When pretty strong toning is desired, two or three mixtures of color must be made. Mix kaolin and dextrin in equal parts and knead the mixture with sufficient water to impart to it the consistency of modelling clay. This mixture divide into three equal par The first part knead with as much lamp-black as it will receive; the second knead with half as much lamp - black as used with the first part, and with the third part use only so much lamp-black as is necessary to impart to it a light - gray color. These mixtures must be left to dry thoroughly, when they are ground fine. They are laid on the dry sheeting and rubbed with a blacking-brush. The manner of blending the light parts into the dark parti opon to paints their own backgrounds. It is better to pay for having them pro-vided by experienced artists and colorists.
228. Backgrounds may be painted either in u distemper " or in oil Of course the latter are the more costly, but they are also the more lasting, and the least subject to injury. Again, they are the more difficult to paint.
228. If the ground is to be treated in oil-colors, proceed as follows: The sheeting is stretched upon a wooden frame and primed with a good paste of equal parts of starch and water. After drying, the color is laid on, the same having been prepared in the following manner: Mix ten parts white - lead, two parts siccative, and as much black - color as is necessary to produce the desired tone, with five parts oil of turpentine. This mixture is stirred well, then left quiet for some hours until the white-lead has settled upon the bottom. Now, as much of the oil of turpentine as possible is cautiously poured off, and fresh oil of turpentine is added, so that the mixture gets a good consistency; then two parts of scraped brown soap is added yet, and the mixture filtered through cotton stuff.
A large brush is used to lay this color on; the faster the whole surface is covered the better. If the stuff should extend, stretch it again tight. Sometimes it is necessary to paint it twice.
Another way consists in coating the stretched sheeting with a thin solution of glue, and after it has become dry it gets painted with a color which has been diluted with petroleum and linseed-oil, so as to be easily laid on with the brush. The linseed-oil prevents the color from drying too fast, and causes the same to flow easier.
The stretching of the painted background upon the frame is done as follows: The upper border of the background is first fastened, beginning in the middle, with short tacks at intervals of two inches, and then the frame is placed upright in order to get moistened. The back part of the ground must be very evenly moistened, i.e., with cold water for glue - grounds, and with warm water for oil-grounds. With glue-grounds, be careful not to wet the front part, as the ground would be spoiled thereby. After having been moistened, the ground is placed again upon the flour, and the other three borders fastened. Backgrounds stretched in this way are absolutely free from folds. Do not omit to wet the borders thoroughly, as they are apt to tear if dry.
Smooth backgrounds are obtainable in the market up to a width of three and a quarter metres, and in different shades of color. Ft vignetted portraits, choose a lighter color than for such as are to be printed in full.
I may mention yet the backgrounds with a landscape for a motive, which are often employed. If such backgrounds are tastefully and appropriately arranged - not too much worked out in detail - they are, in most cases, of quite a good effect with portraits. It is, however, indispensably necessary to have several such backgrounds for a change, as nothing is more tasteless than a continual repetition of the same objects in all the pictures. Parlor decorations have also a very good effect, if not going too much into detail, and not "crowding out" the head and figure, which, of course, must always be the main parts in a portrait.
The wish to get the accessories and the background of the portrait as sharp as the figure is very difficult of realization, and, furthermore, shows very little artistic taste. Only in repro-
229. There are many devices which the ingenuity of the individual photographer will suggest, according to his wants, for storing the backgrounds needed when not in use. A plan recommended by the well-known amateur photographer, Mr. Charles Wager Hull, will be well understood by Fig. 55. By the use of a frame or stand and proper pulleys, the backgrounds not in use are simply let down to the floor, out of the way. 230. The introduction of accessories into the picture to help make up the proper composition is always in order, provided it is governed by the rules laid down in Lesson A. The greatest blunders are made in this direction. The difficulty is not only that art and nature must be combined,. but that such incongruous choice is made oftentimes of the articles used with a given model. Profusion ductions from designs, engravings, etc., is it of paramount importance that the whole surface should appear equally sharp. In portraits, however, it is strictly necessary, for the artistic beauty of the picture, that some objects of secondary value are indistinct and out of focus in order to bring out the main objects the clearer and more natural. In examining a photographic picture, we must not ask, "Is it everywhere sharp?" That would be a mistake. Let us see first what the picture purports to represent. If the artist designs to reproduce the mechanical copy of an object, then, of course, he is bound to render everything sharp and exact; but if he aims at obtaining an artistic effect, then the picture can only be judged according to artistic rules, and these never exact a uniform sharpness. The well-known background painter, Seavey, in New York, published a very praiseworthy essay, with illustrations, upon the use of painted backgrounds, in the Photographic Archives and in the Philadelphia Photographer.