a much more just notion of what you have done.

When you begin to get blue about your work is the time to stop and
rest. If the blues are the result of tire, working longer will only
make your picture worse. A tired brain and eye never improved a piece
of painting. And in the same spirit rest often while you are painting.
If your model rests, it is as well that you rest also. Turn away from
your work, and when you get to work again you will look at it with a
fresh eye.

=Change Your Work Often.=--Too continued and concentrated work on the
same picture also will lead to discouragement. Change your work, keep
several things going at the same time, and when you are tired of one
you may work with fresh perceptions and interest on another.

Stop often to walk away from your work. Lay down your palette and
brushes, and put the canvas at the other end of the room. Straighten
your back and look at the picture at a distance. You get an impression
of the thing as a whole. What you have been doing will be judged of
less by itself and more in relation to the rest of the picture, and so
more justly.

When things are going wrong, stop work for the day. Take a rest. Then,
before you begin again on it to-morrow, take plenty of time to look
the picture over--consider it, compare it with nature, and make up
your mind just what it lacks, just what it needs, just what you will
do first to make it as it should be. It is marvellous how it drives
off the blues to know just what you are going to do next.

                         TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. Passages in bold are indicated by =bold=.

3. Illustration captions are indicated by =caption=.

4. Images have been moved from the middle of a paragraph to the
   closest paragraph break.

5. The word d'oeuvre uses an oe ligature in the original on page 242.

6. In the List of Illustrations, page number for "Descent from Cross"
   is corrected to 163 (original text is 165).

7. The following misprints have been corrected:
     "heavvier" corrected to "heavier" (page 16)
     "interor" corrected to "interior" (page 141)
     "arrangemen" corrected to "arrangement" (page 171)
     "analagous" corrected to "analogous" (page 190)
     "freeest" corrected to "freest" (page 216)
     "näiveté" corrected to "naïveté" (page 289)

8. Other than the corrections listed above, printer's inconsistencies
   in spelling, punctuation, hyphenation, and ligature usage have been

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