A Simple Sketch
In the example given for illustration, I have chosen a little foot-bridge over a stream. Here it will be found most convenient to begin drawing the bridge itself, which is the most important object in the picture; then proceed with the two main lines which bound the banks of the stream, with its reflections beneath. Lastly, draw the lines of the fields beyond, with the silhouette of the band of trees against the sky, the scale of which can now be easily established by comparison with the framework of the bridge. When all these have been drawn in neatly with a pencil, the lines of the bridge, as well as the banks of the stream, may be inked in with a pen, and some brown or watered ink. The bridge will then stand out strongly against the pencil lines of the distance.
The next thing to do is to try to strike at once the main half tone of the field behind the bridge, so that the general difference of the sky and landscape may become at once apparent. This tone may be carried out over the background and down over the reflections in the stream, but leaving that portion of the water which receives the reflection of the sky white paper. Further, this tone, rather increased in strength, should be carried flatly over the foreground.
We now come to the bridge itself. Try to find the chief half tone of the rails and woodwork, deciding whether it is lighter or darker than the tone of the field beyond; in this case it is mainly darker. Mix this tone as truly as you can, and carry it all over the woodwork of the bridge, allowing the further side to be slightly lighter than the nearer. The whole bridge should then stand out from the field, and at the same time come towards you in the picture. Next, the tone of the trees against the sky may be filled in with a tint of their local colour slightly reduced with water and some bluish pigment, to give the look of the space of intervening air.
It will be found that no matter how dark these trees may appear against the brightness of the sky, if you look at the scene so as to bring any portion of the bridge directly against this band of trees, the tone of the bridge will appear so much stronger that the latter will seem quite faint when contrasted with it. Finally, fill in the sky and its reflection in the light part of the water.
All this may appear very simple and easy of accomplishment, but a few trials will soon disabuse the student of that notion. It is extremely difficult at first to hit the exact relative brightness and darkness of the different parts of the picture, and the more freshly and directly it is done, the better the drawing will appear.
After a dozen or more exercises of this kind, if the student finds that she is beginning to have the power of analysing the chief tone of simple objects, so that she can set them out on paper in such a way that they relieve distinctly against one another, she may then proceed to do the same sort of thing with motives that contain a greater number of planes in the picture. Until she has acquired considerable facility, she will find it safest, however, to keep each silhouette quite separate, and determine its outline with a deliberate line, and then fill in the tones in order from the lightest to the darkest.
When painting out of doors, it will be found easier at first to choose a subject against the light, and for the artist to be looking rather in the direction in which the sun is travelling. These effects, though not so full of colour, last longer, and it is also easier to analyse the constitution of the different planes so presented to the sight. It is especially easy to test this when looking at rows of buildings, as over a town; the silhouettes then so seen show up with particular distinctness, and their varying brightness or darkness is readily compared. It will be noted that the objects relieving in silhouette against one another are usually slightly darker in tone towards their upper parts, and rather melt away towards their lower. This is particularly obvious in the case of ranges of mountains seen at a distance.
Always use an easel when possible, because it is much easier to judge the effects of one's work, and to view it as a whole (a most important condition), when it is so set up at a little distance from the eye.
When working in sunlight, set the pad or board on the easel at an angle against the light; the drawing in shadow will receive quite sufficient reflective light from the sky behind to be. perfectly illuminated; if much sunlight is allowed to fall on the drawing, it is almost impossible to judge the true effect of the tones one is putting down, and when brought into a house the result will be very disappointing.
In a further article I propose describing the making of a sketch in which the tones will be allowed to impinge and melt into one another, as in nature and true painting. To be continued.
- The Career of a Public Singer not an Overcrowded One
I wish to begin this, the last article of my series, with a few observations on a subject that I have spoken of and written about for many years. I refer to the belief - I am happy to say fast dying - that it is necessary to go abroad in order to study the art of singing.
Many years ago, before England had reached the proud position in the world of music that she now holds, it was, doubtless, difficult to obtain adequate tuition in this country. There were good masters, but they were few and far between. In those days a training abroad was everything. It was almost essential if the would-be artist intended eventually to occupy a prominent place in the musical profession.