Painting is the art of making a picture with a brush and some type of paint. For beginners, poster paint or opaque water-color paint, with large paper, is a good medium. More advanced media are water-color paints and oil paints.

Using Potter Paint

Fasten piece of newsprint, antique, manila, or bogus paper on drawing board and prop against a wall, tree, rock, or easel.

With a small brush and a color like light brown, brush in, in no more than two minutes, the location of each part of the picture. Starting with center of interest, paint that area, and the areas around it that are approximately the same color. Do this simply, with no detail. When the whole picture has been painted, go back and put in details like windows, clothing, shadows, etc. Make a quick painting rather than one that is tediously and meticulously done.

When using poster paint, it is possible to place two wet colors beside each other with no danger of the colors running together.

Paint large areas with wide brushes, detail with small brushes. Add white poster paint to other poster paint colors, to lighten the color; do not add water to lighten colors. Add water to poster paint to keep it the consistency of heavy cream.

Wash brushes with water.

Using Water-Color Paints

Water color is the most difficult medium to control. It is a very wet medium when used correctly. A direct approach of put it down and leave it is the best policy; otherwise, any changes will show when the paint is dry.

Mix paints on plate or other white surface, mixing enough color for each area to be painted. Add water to color to lighten it. Two adjoining areas should be painted with a narrow strip of unpainted paper between them, or one area should be painted and let dry before applying the adjacent color. If this is not done, the two colors will run together.

Experiment with the paint to see what can be done with various colors, using long sweeps of the brush. Try a gray sky, looking like rain, a dead tree or a living one, or perhaps a splash of red sunset. This may be called a "mood" picture.

Paint on a horizontal surface, if possible, so the colors will not run down in long drips and spoil the picture.

Wash brushes and palette with water.

Here are some suggestions to help in working with water-color paints:

Sky is sometimes indicated first as a "wash" or light blue area, flowed on smoothly by overlapping one row with the next, carrying color continuously across the paper with one stroke of a loaded wash brush or a 1" bristle brush. Let dry, and then paint over it, putting in trees, buildings, or other objects that come in front of the sky.

Clouds are white spaces left on white paper-not painted. Pale purple used as a shadow on the lower parts will indicate fluffy clouds.

People are painted rather than drawn. Do not outline arms, legs, or body. The head may be shown simply with hair or hat, without features.

Foliage may be suggested by touching brush repeatedly to paper, not drawing any shape, just brush blots, probably yellow-green. Use green and blue-green for the differences in light and shadow.

Using Oil X'Aints

This is similar to painting with poster paint, except that the paint is used with turpentine and linseed oil rather than water. Oil paint is usually thicker in consistency than poster paint.

Colors may be painted over, changed, scraped off-and the picture may be started again.

Canvas is the surface on which oils are usually used. Canvas panels are cheaper than canvas used on a stretcher. There are also some tablets of paper simulating canvas that may be used with oil paints. This type of paper is good for beginners' projects.

To begin to paint, squeeze paint from tubes around edge of palette, then mix in center of palette with turpentine and linseed oil to make a consistency easy to apply. Do not make too thin, or the paint will be like a stain rather than a paint.

Colors may be laid on top of each other. High lights, such as the whitest spot on a shiny surface, may be added on top of other paint with a brush loaded with thick paint.

Painting should be left to dry at least 24 hours before being touched again.

Clean brushes with kerosene and rag, then wash with soap, rubbing brush on cake, then in palm of hand, and repeating until no more color comes from brush.

Scrape unused paint from center of palette with palette knife, and throw away. Colors around the edges may be saved from day to day, as a skin forms on outside, leaving paint in a plastic condition underneath.

Use Of Sketching And Painting In Camp Activities

Sketching and painting are activities in themselves; as such, they are included in camp program for the purpose of appreciation and expression. These two arts may also be used to good advantage in other forms of program, and these are briefly suggested here:

For log books, memory books, favors, special events, see Chapter XVII (Favors And Decorations For Special Events) on Favors and Decorations for suggestions of many ways in which these techniques may be used.

For dramatics, see Chapter XIII (Correlation With Camp Dramatics) on Correlation with Dramatics for suggestions on making scenery, masks, puppets, etc.

In games-a number of games employ the skill of sketching. These are often played to help the camper catch the feel of quick sketching, and to sharpen his power of observation. One player from a team may view some specific object-a leaf, a piece of camp equipment, a picture of a camp building; he then returns to his group and makes a quick sketch, adding to the sketch until someone recognizes the object. The sketching and the quick identification by the group are the purpose of the game, but there can be other good results in the fun of the game and the merriment of the group.

Another game is good for quiet hours or campfires. Each player in turn sketches someone in the group, using major characteristics in his sketch, such as a plaid skirt, curly hair, glasses, etc. He "exhibits" his sketch, and the rest of the group guesses which one has been the subject.

Games such as these help everyone to make quick observations of key characteristics, and promote skill in the quiet sketching of the "block in" stage. They also help to break down campers' inhibitions and resistances toward sketching.


Since exhibits will often be an outgrowth of this activity, some suggestions on planning and carrying out exhibits are given here.

Black and white sketches may be mounted on colored paper, or colored paper may be interspersed among the pictures. When several pictures are put on a large board, try to keep some edges of pictures even to create top, side, and bottom margins of a block outline (Figs. VIII-21 and 22).

Hang pictures at or near eye level.

Create a neutral background for a better appreciation of the pictures. Cover display space with gray bogus paper or manila paper, or if tackboard is used, paint it gray or cream. The colors of pictures show to best advantage against a neutral background. Charcoal or pencil sketches may be mounted or matted with three borders even, and larger space at bottom.


Group small pictures together, formally or informally. Captions lettered on black or white strips explain and add interest to the exhibit.

Photography is a related art, since it has to do with picture-making. It has been included in Chapter XXI (Photography).