This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
For coloring landscapes begin with the sky; then if there is any water in the scene, color it, using the same tints as for the sky. Next color the background, and conclude with the foreground. By the proper manipulation of the colors you can produce a sky which will appear clear, cloudy, warm or cold, according to the blending of the color.
Clear Sky. - To color a clear sky prepare the wooden needle with a little ball of cotton-wool on each end. Moisten both stumps by dipping into the turpentine, but do not drain them afterwards. Dip one end in liquid blue, and the other in any color you may choose for the horizon. Begin by quickly covering the sky with the blue, applying it with the stump in a circular motion without any regard as to regularity. After the sky has been covered, take the other end of the stump and rub in the horizon, starting at the bottom or edge of the horizon and working up into the sky. Apply this tint promiscuously, using the side of the stump as you rub it over the surface. After this application take a fair sized piece of cotton-wool and, before the turpentine has time to dry off, rub from the top to the bottom steadily, in circular motion, to mix the two tones together. This will give a gradual blending from the horizon color to the blue sky color. If the desired effect has not been obtained, or if the color dries too quickly, it is not necessary to rub farther, but prepare a new stump, of pretty good size, dip it in turpentine, and rub the surface with the turpentine. This will spread the colors more, at the same time slightly diluting them. If the color be too strong take a dry stump and, using the side, rub freely on the parts that require reducing, at the same time pressing on the stump quite hard. No harm will be done so long as you do not use the point. With the dry stump rub places requiring a lighter tone than others.
Reflections on the Water. - When a portion of a lake or any body of water throws a reflection from the sky, color the water the same as the sky, but proceed to apply the tints in reverse order. Especially is this true where clear water exists. For sea water blend horizontally from dark mauve to pale green. The waves should be shaded with a small stump and colored without turpentine; i. e., dip the stump into the undiluted color and rub onto the print For this purpose as much color as possible must be taken onto the stump, the latter being held quite flat, as it gives a broader sweep. The light portions of the shadow are blended with a clean stump dipped into turpentine, allowing it to dry for a second or two before applying. Then rub these lighter portions, gradually blending them into the deeper shadows. This will supply the necessary gradation.
Dark Clouds. - For dark clouds prepare a tightly wound stump, and, without wetting in the turpentine, dip in the proper color and rub on a piece of clean paper until greasy lines are produced. Then proceed to work in the clouds, drawing the stump so as to form circular lines, increasing the length of the stroke as you come nearer to the horizon. For dark clouds a mixture of blue, pink and dark mauve is very effective. Light tints can be produced by rubbing with a dry stump or India rubber.
Light Clouds. - To color pale tinted clouds fold a small linen rag over the forefinger of the right hand; then slightly moisten with turpentine and rub over the sky portions in cloud shaped form until you get the proper reduction in the color. The outlines of the turpentine must now be rubbed off with a wad of dry cotton-wool, kept ready in the left hand. This must be done quickly, before the turpentine evaporates. By this means you blend the clouds. Sharp lights can be cut or rubbed in where desired with an India rubber.
Foregrounds. - In painting foregrounds, leaves and branches of trees are colored by dipping the stump into a solid color, or the combination of desired colors, undiluted. But before applying to the print, rub the stump in a piece of linen placed between the first and second fingers of the left hand, turning the stump continually until the surplus oil is removed. Apply the stump to those portions you wish colored.
Care must be exercised that the proper color be used for high-lights, even in green foliage, as they verge strongly on the violet and blue tints. Trunks of trees have a blue cast in the high-lights; in fact, any object in strong light has a violet or blue cast, and the proper colors must be used to give them their natural appearance. These colors are all applied in the same manner. The deepest shadows are worked heavier than the more delicate ones. One color must be completed before applying the second, after which the two should be blended. Do this with a wad of dry cotton, or with a large cotton stump - rubbing freely.
When strong high-lights (white portions) are desired, prepare a new stump; dip it into clean turpentine, and after allowing it to set for a second or two apply it to the highlights, rubbing the surface delicately. If this does not sufficiently reduce the lights apply a little more pressure to the stump until you obtain the desired result.
Remember that turpentine will reduce the colors to the clear paper, if you so desire, and that you cannot injure the surface, providing, of course, the stump is properly made.
For your first practice work it is advisable to blend different colors on ordinary manilla wrapping paper. Several such experiments will give you a splendid idea of proper blending, as well as of color combinations. It is always advisable to experiment on plain paper before applying a color to the print, as the secret of this process lies in the proper blending of colors. First determine the colors you wish to use on the particular picture in hand. Should you err in the proper selection, dip the stump in turpentine and remove the color applied; then, discarding the stump, make a new one and apply another color, or combination of colors. Your first practice should be devoted entirely to the blending of colors. Refer to the different combinations of colors given in the forepart of this instruction. By properly diluting these a large variety of tone can be produced.