This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
The summer sketching class is at work by the sea, and the master walks about from easel to easel and points out the mistakes of his pupils. He is a wise man, and gives no recipes for painting, and he has no stock phrases; but in his informal talks on art he generalizes and gives rules that all art students may follow with advantage. Here are a few of them, taken down by one of the class:-
Don't squint. Try to see nature as you should with your eves wide open.
Try to build the painting up altogether, putting a dark shadow here and there, and keep in mind at least three different notes of colour, which, properly placed on the canvas, will serve as key-notes.
In painting any single part of a picture, such as a boat, don't consider it individually, but keep in mind the colour of the things about it, and paint with reference to them.
Work with a brush well tilled with paint, and don't just stain the canvas. The side of that boat would appear very much truer to nature it it were painted with thicker colour.
Play more with your brush. Feel happy when you are painting, and practise brush work to such an extent that after a while you forget the means by which you are doing it.
Hold up a card with a square hole in it, and put what you see through the opening on your canvas.
Imagine a screen dropped before you and the objects you wish to paint, and regard the impression of the landscape as though you saw it thrown upon the screen.
Try to paint the sky as if we could see through it, and not as if it were a flat surface, or so hard that villi could crack nuts against it.
The streaked appearance we sec in the work of the impressionists is meant to convey the idea that the air vibrates, and that we can see through it like a screen; but most of them overdo it.
Keep comparing the values of the different darks.
It is often well to quite finish one part of the picture as to establish something with which to compare the rest.
In painting a sandy beach, try to imagine that you are walking upon it, and when dealing with a round object, try to feel that it is really round.
Keep your sky open, and when painting a tree, make it look as though birds could fly through it.
It is an excellent plan to look at the landscape upside down - that is, with the head down. It makes the masses of colour and light and shade appear differently.
Try to paint the unusual; never mind if it does not meet the approval of the masses. Always remember that it is the man who paints the unusual who educates the public. I am never so disappointed in a piece of work as when it meets with the approval of the public.
Get your canvas so truthfully noted that it will take care of itself. Much depends upon a good start.
Don't paint when you "don't feel like it." Rather walk about and study effects, making notes of colour and drawing in your mind. Sometimes this is quite as good for you as painting.
Let the edges of your picture lose themselves !
How much light there is in everything out of doors ! Look out of a window and note how light the darkest spots in the landscape are when compared with the sash of the window.
Don't be too conscientious about work. Play with it more; be more artistic and free.
See all the pictures you can. It stimulates you.
Select for studies things with strong contrasts and very pronounced in colour. It will help to give boldness to your work. Choose a " brutal " subject, so to speak.
"The Barque in Danger." a recent Etching by Professor Alphonse Legros.
Remember that it is time lost to have to unlearn anything.
Don't put down things that you don't see and correct them afterwards. What's the use of falsehood, with the view of telling the truth later ?
Work discreetly and don't fumble. Mix exactly the colour you want on the palette, put it on the canvas in its proper place, and let it stay. Don't touch it afterward !
We all see colour and form. Why not begin with colour at once and work with a brush loaded with paint, rather than with black and white ?
Never hesitate to run away from a stud}- if it does not suit you.
Most students attempt to paint with a means that a master would be afraid to handle. Don't be exactly careless, but work freely and not with strained Bare. When doing a bunch of trees, try to keep in mind the neighbouring tones.
Avoid the process of considering parts, and learn to regard your subject as a whole.
Artists who are wise use the very best brushes; they find them the cheapest in the end. But the beginner needs not to be so particular about his materials, which he is likely enough to spoil before he learns how to use. He will find a good-sized medium-bristle brush very serviceable for foreground, background, sky, and water; and this, with one small and one medium flat sable, will at first serve his purposes very well. In the same way with Whatman's "imperial" drawing paper he will make as good a picture as with a more costly paper. It is usually the beginner or incapable amateur who makes most fuss about materials, and who wants to know if his colours will fade, and if his paper will last. To such we say: Learn to paint on anything and everything, and with two brushes rather than a dozen, and with four tubes rather than a boxful. Then, if you happen to be where you want to sketch, and have not your full equipment, you will be ready.
(Continued from page 115.)