The most important piece of work in the painting of a lantern landscape being the sky, I close this article by describing how it is done, premising that I do all my painting upon a retouching desk, which I find to answer this purpose rather better than the easels specially prepared for transparency painting. Let us imagine that the subject is a landscape, having about 2/3 sky, into which a tree, and a spire project upward. Mix on this palette a little burnt sienna and pink madder, and having charged a brush with this, draw it in streaks across the sky a little above the horizon, and then laying down the brush dab it all over with the point of the first or second finger until it presents a uniform appearance. Never mind the fact that the paint has been carried over the tree and the spire; it must be removed from them by a pointed piece of soft wood as the last operation of all. Next apply to the upper portion of the sky some Prussian blue, and in so doing remember that there is no use whatever in hoping or attempting to make it quite uniform by means of the brush alone. The finger is the all-potent instrument by which uniformity is secured, and "dabbing " with it must be had recourse to.
Hear in mind that the sky is of a deeper hue at the zenith than near the horizon; therefore let the dabbing be performed in such a manner as to retain more of the paint at the top, than lower down, the quantity being so attenuated by the time it descends to the warm layer already applied as to merge into it quite imperceptibly. The laying on of a uniform coat seems very easy to the onlooker; but it is only by dint of several trials carefully made that success is attained. As the beginner will probably spoil several skies before he succeeds to his own satisfaction, a soft piece of calico dipped in spirit of turpentine will be a useful aid to him during his novitiate.
To complete the blending of the colours, and to obliterate the slight textural markings arising from the roughness of the finger tip, is the function of the large camel-hair brush already mentioned. It must be whisked very lightly over the surface; and, if cleverly done, all surface asperities will disappear, and the colouring look as if the glass were stained. Until the sky presents such an appearance the formation of clouds must not be thought of.
(e) The glass for the slides must be very carefully selected; it should be plate glass cut to the size of the object glass in the magic lantern in which it is used. It must be entirely free from air bubbles, and streaks of any sort; even the best plate glass has a rough and a smooth side, which can be found out by passing the hand over its surface, and bo detecting any unevenness. As any irregularities will interfere with the smoothness of the colour to be laid on, the smooth side of the glass must be carefully marked and used in all the plates.
A flat palette is a necessity for oil colours; but for water colours, a palette with a rim to keep in the tints is the best. A palette knife is required for mixing together oils, colours, or vanishes, but is not wanted for water colour slides, exeept to take out larger lights. A maul stick, to keep the hand from touching the wet painting, can be made by covering one end of a light but firm cane with wool, so as to form a round knob, and tightly binding the wool over with wash leather, notching a groove in the cane to render the binding string quite secure.
For brushes, red sable are best, being stronger in their hair than black sable or camel-hair, and they have a firmer and finer point than either of the others; the brushes should be enclosed in flat tin, one of every (6) size.
Dabbers are made by the amateur from round camel-hair brushes; one of each of the 6 sizes are used. The points of the round brushes must be cut off as shown in Fig. 71, the dark lines show the part of the brush to be retained, the white space within the spots the portion to he cut away. In order that the ends cut should be rounded, they must be burnt to shape, after cutting, by being held in the flame of a candle. They must be twisted and turned round and round, so as to shape them to the proper form. When this is attained, clean off the traces of burning from them by rubbing them well with the finest sand paper.
When the slide is painted, it requires to be mounted in a frame. These frames are made of wood; mahogany is generally selected, but deal will answer all the purpose. The three shapes for these frames are square, oblong, and round. The wool should be about 1/2 in. thick, and where the glass is to be inserted, the edge should be bevelled or have a rabbett on one side, the glass should be slipped in on this side, and a tiny steel or brass rim laid over it to keep it in its place. In choosing the wood for these frames, select only that which is perfect in grain and has no , knots.
Paint slides by lamp or candle-light, as, being intended for exhibiting by artificial light, it will be seen at the time of painting whether the right effect has been produced.
Commence operations by drawing a perfect outline of the picture on a piece of paper, which is laid under the glass as a guide. When a much larger picture than the size of the slide is to be copied, as long as the prominent features of the picture are seized upon, the effect is attained, and one or two accessories will look better than a quantity crowded into a small space.
Should any inaccuracies be found when the outlining is finished, the colour can be removed by the knife. When all the corrections are made, and the outlining is judged complete, it must be fixed to the glass by washing all over its surface a varnish made of Canada balsam, diluted freely with turpentine. Having completed the outline, fixed it with varnish and rubbed up the glass well, proceed to the second painting.
Moonlight subjects can be rendered pleasing if the appearance is given of the clouds moving, or rather sailing past the moon. This is managed by luring two pieces of glass where the sky in painted. The wooden frame will have to be doable on one side, to contain the Hied piece of glass, and the other to form a groove for the movable piece to rest on. Upon the fixed glass the moon is painted and a light sky without clouds. The movable piece of gloss is only a narrow strip, just sufficient to hold the clouds. Fleecy and dark clouds should be painted upon it in such a manner as sometimes to allow the moon to be feebly visible, at others partly or completely obscured. Make these clouds unlike each other as the