There are a number of holiday sketching classes which are held annually during the summer months by various artists of repute, among whom may be mentioned Mr. Norman Garstin, the famous Cornish painter, Mr. Rex Vicat-cole, Mr. Frank Cal-deron, and Mr. Walter Donne.
These holiday classes are, as a rule, most enjoyable affairs, for although e n t h usiastic hard work is the order of the day, it is of a wholly congenial kind, and there is a cheerful holiday atmosphere about painting amidst picturesque surroundings out in the sunshine and in the open-air which is doubly delightful to those who have been working, perhaps, for five or six days a week in the heated atmosphere of a London studio.
Mr. Norman Garstin, as a rule, leaves England with a large party of students not later than the middle of June, to make for some small old-fashioned town in Holland, Belgium, or France, some little bourg from which the tide of prosperity has ebbed, leaving the buildings gently to decline into a p i c t u resque old age. These are not easy to find, and when one does happen upon what seems an ideal sketching ground, the chances are that the accommodation is so limited that it will not suffice for so numerous a party.
Students of Mr. Norman Carstin's summer sketching class working in a picturesque village street in France. A delightful holiday combined with thorough instruction in art and regular practice in drawing can be obtained by these students at a minimum expense
The Arts study the matter of expense are naturally anxious to keep their journey within reasonable limits.
Mr. and Mrs. Norman Garstin, however, have a store of past experience to guide them, and invariably have been successful in the choice of their annual sketching grounds, which have ranged from the waterways of Holland to the rocky coasts of Finisterre, and include Rijserd, Delft, Bruges, Fumes, Nieupert, Cassel, Oudenarde, Montreuil, S. Valery, S. Souine, Caudebec, Dinan, Treguier, Quimperte, the very names of which are delightful, and seem to carry with them a sunshiny atmosphere.
In summer-time, when landscape is for the most part rather monotonous in its uniformity of heavy green, these little towns, with their relics of respectable antiquity and their characteristic streets, just populous enough to offer suggestions of the daily life of the inhabitants, but not so much so as to render painting a difficulty, are, Mr. Garstin finds, the best places to sketch in, particularly if there is a pleasant river or waterway with the stir of a small harbour, which is in itself a perennial source of interest and inspiration to the artist.
Mr. Norman Garstin's pupils start work in the morning after the petit dejeuner, each one working wherever the spirit moves her, while Mr. Garstin wanders round to criticise and give what help he can until luncheon time. The afternoons and long summer evenings Mr. Garstin reserves for his own work, the students going their several ways, working in little groups or separately as they please.
If possible, the whole party boards at one hotel, but very few in these small towns can give sleeping accommodation to so large a number, and students are therefore billeted out in the houses of the neighbouring bourgeois.
The average cost of living for students is about five francs a day, though this varies somewhat according to the locality, while the fees for the sketching class are three guineas a month of four weeks, and pro rata.
The students in Mr. Garstin's sketching classes-consisting mostly of young ladies-
Members of Mr. Garstin's summer sketching class at work in the market' place of Oudenarde, a quaint and typical old Belgian city as a rule, number from forty to seventy during the course of the summer months.
Mr. Rex Vicat-cole-the well-known painter of exquisite woodland scenes and of wide-spreading pastures and sky-holds a delightful sketching class at Fittleworth, one of the loveliest parts of Sussex, for a month or six weeks each summer, from mid-july to the end of August, usually, after which he goes with a party of students to some picturesque spot in the West Riding of Yorkshire for another month's work.
The Fittleworth students' headquarters are at a most attractive, old-fashioned farmhouse, with its two or three adjacent cottages, a couple of miles out of Fittleworth, overlooking a winding stream in the midst of harvest fields and wide-spreading meadows with grazing flocks, that provide endless subjects for the landscape painter's brush to depict.
Genre pictures galore also present themselves to be painted, and most country folk will pose if you know how to ask them, and do not expect them to waste their time for nothing. The members of the class commence early, and ten o'clock finds them all hard at work making serious studies of the subject of the day, whatever that may chance to be, the work, in fact, being just that of an art school held out in the open.
Mr. Vicat-cole spends the morning hours from ten to one with his pupils, criticising and advising. His system of teaching is to keep students sketching at one subject until they have learnt all they can about it, the different ways of treating it, the composition, and so on; they are not taught or allowed to make "pretty pictures," and sincerity in the work is. above all, insisted on.