IN learning the art of drawing or writing, like all other Arts and Sciences, there are certain first and fixed principles to be observed as a foundation upon which the whole is built. A right understanding of these is absolutely necessary that we may become masters of that art which we undertake to learn. A neglect of these first principles is the reason why so many who have spent time sufficient to become accomplished artists, are, after all their pains and loss of time, incapable of producing even fair work; and are often at a loss to know how to begin. Many commence by copying the work of others, and are surprised to find how little such ability avails them when attempting to make sketches from nature. The instruction for those who intend prosecuting this delightful study, is prepared with great care by the author, who has had very many years of experience in landscape drawing. 'Tis true that much of his ability has been attained by years of patient industry and practice. Yet time might have been saved by little earlier attention to principles and study of works on the subject, prepared by experts. The best advice to those contemplating a study of the art - who possess any degree of skill in the use of the pencil, is to go out into the field, with the "instructor" in one hand and your sketch-book in the other, select some object of interest, and "take it in." If not satisfactory, try again - be not too easily discouraged. You will find the study of nature a source of pleasure, objects of interest will appear on every hand, in the valleys, on the mountains, the lakes, or by the river side, and as you become familiar with the scenes in nature, difficulties will disappear, and you are happy in the thought that sketching from nature is truly one of the most pure and refined of intellectual pleasures and professions, and the sketch-book with you, as with the writer, will ever be a chosen companion.
When this branch of the work has been completed, and the landscape transferred to paper and shaded up, the most difficult part of the task is accomplished. The next essential element in the advancement of the picture, and that which renders it more beautiful to the eye, is color. 'Tis well to turn aside from your unfinished landscape or portrait, and study the colors in nature, the mixing of tints, and how to apply them, as shown on a subsequent page of this book.
To become an artist requires only a love for the art, a good eye, and an abundance of continuity.