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Art Is The Expression Of The Invisible By Means Of The Visible (Part II)

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XIII
VARIETY OF MASS

The masses that go to make up a picture have variety in their shape, their tone values, their edges, in texture or quality, and in gradation. Quite a formidable list, but each of these particulars has some rhythmic quality of its own about which it will be necessary to say a word.

Variety of Shape.

As to variety of shape, many things that were said about lines apply equally to the spaces enclosed by them. It is impossible to write of the rhythmic possibilities that the infinite variety of shapes possessed by natural objects contain, except to point out how necessary the study of nature is for this. Variety of shape is one of the most difficult things to invent, and one of the commonest things in nature. However imaginative your conception, and no matter how far you may carry your design, working from imagination, there will come a time when studies from nature will be necessary if your work is to have the variety that will give life and interest. Try and draw from imagination a row of elm trees of about the same height and distance apart, and get the variety of nature into them; and you will see how difficult it is to invent. On examining your work you will probably discover two or three pet forms repeated, or there may be only one. Or try and draw some cumulus clouds from imagination, several groups of them 186across a sky, and you will find how often again you have repeated unconsciously the same forms. How tired one gets of the pet cloud or tree of a painter who does not often consult nature in his pictures. Nature is the great storehouse of variety; even a piece of coal will suggest more interesting rock-forms than you can invent. And it is fascinating to watch the infinite variety of graceful forms assumed by the curling smoke from a cigarette, full of suggestions for beautiful line arrangements. If this variety of form in your work is allowed to become excessive it will overpower the unity of your conception. It is in the larger unity of your composition that the imaginative faculty will be wanted, and variety in your forms should always be subordinated to this idea.

Nature does not so readily suggest a scheme of unity, for the simple reason that the first condition of your picture, the four bounding lines, does not exist in nature. You may get infinite suggestions for arrangements, and should always be on the look out for them, but your imagination will have to relate them to the rigorous conditions of your four bounding lines, and nature does not help you much here. But when variety in the forms is wanted, she is pre-eminent, and it is never advisable to waste inventive power where it is so unnecessary.

But although nature does not readily suggest a design fitting the conditions of a panel her tendency is always towards unity of arrangement. If you take a bunch of flowers or leaves and haphazard stuff them into a vase of water, you will probably get a very chaotic arrangement. But if you leave it for some time and let nature have 187a chance you will find that the leaves and flowers have arranged themselves much more harmoniously. And if you cut down one of a group of trees, what a harsh discordant gap is usually left; but in time nature will, by throwing a bough here and filling up a gap there, as far as possible rectify matters and bring all into unity again. I am prepared to be told this has nothing to do with beauty but is only the result of nature's attempts to seek for light and air. But whatever be the physical cause, the fact is the same, that nature's laws tend to pictorial unity of arrangement.

Variety of Tone Values

It will be as well to try and explain what is meant by tone values. All the masses or tones (for the terms are often used interchangeably) that go to the making of a visual impression can be considered in relation to an imagined scale from white, to represent the lightest, to black, to represent the darkest tones. This scale of values does not refer to light and shade only, but light and shade, colour, and the whole visual impression are considered as one mosaic of masses of different degrees of darkness or lightness. A dark object in strong light may be lighter than a white object in shadow, or the reverse: it will depend on the amount of reflected light. Colour only matters in so far as it affects the position of the mass in this imagined scale of black and white. The correct observation of these tone values is a most important matter, and one of no little difficulty.

The word tone is used in two senses, in the first place when referring to the individual masses as to their relations in the scale of "tone values"; and secondly when referring to the musical relationship of these values to a oneness of tone idea 188governing the whole impression. In very much the same way you might refer to a single note in music as a tone, and also to the tone of the whole orchestra. The word values always refers to the relationship of the individual masses or tones in our imagined scale from black to white. We say a picture is out of value or out of tone when some of the values are darker or lighter than our sense of harmony feels they should be, in the same way as we should say an instrument in an orchestra was out of tone or tune when it was higher or lower than our sense of harmony allowed. Tone is so intimately associated with the colour of a picture that it is a little difficult to treat of it apart, and it is often used in a sense to include colour in speaking of the general tone. We say it has a warm tone or a cold tone.

There is a particular rhythmic beauty about a well-ordered arrangement of tone values that is a very important part of pictorial design. This music of tone has been present in art in a rudimentary way since the earliest time, but has recently received a much greater amount of attention, and much new light on the subject has been given by the impressionist movement and the study of the art of China and Japan, which is nearly always very beautiful in this respect.

This quality of tone music is most dominant when the masses are large and simple, when the contemplation of them is not disturbed by much variety, and they have little variation of texture and gradation. A slight mist will often improve the tone of a landscape for this reason. It simplifies the tones, masses them together, obliterating many smaller varieties. I have even heard of the tone 189of a picture being improved by such a mist scrambled or glazed over it.

Plate XLIII. MONTE SOLARO CAPRI Study on brown paper in charcoal and white chalk.

Plate XLIII.

MONTE SOLARO CAPRI

Study on brown paper in charcoal and white chalk.

The powder on a lady's face, when not over-done, is an improvement for the same reason. It simplifies the tones by destroying the distressing shining lights that were cutting up the masses; and it also destroys a large amount of half tone, broadening the lights almost up to the commencement of the shadows.

Tone relationships are most sympathetic when the middle values of your scale only are used, that is to say, when the lights are low in tone and the darks high.

They are most dramatic and intense when the contrasts are great and the jumps from dark to light sudden.

The sympathetic charm of half-light effects is due largely to the tones being of this middle range only; whereas the striking dramatic effect of a storm clearing, in which you may get a landscape brilliantly lit by the sudden appearance of the sun, seen against the dark clouds of the retreating storm, owes much of its dramatic quality to contrast. The strong contrasts of tone values coupled with the strong colour contrast between the warm sunlit land and the cold angry blue of the storm, gives such a scene much dramatic effect and power.

The subject of values will be further treated in dealing with unity of tone.

Variety in Quality and Texture

Variety in quality and nature is almost too subtle to write about with any prospect of being understood. The play of different qualities and textures in the masses that go to form a picture must be appreciated at first hand, and little can be written about it. Oil paint is capable of almost unlimited variety in this 190way. But it is better to leave the study of such qualities until you have mastered the medium in its more simple aspects.

The particular tone music of which we were speaking is not helped by any great use of this variety. A oneness of quality throughout the work is best suited to exhibit it. Masters of tone, like Whistler, preserve this oneness of quality very carefully in their work, relying chiefly on the grain of a rough canvas to give the necessary variety and prevent a deadness in the quality of the tones.

But when more force and brilliancy are wanted, some use of your paint in a crumbling, broken manner is necessary, as it catches more light, thus increasing the force of the impression. Claude Monet and his followers in their search for brilliancy used this quality throughout many of their paintings, with new and striking results. But it is at the sacrifice of many beautiful qualities of form, as this roughness of surface does not lend itself readily to any finesse of modelling. In the case of Claude Monet's work, however, this does not matter, as form with all its subtleties is not a thing he made any attempt at exploiting. Nature is sufficiently vast for beautiful work to be done in separate departments of vision, although one cannot place such work on the same plane with successful pictures of wider scope. And the particular visual beauty of sparkling light and atmosphere, of which he was one of the first to make a separate study, could hardly exist in a work that aimed also at the significance of beautiful form, the appeal of form, as was explained in an earlier chapter, not being entirely due to a visual but to a mental perception, into which the sense 191of touch enters by association. The scintillation and glitter of light destroys this touch idea, which is better preserved in quieter lightings.

There is another point in connection with the use of thick paint, that I don't think is sufficiently well known, and that is, its greater readiness to be discoloured by the oil in its composition coming to the surface. Fifteen years ago I did what it would be advisable for every student to do as soon as possible, namely, make a chart of the colours he is likely to use. Get a good white canvas, and set upon it in columns the different colours, very much as you would do on your palette, writing the names in ink beside them. Then take a palette-knife, an ivory one by preference, and drag it from the individual masses of paint so as to get a gradation of different thicknesses, from the thinnest possible layer where your knife ends to the thick mass where it was squeezed out of the tube. It is also advisable to have previously ruled some pencil lines with a hard point down the canvas in such a manner that the strips of paint will cross the lines. This chart will be of the greatest value to you in noting the effect of time on paint. To make it more complete, the colours of several makers should be put down, and at any rate the whites of several different makes should be on it. As white enters so largely into your painting it is highly necessary to use one that does not change.

The two things that I have noticed are that the thin ends of the strips of white have invariably kept whiter than the thick end, and that all the paints have become a little more transparent with time. The pencil lines here come in useful, as they can be seen through the thinner portion, and show to what 192extent this transparency has occurred. But the point I wish to emphasise is that at the thick end the larger body of oil in the paint, which always comes to the surface as it dries, has darkened and yellowed the surface greatly; while the small amount of oil at the thin end has not darkened it to any extent.

Claude Monet evidently knew this, and got over the difficulty by painting on an absorbent canvas, which sucks the surplus oil out from below and thus prevents its coming to the surface and discolouring the work in time. When this thick manner of painting is adopted, an absorbent canvas should always be used. It also has the advantage of giving a dull dry surface of more brilliancy than a shiny one.

Although not so much as with painting, varieties of texture enter into drawings done with any of the mediums that lend themselves to mass drawing; charcoal, conté crayon, lithographic chalk, and even red chalk and lead pencil are capable of giving a variety of textures, governed largely by the surface of the paper used. But this is more the province of painting than of drawing proper, and charcoal, which is more painting than drawing, is the only medium in which it can be used with much effect.

Variety of Edges.

There is a very beautiful rhythmic quality in the play from softness to sharpness on the edges of masses. A monotonous sharpness of edge is hard, stern, and unsympathetic. This is a useful quality at times, particularly in decorative work, where the more intimate sympathetic qualities are not so much wanted, and where the harder forms go better with the architectural surroundings of which your painted decoration should form a part. On the other hand, a monotonous softness of edge is very weak and feeble-looking, and 193too entirely lacking in power to be desirable. If you find any successful work done with this quality of edge unrelieved by any sharpnesses, it will depend on colour, and not form, for any qualities it may possess.

Some amount of softness makes for charm, and is extremely popular: "I do like that because it's so nice and soft" is a regular show-day remark in the studio, and is always meant as a great compliment, but is seldom taken as such by the suffering painter. But a balance of these two qualities playing about your contours produces the most delightful results, and the artist is always on the look out for such variations. He seldom lets a sharpness of edge run far without losing it occasionally. It may be necessary for the hang of the composition that some leading edges should be much insisted on. But even here a monotonous sharpness is too dead a thing, and although a firmness of run will be allowed to be felt, subtle variations will be introduced to prevent deadness. The Venetians from Giorgione's time were great masters of this music of edges. The structure of lines surrounding the masses on which their compositions are built were fused in the most mysterious and delightful way. But although melting into the surrounding mass, they are always firm and never soft and feeble. Study the edge in such a good example of the Venetian manner as the "Bacchus and Ariadne" at the National Gallery, and note where they are hard and where lost.

There is one rather remarkable fact to be observed in this picture and many Venetian works, and this is that the most accented edges are reserved for unessential parts, like the piece of white drapery 194on the lower arm of the girl with the cymbals, and the little white flower on the boy's head in front. The edges on the flesh are everywhere fused and soft, the draperies being much sharper. You may notice the same thing in many pictures of the later Venetian schools. The greatest accents on the edges are rarely in the head, except it may be occasionally in the eyes. But they love to get some strongly-accented feature, such as a crisply-painted shirt coming against the soft modelling of the neck, to balance the fused edges in the flesh. In the head of Philip IV in our National Gallery the only place where Velazquez has allowed himself anything like a sharp edge is in the high lights on the chain hanging round the neck. The softer edges of the principal features in these compositions lend a largeness and mystery to these parts, and to restore the balance, sharpnesses are introduced in non-essential accessories.

In the figure with the white tunic from Velazquez's "Surrender of Breda," here reproduced, note the wonderful variety on the edges of the white masses of the coat and the horse's nose, and also that the sharpest accents are reserved for such non-essentials as the bows on the tunic and the loose hair on the horse's forehead. Velazquez's edges are wonderful, and cannot be too carefully studied. He worked largely in flat tones or planes; but this richness and variety of his edges keeps his work from looking flat and dull, like that of some of his followers. I am sorry to say this variety does not come out so well in the reproduction on page 194 [Transcribers Note: Plate XLIV] as I could have wished, the half-tone process having a tendency to sharpen edges rather monotonously.

This quality is everywhere to be found in 195nature. If you regard any scene pictorially, looking at it as a whole and not letting your eye focus on individual objects wandering from one to another while being but dimly conscious of the whole, but regarding it as a beautiful ensemble; you will find that the boundaries of the masses are not hard continuous edges but play continually along their course, here melting imperceptibly into the surrounding mass, and there accentuated more sharply. Even a long continuous line, like the horizon at sea, has some amount of this play, which you should always be on the look out for. But when the parts only of nature are regarded and each is separately focussed, hard edges will be found to exist almost everywhere, unless there is a positive mist enveloping the objects. And this is the usual way of looking at things. But a picture that is a catalogue of many little parts separately focussed will not hang together as one visual impression.

Plate XLIV. PART OF THE SURRENDER OF BREDA. BY VELAZQUEZ Note the varied quantity of the edge in white mass of tunic. (The reproduction does not unfortunately show this as well as the original.) Photo Anderson

Plate XLIV.

PART OF THE SURRENDER OF BREDA. BY VELAZQUEZ

Note the varied quantity of the edge in white mass of tunic. (The reproduction does not unfortunately show this as well as the original.)

Photo Anderson

In naturalistic work the necessity for painting to one focal impression is as great as the necessity of painting in true perspective. What perspective has done for drawing, the impressionist system of painting to one all-embracing focus has done for tone. Before perspective was introduced, each individual object in a picture was drawn with a separate centre of vision fixed on each object in turn. What perspective did was to insist that all objects in a picture should be drawn in relation to one fixed centre of vision. And whereas formerly each object was painted to a hard focus, whether it was in the foreground or the distance, impressionism teaches that you cannot have the focus in a picture at the same time on the foreground and the distance.

196Of course there are many manners of painting with more primitive conventions in which the consideration of focus does not enter. But in all painting that aims at reproducing the impressions directly produced in us by natural appearances, this question of focus and its influence on the quality of your edges is of great importance.

Something should be said about the serrated edges of masses, like those of trees seen against the sky. These are very difficult to treat, and almost every landscape painter has a different formula. The hard, fussy, cut-out, photographic appearance of trees misses all their beauty and sublimity.

There are three principal types of treatment that may serve as examples. In the first place there are the trees of the early Italian painters, three examples of which are illustrated on page 197 [Transcribers Note: Diagram XXIII]. A thin tree is always selected, and a rhythmic pattern of leaves against the sky painted. This treatment of a dark pattern on a light ground is very useful as a contrast to the softer tones of flesh. But the treatment is more often applied nowadays to a spray of foliage in the foreground, the pattern of which gives a very rich effect. The poplar trees in Millais' "Vale of Rest" are painted in much the same manner as that employed by the Italians, and are exceptional among modern tree paintings, the trees being treated as a pattern of leaves against the sky. Millais has also got a raised quality of paint in his darks very similar to that of Bellini and many early painters.

Giorgione added another tree to landscape art: the rich, full, solidly-massed forms that occur in his "Concert Champêtre" of the Louvre, reproduced on page 151 [Transcribers Note: Plate XXXIII]. In this picture you may see both types 197of treatment. There are the patterns of leaves variety on the left and the solidly-massed treatment on the right.

Diagram XXIII. EXAMPLES OF EARLY ITALIAN TREATMENT OF TREES A. From pictures in Oratorio di S. Ansano.

Diagram XXIII.

EXAMPLES OF EARLY ITALIAN TREATMENT OF TREES

A. From pictures in Oratorio di S. Ansano. "Il trionfo dell' Amore," attributed to Botticelli.

B. From "L'Annunziazione," by Botticelli, Uffizi, Florence.

C. From "La Vergine," by Giovanni Bellini in the Accademia, Venice.

Corot in his later work developed a treatment that has been largely followed since. Looking at trees with a very wide focus, he ignored individual leaves, and resolved them into masses of tone, 198here lost and here found more sharply against the sky. The subordinate masses of foliage within these main boundaries are treated in the same way, resolved into masses of infinitely varying edges. This play, this lost-and-foundness at his edges is one of the great distinguishing charms of Corot's trees. When they have been painted from this mass point of view, a suggestion of a few leaves here and a bough there may be indicated, coming sharply against the sky, but you will find this basis of tone music, this crescendo and diminuendo throughout all his later work (see illustration, page 215 [Transcribers Note: Diagram XXVI]).

These are three of the more extreme types of trees to be met with in art, but the variations on these types are very numerous. Whatever treatment you adopt, the tree must be considered as a whole, and some rhythmic form related to this large impression selected. And this applies to all forms with serrated edges: some large order must be found to which the fussiness of the edges must conform.

The subject of edges generally is a very important one, and one much more worried over by a master than by the average student. It is interesting to note how all the great painters have begun with a hard manner, with edges of little variety, from which they have gradually developed a looser manner, learning to master the difficulties of design that hard contours insist on your facing, and only when this is thoroughly mastered letting themselves develop freely this play on the edges, this looser handling.

For under the freest painting, if it be good, there will be found a bed-rock structure of well-constructed 199masses and lines. They may never be insisted on, but their steadying influence will always be felt. So err in your student work on the side of hardness rather than looseness, if you would discipline yourself to design your work well. Occasionally only let yourself go at a looser handling.

Variety of Gradiation.

Variety of gradation will naturally be governed largely by the form and light and shade of the objects in your composition. But while studying the gradations of tone that express form and give the modelling, you should never neglect to keep the mind fixed upon the relation the part you are painting bears to the whole picture. And nothing should be done that is out of harmony with this large conception. It is one of the most difficult things to decide the amount of variety and emphasis allowable for the smaller parts of a picture, so as to bring all in harmony with that oneness of impression that should dominate the whole; how much of your scale of values it is permissible to use for the modelling of each individual part. In the best work the greatest economy is exercised in this respect, so that as much power may be kept in reserve as possible. You have only the one scale from black to white to work with, only one octave within the limits of which to compose your tone symphonies. There are no higher and lower octaves as in music to extend your effect. So be very sparing with your tone values when modelling the different parts.


200

XIV
UNITY OF MASS

What has been said about unity of line applies obviously to the outlines bounding the masses, so that we need not say anything further on that subject. The particular quality of which something should be said, is the unity that is given to a picture by means of a well-arranged and rhythmically considered scheme of tone values.

The modifications in the relative tone values of objects seen under different aspects of light and atmosphere are infinite and ever varying; and this is quite a special study in itself. Nature is the great teacher here, her tone arrangements always possessing unity. How kind to the eye is her attempt to cover the ugliness of our great towns in an envelope of atmosphere, giving the most wonderful tone symphonies; thus using man's desecration of her air by smoke to cover up his other desecration of her country-side, a manufacturing town. This study of values is a distinguishing feature of modern art.

But schemes taken from nature are not the only harmonious ones. The older masters were content with one or two well-tried arrangements of tone in their pictures, which were often not at all true to natural appearances but nevertheless harmonious. The chief instance of this is the low-toned sky. The painting of flesh higher in tone than the sky was 201almost universal at many periods of art, and in portraits is still often seen. Yet it is only in strong sunlight that this is ever so in nature, as you can easily see by holding your hand up against a sky background. The possible exception to this rule is a dark storm-cloud, in which case your hand would have to be strongly lit by some bright light in another part of the sky to appear light against it.

This high tone of the sky is a considerable difficulty when one wishes the interest centred on the figures. The eye instinctively goes to the light masses in a picture, and if these masses are sky, the figures lose some importance. The fashion of lowering its tone has much to be said for it on the score of the added interest it gives to the figures. But it is apt to bring a heavy stuffy look into the atmosphere, and is only really admissible in frankly conventional treatment, in which one has not been led to expect implicit truth to natural effect. If truth to natural appearances is carried far in the figures, the same truth will be expected in the background; but if only certain truths are selected in the figures, and the treatment does not approach the naturalistic, much more liberty can be taken with the background without loss of verisimilitude.

But there is a unity about nature's tone arrangements that it is very difficult to improve upon; and it is usually advisable, if you can, to base the scheme of tone in your picture on a good study of values from nature.

Such effects as twilight, moonlight, or even sunlight were seldom attempted by the older painters, at any rate in their figure subjects. All the lovely tone arrangements that nature presents in these more unusual aspects are a new study, and offer 202unlimited new material to the artist. Many artists are content to use this simply for itself, the beauty of a rare tone effect being sufficient with the simplest accessories to make a picture. But in figure composition, what new and wonderful things can be imagined in which some rare aspect of nature's tone-music is combined with a fine figure design.

These values are not easily perceived with accuracy, although their influence may be felt by many. A true eye for the accurate perception of subtle tone arrangements is a thing you should study very diligently to acquire. How then is this to be done? It is very difficult, if not impossible, to teach anybody to see. Little more can be said than has already been written about this subject in the chapter on variety in mass. Every mass has to be considered in relation to an imagined tone scale, taking black for your darkest and white for your highest light as we have seen. A black glass, by reducing the light, enables you to observe these relationships more accurately; the dazzling quality of strong light making it difficult to judge them. But this should only be used to correct one's eye, and the comparison should be made between nature seen in the glass and your work seen also in the glass. To look in a black glass and then compare what you saw with your work looked at direct is not a fair comparison, and will result in low-toned work with little brilliancy.

Now, to represent this scale of tones in painting we have white paint as our highest and black paint as our lowest notes. It is never advisable to play either of these extremes, although you may go very near to them. That is to say, there should never be pure white or pure black masses in a 203picture. There is a kind of screaminess set up when one goes the whole gamut of tone, that gives a look of unrestraint and weakness; somewhat like the feeling experienced when a vocalist sings his or her very highest or very lowest note. In a good singer one always feels he could have gone still higher or still lower, as the case may be, and this gives an added power to the impression of his singing. And in art, likewise, it is always advisable to keep something of this reserve power. Also, the highest lights in nature are never without colour, and this will lower the tone; neither are the deepest darks colourless, and this will raise their tone. But perhaps this is dogmatising, and it may be that beautiful work is to be done with all the extremes you can "clap on," though I think it very unlikely.

In all the quieter aspects of lighting this range from black to white paint is sufficient. But where strong, brilliantly lit effects are wanted, something has to be sacrificed, if this look of brilliancy is to be made telling.

In order to increase the relationship between some of the tones others must be sacrificed. There are two ways of doing this. The first, which was the method earliest adopted, is to begin from the light end of the scale, and, taking something very near pure white as your highest light, to get the relationships between this and the next most brilliant tone, and to proceed thus, tone by tone, from the lightest to the darkest. But working in this way you will find that you arrive at the greatest dark you can make in paint before you have completed the scale of relationships as in nature, if the subject happens to be brilliantly lit. 204Another method is to put down the highest light and the darkest dark, and then work your scale of tone relatively between them. But it will be found that working in this way, unless the subject in nature is very quietly lit, you will not get anything like the forceful impression of tone that nature gives.

The third way, and this is the more modern, is to begin from the dark end of the scale, getting the true relationship felt between the greatest dark and the next darkest tone to it, and so on, proceeding towards the light. By this method you will arrive at your highest light in paint before the highest light in nature has been reached. All variety of tone at the light end of the scale will have to be modified in this case, instead of at the dark end as in the other case. In the painting of sunlight the latter method is much the more effective, a look of great brilliancy and light being produced, whereas in the earlier method, the scale being commenced from the light end, so much of the picture was dark that the impression of light and air was lost and a dark gloomy land took its place, a gloom accentuated rather than dispelled by the streaks of lurid light where the sun struck.

Rembrandt is an example of beginning the tone relationships from the light side of the scale, and a large part of his canvas is in consequence always dark.

Bastien Lepage is an example of the second method, that of fixing upon two extremes and working-relatively between them. And it will be noticed that he confined himself chiefly to quiet grey day effects of lighting, the rendering of which was well within the range of his palette. 205The method of beginning from the dark side, getting the true relations of tones on this side of the scale, and letting the lights take care of themselves, was perhaps first used by Turner. But it is largely used now whenever a strong impression of light is desired. The light masses instead of the dark masses dominate the pictures, which have great brilliancy.

These tone values are only to be perceived in their true relationship by the eye contemplating a wide field of vision. With the ordinary habit of looking only at individual parts of nature, the general impression being but dimly felt, they are not observed. The artist has to acquire the habit of generalising his visual attention over a wide field if he would perceive the true relation of the parts to this scale of values. Half closing the eyes, which is the usual method of doing this, destroys the perception of a great deal of colour. Another method of throwing the eyes out of focus and enabling one to judge of large relationships, is to dilate them widely. This rather increases than diminishes the colour, but is not so safe a method of judging subtle tone relationships.

It is easier in approaching this study out of doors to begin with quiet effects of light. Some of those soft grey days in this country are very beautiful in tone, and change so little that careful studies can be made. And with indoor work, place your subject rather away from the direct light and avoid much light and shade; let the light come from behind you.

If very strong light effects, such as sunlight, or a dark interior lit by one brilliant window, are attempted, the values will be found to be much simpler and more harsh, often resolving themselves into two 206masses, a brilliant light contrasted with a dark shadow. This tone arrangement of strong light in contrast with dark shadow was a favourite formula with many schools of the past, since Leonardo da Vinci first used it. Great breadth and splendour is given by it to design, and it is one of the most impressive of tone arrangements. Leonardo da Vinci's "Our Lady of the Rocks," in the National Gallery, is an early example of this treatment. And Correggio's "Venus, Mercury, and Cupid," here reproduced, is another particularly fine example. Reynolds and many of the eighteenth-century men used this scheme in their work almost entirely. This strong light and shade, by eliminating to a large extent the half tones, helps to preserve in highly complete work a simplicity and directness of statement that is very powerful. For certain impressions it probably will never be bettered, but it is a very well-worn convention. Manet among the moderns has given new life to this formula, although he did not derive his inspiration directly from Correggio but through the Spanish school. By working in a strong, rather glaring, direct light, he eliminated still further the half tones, and got rid to a great extent of light and shade. Coming at a time when the realistic and plain air movements were destroying simple directness, his work was of great value, bringing back, as it did with its insistence on large, simple masses, a sense of frank design. His influence has been very great in recent years, as artists have felt that it offered a new formula for design and colour. Light and shade and half tone are the great enemies of colour, sullying, as they do, its purity; and to some extent to design also, destroying, as they do, the flatness of the picture. But with the strong direct 207light, the masses are cut out as simply as possible, and their colour is little sullied by light and shade. The picture of Manet's reproduced is a typical example of his manner. The aggressive shape of the pattern made by the light mass against the dark background is typical of his revolutionary attitude towards all accepted canons of beauty. But even here it is interesting to note that many principles of composition are conformed to. The design is united to its boundaries by the horizontal line of the couch and the vertical line of the screen at the back, while the whole swing hangs on the diagonal from top left-hand corner to right; lower corner, to which the strongly marked edge of the bed-clothes and pillow at the bottom of the picture is parallel.

Plate XLV. CORREGGIO. VENUS. MERCURY, AND CUPID (NATIONAL GALLERY) A fine example of one of the most effective tone arrangements; a brilliantly-lit, richly-modelled light mass on a dark background. Photo Hanfstaengl

Plate XLV.

CORREGGIO. VENUS. MERCURY, AND CUPID (NATIONAL GALLERY)

A fine example of one of the most effective tone arrangements; a brilliantly-lit, richly-modelled light mass on a dark background.

Photo Hanfstaengl

Large flat tones give a power and simplicity to a design, and a largeness and breadth of expression that are very valuable, besides showing up every little variety in the values used for your modelling; and thus enabling you to model with the least expenditure of tones. Whatever richness of variation you may ultimately desire to add to your values, see to it that in planning your picture you get a good basic structure of simply designed, and as far as possible flat, tones.

In speaking of variety in mass we saw how the nearer these tones are in the scale of values, the more reserved and quiet the impression created, and the further apart or greater the contrast, the more dramatic and intense the effect. And the sentiment of tone in a picture, like the sentiment of line and colour, should be in harmony with the nature of your subject.

Generally speaking more variety of tone and shape 208in the masses of your composition is permissible when a smaller range of values is used than when your subject demands strong contrasts. When strong contrasts of tone or what are called black and white effects are desired, the masses must be very simply designed. Were this not so, and were the composition patterned all over with smaller masses in strong contrast, the breadth and unity of the effect would be lost. While when the difference of relative values between one tone and another is slight, the oneness of effect is not so much interfered with by there being a large number of them. Effects of strong contrasts are therefore far the most difficult to manage, as it is not easy to reduce a composition of any complexity to a simple expressive pattern of large masses.

This principle applies also in the matter of colour. Greater contrasts and variety of colour may be indulged in where the middle range only of tones is used, and where there is little tone contrast, than where there is great contrast. In other words, you cannot with much hope of success have strong contrasts of colour and strong contrasts of tone in the same picture: it is too violent.

If you have strong contrasts of colour, the contrasts of tone between them must be small. The Japanese and Chinese often make the most successful use of violent contrasts of colour by being careful that they shall be of the same tone value.

And again, where you have strong contrasts of tone, such as Rembrandt was fond of, you cannot successfully have strong contrasts of colour as well. Reynolds, who was fond both of colour and strong tone contrast, had to compromise, as he tells us in 209his lectures, by making the shadows all the same brown colour, to keep a harmony in his work.

Plate XLVI. OLYMPIA. MANET (Louvre) A further development of the composition formula illustrated by Correggio's

Plate XLVI.

OLYMPIA. MANET (Louvre)

A further development of the composition formula illustrated by Correggio's "Venus". Added force is given by lighting with low direct light elimination half-tones.

Photo Neurdein

There is some analogy between straight lines and flat tones, and curved lines and gradated tones. And a great deal that was said about the rhythmic significance of these lines will apply equally well here. What was said about long vertical and horizontal lines conveying a look of repose and touching the serious emotional notes, can be said of large flat tones. The feeling of infinity suggested by a wide blue sky without a cloud, seen above a wide bare plain, is an obvious instance of this. And for the same harmonic cause, a calm evening has so peaceful and infinite an expression. The waning light darkens the land and increases the contrast between it and the sky, with the result that all the landscape towards the west is reduced to practically one dark tone, cutting sharply against the wide light of the sky.

And the graceful charm of curved lines swinging in harmonious rhythm through a composition has its analogy in gradated tones. Watteau and Gainsborough, those masters of charm, knew this, and in their most alluring compositions the tone-music is founded on a principle of tone-gradations, swinging and interlacing with each other in harmonious rhythm throughout the composition. Large, flat tones, with their more thoughtful associations are out of place here, and are seldom if ever used. In their work we see a world where the saddening influences of profound thought and its expression are far away. No deeper notes are allowed to mar the gaiety of this holiday world. Watteau created a dream country of his own, in which a tired humanity has delighted ever since, in which all serious thoughts are far away and the mind takes 211refreshment in the contemplation of delightful things. And a great deal of this charm is due to the pretty play from a crescendo to a diminuendo in the tone values on which his compositions are based—so far removed from the simple structure of flat masses to which more primitive and austere art owes its power.

Diagram XXIV. SHOWING THE PRINCIPLE ON WHICH THE MASS OR TONE RHYTHM OF THE COMPOSITION REPRODUCED ON THE OPPOSITE PAGE IS ARRANGED

Diagram XXIV.

SHOWING THE PRINCIPLE ON WHICH THE MASS OR TONE RHYTHM OF THE COMPOSITION REPRODUCED ON THE OPPOSITE PAGE IS ARRANGED

Plate XLVII. L'EMBARQUEMENT POUR CYTHÈRE. WATTEAU (LOUVRE) A typical example of composition founded on gradated tones. (See analysis on opposite page.) Photo Hanfstaengl

Plate XLVII.

L'EMBARQUEMENT POUR CYTHÈRE. WATTEAU (LOUVRE)

A typical example of composition founded on gradated tones. (See analysis on opposite page.)

Photo Hanfstaengl

But Watteau's great accomplishment was in doing this without degenerating into feeble prettiness, and this he did by an insistence on character in his figures, particularly his men. His draperies also are always beautifully drawn and full of variety, never feeble and characterless. The landscape backgrounds are much more lacking in this respect, nothing ever happened there, no storms have ever bent his graceful tree-trunks, and the incessant gradations might easily become wearisome. But possibly the charm in which we delight would be lost, did the landscape possess more character. At any rate there is enough in the figures to prevent any sickly prettiness, although I think if you removed the figures the landscape would not be tolerable.

But the followers of Watteau seized upon the prettiness and gradually got out of touch with the character, and if you compare Boucher's heads, particularly his men's heads, with Watteau's you may see how much has been lost.

The following are three examples of this gradated tone composition (see pages 210 [Transcribers Note: Diagram XXIV], 213 [Transcribers Note: Diagram XXV], 215 [Transcribers Note: Diagram XXVI]):

Watteau: "Embarquement pour L'Île de Cythère."

This is a typical Watteau composition, founded on a rhythmic play of gradated tones and gradated edges. Flat tones and hard edges are avoided. Beginning at the centre of the top with a strongly accented note of contrast, the dark tone of the mass of trees gradates into the ground and on past 212the lower right-hand corner across the front of the picture, until, when nearing the lower left-hand corner, it reverses the process and from dark to light begins gradating light to dark, ending somewhat sharply against the sky in the rock form to the left. The rich play of tone that is introduced in the trees and ground, &c., blinds one at first to the perception of this larger tone motive, but without it the rich variety would not hold together. Roughly speaking the whole of this dark frame of tones from the accented point of the trees at the top to the mass of the rock on the left, may be said to gradate away into the distance; cut into by the wedge-shaped middle tone of the hills leading to the horizon.

Breaking across this is a graceful line of figures, beginning on the left where the mass of rock is broken by the little flight of cupids, and continuing across the picture until it is brought up sharply by the light figure under the trees on the right. Note the pretty clatter of spots this line of figures brings across the picture, introducing light spots into the darker masses, ending up with the strongly accented light spot of the figure on the right; and dark spots into the lighter masses, ending up with the figures of the cupids dark against the sky.

Steadying influences in all this flux of tone are introduced by the vertical accent of the tree-stem and statue in the dark mass on the right, by the horizontal line of the distance on the left, the outline of the ground in the front, and the straight staffs held by some of the figures.

In the charcoal scribble illustrating this composition I have tried carefully to avoid any drawing in the figures or trees to show how the tone-music depends not so much on truth to natural appearances 214as on the abstract arrangement of tone values and their rhythmic play.

Diagram XXV. SHOWING THE PRINCIPLE ON WHICH THE MASS OR TONE RHYTHM IS ARRANGED IN TURNER'S PICTURE IN THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF BRITISH ART,

Diagram XXV.

SHOWING THE PRINCIPLE ON WHICH THE MASS OR TONE RHYTHM IS ARRANGED IN TURNER'S PICTURE IN THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF BRITISH ART, "ULYSSES DERIDING POLYPHEMUS"

Of course nature contains every conceivable variety of tone-music, but it is not to be found by unintelligent copying except in rare accidents. Emerson says, "Although you search the whole world for the beautiful you'll not find it unless you take it with you," and this is true to a greater extent of rhythmic tone arrangements.

Turner: "Ulysses deriding Polyphemus."

Turner was very fond of these gradated tone compositions, and carried them to a lyrical height to which they had never before attained. His "Ulysses deriding Polyphemus," in the National Gallery of British Art, is a splendid example of his use of this principle. A great unity of expression is given by bringing the greatest dark and light together in sharp contrast, as is done in this picture by the dark rocks and ships' prows coming against the rising sun. From this point the dark and light masses gradate in different directions until they merge above the ships' sails. These sails cut sharply into the dark mass as the rocks and ship on the extreme right cut sharply into the light mass. Note also the edges where they are accented and come sharply against the neighbouring mass, and where they are lost, and the pleasing quality this play of edges gives.

Stability is given by the line of the horizon and waves in front, and the masts of the ships, the oars, and, in the original picture, a feeling of radiating lines from the rising sun. Without these steadying influences these compositions of gradated masses would be sickly and weak.

Corot: 2470 Collection Chauchard, Louvre.

This is a typical example of Corot's tone scheme, 216and little need be added to the description already given. Infinite play is got with the simplest means. A dark silhouetted mass is seen against a light sky, the perfect balance of the shapes and the infinite play of lost-and-foundness in the edges giving to this simple structure a richness and beauty effect that is very satisfying. Note how Corot, like Turner, brings his greatest light and dark together in sharp contrast where the rock on the right cuts the sky.

Diagram XXVI. TYPICAL EXAMPLE OF COROT'S SYSTEM OF MASS RHYTHM, AFTER THE PICTURE IN THE LOUVRE, PARIS

Diagram XXVI.

TYPICAL EXAMPLE OF COROT'S SYSTEM OF MASS RHYTHM, AFTER THE PICTURE IN THE LOUVRE, PARIS

Stability is given by the vertical feeling in the central group of trees and the suggestion of horizontal distance behind the figure.

It is not only in the larger disposition of the masses in a composition that this principle of gradated masses and lost and found edges can be used. Wherever grace and charm are your motive they should be looked for in the working out of the smallest details.


In concluding this chapter I must again insist that knowledge of these matters will not make you compose a good picture. A composition may be perfect as far as any rules or principles of composition go, and yet be of no account whatever. The life-giving quality in art always defies analysis and refuses to be tabulated in any formula. This vital quality in drawing and composition must come from the individual artist himself, and nobody can help him much here. He must ever be on the look out for those visions his imagination stirs within him, and endeavour, however haltingly at first, to give them some sincere expression. Try always when your mind is filled with some pictorial idea to get something put down, a mere fumbled expression possibly, but it may contain the germ. Later on the 217same idea may occur to you again, only it will be less vague this time, and a process of development will have taken place. It may be years before it takes sufficiently definite shape to justify a picture; the process of germination in the mind is a slow one. But try and acquire the habit of making some record of what pictorial ideas pass in the mind, and don't wait until you can draw and paint well to begin. Qualities of drawing and painting don't matter a bit here, it is the sensation, the feeling for the picture, that is everything.

If knowledge of the rhythmic properties of lines and masses will not enable you to compose a fine picture, you may well ask what is their use? There may be those to whom they are of no use. Their artistic instincts are sufficiently strong to need no direction. But such natures are rare, and it is doubtful if they ever go far, while many a painter might be saved a lot of worry over something in his picture that "won't come" did he but know more of the principle of pictorial design his work is transgressing. I feel certain that the old painters, like the Venetians, were far more systematic and had far more hard and fast principles of design than ourselves. They knew the science of their craft so well that they did not so often have to call upon their artistic instinct to get them out of difficulties. Their artistic instinct was free to attend to higher things, their knowledge of the science of picture-making keeping them from many petty mistakes that a modern artist falls into. The desire of so many artists in these days to cut loose from tradition and start all over again puts a very severe strain upon their intuitive faculties, and keeps them occupied correcting things that more knowledge of 218some of the fundamental principles that don't really alter and that are the same in all schools would have saved them. Knowledge in art is like a railway built behind the pioneers who have gone before; it offers a point of departure for those who come after, further on into the unknown country of nature's secrets—a help not lightly to be discarded.

But all artifice in art must be concealed, a picture obviously composed is badly composed. In a good composition it is as though the parts had been carefully placed in rhythmic relation and then the picture jarred a little, so that everything is slightly shifted out of place, thus introducing our "dither" or play of life between the parts. Of course no mechanical jogging will introduce the vital quality referred to, which must come from the vitality of the artist's intuition; although I have heard of photographers jogging the camera in an endeavour to introduce some artistic "play" in its mechanical renderings. But one must say something to show how in all good composition the mechanical principles at the basis of the matter are subordinate to a vital principle on which the life in the work depends.

This concealment of all artifice, this artlessness and spontaneity of appearance, is one of the greatest qualities in a composition, any analysis of which is futile. It is what occasionally gives to the work of the unlettered genius so great a charm. But the artist in whom the true spark has not been quenched by worldly success or other enervating influence, keeps the secret of this freshness right on, the culture of his student days being used only to give it splendour of expression, but never to stifle or suppress its native charm.


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XV
BALANCE

There seems to be a strife between opposing forces at the basis of all things, a strife in which a perfect balance is never attained, or life would cease. The worlds are kept on their courses by such opposing forces, the perfect equilibrium never being found, and so the vitalising movement is kept up. States are held together on the same principle, no State seeming able to preserve a balance for long; new forces arise, the balance is upset, and the State totters until a new equilibrium has been found. It would seem, however, to be the aim of life to strive after balance, any violent deviation from which is accompanied by calamity.

And in art we have the same play of opposing factors, straight lines and curves, light and dark, warm and cold colour oppose each other. Were the balance between them perfect, the result would be dull and dead. But if the balance is very much out, the eye is disturbed and the effect too disquieting. It will naturally be in pictures that aim at repose that this balance will be most perfect. In more exciting subjects less will be necessary, but some amount should exist in every picture, no matter how turbulent its motive; as in good tragedy the horror of the situation is never allowed to overbalance the beauty of the treatment.

220

Between Straight Lines and Curves

Let us consider in the first place the balance between straight lines and curves. The richer and fuller the curves, the more severe should be the straight lines that balance them, if perfect repose is desired. But if the subject demands excess of movement and life, of course there will be less necessity for the balancing influence of straight lines. And on the other hand, if the subject demands an excess of repose and contemplation, the bias will be on the side of straight lines. But a picture composed entirely of rich, rolling curves is too disquieting a thing to contemplate, and would become very irritating. Of the two extremes, one composed entirely of straight lines would be preferable to one with no squareness to relieve the richness of the curves. For straight lines are significant of the deeper and more permanent things of life, of the powers that govern and restrain, and of infinity; while the rich curves (that is, curves the farthest removed from the straight line) seem to be expressive of uncontrolled energy and the more exuberant joys of life. Vice may be excess in any direction, but asceticism has generally been accepted as a nobler vice than voluptuousness. The rococo art of the eighteenth century is an instance of the excessive use of curved forms, and, like all excesses in the joys of life, it is vicious and is the favourite style of decoration in vulgar places of entertainment. The excessive use of straight lines and square forms may be seen in some ancient Egyptian architecture, but this severity was originally, no doubt, softened by the use of colour, and in any case it is nobler and finer than the vicious cleverness of rococo art.

221We have seen how the Greeks balanced the straight lines of their architectural forms with the rich lines of the sculpture which they used so lavishly on their temples. But the balance was always kept on the side of the square forms and never on the side of undue roundness. And it is on this side that the balance would seem to be in the finest art. Even the finest curves are those that approach the straight line rather than the circle, that err on the side of flatnesses rather than roundnesses.

Between Flat and Gradated Tones

What has been said about the balance of straight lines and curves applies equally well to tones, if for straight lines you substitute flat tones, and for curved lines gradated tones. The deeper, more permanent things find expression in the wider, flatter tones, while an excess of gradations makes for prettiness, if not for the gross roundnesses of vicious modelling.

Often when a picture is hopelessly out of gear and "mucked up," as they say in the studio, it can be got on the right road again by reducing it to a basis of flat tones, going over it and painting out the gradations, getting it back to a simpler equation from which the right road to completion can be more readily seen. Overmuch concern with the gradations of the smaller modelling is a very common reason of pictures and drawings getting out of gear. The less expenditure of tone values you can express your modelling with, the better, as a general rule. The balance in the finest work is usually on the side of flat tones rather than on the side of gradated tones. Work that errs on the side of gradations, like that of Greuze, however popular its appeal, is much poorer stuff 222than work that errs on the side of flatness in tone, like Giotto and the Italian primitives, or Puvis de Chavannes among the moderns.

Between Light and Dark Tones.

There is a balance of tone set up also between light and dark, between black and white in the scale of tone. Pictures that do not go far in the direction of light, starting from a middle tone, should not go far in the direction of dark either. In this respect note the pictures of Whistler, a great master in matters of tone; his lights seldom approach anywhere near white, and, on the other hand, his darks never approach black in tone. When the highest lights are low in tone, the darkest darks should be high in tone. Painters like Rembrandt, whose pictures when fresh must have approached very near white in the high lights, also approach black in the darks, and nearer our own time, Frank Holl forced the whites of his pictures very high and correspondingly the darks were very heavy. And when this balance is kept there is a rightness about it that is instinctively felt. We do not mean that the amount of light tones in a picture should be balanced by the amount of dark tones, but that there should be some balance between the extremes of light and dark used in the tone scheme of a picture. The old rule was, I believe, that a picture should be two-thirds light and one-third dark. But I do not think there is any rule to be observed here: there are too many exceptions, and no mention is made of half tones.

Like all so-called laws in art, this rule is capable of many apparent exceptions. There is the white picture in which all the tones are high. But in some of the most successful of these you will generally 223find spots of intensely dark pigment. Turner was fond of these light pictures in his later manner, but he usually put in some dark spot, such as the black gondolas in some of his Venetian pictures, that illustrate the law of balance we are speaking of, and are usually put in excessively dark in proportion as the rest of the picture is excessively light.

The successful one-tone pictures are generally painted in the middle tones, and thus do not in any way contradict our principle of balance.

Between Warm and Cold Colours.

One is tempted at this point to wander a little into the province of colour, where the principle of balance of which we are speaking is much felt, the scale here being between warm and cold colours. If you divide the solar spectrum roughly into half, you will have the reds, oranges, and yellows on one side, and the purples, blues, and greens on the other, the former being roughly the warm and the latter the cold colours. The clever manipulation of the opposition between these warm and cold colours is one of the chief means used in giving vitality to colouring. But the point to notice here is that the further your colouring goes in the direction of warmth, the further it will be necessary to go in the opposite direction, to right the balance. That is how it comes about that painters like Titian, who loved a warm, glowing, golden colouring, so often had to put a mass of the coldest blue in their pictures. Gainsborough's "Blue Boy," although done in defiance of Reynolds' principle, is no contradiction of our rule, for although the boy has a blue dress all the rest of the picture is warm brown and so the balance is kept. It is the failure to observe this 224balance that makes so many of the red-coated huntsmen and soldiers' portraits in our exhibitions so objectionable. They are too often painted on a dark, hot, burnt sienna and black background, with nothing but warm colours in the flesh, &c., with the result that the screaming heat is intolerable. With a hot mass of red like a huntsman's coat in your picture, the coolest colour should be looked for everywhere else. Seen in a November landscape, how well a huntsman's coat looks, but then, how cold and grey is the colouring of the landscape. The right thing to do is to support your red with as many cool and neutral tones as possible and avoid hot shadows. With so strong a red, blue might be too much of a contrast, unless your canvas was large enough to admit of its being introduced at some distance from the red.

Most painters, of course, are content to keep to middle courses, never going very far in the warm or cold directions. And, undoubtedly, much more freedom of action is possible here, although the results may not be so powerful. But when beauty and refinement of sentiment rather than force are desired, the middle range of colouring (that is to say, all colours partly neutralised by admixture with their opposites) is much safer.

Between Interest and Mass.

There is another form of balance that must be although it is connected more with the subject matter of art, as it concerns the mental significance of objects rather than rhythmic qualities possessed by lines and masses; I refer to the balance there is between interest and mass. The all-absorbing interest of the human figure makes it often when quite minute in scale balance the weight and interest of a great 225mass. Diagram XXVII is a rough instance of what is meant. Without the little figure the composition would be out of balance. But the weight of interest centred upon that lonely little person is enough to right the balance occasioned by the great mass of trees on the left. Figures are largely used by landscape painters in this way, and are of great use in restoring balance in a picture.

Diagram XXVII. ILLUSTRATING HOW INTEREST MAY BALANCE MASS

Diagram XXVII.

ILLUSTRATING HOW INTEREST MAY BALANCE MASS

Between Variety and Unity.

And lastly, there must be a balance struck between variety and unity. A great deal has already been said about this, and it will only be necessary to recapitulate here that to variety is due all the expression or the picturesque, of the joyous energy of life, and all that makes the world such a delightful place, but that to unity belongs the relating of this variety to the underlying bed-rock principles that support it in nature and in all good art. It will depend on the nature of the artist and on the nature of his theme how far this underlying unity will dominate the expression in his work; and how far it will be overlaid and hidden behind a rich garment of variety.

226But both ideas must be considered in his work. If the unity of his conception is allowed to exclude variety entirely, it will result in a dead abstraction, and if the variety is to be allowed none of the restraining influences of unity, it will develop into a riotous extravagance.


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XVI
RHYTHM: PROPORTION

Rules and canons of proportion designed to reduce to a mathematical formula the things that move us in beautiful objects, have not been a great success; the beautiful will always defy such clumsy analysis. But however true it is that beauty of proportion must ever be the result of the finer senses of the artist, it is possible that canons of proportion, such as those of the human body, may be of service to the artist by offering some standard from which he can depart at the dictates of his artistic instinct. There appears to be no doubt that the ancient sculptors used some such system. And many of the renaissance painters were interested in the subject, Leonardo da Vinci having much to say about it in his book.

Like all scientific knowledge in art, it fails to trap the elusive something that is the vital essence of the whole matter, but such scientific knowledge does help to bring one's work up to a high point of mechanical perfection, from which one's artistic instinct can soar with a better chance of success than if no scientific scaffolding had been used in the initial building up. Yet, however perfect your system, don't forget that the life, the "dither," will still have to be accounted for, and no science will help you here.

The idea that certain mathematical proportions 228or relationships underlie the phenomena we call beauty is very ancient, and too abstruse to trouble us here. But undoubtedly proportion, the quantitative relation of the parts to each other and to the whole, forms a very important part in the impression works of art and objects give us, and should be a subject of the greatest consideration in planning your work. The mathematical relationship of these quantities is a subject that has always fascinated scholars, who have measured the antique statues accurately and painstakingly to find the secret of their charm. Science, by showing that different sounds and different colours are produced by waves of different lengths, and that therefore different colours and sounds can be expressed in terms of numbers, has certainly opened the door to a new consideration of this subject of beauty in relation to mathematics. And the result of such an inquiry, if it is being or has been carried on, will be of much interest.

But there is something chilling to the artist in an array of dead figures, for he has a consciousness that the life of the whole matter will never be captured by such mechanical means.

The question we are interested to ask here is: are there particular sentiments connected with the different relations of quantities, their proportions, as we found there were in connection with different arrangements of lines and masses? Have abstract proportions any significance in art, as we found abstract line and mass arrangements had? It is a difficult thing to be definite about, and I can only give my own feeling on the matter; but I think in some degree they have.

Proportion can be considered from our two points of view of unity and variety. In so far as 229the proportions of any picture or object resolve themselves into a simple, easily grasped unity of relationship, a sense of repose and sublimity is produced. In so far as the variety of proportion in the different parts is assertive and prevents the eye grasping the arrangement as a simple whole, a sense of the lively restlessness of life and activity is produced. In other words, as we found in line arrangements, unity makes for sublimity, while variety makes for the expression of life. Of course the scale of the object will have something to do with this. That is to say, the most sublimely proportioned dog-kennel could never give us the impression of sublimity produced by a great temple. In pictures the scale of the work is not of so great importance, a painting or drawing having the power of giving the impression of great size on a small scale.

The proportion that is most easily grasped is the half—two equal parts. This is the most devoid of variety, and therefore of life, and is only used when an effect of great repose and aloofness from life is wanted; and even then, never without some variety in the minor parts to give vitality. The third and the quarter, and in fact any equal proportions, are others that are easily grasped and partake in a lesser degree of the same qualities as the half. So that equality of proportion should be avoided except on those rare occasions when effects remote from nature and life are desired. Nature seems to abhor equalities, never making two things alike or the same proportion if she can help it. All systems founded on equalities, as are so many modern systems of social reform, are man's work, the products of a machine-made age. For this is the difference between nature and the 230machine: nature never produces two things alike, the machine never produces two things different. Man could solve the social problem to-morrow if you could produce him equal units. But if all men were alike and equal, where would be the life and fun of existence? it would depart with the variety. And in proportion, as in life, variety is the secret of vitality, only to be suppressed where a static effect is wanted. In architecture equality of proportion is more often met with, as the static qualities of repose are of more importance here than in painting. One meets it on all fine buildings in such things as rows of columns and windows of equal size and distances apart, or the continual repetition of the same forms in mouldings, &c. But even here, in the best work, some variety is allowed to keep the effect from being quite dead, the columns on the outside of a Greek pediment being nearer together and leaning slightly inwards, and the repeated forms of windows, columns, and mouldings being infinitely varied in themselves. But although you often find repetitions of the same forms equidistant in architecture, it is seldom that equality of proportion is observable in the main distribution of the large masses.

Let us take our simple type of composition, and in Diagram XXVIII, A, put the horizon across the centre and an upright post cutting it in the middle of the picture. And let us introduce two spots that may indicate the position of birds in the upper spaces on either side of this.

Here we have a maximum of equality and the deadest and most static of results.

To see these diagrams properly it is necessary to cover over with some pieces of notepaper all but 231the one being considered, as they affect each other when seen together, and the quality of their proportion is not so readily observed.

Plate XLVIII. THE ANSIDEI MADONNA. BY RAPHAEL (NATIONAL GALLERY) A typical example of static balance in composition. Photo Hanfstaengl

Plate XLVIII.

THE ANSIDEI MADONNA. BY RAPHAEL (NATIONAL GALLERY)

A typical example of static balance in composition.

Photo Hanfstaengl

In many pictures of the Madonna, when a hush and reverence are desired rather than exuberant life, the figure is put in the centre of the canvas, equality of proportion existing between the spaces on either side of her. But having got the repose this centralisation gives, everything is done to conceal this equality, and variety in the contours on either side, and in any figures there may be, is carefully sought. Raphael's "Ansidei Madonna," in the National Gallery, is an instance of this (p. 230). You have first the centralisation of the figure of the Madonna with the throne on which she sits, exactly in the middle of the picture. Not only is the throne in the centre of the picture, but its width is exactly that of the spaces on either side of it, giving us three equal proportions across the picture. Then you have the circular lines of the arches behind, curves possessed of the least possible amount of variety and therefore the calmest and most reposeful; while the horizontal lines of the steps and the vertical lines of the throne and architecture, and also the rows of hanging beads give further emphasis to this infinity of calm. But when we come to the figures this symmetry has been varied everywhere. All the heads swing towards the right, while the lines of the draperies swing freely in many directions. The swing of the heads towards the right is balanced and the eye brought back to equilibrium by the strongly-insisted-upon staff of St. Nicholas on the right. The staff of St. John necessary to balance this line somewhat, is very slightly insisted on, being represented transparent 235as if made of glass, so as not to increase the swing to the right occasioned by the heads. It is interesting to note the fruit introduced at the last moment in the right-hand lower corner, dragged in, as it were, to restore the balance occasioned by the figure of the Christ being on the left. In the writer's humble opinion the extremely obvious artifice with which the lines have been balanced, and the severity of the convention of this composition generally, are out of harmony with the amount of naturalistic detail and particularly of solidity allowed in the treatment of the figures and accessories. The small amount of truth to visual nature in the work of earlier men went better with the formality of such compositions. With so little of the variety of life in their treatment of natural appearances, one was not led to demand so much of the variety of life in the arrangement. It is the simplicity and remoteness from the full effect of natural appearances in the work of the early Italian schools that made their painting such a ready medium for the expression of religious subjects. This atmosphere of other-worldliness where the music of line and colour was uninterrupted by any aggressive look of real things is a better convention for the expression of such ideas and emotions.

Diagram XXVIII(1). A, D, G

Diagram XXVIII(1).

A, D, G

Diagram XXVIII(2). B, E, H

Diagram XXVIII(2).

B, E, H

Diagram XXVIII(3). C, F, I

Diagram XXVIII(3).

C, F, I

In B and C the proportions of the third and the quarter are shown, producing the same static effect as the half, although not so completely.

At D, E, F the same number of lines and spots as we have at A, B, C have been used, but varied as to size and position, so that they have no obvious mechanical relationship. The result is an expression of much more life and character.

At G, H, I more lines and spots have been 236added. At G they are equidistant and dead from lack of variety, while at H and I they are varied to a degree that prevents the eye grasping any obvious relationship between them. They have consequently a look of liveliness and life very different from A, B, C, or G. It will be observed that as the amount of variety increases so does the life and liveliness of the impression.

In these diagrams a certain static effect is kept up throughout, on account of our lines being vertical and horizontal only, which lines, as we saw in an earlier chapter, are the calmest we have. But despite this, I think the added life due to the variety in the proportions is sufficiently apparent in the diagrams to prove the point we wish to make.

As a contrast to the infinite calm of Raphael's "Madonna," we have reproduced Tintoretto's "Finding of the Body of St. Mark," in the Brera Gallery, Milan. Here all is life and movement. The proportions are infinitely varied, nowhere does the eye grasp any obvious mathematical relationship. We have the same semi-circular arches as in the Raphael, but not symmetrically placed, and their lines everywhere varied, and their calm effect destroyed by the flickering lights playing about them. Note the great emphasis given to the outstretched hand of the powerful figure of the Apostle on the left by the lines of the architecture and the line of arm of the kneeling figure in the centre of the picture converging on this hand and leading the eye immediately to it. There is here no static symmetry, all is energy and force. Starting with this arresting arm, the eye is led down the majestic figure of St. Mark, past the recumbent figure, and across the picture by means of the band of light on the ground, to the 237important group of frightened figures on the right. And from them on to the figures engaged in lowering a corpse from its tomb. Or, following the direction of the outstretched arm of St. Mark, we are led by the lines of the architecture to this group straight away, and back again by means of the group on the right and the band of light on the ground. The quantities are not placed in reposeful symmetry about the canvas, as was the case in the Raphael, but are thrown off apparently haphazard from lines leading the eye round the picture. Note also the dramatic intensity given by the strongly contrasted light and shade, and how Tintoretto has enjoyed the weird effect of the two figures looking into a tomb with a light, their shadows being thrown on the lid they hold open, at the far end of the room. This must have been an amazingly new piece of realism at the time, and is wonderfully used, to give an eerie effect to the darkened end of the room. With his boundless energy and full enjoyment of life, Tintoretto's work naturally shows a strong leaning towards variety, and his amazing compositions are a liberal education in the innumerable and unexpected ways in which a panel can be filled, and should be carefully studied by students.

Plate XLIX. THE FINDING OF THE BODY OF ST. MARK TINTORETTO (BREDA, MILAN) Compare with Raphael's Ansidei Madonna, and note how energy and movement take the place of static calm in the balance of this composition. Photo Anderson

Plate XLIX.

THE FINDING OF THE BODY OF ST. MARK TINTORETTO (BREDA, MILAN)

Compare with Raphael's Ansidei Madonna, and note how energy and movement take the place of static calm in the balance of this composition.

Photo Anderson

A pleasing proportion that often occurs in nature and art is one that may be roughly stated in figures as that between 5 and 8. In such a proportion the eye sees no mathematical relationship. Were it less than 5, it would be too near the proportion of 4 to 8 (or one-third the total length), a dull proportion; or were it more, it would be approaching too near equality of proportion to be quite satisfactory.

I have seen a proportional compass, imported from Germany, giving a relationship similar to this 238and said to contain the secret of good proportion. There is certainly something remarkable about it, and in the Appendix, page 289, you will find some further interesting facts about this.

The variety of proportions in a building, a picture, or a piece of sculpture should always be under the control of a few simple, dominant quantities that simplify the appearance and give it a unity which is readily grasped except where violence and lack of repose are wanted. The simpler the proportion is, the more sublime will be the impression, and the more complicated, the livelier and more vivacious the effect. From a few well-chosen large proportions the eye may be led on to enjoy the smaller varieties. But in good proportion the lesser parts are not allowed to obtrude, but are kept in subordination to the main dispositions on which the unity of the effect depends.


239

XVII
PORTRAIT DRAWING

There is something in every individual that is likely for a long time to defy the analysis of science. When you have summed up the total of atoms or electrons or whatever it is that goes to the making of the tissues and also the innumerable complex functions performed by the different parts, you have not yet got on the track of the individual that governs the whole performance. The effect of this personality on the outward form, and the influence it has in modifying the aspect of body and features, are the things that concern the portrait draughtsman: the seizing on and expressing forcefully the individual character of the sitter, as expressed by his outward appearance.

This character expression in form has been thought to be somewhat antagonistic to beauty, and many sitters are shy of the particular characteristics of their own features. The fashionable photographer, knowing this, carefully stipples out of his negative any striking characteristics in the form of his sitter the negative may show. But judging by the result, it is doubtful whether any beauty has been gained, and certain that interest and vitality have been lost in the process. Whatever may be the nature of beauty, it is obvious that what makes one object more beautiful than another 240is something that is characteristic of the appearance of the one and not of the other: so that some close study of individual characteristics must be the aim of the artist who would seek to express beauty, as well as the artist who seeks the expression of character and professes no interest in beauty.

Catching the likeness, as it is called, is simply seizing on the essential things that belong only to a particular individual and differentiate that individual from others, and expressing them in a forceful manner. There are certain things that are common to the whole species, likeness to a common type; the individual likeness is not in this direction but at the opposite pole to it.

It is one of the most remarkable things connected with the amazing subtlety of appreciation possessed by the human eye, that of the millions of heads in the world, and probably of all that have ever existed in the world, no two look exactly alike. When one considers how alike they are, and how very restricted is the range of difference between them, is it not remarkable how quickly the eye recognises one person from another? It is more remarkable still how one sometimes recognises a friend not seen for many years, and whose appearance has changed considerably in the meantime. And this likeness that we recognise is not so much as is generally thought a matter of the individual features. If one sees the eye alone, the remainder of the face being covered, it is almost impossible to recognise even a well-known friend, or tell whether the expression is that of laughing or crying. And again, how difficult it is to recognise anybody when the eyes are masked and only the lower part of the face visible.

Plate L. FROM A DRAWING IN RED CHALK BY HOLBEIN IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM PRINT ROOM Note how every bit of variety is sought for, the difference in the eyes and on either side of the mouth, etc.

Plate L.

FROM A DRAWING IN RED CHALK BY HOLBEIN IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM PRINT ROOM

Note how every bit of variety is sought for, the difference in the eyes and on either side of the mouth, etc.

241If you try and recall a well-known head it will not be the shape of the features that will be recollected so much as an impression, the result of all these combined, a sort of chord of which the features will be but the component elements. It is the relation of the different parts to this chord, this impression of the personality of a head, that is the all-important thing in what is popularly called "catching the likeness." In drawing a portrait the mind must be centred on this, and all the individual parts drawn in relation to it. The moment the eye gets interested solely in some individual part and forgets the consideration of its relationship to this whole impression, the likeness suffers.

Where there is so much that is similar in heads, it is obvious that what differences there are must be searched out and seized upon forcefully, if the individuality of the head is to be made telling. The drawing of portraits should therefore be approached from the direction of these differences; that is to say, the things in general disposition and proportion in which your subject differs from a common type, should be first sought for, the things common to all heads being left to take care of themselves for a bit. The reason for this is that the eye, when fresh, sees these differences much more readily than after it has been working for some time. The tendency of a tired eye is to see less differentiation, and to hark back to a dull uniformity; so get in touch at once with the vital differences while your eye is fresh and your vision keen.

Look out first for the character of the disposition of the features, note the proportions down an imagined centre line, of the brows, the base of the nose, the mouth and chin, and get the character 242of the shape of the enclosing line of the face blocked out in square lines. The great importance of getting these proportions right early cannot be over-emphasised, as any mistake may later on necessitate completely shifting a carefully drawn feature. And the importance of this may be judged from the fact that you recognise a head a long way off, before anything but the general disposition of the masses surrounding the features can be seen. The shape of the skull, too, is another thing of which to get an early idea, and its relation to the face should be carefully noted. But it is impossible to lay down hard and fast rules for these things.

Some artists begin in point drawing with the eyes, and some leave the eyes until the very last. Some draughtsmen are never happy until they have an eye to adjust the head round, treating it as the centre of interest and drawing the parts relatively to it. While others say, with some truth, that there is a mesmeric effect produced when the eye is drawn that blinds one to the cold-blooded technical consideration of a head as line and tone in certain relationships; that it is as well to postpone until the last that moment when the shapes and tones that represent form in your drawing shall be lit up by the introduction of the eye to the look of a live person. One is freer to consider the accuracy of one's form before this disturbing influence is introduced. And there is a good deal to be said for this.

Although in point drawing you can, without serious effect, begin at any part that interests you, in setting out a painting I think there can be no two opinions as to the right way to go about it. The character of the general disposition of the 243masses must be first constructed. And if this general blocking in has been well done, the character of the sitter will be apparent from the first even in this early stage; and you will be able to judge of the accuracy of your blocking out by whether or not it does suggest the original. If it does not, correct it before going any further, working, as it were, from the general impression of the masses of the head as seen a long way off, adding more and more detail, and gradually bringing the impression nearer, until the completed head is arrived at, thus getting in touch from the very first with the likeness which should dominate the work all along.

Plate LI. SIR CHARLES DILKE, BART. From the drawing in the collection of Sir Robert Essex, M.P., in red conté chalk rubbed, the high lights being picked out with rubber.

Plate LI.

SIR CHARLES DILKE, BART.

From the drawing in the collection of Sir Robert Essex, M.P., in red conté chalk rubbed, the high lights being picked out with rubber.

There are many points of view from which a portrait can be drawn—I mean, mental points of view. And, as in a biography, the value of the work will depend on the insight and distinction of the author or artist. The valet of a great man might write a biography of his master that could be quite true to his point of view; but, assuming him to be an average valet, it would not be a great work. I believe the gardener of Darwin when asked how his master was, said, "Not at all well. You see, he moons about all day. I've seen him staring at a flower for five or ten minutes at a time. Now, if he had some work to do, he would be much better." A really great biography cannot be written except by a man who can comprehend his subject and take a wide view of his position among men, sorting what is trivial from what is essential, what is common to all men from what is particular to the subject of his work. And it is very much the same in portraiture. It is only the painter who possesses the intuitive faculty for seizing on the significant things in the form expression of his subject, of 244disentangling what is trivial from what is important; and who can convey this forcibly to the beholder on his canvas, more forcibly than a casual sight of the real person could do—it is only this painter who can hope to paint a really fine portrait.

It is true, the honest and sincere expression of any painter will be of some interest, just as the biography written by Darwin's gardener might be; but there is a vast difference between this point of view and that of the man who thoroughly comprehends his subject.

Not that it is necessary for the artist to grasp the mind of his sitter, although that is no disadvantage. But this is not his point of view, his business is with the effect of this inner man on his outward appearance. And it is necessary for him to have that intuitive power that seizes instinctively on those variations of form that are expressive of this inner man. The habitual cast of thought in any individual affects the shape and moulds the form of the features, and, to the discerning, the head is expressive of the person; both the bigger and the smaller person, both the larger and the petty characteristics everybody possesses. And the fine portrait will express the larger and subordinate the petty individualities, will give you what is of value, and subordinate what is trivial in a person's appearance.

The pose of the head is a characteristic feature about people that is not always given enough attention in portraits. The habitual cast of thought affects its carriage to a very large degree. The two extreme types of what we mean are the strongly emotional man who carries his head high, drinking 245in impressions as he goes through the world; and the man of deep thought who carries his head bent forward, his back bent in sympathy with it. Everybody has some characteristic action in the way that should be looked out for and that is usually absent when a sitter first appears before a painter on the studio throne. A little diplomacy and conversational humouring is necessary to produce that unconsciousness that will betray the man in his appearance.

How the power to discover these things can be acquired, it is, of course, impossible to teach. All the student can do is to familiarise himself with the best examples of portraiture, in the hope that he may be stimulated by this means to observe finer qualities in nature and develop the best that is in him. But he must never be insincere in his work. If he does not appreciate fine things in the work of recognised masters, let him stick to the honest portrayal of what he does see in nature. The only distinction of which he is capable lies in this direction. It is not until he awakens to the sight in nature of qualities he may have admired in others' work that he is in a position honestly to introduce them into his own performances.


Probably the most popular point of view in portraiture at present is the one that can be described as a "striking presentment of the live person." This is the portrait that arrests the crowd in an exhibition. You cannot ignore it, vitality bursts from it, and everything seems sacrificed to this quality of striking lifelikeness. And some very wonderful modern portraits have been painted from this point of view. But have we not sacrificed too much to this quality of vitality? Here is a lady 246hurriedly getting up from a couch, there a gentleman stepping out of the frame to greet you, violence and vitality everywhere. But what of repose, harmony of colour and form, and the wise ordering and selecting of the materials of vision that one has been used to in the great portraiture of the past? While the craftsman in one is staggered and amazed at the brilliant virtuosity of the thing, the artist in one resents the sacrifice of so much for what is, after all, but a short-lived excitement. Age may, no doubt, improve some of the portraits of this class by quieting them in colour and tone. And those that are good in design and arrangement will stand this without loss of distinction, but those in which everything has been sacrificed to this striking lifelike quality will suffer considerably. This particular quality depends so much on the freshness of the paint that when this is mellowed and its vividness is lost, nothing will remain of value, if the quieter qualities of design and arrangement have been sacrificed for it.

Frans Hals is the only old master I can think of with whom this form of portrait can be compared. But it will be noticed that besides designing his canvases carefully, he usually balanced the vigour and vitality of his form with a great sobriety of colour. In fact, in some of his later work, where this restless vitality is most in evidence, the colour is little more than black and white, with a little yellow ochre and Venetian red. It is this extreme reposefulness of colour that opposes the unrest in the form and helps to restore the balance and necessary repose in the picture. It is interesting to note the restless variety of the edges in Frans Hal's work, how he never, if he can help it, lets an edge 247run smoothly, but keeps it constantly on the move, often leaving it quite jagged, and to compare this with what was said about vitality depending on variety.

Plate LII. JOHN REDMOND, M.P. From the drawing in the collection of Sir Robert Essex, M.P., in red conté chalk rubbed, the high lights being picked out with rubber.

Plate LII.

JOHN REDMOND, M.P.

From the drawing in the collection of Sir Robert Essex, M.P., in red conté chalk rubbed, the high lights being picked out with rubber.


Another point of view is that of the artist who seeks to give a significant and calm view of the exterior forms of the sitter, an expressive map of the individuality of those forms, leaving you to form your own intellectual judgments. A simple, rather formal, attitude is usually chosen, and the sitter is drawn with searching honesty. There is a great deal to be said for this point of view in the hands of a painter with a large appreciation of form and design. But without these more inspiring qualities it is apt to have the dulness that attends most literal transcriptions. There are many instances of this point of view among early portrait painters, one of the best of which is the work of Holbein. But then, to a very distinguished appreciation of the subtleties of form characterisation he added a fine sense of design and colour arrangement, qualities by no means always at the command of some of the lesser men of this school.

Every portrait draughtsman should make a pilgrimage to Windsor, armed with the necessary permission to view the wonderful series of portrait drawings by this master in the library of the castle. They are a liberal education in portrait drawing. It is necessary to see the originals, for it is only after having seen them that one can properly understand the numerous and well-known reproductions. A study of these drawings will, I think, reveal the fact that they are not so literal as is usually thought. Unflinchingly and unaffectedly 248honest they are, but honest not to a cold, mechanically accurate record of the sitter's appearance, but honest and accurate to the vital impression of the live sitter made on the mind of the live artist. This is the difference we were trying to explain that exists between the academic and the vital drawing, and it is a very subtle and elusive quality, like all artistic qualities, to talk about. The record of a vital impression done with unflinching accuracy, but under the guidance of intense mental activity, is a very different thing from a drawing done with the cold, mechanical accuracy of a machine. The one will instantly grip the attention and give one a vivid sensation in a way that no mechanically accurate drawing could do, and in a way that possibly the sight of the real person would not always do. We see numbers of faces during a day, but only a few with the vividness of which I am speaking. How many faces in a crowd are passed indifferently—there is no vitality in the impression they make on our mind; but suddenly a face will rivet our attention, and although it is gone in a flash, the memory of the impression will remain for some time.

The best of Holbein's portrait drawings give one the impression of having been seen in one of these flashes and rivet the attention in consequence. Drawings done under this mental stimulus present subtle differences from drawings done with cold accuracy. The drawing of the Lady Audley, here reproduced, bears evidence of some of this subtle variation on what are called the facts, in the left eye of the sitter. It will be noticed that the pupil of this eye is larger than the other. Now I do not suppose that as a matter of mechanical accuracy this was so, 249but the impression of the eyes seen as part of a vivid impression of the head is seldom that they are the same size. Holbein had in the first instance in this very carefully wrought drawing made them so, but when at the last he was vitalising the impression, "pulling it together" as artists say, he has deliberately put a line outside the original one, making this pupil larger. This is not at all clearly seen in the reproduction, but is distinctly visible in the original. And to my thinking it was done at the dictates of the vivid mental impression he wished his drawing to convey. Few can fail to be struck in turning over this wonderful series of drawings by the vividness of their portraiture, and the vividness is due to their being severely accurate to the vital impression on the mind of Holbein, not merely to the facts coldly observed.

Plate LIII. THE LADY AUDLEY. HOLBEIN (WINDSOR) Note the different sizes of pupils in the eyes, and see letterpress on the opposite page. Copyright photo Braun & Co.

Plate LIII.

THE LADY AUDLEY. HOLBEIN (WINDSOR)

Note the different sizes of pupils in the eyes, and see letterpress on the opposite page.

Copyright photo Braun & Co.


Another point of view is that of seeking in the face a symbol of the person within, and selecting those things about a head that express this. As has already been said, the habitual attitude of mind has in the course of time a marked influence on the form of the face, and in fact of the whole body, so that—to those who can see—the man or woman is a visible symbol of themselves. But this is by no means apparent to all.

The striking example of this class is the splendid series of portraits by the late G.F. Watts. Looking at these heads one is made conscious of the people in a fuller, deeper sense than if they were before one in the flesh. For Watts sought to discover the person in their appearance and to paint a picture that should be a living symbol of them. He took pains to find out all he could about the mind of 250his sitters before he painted them, and sought in the appearance the expression of this inner man. So that whereas with Holbein it was the vivid presentation of the impression as one might see a head that struck one in a crowd, with Watts it is the spirit one is first conscious of. The thunders of war appear in the powerful head of Lord Lawrence, the music of poetry in the head of Swinburne, and the dry atmosphere of the higher regions of thought in the John Stuart Mill, &c.

In the National Portrait Gallery there are two paintings of the poet Robert Browning, one by Rudolph Lehmann and one by Watts. Now the former portrait is probably much more "like" the poet as the people who met him casually saw him. But Watts's portrait is like the man who wrote the poetry, and Lehmann's is not. Browning was a particularly difficult subject in this respect, in that to a casual observer there was much more about his external appearance to suggest a prosperous man of business, than the fiery zeal of the poet.

These portraits by Watts will repay the closest study by the student of portraiture. They are full of that wise selection by a great mind that lifts such work above the triviality of the commonplace to the level of great imaginative painting.


Another point of view is that of treating the sitter as part of a symphony of form and colour, and subordinating everything to this artistic consideration. This is very fashionable at the present time, and much beautiful work is being done with this motive. And with many ladies who would not, I hope, object to one's saying that their principal characteristic was the charm of their appearance, 251this point of view offers, perhaps, one of the best opportunities of a successful painting. A pose is selected that makes a good design of line and colour—a good pattern—and the character of the sitter is not allowed to obtrude or mar the symmetry of the whole considered as a beautiful panel. The portraits of J. McNeill Whistler are examples of this treatment, a point of view that has very largely influenced modern portrait painting in England.


Then there is the official portrait in which the dignity of an office held by the sitter, of which occasion the portrait is a memorial, has to be considered. The more intimate interest in the personal character of the sitter is here subordinated to the interest of his public character and attitude of mind towards his office. Thus it happens that much more decorative pageantry symbolic of these things is permissible in this kind of portraiture than in that of plain Mr. Smith; a greater stateliness of design as befitting official occasions.

It is not contended that this forms anything like a complete list of the numerous aspects from which a portrait can be considered, but they are some of the more extreme of those prevalent at the present time. Neither is it contended that they are incompatible with each other: the qualities of two or more of these points of view are often found in the same work. And it is not inconceivable that a single portrait might contain all and be a striking lifelike presentment, a faithful catalogue of all the features, a symbol of the person and a symphony of form and colour. But the chances are against such a composite affair being a success. One or other quality will dominate in a successful work; 252and it is not advisable to try and combine too many different points of view as, in the confusion of ideas, directness of expression is lost. But no good portrait is without some of the qualities of all these points of view, whichever may dominate the artist's intention.

Expression.

The camera, and more particularly the instantaneous camera, has habituated people to expect in a portrait a momentary expression, and of these momentary expressions the faint smile, as we all know, is an easy first in the matter of popularity. It is no uncommon thing for the painter to be asked in the early stages of his work when he is going to put in the smile, it never being questioned that this is the artist's aim in the matter of expression.

The giving of lifelike expression to a painting is not so simple a matter as it might appear to be. Could one set the real person behind the frame and suddenly fix them for ever with one of those passing expressions on their faces, however natural it might have been at the moment, fixed for ever it is terrible, and most unlifelike. As we have already said, a few lines scribbled on a piece of paper by a consummate artist would give a greater sense of life than this fixed actuality. It is not ultimately by the pursuit of the actual realisation that expression and life are conveyed in a portrait. Every face has expression of a far more interesting and enduring kind than these momentary disturbances of its form occasioned by laughter or some passing thought, &c. And it must never be forgotten that a portrait is a panel painted to remain for centuries without movement. So that a large amount of the quality of repose must 253enter into its composition. Portraits in which this has not been borne in mind, however entertaining at a picture exhibition, when they are seen for a few moments only, pall on one if constantly seen, and are finally very irritating.

But the real expression in a head is something more enduring than these passing movements: one that belongs to the forms of a head, and the marks left on that form by the life and character of the person. This is of far more interest than those passing expressions, the results of the contraction of certain muscles under the skin, the effect of which is very similar in most people. It is for the portrait painter to find this more enduring expression and give it noble expression in his work.

Treatment of Clothes.

It is a common idea among sitters that if they are painted in modern clothes the picture will look old-fashioned in a few years. If the sitter's appearance were fixed upon the canvas exactly as they stood before the artist in his studio, without any selection on the part of the painter, this might be the result, and is the result in the case of painters who have no higher aim than this.

But there are qualities in dress that do not belong exclusively to the particular period of their fashion. Qualities that are the same in all ages. And when these are insisted upon, and the frivolities of the moment in dress not troubled about so much, the portrait has a permanent quality, and will never in consequence look old-fashioned in the offensive way that is usually meant. In the first place, the drapery and stuffs of which clothes are made follow laws in the manner in which they fold 254and drape over the figure, that are the same in all times. If the expression of the figure through the draperies is sought by the painter, a permanent quality will be given in his work, whatever fantastic shapes the cut of the garments may assume.

And further, the artist does not take whatever comes to hand in the appearance of his sitter, but works to a thought-out arrangement of colour and form, to a design. This he selects from the moving and varied appearance of his sitter, trying one thing after another, until he sees a suggestive arrangement, from the impression of which he makes his design. It is true that the extremes of fashion do not always lend themselves so readily as more reasonable modes to the making of a good pictorial pattern. But this is not always so, some extreme fashions giving opportunities of very piquant and interesting portrait designs. So that, however extreme the fashion, if the artist is able to select some aspect of it that will result in a good arrangement for his portrait, the work will never have the offensive old-fashioned look. The principles governing good designs are the same in all times; and if material for such arrangement has been discovered in the most modish of fashions, it has been lifted into a sphere where nothing is ever out of date.

It is only when the painter is concerned with the trivial details of fashion for their own sake, for the making his picture look like the real thing, and has not been concerned with transmuting the appearance of fashionable clothes by selection into the permanent realms of form and colour design, that his work will justify one in saying that it will look stale in a few years.

255The fashion of dressing sitters in meaningless, so-called classical draperies is a feeble one, and usually argues a lack of capacity for selecting a good arrangement from the clothes of the period in the artist who adopts it. Modern women's clothes are full of suggestions for new arrangements and designs quite as good as anything that has been done in the past. The range of subtle colours and varieties of texture in materials is amazing, and the subtlety of invention displayed in some of the designs for costumes leads one to wonder whether there is not something in the remark attributed to an eminent sculptor that "designing ladies' fashions is one of the few arts that is thoroughly vital to-day."


256

XVIII
THE VISUAL MEMORY

The memory is the great storehouse of artistic material, the treasures of which the artist may know little about until a chance association lights up some of its dark recesses. From early years the mind of the young artist has been storing up impressions in these mysterious chambers, collected from nature's aspects, works of art, and anything that comes within the field of vision. It is from this store that the imagination draws its material, however fantastic and remote from natural appearances the forms it may assume.

How much our memory of pictures colours the impressions of nature we receive is probably not suspected by us, but who could say how a scene would appear to him, had he never looked at a picture? So sensitive is the vision to the influence of memory that, after seeing the pictures of some painter whose work has deeply impressed us, we are apt, while the memory of it is still fresh in our minds, to see things as he would paint them. On different occasions after leaving the National Gallery I can remember having seen Trafalgar Square as Paolo Veronese, Turner, or whatever painter may have impressed me in the Gallery, would have painted it, the memory of their work colouring the impression the scene produced.

257But, putting aside the memory of pictures, let us consider the place of direct visual memory from nature in our work, pictures being indirect or second-hand impressions.

We have seen in an earlier chapter how certain painters in the nineteenth century, feeling how very second-hand and far removed from nature painting had become, started a movement to discard studio traditions and study nature with a single eye, taking their pictures out of doors, and endeavouring to wrest nature's secrets from her on the spot. The Pre-Raphaelite movement in England and the Impressionist movement in France were the results of this impulse. And it is interesting, by the way, to contrast the different manner in which this desire for more truth to nature affected the French and English temperaments. The intense individualism of the English sought out every detail, every leaf and flower for itself, painting them with a passion and intensity that made their painting a vivid medium for the expression of poetic ideas; while the more synthetic mind of the Frenchman approached this search for visual truth from the opposite point of view of the whole effect, finding in the large, generalised impression a new world of beauty. And his more logical mind led him to inquire into the nature of light, and so to invent a technique founded on scientific principles.

But now the first blush of freshness has worn off the new movement, painters have begun to see that if anything but very ordinary effects are to be attempted, this painting on the spot must give place to more reliance on the memory.

Memory has this great advantage over direct vision: it retains more vividly the essential things, 258and has a habit of losing what is unessential to the pictorial impression.

But what is the essential in a painting? What is it makes one want to paint at all? Ah! Here we approach very debatable and shadowy ground, and we can do little but ask questions, the answer to which will vary with each individual temperament. What is it that these rays of light striking our retina convey to our brain, and from our brain to whatever is ourselves, in the seat of consciousness above this? What is this mysterious correspondence set up between something within and something without, that at times sends such a clamour of harmony through our whole being? Why do certain combinations of sound in music and of form and colour in art affect us so profoundly? What are the laws governing harmony in the universe, and whence do they come? It is hardly trees and sky, earth, or flesh and blood, as such, that interest the artist; but rather that through these things in memorable moments he is permitted a consciousness of deeper things, and impelled to seek utterance for what is moving him. It is the record of these rare moments in which one apprehends truth in things seen that the artist wishes to convey to others. But these moments, these flashes of inspiration which are at the inception of every vital picture, occur but seldom. What the painter has to do is to fix them vividly in his memory, to snapshot them, as it were, so that they may stand by him during the toilsome procedure of the painting, and guide the work.

This initial inspiration, this initial flash in the mind, need not be the result of a scene in nature, 259but may of course be purely the work of the imagination; a composition, the sense of which flashes across the mind. But in either case the difficulty is to preserve vividly the sensation of this original artistic impulse. And in the case of its having been derived from nature direct, as is so often the case in modern art, the system of painting continually on the spot is apt to lose touch with it very soon. For in the continual observation of anything you have set your easel before day after day, comes a series of impressions, more and more commonplace, as the eye becomes more and more familiar with the details of the subject. And ere long the original emotion that was the reason of the whole work is lost sight of, and one of those pictures or drawings giving a catalogue of tired objects more or less ingeniously arranged (that we all know so well) is the result—work utterly lacking in the freshness and charm of true inspiration. For however commonplace the subject seen by the artist in one of his "flashes," it is clothed in a newness and surprise that charm us, be it only an orange on a plate.

Now a picture is a thing of paint upon a flat surface, and a drawing is a matter of certain marks upon a paper, and how to translate the intricacies of a visual or imagined impression to the prosaic terms of masses of coloured pigment or lines and tones is the business with which our technique is concerned. The ease, therefore, with which a painter will be able to remember an impression in a form from which he can work, will depend upon his power to analyse vision in this technical sense. The more one knows about what may be called the anatomy of picture-making—how certain forms produce certain 260effects, certain colours or arrangements other effects, &c.—the easier will it be for him to carry away a visual memory of his subject that will stand by him during the long hours of his labours at the picture. The more he knows of the expressive powers of lines and tones, the more easily will he be able to observe the vital things in nature that convey the impression he wishes to memorise.

It is not enough to drink in and remember the emotional side of the matter, although this must be done fully, but if a memory of the subject is to be carried away that will be of service technically, the scene must be committed to memory in terms of whatever medium you intend to employ for reproducing it—in the case of a drawing, lines and tones. And the impression will have to be analysed into these terms as if you were actually drawing the scene on some imagined piece of paper in your mind. The faculty of doing this is not to be acquired all at once, but it is amazing of how much development it is capable. Just as the faculty of committing to memory long poems or plays can be developed, so can the faculty of remembering visual things. This subject has received little attention in art schools until just recently. But it is not yet so systematically done as it might be. Monsieur Lecoq de Boisbaudran in France experimented with pupils in this memory training, beginning with very simple things like the outline of a nose, and going on to more complex subjects by easy stages, with the most surprising results. And there is no doubt that a great deal more can and should be done in this direction than is at present attempted. What students should do is to form a habit of making every day in their sketch-book 261a drawing of something they have seen that has interested them, and that they have made some attempt at memorising. Don't be discouraged if the results are poor and disappointing at first—you will find that by persevering your power of memory will develop and be of the greatest service to you in your after work. Try particularly to remember the spirit of the subject, and in this memory-drawing some scribbling and fumbling will necessarily have to be done. You cannot expect to be able to draw definitely and clearly from memory, at least at first, although your aim should always be to draw as frankly and clearly as you can.

Plate LIV. STUDY ON BROWN PAPER IN BLACK AND WHITE CONTÉ CHALK Illustrating a simple method of studying drapery forms.

Plate LIV.

STUDY ON BROWN PAPER IN BLACK AND WHITE CONTÉ CHALK

Illustrating a simple method of studying drapery forms.

Let us assume that you have found a subject that moves you and that, being too fleeting to draw on the spot, you wish to commit to memory. Drink a full enjoyment of it, let it soak in, for the recollection of this will be of the utmost use to you afterwards in guiding your memory-drawing. This mental impression is not difficult to recall; it is the visual impression in terms of line and tone that is difficult to remember. Having experienced your full enjoyment of the artistic matter in the subject, you must next consider it from the material side, as a flat, visual impression, as this is the only form in which it can be expressed on a flat sheet of paper. Note the proportions of the main lines, their shapes and disposition, as if you were drawing it, in fact do the whole drawing in your mind, memorising the forms and proportions of the different parts, and fix it in your memory to the smallest detail.

If only the emotional side of the matter has been remembered, when you come to draw it you will be hopelessly at sea, as it is remarkable how 262little the memory retains of the appearance of things constantly seen, if no attempt has been made to memorise their visual appearance.

The true artist, even when working from nature, works from memory very largely. That is to say, he works to a scheme in tune to some emotional enthusiasm with which the subject has inspired him in the first instance. Nature is always changing, but he does not change the intention of his picture. He always keeps before him the initial impression he sets out to paint, and only selects from nature those things that play up to it. He is a feeble artist, who copies individually the parts of a scene with whatever effect they may have at the moment he is doing them, and then expects the sum total to make a picture. If circumstances permit, it is always as well to make in the first instance a rapid sketch that shall, whatever it may lack, at least contain the main disposition of the masses and lines of your composition seen under the influence of the enthusiasm that has inspired the work. This will be of great value afterwards in freshening your memory when in the labour of the work the original impulse gets dulled. It is seldom that the vitality of this first sketch is surpassed by the completed work, and often, alas! it is far from equalled.

In portrait painting and drawing the memory must be used also. A sitter varies very much in the impression he gives on different days, and the artist must in the early sittings, when his mind is fresh, select the aspect he means to paint and afterwards work largely to the memory of this.

Always work to a scheme on which you have decided, and do not flounder on in the hope of something 263turning up as you go along. Your faculties are never so active and prone to see something interesting and fine as when the subject is first presented to them. This is the time to decide your scheme; this is the time to take your fill of the impression you mean to convey. This is the time to learn your subject thoroughly and decide on what you wish the picture to be. And having decided this, work straight on, using nature to support your original impression, but don't be led off by a fresh scheme because others strike you as you go along. New schemes will do so, of course, and every new one has a knack of looking better than your original one. But it is not often that this is so; the fact that they are new makes them appear to greater advantage than the original scheme to which you have got accustomed. So that it is not only in working away from nature that the memory is of use, but actually when working directly in front of nature.

To sum up, there are two aspects of a subject, the one luxuriating in the sensuous pleasure of it, with all of spiritual significance it may consciously or unconsciously convey, and the other concerned with the lines, tones, shapes, &c., and their rhythmic ordering, by means of which it is to be expressed—the matter and manner, as they may be called. And, if the artist's memory is to be of use to him in his work, both these aspects must be memorised, and of the two the second will need the most attention. But although there are these two aspects of the subject, and each must receive separate attention when memorising it, they are in reality only two aspects of the same thing, which in the act of painting or drawing must be 264united if a work of art is to result. When a subject first flashes upon an artist he delights in it as a painted or drawn thing, and feels instinctively the treatment it will require. In good draughtsmanship the thing felt will guide and govern everything, every touch will be instinct with the thrill of that first impression. The craftsman mind, so laboriously built up, should by now have become an instinct, a second nature, at the direction of a higher consciousness. At such times the right strokes, the right tones come naturally and go on the right place, the artist being only conscious of a fierce joy and a feeling that things are in tune and going well for once. It is the thirst for this glorious enthusiasm, this fusing of matter and manner, this act of giving the spirit within outward form, that spurs the artist on at all times, and it is this that is the wonderful thing about art.


265

XIX
PROCEDURE

In commencing a drawing, don't, as so many students do, start carelessly floundering about with your chalk or charcoal in the hope that something will turn up. It is seldom if ever that an artist puts on paper anything better than he has in his mind before he starts, and usually it is not nearly so good.

Don't spoil the beauty of a clean sheet of paper by a lot of scribble. Try and see in your mind's eye the drawing you mean to do, and then try and make your hand realise it, making the paper more beautiful by every touch you give instead of spoiling it by a slovenly manner of procedure.

To know what you want to do and then to do it is the secret of good style and technique. This sounds very commonplace, but it is surprising how few students make it their aim. You may often observe them come in, pin a piece of paper on their board, draw a line down the middle, make a few measurements, and start blocking in the drawing without having given the subject to be drawn a thought, as if it were all there done before them, and only needed copying, as a clerk would copy a letter already drafted for him.

Now, nothing is being said against the practice of drawing guide lines and taking measurements 266and blocking in your work. This is very necessary in academic work, if rather fettering to expressive drawing; but even in the most academic drawing the artistic intelligence must be used, although that is not the kind of drawing this chapter is particularly referring to.

Look well at the model first; try and be moved by something in the form that you feel is fine or interesting, and try and see in your mind's eye what sort of drawing you mean to do before touching your paper. In school studies be always unflinchingly honest to the impression the model gives you, but dismiss the camera idea of truth from your mind. Instead of converting yourself into a mechanical instrument for the copying of what is before you, let your drawing be an expression of truth perceived intelligently.

Be extremely careful about the first few strokes you put on your paper: the quality of your drawing is often decided in these early stages. If they are vital and expressive, you have started along lines you can develop, and have some hope of doing a good drawing. If they are feeble and poor, the chances are greatly against your getting anything good built upon them. If your start has been bad, pull yourself together, turn your paper over and start afresh, trying to seize upon the big, significant lines and swings in your subject at once. Remember it is much easier to put down a statement correctly than to correct a wrong one; so out with the whole part if you are convinced it is wrong. Train yourself to make direct, accurate statements in your drawings, and don't waste time trying to manoeuvre a bad drawing into a good one. Stop as soon as you feel you have gone wrong and correct the work 267in its early stages, instead of rushing on upon a wrong foundation in the vague hope that it will all come right in the end. When out walking, if you find you have taken a wrong road you do not, if you are wise, go on in the hope that the wrong way will lead to the right one, but you turn round and go back to the point at which you left the right road. It is very much the same in drawing and painting. As soon as you become aware that you have got upon the wrong track, stop and rub out your work until an earlier stage that was right is reached, and start along again from this point. As your eye gets trained you will more quickly perceive when you have done a wrong stroke, and be able to correct it before having gone very far along the wrong road.

Do not work too long without giving your eye a little rest; a few moments will be quite sufficient. If things won't come, stop a minute; the eye often gets fatigued very quickly and refuses to see truly, but soon revives if rested a minute or two.

Do not go labouring at a drawing when your mind is not working; you are not doing any good, and probably are spoiling any good you have already done. Pull yourself together, and ask what it is you are trying to express, and having got this idea firmly fixed in your mind, go for your drawing with the determination that it shall express it.

All this will sound very trite to students of any mettle, but there are large numbers who waste no end of time working in a purely mechanical, lifeless way, and with their minds anywhere but concentrated upon the work before them. And if the mind is not working, the work of the hand will be of no account. My own experience is that one 268has constantly to be making fresh effort during the procedure of the work. The mind is apt to tire and needs rousing continually, otherwise the work will lack the impulse that shall make it vital. Particularly is this so in the final stages of a drawing or painting, when, in adding details and small refinements, it is doubly necessary for the mind to be on fire with the initial impulse, or the main qualities will be obscured and the result enfeebled by these smaller matters.

Do not rub out, if you can possibly help it, in drawings that aim at artistic expression. In academic work, where artistic feeling is less important than the discipline of your faculties, you may, of course, do so, but even here as little as possible. In beautiful drawing of any facility it has a weakening effect, somewhat similar to that produced by a person stopping in the middle of a witty or brilliant remark to correct a word. If a wrong line is made, it is left in by the side of the right one in the drawing of many of the masters. But the great aim of the draughtsman should be to train himself to draw cleanly and fearlessly, hand and eye going together. But this state of things cannot be expected for some time.

Let painstaking accuracy be your aim for a long time. When your eye and hand have acquired the power of seeing and expressing on paper with some degree of accuracy what you see, you will find facility and quickness of execution will come of their own accord. In drawing of any expressive power this quickness and facility of execution are absolutely essential. The waves of emotion, under the influence of which the eye really sees in any artistic sense, do not last long enough to allow of 269a slow, painstaking manner of execution. There must be no hitch in the machinery of expression when the consciousness is alive to the realisation of something fine. Fluency of hand and accuracy of eye are the things your academic studies should have taught you, and these powers will be needed if you are to catch the expression of any of the finer things in form that constitute good drawing.

Try and express yourself in as simple, not as complicated a manner as possible. Let every touch mean something, and if you don't see what to do next, don't fill in the time by meaningless shading and scribbling until you do. Wait awhile, rest your eye by looking away, and then see if you cannot find something right that needs doing.

Before beginning a drawing, it is not a bad idea to study carefully the work of some master draughtsman whom the subject to be drawn may suggest. If you do this carefully and thoughtfully, and take in a full enjoyment, your eye will unconsciously be led to see in nature some of the qualities of the master's work. And you will see the subject to be drawn as a much finer thing than would have been the case had you come to it with your eye unprepared in any way. Reproductions are now so good and cheap that the best drawings in the world can be had for a few pence, and every student should begin collecting reproductions of the things that interest him.

This is not the place to discuss questions of health, but perhaps it will not be thought grandmotherly to mention the extreme importance of nervous vitality in a fine draughtsman, and how his life should be ordered on such healthy lines that he has at his command the maximum instead of the 270minimum of this faculty. After a certain point, it is a question of vitality how far an artist is likely to go in art. Given two men of equal ability, the one leading a careless life and the other a healthy one, as far as a healthy one is possible to such a supersensitive creature as an artist, there can be no doubt as to the result. It is because there is still a lingering idea in the minds of many that an artist must lead a dissipated life or he is not really an artist, that one feels it necessary to mention the subject. This idea has evidently arisen from the inability of the average person to associate an unconventional mode of life with anything but riotous dissipation. A conventional life is not the only wholesome form of existence, and is certainly a most unwholesome and deadening form to the artist; and neither is a dissipated life the only unconventional one open to him. It is as well that the young student should know this, and be led early to take great care of that most valuable of studio properties, vigorous health.


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XX
MATERIALS

The materials in which the artist works are of the greatest importance in determining what qualities in the infinite complexity of nature he selects for expression. And the good draughtsman will find out the particular ones that belong to whatever medium he selects for his drawing, and be careful never to attempt more than it is capable of doing. Every material he works with possesses certain vital qualities peculiar to itself, and it is his business to find out what these are and use them to the advantage of his drawing. When one is working with, say, pen and ink, the necessity for selecting only certain things is obvious enough. But when a medium with the vast capacity of oil paint is being used, the principle of its governing the nature of the work is more often lost sight of. So near can oil paint approach an actual illusion of natural appearances, that much misdirected effort has been wasted on this object, all enjoyment of the medium being subordinated to a meretricious attempt to deceive the eye. And I believe a popular idea of the art of painting is that it exists chiefly to produce this deception. No vital expression of nature can be achieved without the aid of the particular vitality possessed by the medium with which one is working. If this is lost sight of and the eye is 272tricked into thinking that it is looking at real nature, it is not a fine picture. Art is not a substitute for nature, but an expression of feeling produced in the consciousness of the artist, and intimately associated with the material through which it is expressed in his work—inspired, it may be, in the first instance, by something seen, and expressed by him in painted symbols as true to nature as he can make them while keeping in tune to the emotional idea that prompted the work; but never regarded by the fine artist as anything but painted symbols nevertheless. Never for one moment does he intend you to forget that it is a painted picture you are looking at, however naturalistic the treatment his theme may demand.

In the earlier history of art it was not so necessary to insist on the limitations imposed by different mediums. With their more limited knowledge of the phenomena of vision, the early masters had not the same opportunities of going astray in this respect. But now that the whole field of vision has been discovered, and that the subtlest effects of light and atmosphere are capable of being represented, it has become necessary to decide how far complete accuracy of representation will help the particular impression you may intend your picture or drawing to create. The danger is that in producing a complete illusion of representation, the particular vitality of your medium, with all the expressive power it is capable of yielding, may be lost.

Perhaps the chief difference between the great masters of the past and many modern painters is the neglect of this principle. They represented nature in terms of whatever medium they worked in, and 273never overstepped this limitation. Modern artists, particularly in the nineteenth century, often attempted to copy nature, the medium being subordinated to the attempt to make it look like the real thing. In the same way, the drawings of the great masters were drawings. They did not attempt anything with a point that a point was not capable of expressing. The drawings of many modern artists are full of attempts to express tone and colour effects, things entirely outside the true province of drawing. The small but infinitely important part of nature that pure drawing is capable of conveying has been neglected, and line work, until recently, went out of fashion in our schools.

There is something that makes for power in the limitations your materials impose. Many artists whose work in some of the more limited mediums is fine, are utterly feeble when they attempt one with so few restrictions as oil paint. If students could only be induced to impose more restraint upon themselves when they attempt so difficult a medium as paint, it would be greatly to the advantage of their work. Beginning first with monochrome in three tones, as explained in a former chapter, they might then take for figure work ivory black and Venetian red. It is surprising what an amount of colour effect can be got with this simple means, and how much can be learned about the relative positions of the warm and cold colours. Do not attempt the full range of tone at first, but keep the darks rather lighter and the lights darker than nature. Attempt the full scale of tone only when you have acquired sufficient experience with the simpler range, and gradually add more colours as you learn to master a few. But restraints are 274not so fashionable just now as unbridled licence. Art students start in with a palette full of the most amazing colours, producing results that it were better not to discuss. It is a wise man who can discover his limitations and select a medium the capacities of which just tally with his own. To discover this, it is advisable to try many, and below is a short description of the chief ones used by the draughtsman. But very little can be said about them, and very little idea of their capacities given in a written description; they must be handled by the student, and are no doubt capable of many more qualities than have yet been got out of them.

Lead Pencil

This well-known medium is one of the most beautiful for pure line work, and its use is an excellent training to the eye and hand in precision of observation. Perhaps this is why it has not been so popular in our art schools lately, when the charms of severe discipline are not so much in favour as they should be. It is the first medium we are given to draw with, and as the handiest and most convenient is unrivalled for sketch-book use.

It is made in a large variety of degrees, from the hardest and greyest to the softest and blackest, and is too well known to need much description. It does not need fixing.

For pure line drawing nothing equals it, except silver point, and great draughtsmen, like Ingres, have always loved it. It does not lend itself so readily to any form of mass drawing. Although it is sometimes used for this purpose, the offensive shine that occurs if dark masses are introduced is against its use in any but very lightly shaded work.

Plate LV. FROM A SILVER-POINT DRAWING

Plate LV.

FROM A SILVER-POINT DRAWING

275Its charm is the extreme delicacy of its grey-black lines.

Silver and Gold Point.

Similar to lead pencil, and of even greater delicacy, is silver-point drawing. A more ancient method, it consists in drawing with a silver point on paper the surface of which has been treated with a faint wash of Chinese white. Without this wash the point will not make a mark.

For extreme delicacy and purity of line no medium can surpass this method. And for the expression of a beautiful line, such as a profile, nothing could be more suitable than a silver point. As a training to the eye and hand also, it is of great value, as no rubbing out of any sort is possible, and eye and hand must work together with great exactness. The discipline of silver-point drawing is to be recommended as a corrective to the picturesque vagaries of charcoal work.

A gold point, giving a warmer line, can also be used in the same way as a silver point, the paper first having been treated with Chinese white.

Charcoal.

Two extreme points of view from which the rendering of form can be approached have been explained, and it has been suggested that students should study them both separately in the first instance, as they each have different things to teach. Of the mediums that are best suited to a drawing combining both points of view, the first and most popular is charcoal.

Charcoal is made in many different degrees of hardness and softness, the harder varieties being capable of quite a fine point. A chisel-shaped point is the most convenient, as it does not wear away so quickly. And if the broad side of the chisel point 276is used when a dark mass is wanted, the edge can constantly be kept sharp. With this edge a very fine line can be drawn.

Charcoal works with great freedom, and answers readily when forceful expression is wanted. It is much more like painting than any other form of drawing, a wide piece of charcoal making a wide mark similar to a brush. The delicacy and lightness with which it has to be handled is also much more like the handling of a brush than any other point drawing. When rubbed with the finger, it sheds a soft grey tone over the whole work. With a piece of bread pressed by thumb and finger into a pellet, high lights can be taken out with the precision of white chalk; or rubber can be used. Bread is, perhaps, the best, as it does not smudge the charcoal but lifts it readily off. When rubbed with the finger, the darks, of course, are lightened in tone. It is therefore useful to draw in the general proportions roughly and rub down in this way. You then have a middle tone over the work, with the rough drawing showing through. Now proceed carefully to draw your lights with bread or rubber, and your shadows with charcoal, in much the same manner as you did in the monochrome exercises already described.

All preliminary setting out of your work on canvas is usually done with charcoal, which must of course be fixed with a spray diffuser. For large work, such as a full-length portrait, sticks of charcoal nearly an inch in diameter are made, and a long swinging line can be done without their breaking.

For drawings that are intended as things of beauty in themselves, and are not merely done as a preparatory study for a painting, charcoal is per277haps not so refined a medium as a great many others. It is too much like painting to have the particular beauties of a drawing, and too much like drawing to have the qualities of a painting. However, some beautiful things have been done with it.

It is useful in doing studies where much finish is desired, to fix the work slightly when drawn in and carried some way on. You can work over this again without continually rubbing out with your hand what you have already drawn. If necessary you can rub out with a hard piece of rubber any parts that have already been fixed, or even scrape with a pen-knife. But this is not advisable for anything but an academic study, or working drawings, as it spoils the beauty and freshness of charcoal work. Studies done in this medium can also be finished with Conté chalk.

There is also an artificial charcoal put up in sticks, that is very good for refined work. It has some advantages over natural charcoal, in that there are no knots and it works much more evenly. The best natural charcoal I have used is the French make known as "Fusain Rouget." It is made in three degrees, No. 3 being the softest, and, of course, the blackest. But some of the ordinary Venetian and vine charcoals sold are good. But don't get the cheaper varieties: a bad piece of charcoal is worse than useless.

Charcoal is fixed by means of a solution of white shellac dissolved in spirits of wine, blown on with a spray diffuser. This is sold by the artists' colourmen, or can be easily made by the student. It lightly deposits a thin film of shellac over the work, acting as a varnish and preventing its rubbing off.

278Charcoal is not on the whole the medium an artist with a pure love of form selects, but rather that of the painter, who uses it when his brushes and paints are not handy.

Red Chalk (Sanguine).

A delightful medium that can be used for either pure line work or a mixed method of drawing, is red chalk. This natural red earth is one of the most ancient materials for drawing. It is a lovely Venetian red in colour, and works well in the natural state, if you get a good piece. It is sold by the ounce, and it is advisable to try the pieces as they vary very much, some being hard and gritty and some more soft and smooth. It is also made by Messrs. Conté of Paris in sticks artificially prepared. These work well and are never gritty, but are not so hard as the natural chalk, and consequently wear away quickly and do not make fine lines as well.

Red chalk when rubbed with the finger or a rag spreads evenly on paper, and produces a middle tone on which lights can be drawn with rubber or bread. Sticks of hard, pointed rubber are everywhere sold, which, cut in a chisel shape, work beautifully on red chalk drawings. Bread is also excellent when a softer light is wanted. You can continually correct and redraw in this medium by rubbing it with the finger or a rag, thus destroying the lights and shadows to a large extent, and enabling you to draw them again more carefully. For this reason red chalk is greatly to be recommended for making drawings for a picture where much fumbling may be necessary before you find what you want. Unlike charcoal, it hardly needs fixing, and much more intimate study of the forms can be got into it.

279Most of the drawings by the author reproduced in this book are done in this medium. For drawings intended to have a separate existence it is one of the prettiest mediums. In fact, this is the danger to the student while studying: your drawing looks so much at its best that you are apt to be satisfied too soon. But for portrait drawings there is no medium to equal it.

Additional quality of dark is occasionally got by mixing a little of this red chalk in a powdered state with water and a very little gum-arabic. This can be applied with a sable brush as in water-colour painting, and makes a rich velvety dark.

It is necessary to select your paper with some care. The ordinary paper has too much size on it. This is picked up by the chalk, and will prevent its marking. A paper with little size is best, or old paper where the size has perished. I find an O.W. paper, made for printing etchings, as good as any for ordinary work. It is not perfect, but works very well. What one wants is the smoothest paper without a faced and hot-pressed surface, and it is difficult to find.

Occasionally black chalk is used with the red to add strength to it. And some draughtsmen use it with the red in such a manner as to produce almost a full colour effect.

Holbein, who used this medium largely, tinted the paper in most of his portrait drawings, varying the tint very much, and sometimes using zinc white as a wash, which enabled him to supplement his work with a silver-point line here and there, and also got over any difficulty the size in the paper might cause. His aim seems to have been to select the few essential things 280in a head and draw them with great finality and exactness. In many of the drawings the earlier work has been done with red or black chalk and then rubbed down and the drawing redone with either a brush and some of the chalk rubbed up with water and gum or a silver-point line of great purity, while in others he has tinted the paper with water-colour and rubbed this away to the white paper where he wanted a light, or Chinese white has been used for the same purpose.

Black Conté and Carbon Pencil.

Black Conté is a hard black chalk made in small sticks of different degrees. It is also put up in cedar pencils. Rather more gritty than red chalk or charcoal, it is a favourite medium with some, and can be used with advantage to supplement charcoal when more precision and definition are wanted. It has very much the same quality of line and so does not show as a different medium. It can be rubbed like charcoal and red chalk and will spread a tone over the paper in very much the same way.

Carbon pencils are similar to Conté, but smoother in working and do not rub.

White chalk.

White chalk is sometimes used on toned paper to draw the lights, the paper serving as a half tone while the shadows and outlines are drawn in black or red. In this kind of drawing the chalk should never be allowed to come in contact with the black or red chalk of the shadows, the half tone of the paper should always be between them.

For rubbed work white pastel is better than the ordinary white chalk sold for drawing, as it is not so hard. A drawing done in this method with white pastel and red chalk is reproduced on 281page 46 [Transcribers Note: Plate IV], and one with the hard white chalk, on page 260 [Transcribers Note: Plate LIV].

This is the method commonly used for making studies of drapery, the extreme rapidity with which the position of the lights and shadows can be expressed being of great importance when so unstable a subject as an arrangement of drapery is being drawn.

Lithography.

Lithography as a means of artistic reproduction has suffered much in public esteem by being put to all manner of inartistic trade uses. It is really one of the most wonderful means of reproducing an artist's actual work, the result being, in most cases, so identical with the original that, seen together, if the original drawing has been done on paper, it is almost impossible to distinguish any difference. And of course, as in etching, it is the prints that are really the originals. The initial work is only done as a means of producing these.

A drawing is made on a lithographic stone, that is, a piece of limestone that has been prepared with an almost perfectly smooth surface. The chalk used is a special kind of a greasy nature, and is made in several degrees of hardness and softness. No rubbing out is possible, but lines can be scratched out with a knife, or parts made lighter by white lines being drawn by a knife over them. A great range of freedom and variety is possible in these initial drawings on stone. The chalk can be rubbed up with a little water, like a cake of water-colour, and applied with a brush. And every variety of tone can be made with the side of the chalk.

Some care should be taken not to let the warm finger touch the stone, or it may make a greasy mark that will print.

282When this initial drawing is done to the artist's satisfaction, the most usual method is to treat the stone with a solution of gum-arabic and a little nitric acid. After this is dry, the gum is washed off as far as may be with water; some of the gum is left in the porous stone, but it is rejected where the greasy lines and tones of the drawing come. Prints may now be obtained by rolling up the stone with an inked roller. The ink is composed of a varnish of boiled linseed oil and any of the lithographic colours to be commercially obtained.

The ink does not take on the damp gummed stone, but only where the lithographic chalk has made a greasy mark, so that a perfect facsimile of the drawing on stone is obtained, when a sheet of paper is placed on the stone and the whole put through the press.

The medium deserves to be much more popular with draughtsmen than it is, as no more perfect means of reproduction could be devised.

The lithographic stone is rather a cumbersome thing to handle, but the initial drawing can be done on paper and afterwards transferred to the stone. In the case of line work the result is practically identical, but where much tone and playing about with the chalk is indulged in, the stone is much better. Lithographic papers of different textures are made for this purpose, but almost any paper will do, provided the drawing is done with the special lithographic chalk.

Pen and Ink.

Pen and ink was a favourite means of making studies with many old masters, notably Rembrandt. Often heightening the effect with a wash, he conveyed marvellous suggestions with the simplest scribbles. But it is a difficult medium for the young 283student to hope to do much with in his studies, although for training the eye and hand to quick definite statement of impressions, there is much to be said for it. No hugging of half tones is possible, things must be reduced to a statement of clear darks—which would be a useful corrective to the tendency so many students have of seeing chiefly the half tones in their work.

Plate LVI. STUDY IN PEN AND INK AND WASH FOR TREE IN "THE BOAR HUNT" RUBENS (LOUVRE) Photo Giraudon

Plate LVI.

STUDY IN PEN AND INK AND WASH FOR TREE IN "THE BOAR HUNT" RUBENS (LOUVRE)

Photo Giraudon

The kind of pen used will depend on the kind of drawing you wish to make. In steel pens there are innumerable varieties, from the fine crow-quills to the thick "J" nibs. The natural crow-quill is a much more sympathetic tool than a steel pen, although not quite so certain in its line. But more play and variety is to be got out of it, and when a free pen drawing is wanted it is preferable.

Reed pens are also made, and are useful when thick lines are wanted. They sometimes have a steel spring underneath to hold the ink somewhat in the same manner as some fountain pens.

There is even a glass pen, consisting of a sharp-pointed cone of glass with grooves running down to the point. The ink is held in these grooves, and runs down and is deposited freely as the pen is used. A line of only one thickness can be drawn with it, but this can be drawn in any direction, an advantage over most other shapes.

Etching.

Etching is a process of reproduction that consists in drawing with a steel point on a waxed plate of copper or zinc, and then putting it in a bath of diluted nitric acid to bite in the lines. The longer the plate remains in the bath the deeper and darker the lines become, so that variety in thickness is got by stopping out with a varnish the light lines when they are sufficiently 284strong, and letting the darker ones have a longer exposure to the acid.

Many wonderful and beautiful things have been done with this simple means. The printing consists in inking the plate all over and wiping off until only the lines retain any ink, when the plate is put in a press and an impression taken. Or some slight amount of ink may be left on the plate in certain places where a tint is wanted, and a little may be smudged out of the lines themselves to give them a softer quality. In fact there are no end of tricks a clever etching printer will adopt to give quality to his print.

Paper.

The varieties of paper on the market at the service of the artist are innumerable, and nothing need be said here except that the texture of your paper will have a considerable influence on your drawing. But try every sort of paper so as to find what suits the particular things you want to express. I make a point of buying every new paper I see, and a new paper is often a stimulant to some new quality in drawing. Avoid the wood-pulp papers, as they turn dark after a time. Linen rag is the only safe substance for good papers, and artists now have in the O.W. papers a large series that they can rely on being made of linen only.

It is sometimes advisable, when you are not drawing a subject that demands a clear hard line, but where more sympathetic qualities are wanted, to have a wad of several sheets of paper under the one you are working on, pinned on the drawing-board. This gives you a more sympathetic surface to work upon and improves the quality of your work. In redrawing a study with which you are not quite satisfied, it is a good plan to use a thin paper, 285pinning it over the first study so that it can be seen through. One can by this means start as it were from the point where one left off. Good papers of this description are now on the market. I fancy they are called "bank-note" papers.


286

XXI
CONCLUSION

Mechanical invention, mechanical knowledge, and even a mechanical theory of the universe, have so influenced the average modern mind, that it has been thought necessary in the foregoing pages to speak out strongly against the idea of a mechanical standard of accuracy in artistic drawing. If there were such a standard, the photographic camera would serve our purpose well enough. And, considering how largely this idea is held, one need not be surprised that some painters use the camera; indeed, the wonder is that they do not use it more, as it gives in some perfection the mechanical accuracy which is all they seem to aim at in their work. There may be times when the camera can be of use to artists, but only to those who are thoroughly competent to do without it—to those who can look, as it were, through the photograph and draw from it with the same freedom and spontaneity with which they would draw from nature, thus avoiding its dead mechanical accuracy, which is a very difficult thing to do. But the camera is a convenience to be avoided by the student.

Now, although it has been necessary to insist strongly on the difference between phenomena mechanically recorded and the records of a living individual consciousness, I should be very sorry if 287anything said should lead students to assume that a loose and careless manner of study was in any way advocated. The training of his eye and hand to the most painstaking accuracy of observation and record must be the student's aim for many years. The variations on mechanical accuracy in the work of a fine draughtsman need not be, and seldom are, conscious variations. Mechanical accuracy is a much easier thing to accomplish than accuracy to the subtle perceptions of the artist. And he who cannot draw with great precision the ordinary cold aspect of things cannot hope to catch the fleeting aspect of his finer vision.

Those artists who can only draw in some weird fashion remote from nature may produce work of some interest; but they are too much at the mercy of a natural trick of hand to hope to be more than interesting curiosities in art.

The object of your training in drawing should be to develop to the uttermost the observation of form and all that it signifies, and your powers of accurately portraying this on paper.

Unflinching honesty must be observed in all your studies. It is only then that the "you" in you will eventually find expression in your work. And it is this personal quality, this recording of the impressions of life as felt by a conscious individual that is the very essence of distinction in art.

The "seeking after originality" so much advocated would be better put "seeking for sincerity." Seeking for originality usually resolves itself into running after any peculiarity in manner that the changing fashions of a restless age may throw up. One of the most original men who ever lived did not trouble to invent the plots of more than three 288or four of his plays, but was content to take the hackneyed work of his time as the vehicle through which to pour the rich treasures of his vision of life. And wrote:

"What custom wills in all things do you do it."

Individual style will come to you naturally as you become more conscious of what it is you wish to express. There are two kinds of insincerity in style, the employment of a ready-made conventional manner that is not understood and that does not fit the matter; and the running after and laboriously seeking an original manner when no original matter exists. Good style depends on a clear idea of what it is you wish to do; it is the shortest means to the end aimed at, the most apt manner of conveying that personal "something" that is in all good work. "The style is the man," as Flaubert says. The splendour and value of your style will depend on the splendour and value of the mental vision inspired in you, that you seek to convey; on the quality of the man, in other words. And this is not a matter where direct teaching can help you, but rests between your own consciousness and those higher powers that move it.

 Back to Part I


289

APPENDIX

If you add a line of 5 inches to one of 8 inches you produce one 13 inches long, and if you proceed by always adding the last two you arrive at a series of lengths, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 inches, &c. Mr. William Schooling tells me that any two of these lines adjoining one another are practically in the same proportion to each other; that is to say, one 8 inches is 1.600 times the size of one 5 inches, and the 13-inch line is 1.625 the size of the 8-inch, and the 21-inch line being 1.615 times the 13-inch line, and so on. With the mathematician's love of accuracy, Mr. Schooling has worked out the exact proportion that should exist between a series of quantities for them to be in the same proportion to their neighbours, and in which any two added together would produce the next. There is only one proportion that will do this, and although very formidable, stated exactly, for practical purposes, it is that between 5 and a fraction over 8. Stated accurately to eleven places of decimals it is (1 + sqrt(5))/2 = 1.61803398875 (nearly).

We have evidently here a very unique proportion. Mr. Schooling has called this the Phi proportion, and it will be convenient to refer to it by this name.

THE PHI PROPORTION EC is 1.618033, &c., times size of AB, CD " " " " BC, DE " " " " CD, &c., AC=CD BD=DE, &c.

THE PHI PROPORTION

EC is 1.618033, &c., times size ofAB,
CDBC,
DECD, &c.,
AC=CD
BD=DE, &c.

290Testing this proportion on the reproductions of pictures in this book in the order of their appearing, we find the following remarkable results:

"Los Meninas," Velazquez, page 60 [Transcribers Note: Plate IX].—The right-hand side of light opening of door at the end of the room is exactly Phi proportion with the two sides of picture; and further, the bottom of this opening is exactly Phi proportion with the top and bottom of canvas.

It will be noticed that this is a very important point in the "placing" of the composition.

"Fête Champêtre," Giorgione, page 151 [Transcribers Note: Plate XXXIII].—Lower end of flute held by seated female figure exactly Phi proportion with sides of picture, and lower side of hand holding it (a point slightly above the end of flute) exactly Phi proportion with top and bottom of canvas. This is also an important centre in the construction of the composition.

"Bacchus and Ariadne," Titian, page 154 [Transcribers Note: Plate XXXIV].—The proportion in this picture both with top and bottom and sides of canvas comes in the shadow under chin of Bacchus; the most important point in the composition being the placing of this head.

"Love and Death," by Watts, page 158 [Transcribers Note: Plate XXXV].—Point from which drapery radiates on figure of Death exactly Phi proportion with top and bottom of picture.

Point where right-hand side of right leg of Love cuts dark edge of steps exactly Phi proportion with sides of picture.

"Surrender of Breda," by Velazquez, page 161 [Transcribers Note: Plate XXXVI].—First spear in upright row on the right top of picture, exactly Phi proportion with sides of canvas. Height of gun carried horizontally by man in middle distance above central group, exactly Phi proportion 291with top and bottom of picture. This line gives height of group of figures on left, and is the most important horizontal line in the picture.

"Birth of Venus," Botticelli, page 166 [Transcribers Note: Plate XXXVII].—Height of horizon line Phi proportion with top and bottom of picture. Height of shell on which Venus stands Phi proportion with top and bottom of picture, the smaller quantity being below this time. Laterally the extreme edge of dark drapery held by figure on right that blows towards Venus is Phi proportion with sides of picture.

"The Rape of Europa," by Paolo Veronese, page 168 [Transcribers Note: Plate XXXVIII].—Top of head of Europa exactly Phi proportion with top and bottom of picture. Right-hand side of same head slightly to left of Phi proportion with sides of picture (unless in the reproduction a part of the picture on the left has been trimmed away, as is likely, in which case it would be exactly Phi proportion).

I have taken the first seven pictures reproduced in this book that were not selected with any idea of illustrating this point, and I think you will admit that in each some very important quantity has been placed in this proportion. One could go on through all the illustrations were it not for the fear of becoming wearisome; and also, one could go on through some of the minor relationships, and point out how often this proportion turns up in compositions. But enough has been said to show that the eye evidently takes some especial pleasure in it, whatever may eventually be found to be the physiological reason underlying it.


292

INDEX

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W

A

Absorbent canvas, 192

Academic drawing, 34

Academic and conventional, 68

Academic students, 68

Accuracy, scientific and artistic, 36

Anatomy, study of, its importance, 36122

"Ansidei Madonna," Raphael's, 231

Apelles and his colours, 31

Architecture, proportion in, 230

Art, some definitions of, 18

Artist, the, 27

Atmosphere indicated by shading, 102

Atmospheric colours, 39

Audley, Lady, Holbein's portrait of, 248

B

"Bacchus and Ariadne," Titian's, 154193

Backgrounds, 93141

Balance, 219

Balance between straight lines and curves, 220

Balance between flat and gradated tones, 221

Balance between light and dark tones, 222

Balance between warm and cold colours, 223

Balance between interest and mass, 224

Balance between variety and unity, 225

"Bank-note" papers, 285

Bastien Lepage, 204

Bath for etching, 283

Beauty, definition of, 23

Beauty and prettiness, 135

Beauty and truth, 22

"Birth of Venus, the," Botticelli's, 163

Black chalk, 179

Black Conté, 280

Black glass, the use of a, 120202

Blake, example of parallelism, 145

Blake's designs, 51169

Blake's use of the vertical, 155

Blocking in the drawing, 90

Blocking out with square lines, 85120

"Blue Boy," Gainsborough's, 223

Botany, the study of, 36

Botticelli's work, 3451145163

Boucher's heads compared with Watteau's, 211

Boundaries of forms, 93

Boundaries of masses in Nature, 195

Bread, use of, in charcoal drawing, 276

Browning, R., portraits of, 250

Brush, manipulation of the, 114

Brush strokes, 115

Brushes, various kinds of, 115

Burke on "The Sublime and the Beautiful," 135

Burne-Jones, 5571125177

C

Camera, use of the, 286

Carbon pencils, 180

Carlyle, 64

Circle, perfect curve of, to be avoided, 138

Chalks, drawing in, 125

Charcoal drawing, 54111113192275;

fixing solution, 277

Chavannes, Peuvis de, 55103

Chiaroscuro, 53

Chinese art, 21

293

China and Japan, the art of, 59

Colour, contrasts of, 208

Colours for figure work, 273

Colours, a useful chart of, 191

Classic architecture, 148

Claude Monet, 62190

Clothes, the treatment of, 253

Composition of a picture, the, 216

Constable, 149

Conté crayon, 192277

"Contrasts in Harmony," 136

Conventional art, 74

Conventional life, deadness of the, 270

Corners of the panel or canvas, the, 160

Corot, his masses of foliage, 197214

Correggio, 206

Crow-quill pen, the, 283

Curves, how to observe the shape of, 90162209

Curves and straight lines, 220

D

Darwin, anecdote of, 243

Deadness, to avoid, 132193

Decorative work, 183

Degas, 66

"Dither," 71

Diagonal lines, 160

Discord and harmony, 173

Discordant lines, 172

Draperies of Watteau, the, 211

Drapery studies in chalks, 125

Drapery in portrait-drawing, 253

Draughtsmanship and impressionism, 66

Drawing, academic, 35

Drawing, definition of, 31

E

East, arts of the, 57

Edges, variety of, 192

Edges, the importance of the subject of, 198

Egg and dart moulding, 138

Egyptian sculpture, 135

Egyptian wall paintings, 51

El Greco, 169

Elgin Marbles, the, 135

Ellipse, the, 138

"Embarquement pour l'Île de Cythère," Watteau's, 211

Emerson on the beautiful, 214

Emotional power of the arts, 20

Emotional significance of objects, 31

Erechtheum, moulding from the, 138

Etching, 283

Exercises in mass drawing, 110

Exhibitions, 57

Expression in portrait-drawing, 242

Eye, anatomy of the, 105

Eye, the, in portrait-drawing, 242

Eyebrow, the, 105

Eyelashes, the, 108

Eyelids, the, 106

F

"Fête Champêtre," Giorgioni's, 151

Figure work, colours for, 273

"Finding of the Body of St. Mark," 123236

Fixing positions of salient points, 86

Flaubert, 68

Foliage, treatment of, 196

Foreshortenings, 93

Form and colour, 18

Form, the influence of, 32

Form, the study of, 81

Frans Hals, 246

French Revolution, Carlyle's, 64

French schools, 68

Fripp, Sir Alfred, 91

Fromentin's definition of art, 23

Fulness of form indicated by shading, 102124

G

Gainsborough, the charm of, 209223

Genius and talent, 17

Geology, the study of, 36

Giorgioni, 151196

"Giorgioni, The School of," Walter Pater's, 29

Giotto, 222

Glass pens, 283

Goethe, 64

Gold point, 275

Gold and silver paint for shading, 125

Gothic architecture, 148150

Gradation, variety of, 199

Greek architecture, 221

Greek art in the Middle Ages, 130

Greek art, variety in, 133

Greek vivacity of moulding, 134

Greek and Gothic sculpture, 147

294

Greek type of profile, 140

Greuze, 221

H

Hair, the treatment of, 77102

Hair, effect of style upon the face, 180

Half tones, 98

"Hannibal crossing the Alps," Turner's, 163

Hardness indicated by shading, 102

Harsh contrasts, effect of, 171

Hatching, 118

Health, questions of, 269

Henner, the work of, 124

High lights, 94

Hogarth's definition, 136

Holbein's drawings, 99179247

Holl, Frank, 222

Horizontal, calm and repose of the, 150

Horizontal and vertical, the, 149

Human Anatomy for Art Students91

Human figure, the outline of the, 52

I

Impressionism, 195257

Impressionist vision, 61

Ingres, studies of, 73274

Ink used in lithography, 282

Intellect and feeling, 19

Intuitions, 17

Italian Renaissance, the, 51

Italian work in the fifteenth century, 34

J

Japanese art, 21

Japanese method, a, 47

Japanese and Chinese use of contrasts of colour, 208

K

Keats' definition of beauty, 22

L

Landscapes of Watteau, the, 211

Lang, Andrew, his definition of art, 19

Lawrence, Lord, portrait of, 250

Lead pencil, 192274

Lecoq de Boisbaudran, M., 260

Lehmann, R., portraits by, 250

Leonardo da Vinci, 51206227

Light, 38

Light and shade, principles of, 5195

Lighting and light effects, 202

Likeness, catching the, 240

Line and the circle, the, 137

Line drawing and mass drawing, 4850

Lines expressing repose or energy, 163

Line, the power of the, 5080

Lines, value of, in portrait-painting, 138

Lines of shading, different, 102123

Lithographic chalk, 192

Lithography, 281

"Love and Death," Watts', 156

M

Manet, 206

Mass drawing, 49588081110

Masters, past and modern, 272

Materials, 271

Mathematical proportions, 228

Measuring comparative distances, 88

Measurements, vertical and horizontal, 88

Medium, the use of, 111

Michael Angelo, the figures of, 335356

Michael Angelo and Degas, 66

Millais, 196

Mist, effect of a, on the tone of a picture, 188

Model, the, 6181

Monet, Claude, 118

Morris's definition of art, 19

N

Nature, variety of forms in, 187

Nature's tendency to pictorial unity of arrangement, 186

Newspaper as a background, 99

Norman architecture, 148

O

Oil, surplus in paint, 191

Originality, 76

"Our Lady of the Rocks," L. da Vinci's, 206

Outline drawing, 50

Outline studies and models, 81

P

Paint, the vitality of, 114

Paint, the consistency of, 117

Paint, effect of oil in thick, 191

"Painted Poetry," 46

Painter's training, the object of the, 29

295

Painting and drawing, 110

Panel or canvas, the, 159

Paolo Uccello, 171

Paolo Veronese, 145163

Paper for drawing, 279284

Parallel shading, 100

Parallelism of lines, 145

Parthenon, the, 55

Pater, Walter, 29

Pen-and-ink drawing, 101282

Pens for pen-and-ink drawing, 283

Perspective, the study of, 36195

Philip IV, Velazquez' portrait of, 194

Photograph, failure of the, 72

Picture galleries, the influence of, 33

Pictures, small and large, treatment of, 183

Planes of tone, painting in the, 122

Pre-Raphaelite paintings, 46

Pre-Raphaelite movement, the, 257

Preparatory drawings, disadvantage of, 121

Primitive art, 55128

Primitive emotions, 21

Procedure, in commencing a drawing, 265

Profiles, beauty of, 140

Proportions, 228

Poppy oil and turpentine, the use of, 119

Portrait-drawing, 99239

"Portrait of the Artist's Daughter," Sir E. Burne-Jones's, 177

Pose, the, 251

Peuvis de Chavannes, 55103

Q

Quality and texture, variety in, 189

R

Radiating lines, 171

"Rape of Europa, The," Paul Veronese's, 163

Raphael, 53231

Red rays, 39192278

Reed pens, 283

Rembrandt and his colours, 31204208

Reproduction, advantages of up-to-date, 104269

Retina, effect of light on the, 38

Reynolds' contrasts of colour, 208

Rhythm, definition of, 27127227

Right angle, power of the, 156

Roman sculpture, lack of vitality in, 133

Rossetti, 55

Royal Academy Schools, 69

Rubens, 162

Ruskin, 17

S

Schools of Art, 68

Scientific and artistic accuracy, 36

Scientific study, necessity for, 36

Scumbling, 111

Shading, 5193101124

Shape, variety of, 185

Silhouette, the, 66

Silver-point, 275

Silver-point work, shading in, 101

Sitter, the, 249

Softness indicated by shading, 102123

Solar spectrum, the, 38

Solids as flat copy, 84

Spanish school, the, 62

Straight lines indicative of strength, 148

Straight lines and flat tones, analogy between, 209

Strong light in contrast with dark shadow, 206

Study of drawing, the, 80

Stump, the, 54

Style, 288

"Sublime and the Beautiful, The," Burke's, 135

"Surrender of Breda, The," Velazquez', 161194

Sympathetic lines, 173

T

Talent and genius, 17

Teachers in Art Schools, 69

Technical side of an art, the, 21

Thickness and accent, variety of, 143

Tintoretto, 123237

Titian, 53154

Tolstoy's definition of art, 19

Tone, meaning of the word, 121187208

Tone values, variety of, 187

Toned paper, drawing on, 125

296

Tones, large flat, the effect of, 207

Touch, the sense of, 40

Trafalgar Square lions, the, 78

Trees, the masses of, 196

Turner, 163205214223

Types, lifelessness of, 134

U

"Ulysses deriding Polyphemus," Turner's, 214

Unity and variety, 132

Unity of line, 144

V

"Vale of Best," Millais', 196

Value, meaning of the word as applied to a picture, 188

Values of tone drawing, the, 122

Van Dyck, his use of the straight line, 151

Variety in symmetry, 142

"Variety in Unity," 136

"Varying well," 136

Velazquez, 5360161

Venetian painters, and the music of edges, 193

Venetians, the, their use of straight lines, 151

Venetians, system and principles of design of the, 217

"Venus, Mercury, and Cupid," Correggio's, 206

Vertical, the, associated with the sublime, 149

Vertical lines, feeling associated with, 182

Vision, 38

Visual blindness, 47

Visual memory, the, 256

W

Ward, the animal painter, 124

Warm colours, 224

Watteau, the charm of, 209

Watts, G.F., portraits by, 249

Watts' use of the right angle, 156

Windsor, Holbein's portraits at, 247

Whistler, a master of tone, 190222251

White casts, drawing from, 99

White chalk, 180

White paint, 191

White pastel, 280

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