During the long summer afternoons and evenings students are free to do as they please, sketching anything that may chance to take their fancy, and thus avoiding all possibility of getting "stale."
Often they scour the country for miles
The Arts l880 around on bicycles or afoot, to be rewarded after a long climb by some splendid sunset effect seen through pine woods as the result of a long climb, or discovering the delightful mills and old-world inns and cottages which await them in the lanes of the Fittleworth valley.
Mr. Vicat-cole constantly sees and criticises the students' afternoon and evening work, and Mr. David Murray, R.a., has for many years past been in the habit of passing in review the work of the summer sketching classes during the winter months.
The fees for a four weeks' course with Mr. Vicat-cole's summer sketching class come to six guineas, while students joining for a shorter time pay £1 16s. a week. These fees, however, are reduced to a guinea a week for students engaged in teaching art or in earning their own living.
The girl students usually have separate bedrooms and share a sitting-room; some of them get their people to spend their holidays with them, and take a set of rooms in the neighbourhood of the sketching class, and sometimes a girl will take a house and lodge the others at cost price.
There are, as a general rule, at least one or two married women in the class, and Mrs. Vicat-cole is often to be found at her easel working with the rest, so that any young girls of the party are not without due chaperonage.
Mr. Frank Calderon invariably chooses a picturesquely situated English farm with good outhouses and barns where live-stock abound and the owner is a good-natured individual, ready to hire out horses and cattle to stand as models when required. Such a farm becomes the headquarters for his " Summer Sketching Class for Landscape and Animal Painting," which, as a rule, lasts from the first week in August to the middle of September.
The class meets at the farm at ten o'clock each morning, to find the model of the day already posed according to the prevailing weather. On sunny mornings the model -probably a fine cart-horse or a sturdy mare and foal-will stand, with a specially trained custodian who has learnt from long experience the best way of persuading animal models to keep to a single pose, at the side of a wide-spreading green meadow, where the students can place their easels underneath the shade of the surrounding trees, though those who prefer to do so can sit out in the sunshine protected from the glare by big green-lined painting umbrellas. On dull days the farmyard itself often affords a pleasant setting for the model, while in really wet weather, nothing daunted, the students assemble as usual to take up their positions with their easels inside a barn with wide-open doors, while a hardy cow tethered up in the rain, if given a little provender, will stand contentedly chewing the cud for hours on end to have her portrait painted.
At one o'clock work ceases while the students enjoy a picnic lunch of sandwiches and fruit brought with them, with the welcome addition, perhaps, of glasses of warm milk supplied on the spot by the farmer's wife.
At 2.30 work begins again, but, as a rule, from a dif-ferent model. Sometimes an old white horse-posed in the shade, where patches of brilliant sunshine which have pierced through the trees and make a seemingly simple subject into a puzzling enough study of light and shade-sometimes a donkey will be chosen, while numbers of fine dog models are always kept at hand, with a boy to hold them, should students prefer to work from these.
Mr. Calderon, meanwhile, goes from easel to easel both morning and afternoon, advising and criticising, or explaining away some technical difficulty in the matter of animal anatomy. At 4.30 all "systematic class-work stops for the day.
A farmhouse can seldom accommodate so large a party as Mr. Calderon's sketching .class-usually consists of, and many of the students are therefore perforce picketed out in rooms in the nearest village. These have been specially inspected beforehand by Mrs. Calderon, who is invariably of the party, and not only herself chaperones all
Posing an animal model for a sketching class. Work at Fittleworth begins early, and is supervised during the morning by Mr. Vicat'cole himself the girls, but, as a rule, contrives to take a big enough house to have room for those girls whose mothers do not care for them to go into separate lodgings.
The cost of living varies from about a guinea to thirty shillings a week. Students can generally manage comfortably on twenty-five shillings a week, especially if two girl friends put up in the same cottage and share a sitting-room and meals.
When circumstances admit of it, Mrs. Calderon and the students get up various small festivities in the evenings, and one year, when the members lodged within a stone's throw of each other along a village street, they hired the village hall and gave an impromptu fancy-dress dance.
The fees for Mr. Calderon's summer painting class are as follows:
Six weeks .. .-.. ..8 guineas
One month (four consecutive weeks) .. . . . . 6 guineas
Two weeks .. .. .. 4 guineas
Twelve lessons at student's convenience .. . . 5 guineas
The difficulty of getting enough accommodation for a large class of students (for at least thirty or forty pupils, the greater number of whom are girls, as a rule join the class during the summer) in a small village in August, when country lodgings are at a premium, is naturally very great, and intending students should, if possible, make their plans for joining the summer sketching class not later than early June, for all the best and cheapest rooms are invariably snapped up early, and late comers have to put up with more expensive or less comfortable quarters.
Mr. Walter Donne holds an important summer sketching class each year during July, August, and September, which usually meets abroad, though for the summer of 1911 a picturesque part of North Wales, near Arthog, has been chosen. For several seasons past it has met at Bernival, near Dieppe, and before that at Dunster, Winchel-sea, and Rye.
Students, as a rule, number from twenty-five to forty, and a chaperon is always of the party.
The sketching class fees for one month are £4. 14s. 6d., and for two months £8 8s., while board and lodging cost from 25s. to 36s. a week.
Students are expected to work with the class both morning and afternoon, but Mr. Donne is a great believer in varying the subject to be sketched as far as possible, and in fine weather landscape work is done alternately with studies of figures posed in the open air, while on wet days subjects are arranged indoors.
A figure composition is also set each week, the subject chosen to be depicted being one that is suitable to the special part of the country in which the class is being held, and the resultant sketches are fastened up and criticised before the assembled class. Students receive special instructions in the art of choosing a subject for a sketch, and learn how to place it pictorially on the paper, arranging it with an idea of balance and with a view to the introduction of figures or animals.
A young student receiving help from Mr. Frahk Calderon. The artist chooses for his sketching class students a farm where good models can be had for animal painting out of doors.
If the weather is unfavourable, the class is held in a barn and the model posed outside it