The palette must be prepared for use by rubbing into it as much raw linseed oil as it will absorb; repeat this for two or three days, and then rub it dry with a rag. It will now have a fine polished surface, and the colour will not sink into it.
Your subject must be sketched on the millboard, before you begin your painting operations - a fine light pencil is best for small pictures, but chalk or charcoal is generally used for large subjects. A wet rag is better than India-rubber for correcting mistakes. Let your lines be as few and light as possible, and make the drawing very carefully, that you may not be troubled with alterations when you begin to paint.
You now mix up in the dipper (which is a little tin cup, made to fix on the palette, though a pomade-pot with a cover does quite as well) the " Vehicle," which is a preparation of oil and varnish, used to temper the colours and make them work pleasantly. There are many kinds of "vehicles," and artists differ greatly in their choice. That known as "Meglip" is what we advise, and is made by mixing equal parts of the mastic varnish, and light drying oil; stir it for a few moments, and it will become a kind of jelly. Make no more than you require for your day's painting; half a tea-spoonful of each is enough.
You now " set your palette," as it is termed ; that is, you squeeze out of the tubes portions of colour about the size of a nut, and lay them along the upper edge of the palette, beginning from the thumb-side in the following order - white, Naples yellow, raw sienna, burnt sienna, light red, Indian red, vermilion, terra verte, umber, blue, and black. You have thus ample space for mixing, with the knife, the various tints on the lower part of the palette. The lighter tints are generally placed on the right-hand side of the palette. White or black is usually combined with all colours, as they are required lighter or darker. To make any tint, take on the point of the knife a small portion of meglip, and the colours you want, mix them on the palette, scrape them up, and lav in gradations. The following is a set of flesh-tints for a head or figure . Lights. - White and a little Naples yellow ; white, Naples yellow, and vermilion; white, vermilion, or light red.
Middle Tints. White, black, and vermilion; white, black, and Indian red; white, terra verte, and a little vermilion.
Shadow Tint. Black, Indian red, and a little umber.
The tint of pearly blue we see under the eye is produced by white, vermilion, and ultramarine. For the greenish shade on the forehead and complexions of sallow persons, the terra verte tint is beautiful.
Having the palette now set, you are all ready to begin to paint. Place your picture at a convenient height, so that you may not stoop to it; the left hand holds the palette, and the " rest, or mahl stick" on which you support the right hand, as shown in the engraving. The hands should be at some distance from the body, and the artist should sit rather erect, so there is no danger of injuring the chest. It is bitter to copy at first from a painting, matching the tints as nearly as possible, by holding them close to the original, on the knife. It is, however, very good practice to copy from engravings, where the artist must use his own taste in the colouring.
We will imagine a sketch of a "little shrimper," and will now direct our pupil how to paint it throughout; it is an easy study, and will make a pleasing picture.
The sky round the head, cool gray cloud, composed of black, white, and vermilion; above the cloud a little blue sky of ultramarine and white, and a few streaks of white, Naples yellow, and vermilion at the horizon. The distant hill - shades of white, black, and vermilion ; the nearer rocks - shades of white, black, and raw sienna; the ground, or shore - raw umber, white, or raw sienna, white, and black ; the lightest part of the sea - black, white, and Naples yellow, melting off to black, and white, and a little blue; the pool of water in the foreground - black, white, burnt sienna, and a little gray in the lights (as the reflection of the sky) ; the basket and net - black, umber, or sienna; the face, hands, and legs may be painted with the flesh tints, and a little Indian red and vermilion for the lips, and black and burnt sienna for the eyes ; the cap - for the darks, Indian red, black ; middle tint - vermilion, Indian red ; high light - vermilion and white. For the fold of white round the neck - white, subdued with umber; for the jacket - raw sienna, burnt sienna, and black in the shadow, and raw sienna and white in the light ; for the trousers - tints of blue and black, and blue and white; for the boots - black and a little Indian red) with white touched of light.