There is perhaps no simpler garden blossom than the pansy to put before the beginner for a first essay in flower painting, whether in oil or in water colours; but it is a model that calls for studious observation. The shadows express the form of the flower even more than the outline does, and so they must be carefully indicated as to intensity and colour. They seem to jest with the beginner, and hide and mock him in a very elfish way. How often one sees a pansy painted that is only a fair representation of a pressed pansy, because the painter has seen little more than the purple spots and the yellow splashes, and he has failed to observe the abruptness of these changes - that this yellow petal curved softly out of sight, or that that purple petal advanced some of its sombre folds into prominence.

A pansy of great simplicity is all purple. The upper large petals are of a lighter tint than the lower three, so where the light strikes that uplifted one it is of a light lilac colour. Madder lake and permanent blue, with white, may be the colours employed for the local tones. Where the flowers are a very dark and rich purple, it is advisable to omit the white, and the tone may be made with permanent blue, madder lake, and either ivory black or bone brown. In using such transparent pigments it is well to mix with them a little siccatif de Courtray, mixed with poppy oil, in the proportion of one drop of the former to five of the latter. One of the greatest charms of a dark purple pansy is its velvety texture. How is this made apparent to the eye? You see, on looking at the purple petal, that where it turns or bends there is a faint whitish bloom. It is whitest on the most prominent point, and fades gradually into the purple darkness of the local colour. Imitate this with an oil-thinned skim of white paint dragged lightly over the purple colour you have already painted. Do not let it mix with the purple, and do not have too much of it. The green of the sepal shows under the petals of this pansy as a small green spot. For pale yellow pansies one may use light cadmium, white, and a slight touch of ivory black for the local tone, in the shadows adding a little permanent blue and raw umber. Deep reddish-yellow pansies may be painted with yellow ochre, white, madder lake, and a touch of ivory black for the local tone, with the addition of burnt sienna and raw umber in the shadows. For the deepest tones of brownish red, bone brown and madder lake alone may be used, with plenty of siccatif de Courtray to dry them.

The tender green stalk of the pansy is smooth and glistening; so note where the light strikes it. Leaves may be painted with Antwerp blue, white, cadmium, madder lake, and ivory black, tempered with silver white. In the shadows burnt sienna and raw umber will be needed.

In Water-Colours

For purple and reddish-yellow pansies the colours of the same names as those just mentioned for painting the flowers in oil colours may be used, excepting that instead of bone brown, sepia may be used; instead of madder lake, rose madder; instead of permanent blue, cobalt; and instead of ivory black, lamp black.

A good general background for a group of various coloured pansies is a greenish grey, made of lamp black with the addition of olive green and cobalt. Like all backgrounds in water-colours it should be, if possible, put in with a single wash. If the beginner is unable to achieve this, the first wash should be allowed to dry before it is touched a second time, and then the wash should be put in quickly and with a light hand, so as not to disturb the colour underneath.