This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
See that your design is well placed on your paper or canvas, not too high nor too low, nor on one side. Then block in in masses. Never begin by shaping carefully some single feature, else when it is alone you will probably find it is not quite in the right place, and must be erased, and all your work will be lost. Make a rough dash or two to indicate certain marked points in the sketch, then one will tell the story on the other, whether they will come out right or not, and when you are certain of all it will be time for details.
If you are trying some flowers from nature, place them so that the light falls on one side of the study; seat yourself so that you see enough of the shadow side, and far enough away to get full effect of light and shade. Put your lightest mass of colour in full light, and see that the colours are massed, not sprinkled or peppered around all over the study. Do not place all the flowers looking toward you, but see the side and back of some. Do not make out every little stem and leaf to painful perfection, but let some of them get lost in the tangle. A little mystery is better, and suggestiveness is always pleasing. Let the background set off the picture, not be the picture. Keep your tints pure. Use brushes enough, and those that are large enough. Lose some of your little brushes. Your pictures will be better for it. Forget each little part by thinking constantly of the study as a whole, and by trying for general effect. Do not leave out some that are away back in the shadow, but paint them so that it will seem as if you could reach away around the jug, or vase, or bunch, and pick them.
Study your shadow colours. Many amateurs simply intensify the local colour, and never see the shadowy tint which is far more subtle.
Keep the edges soft; do not put a nice little hard line around each petal and leaf. Paint shadows thinly; pile up high lights. Paint what you see. High light and deep shadow often obliterate both form and colour. Paint from dark to light; never lay on high lights first. Paint even a white flower all in shadowy greys first. Paint directly; do not dab around in blind faith that what you seek will somehow rise up and appear to you out of the chaos. Study the harmony of the whole.
As to finish - that indefinable term - avoid extremes, but try to strike the happy mean between finnickiness and a mere impression. E. F.
Flowers for Studies should be used as soon as cut, be put in a tight-closing vessel, and sprinkled with just enough water to keep up moisture. If a tin box, or vasculum, is not at hand, a high tin pail will answer the purpose. Flowers will keep much better in this way than by standing in the air with their stems in water. When they are to be grouped for a design, if the arrangement will allow of their being put in water, as each stem is immersed, reach the points of a pair of scissors down and cut off a bit of it; this renders the stems more capable of absorbing water than they are after being cut in theair, consequently the flowers and leaves will preserve their freshness much longer.