This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
There are certain features of landscape to be found in the early spring, which cease to exist when the clays grow longer; and as stronger sun rays hasten all things to maturity, these gain an added interest from their transient charm; for in art, as in all good things, variety is valuable.
The usefulness of that preliminary study of tree forms, which has been recommended in the magazine to the student in his earlier sketches from nature, will now be apparent. It is sometimes much harder to draw with grace a young tree than an old one, on the same principle that it is more difficult for a beginner in the life-class to make his first studies from the immature form of a child than from the more settled lines of an older person. The particular advantage in knowing how to draw is perhaps most clearly shown here, in teaching the artist to suggest with his brush the most characteristic forms, rather than to define them carefully. Thus we shall know the tender young sapling, apart from its colour, by supple, sweeping lines which will distinguish it, even at a distance, from the knotted trunk and stunted branches of the small tree at its side, whose arrested growth has robbed it of beauty, and substituted grotesqueness for grace. Yet this old tree may also become a picturesque feature in your sketch, and perhaps find its usefulness by contrast.
Observe closely the shadows of these slender young trees; faint, tentative, thrown tremblingly on the fresh grass, like a newly Hedged birdling, feebly fluttering its wings. The sunlight in springtime seems young too; it has a hazy and undecided quality, as if it were learning afresh to fit its slanting rays to sward instead of snow. There are no harsh outlines here - something very different from the brilliant, clear-cut light and shade of winter sunbeams falling upon the frost-bound earth. These purple, vibrating shadow-tones, with prismatic edges, lie softly, like the petals of violets strewn upon the dewy verdure.
There is a tendency among young landscape painters, in sketching directly from nature, to make shadows too dark. To obviate this, it is well to wash in the shadows first, and on a somewhat lighter key than you see them, but without establishing any stronger tonal contrast than is furnished by the value of the paper beneath. This will naturally key the eye up to a very high standard of colour, while comparison, later, between the true shadow and highest light will test its truth. If, on the other hand, the shadows are painted in their full depth at first, leaving all the lighter parts till the last, the eye may lose its freshness through constantly observing only dark tones, so that the high lights will be insensibly lowered in value, and the effect as a whole may thus lose in brilliancy and crispness. Remember, always, that it is better to wash in the first painting too light rather than too dark; for it will be much easier, in finishing, to deepen a tone that is too high than to clarify one that is too low in key. Above all things, keep the colour fresh; do not mix the greens too much before laving them on. In some cases it is most effective to run in the pure colours, sufficiently diluted with water, blending on the paper with a clean wet brush; anything is better than to work them
Pencil Memorandum Sketch together until they are lifeless and dull. The term "tired colour," used to express this, is very significant. Our eyes should be full of the sunlight when we paint the shadow, and in the shadows on grass or foliage we find all the colours of the same grass in sunlight repeated, but in a lower key.
In order to express this fact, it is frequently necessary to use a different set of colours, especially in reds and yellows, vermilion, light red, and cadmium being best suited to the lighter tones; while burnt sienna, madder lake, and yellow ochre are more harmonious in representing the richer and more subdued warmth of those which appear darker in value