The processes of plain oil painting are in themselves extremely simple, and depend so much on manipulative skill that a description of them must be taken only as a general guide, not by any means sufficient in itself to make a good painter. This result is not arrived at by theoretical knowledge alone, however sound, but by long-continued and earnest practice.

On the other hand, it must be urged on the attention of painters the fact that practice alone will not accomplish the end desired; a painter who can only spread a quantity of paint over a given surface is little better than a machine, and it is hoped by the instruction given in the following pages, to awaken the interest of the painter, and to show him that his occupation is not merely manual, but that each branch of the trade, if properly understood, will afford scope for the exercise of mental acquirements and for the application of knowledge.

Before the painter can commence the absolute process of painting new work, it is necessary that he should clear it from any drops of glue or whitening which may have fallen on the surface, or which may have been accidentally left by the carpenter.

In this operation he uses the stopping knife. This knife is held so that a large portion of its edge may touch the surface, and it is slanted so as to be nearly horizontal, and thus the edge works as it were under the pieces of glue and putty and lifts rather than scrapes them off. Care must be taken that the knife is not held so that its surface would be perpendicular to the wood, and that only the smallest possible pressure is used, otherwise indentations might be made, and thus more harm than good would be done.

It must also be borne in mind that this process is not to be a universal scraping; it is merely remedial, to remove any excrescences which may exist, but its purpose is not to scrape or plane the wood. This is supposed to have been already done by the carpenter, and if it has not, a tool different from the stopping knife should be used.

The dusting brush, generally called the duster, must be freely used dining this process so that all the particles scraped off may be removed. The Largest of the brushes used for painting is sometimes employed as a duster previously to being devoted to its proper purpose, in order that it may be rendered softer; but this is not a good plan, for a certain amount of dust necessarily finds its way up the brush, and is liable to work out when it is being used for painting purposes, thus giving the work a coarse and gritty appearance and causing much annoyance.

The next stage of preparation is that called knotting, the purpose of which is to guard against the knots appearing in the finished work, by stopping their absorbenl quality, or closing the apertures of the fibre, and thus preventing the effusion of gum or sap. It is, of course, strongly urged that wood should be thoroughly dry before it is used, but this is not within the power of the painter to control; he must take the wood as he finds it, and must do his best to counteract the effects of the new wood on his work.

It must be remembered that in the knots the ends of fibres, which are so many open tubes, are exposed, and thus, if all the sap or gum has exuded, they will present spots very much more absorbent than the surface of the board itself, whilst if the wood be new and the gum and sap fresh in it, these will from time to time exude and force off the paint, or cause it to become sticky.

Patent Knotting may be purchased at the color shops, and the following are two excellent recipes for making similar compositions, which are to be applied with a brush of the second size called a tool.

Add together a quarter of a pint of japanner's gold size, one teaspoonful of red lead, one pint of naphtha and seven ounces of orange shellac. This mixture is to be kept in a warm place whilsl the shellac dissolves and must be frequently shaken.

While or red lead powder mixed with glue size and applied whilst warm.

Knotting is a composition of strong size, mixed with red lead for the first knotting, which prevents the gum coming through; the second knotting is a composition of white lead, red lead and oil, but in rooms where the knots happen to be very had they are often silvered, which is done by laying on a coat of gold size and when properly dry a silver leaf is placed on them, which is sure to prevent the knots appearing.

When the knots are more than usually bad they must be cut out.