Clouds as Seen in Nature and as Used in Conjunction with Architecture.

Figure 46. Clouds as Seen in Nature and as Used in Conjunction with Architecture.

Another very important point is that in representing a large body of water account should be taken of the 'fact that nearby waves appear larger than those in the distance; consequently larger pencil strokes are often employed in their indication. Remember, too, that the distant shore is usually rather indistinct, therefore it should be shown so, with all detail subordinated.

The general tone of water often depends on its reflective power. If a sky is light, for instance, the water will be quite light also, as a rule, especially if smooth, and vice versa, though there are many exceptions to this.

So great is the variety in the effect of water that every sort of line is needed for its indication. Vertical strokes are often satisfactory when it is smooth, whereas those of a generally horizontal direction are sometimes better when it shows ripples or waves. The sketches in Figure 45 offer a number of suggestions for water, using different strokes. Perhaps the only one of these needing special comment is that at B sketch 4, showing the wet streets. This has been presented because delineators of architectural subjects sometimes show wet streets and sidewalks in their renderings, mainly for the purpose of introducing a little interest and preventing a hackneyed result, and such sketches as this offer suggestions for that kind of work. On wet sidewalks and streets as well as where water is of greater depth it is usually well to combine with the lines suggesting reflection, others, generally opposite in direction, indicating the surface itself.

Before leaving this subject it may be well to mention that shadows are often cast upon water by various objects, the dark tone having a tendency to cause the water to appear still darker; this is simply another of the many complications that make a thorough study of the whole matter essential.

Now let us give a few moments' thought to the indication of skies and clouds, which are, perhaps, as easy to handle in pencil as any of the accessories. A few suggestions on essential points should prove sufficient for it is by no means necessary to attempt more than a simple sky treatment in the average architectural drawing. It is, in fact, often possible to allow the white of the paper to remain untouched or to cover it with a uniform tone of gray or to grade it in the simplest manner from dark above to light at the horizon. The value selected usually depends on the tone of the building illustrated; when it' is dark in color or has a dark roof the sky is left light, but if light it is sometimes shown against a dark sky in order to secure a satisfying contrast, as in sketch 5, Figure 46. These . simple treatments are especially appropriate in renderings of formal buildings where many clouds might prove distracting. Picturesque buildings permit greater freedom, for the accessories should have a character similar to that of the building, - but even these informal structures may be left with white paper for the sky if there is foliage and the like to add interest to the whole. It is perhaps in the representation of very plain buildings with a rather monotonous setting that clouds serve the best purpose, for even though restrictions prevent the use of trees or other accessories, there is seldom an exterior drawing in which clouds cannot be employed if one wishes, and nature gives us so many kinds and arranges them in so many ways that there is always opportunity for an appropriate selection. A building of awkward proportion or displeasing contour can be so disguised by skilful sky treatment as to take on a far different aspect, and perspective distortion can likewise be hidden in many cases, or made less conspicuous, while the shadows cast by clouds can also be used to great advantage, thrown across a monotonous roof or wall surface or upon the ground. Clouds, like other accessories, should never be made too prominent, however. Some students draw the masses so round that the curves fail to harmonize with the straight lines of the architecture while others form such "wooly" strokes or such rough textures that no sense of distance is obtained, the clouds seeming nearer perhaps than the architecture itself. Each line and tone should quietly take its place. So unless a drawing is large or done with a very bold, vigorous technique, lather light but firm strokes would seem best, using a medium or hard pencil and striving for a silvery-gray line, for smoothness suggests distance. Again, as skies seem softer in effect and the individual clouds smaller in size and less definite as they recede towards the horizon, it is best, as a rule, to have the boldest strokes and the largest and most definite masses near the zenith. Storm clouds, especially those showing strongly contrasting forms and values, are seldom desirable in architectural work, and sunrise or sunset effects detract, unless skilfully handled, from the architecture itself.

In the actual representation of clouds two methods are common, one being the simple indication of the forms by outline alone; the other a naturalistic rendering of the full tone. As the former obviously requires less time it is often the more desirable one, though the choice really depends on what seems demanded by the remainder of the drawing. Avoid too mechanical an outline in any case, but work instead for a suggestion of the variety of mass and edge found in nature, giving special care to the suggestion of modelling, remembering that clouds are not the flat disks that students sometime represent them to be.