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The just appreciation of the works of the great Masters in Painting is becoming daily more extended. This arises from the facilities which are offered, to all classes, for seeing and studying these works in the National and other collections. One result can hardly fail to spring from this growing taste; and as, in the sister art of poetry, the perusal of the immortal outpourings of the mighty dead has kindled the flame in many a soul, which else had been silent, so it will not be unreasonable to suppose that many an eager desire will be excited to attain some excellence in the Painter's Art. To help the young aspirant in his first attempts is the object of the following pages. They are written with great care as to their plainness and perspicuity; and the rules and directions are, in all instances, either the result of extensive personal experience and observation, or are gathered from sources unquestionably to be depended upon. It appears to the Editor that it is impossible to over-rate the advantages which must attend the encouragement of the study of the Fine Arts among all classes of society; and he trusts that he may be pardoned for hoping that his little work may find its way into the hands of the young of all ranks. The humanizing influences of Art he believes capable of conveying unmixed pleasure; and he will be more than thankful if he shall have been the means, through these pages, of adding to the real sources of happiness and enjoyment among the rising youth of his country.
J. Edwards, M.A.
IMPLEMENTS AND MATERIALS.
The Implements and Materials absolutely necessary for Oil Painting are neither numerous nor expensive.
Oil and varnish, a few colors and brushes, a palette, a palette knife, an easel, a rest-stick, canvas, and a little chalk, will suffice to enable the beginner to make his essay.
The most convenient and advantageous mode of proceeding will be, to obtain from any respectable dealer one of the usual tin oil-painting boxes, fitted completely with the necessary articles. It will contain, besides colors, a set of brushes — comprising hog-hair, sable, and badger brushes; a palette, a knife, port-crayon, chalk, oil, and varnish. Beside these, there must be procured an easel, a mahl-stick, a glass slab and muller, and canvas.
In order to enable the learner to make his purchases of these articles with safety and judgment, we shall offer in the outset a few words of explanation as to their nature and qualities.
Palettes. — Palettes are made of mahogany, and of satin and other light-colored woods; they are also made of papier mache, prepared with white enamel surface — very useful when pale and delicate tints have to be mixed. Palettes should be light in weight, and thin, and so perforated for the thumb as to rest well balanced on the hand. They are made of oval and oblong shapes; the latter form is more generally used and convenient, as affording greater space for the working of tints, as well as for their advantageous arrangement.
Wooden palettes should be prepared for use by rubbing into them as much raw linseed oil as they can be made to imbibe. If this dressing with oil be thoroughly effected, and the palette then be suffered to dry till it becomes hard, the wood will subsequently not be stained by the absorption of color. A palette thus prepared is easily cleaned, and presents a hard and polished surface, exceedingly agreeable for the preparation of tints.
It is important to keep the palette free from indentations and scratches, and on no account to neglect cleaning it, the colors never being allowed to harden upon the wood.
The Dipper is a small tin cup, made so that it can be attached to the palette; it serves to contain oil, varnish, or other vehicle used, as will hereafter be explained.
The Palette Knife. — The palette knife is the implement with which the colors are manipulated on the palette. It is used to temper the colors; that is to say, to mix tints and arrange them. It should be thin and flexible, tapering toward the end, having the handle somewhat heavier than the blade.
A spLire Slab of ground Glass in a wooden frame. — This article is indispensable, as the colors and tints ought to be tempered and mixed on it before they are transferred to the palette. A glass muller should accompany the slab; it is used to rub up any fine color, which for economy or convenience may be kept in powder, such as Pure Ultramarine, Madder Lake, &c.
Two or three flat China tiles, about eight or ten inches square, wll be extremely serviceable for the purpose of keeping the tints clean and apart from each other, (the series, for instance, of cold tints from the warm ones.) These tiles enable the artist to have at instant command a replenishment of the color he may be using; a very desirable resource, because a color will sometimes, in course of working on the palette, become mixed and changed. They are also useful to preserve such tints as may be mixed, but not used in the day's work; for the tiles can be immersed,
with the colors on them, in dishes of water, and so reserved for the next painting.
The Easel. — The Easel is a frame which supports the painting during its progress. Easels are of various forms; but the most convenient is undoubtedly the rack easel, which allows the painter to raise or lower his work with speed and convenience, as occasion may require. The commoner and cheaper kind are supplied with pegs for this adjustment of the hight of the work. It is desirable that the easel should stand (irmly, and not be liable, as is too often the case, to be overturned by any slight cause
The Rest, or MahlStick. — This is used to rest or guide the right hand or arm when particular steadiness is required, as is the case in the painting of small objects and minute details. It is usually formed of cane, or lancewood, and should be light, yet firm. The lower end of the stick is held in the left hand, while the upper extremity, which is covered with a soft round ball or pad of leather, to prevent injury, rests on the canvas or upon some other convenient support.
Brushes. — To paint with effect it is of the first consequence to have the brushes well selected, and of the best quality that can be procured. They are of various kinds: — of hog-hair, sable, badger, fitch, and goat-hair. Of these, the most useful are the hog-hair, sable, and badger brushes.
The black fitch and white goat-hair are but seldom used, as the sable and hog tool will effect all that can be done by the former. Nothing can be superior to a well made, fine, white bristle tool, in larger work; or to a good red sable for details.
Hog-hair Tools. — These brushes are made both round and fiat. Flat hog-hair are generally more useful than round ones; they are preferred, as assisting in giving a squareness and crispness of touch.
They should be strongly and neatly made; and in select, ing them be sure that the hair has not been cut at the points, for this is sometimes done with inferior brushes; but such
brushes have an unpleasant and coarse touch, laying on the color in a scratchy manner. It will be found to be a good test if they are made of very fine silky-looking hair, and very soft to the touch.
They should however be firm, yet elastic, springing back to their form after being pressed laterally upon the hand.
Lastly, their shape should be flat and wedge-like, without straggling or diverging hairs.
Let the handle be of cedar, and polished; the cedar is pleasant and light to hold, and being polished is easily cleaned. The old white pine handles, soon becoming ingrained with color, are both dirty and disagreeable to work with.
It may here be remarked, as an important principle, that it is of the greatest use to a beginner to paint with as large brushes as his subject will admit of; for whoever begins with large brushes cannot easily fall into an insignificant petty style.
Sable Brushes. — The observations regarding hog-hair tools will apply to the sable tools; but these latter should have the additional property of coming to a fine yet very firm point.
Be careful in choosing those sable brushes, the hair of which is of a pale yellowish cast; and especially see that it is firm, and that it springs well to its point.
The round sable tool is as serviceable as the flat one, and is used in working the finishing parts of a painting. Round brushes in quills, known by the name of sable pencils, are also applicable to the same purpose. Pencils that bag or swell where the hair is inserted in the quill, or the hairs of which diverge and form several points, are worthless.
Badger Tools. — These are known by the significant names of "softeners" and "sweeteners." They are of various sizes; and the hair, instead of coming to a close end or point as in other brushes, diverges or spreads out, after the manner of a dusting brush. When good, their hair is
long, light, and pliant, of a reddish-brown, or black, with clean white ends.
The chief use of the badger tool is to "soften" or "sweeten" (as it is termed) broad tints, such as skies, water, distances, and the like; it is confessedly a very valuable assistant to the young painter; but it must be used with great forbearance and caution, because, in inexperienced hands its injudicious use frequently destroys forms, and produces what is called "woolliness."
Although badger hair is generally employed for "softeners," yet any brush of soft hair, and not having a close point, may serve as a softening brush.
The hog tool makes a good softener for large surfaces, where stiff color has been employed ; and for small points requiring sweetening, nothing better can be used than a flat sable, which should however be first slightly moistened with oil or with the vehicle you are using, and then brought to a clean fine edge by being compressed and drawn between the finger and thumb.
If the badger tool be much employed on a large surface of color (as skies), the points of the hair frequently become so loaded with color, that it is necessary to clean it often as you proceed. This is best done by pinching up the brush rather tightly at the ends, and wiping it on a clean rag. The brush is thus kept free from color during the progress of your work, which might otherwise be sullied and deteriorated in the purity of its tones.
The badger brush is also useful to the landscape painter, for carrying minute points of color into those wet parts of the work which require to be lightened, enriched, or varied, as will be hereafter explained.
Cleaning Brushes. — It is of the utmost importance that all brushes, after being used, should be carefully cleaned. This is best effected by immersing the hair of the brushes in a little raw linseed oil; the oil should afterward bo washed out with soap and warm water, till the froth, which is made by rubbing the brushes on the palm of the hand, is perfectly colorless. The brushes should next be rinsed in clean water, and the water pressed out by the application of a clean towel. The hair should then be laid straight and smooth, and each brush restored to its proper shape, by passing it between the linger and thumb, before it is left to dry. Care should bo taken not to break the hair by too violent rubbing, as that would render the brushes useless.
Many painters use turpentine instead of linseed oil in the cleaning of brushes, and it certainly effects the object more quickly; but the only use of turpentine that should be permitted, is to rinse the brushes in it slightly, when it is required to clean them quickly; but on no account should they be permitted to remain, as is sometimes the case, soaking in the turpentine. This practice is certain to injure, and in most cases completely to spoil, the brushes; rendering the hair harsh and intractable, and frequently dissolving the cement by which the hair is held in the socket of the handle.
Canvas. — This is the general material used for painting. It is kt -pt prepared in rolls of various widths, and is sold also strained on frames of any required size. The ground or preparation of the canvas should be thin, yet completely covering the threads of the fabric; and it should be free from projecting lines and knots.
Oil Sketching Paper is an extremely servicable material for the young artist. It is made of drawing paper, covered with two or three thin coats of oil color, so as to furnish a ground similar to that of prepared canvas. It is cheap and portable, and serves very well for early attempts, and for preparatory sketches; for trying the effects of any work previous to its commencement, as well as during its progress.
This sketching paper is usually made of the imperial size (30 by 21 inches)-; and, when used, a piece should be cut of the required dimensions, and fastened at the four corners, by drawing-pins, to a pine drawing-board.
The paper has this advantage, that, if your sketch is required to be preserved, you can readily paste or glue it upon canvas, and then mount it on a pine stretching frame, when it will present the appearance of strained canvas.
Academy Board.—This is a thin millboard, prepared in the same manner, and adapted to the same uses, as the prepared paper. It is the material on which most of the studies made at the Academy are painted. Being stiffer than the paper, it does not require to be fastened to a drawing board. These boards are about 24 by 18 inches in size.
Millboards are thicker than the Academy boards, and the grounds are prepared with greater care. They are made of a greater variety of sizes, varying from 8 by 6 inches, to 24 by 20 inches. They are much used in sketching in oil colors from nature, to which purpose they are peculiarly adapted.
Panels of well seasoned mahogany are prepared with exceedingly firm and smooth grounds, for works requiring great detail and finish.
Grounds. — Much diversity of opinion has existed respecting the color of the surface of the prepared canvas. It i3 a subject of considerable importance, for it is impossible to paint a richly-colored picture, with life and warmath, upon a dull unsuitable ground.
A landscape, if carefully handled, can be brought on and finished in a more brilliant manner on a white ground than on any other.
It has, however, been objected to a pure white ground, that it is liable to impart a cold chalky effect; but it must be remembered that what is at first white in oil, becomes in a short time of a yellowish hue, and its coldness of tone is thereby lowered.
The white, or pale cream-colored, and pale, warm, drabcolored grounds, seem to surpass all others. The reason is obvious; they throw a light and consequently a transparency, through the work; and, as all other colors in oil painting have a tendency to sink into the ground on which they are laid, and to become darker, this tendency can be counteracted only by having grounds of considerable lightness and brilliancy.
Cold gray grounds have been used in landscape painting; but they impart a heaviness of coloring much to be avoided. Some artists have painted on grounds of dull red, or leather-colored tint, and much richness may bo gained by such tints; but afier a time the colors of any portion that may have been thinly painted sink into this strong ground, and the effect produced is heavy and disagreeable.
Upon the whole, a white ground is to bo preferred, as soon as the learner has acquired some knowledge of the subsequent effect of his colors; but as the inexperienced find much difficulty in preventing the coldness and poverty of expression which they are not unlikely to beget, it will be advisable for the beginner to take the usual light stone drab that is generally given to canvas; for it furnishes him with a irfiddle tint or tone to start from, which, when visible in shadows and middle tints, has not the raw chalkiness shown under similar circumstances on an unskilfully or imperfectly covered white ground.
Flake White. — Flake "White is a preparation of white lead. The white lead at present sold by all the principal color houses, is a superior carbonate of lead made in Germany, and known by the name of "Kremnitz White." It varies in quality according to the purity of the lead, and the care and success of the manufacture. The best kind possesses great body and permanence, and is of a dazzling whiteness. There are different kinds of preparation of white lead, and various other white pigments, with which the painter need not encumber himself, the above-mentioned Kremnitz White being sufficient for every purpose.
A ureolin. — This superb yellow is one of the latest and most important contributions of science to the Artists palette. It possesses a rare combination of invaluable qualities — purity, brilliancy, transparency, and permanence; it ranks in importance with Genuine Ultramarine. It is remarkable as being a nearer approach to the pure color of the solar spectrum than any other known yellow. It is of a rich and vivid hue, and its tints are very pure; the lighter ones being extremely delicate and clear.
It mixes well with all other colors, forming, with blues, an extensive range of gree.is of unrivalled brilliancy. Delicately pure and clear aerial grays, suitable for the representation of soft thin effects of atmosphere, are to be produced from a combination of Aureolin with Cobalt, Rose Madder, and White, and also from Aureolin, Cobalt, Brown Madder and White. By substituting Genuine Ultramarine for Cobalt, the tints are still clearer and more delicate.
These grays are, each of them, beautiful, and variable with other blues.
Reds and Browns, with Aureolin, yield a most exquisite range of tones; and as they mix together most kindly, they are truly desirable where purity and delicacy are sought.
The permanence and unalterable purity of even the lightest and faintest tints of Aureolin may be confidently relied upon. These qualities have, indeed, been fully established and ascertained by the most severe tests to which color can be subjected by several of our ablest chemists. It is of importance to note that, by the side of Genuine Ultramarine and Madder Red, Aureolin completes a triad of brilliant, transparent, and permanent primitive colors; thus supplying a deficency which has Hitherto existed.
Naples Yellow. — This is a compound of the oxides of jead and of antimony. It possesses a dense opaque body, ranging in this respect next to white lead. Of late years
two kinds of this pigment have been made; that called French Naples Yellow is of an orange-yellow tone, affording light, clear, sunny tints, when combined with white; but it is not so well adapted for use, in opaque green tones^ as the old manufacture, which is of a greenish yellow. Some of the preparations of this pigment are injured by the abrasion of a steel knife; but this is not the case with the French Naples Yellow.
Yellow Ochre. — This is a yellow earth of very extensivo use; permanent, and drying tolerably well. It affords, when combined with Antwerp blue or Indigo, a fine range of quiet greens.
Transparent Gold Ochre. — The ochre known by this name is a variety of the above, but brighter and much more transparent. It approaches somewhat to the character of clear bright Raw Sienna, though more pure and brilliant, serving for strong vivid semi-transparent greens, and affording bright sunny tints and pure clear greens.
Roman Ochre. — This resembles in a great degree the last-mentioned pigment, but it is not so clear in its tints, and is more opaque.
Raw Sienna. — This is a permanent, and in many respects a valuable pigment; and of great service in landscape. It is of rather impure yellow.
Brown Ochre. — This is a dark ochre of great value in landscape painting, producing a variety of useful and permanent tints. It is of a dark brownish yellow, affording, when unmixed, a rich mellow tint; and, when mixed with other colors, a series of rich yet sober tones of extensivo use. It is, for instance, of great service in sandy foregrounds.
Cadmium Yellow. — This a preparation of sulphuret of cadmium. It is a splendid glowing yellow, the brilliant qualities of which make it invaluable for such subjects as gorgeous sunsets.
It works and dries well, and passes readily into agreeable tints, when combined with white lead.
Pale Cadmium. — The light-colored sulphides of Cadmium are of late introduction. They vary from a strawcolor to a lemon or primrose tint, and thus supply a want long felt. They replace advantageously the fugitive and imperfect yellows of their class, which alone hitherto have been obtainable. Pale Cadmium furnishes light warm tints of great clearness and beauty.
Chrome Yellow. — The brilliance of this pigment renders its use tempting to inexperienced painters; but, without great knowledge and caution, a coarse and disagreeable effect is produced by its use. There are several tints of this pigment — pale, deep, orange and scarlet.
Lemon Yellow. — This is a beautiful, light, vivid yellow, chiefly adapted for points of high lights. It is a permanent color.
Indian Yellow. — This is a rich pure yellow, forming full rich greens.
Yellow Lake. — This is a bright, transparent, vegetable yellow; a difficult drier, and liable to be destroyed by light. It affords beautiful foliage tints, and would, if it could bo depended upon, be extremely valuable in what is called "glazing."
Italian Pink. — This is a stronger and richer kind of Yellow Lake, possessing properties similar to these last named.
Vermilion. — This is a durable and unexceptionable pigment; very powerful, and of great opacity.
There are several shades of it manufactured, ranging from a crimson tone, through scarlet to orange. The scarlet tint is most useful for landscape painting. \ r ery tender aerial grays are formed, by adding a minute portion of Vermilion to a mixture of Cobalt or French Ultramarine and White. It is a somewhat slow drier.
Indian Red. — This is a pigment of high importance. It is permanent, and a good drier. It ought to be of a purple-lake tone.
Light Red. — This is obtained by calcining the finest specimens of Oxford Ochre. It bears somewhat of an orange hue, and is an excellent drier. It affords a fine series of useful tints.
Venetian Red. — This has a more scarlet tint than the Light Red ; but in other respects it is similar to that pigment.
Cadmium Red. — A sulphide of Cadmium newly intro> duced. It is obtained by a process different from that winch furnishes the yellow sulphides. It is a powerful orange red, of a rich mellow and agreeable quality of tone, most serviceable where rich and clear warm tints are required. It is of undoubted permanence, and its general excellent qualities place it among the highest of the orangered class of pigments.
Madder Lake. — The Madder Lakes are prepared, ranging from pink to the deepest rose color, under the respective names of Pink Madder, Rose Madder, Madder Lake and Madder Carmine; the last being the most intense in color. They are the only transparent reds known. The Rose Madder is the tint chiefly used; it possesses great richness and transparency.
These Madder Lakes form permanent tints, when used with white lead ; and their transparency renders them perfect, either as glazing or finishing colors.
Cappah Brown and Burnt Umber sadden Madder Lakes to the rich tones adapted for general use in shadows.
All these pigments are beautiful and pure in color; qualities in which they excel the lakes and carmines of cochineal. It may be also added, that perfectly permanent transparent reds and rose colors are to be obtained by them only. Some, when mixed with white, lose the tint which render them so valuable.
Unfortunately they are bad driers, and require to be forced, by the addition of a little gold size or varnish.
The lakes made from the cochineal insect, although liable to serious objections, are nevertheless freely used by painters. They are known b} r the respective names of Crimson, Scarlet and Purple Lake.
Crimson Lake. — This is occasionally used in mixing tints, to impart richness; but it has no durability, and is a bad drier; hence it is a pigment that should be avoided as much as possible in oil painting.
Scarlet Lake. — This is never required by the landscape painter. Madder Lake and Vermilion make all the necessary tints of this class.
Purple Lake. — This is sometimes used to enrich shadow tints; it is the least objectionable of the three.
To these may bo added:
Lac Lake or Indian Lake. — Being rich, transparent, and deep, it is of great power, and is more durable than the cochineal lakes. It can, however, be dispensed with, since combinations of Madder Lake and Madder Brown serve for every purpose to which the others can be applied.
Ultramarine (Lapis Lazuli). — This exquisitely beautiful blue varies from the utmost depth of shadow to the highest brilliancy of light and color. It is transparent in all its shades, and pure in its tints, drying and working well.
It has so much of the quality of light, and of the tint of air in it, as to be singularly adapted to the purposes of the landscape painter.
It enters admirably into purples, blacks, greens, grays, and other tints, and has justly obtained the reputation of clearing or carrying light and air into all colors, both in mixture and in glazing.
Genuine Ultramarine is the most perfect of our pigments; it is in fact the only pure primary color we have. It has depth also, and remains pure when mixed with white.
The high price of Ultramarine is, to a great extent, a prohibition to its general use; but the landscape painter seldom requires any other than the paler and cheaper tints.
It has not been used to so great an extent as formerly, owing to the introduction of French Ultramarine, which furnishes a cheap and tolerably effective substitute for most ordinary uses.
Ultramarine Ashes. — These are the ashes or remains of the lapis lazuli, from which Ultramarine has been extracted. They vary in color from dull gray to blue. Although not equal in beauty, and inferior in strength of color, to Ultramarine, they are extremely useful pigments, affording grays much purer and more tender than such as are comX-)osed of black and white, or of other blues; and they are better suited to the pearly tints of foliage, the gray of skies and the shadows of landscape and buildings.
They are of delicate and very tender azures, not so positive in tint as Ultramarine; of great service however for skies and distances, where hazy grays are required.
The brighter sorts of Ultramarine Ashes are, more properly, pale Ultramarines; the lower kinds or last washings of the lapis lazuli are called Mineral Gray.
French Ultramarine (French Blue). — This valuable color is extremely powerful in tone, and nearly transparent. It has a light tendency to the purple hue, and to the landscape painter is generally useful in all cases where economy renders a substitute for Genuine Ultramarine desirable.
It rivals Genuine Ultramarine in depth, although it does not equal it in purity and brilliancy.
It dries well; the inferior kinds however are liable to a slight and not very serious change, by losing a little of their purity, and becoming grayer.
Cobalt Blue. — This is a pure light azure, affording clear bright tints in skies and distances. With Light Red it gives beautiful cloud tints; with Madder Brown it affords a range of fine pearly neutrals. Cobalt has not the depth and transparency of Ultramarine; but it is superior in clearness and beauty to other blue pigments.
It dries well, and is nearly transparent; but it is sometimes liable, when used for skies, to acquire a green tone, occasioned by its suffering the oil to rije to the surface; the yellow tint of which imparts a green tinge to the color.
Prussian Blue. — This is a deep and powerful transparent blue, drying and glazing well. It borders slightly on green. Its chief use to the landscape painter is in mixed tints of greens, purples, and other such colors.
Antwerp Blue. — This is a lighter-colored and somewhat brighter Prussian Blue, and possessing the general qualities of the latter, except in extreme depth.
Indigo. — This is not so bright as Prussian Blue. It dries well, aud works and glazes satisfactorily. It is seldom required in landscapes, since Prussian and Antwerp Blues, when saddened with Black, answer the purpose better.
Ivory Black (Calcined Ivory). — This is the richest and most transparent of the blacks, and is generally serviceable.
Blue Black (Vegetable Charcoal). — This is of weaker body than Ivory Black, and is better suited for the grays and general mixed tints of landscape painting.
Lamp Black. — This is occasionally used in mixed grays, but can be dispensed with, as it may on all occasions be advantageously replaced by Blue Black.
Burnt Terra Sienna. — This is a rich transparent brown orange, affording a range of valuable landscape tints of rich greens, in combination with blues, and of sunny tones when used with white. It is permanent, and dries well.
Mars Orange. — This is an artificial iron ochre, of a clearer tone than Burnt Sienna, but not so transparent. It affords bright warm tones with white, but does not answer for greens.
Orange Chrome. — This i3 the most durable and least exceptionable of the chromates of lead.
Field's Orange Vermilion. — A perfectly durable pigment; is, as its name imparts, a vermilion of and orange color, having the powerful body and properties of other vermilions. It is of glowing warmth, and yields with white, which it tinges with great power, pure and delicate carnation tints that are generally serviceable, and especially in delicate sky tints.
Vandyke Drown (Bituminous Earth). — This i3 a ri«m transparent pigment of great durability, but a bad drier
Cologne Earth. — This, in its general qualities, resembles Vandyke Brown, except that, in combination with white, it furnishes a range of cooler brown tints.
Cappah Brown. — Tins is a very eligible brown. It dries very rapidly; is transparent, rich, and deep in color.
Bon-. Brown (Ivory Bast Roasted). — This is a bad drier, and is not greatly used, but may be occasionally applied in forming clear, silvery, warming rays in combination with white.
Asphalt um (A Solution of Asphalt um in Turpentine). — Its fine brown color and perfect transparency are lures to its free use. It must however be regarded rather as a dark varnish than as a pigment. It dries rapidly, and when used in excess, is liable to crack. Its great transparency causes it to be much used for shadows and for glazing; but it must be remembered that it is a rather dangerous color in inexperienced hands.
Bitumen. — This is Asphaltum ground in strong drying oil,by which treatment it is more eligible for the painter's use.
Madder Brown. — This rich lakey brown, one of the valuable products of the Madder root, is. if made with skill, of intense depth and transparency; affording the richest description of shadows, and the most delicate pale tints. Being quite permanent, working most kindly, and being a good drier, it is a pigment that cannot be too strongly recommended to the landscape painter's notice. With French Blue, or with Cobalt and White, a set of fine warm or cold grays may be obtained, in proportion as the brown or blue predominates. With blues and bright yellows, it gives line autumnal russet greens.
Raw Umber. — This is a yellowish brown, of great service in light shadow tones and delicate grays.
Burnt Umber. — This is a quiet brown, affording clear warm shadow tints. It may be occasionally substituted for Vandyke Erown. It is a quick drier.
Terre Verte. — This is a sober-toned green earth, of the utmost \ug in landscape painting. Its combination with Indian Red and Naples Yellow forms a series of mild russet greens, of much use in middle distance. It is very durable; and, not possessing much body, is semi-transparent, and dries moderately well.
Green Oxide of Chromium. — This is a deep-toned, green. It is occasionally employed with great effect by admixture with yellows and white. Being very dense and powerful, it must be used with great care to avoid heaviness.
It is valuable when used as a cold gray green, if diluted with a large quantity of white. These cold greens possess a silvery luminous quality, and impart the effect of atmosphere.
Emerald Green. — This is a brilliant green, but too violent in color to be of much service in landscape. It is however occasionally of value, if discreetly used, in the drapery of a foreground figure, where a bright green may be demanded; or m a touch on a gaily painted boat or barge. It is permanent both in itself, and when in tint with white.
Brown Pink. — This is a rich transparent olive, inclining sometimes to green, and sometimes to the warmth of orange. It is of great depth, and works well, but is a bad drier. In thin glazing it is not permanent.
Verona Brown. — This is an olive brown 'of great service in tendered drab greens, and in combination with Terre Verte and Lakes; forming with the latter, rich autumnal tints of great beauty.
OILS AND VARNISHES.
Vehicle. — The diluent used to temper and thin the colors, for the purpose of bringing them to a proper working state, is called a "Vehicle." The colors of pigments "bear out" with effects differing according to the liquids with which they are combined; and, according to these, are either enlivened, that is ''brought out," or are obscured.
Vehicles are hardly of less importance than the colors themselves, being among the chief materials and indispensable means of painting. They are extremely diversified, to suit the various purposes and fancies of the artist; we, however need, treat of those only which are fittest to be employed.
All oils or varnishes act more or less to the eventual prejudice of the color with which they are combined for application. What is desired in oil painting is a vehicle which, while it has an agreeable working quality, shall neither change nor be degraded by time, nor interfero with the purity of the tints as they appear at the moment they are first laid on; — a vehicle that shall neither perish nor crack as it becomes old.
Oils. — The linseed, poppy, and nut oils, are the fixed oils used as vehicles; turpentine, and, occasionally, spike-ladender; the latter, however, is seldom employed.
Of the fixed oils, Linseed is in most common use. It should be of a pale amber color, transparent, and limpid; and when used in moderately warm weather, it should dry in a day. The most valuable qualities of linseed oil, as a vehicle, consist in its great strength and flexibility. It is by far the strongest oil, and the one which dries best and firmest under proper management.
The next importance is Poppy Oil. It is inferior in strength, tenacity, and drying, to linseed oil; but it has the reputation of keeping its color better; and it is on this account generally employ in grinding white, and most of the light pigments.
Nut Oil, as wo procure it of some dealers is more uncertain in its qualities than either linseed or poppy oil; and is frequently extremly long in drying. Poppy oil, however, supplies its place so well, that it is not commonly required.
Oils are more or less influenced, in their drying, by the colors with which they are combined; some of which greatly accelerate, while others retard it. With certain colors some oils will scarcely dry at all, unless means are employed to cause them to do so.
Drying Oil. — Drying Oil is prepared by boiling linseed oil with certain oxides and salts of lead, which impart to it a power of drying with rapidity. It is employed with those colors which do not dry well without being forced.
Two kinds are prepared ; a dark or strong drying oil, and a paler and less powerful kind.
Japanner's Gold Size is sometimes employed as a powerful means of drying dark and transparent colors, which are in general comparatively bad driers.
The Volatile Oils are destitute of the strength of the fixed oils, having scarcely more cementing power in painting than water alone. Turpentine is a very useful addition to linseed oil, for preserving the purity of light and bright pigments from the change of color to which this oil is subject. Owing to their extreme fluidness, the volatile oils are generally useful diluents of the thicker oils, varnishes, and vehicles; but the thin tSGential oils thus introduced often weaken the body of the vehicle, and occasion it to flow so much, that the colors used their with will not keep their place, rendering the touch of the pencil spiritless and uncertain. These properties give occasion for the introduction of resin and varnish, which communicate a body to oils. These vehicles have been compounded under the name of "Megilps."
Megilps. — The vehicles known by this name are in great favor with artists. They possess a gelatinous texture, which enables them, while flowing freely from the pencil, yet to keep their place in painting and glazing.
The Megilp generally in use, which however may bo purchased ready prepared, is formed by mixing together equal parts of strong mastic varnish and drying oil. After remaining undisturbed for a few minutes, it assumes a gelatinous texture, resembling a thin, transparent, ambercolored jelly.
Megilp varies in color, according as it is made with either a pale or deep-colored drying oil. The palest kind is made by rejecting the drying oil, and using instead linseed oil, in which a small quantity of finely-ground sugar of lead has been diffused. With equal parts of this compound and of mastic varnish, a very little megilp is obtained.
Another improved compound employed as a vehicle, is made by mixing one part of a saturated solution of sugar of lead in water, with two parts of linseed or poppy oil. These are to be well stirred or shaken together, till they are combined; and then two parts of mastic varnish are to be added, and well mixed with the preceding. By this means a white creamy emulsion is obtained, which, though opaque in use, becomes quite transparent as it dries.
Painters differ in nothing so much as in the vehicle they employ. Some use the oils only, others the megilps; many have a peculiar compound of their own, to which they actach importance. It will, however, be the best for the beginner to give himself no trouble on the subject, but to select and adhere to the simplest and most convenient form. With this view he will find that a compound used occasionally with megilp, and consisting of one part of copal varnish, one part of linseed or poppy oil, and one part of turpentine, will furnish him with a pleasant and serviceable vehicle for general use. Let him take care, however, to force its drying by the addition of ground sugar of lead, when employed with slowly-drying pigments. No other method will be necessary, except in painting skies and other very light-toned masses, in which case drying oil and megilp must be carefully avoided.
It is by no means intended to confine the learner to exact quantities here given; a little experience will teach him to compound his vehicle in the manner best suited to his own style of working.
Mastic Varnish. — This is simply a solution of gum-mastic in turpentine. It is an indispensable requisite in the modern practice of oil painting, in which it is employed, not only as a varnish but as a component part of many of the vehicles in common use.
Copal Varnish. — This greatly assists the drying of colors ground in oil. It is employed by many artists as a vehicle, when diluted with turpentine. It must, however, be observed, that it has the defect of cracking, when used without sufficient drying or other oil to temper it. Copal, in dissolving, swells or augments in bulk (like glue in water), and contracts proportionately in drying; it is this property which disposes it to crack as above-mentioned.
Amber Varnish. — This has attracted some attention as a vehicle for painting. It is of deeper color than copal, and dries very slowly. It requires, however, little notice, for it has yet to be proved that its merits are equal to its reputation.
PROCESSES AND MANIPULATIONS.
In the production of a painting in Oil Colors, there are certain manipulations or modes of operation, an explanatian of which is necessary in introducing a beginner to the practice of the art. These operations are distinguished by the technical names of Glazing, Impasting, Scumbling, Handling,
A Glaze is a thin transparent film of color, laid upon another color to modify the tone, or to aid the effect of the latter; the work thereby appearing distinctly through the superimposed layer of glaze, from which it receives a characteristic hue.
This process of glazing is effected by diluting proper transparent colors with megilp or other suitable vehicle. Thus diluted, these colors are laid upon portions of the work, either in broad flat tints or in touches partially and judiciously distributed.
The object of this process is to strengthen shadows, and to give warmth or coldness to their hue; to subdue lights that are unduly obtrusive, or to give additional color and tone to those that are deficient in force and richness.
Should it be necessary to lighten the tone of any part of the picture, this cannot be done by merely glazing; the tints must first be concealed with brighter colors, of sufficient body for that purpose, and the glaze may then be applied.
The glaze should usually be darker than the ground color upon which it is to be laid; and as a rule for the application of the principle of glazing, it may be observed that the first painting of the picture should be brighter than the subject may require, in order that the subsequent glazings may lower and obscure it to a proper and effective degree of tone.
It has been observed that glazing is generally effected by the application of diluted transparent colors; but occasionally semi-transparent colors are used for this purpose, provided they be first rendered sufficiently transparent by the admixture of a large proportion of vehicle. These latter glazings are capable of being applied with excellent effect where it may be necessary to modify the tones of those parts of the picture which do not appear satisfactory, or to produce particular effects, such as representations of smoke, dust, mists, and the like. It must, however, be carefully observed, that extreme caution is necessary in glazing with opaque colors; because, if thus used in excess, they will deteriorate the picture by destroying its transparency.
And it may further be observed that the successful application of this, as well as of any other important principie, will depend upon experience and judgment. The acknowledged object of the process is the attainment of harmony, force and brilliancy, to correct what is imperfect, and to perfect what is so far correct but incomplete ; and hence the temptations to its use are exceedingly seductive. But when it is acknowleged also that its injudicious use often produces that leathery discoloration so painful to the eye, and sometimes even an absolute and dull monotony, it can scarcely excite surprise that the student is earnestly recommended to great caution in his first essays in glazing. Assuredly the process cannot be altogether discarded; but it may be laid down as a rule that it should not be indiscriminately used when other modes answer the same purpose; for, after all, it is preferable to obtain transparency by solid painting rather than by glazing.
Should a glazing produce a result different from what was intended or expected, the glaze may easily be removed by a rag, or, if the spot be small, by the finger, provided the removal be effected immediately, that is, before the glaze has had time to fasten itself upon, or to soften the color on which it is laid ; and in no case must glazing be attempted before the colors, over which it is laid, have become perfectly dry and firm.
In oil painting, the shadows, or dark portions of the picture, are painted thinly; while the lights are laid on or ''impasted," with a full pencil and a stiff color.
In the lights of the foreground, and of parts not intended to be remote, or to "retire," the "impasting" should be bold and free ; while, in the more brillant lights, it cannot well be too solid. There is, however, a reasonable limit to the practice, since actual protuberance or prominence of the paint itself will, in certain lights produce a false shadow, and therefore a bad and false effect. This will be understood, from observing that the loading of thick masses of color upon the picture, so as to make them project considerably from the surface, is done with the view of their being strongly illuminated by light actually incident upon the picture, and of thus mechanically aiding in the production of roundness and relief, or in giving a sparkling effect to polished objects or glittering points. But this artiGce must be had recourse to sparingly and cautiously, else it defeats its own object, and produces a coarse and vulgar air and effect.
The palette knife has always been a favorite instrument of this "impasting," or laying on of color, capable as it is of producing an agreeable brightness on, and of giving an appropriate flatness to, the pigment. A clear and appropriate tint, for instance, skillfully swept across a sky by these means, often produces a surprisingly brilliant and charming effect. None, however, let it be carefully observed, but the most experienced hand should attempt this most difficult and dangerous process.
Scumbling, the opposite process to that of glazing, is done by going lightly over the work with an opaque tint, generally produced by an admixture of white. For this purpose a hog-hair brush is usually employed, charged with color but sparingly; and with it the tints are drawn very thinly, and somewhat loosely, over the previous painting, which, be it observed, should, as in the case of glazing, be dry and firm. Scumbling is used to modify certain effects, by rendering the portion to which it is applied cooler, grayer, and in fact less defined than it was before, and to give air and distance to objects that seemed too near. It is thus of service both in correcting a tendency to muddiness or dirtiness of color, and to what may be called hardness or over-distinctness of detail, and in weakening the force of colors, that are too powerful, by softening and uniting such tints as may be too violently contrasted.
It will be thus seen that the judicious combination of Scumbling and Glazing will produce richness, brilliancy, and transparency; and that thus each is, to some extent, calculated to remedy the defect produced by the too free use of the other.
Let it be borne in mind that it is desirable to avoid, as far as possible, scumbling over shadows, as an inexperienced hand might thus destroy their transparency.
By "Handling," is meant the mechanical use of the pencil, or brush; exhibiting the artist's power of adapting certain modes and processes in the expression and representation of the different textures of objects, such as foliage, wood, water, and so on.
"Handling" is not merely a freedom or playfulness of the pencil or brush, but a power of justly delineating the form of the object intended; for it must be remembered, that in painting, the brush is constantly employed in drawing forms. Hence every painter falls into a manner or style of painting, as peculiar to himself as is his handwriting ; and his brush ought therefore to be as much under his command in painting as his pen is in writing.
The young artist should not, however, be led away by his desire to display spirit, so as to leave the marks of his pencil everywhere visible. This is to be particularly guarded against in distant objects, where distinctness is rather to be avoided ; for by too much penciling and too accurate drawing, they lose the effect of distance.
The position of a painter at his easel should be such that his work may receive the light from his left falling upon it only from the upper part of the window of his painting room, the lower part being darkened by a piece of green baize, or by any other suitable means. A light which proceeds from the north is best, because, in our latitude, it is most uniform throughout the day. If, however, this is not practicable, it may be enough to paint in a light not under the direct rays of the sun. In landscape, it is usual to work from a drawing or sketch previously taken from nature, which need not therefore be placed in any particular light, as in the case of the model of the portrait painter. But it is advisable that the young artist should test the quality and power of the light under which he paints, by occasionally taking his work into other rooms, and so viewing it under different positions and aspects; he may else be misguided by the peculiar appearance which paintings sometime assume; for the striking effects of a too confined light, in a partially darkened room, may cause him to give to his shadows a force and intensity which may be weak and insipid, when the work is viewed in the full light of day; and, conversely, coloring executed in too broad a light may appear coarse and harsh, when seen under another aspect, in a light modified and subdued.
Again, reflections from the internal objects, and from the wall and furniture of the painting room, must be avoided, for they embarrass and deceive. In fact the larger the room the better; and it should be kept as free from dust as possible.
Accuracy of drawing is of the first importance; and any test of accuracy in this respect is most desirable. Errors in drawing may be readily detected by the aid of a looking glass; for if the image of a picture present anything unsatisfactory to the eye, the picture itself requires correction in that particular. The cause is too obvious for explanation.
The following rule cannot be too stringently enforced: —
Cautiously avoid contracting habits of inattention, both in the arrangement and in the putting away of your materials. Neglect and carelessness in this respect are marks of a weak and slovenly mind, — of a mind incapable of attaining habits of method and order.
PRINCIPLES AND RULES.
COMMENCING AND CONDUCTING A PICTURE.
There is no exact system upon which a landscape should be painted, for results equally good and agreeable ^arise from various modes of proceding ; in fact, almost every painter of eminence and experience has a distinctive modo and system peculiar to himself. There are, however, certain rules which must, in a greater or less degree, be observed ; and in detailing these rules a mode of proceeding is selected, which is not only easiest to the beginner, but practised by some of the best landscape painters of the present day.
The first thing to be done is to select a canvas of a moderate size — about 18 inches by 12, or 20 by 14. Larger sizes are difficult and unmanageable in the finishing; smaller ones are apt to engender a petty and confined style of work.
The selection of the canvas, with a light or cream-colored ground, being thus made, let the design be drawn upon it with a firm well-defined outline. For this purpose much time can be saved, and a good effect produced by judicious employment of water colors ; a mode of proceeding now common, and extensively recognized.
It will be found that the difficulty, which arises in making the water color adhere to the oil ground, may be overcome by mixing a little ox-gall in the water used for the color. This being done, tint the lower part of tho canvas in a clear warm tone, with a mixture of Yellow Ochro and Venitian Red, or with a pale hue of Burnt Sienna, in water color. The upper or sky part of the canvas being left clear, commence the work lightly about where the horizon will appear, and gradually strengthen the tint as you descend.
The tint so laid being quite dry, sketch accurately with washes of burnt Umber or Vandyke Brown, in water color all the objects of your design, marking more particularly, with some degree of finish, the figures and foreground details. These brown shadows, when worked over with semiopaque grays, or with other colors, whether transparent or semi-transparent, give to the foreground and middle-distance a richness which the beginner would probably fail to obtain by other and more elaborate means.
The sketch being thus laid in, the systematic painting of the picture may now be commenced.
For the convenience of description, it will be expedient to designate the different portions of the work, in its progress, as a first, second, and a third painting; theirs* painting consisting of the early or dead coloring ; the second being that in which the subject is brought forward to receive the finishing work, which work constitutes the third painting.
It may be observed, that the landscape painter cannot rigidly adhere to this systematic division, which may be followed out with advantage by the portrait or figure painter.
Have near your easel a slab of pround glass, on which you can temper and prepare your tints to a proper hue and consistence before they are transferred to the palette; and bear in mind this important maxim, that a large number of tints cannot be managed with the same ease as a smaller one.
A set of tints, of the hues required for the sky and for the distances is now mixed; and you commence with the blue of the sky, working downward, and securing a proper the work, only somewhat strengthened by deeper gray tones, which, in the after paintings, are gradually abandoned for the local colors of the foreground. The sky and the distance being thus laid in, the work is left to dry, else the colors of the middle ground would be sullied by the opaque grays of the sky and the distance. It would obviously be an error to lay in the middle ground in gray color; for, were this done, there would be lost that transparency and that clearness which are produced only by the original ground of the canvas being preserved, in a certain degree, to the last.
The mode of applying the color to the canvas is chiefly by touches or pats of the brush, in succession from left to right, beginning at the left upper angle of the picture, and laying the color in nearly of the same thickness throughout. It must again be carefully observed, that the color should be tempered with a proper quantity of vehicle, that it may work crisply and pleasantly; and, above all, that it be laid sparingly upon the canvas. Short-haired brushes are best adapted for painting with little color. A quantity of heavy color in one layer over another prevents the due modeling and proper perfecting of the work. Most carefully must it be remembered, that too much attention cannot be given to the procuring of good and well-made brushes.
In laying on or "impasting" the lights, the brushes should be rather longer than those used for the general painting; because such a brush will be found to yield the color more readily. Still it must not be so long as to be weak; and it should be made of a soft, even bristle.
In the first painting, the lights are laid on with a moderate quantity of color, the shadows being put in more thinly. Let all the tints be introduced in a firm and clear manner without much mixing or teasing with the brush; for by laying them on in this firm way, you prevent the occurrence of a certain turbid or muddy appearance, which colors are apt to assume when much worked about. Having mixed a well ordered set of tints, arrange and lay them carefully in their places, on the work, without confusing them with each other. For this purpose, be careful to place every color at once, as nearly as possible, where it is to remain. Whenever, in the early painting, parts are laid of a perfectly correct hue, those places must be exempt from further retouching, as they will always thus have the greatest transparency and beauty.
By not going too far in the first painting, and by allowing it to dry, the student secures the drawing, as well as the purity and clearness of his first painting. This course is advisable, until he has had some practice in the manipulation of colors.
Unless indeed the colors be allowed to harden between the first and second painting, and also between the second and third, they will be liable to be ru bbed off by the application of the oils and glazings used in the after painting.
When the first painting is dry, the picture should have a damp cloth passed over its surface. Being then wiped dry, let it be rubbed over with a small portion of poppy oil, for this makes the after-painting unite with the first, and so tends to give to the spectator the notion that the whole has been a continuous work. It is a mere moistening of the surface that is required ; no excess of oil therefore is to remain. All beyond what is necessary for this purpose is to be removed by the moderate application of a piece of silk or soft linen.
In the second painting, we advance by giving more attention to the characteristic details of the various objects. Their drawing, light and shade, reflected hues, and varieties of tints in coloring, are more elaborately made out; the relative distances of objects from the eye are most carefully preserved; and the shadows, being still painted thinly and transparently, are carefully united (where it is necessary to unite them) with half -tints, so as to produce roundness or solidity. A great body of color is laid on the lights, which are also now penciled with great attention to character and sharpness; and the touches on the high lights are put in with firmness and precision.
The brightest lights are best obtained by making them quite white on the first paintings, and then bringing them to their proper hue by glazing.
The badger-hair softener is now to be used, but cautiously and sparingly, to unite and soften the tints into each other, and to reduce the surface to a level, by removing the marks of the brush. In this way the painting receives greater transparency, and so far an agreeable finish.
Whatever the subject be, let the early paintings be of a light and rather brilliant style of color; for in finishing, it is scarcely possible to prevent the brighter colors from being cooled down and subdued. Avoid the early introduction of much cool color, which can be conveniently and effectually added as the picture advances toward completion. Remember, too, that every color in drying will sink, and that it will partake in proportion to its body, of the color upon which it is laid ; hence all tints, if not laid upon a light clear under-painting, will change, and will in drying, lose a little of their power, and brilliancy. It is necessary, therefore, that some allowance, in preparing tints, should be made for this change. In connection with this it may be remarked, that strong tones and shadows should not be laid in with too much power and depth, but something should rather be left to the deepening effect of time.
Thus it will be understood how the second painting should give us a tolerably finished effect, ere we proceed to the final or third painting.
The third, or finishing painting, is commenced by wiping and oiling the picture in the manner before described as necessary for the second painting. We then proceed to complete those details of form and color which were brought forward in the former paintings — employing, for this purpose, delicate touches of glazing and scumbling alternately; not to conceal but to improve, and to render as perfect as possible, what has been already done. Sharp vigorous touches are now to be given, where the markings of the details require them, and where there may be either too great a softness or an obvious want of character and transparency. Consider well and long, before using the pencil for this purpose; for these isolated touches must be made with freedom and decision, or they fail in producing the desired effect. They should be of a warm tone — not cold, not gray; and the tints used for this purpose may be, as occasion may require, either lighter or darker than the parts to which they are applied. Recourse is generally had to smaller brushes, in effecting this object.
In this stage of the work, do not attempt to much at one sitting, as, by proceeding too far, the tints laid by scumbling and glazing interfere with each other; and the eye, by coming more frequently to this important duty of judging the work, is better capable of seeing where the necessary touches are most required. It is in fact best to allow the colors to dry gently, and to repeat the operation when necessary.
Lastly, a mode of aiding the finish is, by passing over a portion of the work with light delicate tones, which are left only on the projecting touches of texture objects.
This operation must be done carefully and dexterously with a light hand, holding the brush so loosely as to permit the somewhat thick color, with which the brush is charged, to adhere partially to those projecting points of the picture with which the hair thus gently comes in contact. This manipulation is called "dragging 1 ' or "dry touching;" but the greatest care must be taken not to carry it too far, else it will deteriorate the work by producing what may be characterized as "mealiness;" that is the colors will appear as if they had been sprinkled with meal, or covered with a white dust, which makes them look dull and faded both in the lights and in the shadows.
COLORS AND TINTS
FOR DIFFERENT PARTS OF A PICTURE.
The sky is a most important part of a picture, giving to it the due air-tint, and so influencing the whole work.
In the preparation of sky tints, it is to be observed that they aregraduated in intensity by a greater or less quantity of white; and, in laying them on, we place the strongest of them at the highest part of the sky, making them paler and less intense as we descend toward the horizon where the use of blue in the tint is discontinued, and other tints are used suitable to the character of the picture and to the time of day under which it is seen.
The principle is true also in this respect, that the tints are kept lighter as we approach the parts nearest the sun.
The tints, however, are varied, from the horizon to the zenith, or highest point of the picture. Thus; in the representation of a sunset, the blue of the zenith may be united with the yellow and orange of the horizon, by different connecting tints, as in the transition from blue to violet, then to the rose tints, and so to the horizontal orange and yellow.
This is one instance. In another kind of evening sky, transition might be from blue to violet, and from violet to light orange. But in order that the transition from the pale blue to the orange may be gradual and insensible, the two tints, though so very different in kind, should have the same degree of force and intensity.
The sky tints of the horizon vary greatly; but in general, for a serene sky, the most luminous of flesh tints may be safely imitated, provided they be modified according to circumstances; at one time by rendering the tint more rosy; at another, by giving to it more of a whitish, or somewhat yellow cast; at another, by a tendency to a greenish hue.
In order, however, to preserve the aerial aspect of the sky, it should not be painted with too many colors. The sky-palette should be simple — the colors few; but let there be as many gradations of those colors as possible.
Paint the sky in at once; but if two paintings be necessary, the first will be, in tone, lighter than the sky is intended to be at the second or finishing painting. And let it be observed, that it is necessary not to paint the sky too blue; this is a fault into which a beginner is apt to fall; but it is easier to deepen the blue tint afterwards, by a little scumbling, while it is not easy to recover a light brilliant tone, if the blue has been laid on somewhat too heavily.
The most useful colors for painting skies are: French Ultramarine, Vermilion, Indian Red, Madder Lake, Aureolm, Yellow Ochre, Naples Yellow, Raw Umber, the necessary gradation of them being produced by an admixture of white.
The necessary tints are : Aureolin and "White ; Naples Yellow and White; Yellow Ochre and "White; Vermilion, Naples Yellow and White; Madder Lake, Aureolin and "White; Madder Lake, Naples Yellow and W r hite; Vermilion, Yellow Ochre and White; Indian Red, Yellow Ochre and "White; Madder Lake, Yellow Ochre and White; the proper gradation in each being produced by a greater or less admixture of white, as before.
For the painting of Clouds the following colors are necessary : Cobalt, Aureolin and White ; French Blue, Vermilion and White ; French Blue, Indian Red and White; French Blue, Raw Umber and White; French Blue, Raw Umber, Naples Yellow and White.
In clear evening skies the following tints are found to be of great service: Madder Lake, Aureolin and White; Madder Lake, Light Red and White; Madder Lake, Light Red, Yellow Ochre and White.
Light Clouds are painted over the azure ground with little color only. Violet grays, which are chiefly required for this purpose, are composed, in varying proportions of French Blue, Light Red and White; French Blue, Light Red, Madder Lake. and White; French Blue, Light Red, Yellow Ochre and White; French Blue, Light Red, Aureolin and White.
If the tone is required to be very bright and pure, use Vermilion in place of Light Red; if, on the contrary, the tone is to be more somber, Indian Red should be employed in the place of Light Red.
Those sides and borders of clouds which reflect the light of the sun, are to be laid in with warm horizon tints. For the variously-tinted clouds use, at one time, Vermilion; at another time Indian Red; at another Light Red; at another Madder Lake; and when the clouds take a yellow reddish tint, add Yellow Ochre; being, in all cases, careful not to carry your gray upon the luminous part of the clouds.
If it be desirable that the purple tone of the gray should prevail, add the orange tone to the Indian Red and Blue.
It is of great importance to place the warm clouds, with distinctness and clearness, upon the blue ground; so that, whilst the blue of the sky may partake of the light gray of the clouds — (a gray not very greatly removed in strength from the warm light tones of the flaky cloud), — yet the crispness, with which these clouds are put on, may bring them sharply and brightly out.
In order to give solidity and brightness to the high lights of the clouds, these lights must be laid on with stifx color, having but little vehicle in it.
A little delicate cool gray is also to be given to the shadows of the light clouds; but this must be done with only a small quantity of vehicle; after which the softener must be gently drawn over the lights and half-lights, so as to give to the whole a rich pulpy appearance. For this purpose; having spread with the palette-knife a layer of the azure color upon the palette, press gently the points of a clean softener into the color so spread out, and with it touch delicately the darker portions of the clouds, somewhat uniting them with the dark vicinity of the sky. Executed successfully, this process will give the painting a stippled appearance. Then, taking another clean softener, blend the cool tints on the surface without disturbing the color beneath. The effect of this, if carefully done, will be the production of a beautiful harmony with the azure, which will give also a luminous character to the interior of the clouds. A too free and injudicious use of the softener will produce wooliness, and render the color beneath opaque.
Generally speaking, the clouds may be painted on the sky, while it is yet wet; and they may thus be united with it, by having their edges a little softened. But where the lights of the clouds are to be made with sharp well-defined edges, these lights may be best produced by being placed in when the first flat painting is quite dry.
The shy line is the boundary between the horizon and the sky — that line where the sky ends, and the solid objects of the picture begin. In order to procure the truth and the solidity (so to speak) of nature, it is of the first consequence that this boundary be marked in a manner so far free from indistinctness and from confusion with the sky, as to preserve a good general shape. In fact, it is often the strongest line in the picture.
Distances, as before remarked, are painted with the same tints as those used in the sky, somewhat strengthened however by deep gia,y tones.
Distant mountains or high lands will often have their summits well defined, even by colors as well as by lights and shadows, when their bases are not visible. This is occasioned by the mists and vapors which are constantly exhaled from the lower portions of the ground; for which reason the distant summits must obviously be more clearly marked out than the bases, even though the latter be considerably near to the eye.
All distant objects, lying immediately under the effect of a clear sky, will have in their hues a portion of the azure or other tints of the sky; and, hence, distances are generally laid in with the sky tints, modified, as we remarked above, to the occasion in hand.
They should be treated broadly, i.e., without much detail, and with masses of light and shadow. Indeed, this vagueness is necessary, both in cod tour and tint; each, of course, being modified by the degree of remoteness in the objects, as well as by the supposed state of the atmosphere, and the time of day.
The management of distances well be best felt and understood in the following acknowledged principles :
"Light is most easily seen in distances, the darkest colors being the first to lose effect."
"The defined and absolute colors of the objects diminish with the increase of the distance of the objects, as well as with the increase of the air tint."
On these principles it will be understood how dark objects become lighter, and light ones darker, by distance — though not in an equal degree ; for lights are slowly lost, while dark objects part with their color more quickly in retiring. The distance, however, at which these two classes of objects become of one color, or tone, depends upon the state of the atmosphere.
For general elfect, it will be necessary judiciously to insinuate, here and there, some greenish tints, as well as some light tones very nearly of a flesh color.
If it be possible, paint the distance in while the sky is yet wet, and even with the same tints as those of the lower portion, but only stronger and darker in hue. Should it be impossible, from the multiplicity of details, to effect this at the first painting, scumble over the whole with a tint either cooler or warmer, as will best improve the effect; into this you can then touch the various objects with different tints.
As the objects advance toward the foreground, a little more distinctness of color may be given; but it must rarely be given stronger than that which black, white, and yellow ochre will produce ; or a delicate gray and Naples yellow; and a little warm color may be interspersed, either in the buildings or in the objects which may require such a variety.
The rule, which was laid down for the painting of the sky, is equally applicable here; namely, that it is of the first importance to make the middle distance, in color and in the nature of its objects, of such a character as will lead the eye agreeably and imperceptibly from the third distance to the foreground.
The colors used for middle distances, are: Terre Verte, Vermilion, Indian Red, Lake, Prussian Blue, French Ultramarine, Naples Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Light Red, Madder Brown, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna.
The tints for middle distances are made by a graduated admixture of White with French Ultramarine and Vermilion; White with French Ultramarine and Light Red; White with Terre Verte and Light Red; White with Terre Verte and Vermilion ; White with Terre Verte and Indian Red; White with Terre Verte and Lake; White with Terre Verte and Brown Madder; White with Terre Verte and Prussian Blue; White with Indian Red; White with Vermilion.
All these tints are for the production of warmth, and are to be enriched by yellows, or to be glazed. Let it be observed that, when you mix a tint, it is best in the first instance to mix red and white only, and to add the yellow afterward ; a method which less disturbs the transparency of the tint.
Of course it is of the first importance in painting, to represent and distinguish the different varieties of trees; and this is done rather by the nature of their branching, their general sway, as it were — than by their color and leafing.
When near the eye, the masses of the foliage, as well as the general hue and tone of the verdure, should be carefully studied and observed; and these are to be truthfully depicted, not by marking out the shape of each leaf, but by a peculiar touch and handling, which at once informs the eye to what family the trees belong (willow, or oak, or sycamore, for instance), before approaching so near as to perceive the minute forms of the foliage.
In the middle distance, the greens of the land and trees must gradually partake of the aerial tone of the third distance, in proportion as the objects recede toward the horizon. Yet it is well not to neglect those accidental touches of the sun's rays, which give such important aid to the painter, by separating the various divisions, and breaking the monotony of the landscape. These bright spots of light should be slightly golden, yet of a very subdued character compared with similar effects in the foreground. They are of various tints; some are yellowish; others nankeen, or almost of a flesh color; some roseate; others of an orange tint.
Having thus observed the proper color, lay the foliage in irregular blots, with a brush filled with plenty of color freely mixed with megilp ; the copious use of this vehicle imparts a rich pulpy appearance to the work. Then take a small sable pencil, and mark out and form these irregular blots into a more defined shape and variety of touch. Paint into this foliage with opaque touching, for this is in accordance with nature — leafing, when against the light, being richer in color than when under the reflections from the opposite sky. In fact the upper sides of leaves are generally smooth and glassy— a condition which causes them to take the reflections of the sky; hence, the outer touches ought to be cool (partaking of the coolness of the sky); not so the interior of the masses.
Painting into the depths of the shadows, with decided dark touches, prevents the whole from being flat and heavy. It is necessary also to paint into the retiring, i.e., the more distant portions, while yet wet, with more delicate opaque tints; for this not only takes off the effect of too much sameness, but gives greater relief to the advancing branches.
If you wish to give the appearance of light shining, either through any particular branch of foliage or upon it, paint such parts in the first instance in high relief; and when dry glaze over them with a brighter color, such as Yellow Lake in combination with Prussian Blue; and even then (as was observed above), paint into the contiguous part with an opaque tint of a less obtrusive color ; but do not, in the first painting, make your trees of a fine green; depend rather, for the proper effect, upon repeated glazings and touchings afterward into the masses with delicate gray and green tones.
In painting trees, you must take into consideration the unsteady appearance, and, as it has been elegantly termed, the multitudinous ripplings of the general mass. Hence it is better to put the general effect in with the end of the brush, or in such a way as will give a rich surface to work upon — a surface filled with transparent color of unsteady character, laid in with reference to the subsequent finished penciling ; for, in commencing trees, or anything else, it is of paramount importance to work with a clear reference to the finishing.
Trees are often laid in, over the sky, without details; the visible portion of the heavens, when small, being thus obliterated by the mass blotched on. In such instances the little points of azure, seen in nature through the foliage, are recalled when the picture is repainted.
For greens in shadow there is no need of blue; they may be formed of a mixture of black and different yellows; the olive-toned greens thus produced are soft and very harmonious for shadows.
Should you wish the tint to partake of a light grayish cast (as in the case of willows in shadow), use Black, Naples Yellow and White. If a yellow reddish tint be needed for these dull greens, let the yellow predominate, but if the verdant part you are painting be now so far back in the perspective, that the violet gray-blue tint, peculiar to the distances, begins to take an aerial tone, then use French Blue.
The greens which French Blue would give, when mixed with Naples Yellow, or with Yellow Ochre, break, and are subdued by the use of Madder Lake, or sometimes by Light Red; more or less White being mixed with it, where it is required to gain an atmospheric tint.
In painting trees, it will be necessary to make the extremities of the branches more tender in color than their middle parts; and by letting the light be seen through various portions, great thinness and beauty may be attained, and thus that solidity and heaviness avoided, which are so unpleasant to the eye.
Stems and 'Trunks of Trees. — Having painted the stems in with a gray color as near to nature in tint as may be practicable, take your pencil, and, with its upper end cut to a fine point, draw the details in through the color while yet wet. When the whole is dry, glaze over those details nearest to you with an admixture of a little Black and Burnt Sienna, and wipe it partially off, so that a portion may remain in the crevices. On the other hand, scumble over the distant stems, as well as the retiring parts of the nearer ones, with a little pearly gray, causing them to melt in with the surrounding back-ground. For their foliage, when they have any, touch it in with Prussian Blue and Ochre, for the dark leaves, and with Terre Yerte and Naples Yellow, for the lights; using a finelypointed sable to give the character of the leaves, and gradually throwing them into a mass as they retire.
The following mechanical processes are frequently resorted to to produce a representation of foliage :
An old worn hog-hair tool, having scanty hairs, and those of irregular length, is employed. Such a brush leaves a jagged, varying, busy touch.
Sometimes the brush is crushed perpendicularly and flat upon the color on the palette. This causes the hair to diverge irregularly from the tie or ferrule; and, the points of the hair being thus charged with color, the brush is held loosely between the thumb and finger, and the points of the hair touched upon, or rather jerked against the work. The irregular scratchy-looking foliage, thus produced, is touched and worked, while it remains wet, with small hog-tools or sables.
Another mode is to use a flat sable, which is to be filled with color, and then drawn over a tooth-comb. By its being touched several times upon the extremities of the teeth of the comb, the hair is divided into several points, from which the color is transferred lightly to the work.
Color is laid in for grass by lightly touching the canvas, and jerking or flicking the brush upward so as to prod uce a free and natural representation of irregular blades of herbage. For long straggling stalks of grass, or for weeds or hedges, a finely -pointed sable is used in a similar manner.
These may be called the mere tricks of art; but, when a proper effect can be produced, few will question the means by which that effect has been obtained.
In preparing the palette for foregrounds, add the following colors to those already employed : Yellow Lake, Lemon Yellow, Madder Brown, Venetian Red, Brown Ochre.
Some of these must be sparingly used, or else they may prove too brilliant.
The lakes, and some other colors which are also bad driers, should be forced by using with them a little japanner's gold size, because it has a rapidly-drying property.
In commencing with the foreground, use the end of a hog-hair tool, well filled with megilp and color, (either Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue, or Ochre and Blue), and lay in the several masses in strength as they may respectively require; and, having thus got their general form and breadth, proceed to make out the details with a finely pointed sable, using Raw Sienna and Blue, in the tints, and Naples Yellow and Blue, for the lights.
You now proceed with the finish and detail, by marking out weeds and creepers, which give such charming richness and variety to the picture; such as the wild convolvulus, and the like, with here and there a blackberry branch jutting out into high relief.
"When all these objects are to be introduced, it will be necessary to flatten the ground behind them, in order that they may receive both sharpness and finish when painted.
Weeds and plants must be studied and drawn with the greatest care and accuracy, both in form and in light and shade, having the near edges of the several leaves sharp and cutting against the ground, which will give them their true perspective. By imparting an indistinctness to the outlines farthest from the eye, you give them a more receding character. As to the strength and delicacy of their shadows, that must depend upon the advantage these shadows will have in the general effect.
A remark made in a previous page may here be repeated, that, when the light shines through the leaf it is of a bright green, such as may be produced by Yellow Lake and Blue; but when viewed on the upper surface most leaves appear to be rather of an opaque and gray color, from their receiving the reflection of the sky.
Introduce also the different touches of grass and small plants, that are scattered amongst and mingled with the larger weeds.
In working up the foreground, do not elaborate the plants or foliage so minutely as to make them appear studied, and so cause them to interfere with the other parts of the picture; for it is not the landscape painter's business to describe like a botanist, though he should be so generally correct that the different species of the plants he introduces may be distinguished.
Observe, too, that vegetation should not be colored too green, that is, with a raw color of blue and yellow; but that by uniting a red (such as lake), or orange (such as burnt sienna), with the greens, you impart to them a more subdued and somber, or autumnal, hue; for nothing is more offensive than too coarse or raw a green. In fact, distinguish carefully between a glaring and glowing color — between what is vulgarly staring and what is rich.
To give twigs and branches, and the large dark markings at the bottom of heavy hedges and dense shrubs, it will be necessary to hatch (as it were) many lines, with a pink-toned brown (as Madder Brown).
Now all these methods cannot be finished at once; you are, therefore, in repainting, to glaze into the masses with transparent colors, for the purpose of giving the rich depth and variety of nature, and then to resume your minute touching of detail.
In painting banks, do not neglect to give a force and foreground character to them as they approach the eye, by means of seems, and the reflections of the trees in water; but, independently of this, aim at greater minuteness of detail and richness of color, and make much of hedges and reeds, which tend to soften the abrupt harshness of the stems of the trees.
In painting water, whether in a state of motion or of stillness, it is often made too light for its surrounding banks ; and thus painted it throws the whole picture out of harmony. Nothing, however, is more conductive to the harmony and completeness of a picture than the representation of water, either as a winding or a falling stream, or as a still lake. It enables the artist to repeat the various forms by reflections of them in the water, or to unite the sky with the lower parts of the landscape, leading down the light; breaking it (as it were) into smaller portions, and bringing the gray reflected light of the sky into contact with the strong shades and the rich browns of the foreground.
As an example of the nature of tint and color in water, it may be stated that water in shadow is often of a brown color, as when the current has had its course through a long tract of peat moss. This is the appearance which the rivers in Dovenshiie often exhibit.
Lastly; the distance must, to a certain degree, melt into the horizon. Thus every part of the picture requires to be more distinctly made out as it comes forward; and the foreground must not only be well detailed, but highly enriched with plants and various shrubs, and the ground itself finely broken.
The soft vacuity of the distance will contribute to increase the effect; and a well disposed group of figures or of cattle will add to the reality, as well as to the beauty, of the scene.