This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
There are, speaking generally, two methods of painting in water-colours, as practised by artists of the present day, and by either of them excellent results may be attained. These are known, respectively, as the " transparent" and the " opaque " method, or, to use the French terms - "aquarelle" and "gouache." In the former, as its name indicates, transparent colours alone are employed, and the manner of working is to float the colour upon the paper in a series of washes more or less dense in quality, according to the amount of water used. The paper, which is necessarily white, is made to serve for the high lights, with a thin wash of pale colour run over it if desirable, or else left entirely clear. Brilliant effects may be obtained by the careful handling of such washes, and it is in every way desirable that this, the more difficult method, should be mastered in the first place. We will therefore direct to it our sole attention for the present.
The moist colours in tubes are the most satisfactory, though those arranged in small pans are of equally good quality, with the exception of Chinese white, which is always better in the tube. Those needed will be Chinese white, vermilion, yellow ochre, cadmium, rose madder, light red, burnt sienna, Indian red, cobalt, Antwerp or Prussian blue, indigo, Vandyck brown, sepia, raw umber, blue black and ivory black. In addition to these, the light and dark zinober greens will be found useful, though not indispensable, as the same quality of colours may be produced by combining Antwerp blue, cadmium and vermilion.
For sketching and ordinary purposes, a "block" of Whatman's or any other good make of handmade paper will be suitable. Let the texture be of medium roughness. For large studies and pictures, sheets of heavy paper the required size may be procured already mounted upon a stretcher, after the fashion of a canvas for oil painting; or, if preferred, the paper may be simply stretched by the artist himself, in the following manner: The paper, having been previously washed over with clear water, is covered around the edges with mucilage or flour paste to the width of half an inch or more, and is then firmly and smoothly pressed down upon the board. After the paste is quite dry, another wash of clear water, slightly tinted with yellow ochre, is run over the surface, a large flat sable being used for the purpose. By this means any accidental impurities will be removed from the paper, which is then prepared to receive the colour.
A delicate drawing of the subject is first made in outline with a finely-pointed lead-pencil. Only the principal lines of the composition should be indicated, as no traces of the pencil should be seen when the work is finished. Fine rubber only must be employed for erasures. Above all, avoid the use of bread, for it will grease the paper.