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The practice and science of drawing


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  • 4. THEPRACTICE 8f SCIENCEOFDRAWINGBYHAROLD SPEEDAssocie de la Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris ;Member ofthe Royal Society of Portrait Painters, &>c.With 93 Illustrations 5* DiagramsSecond EditionLONDONSEELEY, SERVICE & CO. LIMITED38 GREAT RUSSELL STREET
  • 5. "The admirable New Art Library." Connoisseur.THE NEW ART LIBRARYEdited by M. H. Spielmann, F.S.A., and P. G. KonodyVol. IThe Practice of Oil PaintingBy Solomon J. Solomon, R.A. With 80 Illustrations from his Draw-ings, and from Paintings. Sq. ex. cm. 8vo. 6s. net."The work of an accomplished painter and experienced teacher."Scotsman."If students were to follow his instructions, and still more, to heed hiswarnings, their painting1would soon show a great increase in efficiency."Manchester Guardian.Vol. IIHuman Anatomy for Art StudentsBy Sir Alfred Downing Fripp, K.C.V.O., C.B., Surgeon-in-Ordinaryto H.M. King Edward VII; Lecturer upon Anatomy at Guys ;and Ralph Thompson, Senior Demonstrator of Anatomy, Guys.With many Drawings by Innes Fripp, A.R.C.A., Master of LifeClass, City Guilds Art School. 151 Illustrations. Sq. ex. cm.8vo. 7-r. 6d. net."The characteristic of this book all through is clearness, both in theletterpress and the illustrations. The latter are admirable." Spectator."Just such a work as the art student needs, and is probably all that hewill need. It is very fully illustrated, there are 9 plates showing differentviews of the skeleton and the muscular system, 23 reproductions of photo-graphs from life, and over 130 figures and drawings." Glasgow Herald."A welcome addition to the literature on the subject. Illustrated byexcellent photographs from the living model." Scotsman.Vol. IllModelling & SculptureBy Albert Toft, Hon. Associate of the Royal College of Art ; Memberof the Society of British Sculptors. With 118 Illustrations andDiagrams. Sq. ex. crn. 8vo. 6s. net." Mr. Tofts reputation as a sculptor of marked power and versatilityguarantees that the instruction he gives is thoroughly reliable." Connoisseur." Will be exceedingly useful and even indispensable to all who wish to learnthe art of sculpture in its many branches. The book will also appeal to thosewho have no intention of learning the art, but wish to know something aboutit Mr. Toft writes very clearly." Field.Vol. IVThe Practice & Science of DrawingBy Harold Speed, Associe" de la Societc Nationale des Beaux-Arts,Paris ; Member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, &c.With 93 Illustrations. Sq. ex. crn. 8vo. 6s. net."This book is of such importance that everyone interested in the subjectmust read it." WALTER SICKBRT in the Daily News."Mr. Speeds handbook cannot be sufficiently recommended to the student."Pall Mall Gazette."Altogether this is one of the best volumes in the admirable series towhich it oelongs." Literary World.Ready in September 1914The Anatomy of TreesBy Rex Vicat Cole, R.B.A. With between 300 and 400 Illustrations.Crn. 8vo. "js. 6d. net.SEELEY, SERVICE 6- CO. LIMITED
  • 6. Library730PREFACEPERMIT me in the first place to anticipate the dis-appointment of any student who opens this bookwith the idea of finding" wrinkles"on how todraw faces, trees, clouds, or what not, short cutsto excellence in drawing, or any of the tricks sopopular with the drawing masters of our grand-mothers and still dearly loved by a large numberof people. No good can come of such methods, forthere are no short cuts to excellence. But help ofa very practical kind it is the aim of the followingpages to give ; although it may be necessary tomake a greater call upon the intelligence of thestudent than these Victorian methods attempted.It was not until some time after having passedthrough the course of training in two of our chiefschools of art, that the author got any idea of whatdrawing really meant. What was taught was thefaithful copying of a series of objects, beginningwith the simplest forms, such as cubes, cones, cylin-ders, &c. (an excellent system to begin with atpresent in danger of some neglect), after whichmore complicated objects in plaster of Paris wereattempted, and finally copies of the human headand figure posed in suspended animation and sup-ported by blocks, &c. In so far as this was accuratelydone, all this mechanical training of eye and handwas excellent; but it was not enough. And whenwith an eye trained to the closest mechanicalV
  • 7. PREFACEaccuracy the author visited the galleries of theContinent and studied the drawings of the oldmasters, it soon became apparent that either his ortheir ideas of drawing were all wrong. Very fewdrawings could be found sufficiently "like themodel" to obtain the prize at either of the greatschools he had attended. Luckily there was justenough modesty left for him to realise that possiblythey were in some mysterious way right and hisown training in some way lacking. And so he setto work to try and climb the long uphill road thatseparates mechanically accurate drawing fromartistically accurate drawing.Now this journey should have been commencedmuch earlier, and perhaps it was due to his ownstupidity that it was not; but it was with a vagueidea of saving some students from such wrong-headedness, and possibly straightening out someof the path, that he accepted the invitation to writethis book.In writing upon any matter of experience, suchas art, the possibilities of misunderstanding areenormous, and one shudders to think of the thingsthat may be put down to ones credit, owing tosuch misunderstandings. It is like writing aboutthe taste of sugar, you are only likely to beunderstood by those who have already experiencedthe flavour ; by those who have not, the wildestinterpretation will be put upon your words. Thewritten word is necessarily confined to the thingsof the understanding because only the understand-ing has written language ; whereas art deals withideas of a different mental texture, which wordscan only vaguely suggest. However, there are alarge number of people who, although they cannotvi
  • 8. PREFACEbe said to have experienced in a full sense anyworks of art, have undoubtedly the impelling desirewhich a little direction may lead on to a fullerappreciation. And it is to such that books onart are useful. So that although this book isprimarily addressed to working students, it ishoped that it may be of interest to that increasingnumber of people who, tired with the rush andstruggle of modern existence, seek refreshment inartistic things. To many such in this countrymodern art is still a closed book ;its point ofview is so different from that of the art theyhave been brought up with, that they refuse tohave anything to do with it. Whereas, if theyonly took the trouble to find out something ofthe point of view of the modern artist, they woulddiscover new beauties they little suspected.If anybody looks at a picture by Claude Monetfrom the point of view of a Raphael, he will seenothing but a meaningless jargon of wild paint-strokes. And if anybody looks at a Raphael fromthe point of view of a Claude Monet, he will, nodoubt, only see hard, tinny figures in a settingdevoid of any of the lovely atmosphere that alwaysenvelops form seen in nature. So wide apart aresome of the points of view in painting. In thetreatment of form these differences in point ofview make for enormous variety in the work.So that no apology need be made for the largeamount of space occupied in the following pagesby what is usually dismissed as mere theory; butwhat is in reality the first essential of any goodpractice in drawing. To have a clear idea of whatit is you wish to do, is the first necessity of anysuccessful performance. But our exhibitions arevii
  • 9. PREFACEfull of works that show how seldom this is thecase in art. Works showing much ingenuity andability, but no artistic brains ; pictures that arelittle more than school studies, exercises in therepresentation of carefully or carelessly arrangedobjects, but cold to any artistic intention.At this time particularly some principles, and aclear intellectual understanding of what it is youare trying to do, are needed. We have no set tra-ditions to guide us. The times when the studentaccepted the style and traditions of his master andblindly followed them until he found himself, aregone. Such conditions belonged to an age whenintercommunication was difficult, and when theartistic horizon was restricted to a single town orprovince. Science has altered all that, and we mayregret the loss of local colour and singleness ofaim this growth of art in separate compartmentsproduced ; but it is unlikely that such conditionswill occur again. Quick means of transit and cheapmethods of reproduction have brought the art ofthe whole world to our doors. Where formerly theartistic food at the disposal of the student wasrestricted to the few pictures in his vicinity andsome prints of others, now there is scarcely a pictureof note in the world that is not known to theaverage student, either from personal inspection atour museums and loan exhibitions, or from excellentphotographic reproductions. Not only European art,but the art of the East, China and Japan, is partof the formative influence by which he is sur-rounded ; not to mention the modern science oflight and colour that has had such an influence ontechnique. It is no wonder that a period of artisticindigestion is upon us. Hence the student has needviii
  • 10. PREFACEof sound principles and a clear understanding ofthe science of his art, if he would select from thismass of material those things which answer to hisown inner need for artistic expression.The position of art to-day is like that of a riverwhere many tributaries meeting at one point, sud-denly turn the steady flow to turbulence, the manystreams jostling each other and the different cur-rents pulling hither and thither. After a timethese newly-met forces will adjust themselves to thealtered condition, and a larger, finer stream be theresult. Something analogous to this would seem tobe happening in art at the present time, when allnations and all schools are acting and reacting uponeach other, and art is losing its national character-istics. The hope of the future is that a larger anddeeper art, answering to the altered conditions ofhumanity, will result.There are those who would leave this scene ofstruggling influences and away up on some bareprimitive mountain-top start a new stream, beginall over again. But however necessary it may beto give the primitive mountain waters that werethe start of all the streams a more prominent placein the new flow onwards, it is unlikely that muchcan come of any attempt to leave the turbulentwaters, go backwards, and start again ; they canonly flow onwards. To speak more plainly, thecomplexity of modern art influences may make itnecessary to call attention to the primitive principlesof expression that should never be lost sight of inany work, but hardly justifies the attitude of thoseanarchists in art who would flout the heritageof culture we possess and attempt a new start.Such attempts however when sincere are interest-ix
  • 11. PREFACEing and may be productive of some new vitality,adding to the weight of the main stream. But itmust be along the main stream, along lines in har-mony with tradition that the chief advance mustbe looked for.Although it has been felt necessary to devotemuch space to an attempt to find principles thatmay be said to be at the basis of the art of allnations, the executive side of the question has notbeen neglected. And it is hoped that the logicalmethod for tlje study of drawing from the twoopposite points of view of line and mass here advo-cated may be useful, and help students to avoidsome of the confusion that results from attemptingsimultaneously the study of these different qualitiesof form expression.
  • 18. THE PRACTICE AND SCIENCEOF DRAWINGIINTRODUCTIONTHE best things in an artists work are so much amatter of intuition, that there is much to be saidfor the point of view that would altogether dis-courage intellectual inquiry into artistic phenomenaon the part of the artist. Intuitions are shy thingsand apt to disappear if looked into too closely. Andthere is undoubtedly a danger that too much know-ledge and training may supplant the natural intuitivefeeling of a student, leaving only a cold knowledge ofthe means of expression in its place. For the artist,if he has the right stuff in him, has a consciousness,in doing his best work, of something, as Ruskin hassaid, "not in him but through him." He has been,as it were, but the agent through which it has foundexpression.Talent can be described as "that which we have,"and Genius as "that which has us." Now, althoughwe may have little control over this power that "hasus," and although it may be as well to abandononeself unreservedly to its influence, there can belittle doubt as to its being the business of the artistto see to it that his talent be so developed, that he17 B
  • 19. INTRODUCTIONmay prove a fit instrument for the expression ofwhatever it may be given him to express ;whileit must be left to his individual temperament todecide how far it is advisable to pursue any intel-lectual analysis of the elusive things that are thetrue matter of art.Provided the student realises this, and that arttraining can only deal with the perfecting of a meansof expression and that the real matter of art liesabove this and is beyond the scope of teaching, hecannot have too much of it. For although he mustever be a child before the influences that move him,if it is not with the knowledge of the grown manthat he takes off his coat and approaches the craft ofpainting or drawing, he will be poorly equipped tomake them a means of conveying to others in ade-quate form the things he may wish to express.Great things are only done in art when the creativeinstinct of the artist has a well-organised executivefaculty at its disposal.Of the two divisions into which the technicalstudy of painting can be divided, namely Formand Colour, we are concerned in this book withForm alone. But before proceeding to our immediatesubject, something should be said as to the natureof art generally, not with the ambition of arrivingat any final result in a short chapter, but merelyin order to give an idea of the point of view fromwhich the following pages are written, so that mis-understandings may be avoided.The variety of definitions that exist justifies someinquiry. The following are a few that come tomind:" Art is nature expressed through a personality."18
  • 20. But what of architecture ? Or music ? Then there isMorriss" Art is the expression of pleasure in work."But this does not apply to music and poetry. AndrewLangs"Everything which we distinguish from nature"seems too broad to catch hold of, while Tolstoys" An action by means of which one man, having experienceda feeling, intentionally transmits it to others"is nearer the truth, and covers all the arts, but seems,from its omitting any mention of rhythm, very in-adequate.Now the facts of life are conveyed by our sensesto the consciousness within us, and stimulate theworld of thought and feeling that constitutes ourreal life. Thought and feeling are very intimatelyconnected, few of our mental perceptions, particularlywhen they first dawn upon us, being unaccompaniedby some feeling. But there is this general divisionto be made, on one extreme of which is what wecall pure intellect, and on the other pure feeling oremotion. The arts, I take it, are a means of givingexpression to the emotional side of this mentalactivity, intimately related as it often is to the morepurely intellectual side. The more sensual side ofthis feeling is perhaps its lowest, while the feelingsassociated with the intelligence, the little sensitive-nesses of perception that escape pure intellect, arepossibly its noblest experiences.Pure intellect seeks to construct from the factsbrought to our consciousness by the senses, an accu-19
  • 21. INTRODUCTIONrately measured world of phenomena, uncoloured bythe human equation in each of us. It seeks to createa point of view outside the human standpoint, onemore stable and accurate, unaffected by the ever-changing current of human life. It therefore inventsmechanical instruments to do the measuring of oursense perceptions, as their records are more accuratethan human observation unaided.But while in science observation is made muchmore effective by the use of mechanical instrumentsin registering facts, the facts with which art deals,being those of feeling, can only be recorded by thefeeling instrument man, and are entirely missedby any mechanically devised substitutes.The artistic intelligence is not interested inthings from this standpoint of mechanical accuracy,but in the effect of observation on the living con-sciousness the sentient individual in each of us.The same fact accurately portrayed by a numberof artistic intelligences should be different in eachcase, whereas the same fact accurately expressed bya number of scientific intelligences should be thesame.But besides the feelings connected with a widerange of experience, each art has certain emotions be-longing to the particular sense perceptions connectedwith it. That is to say, there are some that onlymusic can convey : those connected with sound ; othersthat only painting, sculpture, or architecture canconvey : those connected with the form and colourthat they severally deal with.In abstract form and colour that is, form andcolour unconnected with natural appearances thereis an emotional power, such as there is in music,the sounds of which have no direct connection with20
  • 22. INTRODUCTIONanything in nature, but only with that mysterioussense we have, the sense of Harmony, Beauty, orRhythm (all three but different aspects of the samething).This inner sense is a very remarkable fact, andwill be found to some extent in all, certainly allcivilised, races. And when the art of a remote peoplelike the Chinese and Japanese is understood, oursenses of harmony are found to be wonderfully inagreement. Despite the fact that their art has de-veloped on lines widely different from our own,none the less, when the surprise at its newnesshas worn off and we begin to understand it, wefind it conforms to very much the same sense ofharmony.But apart from the feelings connected directlywith the means of expression, there appears to bemuch in common between all the arts in their mostprofound expression ;there seems to be a commoncentre in our inner life that they all appeal to.Possibly at this centre are the great primitiveemotions common to all men. The religious group,the deep awe and reverence men feel when con-templating the great mystery of the Universeand their own littleness in the face of its vastnessthe desire to correspond and develop relationshipwith the something outside themselves that isfelt to be behind and through all things. Thenthere are those connected with the joy of life, thethrobbing of the great life spirit, the gladness ofbeing, the desire of the sexes ; and also those con-nected with the sadness and mystery of death anddecay, &c.The technical side of an art is, however, notconcerned with these deeper motives but with the21
  • 23. INTRODUCTIONthings of sense through which they find expression ;in the case of painting, the visible universe.The artist is capable of being stimulated toartistic expression by all things seen, no matterwhat ;to him nothing comes amiss. Great pictureshave been made of beautiful people in beautifulclothes and of squalid people in ugly clothes, ofbeautiful architectural buildings and the ugly hovelsof the poor. And the same painter who painted theAlps painted the Great Western Railway.The visible world is to the artist, as it were, awonderful garment, at times revealing to him theBeyond, the Inner Truth there is in all things. Hehas a consciousness of some correspondence withsomething the other side of visible things and dimlyfelt through them, a "still, small voice"which he isimpelled to interpret to man. It is the expression ofthis all-pervading inner significance that I think werecognise as beauty, and that prompted Keats tosay:"Beauty is truth, truth beauty."And hence it is that the love of truth and thelove of beauty can exist together in the work of theartist. The search for this inner truth is the searchfor beauty. People whose vision does not penetratebeyond the narrow limits of the commonplace, andto whom a cabbage is but a vulgar vegetable, are sur-prised if they see a beautiful picture painted of one,and say that the artist has idealised it, meaning thathe has consciously altered its appearance on someidealistic formula; whereas he has probably onlyhonestly given expression to a truer, deeper visionthan they had been aware of. The commonplace isnot the true, but only the shallow, view of things.22
  • 25. INTRODUCTIONFromentins" Art is the expression of the invisible by means of the visible"expresses the same idea, and it is this that givesto art its high place among the works of man.Beautiful things seem to put us in correspondencewith a world the harmonies of which are moreperfect, and bring a deeper peace than this imperfectlife seems capable of yielding of itself. Our momentsof peace are, I think, always associated with someform of beauty, of this spark of harmony withincorresponding with some infinite source without.Like a mariners compass, we are restless until wefind repose in this one direction. In moments ofbeauty (for beauty is, strictly speaking, a state ofmind rather than an attribute of certain objects,although certain things have the power of inducingit more than others) we seem to get a glimpse ofthis deeper truth behind the things of sense. Andwho can say but that this sense, dull enough in mostof us, is not an echo of a greater harmony existingsomewhere the other side of things, that we dimlyfeel through them, evasive though it is.But we must tread lightly in these rarefiedregions and get on to more practical concerns. Byfinding and emphasising in his work those elementsin visual appearances that express these profounderthings, the painter is enabled to stimulate the per-ception of them in others.In the representation of a fine mountain, forinstance, there are, besides all its rhythmic beautyof form and colour, associations touching deeperchords in our natures associations connected withits size, age, and permanence, &c. ;at any rate wehave more feelings than form and colour of them-23
  • 26. INTRODUCTIONselves are capable of arousing. And these thingsmust be felt by the painter, and his picture paintedunder the influence of these feelings, if he is instinc-tively to select those elements of form and colourthat convey them. Such deeper feelings are fartoo intimately associated even with the finer beautiesof mere form and colour for the painter to be ableto neglect them ;no amount of technical knowledgewill take the place of feeling, or direct the painterso surely in his selection of what is fine.There are those who would say," This is all verywell, but the painters concern is with form andcolour and paint, and nothing else. If he paints themountain faithfully from that point of view, it willsuggest all these other associations to those whowant them." And others who would say that theform and colour of appearances are only to be usedas a language to give expression to the feelingscommon to all men. " Art for arts sake"and " Artfor subjects sake." There are these two extremepositions to consider, and it will depend on the indi-vidual on which side his work lies. His interest willbe more on the aesthetic side, in the feelings directlyconcerned with form and colour ;or on the side of themental associations connected with appearances, ac-cording to his temperament. But neither positioncan neglect the other without fatal loss. The pictureof form and colour will never be able to escape theassociations connected with visual things, neitherwill the picture all for subject be able to get awayfrom its form and colour. And it is wrong to say" If he paints the mountain faithfully from the formand colour point of view it will suggest all thoseother associations to those who want them," unless,as is possible with a simple-minded painter, he24
  • 27. INTRODUCTIONbe unconsciously moved by deeper feelings, andimpelled to select the significant things while onlyconscious of his paint. But the chances are thathis picture will convey the things he was thinkingabout, and, in consequence, instead of impressingus with the grandeur of the mountain, will saysomething very like "See what a clever painter Iam !"Unless the artist has painted his pictureunder the influence of the deeper feelings the scenewas capable of producing, it is not likely anybodywill be so impressed when they look at his work.And the painter deeply moved with high idealsas to subject matter, who neglects the form andcolour through which he is expressing them, willfind that his work has failed to be convincing. Theimmaterial can only be expressed through thematerial in art, and the painted symbols of thepicture must be very perfect if subtle and elusivemeanings are to be conveyed. If he cannot paintthe commonplace aspect of our mountain, how canhe expect to paint any expression of the deeperthings in it? The fact is, both positions are in-complete. In all good art the matter expressedand the manner of its expression are so intimateas to have become one. The deeper associationsconnected with the mountain are only matters forart in so far as they affect its appearance and takeshape as form and colour in the mind of the artist,informing the whole process of the painting, evento the brush strokes. As in a good poem, it isimpossible to consider the poetic idea apart fromthe words that express it :they are fired togetherat its creation.Now an expression by means of one of our dif-ferent sense perceptions does not constitute art, or25
  • 28. INTRODUCTIONthe boy shouting at the top of his voice, giving ex-pression to his delight in life but making a horriblenoise, would be an artist. If his expression is to beadequate to convey his feeling to others, there mustbe some arrangement. The expression must beordered, rhythmic, or whatever word most fitlyconveys the idea of those powers, conscious or un-conscious, that select and arrange the sensuousmaterial of art, so as to make the most telling impres-sion, by bringing it into relation with our innatesense of harmony. If we can find a rough definitionthat will include all the arts, it will help us to seein what direction lie those things in painting thatmake it an art. The not uncommon idea, thatpainting is "the production by means of coloursof more or less perfect representations of naturalobjects"will not do. And it is devoutly to be hopedthat science will perfect a method of colour photo-graphy finally to dispel this illusion.What, then, will serve as a working definition ?There must be something about feeling, the expres-sion of that individuality the secret of which every-one carries in himself; the expression of that egothat perceives and is moved by the phenomena oflife around us. And, on the other hand, somethingabout the ordering of its expression.But who knows of words that can convey a justidea of such subtle matter? If one says "Art isthe rhythmic expression of Life, or emotional con-sciousness, or feeling," all are inadequate. Perhapsthe "rhythmic expression of life"would be the moreperfect definition. But the word " life"is so muchmore associated with eating and drinking in thepopular mind, than with the spirit or force or what-ever you care to call it, that exists behind conscious-26
  • 29. Plate IIISTUDY FOR "APRIL"In red chalk on toned paper.
  • 30. INTRODUCTIONness and is the animating factor of our whole being,that it will hardly serve a useful purpose. So that,perhaps, for a rough, practical definition that willat least point away from the mechanical perfor-mances that so often pass for art,"the Rhythmic ex-pression of Feeling"will do : for by Rhythm is meantthat ordering of the materials of art (form andcolour, in the case of painting) so as to bring theminto relationship with our innate sense of harmonywhich gives them their expressive power. Withoutthis relationship we have no direct means of makingthe sensuous material of art awaken an answeringecho in others. The boy shouting at the top of hisvoice, making a horrible noise, was not an artist be-cause his expression was inadequate was not relatedto the underlying sense of harmony that would havegiven it expressive power.Let us test this definition with some simple cases.Here is a savage, shouting and flinging his arms andlegs about in wild delight; he is not an artist, al-though he may be moved by life and feeling. Butlet this shouting be done on some ordered plan, to arhythm expressive of joy and delight, and his legand arm movements governed by it also, and he hasbecome an artist, and singing and dancing (possiblythe oldest of the arts) will result.Or take the case of one who has been deeplymoved by something he has seen, say a man killedby a wild beast, which he wishes to tell his friends.If he just explains the facts as he saw them, makingno effort to order his words so as to make the mosttelling impression upon his hearers and convey tothem something of the feelings that are stirring inhim, if he merely does this, he is not an artist, al-though the recital of such a terrible incident may be27
  • 31. INTRODUCTIONmoving. But the moment he arranges his words soas to convey in a telling manner not only the plainfacts, but the horrible feelings he experienced at thesight, he has become an artist. And if he furtherorders his words to a rhythmic beat, a beat in sym-pathy with his subject, he has become still moreartistic, and a primitive form of poetry will result.Or in building a hut, so long as a man is inter-ested solely in the utilitarian side of the matter,as are so many builders to-day, and just puts upwalls as he needs protection from wild beasts, and aroof to keep out the rain, he is not yet an artist.But the moment he begins to consider his work withsome feeling, and arranges the relative sizes of hiswalls and roof so that they answer to some sensehe has for beautiful proportion, he has become anartist, and his hut has some architectural preten-sions. Now if his hut is of wood, and he paints itto protect it from the elements, nothing necessarilyartistic has been done. But if he selects colours thatgive him pleasure in their arrangement, and if theforms his colour masses assume are designed withsome personal feeling, he has invented a primitiveform of decoration.And likewise the savage who, wishing to illustratehis description of a strange animal he has seen, takesa piece of burnt wood and draws on the wall hisidea of what it looked like, a sort of catalogue of itsappearance, he is not necessarily an artist. It isonly when he draws under the influence of somefeeling, of some pleasure he felt in the appearanceof the animal, that he becomes an artist.Of course in each case it is assumed that themen have the power to be moved by these things,and whether they are good or poor artists will28
  • 33. INTRODUCTIONdepend on the quality of their feeling and the fitnessof its expression.The purest form of this "rhythmic expressionof feeling"is music. And as Walter Pater shows usin his essay on " The School of Giorgione," "music isthe type of art." The others are more artistic asthey approach its conditions. Poetry, the mostmusical form of literature, is its most artistic form.And in the greatest pictures form, colour, and ideaare united to thrill us with harmonies analogousto music.The painter expresses his feelings through therepresentation of the visible world of Nature, andthrough the representation of those combinations ofform and colour inspired in his imagination, thatwere all originally derived from visible nature. If hefails from lack of skill to make his representation con-vincing to reasonable people, no matter how sublimehas been his artistic intention, he will probal^lyhave landed in the ridiculous. And yet, so great isthe power of direction exercised by the emotions onthe artist that it is seldom his work fails to conveysomething, when genuine feeling has been the motive.On the other hand, the painter with no artisticimpulse who makes a laboriously commonplacepicture of some ordinary or pretentious subject,has equally failed as an artist, however much theskilfulness of his representations may gain him re-putation with the unthinking.The study, therefore, of the representation of visiblenature and of the powers of expression possessed byform and colour is the object of the painters training.And a command over this power of representationand expression is absolutely necessary if he is tobe capable of doing anything worthy of his art.29
  • 34. INTRODUCTIONThis is all in art that one can attempt to teach.The emotional side is beyond the scope of teaching.You cannot teach people how to feel. All you cando is to surround them with the conditions calculatedto stimulate any natural feeling they may possess.And this is done by familiarising students with thebest works of art and nature.It is surprising how few art students have anyidea of what it is that constitutes art. They areimpelled, it is to be assumed, by a natural desireto express themselves by painting, and, if theirintuitive ability is strong enough, it perhaps matterslittle whether they know or not. But to the largernumber who are not so violently impelled, it ishighly essential that they have some better idea ofart than that it consists in setting down your canvasbefore nature and copying it.Inadequate as this imperfect treatment of a pro-foundly interesting subject is, it may serve to givesome idea of the point of view from which thefollowing pages are written, and if it also serves todisturb the "copying theory"in the minds of anystudents and encourages them to make furtherinquiry, it will have served a useful purpose.80
  • 35. IIDRAWINGBY drawing is here meant the expression of formupon a plane surface.Art probably owes more to form for its rangeof expression than to colour. Many of the noblestthings it is capable of conveying are expressed byform more directly than by anything else. And itis interesting to notice how some of the worldsgreatest artists have been very restricted in theiruse of colour, preferring to depend on form for theirchief appeal. It is reported that Apelles only usedthree colours, black, red, and yellow, and Rembrandtused little else. Drawing, although the first, is alsothe last, thing the painter usually studies. Thereis more in it that can be taught and that repaysconstant application and effort. Colour would seemto depend much more on a natural sense and to beless amenable to teaching. A well-trained eye forthe appreciation of form is what every studentshould set himself to acquire with all the might ofwhich he is capable.It is not enough in artistic drawing to portrayaccurately and in cold blood the appearance ofobjects. To express form one must first be movedby it. There is in the appearance of all objects,animate and inanimate, what has been called anemotional significance, a hidden rhythm that is not31
  • 36. DRAWINGcaught by the accurate, painstaking, but cold artist.The form significance of which we speak is neverfound in a mechanical reproduction like a photo-graph. You are never moved to say when lookingat one," What fine form."It is difficult to say in what this quality consists.The emphasis and selection that is unconsciouslygiven in a drawing done directly under the guidanceof strong feeling, are too subtle to be tabulated ; theyescape analysis. But it is this selection of the sig-nificant and suppression of the non-essential thatoften gives to a few lines drawn quickly, and havinga somewhat remote relation to the complex appear-ance of the real object, more vitality and truth thanare to be found in a highly-wrought and painstakingdrawing, during the process of which the essentialand vital things have been lost sight of in thelabour of the work ;and the non-essential, which isusually more obvious, has been allowed to creep inand obscure the original impression. Of course, hadthe finished drawing been done with the mind centredupon the particular form significance aimed at, andevery touch and detail added in tune to this idea,the comparison might have been different. But itis rarely that good drawings are done this way.Fine things seem only to be seen in flashes, and thenature that can carry over the impression of one ofthese moments during the labour of a highly-wroughtdrawing is very rare, and belongs to the few greatones of the craft alone.It is difficult to know why one should be movedby the expression of form; but it appears to havesome physical influence over us. In looking at afine drawing, say of a strong man, we seem to identifyourselves with it and feel a thrill of its strength in32
  • 37. DRAWINGour own bodies, prompting us to set our teeth, stiffenour frame, and exclaim "Thats fine." Or, whenlooking at the drawing of a beautiful woman, weare softened by its charm and feel in ourselvessomething of its sweetness as we exclaim," Howbeautiful." The measure of the feeling in either casewill be the extent to which the artist has identifiedhimself with the subject when making the drawing,and has been impelled to select the expressive elementsin the forms.Art thus enables us to experience life at secondhand. The small man may enjoy somewhat of thewider experience of the bigger man, and be edu-cated to appreciate in time a wider experience forhimself. This is the true justification for public picturegalleries. Not so much for the moral influence theyexert, of which we have heard so much, but thatpeople may be led through the vision of the artistto enlarge their experience of life. This enlargingof the experience is true education, and a verydifferent thing from the memorising of facts thatso often passes as such. In a way this may be saidto be a moral influence, as a larger mind is lesslikely to harbour small meannesses. But this is notthe kind of moral influence usually looked for bythe many, who rather demand a moral story told bythe picture; a thing not always suitable to artisticexpression.One is always profoundly impressed by theexpression of a sense of bulk, vastness, or mass inform. There is a feeling of being lifted out of onespuny self to something bigger and more stable. Itis this splendid feeling of bigness in Michael Angelosfigures that is so satisfying. One cannot come awayfrom the contemplation of that wonderful ceiling of33 C
  • 38. DRAWINGhis in the Vatican without the sense of havingexperienced something of a larger life than one hadknown before. Never has the dignity of manreached so high an expression in paint, a heightthat has been the despair of all who have sincetried to follow that lonely master. In landscapealso this expression of largeness is fine : one likes tofeel the weight and mass of the ground, the vastnessof the sky and sea, the bulk of a mountain.On the other hand one is charmed also by theexpression of lightness. This may be noted in muchof the work of Botticelli and the Italians of thefifteenth century. Botticellis figures seldom haveany weight; they drift about as if walking on air,giving a delightful feeling of otherworldliness. Thehands of the Madonna that hold the Child might beholding flowers for any sense of support they ex-press. It is, I think, on this sense of lightness thata great deal of the exquisite charm of Botticellisdrawing depends.The feathery lightness of clouds and of draperiesblown by the wind is always pleasing, and Botticellinearly always has a light wind passing through hisdraperies to give them this sense.As will be explained later, in connection withacademic drawing, it is eminently necessary for thestudent to train his eye accurately to observe theforms of things by the most painstaking of drawings.In these school studies feeling need not be considered,but only a cold accuracy. In the same way a singertrains himself to sing scales, giving every noteexactly the same weight and preserving a mostmechanical time throughout, so that every note of hisvoice may be accurately under his control and beequal to the subtlest variations he may afterwards34
  • 39. Plate VFROM A STUDY BY BOTTICELLIIn the Print Room at the British Museum.
  • 40. DRAWINGwant to infuse into it at the dictates of feeling. Forhow can the draughtsman, who does not know howto draw accurately the cold, commonplace view ofan object, hope to give expression to the subtledifferences presented by the same thing seen underthe excitement of strong feeling ?These academic drawings, too, should be ashighly finished as hard application can make them,so that the habit of minute visual expression may beacquired. It will be needed later, when drawing ofa finer kind is attempted, and when in the heat of anemotional stimulus the artist has no time to considerthe smaller subtleties of drawing, which by thenshould have become almost instinctive with him,leaving his mind free to dwell on the biggerqualities.Drawing, then, to be worthy of the name, mustbe more than what is called accurate. It mustpresent the form of things in a more vivid mannerthan we ordinarily see them in nature. Every newdraughtsman in the history of art has discovered anew significance in the form of common things, andgiven the world a new experience. He has repre-sented these qualities under the stimulus of thefeeling they inspired in him, hot and underlined,as it were, adding to the great book of sight theworld possesses in its art, a book by no meanscompleted yet.So that to say of a drawing, as is so often said,that it is not true because it does not present thecommonplace appearance of an object accurately,may be foolish. Its accuracy depends on the com-pleteness with which it conveys the particularemotional significance that is the object of thedrawing. What this significance is will vary35
  • 41. DRAWINGenormously with the individual artist, but it isonly by this standard that the accuracy of thedrawing can be judged.It is this difference between scientific accuracyand artistic accuracy that puzzles so many people.Science demands that phenomena be observed withthe unemotional accuracy of a weighing machine,while artistic accuracy demands that things beobserved by a sentient individual recording thesensations produced in him by the phenomena oflife. And people with the scientific habit that isnow so common among us, seeing a picture ordrawing in which what are called facts have beenexpressed emotionally, are puzzled, if they aremodest, or laugh at what they consider a glaringmistake in drawing if they are not, when all thetime it may be their mistaken point of view thatis at fault.But while there is no absolute artistic standardby which accuracy of drawing can be judged, assuch standard must necessarily vary with the artisticintention of each individual artist, this fact mustnot be taken as an excuse for any obviously faultydrawing that incompetence may produce, as is oftendone by students, who when corrected, say that they" saw it so." For there undoubtedly exists a roughphysical standard of Tightness in drawing, anyviolent deviations from which, even at the dictatesof emotional expression, is productive of the gro-tesque. This physical standard of accuracy in hiswork it is the business of the student to acquire inhis academic training; and every aid that sciencecan give by such studies as Perspective, Anatomy,and, in the case of Landscape, even Geology andBotany, should be used to increase the accuracy of36
  • 42. rPlate VISTUDY IN NATURAL RED CHALK BY ALFRED STEPHENSFrom the collection of Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon
  • 43. DRAWINGhis representations. For the strength of appealin artistic work will depend much on the power theartist possesses of expressing himself through repre-sentations that arrest everyone by their truth andnaturalness. And although, when truth and natural-ness exist without any artistic expression, the resultis of little account as art, on the other hand, whentruly artistic expression is clothed in representationsthat offend our ideas of physical truth, it is onlythe few who can forgive the offence for the sakeof the genuine feeling they perceive behind it.How far the necessities of expression may beallowed to override the dictates of truth to physicalstructure in the appearance of objects, will alwaysbe a much debated point. In the best drawing thedepartures from mechanical accuracy are so subtlethat I have no doubt many will deny the existenceof such a thing altogether. Good artists of strongnatural inspiration, but simple minds, are often quiteunconscious of doing anything but being as mechani-cally accurate as possible, when painting.Yet however much it may be advisable to letyourself go in artistic work, during your academictraining let your aim be a searching accuracy.37
  • 44. IllVISIONIT is necessary to say something about Vision in thefirst place, if we are to have any grasp of the ideaof form.An act of vision is not so simple a matter as thestudent who asked her master if she should "paintnature as she saw nature"would seem to havethought. And his answer,"Yes, madam, providedyou dont see nature as you paint nature," expressedthe first difficulty the student of painting has toface : the difficulty of learning to see.Let us roughly examine what we know of vision.Science tells us that all objects are made visible tous by means of light ;and that white light, by whichwe see things in what may be called their normalaspect, is composed of all the colours of the solarspectrum, as may be seen in a rainbow ;a phe-nomenon caused, as everybody knows, by the sunsrays being split up into their component parts.This light travels in straight lines and, strikingobjects before us, is reflected in all directions. Someof these rays passing through a point situated behindthe lenses of the eye, strike the retina. The multi-plication of these rays on the retina produces apicture of whatever is before the eye, such as canbe seen on the ground glass at the back of a88
  • 45. VISIONphotographers camera, or on the table of a cameraobscura, both of which instruments are constructedroughly on the same principle as the human eye.These rays of light when reflected from an object,and again when passing through the atmosphere,undergo certain modifications. Should the object bea red one, the yellow, green, and blue rays, all, infact, except the red rays, are absorbed by the object,while the red is allowed to escape. These red raysstriking the retina produce certain effects whichconvey to our consciousness the sensation of red, andwe say "That is a red object." But there may beparticles of moisture or dust in the air that willmodify the red rays so that by the time they reachthe eye they may be somewhat different. This modi-fication is naturally most effective when a largeamount of atmosphere has to be passed through, andin things very distant the colour of the naturalobject is often entirely lost, to be replaced by atmos-pheric colours, as we see in distant mountains whenthe air is not perfectly clear. But we must not strayinto the fascinating province of colour.What chiefly concerns us here is the fact that thepictures on our retinas are flat, of two dimensions,the same as the canvas on which we paint. If youexamine these visual pictures without any prejudice,as one may with a camera obscura, you will see thatthey are composed of masses of colour in infinitevariety and complexity, of different shapes and grada-tions, and with many varieties of edges ; giving to theeye the illusion of nature with actual depths anddistances, although one knows all the time that itis a flat table on which one is looking.Seeing then that our eyes have only flat picturescontaining two -dimension infownation about the39
  • 46. VISIONobjective world, from whence is this knowledge ofdistance and the solidity of things? How do wesee the third dimension, the depth and thickness, bymeans of flat pictures of two dimensions ?The power to judge distance is due principallyto our possessing two eyes situated in slightly differ-ent positions, from which we get two views ofobjects, and also to the power possessed by the eyesof focussing at different distances, others being outof focus for the time being. In a picture the eyescan only focus at one distance (the distance the eyeis from the plane of the picture when you arelooking at it), and this is one of the chief causesof the perennial difficulty in painting backgrounds.In nature they are out of focus when one is lookingat an object, but in a painting the background isnecessarily on the same focal plane as the object.Numerous are the devices resorted to by paintersto overcome this difficulty, but they do not concernus here.The fact that we have two flat pictures on ourtwo retinas to help us, and that we can focus atdifferent planes, would not suffice to account forour knowledge of the solidity and shape of theobjective world, were these senses not associatedwith another sense all important in ideas of form,the sense of touch.This sense is very highly developed in us, andthe earlier period of our existence is largely givenover to feeling for the objective world outside our-selves. Who has not watched the little baby handsfeeling for everything within reach, and without itsreach, for the matter of that ; for the infant has noknowledge yet of what is and what is not within itsreach. Who has not offered some bright object to a40
  • 47. VISIONyoung child and watched its clumsy attempts to feelfor it, almost as clumsy at first as if it were blind,as it has not yet learned to focus distances. Andwhen he has at last got hold of it, how eagerly hefeels it all over, looking intently at it all the time ;thus learning early to associate the "feel of anobject" with its appearance. In this way by degreeshe acquires those ideas of roughness and smooth-ness, hardness and softness, solidity, &c., which lateron he will be able to distinguish by vision alone,and without touching the object.Our survival depends so much on this sense oftouch, that it is of the first importance to us. Wemust know whether the ground is hard enough forus to walk on, or whether there is a hole in frontof us ;and masses of colour rays striking the retina,which is what vision amounts to, will not of them-selves tell us. But associated with the knowledgeaccumulated in our early years, by connecting touchwith sight, we do know when certain combinationsof colour rays strike the eye that there is a roadfor us to walk on, and that when certain othercombinations occur there is a hole in front of us,or the edge of a precipice.And likewise with hardness and softness, the childwho strikes his head against the bed-post is forciblyreminded by nature that such things are to beavoided, and feeling that it is hard and that hard-ness has a certain look, it avoids that kind of thingin the future. And when it strikes its head againstthe pillow, it learns the nature of softness, andassociating this sensation with the appearance ofthe pillow, knows in future that when softnessis observed it need not be avoided as hardnessmust be.41
  • 48. VISIONSight is therefore not a matter of the eye alone.A whole train of associations connected with theobjective world is set going in the mind when raysof light strike the retina refracted from objects.And these associations vary enormously in quantityand value with different individuals ;but the onewe are here chiefly concerned with is this universalone of touch. Everybody "sees" the shape of anobject, and "sees" whether it "looks" harder soft,&c. Sees, in other words, the " feel"of it.If you are asked to think of an object, say acone, it will not, I think, be the visual aspect thatwill occur to most people. They will think of acircular base from which a continuous side slopesup to a point situated above its centre, as onewould feel it. The fact that in almost every visualaspect the base line is that of an ellipse, not acircle, comes as a surprise to people unaccustomedto drawing.But above these cruder instances, what a wealthof associations crowd in upon the mind, when asight that moves one is observed. Put two menbefore a scene, one an ordinary person and theother a great poet, and ask them to describe whatthey see. Assuming them both to be possessed of areasonable power honestly to express themselves,what a difference would there be in the value oftheir descriptions. Or take two painters both equallygifted in the power of expressing their visual per-ceptions, and put them before the scene to paintit. And assuming one to be a commonplace manand the other a great artist, what a difference willthere be in their work. The commonplace painterwill paint a commonplace picture, while the formand colour will be the means of stirring deep associ-42
  • 49. Plate VIISTUDY FOR THE FIGURE OF APOLLO IN THE PICTURE"APOLLO AND DAPHNE "In natural red chalk rubbed with finger ; the high lights are picked out with rubber.
  • 50. VISIONations and feelings in the mind of the other, andwill move him to paint the scene so that the samesplendour of associations may be conveyed to thebeholder.But to return to our infant mind. While thedevelopment of the perception of things has beengoing on, the purely visual side of the question, theobservation of the picture on the retina for whatit is as form and colour, has been neglectedneglected to such an extent that when the childcomes to attempt drawing, sight is not the sense heconsults. The mental idea of the objective worldthat has grown up in his mind is now associatedmore directly with touch than with sight, with thefelt shape rather than the visual appearance. Sothat if he is asked to draw a head, he thinks of itfirst as an object having a continuous boundary inspace. This his mind instinctively conceives as aline. Then, hair he expresses by a row of littlelines coming out from the boundary, all round thetop. He thinks of eyes as two points or circles, oras points in circles, and the nose either as a triangleor an L-shaped line. If you feel the nose you willsee the reason of this. Down the front you havethe L line, and if you feel round it you will findthe two sides meeting at the top and a base joiningthem, suggesting the triangle. The mouth similarlyis an opening with a row of teeth, which are gener-ally shown although so seldom seen, but alwaysapparent if the mouth is felt (see diagram A). Thisis, I think, a fair type of the first drawing the ordi-nary child makes and judging by some ancientscribbling of the same order I remember noticingscratched on a wall at Pompeii, and by savage draw-ing generally, it appears to be a fairly universal43
  • 51. VISIONtype. It is a very remarkable thing which, as faras I know, has not yet been pointed out, that inthese first attempts at drawing the vision shouldnot be consulted. A blind man would not drawdifferently, could he but see to draw. Were visionthe first sense consulted, and were the simplest visualDiagram IA, TYPE OF FIRST DRAWING MADE BY CHILDREN,SHOWING HOW VISION HAS NOT BEEN CONSULTEDB, TYPE OF WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN EXPECTED IFCRUDEST EXPRESSION OF VISUAL APPEARANCEHAD BEEN ATTEMPTEDappearance sought after, one might expect some-thing like diagram B, the shadows under eyes, nose,mouth, and chin, with the darker mass of the hail-being the simplest thing the visual appearance canbe reduced to. But despite this being quite as easyto do, it does not appeal to the ordinary child asthe other type does, because it does not satisfy the44
  • 52. VISIONsense of touch that forms so large a part of theidea of an object in the mind. All architectural eleva-tions and geometrical projections generally appealto this mental idea of form. They consist of viewsof a building or object that could never possiblybe seen by anybody, assuming as they do that theeye of the spectator is exactly in front of everypart of the building at the same time, a physicalimpossibility. And yet so removed from the actualvisual appearance is our mental idea of objects thatsuch drawings do convey a very accurate idea ofa building or object. And of course they have greatadvantage as working drawings in that they can bescaled.If so early the sense of vision is neglected andrelegated to be the handmaiden of other senses, itis no wonder that in the average adult it is in sucha shocking state of neglect. I feel convinced thatwith the great majority of people vision is seldomif ever consulted for itself, but only to ministerto some other sense. They look at the sky to seeif it is going to be fine ;at the fields to see if theyare dry enough to walk on, or whether there willbe a good crop of hay ;at the stream not to observethe beauty of the reflections from the blue sky orgreen fields dancing upon its surface or the richcolouring of its shadowed depths, but to calculatehow deep it is or how much power it would supplyto work a mill, how many fish it contains, or someother association alien to its visual aspect. If onelooks up at a fine mass of cumulus clouds abovea London street, the ordinary passer-by who followsones gaze expects to see a balloon or a flying-machineat least, and when he sees it is only clouds he is aptto wonder what one is gazing at. The beautiful45
  • 53. VISIONform and colour of the cloud seem to be unobserved.Clouds mean nothing to him but an accumulationof water dust that may bring rain. This accountsin some way for the number of good paintings thatare incomprehensible to the majority of people. Itis only those pictures that pursue the visual aspectof objects to a sufficient completion to contain thesuggestion of these other associations, that theyunderstand at all. Other pictures, they say, arenot finished enough. And it is so seldom that apicture can have this petty realisation and at thesame time be an expression of those larger emotionalqualities that constitute good painting.The early paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite Brother-hood appear to be a striking exception to this. Butin their work the excessive realisation of all detailswas part of the expression and gave emphasis tothe poetic idea at the basis of their pictures, andwas therefore part of the artistic intention. Inthese paintings the fiery intensity with which everylittle detail was painted made their picture a readymedium for the expression of poetic thought, asort of "painted poetry," every detail being selectedon account of some symbolic meaning it had, bear-ing on the poetic idea that was the object of thepicture.But to those painters who do not attempt"paintedpoetry," but seek in painting a poetry of its own,a visual poetry, this excessive finish (as it is called)is irksome, as it mars the expression of thosequalities in vision they wish to express. Finishin art has no connection with the amount of detailin a picture, but has reference only to the complete-ness with which the emotional idea the painter setout to express has been realised.46
  • 54. Plate VIIISTUDY FOR A PICTUREIn red conte chalk and white pastel rubbed on toned paper.
  • 55. VISIONThe visual blindness of the majority of peopleis greatly to be deplored, as nature is ever offeringthem on their retina, even in the meanest slum,a music of colour and form that is a constant sourceof pleasure to those who can see it. But so manyare content to use this wonderful faculty of visionfor utilitarian purposes only. It is the privilege ofthe artist to show how wonderful and beautiful isall this music of colour and form, so that people,having been moved by it in his work, may beencouraged to see the same beauty in the thingsaround them. This is the best argument in favourof making art a subject of general education : thatit should teach people to see. Everybody does notneed to draw and paint, but if everybody could getthe faculty of appreciating the form and colour ontheir retinas as form and colour, what a wealthwould always be at their disposal for enjoyment !The Japanese habit of looking at a landscape upsidedown between their legs is a way of seeing withoutthe deadening influence of touch associations. Thuslooking, one is surprised into seeing for once thecolour and form of things with the association oftouch for the moment forgotten, and is puzzled atthe beauty. The odd thing is that although thuswe see things upside down, the pictures on ourretinas are for once the right way up ;for ordinarilythe visual picture is inverted on the retina, like thaton the ground glass at the back of a photographiccamera.To sum up this somewhat rambling chapter, Ihave endeavoured to show that there are two as-pects from which the objective world can be ap-prehended. There is the purely mental perceptionfounded chiefly on knowledge derived from our sense47
  • 56. VISIONof touch associated with vision, whose primitive in-stinct is to put an outline round objects as repre-senting their boundaries in space. And secondly,there is the visual perception, which is concernedwith the visual aspects of objects as they appear onthe retina ;an arrangement of colour shapes, a sortof mosaic of colour. And these two aspects give ustwo different points of view from which the repre-sentation of visible things can be approached.When the representation from either point ofview is carried far enough, the result is very similar.Work built up on outline drawing to which has beenadded light and shade, colour, aerial perspective, &c.,may eventually approximate to the perfect visualappearance. And inversely, representations ap-proached from the point of view of pure vision,the mosaic of colour on the retina, if pushed farenough, may satisfy the mental perception of formwith its touch associations. And of course the twopoints of view are intimately connected. Youcannot put an accurate outline round an objectwithout observing the shape it occupies in the fieldof vision. And it is difficult to consider the " mosaicof colour forms"without being very conscious of theobjective significance of the colour masses portrayed.But they present two entirely different and oppositepoints of view from which the representation ofobjects can be approached. In considering the sub-ject of drawing I think it necessary to make thisdivision of the subject, and both methods of formexpression should be studied by the student. Let uscall the first method Line Drawing and the secondMass Drawing. Most modern drawing is a mixtureof both these points of view, but they shouid bestudied separately if confusion is to be avoided. If48
  • 57. VISIONthe student neglects line drawing, his work will lackthe expressive significance of form, that only a feel-ing for lines seems to have the secret of conveying ;while, if he neglects mass drawing, he will be poorlyequipped when he comes to express form with abrush full of paint to work with.49
  • 58. MOST of the earliest forms of drawing known to usin history, like those of the child we were discussingin the last chapter, are largely in the nature of out-line drawings. This is a remarkable fact consider-ing the somewhat remote relation lines have to thecomplete phenomena of vision. Outlines can onlybe said to exist in appearances as the boundaries ofmasses. But even here a line seems a poor thingfrom the visual point of view ;as the boundaries arenot always clearly defined, but are continually merg-ing into the surrounding mass and losing themselvesto be caught up again later on and defined oncemore. Its relationship with visual appearances isnot sufficient to justify the instinct for line drawing.It comes, I think, as has already been said, fromthe sense of touch. When an object is felt there isno merging in the surrounding mass, but a firm de-finition of its boundary, which the mind instinctivelyconceives as a line.There is a more direct appeal to the imaginationin line drawing than in possibly anything else inpictorial art. The emotional stimulus given by finedesign is due largely to line work. The power a linepossesses of instinctively directing the eye along itscourse is of the utmost value also, enabling theartist to concentrate the attention of the beholder50
  • 59. LINE DRAWINGwhere he wishes. Then there is a harmonic sense inlines and their relationships, a music of line thatis found at the basis of all good art. But thissubject will be treated later on when talking of linerhythm.Most artists whose work makes a large appealto the imagination are strong on the value of line.Blake, whose visual knowledge was such a negli-gible quantity, but whose mental perceptions wereso magnificent, was always insisting on its -value.And his designs are splendid examples of its powerfulappeal to the imagination.On this basis of line drawing the developmentof art proceeded. The early Egyptian wall paintingswere outlines tinted, and the earliest wall sculpturewas an incised outline. After these incised linessome man of genius thought of cutting away thesurface of the wall between the outlines andmodelling it in low relief. The appearance ofthis may have suggested to the man painting hisoutline on the wall the idea of shading betweenhis outlines.At any rate the next development was the intro-duction of a little shading to relieve the flatness ofthe line-work and suggest modelling. And this wasas far as things had gone in the direction of therepresentation of form, until well on in the ItalianRenaissance. Botticelli used nothing else than anoutline lightly shaded to indicate form. Light andshade were not seriously perceived until Leonardoda Vinci. And a wonderful discovery it was thoughtto be, and was, indeed, although it seems difficultto understand where mens eyes had been for so longwith the phenomena of light and shade before themall the time. But this is only another proof of51
  • 60. LINE DRAWINGwhat cannot be too often insisted on, namely thatthe eye only sees what it is on the look-out for,and it may even be there are things just as wonder-ful yet to be discovered in vision.But it was still the touch association of an objectthat was the dominant one ; it was within the out-line demanded by this sense that the light and shadewere to be introduced as something as it were puton the object. It was the "solids in space" ideathat art was still appealing to." The first object of a painter is to make a simpleflat surface appear like a relievo, and some of itsparts detached from the ground ; he who excels allothers in that part of the art deserves the greatestpraise,"*wrote Leonardo da Vinci, and the insist-ence on this "standing out"quality, with its appealto the touch sense as something great in art, soundsvery strange in these days. But it must be re-membered that the means of creating this illusionwere new to all and greatly wondered at.And again, in paragraph 176 of his treatise,Leonardo writes :" The knowledge of the outline isof most consequence, and yet may be acquired to greatcertainty by dint of study; as the outlines of thehuman figure, particularly those which do not bend,are invariably the same. But the knowledge of thesituation, quality and quantity of shadows, beinginfinite, requires the most extensive study."The outlines of the human figure are "invariablythe same"? What does this mean ? From thevisual point of view we know that the space occupiedby figures in the field of our vision is by no means"invariably the same," but of great variety. So itcannot be the visual appearance he is speaking about.1Leonardo da Vinci, Treatise on Painting, paragraph 178.52
  • 61. i . >< .7Plate IXSTUDY BY WATTEAUFrom an original drawing; in the collection of Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon.
  • 62. LINE DRAWINGIt can only refer to the mental idea of the shapeof the members of the human figure. The remark"particularly those that do not bend"shows this also,for when the body is bent up even the mental ideaof its form must be altered. There is no hint yetof vision being exploited for itself, but only in sofar as it yielded material to stimulate this mentalidea of the exterior world.All through the work of the men who used thislight and shade (or chiaroscuro, as it was called)the outline basis remained. Leonardo, Raphael,Michael Angelo, Titian, and the Venetians were allfaithful to it as the means of holding their picturestogether ; although the Venetians, by fusing the edgesof their outline masses, got very near the visualmethod to be introduced later by Velazquez.In this way, little by little, starting from a basisof simple outline forms, art grew up, each new detailof visual appearance discovered adding, as it were,another instrument to the orchestra at the disposalof the artist, enabling him to add to the somewhatcrude directness and simplicity of the early workthe graces and refinements of the more complexwork, making the problem of composition moredifficult but increasing the range of its expression.But these additions to the visual formula usedby artists was not all gain ; the simplicity of themeans at the disposal of a Botticelli gives an innocenceand imaginative appeal to his work that it is difficultto think of preserving with the more completevisual realisation of later schools. When the realisa-tion of actual appearance is most complete, the mindis liable to be led away by side issues connectedwith the things represented, instead of seeing theemotional intentions of the artist expressed through53
  • 63. LINE DRAWINGthem. The mind is apt to leave the picture andlooking, as it were, not at it but through it, topursue a train of thought associated with the objectsrepresented as real objects, but alien to the artisticintention of the picture. There is nothing in theseearly formulae to disturb the contemplation of theemotional appeal of pure form and colour. To thosewho approach a picture with the idea that the re-presentation of nature, the "making it look likethe real thing," is the sole object of painting, howstrange must be the appearance of such pictures asBotticellis.The accumulation of the details of visual observa-tion in art is liable eventually to obscure the mainidea and disturb the large sense of design on whichso much of the imaginative appeal of a work of artdepends. The large amount of new visual know-ledge that the naturalistic movements of the nine-teenth century brought to light is particularly liableat this time to obscure the simpler and more primitivequalities on which all good art is built. At theheight of that movement line drawing went outof fashion, and charcoal, and an awful thing calleda stump, took the place of the point in the schools.Charcoal is a beautiful medium in a dexterous hand,but is more adaptable to mass than to line drawing.The less said about the stump the better, althoughI believe it still lingers on in some schools.Line drawing is happily reviving, and nothing isso calculated to put new life and strength into thevagaries of naturalistic painting and get back intoart a fine sense of design.This obscuring of the direct appeal of art by theaccumulation of too much naturalistic detail, andthe loss of power it entails, is the cause of artists54
  • 64. LINE DRAWINGhaving occasionally gone back to a more primitiveconvention. There was the Archaistic movementin Greece, and men like Rossetti and Burne-Jonesfound a better means of expressing the things thatmoved them in the technique of the fourteenthcentury. And it was no doubt a feeling of theweakening influence on art, as an expressive force,of the elaborate realisations of the modern school,that prompted Puvis de Chavannes to invent forhimself his large primitive manner. It will benoticed that in these instances it is chiefly the in-sistence upon outline that distinguishes these artistsfrom their contemporaries.Art, like life, is apt to languish if it gets too faraway from primitive conditions. But, like life also,it is a poor thing and a very uncouth affair if it hasnothing but primitive conditions to recommend it.Because there is a decadent art about, one need notmake a hero of the pavement artist. But withoutgoing to the extreme of flouting the centuries ofculture that art inherits, as it is now fashionablein many places to do, students will do well to studyat first the early rather than the late work of thedifferent schools, so as to get in touch with thesimple conditions of design on which good workis built. It is easier to study these essential qualitieswhen they are not overlaid by so much knowledgeof visual realisation. The skeleton of the picture ismore apparent in the earlier than the later workof any school.The finest example of the union of the primitivewith the most refined and cultured art the worldhas ever seen is probably the Parthenon at Athens,a building that has been the wonder of the artisticworld for over two thousand years. Not only are55
  • 65. LINE DRAWINGthe fragments of its sculptures in the British Museumamazing, but the beauty and proportions of its archi-tecture are of a refinement that is, I think, nevereven attempted in these days. What architect nowthinks of correcting the poorness of hard, straightlines by very slightly curving them ? Or of slightlysloping inwards the columns of his facade to addto the strength of its appearance? The amountof these variations is of the very slightest and bearswitness to the pitch of refinement attempted. Andyet, with it all, how simple ! There is somethingof the primitive strength of Stonehenge in thatsolemn row of columns rising firmly from the stepswithout any base. With all its magnificence, it stillretains the simplicity of the hut from which itwas evolved.Something of the same combination of primitivegrandeur and strength with exquisite refinement ofvisualisation is seen in the art of Michael Angelo.His followers adopted the big, muscular type of theirmaster, but lost the primitive strength he expressed ;and when this primitive force was lost sight of, whata decadence set in !This is the point at which art reaches its highestmark : when to the primitive strength and simplicityof early art are added the infinite refinements andgraces of culture without destroying or weakeningthe sublimity of the expression.In painting, the refinement and graces of culturetake the form of an increasing truth to naturalappearances, added bit by bit to the primitive bald-ness of early work ; until the point is reached, asit was in the nineteenth century, when apparentlythe whole facts of visual nature are incorporated.From this wealth of visual material, to which must56
  • 66. LINE DRAWINGbe added the knowledge we now have of the artsof the East, of China, Japan, and India, the modernartist has to select those things that appeal to him ;has to select those elements that answer to hisinmost need of expressing himself as an artist. Nowonder a period of artistic dyspepsia is upon us,no wonder our exhibitions, particularly those onthe Continent, are full of strange, weird things.The problem before the artist was never so complex,but also never so interesting. New forms, newcombinations, new simplifications are to be found.But the steadying influence and discipline of linework were never more necessary to the student.The primitive force we are in danger of losingdepends much on line, and no work that aims at asublime impression can dispense with the basis ofa carefully wrought and simple line scheme.The study, therefore, of pure line drawing is ofgreat importance to the painter, and the numerousdrawings that exist by the great masters in thismethod show how much they understood its value.And the revival of line drawing, and the desirethere is to find a simpler convention founded onthis basis, are among the most hopeful signs in theart of the moment.57
  • 67. VMASS DRAWINGIN the preceding chapter it has, I hope, been shownthat outline drawing is an instinct with Westernartists and has been so from the earliest times ;thatthis instinct is due to the fact that the first mentalidea of an object is the sense of its form as a feltthing, not a thing seen ; and that an outline drawingsatisfies and appeals directly to this mental idea ofobjects.But there is another basis of expression directlyrelated to visual appearances that in the fulness oftime was evolved, and has had a very great influenceon modern art. This form of drawing is based onthe consideration of the flat appearances on theretina, with the knowledge of the felt shapes ofobjects for the time being forgotten. In oppositionto line drawing, we may call this Mass Drawing.The scientific truth of this point of view isobvious. If only the accurate copying of the appear-ances of nature were the sole object of art (anidea to be met with among students) the problemof painting would be simpler than it is, and wouldbe likely ere long to be solved by the photographiccamera.This form of drawing is the natural means ofexpression when a brush full of paint is in yourhands. The reducing of a complicated appearance58
  • 68. Plate XEXAMPLE OF FIFTEENTH-CENTURY CHINESE WORKBY Lui LIANG (BRITISH MUSEUM)Show ing how early Chinese masters had developed the mass-drawing point of view.
  • 69. MASS DRAWINGto a few simple masses is the first necessity of thepainter. But this will be fully explained in a laterchapter treating more practically of the practice ofmass drawing.The art of China and Japan appears to havebeen more influenced by this view of naturalappearances than that of the West has been, untilquite lately. The Eastern mind does not seem tobe so obsessed by the objectivity of things as isthe Western mind. With us the practical senseof touch is all powerful." I know that is so,because I felt it with my hands" would be acharacteristic expression with us. Whereas I donot think it would be an expression the Easternmind would use. With them the spiritual essenceof the thing seen appears to be the more real,judging from their art. And who is to say theymay not be right? This is certainly the im-pression one gets from their beautiful painting,with its lightness of texture and avoidance ofsolidity. It is founded on nature regarded as aflat vision, instead of a collection of solids in space.Their use of line is also much more restrained thanwith us, and it is seldom used to accentuate thesolidity of things, but chiefly to support theboundaries of masses and suggest detail. Lightand shade, which suggest solidity, are never used,a wide light where there is no shadow pervadeseverything, their drawing being done with thebrush in masses.When, as in the time of Titian, the art of theWest had discovered light and shade, linear per-spective, aerial perspective, &c., and had begun byfusing the edges of the masses to suspect thenecessity of painting to a widely diffused focus,59
  • 70. MASS DRAWINGthey had got very near considering appearancesas a visual whole. But it was not until Velazquezthat a picture was painted that was foundedentirely on visual appearances, in which a basis ofobjective outlines was discarded and replaced bya structure of tone masses.When he took his own painting room with thelittle Infanta and her maids as a subject, Velazquezseems to have considered it entirely as one flatvisual impression. The focal attention is centredon the Infanta, with the figures on either sidemore or less out of focus, those on the extremeright being quite blurred. The reproduction heregiven unfortunately does not show these subtleties,and flattens the general appearance very much.The focus is nowhere sharp, as this would disturbthe contemplation of the large visual impression.And there, I think, for the first time, the wholegamut of natural vision, tone, colour, form, lightand shade, atmosphere, focus, &c., considered asone impression, were put on canvas.All sense of design is lost. The picture has nosurface ; it is all atmosphere between the four edgesof the frame, and the objects are within. Placed asit is in the Prado, with the light coming from theright as in the picture, there is no break between thereal people before it and the figures within, exceptthe slight yellow veil due to age.But wonderful as this picture is, as a "tour deforce," like his Venus of the same period in theNational Gallery, it is a painters picture, and makesbut a cold impression on those not interested in thetechnique of painting. With the cutting away ofthe primitive support of fine outline design andthe absence of those accents conveying a fine formtiO
  • 71. Plate XI Photo AndersonLos MENENAS. BY VELAZQUEZ (PBADO)Probably the first picture ever painted entirely from the vis lal or impressionist standpoint.
  • 72. MASS DRAWINGstimulus to the mind, art has lost much of itsemotional significance.But art has gained a new point of view. Withthis subjective way of considering appearances this"impressionist vision," as it has been calledmany things that were too ugly, either from pression-shape or association, to yield material for the ^view*painter, were yet found, when viewed as partof a scheme of colour sensations on the retina whichthe artist considers emotionally and rhythmically, tolend themselves to new and beautiful harmonies and"ensembles" undreamt of by the earlier formulae.And further, many effects of light that were toohopelessly complicated for painting, considered onthe old light and shade principles (for instance,sunlight through trees in a wood), were found tobe quite paintable, considered as an impression ofvarious colour masses. The early formula couldnever free itself from the object as a solid thing,and had consequently to confine its attention tobeautiful ones. But from the new point of view,form consists of the shape and qualities of massesof colour on the retina ;and what objects happento be the outside cause of these shapes matterslittle to the impressionist. Nothing is ugly whenseen in a beautiful aspect of light, and aspect iswith them everything.This consideration of the visual appearance inthe first place necessitated ^an increased dependenceon the model. As he does not now draw from hismental perceptions the artist has nothing to selectthe material of his picture from until it has existedas a seen thing before him: until he has a visualimpression of it in his mind. With the older pointof view (the representation by a pictorial descrip-61
  • 73. MASS DRAWINGtion, as it were, based on the mental idea of anobject), the model was not so necessary. In thecase of the Impressionist the mental perception isarrived at from the visual impression, and in theolder point of view the visual impression is the resultof the mental perception. Thus it happens that theImpressionist movement has produced chiefly picturesinspired by the actual world of visual phenomenaaround us, the older point of view producing mostof the pictures deriving their inspiration from theglories of the imagination, the mental world in themind of the artist. And although interesting at-tempts are being made to produce imaginative worksfounded on the impressionist point of view of lightand air, the loss of imaginative appeal consequentupon the destruction of contours by scintillation,atmosphere, &c., and the loss of line rhythm it en-tails, have so far prevented the production of anyvery satisfactory results. But undoubtedly there ismuch new material brought to light by this move-ment waiting to be used imaginatively ;and it offersa new field for the selection of expressive qualities.This point of view, although continuing to someextent in the Spanish school, did not come intogeneral recognition until the last century in France.The most extreme exponents of it are the body ofartists who grouped themselves round Claude Monet.This impressionist movement, as the critics havelabelled it, was the result of a fierce determinationto consider nature solely from the visual point ofview, making no concessions to any other associa-tions connected with sight. The result was an en-tirely new vision of nature, startling and repulsiveto eyes unaccustomed to observation from a purelyvisual point of view and used only to seeing the62
  • 74. MASS DRAWING"feel of things," as it were. And the first resultswere naturally rather crude. But a great amount ofnew visual facts were brought to light, particularlythose connected with the painting of sunlight andhalf light effects. Indeed the whole painting ofstrong light has been permanently affected by thework of this group of painters. Emancipated fromthe objective world, they no longer dissected theobject to see what was inside it, but studied ratherthe anatomy of the light refracted from it to theireyes. Finding this to be composed of all the coloursof the rainbow as seen in the solar spectrum, andthat all the effects nature produced are done withdifferent proportions of these colours, they took them,or the nearest pigments they could get to them,for their palette, eliminating the earth colours andblack. And further, finding that natures colours(the rays of coloured light) when mixed produceddifferent results than their corresponding pigmentsmixed together, they determined to use their paintsas pure as possible, placing them one against theother to be mixed as they came to the eye, themixture being one of pure colour rays, not pigments,by this means.But we are here only concerned with the move-ment as it affected form, and must avoid the fascina-ting province of colour.Those who had been brought up in the old schoolof outline form said there was no drawing in theseimpressionist pictures, and from the point of viewof the mental idea of form discussed in the lastchapter, there was indeed little, although, had theimpression been realised to a sufficiently definitefocus, the sense of touch and solidity would probablyhave been satisfied. But the particular field of this63
  • 75. MASS DRAWINGnew point of view, the beauty of tone and colourrelations considered as an impression apart fromobjectivity, did not tempt them to carry their workso far as this, or the insistence on these particularqualities would have been lost.But interesting and alluring as is the new worldof visual music opened up by this point of view,it is beginning to be realised that it has failed some-how to satisfy. In the first place, the implied assump-tion that one sees with the eye alone is wrong :" In every object there is inexhaustible meaning ;the eye seesin it what the eye brings means of seeing,"1and it is the mind behind the eye that supplies thismeans of perception: one sees with the mind. Theultimate effect of any picture, be it impressionist,post, anti, or otherwise is its power to stimulatethese mental perceptions within the mind.But even from the point of view of the true visualperception (if there is such a thing) that modern arthas heard so much talk of, the copying of the retinapicture is not so great a success. The impressioncarried away from a scene that has moved us isnot its complete visual aspect. Only those thingsthat are significant to the felt impression have beenretained by the mind ;and if the picture is to bea true representation of this, the significant factsmust be sorted out from the mass of irrelevant matterand presented in a lively manner. The impres-sionists habit of painting before nature entirelyis not calculated to do this. Going time after timeto the same place, even if similar weather conditionsare waited for, although well enough for studies,is against the production of a fine picture. Every1Goethe, quoted in C&ilyleaJrench Revolution, chap. L64
  • 76. MASS DRAWINGtime the artist goes to the selected spot he receivesa different impression, so that he must either paintall over his picture each time, in which case hiswork must be confined to a small scale and will behurried in execution, or he must paint a bit of to-days impression alongside of yesterdays, in whichcase his work will be dull and lacking in onenessof conception.And further, in decomposing the colour raysthat come to the eye and painting in pure colour,while great addition was made to the power ofexpressing light, yet by destroying the definitionsand enveloping everything in a scintillating atmos-phere, the power to design in a large manner waslost with the wealth of significance that the musicof line can convey.But impressionism has opened up a view fromwhich much interesting matter for art is to begleaned. And everywhere painters are selectingfrom this, and grafting it on to some of the moretraditional schools of design.Our concern here is with the influence this pointof view has had upon draughtsmanship. The influ-ence has been considerable, particularly with thosedraughtsmen whose work deals with the renderingof modern life. It consists in drawing from the ob-servation of the silhouette occupied by objects in thefield of vision, observing the flat appearance ofthings as they are on the retina. This is, of course,the only accurate way in which to observe visualshapes. The difference between this and the olderpoint of view is its insistence on the observation ofthe flat visual impression to the exclusion of thetactile or touch sense that by the association ofideas we have come to expect in things seen. An65 E
  • 77. MASS DRAWINGincreased truth to the character of appearanceshas been the result, with a corresponding loss ofplastic form expression.On pages 66 and 67 a reproduction of a drawingin the British Museum, attributed to Michael Angelo,is contrasted with one in the Louvre by Degas. Theone is drawn from the line point of view and theother from the mass. They both contain lines, butin the one case the lines are the contours of feltforms and in the other the boundaries of visualmasses. In the Michael Angelo the silhouette is onlythe result of the overlapping of rich forms con-sidered in the round. Every muscle and bone hasbeen mentally realised as a concrete thing and thedrawing made as an expression of this idea. Notethe line rhythm also ; the sense of energy and move-ment conveyed by the swinging curves ;and com-pare with what is said later (page 162) about therhythmic significance of swinging curves.Then compare it with the Degas and observe thetotally different attitude of mind in which thisdrawing has been approached. Instead of the out-lines being the result of forms felt as concretethings, the silhouette is everywhere considered first,the plastic sense (nowhere so great as in the other)being arrived at from the accurate consideration ofthe mass shapes.Notice also the increased attention to individualcharacter in the Degas, observe the pathos of thoseunderfed little arms, and the hand holding the tiredankle how individual it all is. What a differenttale this little figure tells from that given beforethe footlights ! See with what sympathy the contourshave been searched for those accents expressive ofall this.66
  • 78. Plate XIISTUDY ATTRIBUTED TO MICHAEL ANGELO (BRITISH MUSEUM)Note the desire to express form as a felt solid thing:, the contours resulting: from the over-lapping forms. The visual appearance is arrived at as a result of giving: expressionto the mental idea of a solid object.
  • 79. Plate XIII Photo LevySTUDY BY DEGAS (LUXEMBOURG)In contrast with Michael Angelos drawing-, note the preoccupation with the silhouette,the spaces occupied by the different masses in the field of vision ; how the appearance ofsolid forms is the result of accurately portraying this visual appearance.
  • 80. MASS DRAWINGHow remote from individual character is theMichael Angelo in contrast with this ! Instead ofan individual he gives us the expression of a glowingmental conception of man as a type of physicalstrength and power.The rhythm is different also, in the one casebeing a line rhythm, and in the other a considera-tion of the flat pattern of shapes or masses with aplay of lost-and-foundness on the edges (see later,pages 192 et seq., variety of edges). It is this feelingfor rhythm in Degass drawing and the sympatheticsearching for and emphasis of those points expressiveof character, that keep it from being the mechanicalperformance which so much concern with scientificvisual accuracy might well have made it, and whichhas made mechanical many of the drawings of Degassfollowers who unintelligently copy his method.67
  • 81. VITHE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONALTHE terms Academic and Conventional are muchused in criticism and greatly feared by the criticised,often without either party appearing to have muchidea of what is meant. New so-called schools ofpainting seem to arrive annually with the springfashions, and sooner or later the one of last yeargets called out of date, if not conventional andacademic. And as students, for fear of having theirwork called by one or other of these dread terms,are inclined to rush into any new extravagance thatcomes along, some inquiry as to their meaning willnot be out of place before we pass on to the chaptersdealing with academic study.It has been the cry for some time that Schoolsof Art turned out only academic students. Andone certainly associates a dead level of respectablemediocrity with much school work. We can callto mind a lot of dull, lifeless, highly-finished work,imperfectly perfect, that has won the prize in many aschool competition. Flaubert says" a form deadens,"and it does seem as if the necessary formality ofa school course had some deadening influence onstudents ;and that there was some important partof the artists development which it has failed torecognise and encourage.The freer system of the French schools has been68
  • 82. THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONALin many cases more successful. But each schoolwas presided over by an artist of distinction, andthis put the students in touch with real work andthus introduced vitality. In England, until quitelately, artists were seldom employed in teaching,which was left to men set aside for the purpose,without any time to carry on original work of theirown. The Royal Academy Schools are an exceptionto this. There the students have the advantage ofteaching from some distinguished member or associ-ate who has charge of the upper school for a monthat a time. But as the visitor is constantly changed,the less experienced students are puzzled by thedifferent methods advocated, and flounder hopelesslyfor want of a definite system to work on ; althoughfor a student already in possession of a good ground-ing there is much to be said for the system, ascontact with the different masters widens theiroutlook.But perhaps the chief mistake in Art Schoolshas been that they have too largely confined them-selves to training students mechanically to observeand portray the thing set before them to copy, anantique figure, a still-life group, a living model sittingas still and lifeless as he can. Now this is all verywell as far as it goes, but the real matter of art isnot necessarily in all this. And if the real matterof art is neglected too long the student may find itdifficult to get in touch with it again.These accurate, painstaking school studies arevery necessary indeed as a training for the eye inobserving accurately, and the hand in reproducingthe appearances of things, because it is through thereproduction of natural appearances and the know-ledge of form and colour derived from such study69
  • 83. that the student will afterwards find the means ofgiving expression to his feelings. But when valuableprizes and scholarships are given for them, and notfor really artistic work, they do tend to become theend instead of the means.It is of course improbable that even school studiesdone with the sole idea of accuracy by a youngartist will in all cases be devoid of artistic feeling ;it will creep in, if he has the artistic instinct. Butit is not enough encouraged, and the prize is gener-ally given to the drawing that is most completeand like the model in a commonplace way. If astudent, moved by a strong feeling for form, letshimself go and does a fine thing, probably onlyremotely like the model to the average eye, theauthorities are puzzled and dont usually know whatto make of it.There are schools where the most artistic quali-ties are encouraged, but they generally neglect theacademic side ; and the student leaves them poorlyequipped for fine work. Surely it would be possibleto make a distinction, giving prizes for academicdrawings which should be as thoroughly accuratein a mechanical way as industry and application canmake them, and also for artistic drawings, in whichthe student should be encouraged to follow his bent,striving for the expression of any qualities thatdelight him, and troubling less about mechanicalaccuracy. The use of drawing as an expression ofsomething felt is so often left until after the schooltraining is done that many students fail to achieveit altogether. And rows of lifeless pictures, madeup of models copied in different attitudes, with studioproperties around them, are the result, and pass forart in many quarters. Such pictures often display70
  • 84. -Plate XIVDRAWING IN RED CHALK BY ERNEST COLEExample of unacademic drawing made in the authors class at the Goldsmiths CollegeSchool of Art.
  • 85. THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONALconsiderable ability, for as Burne-Jones says in oneof his letters, "It is very difficult to paint even abad picture." But had the ability been differentlydirected, the pictures might have been good.It is difficult to explain what is wrong with anacademic drawing, and what is the differencebetween, it and a fine drawing. But perhaps thisdifference can be brought home a little more clearlyif you will pardon a rather fanciful simile. I amtold that if you construct a perfectly fitted enginethe piston fitting the cylinder with absoluteaccuracy and the axles their sockets with no spacebetween, &c. it will not work, but be a lifelessmass of iron. There must be enough play betweenthe vital parts to allow of some movement ;" dither"is, I believe, the Scotch word for it. The pistonmust be allowed some play in the opening of thecylinder through which it passes, or it will notbe able to move and show any life. And the axlesof the wheels in their sockets, and, in fact, allparts of the machine where life and movementare to occur, must have this play, this " dither."It has always seemed to me that the accuratelyfitting engine was like a good academic drawing,in a way a perfect piece of workmanship, butlifeless. Imperfectly perfect, because there wasno room left for the play of life. And to carrythe simile further, if you allow too great a playbetween the parts, so that they fit one over theother too loosely, the engine will lose power andbecome a poor rickety thing. There must be thesmallest amount of play that will allow of itsworking. And the more perfectly made the engine,the less will the amount of this " dither"be.The word " dither"will be a useful name to give71
  • 86. THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONALthat elusive quality, that play on mechanical ac-curacy, existing in all vital art. It is this vitalquality that has not yet received much attention inart training.It is here that the photograph fails, it can onlyat best give mechanical accuracy, whereas artgives the impression of a live, individual conscious-ness. Where the recording instrument is a liveindividual, there is no mechanical standard ofaccuracy possible, as every recording instrumentis a different personality. And it is the subtledifferences in the individual renderings of naturethat are the life-blood of art. The photograph, onaccount of its being chained to mechanical accuracy,has none of this play of life to give it charm. Itonly approaches artistic conditions when it isblurred, vague, and indefinite, as in so-called artisticphotography, for then only can some amount ofthis vitalising play, this " dither"be imagined toexist.It is this perfect accuracy, this lack of play,of variety, that makes the machine-made articleso lifeless. Wherever there is life there is variety,and the substitution of the machine-made for thehand-made article has impoverished the world toa greater extent than we are probably yet awareof. Whereas formerly, before the advent ofmachinery, the commonest article you could pickup had a life and warmth which gave it individualinterest, now everything is turned out to such aperfection of deadness that one is driven to pickup and collect, in sheer desperation, the commonestrubbish still surviving from earlier periods.But to return to our drawings. If the varia-tions from strict accuracy made under the influence72
  • 87. i/Plate XVm)Photo BullozFROM A PENCIL DRAWING BY INGRES
  • 88. THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONALof feeling are too great, the result will be a cari-cature. The variations in a beautiful drawing areso subtle as often to defy detection. The studiesof Ingres are an instance of what I mean. Howtrue and instinct with life are his lines, and howeasily one might assume that they were merelyaccurate. But no merely accurate work wouldhave the impelling quality these drawings possess.If the writer may venture an opinion on so greatan artist, the subtle difference we are talkingabout was sometimes missed by even Ingres him-self, when he transferred his drawings to thecanvas ;and the pictures have in some cases becomeacademic and lifeless. Without the stimulus ofnature before him it was difficult to preserve the"dither" in the drawing, and the life has escaped.This is the great difficulty of working from studies ;it is so easy to lose those little points in yourdrawing that make for vitality of expression, inthe process of copying in cold blood.The fact is : it is only the academic that can betaught. And it is no small thing if this is well donein a school. The qualities that give vitality anddistinction to drawing must be appreciated by thestudent himself, and may often assert themselvesin his drawing without his being aware that he isdoing aught but honestly copying. And if he hastrained himself thoroughly he will not find muchdifficulty when he is moved to vital expression. Allthe master can do is to stand by and encouragewhenever he sees evidence of the real thing. Butthere is undoubtedly this danger of the schoolstudies becoming the end instead of the means.A drawing is not necessarily academic becauseit is thorough, but only because it is dead. Neither73
  • 89. THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONALis a drawing necessarily academic because it is donein what is called a conventional style, any morethan it is good because it is done in an unconven-tional style. The test is whether it has life andconveys genuine feeling.There is much foolish talk about conventionalart, as if art could ever get away from conventions,if it would. The convention will be more naturalor more abstract according to the nature of thething to be conveyed and the medium employedto express it. But naturalism is just as much aconvention as any of the other isms that art haslately been so assailed with. For a really uncon-ventional art there is Madame Tussauds Waxworks.There, even the convention of a frame and flatsurface are done away with, besides the paintedsymbols to represent things. They have realnatural chairs, tables, and floors, real clothes, andeven real hair. Realism everywhere, but no life.And we all know the result. There is more expres-sion of life in a few lines scribbled on paper by agood artist than in all the reality of the popularshow.It would seem that, after a certain point, thenearer your picture approaches the actual illusion ofnatural appearance, the further you are from theexpression of life. One can never hope to surpassthe illusionary appearance of a tableau vivant.There you have real, living people. But what anawful deathlike stillness is felt when the curtainis drawn aside. The nearer you approach the actualin all its completeness, the more evident is the lackof that movement which always accompanies life.You cannot express life by copying laboriously74
  • 90. THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONALnatural appearances. Those things in the appear-ance that convey vital expression and are capableof being translated into the medium he is workingwith, have to be sought by the artist, and thepainted symbols of his picture made accordingly.This lack of the movement of life is never noticedin a good picture, on the other hand the figuresare often felt to move.Pictures are blamed for being conventional whenit is lack of vitality that is the trouble. If theconvention adopted has not been vitalised by theemotion that is the reason of the painting, it will,of course, be a lifeless affair. But however abstractand unnaturalistic the manner adopted, if it hasbeen truly felt by the artist as the right means ofexpressing his emotional idea, it will have life andshould not be called conventional in the commonlyaccepted offensive use of the term.It is only when a painter consciously chooses amanner not his own, which he does not comprehendand is incapable of firing with his own personality,that his picture is ridiculous and conventional in thedead sense.But every age differs in its temperament, andthe artistic conventions of one age seldom fitanother. The artist has to discover a conventionfor himself, one that fits his particular individuality.But this is done simply and naturally not bystarting out with the intention of flouting alltraditional conventions on principle ; nor, on theother hand, by accepting them all on principle,but by simply following his own bent and selectingwhat appeals to him in anything and everythingthat comes within the range of his vision. Theresult is likely to be something very different from75
  • 91. THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONALthe violent exploits in peculiarity that have beenmasquerading as originality lately. Originality ismore concerned with sincerity than with peculiarity.The struggling and fretting after originality thatone sees in modern art is certainly an evidence ofvitality, but one is inclined to doubt whether any-thing really original was ever done in so forced away. The older masters, it seems, were contentsincerely to try and do the best they were capableof doing. And this continual striving to do betterled them almost unconsciously to new and original re-sults. Originality is a quality over which an artist hasas little influence as over the shape and distinction ofhis features. All he can do is to be sincere and try andfind out the things that really move him and thathe really likes. If he has a strong and original char-acter, he will have no difficulty in this, and his workwill be original in the true sense. And if he hasnot, it is a matter of opinion whether he is notbetter employed in working along the lines of somewell-tried manner that will at any rate keep himfrom doing anything really bad, than in strugglingto cloak his own commonplaceness under violentessays in peculiarity and the avoidance of the obviousat all costs.But while speaking against fretting after eccen-tricity, dont let it be assumed that any discourage-ment is being given to genuine new points of view.In art, when a thing has once been well done andhas found embodiment in some complete work ofart, it has been done once for all. The circumstancesthat produced it are never likely to occur again.That is why those painters who continue to repro-duce a picture of theirs (we do not mean literally)that had been a success in the first instance, never76
  • 92. THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONALafterwards obtain the success of the original per-formance. Every beautiful work of art is a newcreation, the result of particular circumstances in thelife of the artist and the time of its production, thathave never existed before and will never recur again.Were any of the great masters of the past alivenow, they would do very different work from whatthey did then, the circumstances being so entirelydifferent. So that should anybody seek to paintlike Titian now, by trying to paint like Titian didin his time, he could not attempt anything moreunlike the spirit of that master ; which in its day,like the spirit of all masters, was most advanced.But it is only by a scrupulously sincere and truthfulattitude of mind that the new and original circum-stances in which we find ourselves can be takenadvantage of for the production of original work.And self-conscious seeking after peculiarity onlystops the natural evolution and produces abortions.But do not be frightened by conventions, thedifferent materials in which the artist works imposetheir conventions. And as it is through thesematerials that he has to find expression, what ex-pressive qualities they possess must be studied, andthose facts in nature selected that are in harmonywith them. The treatment of hair by sculptors isan extreme instance of this. What are those quali-ties of hair that are amenable to expression in stone ?Obviously they are few, and confined chiefly to themass forms in which the hair arranges itself. Thefinest sculptors have never attempted more thanthis, have never lost sight of the fact that it wasstone they were working with, and never made anyattempt to create an illusion of real hair. And in thesame way, when working in bronze, the fine artist77
  • 93. THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONALnever loses sight of the fact that it is bronze withwhich he is working. How sadly the distinguishedpainter to whom a misguided administration en-trusted the wx>rk of modelling the British emblemoverlooked this, may be seen any day in TrafalgarSquare, the lions there possessing none of the splen-dour of bronze but looking as if they were modelledin dough, and possessing in consequence none of thevital qualities of the lion. It is interesting to com-pare them with the little lion Alfred Stevens modelledfor the railing of the British Museum, and to specu-late on what a thrill we might have received everytime we passed Trafalgar Square, had he been en-trusted with the work, as he might have been.And in painting, the great painters never losesight of the fact that it is paint with which theyare expressing themselves. And although paint iscapable of approaching much nearer the actualappearance of nature than stone or bronze, theynever push this to the point where you forget thatit is paint. This has been left for some of thesmaller men.And when it comes to drawing, the great artistshave always confined themselves to the qualitiesin nature that the tool they were drawing withwas capable of expressing, and no others. Whetherworking with pen, pencil, chalk, or charcoal, theyalways created a convention within which unlimitedexpression has been possible.To sum up, academic drawing is all that canbe really taught, and is as necessary to the painteras the practising of exercises is to the musician,that his powers of observation and execution maybe trained. But the vital matter of art is not inall this necessary training. And this fact the student78
  • 94. should always keep in mind, and be ever ready togive rein to those natural enthusiasms which, ifhe is an artist, he will find welling up within him.The danger is that the absorbing interest in hisacademic studies may take up his whole attention,to the neglect of the instinctive qualities that heshould possess the possession of which alone willentitle him to be an artist.79
  • 95. VIITHE STUDY OF DRAWINGWE have seen that there are two extreme pointsof view from which the representation of form canbe approached, that of outline directly related tothe mental idea of form with its touch associa-tion on the one hand, and that of mass connecteddirectly with the visual picture on the retina onthe other.Now, between these two extreme points of viewthere are an infinite variety of styles combiningthem both and leaning more to the one side or theother, as the case may be. But it is advisable forthe student to study both separately, for there aredifferent things to be learnt and different expressivequalities in nature to be studied in both.From the study of outline drawing the eye istrained to accurate observation and learns the ex-pressive value of a line. And the hand is alsotrained to definite statement, the student beingled on by degrees from simple outlines to approachthe full realisation of form in all the complexityof light and shade.But at the same time he should study massdrawing with paint from the purely visual pointof view, in order to be introduced to the importantstudy of tone values and the expression of formby means of planes. And so by degrees he will80
  • 96. THE STUDY OF DRAWINGlearn accurately to observe and portray the tonemasses (their shapes and values) to which all visualappearances can be reduced; and he will graduallyarrive at the full realisation of form a realisationthat will bring him to a point somewhat similarto that arrived at from the opposite point of viewof an outline to which has been added light andshade, &c.But unless both points of view are studied,the students work will be incomplete. If formbe studied only from the outline point of view, andwhat have been called sculptors drawings aloneattempted, the student will lack knowledge of thetone and atmosphere that always envelop formin nature. And also he will be poorly equippedwhen he comes to exchange the pencil for a brushand endeavours to express himself in paint.And if his studies be only from the mass pointof view, the training of his eye to the accurateobservation of all the subtleties of contours andthe construction of form will be neglected. Andhe will not understand the mental form stimulusthat the direction and swing of a brush strokecan give. These and many things connected withexpression can best be studied in line work.Let the student therefore begin on the principlesadopted in most schools, with outline studies ofsimple casts or models, and gradually add lightand shade. When he has acquired more proficiencyhe may approach drawing from the life. This issufficiently well done in the numerous schools ofart that now exist all over the country. But, atthe same time (and this, as far as I know, is notdone anywhere), the student should begin somesimple form of mass drawing in paint, simple exer-81 F
  • 98. .;itPlate XVISTUDY BY KUBENS FROM THE COLLECTION OF CHARLES RICKETTSAND CHARLES SHANNONA splendid example of Rubens love of rich, full forms. Compare with the diagram opposite,and note the flatnesses that give strength to the forms.
  • 99. THE STUDY OF DRAWINGcises, as is explained later in the chapter on MassDrawing, Practical, being at first attempted andcriticised solely from the point of view of tonevalues.From lack of this elementary tone study, thestudent, when he approaches painting for the firsttime, with only his outline and light and shadeknowledge, is entirely at sea. With brushes andpaint he is presented with a problem of formexpressions entirely new. And he usually beginsto flounder about, using his paint as much likechalk on paper as possible. And timid of losinghis outlines, he fears to put down a mass, as hehas no knowledge of reducing appearances to astructure of tone masses or planes.I would suggest, therefore, that the studentshould study simultaneously from these two pointsof view, beginning with their most extreme posi-tions, that is, bare outline on the one side andon the other side tone masses criticised for theiraccuracy of values only in the first instance. Ashe advances, the one study will help the other.The line work will help the accuracy with whichhe observes the shapes of masses, and when hecomes to light and shade his knowledge of tonevalues will help him here. United at last, whencomplete light and shade has been added to hisoutline drawings and to his mass drawing anintimate knowledge of form, the results will ap-proximate and the two paths will meet. But ifthe qualities appertaining to either point of vieware not studied separately, the result is confusionand the "muddling through" method so commonin our schools of art.88
  • 100. VIIILINE DRAWING: PRACTICALSEEING that the first condition of your drawingis that it has to be made on a flat surface, nomatter whether it is to be in line or mass youintend to draw, it is obvious that appearances mustbe reduced to terms of a flat surface before theycan be expressed on paper. And this is the firstdifficulty that confronts the student in attemptingto draw a solid object. He has so acquired thehabit of perceiving the solidity of things, as wasexplained in an earlier chapter, that no littledifficulty will be experienced in accurately seeingthem as a flat picture.As it is only from one point of view that thingsr>* ,* can be drawn, and as we have two eyes,U DBGrving 9solids as a therefore two points of view, the closing ofFlat eye w.u be helpful at firgtThe simplest and most mechanical way of ob-serving things as a flat subject is to have a pieceof cardboard with a rectangular hole cut out of themiddle, and also pieces of cotton threaded throughit in such a manner that they make a pattern ofsquares across the opening, as in the accompanyingsketch. To make such a frame, get a piece of stiffcardboard, about 12 inches by 9 inches, and cut arectangular hole in the centre, 7 inches by 5 inches,as in Diagram III. Now mark off the inches on84
  • 101. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALall sides of the opening, and taking some blackthread, pass it through the point A with a needle(fixing the end at this point with sealing-wax),Diagram IIIA DEVICE FOR ENABLING STUDENTS TO OBSERVEAPPEARANCES AS A FLAT SUBJECTand across the opening to the corresponding pointon the opposite side. Take it along to the nextpoint, as shown by the dotted line, and pass itthrough and across the opening again, and so on,until B is reached, when the thread should be heldby some sealing-wax quite taut everywhere. Dothe same for the other side. This frame should beheld between the eye and the object to be drawn85
  • 102. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL(one eye being closed) in a perfectly vertical position,and with the rectangular sides of the openingvertical and horizontal. The object can then beobserved as a flat copy. The trellis of cotton willgreatly help the student in seeing the subject tobe drawn in two dimensions, and this is the firsttechnical difficulty the young draughtsman hasto overcome. It is useful also in training theeye to see the proportions of different parts oneto another, the squares of equal size giving onea unit of measurement by which all parts can bescaled.Vertical and horizontal lines are also of theutmost importance in that first consideration forsetting out a drawing, namely the fixingPositions of salient points, and getting their relativeFoSSentP sitions- Fig- z on Page 87 wiU illus-trate what is meant. Let ABODE beassumed to be points of some importance in anobject you wish to draw. Unaided, the placingof these points would be a matter of considerabledifficulty. But if you assume a vertical line drawnfrom A, the positions of B, C, D, and B can beobserved in relation to it by noting the height andlength of horizontal lines drawn from them to thisvertical line. This vertical can be drawn by holdinga plumb line at arms length (closing one eye, ofcourse) and bringing it to a position where it willcover the point A on your subject. The positionof the other points on either side of this verticalline can then be observed. Or a knitting-needlecan be held vertically before you at arms length,giving you a line passing through point A. Theadvantage of the needle is that comparative measure-ments can be taken with it.86
  • 104. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALIn measuring comparative distances the needleshould always be held at arms length and the eyekept in one position during the operation ; and,whether held vertically or horizontally, alwayskept in a vertical plane, that is, either straight upand down, or across at right angles to the line ofyour vision. If these things are not carefullyobserved, your comparisons will not be true. Themethod employed is to run the thumb-nail up theneedle until the distance from the point so reachedto the top exactly corresponds with the distance onthe object you wish to measure. Having this care-fully noted on your needle, without moving theposition of your eye, you can move your outstretchedarm and compare it with other distances on theobject. It is never advisable to compare other thanvertical and horizontal measurements. In our dia-gram the points were drawn at random and donot come in any obvious mathematical relationship,and this is the usual circumstance in nature. Butpoint C will be found to be a little above the half,and point D a little less than a third of the way upthe vertical line. How much above the half andless than the third will have to be observed by eyeand a corresponding amount allowed in setting outyour drawing. In the horizontal distances, E willbe found to be one-fourth the distance from X tothe height of C on the right of our vertical line,and C a little more than this distance to the left,while the distance on the right of D is a little lessthan one-fifth of the whole height. The height ofB is so near the top as to be best judged by eye,and its distance to the right is the same as E. Thesemeasurements are never to be taken as absolutelyaccurate, but are a great help to beginners in train-88
  • 105. Plate XVIIDEMONSTRATION DRAWING MADE BEFORE THE STUDENTS OF THEGOLDSMITHS COLLEGE SCHOOL OF ARTIllustrating how different directions of lines can help expression of form.
  • 106. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALing the eye, and are at times useful in every artistswork.It is useful if one can establish a unit of measure-ment, some conspicuous distance that does not varyin the object (if a living model a great many dis-tances will be constantly varying), and with whichall distances can be compared.In setting out a drawing, this fixing of certainsalient points is the first thing for the student todo. The drawing reproduced on page 90 hasbeen made to illustrate the method of procedureit is advisable to adopt in training the eye toaccurate observation. It was felt that a verticalline drawn through the pit of the arm would bethe most useful for taking measurements on, andthis was first drawn and its length decided upon.Train yourself to draw between limits decided uponat the start. This power will be of great use to youwhen you wish to place a figure in an exact positionin a picture. The next thing to do is to get therelative heights of different points marked uponthis line. The fold at the pit of the stomach wasfound to be exactly in the centre. This was a usefulstart, and it is generally advisable to note wherethe half comes first, and very useful if it comes insome obvious place. Other measurements weretaken in the same way as our points ABODEin the diagram on page 87, and horizontal linesdrawn across, and the transverse distances measuredin relation to the heights. I have left these lineson the drawing, and also different parts of itunfinished, so as to show the different stages of thework. These guide lines are done mentally lateron, when the student is more advanced, and withmore accuracy than the clumsy knitting-needle.89
  • 107. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALBut before the habit of having constantly in minda vertical and horizontal line with which to comparepositions is acquired, they should be put in withas much accuracy as measuring can give.The next thing to do is to block out the spacescorresponding to those occupied by the modelBlocking*n ^e field of your vision. The methodin your employed to do this is somewhat similarto that adopted by a surveyor in drawingthe plan of a field. Assuming he had an irregularshaped one, such as is drawn in Fig. X, page 87,he would proceed to invest it with straight lines,taking advantage of any straightness in the bound-ary, noting the length and the angles at whichthese straight lines cut each other, and then re-producing them to scale on his plan. Once havinggot this scaffolding accurately placed, he can drawthe irregularities of the shape in relation tothese lines with some certainty of getting themright.You should proceed in very much the same wayto block out the spaces that the forms of yourdrawing are to occupy. I have produced theseblocking-out lines beyond what was necessary in theaccompanying drawing (page 87), in order to showthem more clearly.There is yet another method of constructionuseful in noting accurately the shape of a curvedline, which is illustrated in Fig. Y, page 87.serve the First of all, fix the positions of the ex-curveBftremities of the line by means of the verticaland horizontal. And also, as this is adouble curve, the point at which the curvaturechanges from one direction to the other: point C.By drawing lines CA, CB and noting the distances90
  • 108. Plate XVIIISTUDY ILLUSTRATING METHOD OF DRAWINGNote the different stages, ist. Centre line and transverse lines for settling positionof salient points, znd. Blocking- in, as shown in further leg. 3rd. Drawing in the formsand shading, as shown in front leg. 4th. Rubbing with fingers (giving a faint middletone over the whole), and picking out high lights with bread, as shown on back and arms.
  • 109. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALyour curves travel from these straight lines, andparticularly the relative position of the farthestpoints reached, their curvature can be accuratelyobserved and copied. In noting the varying curva-ture of forms, this construction should always bein your mind to enable you to observe them accu-rately. First note the points at which the curvaturebegins and ends, and then the distances it travelsfrom a line joining these two points, holding upa pencil or knitting-needle against the model ifneed be.A drawing being blocked out in such a state asthe further leg and foot of our demonstration draw-ing (page 90), it is time to begin the T]iedrawing proper. So far you have only been Drawing, ,, , ., . . proper,pegging out the ground it is going to oc-cupy. This initial scaffolding, so necessary to trainthe eye, should be done as accurately as possible,but dont let it interfere with your freedom in ex-pressing the forms afterwards. The work up tothis point has been mechanical, but it is time toconsider the subject with some feeling for form.Here knowledge of the structure of bones andmuscles that underlie the skin will help you toseize on those things that are significant and expressthe form of the figure. And the student cannot dobetter than study the excellent book by Sir AlfredD. Fripp on this subject, entitled Human Anatomyfor Art Students. Notice particularly the swingof the action, such things as the pull occasioned bythe arm resting on the farther thigh, and theprominence given to the forms by the straining ofthe skin at the shoulder. Also the firm lines ofthe bent back and the crumpled forms of the frontof the body. Notice the overlapping of the con-91
  • 110. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALtours, and where they are accentuated and wheremore lost, &c., drawing with as much feelingand conviction as you are capable of. You willhave for some time to work tentatively, feeling forthe true shapes that you do not yet rightly see, butas soon as you feel any confidence, remember itshould be your aim to express yourself freely andswiftly.There is a tendency in some quarters to dis-courage this blocking in of the forms in straightlines, and certainly it has been harmful to thefreedom of expression in the work of some students.They not only begin the drawing with this me-chanical blocking in, but continue it in the samemechanical fashion, cutting up almost all theircurves into flatnesses, and never once breaking freefrom this scaffolding to indulge in the enjoymentof free line expression. This, of course, is bad, andyet the character of a curved line is hardly to beaccurately studied in any other way than by ob-serving its relation to straight lines. The inclinationand length of straight lines can be observed withcertainty. But a curve has not this definiteness,and is a very unstable thing to set about copyingunaided. Who but the highly skilled draughtsmancould attempt to copy our random shape at Fig.X, page 87, without any guiding straight lines?And even the highly skilled draughtsman woulddraw such straight lines mentally. So that someblocking out of the curved forms, either done practi-cally or in imagination, must be adopted to rightlyobserve any shapes. But do not forget that thisis only a scaffolding, and should always be regardedas such and kicked away as soon as real form ex-pression with any feeling begins.92
  • 111. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALBut it will be some years before the beginnerhas got his eye trained to such accuracy of observa-tion that he can dispense with it.In the case of foreshortenings, the eye, unaidedby this blocking out, is always apt to be led astray.And here the observation of the shape of .r In Block-the background against the object will be ing-inob-of great assistance. The appearance of shape ofthe foreshortened object is so unlike what ^o^Jasyou know it to be as a solid thing, that much as... ,, ,. the Object,it is as well to concentrate the attentionon the background rather than on the form in thisblocking-out process. And in fact, in blocking out anyobject, whether foreshortened or not, the shape of thebackground should be observed as carefully as anyother shape. But in making the drawing proper, theforms must be observed in their inner relations.That is to say, the lines bounding one side of aform must be observed in relation to the linesbounding the other side ;as the true expression ofform, which is the object of drawing, depends on thetrue relationship of these boundaries. The drawingof the two sides should be carried on simultaneously,so that one may constantly compare them.The boundaries of forms with any complexity,such as the human figure, are not continu- Boundous lines. One form overlaps another, like aries athe lines of a range of hills. And this over- overlap-lapping should be sought for and carefullypinff8 -expressed, the outlines being made up of a seriesof overlappings.In Line Drawing shading should only be usedto aid the expression of form. It is not Shading,advisable to aim at representing the true tonevalues.93
  • 112. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALIn direct light it will be observed that a solidobject has some portion of its surface in light,while other portions, those turned away from thelight, are in shadow. Shadows are also cast onthe ground and surrounding objects, called castshadows. The parts of an object reflecting themost direct light are called the high lights. Ifthe object have a shiny surface these lights areclear and distinct ;if a dull surface, soft anddiffused. In the case of a very shiny surface,such as a glazed pot, the light may be reflectedso completely that a picture of the source of light,usually a window, will be seen.In the diagram on page 95, let A represent theplan of a cone, B C the opening of a window,and D the eye of the spectator, and E F G thewall of a room. Light travels in straight linesfrom the window, strikes the surface of the cone,and is reflected to the eye, making the angle ofincidence equal to the angle of reflection, theangle of incidence being that made by the lightstriking an object, and the angle of reflection thatmade by the light in leaving the surface.It will be seen that the lines BID, C 2 D arethe limits of f the direct rays of light that cometo the eye from the cone, and that therefore be-tween points 1 and 2 will be seen the highest light.If the cone have a perfect reflecting surface, suchas a looking-glass has, this would be all the directlight that would be reflected from the cone to theeye. But assuming it to have what is called adull surface, light would be reflected from otherparts also, although not in so great a quantity.If what is called a dull surface is looked at undera microscope it will be found to be quite rough,94
  • 114. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALi.e. made up of many facets which catch light atdifferent angles.Lines B 4, 03 represent the extreme limits oflight that can be received by the cone, and there-fore at points 3 and 4 the shadow will commence.The fact that light is reflected to the eye rightup to the point 3 does not upset the theory thatit can only be reflected from points where theangle of incidence can equal the angle of reflection,as it would seem to do, because the surface beingrough presents facets at different angles, from someof which it can be reflected to the eye right up topoint 3. The number of these facets that can soreflect is naturally greatest near the high lights,and gets gradually less as the surface turns moreaway ; until the point is reached where the shadowsbegin, at which point the surface positively turnsaway from the light and the reflection of directlight ceases altogether. After point 3 there wouldbe no light coming to the eye from the object,were it not that it receives reflected light. Now,the greatest amount of reflected light will comefrom the direction opposite to that of the directlight, as all objects in this direction are stronglylit. The surface of the wall between points E andH, being directly opposite the light, will give mostreflection. And between points 5 and 6 this lightwill be reflected by the cone to the eye in itsgreatest intensity, since at these points the anglesof incidence equal the angles of reflection. Theother parts of the shadow will receive a certainamount of reflected light, lessening in amount oneither side of these points. We have now raysof light coming to the eye from the cone betweenthe extreme points 7 and 8. From 7 to 3 we have
  • 116. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALthe light, including the half tones. Between 1 and2 the high light. Between 3 and 8 the shadowswith the greatest amount of reflected light between5 and 6.I should not have troubled the reader with thistedious diagram were it not that certain facts aboutlight and shade can be learned from it. The firsis that the high lights come much more within theedge of the object than you would have expectedWith the light directly opposite point 7, one mighthave thought the highest light would have comethere, and that is where many students put it, untilthe loss of roundness in the appearance of theirwork makes them look more carefully for its position.So remember always to look out for high lightswithin the contours of forms, not on the edges.The next thing to notice is that the darkest partof the shadow will come nearest the lights betweenpoints 3 and 5. This is the part turned most awayfrom the direction of the greatest amount of re-flected light, and therefore receiving least. Thelightest part of the shadow will be in the middle,rather towards the side away from the light, gener-ally speaking. The shadow cast on the ground willbe dark, like the darkest part of the shadow on thecone, as its surface is also turned away from thechief source of reflected light.Although the artist will very seldom be calledupon to draw a cone, the same principles of lightand shade that are so clearly seen in such a simplefigure obtain throughout the whole of nature. Thisis why the much abused drawing and shading fromwhitened blocks and pots is so useful. Nothing soclearly impresses the general laws of light and shadeas this so-called dull study.97 G
  • 117. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALThis lightening of shadows in the middle by re-flected light and darkening towards their edges isa very important thing to remember, the heavy,smoky look students early work is so prone to,being almost entirely due to their neglect throughignorance of this principle. Nothing is more awfulthan shadows darker in the middle and graduallylighter towards their edges. Of course, where thereis a deep hollow in the shadow parts, as at the arm-pit and the fold at the navel in the drawing onpage 90, you will get a darker tone. But this doesnot contradict the principle that generally shadowsare lighter in the middle and darker towards theedges. Note the luminous quality the observationof this principle gives the shadow on the body ofour demonstration drawing.This is a crude statement of the general principlesof light and shade on a simple round object. In onewith complex surfaces the varieties of light andshade are infinite. But the same principles holdgood. The surfaces turned more to the source oflight receive the greatest amount, and are thelightest. And from these parts the amount of lightlessens through what are called the half tones asthe surface turns more away, until a point is reachedwhere no more direct light is received, and theshadows begin. And in the shadows the same lawapplies : those surfaces turned most towards thesource of reflected light will receive the most, andthe amount received will gradually lessen as thesurface turns away, until at the point immediatelybefore where the half tones begin the amount ofreflected light will be very little, and in consequencethe darkest part of the shadows may be looked for.There may, of course, be other sources of direct98
  • 118. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALlight on the shadow side that will entirely alterand complicate the effect. Or one may draw in awide, diffused light, such as is found in the openair on a grey day ;in which case there will be littleor no shadow, the modelling depending entirely ondegrees of light and half tone.In studying the principles of simple light andshade it is advisable to draw from objects of onelocal colour, such as white casts. In parti-colouredobjects the problem is complicated by the differenttones of the local colour. In line drawing it is aswell to take as little notice as possible of thesevariations which disturb the contemplation of pureform and do not belong to the particular province ofform expression with which we are here concerned.Although one has selected a strong half lightand half shade effect to illustrate the general prin-ciples of light and shade, it is not advisable inmaking line drawings to select such a position. Apoint of view with a fairly wide light at your backis the best. In this position little shadow will beseen, most of the forms being expressed by the playof light and half tone. The contours, as they areturned away from the light, will naturally be darker,and against a light background your subject has anappearance with dark edges that is easily expressedby a line drawing. Strong light and shade effectsshould be left for mass drawing. You seldom seeany shadows in Holbeins drawings ;he seems tohave put his sitters near a wide window, closeagainst which he worked. Select also a backgroundas near the tone of the highest light on the object tobe drawn as possible. This will show up clearly thecontour. In the case of a portrait drawing, a news-paper hung behind the head answers very well and99
  • 119. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALis always easily obtained. The tone of it can bevaried by the distance at which it is placed fromthe head, and by the angle at which it is turned awayfrom or towards the light.Dont burden a line drawing with heavy half tonesand shadows ; keep them light. The beauty that isthe particular province of line drawing is the beautyof contours, and this is marred by heavy light andshade. Great draughtsmen use only just enough toexpress the form, but never to attempt the expres-sion of tone. Think of the half tones as part of thelights and not as part of the shadows.There are many different methods of drawing inline, and a student of any originality will find onethat suits his temperament. But I will try and illus-trate one that is at any rate logical, and that mayserve as a fair type of line drawing generally.The appearance of an object is first consideredas a series of contours, some forming the boundariesof the form against the background, and othersthe boundaries of the subordinate forms withinthese bounding lines. The light and shade anddifferences of local colour (like the lips, eyebrows,and eyes in a head) are considered together astones of varying degrees of lightness and darkness,and suggested by means of lines drawn parallelacross the drawing from left to right, and frombelow upwards, or vice versa, darker and closertogether when depth is wanted, and fainter andfurther apart where delicacy is demanded, and vary-ing in thickness when gradation is needed. This ruleof parallel shading is broken only when stronglymarked forms, such as the swinging lines of hair, aprominent bone or straining muscles, &c., demandit. This parallel shading gives a great beauty of100
  • 120. Plate XXSTUDY FOR THE FIGURE OF LOVE IN THE PICTURE "LOVE LEAVINGPSYCHE "ILLUSTRATING A METHOD OF DRAWINGThe lines of shading: following a convenient parallel direction unless prominentforms demand otherwise.
  • 121. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALsurface and fleshiness to a drawing. The linesfollowing, as it were, the direction of the lightacross the object rather than the form, give aunity that has a great charm. It is more suitedto drawings where extreme delicacy of form is de-sired, and is usually used in silver point work, amedium capable of the utmost refinement.In this method the lines of shading not beingmuch varied in direction or curved at all, a minimumamount of that " form stimulus"is conveyed. Thecurving of the lines in shading adds considerably tothe force of the relief, and suggests much strongermodelling. In the case of foreshortened effects,where the forms are seen at their fullest, archingone over the other, some curvature in the lines ofshading is of considerable advantage in adding tothe foreshortened look. (See illustration, page 96.)Lines drawn down the forms give an appear-ance of great strength and toughness, a tense look.And this quality is very useful in suggesting suchthings as joints and sinews, rocks, hard ground, orgnarled tree-trunks, &c. In figure drawing it is aninteresting quality to use sparingly, with the shad-ing done on the across-the-form principle; and tosuggest a difference of texture or a straining of theform. Lines of shading drawn in every direction,crossing each other and resolving themselves intotone effects, suggest atmosphere and the absenceof surface form. This is more often used in thebackgrounds of pen and ink work and is seldomnecessary in pencil or chalk drawing, as they aremore concerned with form than atmosphere. Penand ink is more often used for elaborate pictorialeffects in illustration work, owing to the ease withwhich it can be reproduced and printed; and it is101
  • 122. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALhere that one often finds this muddled quality ofline spots being used to fill up interstices and makethe tone even.Speaking generally, lines of shading drawn acrossthe forms suggest softness, lines drawn in curvesfulness of form, lines drawn down the forms hard-ness, and lines crossing in all directions so that onlya mystery of tone results, atmosphere. And if thesefour qualities of line be used judiciously, a greatdeal of expressive power is added to your shading.And, as will be explained in the next chapter,somewhat the same principle applies to the directionof the swing of the brush in painting.Shading lines should never be drawn backwardsand forwards from left to right (scribbled), exceptpossibly where a mystery of shadow is wantedand the lines are being crossed in every direction;but never when lines are being used to expressform. They are not sufficiently under control, andalso the little extra thickness that occurs at theturn is a nuisance.The crossing of lines in shading gives a moreopaque look. This is useful to suggest the opaqueappearance of the darker <passage that occurs inthat part of a shadow nearest the lights ;and it issometimes used in the half tones also.Draughtsmen vary very much in their treatmentof hair, and different qualities of hair requiredifferent treatment. The particular beauty of itthat belongs to point drawing is the swing andflow of its lines. These are especially apparent inthe lights. In the shadows the flow of line oftenstops, to be replaced by a mystery of shadow. Sothat a play of swinging lines alternating withshadow passages, drawn like all the other shadows102
  • 123. Plate XXISTUDY IN RED CHALKIllustrating a treatment of hair in line-work.
  • 124. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALwith parallel lines not following the form, is ofteneffective, and suggests the quality of hair in nature.The swinging lines should vary in thickness alongtheir course, getting darker as they pass certainparts, and gradating into lighter lines at other partsaccording to the effect desired. (See illustration,page 102.)To sum up, in the method of line drawing weare trying to explain (the method employed formost of the drawings by the author in this book)the lines of shading are made parallel in a direc-tion that comes easy to the hand, unless somequality in the form suggests their following otherdirections. So that when you are in doubt as towhat direction they should follow, draw them on theparallel principle. This preserves a unity in yourwork, and allows the lines drawn in other directionsfor special reasons to tell expressively.As has already been explained, it is not sufficientin drawing to concentrate the attention on copyingaccurately the visual appearance of anything, im-portant as the faculty of accurate observation is.Form to be expressed must first be appreciated.And here the science of teaching fails. "You cantake a horse to the fountain, but you cannot makehim drink," and in art you can take the studentto the point of view from which things are to beappreciated, but you cannot make him see. How,then, is this appreciation of form to be developed?Simply by feeding. Familiarise yourself with allthe best examples of drawing you can find, tryingto see in nature the same qualities. Study thesplendid drawing by Puvis de Chavannes repro-duced on page 104. Note the way the contours havebeen searched for expressive qualities. Look how103
  • 125. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALthe expressive line of the back of the seated figurehas been "felt," the powerful expression of theupraised arm with its right angle (see later page 155,chapter on line rhythm). And then observe thedifferent types of the two standing figures; thepractical vigour of the one and the soft grace ofthe other, and how their contours have been studiedto express this feeling, &c. There is a mine ofknowledge to be unearthed in this drawing.There never was an age when such an amountof artistic food was at the disposal of students.Cheap means of reproduction have brought thetreasures of the worlds galleries and collections toour very doors in convenient forms for a few pence.The danger is not from starvation, but indigestion.Students are so surfeited with good things thatthey often fail to digest any of them; but rushon from one example to another, taking but snap-shot views of what is offered, until their naturalpowers of appreciation are in a perfect whirlwindof confused ideas. What then is to be done?You cannot avoid the good things that arehurled at you in these days, but when you comeacross anything that strikes you as being a par-ticularly fine thing, feed deeply on it. Hang it upwhere you will see it constantly ;in your bedroom,for instance, where it will entertain your sleeplesshours, if you are unfortunate enough to have any.You will probably like very indifferent drawings atfirst, the pretty, the picturesque and the tricky willpossibly attract before the sublimity of finer things.But be quite honest and feed on the best thatyou genuinely like, and when you have thoroughlydigested and comprehended that, you will weary ofit and long for something better, and so, gradually,104
  • 126. Plate XXII Photo NeurdeinSTUDY FOB DECORATION AT AMIENS "REPOSE"BY PEUVIS DE CHAVANNESNote how the contours are searched for expressive forms, the power given to the seatedfigure by the right angle of the raised arm, and the contrast between the upright vigourof the right-hand figure with the softer lines of the middle one.
  • 127. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALbe led on to appreciate the best you are capableof appreciating.Before closing this chapter there are one or twopoints connected with the drawing of a head thatmight be mentioned, as students are not alwayssufficiently on the look out for them.In our diagram on page 107, let Fig. 1 representa normal eye. At Fig. 2 we have removed the skinand muscles and exposed the two main structuralfeatures in the form of the eye, namely the bonyring of the socket and the globe containing thelenses and retina. Examining this opening, we findfrom A to B that it runs smoothly into the bonyprominence at the top of the nose, and that therest of the edge is sharp, and from point C to Equite free. It is at point A, starting from a littlehole, that the sharp edge begins ;and near thispoint the corner of the eye is situated: A, Figs. 1,2, 3. From points A to F the bony edge of theopening is very near the surface and should belooked for.The next thing to note is the fact that the eye-brow at first follows the upper edge of the bonyopening from B to C, but that from point C itcrosses the free arch between C and D and soonends. So that considering the under side of theeyebrow, whereas from point C towards B thereis usually a cavernous hollow, from C towards Dthere is a prominence. The character of eyes variesgreatly, and this effect is often modified by thefleshy fulness that fills in the space between theeyelid and the brow, but some indication of achange is almost always to be observed at a pointsomewhere about C, and should be looked out for.Any bony prominence from this point towards D105
  • 128. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALshould be carefully constructed. Look out for thebone, therefore, between the points C D and A F.Never forget when painting an eye that whatwe call the white of the eye is part of a sphereand will therefore have the light and shade of asphere. It will seldom be the same tone all over;if the light is coming from the right, it will be inshade towards the left and vice versa. Also theeyelids are bands of flesh placed on this sphericalsurface. They will therefore partake of the model-ling of the sphere and not be the same tone allacross. Note particularly the sudden change of planeusually marked by a fold, where the under eyelidmeets the surface coming from the cheek bone.The neglect to construct these planes of the undereyelid is a very common fault in poorly paintedeyes. Note also where the upper eyelid comesagainst the flesh under the eyebrow (usually astrongly marked fold) and the differences of planesthat occur at this juncture. In some eyes, whenthere is little loose flesh above the eyelid, there isa deep hollow here, the eyelid running up under thebony prominence, C D. This is an important struc-tural line, marking as it does the limit of the sphericalsurface of the eyeball, on which surface the eyelidsare placed.Fig. 4 is a rough diagram of the direction it isusual for the hairs forming the eyebrow to take.From A a few scant hairs start radiating abovethe nose and quite suddenly reach their thickestand strongest growth between B and E. They con-tinue, still following a slightly radiating courseuntil D. These hairs are now met by another lot,starting from above downwards, and growing fromB to C. An eyebrow is considered by the draughts-106
  • 130. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALman as a tone of a certain shape and qualities ofedge. And what interests us here is to note theeffect of this order of growth upon its appearanceas tone. The meeting of the strong growth ofhair upwards with the downward growth betweenpoints B and E creates what is usually the darkestpart of the eyebrow at this point. And the comingtogether of the hairs towards D often makes anotherdark part in this direction. The edge from C toB is nearly always a soft one, the tone meltinginto the flesh, and this should be looked out for,giving as it does a pretty variety to the run of theline. Another thing that tends to make this edgesoft is the fact that a bony prominence is situatedhere and has usually a high light upon it thatcrosses the eyebrow. From C to D you usuallyfind a sharper edge, the hairs running parallel tothe line of the eyebrow, while from D to E andA to B a softer boundary can be looked for. Thechief accent will generally be found at B, where adark mass often comes sharply against the tone ofthe forehead.The eyelashes do not count for much in drawinga head, except in so far as they affect the toneimpression. In the first place they shade the whiteof the eye when the light is above, as is usuallythe case. They are much thicker on the outer thanon the inner side of the eyelids, and have atendency to grow in an outward direction, so thatwhen the light comes from the left, as is shownby arrow, Fig. 5, the white of the eye at A 1will not be much shaded, and the light tone willrun nearly up to the top. But at B 4, which shouldbe the light side of this eye, the thick crop of eye-lashes will shade it somewhat and the light will not108
  • 131. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICALrun far up lin consequence, while B 3, A 2 will bein the shade from the turning away from thedirection of the light of the spherical surface of thewhites of the eyes.These may seem small points to mention, butthe observance of such small points makes a greatdifference to the construction of a head.Fig. 6 gives a series of blocks all exactly alikein outline, with lines showing how the differentactions of the head affect the guide lines on whichthe features hang ; and how these actions can besuggested even when the contours are not varied.These archings over should be carefully looked outfor when the head is in any but a simple full faceposition.109
  • 132. IXMASS DRAWING: PRACTICALTHIS is the form of drawing with which paintingin the oil medium is properly concerned. The dis-tinction between drawing and painting that issometimes made is a wrong one in so far as itconveys any idea of painting being distinct fromdrawing. Painting is drawing (i.e. the expression ofform) with the added complication of colour andtone. And with a brush full of paint as your tool,some form of mass drawing must be adopted. Sothat at the same time that the student is progressingwith line drawing, he should begin to accustomhimself to this other method of seeing, by attempt-ing very simple exercises in drawing with the brush.Most objects can be reduced broadly into threetone masses, the lights (including the high lights),the half tones, and the shadows. And the habit ofreducing things into a simple equation of three tonesas a foundation on which to build complex appear-ances should early be sought for.Here is a simple exercise in mass drawing withthe brush that is, as far as I know, never offered tothe young student. Select a simple object:in Mass some of those casts of fruit hanging up thatDrawing.are common m art schools will do. Placeit in a strong light and shade, preferably by artificiallight, as it is not so subtle, and therefore easier ; the110
  • 133. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALlight coming from either the right or left hand, butnot from in front. Try and arrange it so that thetone of the ground of your cast comes about equalto the half tones in the relief.First draw in the outlines of the masses stronglyin charcoal, noting the shapes of the shadows care-fully, taking great care that you get their shapesblocked out in square lines in true proportion rela-tive to each other, and troubling about little else.Let this be a setting out of the ground upon whichyou will afterwards express the form, rather thana drawing the same scaffolding, in fact, that youwere advised to do in the case of a line drawing,only, in that case, the drawing proper was to bedone with a point, and in this case the draw-ing proper is to be done with a brush full ofpaint. Fix the charcoal well with a spray diffuserand the usual solution of white shellac in spiritsof wine.Taking raw umber and white (oil paint), mix upa tone that you think equal to the half tones of thecast before you. Extreme care should be taken inmatching this tone. Now scumble this with a bigbrush equally over the whole canvas (or whateveryou are making your study on). Dont use muchmedium, but if it is too stiff to go on thinly enough,put a little oil with it, but no turpentine. By scumb-ling is meant rubbing the colour into the canvas,working the brush from side to side rapidly, andlaying just the thinnest solid tone that will cover thesurface. If this is properly done, and your drawingwas well fixed, you will just be able to see it throughthe paint. Now mix up a tone equal to the highestlights on the cast, and map out simply the shapesof the light masses on your study, leaving the111
  • 134. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALscumbled tone for the half tones. Note carefullywhere the light masses come sharply against thehalf tones and where they merge softly into them.You will find that the scumbled tone of yourground will mix with the tone of the lights withwhich you are painting, and darken it somewhat.This will enable you to get the amount of varietyyou want in the tone of the lights. The thickeryou paint the lighter will be the tone, while thethinner paint will be more affected by the originalhalf tone, and will consequently be darker. Whenthis is done, mix up a tone equal to the darkestshadow, and proceed to map out the shadows inthe same way as you did the lights ; noting care-fully where they come sharply against the halftone and where they are lost. In the case of theshadows the thicker you paint the darker will bethe tone ; and the thinner, the lighter.When the lights and shadows have been mappedout, if this has been done with any accuracy, yourwork should be well advanced. And it now remainsto correct and refine it here and there, as you feelit wants it. Place your work alongside the cast,and walk back to correct it. Faults that are notapparent when close, are easily seen at a little dis-tance.I dont suggest that this is the right or onlyway of painting, but I do suggest that exercisesof this description will teach the student many ofthe rudimentary essentials of painting, such elemen-tary things as how to lay a tone, how to managea brush, how to resolve appearances into a simplestructure of tones, and how to manipulate yourpaint so as to express the desired shape. This ele-mentary paint drawing is, as far as I know, never112
  • 135. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALgiven as an exercise, the study of drawing at pre-sent being confined to paper and charcoal or chalkmediums. Drawing in charcoal is the nearest thingto this "paint drawing," it being a sort of mixedmethod, half line and half mass drawing. Butalthough allied to painting, it is a very differentthing from expressing form with paint, and nosubstitute for some elementary exercise with thebrush. The use of charcoal to the neglect of linedrawing often gets the student into a sloppy mannerof work, and is not so good a training to the eyeand hand in clear, definite statement. Its popularityis no doubt due to the fact that you can get mucheffect with little knowledge. Although this paintinginto a middle tone is not by any means the onlymethod of painting, I do feel that it is the bestmethod for studying form expression with thebrush.But, when you come to colour, the fact of theopaque middle tone (or half tone) being first paintedover the whole will spoil the clearness and transpar-ency of your shadows, and may also interfere withthe brilliancy of the colour in the lights. Whencolour comes to be considered it may be necessaryto adopt many expedients that it is as well notto trouble too much about until a further stage isreached. But there is no necessity for the half toneto be painted over the shadows. In working incolour the half tone or middle tone of the lightscan be made, and a middle tone of the shadows, andthese two first painted separately, the edges wherethey come together being carefully studied andfinished. Afterwards the variety of tone in thelights and the shadows can be added. By this meansthe difference in the quality of the colour between118 H
  • 136. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALlights and shadows is preserved. This is an im-portant consideration, as there is generally a strongcontrast between them, the shadows usually beingwarm if the lights are cool and vice versa ;and suchcontrasts greatly affect the vitality of colouring.Try always to do as much as possible with onestroke of the brush ; paint has a vitality whenthe touches are deft, that much handling and con-tinual touching kills. Look carefully at the shapeand variety of the tone you wish to express, andtry and manipulate the swing of your brush insuch a way as to get in one touch as nearthe quality of shape and gradation you want. Re-member that the lightest part of your touch willbe where the brush first touches the canvas whenyou are painting lights into a middle tone; andthat as the amount of paint in the brush getsless, so the tone will be more affected by whatyou are painting into, and get darker. And inpainting the shadows, the darkest part of yourstroke will be where the brush first touches thecanvas ;and it will gradually lighten as the paintin your brush gets less and therefore more affectedby the tone you are painting into. If your brushis very full it will not be influenced nearly somuch. And if one wants a touch that shall bedistinct, as would be the case in painting the shinylight on a glazed pot, a very full brush wouldbe used. But generally speaking, get your effectswith as little paint as possible. Thinner paintis easier to refine and manipulate. There will beno fear of its not being solid if you are paintinginto a solidly scumbled middle tone.Many charming things are to be done with amixture of solid and transparent paint, but it is114
  • 137. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALwell at first not to complicate the problem toomuch, and therefore to leave this until later on,when you are competent to attack problems ofcolour. Keep your early work both in monochromeand colour quite solid, but as thin as you can, re-serving thicker paint for those occasions when youwish to put a touch that shall not be influencedby what you are painting into.It will perhaps be as well to illustrate a few ofthe different brush strokes, and say something aboutthe different qualities of each. These are onlygiven as typical examples of the innumerable waysa brush may be used as an aid to very elementarystudents ; every artist will, of course, develop waysof his own.The touch will of necessity depend in the firstinstance upon the shape of the brush, and theseshapes are innumerable. But there are two classesinto which they can roughly be divided, flat andround. The round brushes usually sold, which wewill call Class A, have rather a sharp point, andthis, although helpful in certain circumstances, isagainst their general usefulness. But a roundbrush with a round point is also made, and this ismuch more convenient for mass drawing. Wherethere is a sharp point the central hairs are muchlonger, and consequently when the brush is drawnalong and pressed so that all the hairs are touch-ing the canvas, the pressure in the centre, wherethe long hairs are situated, is different from thatat the sides. This has the effect of giving a touchthat is not equal in quality all across, and thevariety thus given is difficult to manipulate. Ishould therefore advise the student to try theblunt- ended round brushes first, as they give a115
  • 138. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALmuch more even touch, and one much more suitedto painting in planes of tone.The most extreme flat brushes (Class B) are thinand rather short, with sharp square ends, and havebeen very popular with students. They can berelied upon to give a perfectly flat, even tone, butwith a rather hard sharp edge at the sides, andalso at the commencement of the touch. In fact,they make touches like little square bricks. Butas the variety that can be got out of them islimited, and the amount of paint they can carryso small that only short strokes can be made, theyare not the best brush for general use. They areat times, when great refinement and delicacy arewanted, very useful, but are, on the whole, poortools for the draughtsman in paint. Some varietycan be got by using one or other of their sharpcorners, by which means the smallest possibletouch can be made to begin with, which can beincreased in size as more pressure is brought tobear, until the whole surface of the brush is broughtinto play. They are also often used to paint acrossthe form, a manner illustrated in the second touch,columns 1 and 2 of the illustration on page 117.A more useful brush (Class C) partakes of thequalities of both flat and round. It is made withmuch more hair than the last, is longer, and has asquare top with rounded corners. This brush carriesplenty of paint, will lay an even tone, and, from thefact that the corners are rounded and the pressureconsequently lessened at the sides, does not leave sohard an edge on either side of your stroke.Another brush that has recently come intofashion is called a filbert shape (Class D) by themakers. It is a fine brush to draw with, as being116
  • 139. Plate XXVILLUSTRATING SOME TYPICAL BRUSH STROKES MADE WITHFOUR CLASSES OF BRUSHClass A, round ; Class B, flat ; Class C, full flat brush with rounded corners ;Class D, filbert shape.
  • 140. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALflat it paints in planes, and having a rounded topis capable of getting in and out of a variety ofcontours. They vary in shape, some being morepointed than others. The blunt-ended form is thebest for general use. Either this class of brush orClass C are perhaps the best for the exercises inmass drawing we have been describing. But Class Ashould also be tried, and even Class B, to find outwhich suits the particular individuality of the student.On opposite page a variety of touches have beenmade in turn by these different shaped brushes.In all the strokes illustrated it is assumed thatthe brush is moderately full of paint of a consistencya little thinner than that usually put up by colour-men. To thin it, mix a little turpentine and linseedoil in equal parts with it; and get it into easyworking consistency before beginning your work,so as not to need any medium.In the first column (No. 1), a touch firmly paintedwith an equal pressure all along its course is given.This gives you a plane of tone with firm edges thewidth of your brush, getting gradually darker orlighter as your brush empties, according to thelength of the stroke and to whether you are paintinginto a lighter or darker ground.In column No. 2 a drag touch is illustrated. Thisis a very useful one. The brush is placed firmlyon the canvas and then dragged from the pointlightly away, leaving a gradated tone. A greatdeal of the modelling in round objects is to beexpressed by this variety of handling. The dangeris that its use is apt to lead to a too dexterousmanner of painting ; a dexterity more concernedwith the clever manner in which a thing is paintedthan with the truth expressed.117
  • 141. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALColumn No. 3. This is a stroke lightly andquickly painted, where the brush just grazes thesurface of the canvas. The paint is put on in amanner that is very brilliant, and at the same timeof a soft quality. If the brush is only moderatelyfull, such touches will not have any hard edges,but be of a light, feathery nature. It is a mostuseful manner of putting on paint when freshnessof colour is wanted, as it prevents one tone beingchurned up with another and losing its purity. Andin the painting of hair, where the tones need tobe kept very separate, and at the same time nothard, it is very useful. But in monochrome paintingfrom the cast it is of very little service.Another method of using a brush is hatching,the drawing of rows of parallel lines in either equalor varying thicknesses. This method will lightenor darken a tone in varying degree, according towhether the lines are thick, thin, or gradated some-what in the same way that lines of shading are drawnin line work. In cases where the correction of in-tricate modelling is desired and where it would bevery difficult to alter a part accurately by a deftstroke of the brush, this method is useful to employ.A dry brush can be drawn across the lines to unitethem with the rest of the work afterwards. Thismethod of painting has lately been much used bythose artists who have attempted painting in sepa-rate, pure colours, after the so-called manner ofClaude Monet, although so mechanical a method isseldom used by that master.As your power of drawing increases (from theline drawing you have been doing), casts of handsand heads should be attempted in the same manneras has been described. Illustrations are given of118
  • 142. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALexercises of this description on pages 110 and 122.Unfortunately the photographs, which were takenfrom the same study at different stages during thepainting, are not all alike, the first painting of thelights being too darkly printed in some cases. Butthey show how much can be expressed with theone tone, when variety is got by using the middletone to paint into. The two tones used are notedin the right-hand lower corner.Try to train yourself to do these studies at onesitting. But if you find you cannot manage this,use slower drying colours, say bone brown and zincwhite, which will keep wet until the next day.When you begin studying from the life, proceedin the same way with monochrome studies paintedinto a middle tone.And what are you to do if you find, when youhave finished, that it is all wrong ? I should adviseyou to let it dry, and then scumble a middle toneright over the whole thing, as you did at first, whichwill show the old work through, and you can thencorrect your drawing and proceed to paint the lightsand shadows as before. And if only a part of it iswrong, when it is quite dry rub a little poppy oilthinned with turpentine over the work, as little aswill serve to cover the surface. If it is found difficultto get it to cover, breathe on the canvas, the slightestmoisture will help it to bite. When this is done, wipeit off with the palm of your hand or an old pieceof clean linen. Now paint a middle tone right overthe part you wish to retouch, being careful aboutjoining it up to the surrounding work, and proceedas before, drawing in the light and shadow masses.This form of drawing you will probably find moredifficult at first. For the reason already explained119
  • 143. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALit seems natural to observe objects as made up ofoutlines, not masses. The frame with cottons acrossit should be used to flatten the appearance, as inmaking outline drawings. And besides this a blackglass should be used. This can easily be made bygetting a small piece of glass a photographic nega-tive will do and sticking some black paper on theback ; turning it over the front to keep the rawedges of the glass from cutting the fingers. Or theglass can be painted on the back with black paint.Standing with your back to the object and your paint-ing, hold this glass close in front of one of your eyes(the other being closed), so that you can see bothyour painting and the object. Seeing the tones thusreduced and simplified, you will be enabled moreeasily to correct your work.I should like to emphasise the importance ofthe setting-out work necessary for brush-drawing.While it is not necessary to put expressive work intothis preparatory work, the utmost care should betaken to ensure its accuracy as far as it goes. It isa great nuisance if, after you have put up some ofyour fair structure, you find the foundations are inthe wrong place and the whole thing has to betorn down and shifted. It is of the utmost necessityto have the proportions and the main masses settledat this early stage, and every device of blocking outwith square lines and measuring with your knitting-needle, &c., should be adopted to ensure the accuracyof these large proportions. The variations and em-phases that feeling may dictate can be done in thepainting stage. This initial stage is not really adrawing at all, but a species of mapping out, and assuch it should be regarded. The only excuse formaking the elaborate preparatory drawings on120
  • 144. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALcanvas students sometimes do, is that it enables themto learn the subject, so that when they come to paintit, they already know something about it. But thedanger of making these preparatory drawings inter-esting is that the student fears to cover them up andlose an outline so carefully and lovingly wrought;and this always results in a poor painting. Whenyou take up a brush to express yourself, it must bewith no fear of hurting a careful drawing. Yourdrawing is going to be done with the brush, and onlythe general setting out of the masses will be of anyuse to you in the work of this initial stage. Neverpaint with the poor spirit of the student who fearsto lose his drawing, or you will never do any finethings in painting. Drawing (expressing form) isthe thing you should be doing all the time. And inart," he that would save his work must often loseit," if you will excuse the paraphrase of a profoundsaying which, like most profound sayings, is appli-cable to many things in life besides what it originallyreferred to. It is often necessary when a paintingis nearly right to destroy the whole thing in orderto accomplish the apparently little that still dividesit from what you conceive it should be. It is like aman rushing a hill that is just beyond the power ofhis motor-car to climb, he must take a long run atit. And if the first attempt lands him nearly up atthe top but not quite, he has to go back and take thelong run all over again, to give him the impetus thatshall carry him right through.Another method of judging tone drawing is ourold method of half closing the eyes. This, bylowering the tone and widening the focus, enablesyou to correct the work more easily.In tone drawing there is not only the shape of121
  • 145. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALthe masses to be considered, but their values thatis, their position in an imagined scale from darkto light. The relation of the different tones in thisway the values, as it is called is an extremelyimportant matter in painting. But it more properlybelongs to the other department of the subject,namely Colour, and this needs a volume to itself.But something more will be said on this subjectwhen treating of Rhythm.We saw, in speaking of line drawing, how thecharacter of a line was found by observing its flat-nesses and its relation to straight lines. In thesame way the character of modelling is found byobserving its planes. So that in building up a com-plicated piece of form, like a head or figure, theplanes (or flat tones) should be sought for every-where. As a carver in stone blocks out his workin square surfaces, the modelling of a figure or anycomplex surface that is being studied should be setout in planes of tone, painting in the first instancethe larger ones, and then, to these, adding thesmaller ;when it will be seen that the roundnesseshave, with a little fusing of edges here and there,been arrived at. Good modelling is full of theseplanes subtly fused together. Nothing is socharacteristic of bad modelling as "gross round-nesses." The surface of a sphere is the surface withthe least character, like the curve of a circle, andthe one most to be avoided in good modelling.In the search for form the knowledge of anatomy,and particularly the bony structures, is of the utmostimportance. During the rage for realism andnaturalism many hard things were said about thestudy of anatomy. And certainly, were it to beused to overstep the modesty of nature in these122
  • 146. Plate XXVISET OF FOUR PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SAME STUDY FROM THE LIFEIN DIFFERENT STAGESNo. i. Blocking; out the spaces occupied by different masses in charcoal.
  • 147. -IPlate XXVIISET OF FOUR PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SAME STUDY FROM THE LIFEIN DIFFERENT STAGESNo. ?. A middle tone having been scrambled over the whole, the lights are paintedinto it ; variety being got by varying the thickness of the paint. The darks are dueto the charcoal lines of initial drawing showing through middle tone
  • 148. Plate XXVIIISET OF FOUR PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SAME STUDY FROM THE LIFEIN DIFFERENT STAGESNo. 3. The same as the last, but with the shadows added; variety being gotby varying thickness of paint as before.
  • 150. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALrespects and to be paraded to the exclusion of thecharm and character of life, it would be as wellleft alone. But if we are to make a drawing thatshall express something concrete, we must knowsomething of its structure, whatever it is. In thecase of the human figure it is impossible properlyto understand its action and draw it in a way thatshall give a powerful impression without a know-ledge of the mechanics of its construction. But Ihardly think the case for anatomy needs muchstating at the present time. Never let anatomicalknowledge tempt you into exaggerated statementsof internal structure, unless such exaggerationhelps the particular thing you wish to express. Indrawing a figure in violent action it might, forinstance, be essential to the drawing, whereas indrawing a figure at rest or a portrait, it wouldcertainly be out of place.In the chapter on line work it was stated that:"Lines of shading drawn across the forms sug-gest softness, lines drawn in curves fulness ofform, lines drawn down the forms hardness, andlines crossing in every direction atmosphere," andthese rules apply equally well to the direction ofthe brush strokes (the brush work) in a painting.The brush swinging round the forms suggests fore-shortening, and fulness of form generally, and acrossthe forms softness, while the brush following downthe forms suggests toughness and hardness, and cross-ing in every direction atmosphere. A great deal ofadded force can be given to form expression in thisway. In the foreshortened figure on the ground atthe left of Tintorettos "Finding of the Body of St.Mark," the foreshortened effect helped by the brushwork swinging round can be seen (see illustration,123
  • 151. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALpage 236). The work of Henner in France is anextreme instance of the quality of softness andfleshiness got by painting across the form. Thelook of toughness and hardness given by the brushwork following down the forms is well illustratedin much of the work of James Ward, the animalpainter. In his picture in the National Gallery," Harlech Castle," No. 1158, this can be seen in thepainting of the tree-trunks, &c.The crossing of the brush work in every direction,giving a look of atmosphere, is naturally often usedin painting backgrounds and also such things as theplane surfaces of sky and mist, &c.It is often inconvenient to paint across the formwhen softness is wanted. It is only possible tohave one colour in your brush sweep, and the colourchanges across, much more than down the formas a rule. For the shadows, half tones and lights,besides varying in tone, vary also in colour ;so thatit is not always possible to sweep across them withone colour. It is usually more convenient to paintdown where the colours can be laid in overlappingbands of shadow, half tone and light, &c. Neverthe-less, if this particular look of softness and fleshinessis desired, either the painting must be so thin orthe tones so fused together that no brush strokesshow, or a dry flat brush must afterwards be drawnlightly across when the painting is done, to destroythe downward brush strokes and substitute othersgoing across, great care being taken to drag onlyfrom light to dark, and to wipe the brush carefullyafter each touch ; and also never to go over thesame place twice, or the paint will lose vitality.This is a method much employed by artists whodelight in this particular quality.124
  • 152. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALBut when a strong, tough look is desired, suchas one sees when a muscle is in violent action, orin the tendon above the wrist or above the heel inthe leg, or generally where a bone comes to thesurface, in all these cases the brush work shouldfollow down the forms. It is not necessary and isoften inadvisable for the brush work to show at all,in which case these principles will be of little ac-count. But when in vigorously painted work theydo, I think it will generally be found to create theeffects named.Drawing on toned paper with white chalk orChinese white and black or red chalk is anotherform of mass drawing. And for studies it isintended to paint from, this is a quick and excellentmanner. The rapidity with which the facts of anappearance can be noted makes it above all othersthe method for drapery studies. The lights aredrawn with white, the toned paper being allowedto show through where a darker tone is needed,the white (either chalk or Chinese white) beingput on thickly when a bright light is wanted andthinly where a quieter light is needed. So with theshadows, the chalk is put on heavily in the darksand less heavily in the lighter shadows. Since thedays of the early Italians this has been a favouritemethod of drawing drapery studies (see illustrations,page 260).Some artists have shaded their lights with goldand silver paint. The late Sir Edward Burne-Joneswas very fond of this, and drawings with muchdecorative charm have been done this way. Theprinciple is the same as in drawing with white chalk,the half tone being given by the paper.Keep the lights separate from the shadows, let125
  • 153. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICALthe half tone paper always come as a buffer statebetween them. Get as much information into thedrawing of your lights and shadows as possible ;dont be satisfied with a smudge effect. Use theside of your white chalk when you want . mass,or work in parallel lines (hatching) on the priiicipledescribed in the chapter on line drawing.1S6
  • 154. XRHYTHMTHE subject of Rhythm in what are called the FineArts is so vague, and has received so little attention,that some courage, or perhaps foolhardiness, isneeded to attack it. And in offering the followingfragmentary ideas that have been stumbled on inmy own limited practice, I want them to be acceptedonly for what they are worth, as I do not knowof any proper authority for them. But they mayserve as a stimulus, and offer some lines on whichthe student can pursue the subject for himself.The word rhythm is here used to signify thepower possessed by lines, tones, and colours, by theirordering and arrangement, to affect us, somewhatas different notes and combinations of sound do inmusic. And just as in music, where sounds affect uswithout having any direct relation with nature, butappeal directly to our own inner life ; so in painting,sculpture, and architecture there is a music thatappeals directly to us apart from any significance thatmay be associated with the representation of naturalphenomena. There is, as it were, an abstract musicof line, tone, and colour.The danger of the naturalistic movement inpainting in the nineteenth century has been thatit has turned our attention away from this funda-mental fact of art to the contemplation of interest-127
  • 155. RHYTHMing realisations of appearances realisations oftenfull of poetic suggestiveness due to associations con-nected with the objects painted as concrete things,but not always made directly significant as artisticexpression; whereas it is the business of the artistto relate the form, colour, and tone of natural appear-ances to this abstract musical quality, with which heshould never lose touch even in the most highly realiseddetail of his work. For only thus, when related torhythm, do the form, tone, and colour of appear-ances obtain their full expressive power and becomea means of vitally conveying the feeling of theartist.Inquiry as to the origin of this power and ofrhythm generally is a profoundly interesting subject ;and now that recent advances in science tend toshow that sound, heat, light, and possibly electricityand even nerve force are but different rhythmicforms of energy, and that matter itself may pos-sibly be resolved eventually into different rhythmicmotions, it does look as if rhythm may yet befound to contain even the secret of life itself. Atany rate it is very intimately associated with life ;and primitive man early began to give expressionin some form of architecture, sculpture, or paintingto the deeper feelings that were moving him ; foundsome correspondence between the lines and coloursof architecture, sculpture, and painting and the emo-tional life that was awakening within him. Thus,looking back at the remains of their work thathave come down to us, we are enabled to judge ofthe nature of the people from the expression wefind in hewn stone and on painted walls.It is in primitive art generally that we see moreclearly the direct emotional significance of line and128
  • 156. RHYTHMform. Art appears to have developed from itsmost abstract position, to which bit by bit have beenadded the truths and graces of natural appearance,until as much of this naturalistic truth has beenadded as the abstract significance at the base ofthe expression could stand without loss of power.At this point, as has already been explained, aschool is at the height of its development. Thework after this usually shows an increased concernwith naturalistic truth, which is always very popular,to the gradual exclusion of the backbone of abstractline and form significance that dominated the earlierwork. And when these primitive conditions are losttouch with, a decadence sets in. At least, this isroughly the theory to which a study of the twogreat art developments of the past, in Greece andItaly, would seem to point.And this theory is the excuse for all the attemptsat primitivism of which we have lately seen somuch. Art having lost touch with its primitive baseowing to the over-doses of naturalism it has had, wemust, these new apostles say, find a new primitivebase on which to build the new structure of art. Thetheory has its attractions, but there is this differ-ence between the primitive archaic Greek or earlyItalian and the modern primitive ; the early menreverently clothed the abstract idea they startedwith in the most natural and beautiful form withintheir knowledge, ever seeking to discover new truthsand graces from nature to enrich their work ; whilethe modern artist, with the art treasures of allperiods of the world before him, can never be inthe position of these simple-minded men. It istherefore unlikely that the future development ofart will be on lines similar to that of the past.129 I
  • 157. RHYTHMThe same conditions of simple ignorance are neverlikely to occur again. Means of communication andprolific reproduction make it very unlikely that theart of the world will again be lost for a season,as was Greek art in the Middle Ages. Interestingintellectually as is the theory that the impressionistpoint of view (the accepting of the flat retina pictureas a pattern of colour sensations) offers a new fieldfrom which to select material for a new basis ofartistic expression, so far the evidence of resultshas not shown anything likely seriously to threatenthe established principles of traditional design. Andanything more different in spirit from the genuineprimitive than the irreverent anarchy and floutingof all refinement in the work of some of these newprimitives, it would be difficult to imagine. Butmuch of the work of the movement has undoubtedartistic vitality, and in its insistence on design andselection should do much to kill" realism"and the"copying nature"theory of a few years back.Although it is perfectly true that the feelingsand ideas that impel the artist may sooner or laterfind their own expression, there are a great manyprinciples connected with the arranging of lines,tones, and colours in his picture that it is difficultto transgress without calamity. At any rate theknowledge of some of them will aid the artist ingaining experience, and possibly save him someneedless fumbling.But dont for one moment think that anythingin the nature of rules is going to take the place ofthe initial artistic impulse which must come fromwithin. This is not a matter for teaching, arttraining being only concerned with perfecting themeans of its expression.130
  • 158. Plate XXXA STUDY FOR A PICTURE OF"ROSALIND AND ORLANDOSos. " He calls us back ; my pride fell with my fortunes."
  • 159. RHYTHMIt is proposed to treat the subject from thematerial side of line and tone only, without anyreference to subject matter, with the idea of tryingto find out something about the expressive qualitiesline and tone are capable of yielding unassociatedwith visual things. What use can be made of anysuch knowledge to give expression to the emotionallife of the artist is not our concern, and is obviouslya matter for the individual to decide for himself.There is at the basis of every picture a structureof lines and masses. They may not be very obvious,and may be hidden under the most broken oftechniques, but they will always be found under-lying the planning of any painting. Some maysay that the lines are only the boundaries of themasses, and others that the masses are only thespaces between the lines. But whichever way youcare to look at it, there are particular emotionalqualities analogous to music that affect us in linesand line arrangements and also in tone or massarrangements. And any power a picture may haveto move us will be largely due to the rhythmicsignificance of this original planning. These quali-ties, as has already been stated, affect us quiteapart from any association they may have withnatural things :arrangements of mere geometricallines are sufficient to suggest them. But of courseother associations connected with the objects repre-sented will largely augment the impression, whenthe line and tone arrangements and the sentimentof the object are in sympathy. And if they are not,it may happen that associations connected with therepresentation will cut in and obscure or entirelydestroy this line and tone music. That is to say,131
  • 160. RHYTHMif the line and tone arrangement in the abstractis expressive of the sublime, and the objects whoserepresentation they support something ridiculous,say a donkey braying, the associations arousedby so ridiculous an appearance will override thoseconnected with the line and tone arrangement.But it is remarkable how seldom this occurs innature, the sentiment of the line and tone arrange-ments things present being usually in harmonywith the sentiment of the object itself. As a matterof fact, the line effect of a donkey in repose ismuch more sublime than when he is braying.There are two qualities that may be allowedto divide the consideration of this subject, twopoints of view from which the subjectvariety-"1can ^e approached: Unity and Variety,qualities somewhat opposed to each other,as are harmony and contrast in the realm of colour.Unity is concerned with the relationship of all theparts to that oneness of conception that shouldcontrol every detail of a work of art. All the moreprofound qualities, the deeper emotional notes, areon this side of the subject. On the other hand,variety holds the secrets of charm, vitality, andthe picturesque, it is the "dither," the play betweenthe larger parts, that makes for life and character.Without variety there can be no life.In any conception of a perfect unity, like theperfected life of the Buddhist, Nirvana or Nibbana(literally "dying out" or "extinction" as of an ex-piring fire), there is no room for variety, for the playof life ;all such fretfulness ceases, to be replaced byan all-pervading calm, beautiful, if you like, butlifeless. There is this deadness about any concep-tion of perfection that will always make it an un-132
  • 161. RHYTHMattainable ideal in life. Those who, like the Indianfakir or the hermits of the Middle Ages, have stakedtheir all on this ideal of perfection, have found itnecessary to suppress life in every way possible, thefakirs often remaining motionless for long periodsat a time, and one of the mediaeval saints goingso far as to live on the top of a high column wherelife and movement were well-nigh impossible.And in art it is the same ;all those who haveaimed at an absolute perfection have usually endedin a deadness. The Greeks knew better than manyof their imitators this vital necessity in art. Intheir most ideal work there is always that varietythat gives character and life. No formula or canonof proportions or other mechanical device for theattainment of perfection was allowed by this vitalpeople entirely to subdue their love of life andvariety. And however near they might go towardsa perfect type in their ideal heads and figures, theynever went so far as to kill the individual in thetype. It is the lack of this subtle distinction that,I think, has been the cause of the failure of so muchart founded on so-called Greek ideals. Much Romansculpture, if you except their portrait busts, illus-trates this. Compared with Greek work it lacksthat subtle variety in the modelling that givesvitality. The difference can be felt instinctivelyin the merest fragment of a broken figure. It is notdifficult to tell Greek from Roman fragments, theypulsate with a life that it is impossible to describebut that one instinctively feels. And this vitality de-pends, I think it will be found, on the greater amountof life-giving variety in the surfaces of the modelling.In their architectural mouldings, the difference ofwhich we are speaking can be more easily traced.133
  • 162. RHYTHMThe rivacity and brilliancy of a Greek mouldingmakes a Roman work look heavy and dull. And itwill generally be found that the Romans used thecurve of the circle in the sections of their mould-ings, a curve possessing the least amount of variety,as is explained later, where the Greeks used the linesof conic sections, curves possessed of the greatestamount of variety.But while unity must never exist without thislife-giving variety, variety must always be underthe moral control of unity, or it will get out ofhand and become extravagant. In fact, the mostperfect work, like the most perfect engine of whichwe spoke in a former chapter, has the least amountof variety, as the engine has the least amount of"dither," that is compatible with life. One does nothear so much talk in these days about a perfecttype as was the fashion at one time ;and certainlythe pursuit of this ideal by a process of selecting thebest features from many models and constructing acomposite figure out of them, was productive ofvery dead and lifeless work. No account was takenof the variety from a common type necessary inthe most perfect work, if life and individual in-terest are not to be lost, and the thing is not tobecome a dead abstraction. But the danger is ratherthe other way at the moment. Artists revel in theoddest of individual forms, and the type idea is floutedon all hands. An anarchy of individualism is uponus, and the vitality of disordered variety is morefashionable than the calm beauty of an ordered unity.Excess of variations from a common type iswhat I think we recognise as ugliness in the objec-tive world, whereas beauty is on the side of unityand conformity to type. Beauty possesses both184
  • 163. RHYTHMvariety and unity, and is never extreme, erringrather on the side of unity.Burke in his essay on " The Sublime and theBeautiful" would seem to use the word beautifulwhere we should use the word pretty, placing it atthe opposite pole from the sublime, whereas I thinkbeauty always has some elements of the sublime init, while the merely pretty has not. Mere pretti-ness is a little difficult to place, it does not comebetween either of our extremes, possessing littlecharacter or type, variety or unity. It is perhapscharm without either of these strengthening associ-ates, and in consequence is always feeble, and thefavourite diet of weak artistic digestions.The sculpture of ancient Egypt is an instance ofgreat unity in conception, and the suppression ofvariety to a point at which life scarcely exists. Thelines of the Egyptian figures are simple and long, thesurfaces smooth and unvaried, no action is allowedto give variety to the pose, the placing of one foot alittle in front of the other being alone permitted inthe standing figures ; the arms, when not hangingstraight down the sides, are flexed stiffly at the elbowat right angles ;the heads stare straight before them.The expression of sublimity is complete, and this was,of course, what was aimed at. But how cold andterrible is the lack of that play and variety thatalone show life. What a relief it is, at the BritishMuseum, to go into the Elgin Marble room and bewarmed by the noble life pulsating in the Greekwork, after visiting the cold Egyptian rooms.In what we call a perfect face it is not so muchthe perfect regularity of shape and balance in thefeatures that charms us, not the things that belongto an ideal type, but rather the subtle variations13.*
  • 164. from this type that are individual to the particularhead we are admiring. A perfect type of head, ifsuch could exist, might excite our wonder, but wouldleave us cold. But it can never exist in life; theslightest movement of the features, which mustalways accompany life and expression, will mar it.And the influence of these habitual movements onthe form of the features themselves will invariablymould them into individual shapes away from theso-called perfect type, whatever may have beennatures intention in the first instance.If we call these variations from a common typein the features imperfections, as it is usual to do,it would seem to be the imperfections of perfectionthat charm and stir us ;and that perfection withoutthese so-called imperfections is a cold, dead abstrac-tion, devoid of life : that unity without variety islifeless and incapable of touching us.On the other hand, variety without unity togovern it is a riotous exuberance of life, lacking allpower and restraint and wasting itself in a madnessof excess.So that in art a balance has to be struck betweenthese two opposing qualities. In good work unityis the dominating quality, all the variety being donein conformity to some large idea of the whole, whichis never lost sight of, even in the smallest detail ofthe work. Good style in art has been defined as"variety in unity," and Hogarths definition ofcomposition as the art of "varying well"is similar.And I am not sure that "contrasts in harmony"would not be a suggestive definition of good colour.Let us consider first variety and unity as theyare related to line drawing, and afterwards to massdrawing.136
  • 165. CHAPTER XIRHYTHM : VARIETY OF LINELINE rhythm or music depends on the shape of yourlines, their relation to each other and their re-lation to the boundaries of your panel. In allgood work this music of line is in harmony withthe subject (the artistic intention) of your pictureor drawing.The two lines with the least variation are aperfectly straight line and a circle. A perfectlystraight line has obviously no variety at all, whilea circle, by curving at exactly the same ratio allalong, has no variation of curvature, it is of allcurves the one with the least possible variety.These two lines are, therefore, two of the dullest,and are seldom used in pictures except to enhancethe beauty and variety of others. And even then,subtle variations, some amount of play, is intro-duced to relieve their baldness. But used in thisway, vertical and horizontal lines are of the utmostvalue in rectangular pictures, uniting the com-position to its bounding lines by their parallel re-lationship with them. And further, as a contrastto the richness and beauty of curves they areof great value, and are constantly used for thispurpose. The group of mouldings cutting againstthe head in a portrait, or the lines of a columnused to accentuate the curved forms of a face or137
  • 166. VARIETY OF LINEfigure, are well-known instances ;and the portraitpainter is always on the look out for an objectin his background that will give him such straightlines. You may notice, too, how the lines drawnacross a study in order to copy it (squaring it out,as it is called) improve the look of a drawing,giving a greater beauty to the variety of thecurves by contrast with the variety lacking straightlines.The perfect curve of the circle should alwaysbe avoided in the drawing of natural objects (evena full moon), and in vital drawings of any sortsome variety should always be looked for. Neithershould the modelling of the sphere ever occur inyour work, the dullest of all curved surfaces.Although the curve of the perfect circle is dullfrom its lack of variety, it is not without beauty,and this is due to its perfect unity. It is of allcurves the most perfect example of static unity.Without the excitement of the slightest variationit goes on and on for ever. This is, no doubt, thereason why it was early chosen as a symbol ofEternity, and certainly no more perfect symbolcould be found.The circle seen in perspective assumes the morebeautiful curve of the ellipse, a curve having muchvariety ; but as its four quarters are alike, notso much as a symmetrical figure can have.Perhaps the most beautiful symmetrically curvedfigure of all is the so-called egg of the well-knownmoulding from such a temple as the Erechtheum,called the egg and dart moulding. Here we havea perfect balance between variety and unity. Thecurvature is varied to an infinite degree, at nopoint is its curving at the same ratio as at any138
  • 167. VARIETY OF LINEother point; perhaps the maximum amount ofvariety that can be got in a symmetrical figure,preserving, as it does, its almost perfect continuity,for it approaches the circle in the even flow of itscurvature. This is, roughly, the line of the contourDiagram VIIEGG AND DART MOULDING FROM ONE OF THECARYATIDES FROM THE ERECHTHEUM IN THEBRITISH MUSEUMof a face, and you may note how much painterswho have excelled in grace have insisted on itin their portraits. Gainsborough and Vandyke arestriking instances.The line of a profile is often one of great beauty,only here the variety is apt to overbalance theunity or run of the line. The most beautiful profiles139
  • 168. VARIETY OF LINEare usually those in which variety is subordinated tothe unity of the contour. I fancy the Greeks feltthis when they did away with the hollow abovethe nose, making the line of the forehead run,Diagram VIIIILLUSTRATING VARIETY IN SYMMETRYNote how the hollows marked A are opposed by fullnesses marked B.with but little interruption, to the tip of the nose.The unity of line is increased, and the varietymade more interesting. The idea that this wasthe common Greek type is, I should imagine, un-true, for their portrait statues do not show it.140
  • 169. VARIETY OF LINEIt does occur in nature at rare intervals, and inmost Western nationalities, but I do not thinkthere is much evidence of its ever having been acommon type anywhere.In drawing or painting a profile this run or unityof the line is the thing to feel, if you would expressits particular beauty. This is best done in the caseof a painting by finally drawing it with the brushfrom the background side, after having painted allthe variety there is of tone and colour on the faceside of the line. As the background usually varieslittle, the swing of the brush is not hampered onthis side as it is on the other. I have seen studentsworried to distraction trying to paint the profileline from the face side, fearing to lose the drawingby going over the edge. With the edge blurredout from the face side, it is easy to come with abrush full of the colour the background is immedi-ately against the face (a different colour usuallyfrom what it is further away), and draw it withsome decision and conviction, care being taken tonote all the variations on the edge, where the sharp-nesses come and where the edge is more lost, &c.The contours of the limbs illustrate another formof line variety what may be called "Variety inSymmetry." While roughly speaking theVariety inlimbs are symmetrical, each side not only sym-has variety in itself, but there is usuallyvariety of opposition. Supposing there is a convexcurve on the one side, you will often have a concaveform on the other. Always look out for this indrawing limbs, and it will often improve a poorlydrawn part if more of this variation on symmetryis discovered.The whole body, you may say, is symmetrical,141
  • 171. VARIETY OF LINEbut even here natural conditions make for variety.The body is seldom, except in soldiering, held in asymmetrical position. The slightest action producesthe variety we are speaking about. The accompany-ing sketches will indicate what is meant.Of course the student, if he has any naturalability, instinctively looks out for all these variationsthat give the play of life to his drawing. It is notfor him in the full vigour of inspiration that bookssuch as this are written. But there may come atime when things" wont come," and it is then thatit is useful to know where to look for possible weakspots in your work.A line of equal thickness is a very dead and in-expressive thing compared with one varied andstressed at certain points. If you observeany of the boundaries in nature we use a Thicknessline to express, you will notice some pointsand AC-are accentuated, attract the attention, morethan others. The only means you have to expressthis in a line drawing is by darkening and sharpen-ing the line. At other points, where the contouris almost lost, the line can be soft and blurred.It is impossible to write of the infinite qualitiesof variety that a fine draughtsman will get intohis line work ; they must be studied at first hand.But on this play of thickness and quality of linemuch of the vitality of your drawing will depend.143
  • 172. XIIRHYTHM: UNITY OF LINEUNITY of line is a bigger quality than variety, andas it requires a larger mental grasp, is more rarelymet with. The bigger things in drawing and designcome under its consideration, including, as it does,the relation of the parts to the whole. Its properconsideration would take us into the whole field ofComposition, a subject needing far more considera-tion than can be given to it in this book.In almost all compositions a rhythmic flow oflines can be traced. Not necessarily a flow of actuallines (although these often exist) ; they may be onlyimaginary lines linking up or massing certain parts,and bringing them into conformity with the rhythmicconception of the whole. Or again, only a certainstress and flow in the forms, suggesting line move-ments. But these line movements flowing throughyour panel are of the utmost importance ; they arelike the melodies and subjects of a musical sym-phony, weaving through and linking up the wholecomposition.Often, the line of a contour at one part of apicture is picked up again by the contour of someobject at another part of the composition, andalthough no actual line connects them, a unity isthus set up between them. (See diagrams, pages166 and 168, illustrating line compositions of pictures144
  • 173. UNITY OF LINEby Botticelli and Paolo Veronese). This imaginaryfollowing through of contours across spaces in acomposition should always be looked out for andsought after, as nothing serves to unite a picturelike this relationship of remote parts. The flow ofthese lines will depend on the nature of the subject :they will be more gracious and easy, or morevigorous and powerful, according to the demandsof your subject.This linking up of the contours applies equallywell to the drawing of a single figure or even ahead or hand, and the student should always beon the look out for this uniting quality. It is aquality of great importance in giving unity to acomposition.When groups of lines in a picture occur parallelto each other they produce an accentuation of theparticular quality the line may contain, asort of sustained effect, like a sustainedchord on an organ, the effect of which ismuch bigger than that of the same chord struckstaccato. This sustained quality has a wonderfulinfluence in steadying and uniting your work.This parallelism can only be used successfully withthe simplest lines, such as a straight line or a simplecurve; it is never advisable except in decorativepatterns to be used with complicated shapes. Blakeis very fond of the sustained effect parallelismgives, and uses the repetition of curved and straightlines very often in his compositions. Note in Plate Iof the Job series, page 146, the use made of this sus-taining quality in the parallelism of the sheeps backsin the background and the parallel upward flow ofthe lines of the figures. In Plate II you see it usedin the curved lines of the figures on either side of145 K
  • 174. UNITY OF LINEthe throne above, and in the two angels with thescroll at the left-hand corner. Behind these twofigures you again have its use accentuating byrepetition the peaceful line of the backs of thesheep. The same thing can be seen in Plate IV,where the parallelism of the back lines of thesheep and the legs of the seated figures gives alook of peace contrasting with the violence of themessenger come to tell of the destruction of Jobssons. The emphasis that parallelism gives to themusic of particular lines is well illustrated in allBlakes work. He is a mine of information on thesubject of line rhythm. Compare Plate I withPlate XXI ; note how the emotional quality is de-pendent in both cases on the parallelism of theupward flow of the lines. How also in Plate I hehas carried the vertical feeling even into the sheepin the front, introducing little bands of verticalshading to carry through the vertical lines madeby the kneeling figures. And in the last plate,"So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job morethan the beginning," note how the greater com-pleteness with which the parallelism has been carriedout has given a much greater emphasis to the effect,expressing a greater exaltation and peace than inPlate I. Notice in Plate X, where "The just, up-right man is laughed to scorn," how this powerof emphasis is used to increase the look of scornhurled at Job by the pointing fingers of his threefriends.Of the use of this principle in curved forms,the repetition of the line of the back in stoopingfigures is a favourite device with Blake. Therewill be found instances of this in Plates II andXVIII. (Further instances will be found on reference146
  • 175. UNITY OF LINEto Plates VII, VIII, XIII, and XVIII, in Blakes Job.)In the last instance it is interesting to note how hehas balanced the composition, which has three figureskneeling on the right and only one on the left. Bylosing the outline of the third figure on the right andgetting a double line out of the single figure on theleft by means of the outline of the mass of hair, andalso by shading this single figure more strongly, hehas contrived to keep a perfect balance. The headof Job is also turned to the left, while he standsslightly on that side, still further balancing the threefigures on the right. (This does not show so well inthe illustration here reproduced as in the originalprint.)Some rude things were said above about thestraight line and the circle, on account of theirlack of variety, and it is true that a mathematicallystraight line, or a mathematically perfect circle,are never found in good artistic drawing. Forwithout variety is no charm or life. But theselines possess other qualities, due to their maximumamount of unity, that give them great power in acomposition ;and where the expression of sublimityor any of the deeper and more profound sentimentsare in evidence, they are often to be found.The rows of columns in a Greek temple, theclusters of vertical lines in a Gothic cathedral in-terior, are instances of the sublimity and powerthey possess. The necessary play that makes forvitality the " dither"as we called this quality ina former chapter is given in the case of the Greektemple by the subtle curving of the lines of columnsand steps, and by the rich variety of the sculpture,and in the case of the Gothic cathedral by a roughercutting of the stone blocks and the variety in the147
  • 176. UNITY OF LINEcolour of the stone. But generally speaking, inGothic architecture this particular quality of "dither"or the play of life in all the parts is conspicuous,the balance being on the side of variety rather thanunity. The individual workman was given a largeamount of freedom and allowed to exercise his per-sonal fancy. The capitals of columns, the cuspingof windows, and the ornaments were seldom re-peated, but varied according to the taste of thecraftsman. Very high finish was seldom attempted,the marks of the chisel often being left showing inthe stonework. All this gave a warmth and exuber-ance of life to a fine Gothic building that makes aclassical building look cold by comparison. The free-dom with which new parts were built on to a Gothicbuilding is another proof of the fact that it is notin the conception of the unity of the whole thattheir chief charm consists.On the other hand, a fine classic building is theresult of one large conception to which every parthas rigorously to conform. Any addition to thisin after years is usually disastrous. A high finish isalways attempted, no tool marks nor any individual-ity of the craftsman is allowed to mar the perfectsymmetry of the whole. It may be colder, but howperfect in sublimity ! The balance here is on theside of unity rather than variety.The strength and sublimity of Norman archi-tecture is due to the use of circular curves in thearches, combined with straight lines and the useof square forms in the ornaments lines possessedof least variety.All objects with which one associates the lookof strength will be found to have straight lines intheir composition. The look of strength in a strong148
  • 177. (Plate II, Blakes Job)When the Almighty was yet with me, whenmy children were about me.(Plate XVIII, Blakes Job)And my servant Job shall pray for you.Plate XXXII(Plate XI, Blakes Job)With dreams upon my bed Thou scarestme, and affrightest me with visions.Printed the wrong way up in order to show that the lookof horror is not solely dependent on the things represented,hut belongs to the rhythm, the pattern of the composition.(Plate XIV, Blakes Job)When the morning stars sang together,and all the sons of God shouted for joy.
  • 178. UNITY OF LINEman is due to the square lines of the contours, sodifferent from the rounded forms of a fat man. Andeveryone knows the look of mental power a squareforehead gives to a head and the look of physicalpower expressed by a square jaw. The look ofpower in a rocky landscape or range of hills is dueto the same cause.The horizontal and the vertical are two very im-portant lines, the horizontal being associated withcalm and contemplation and the vertical witha feeling of elevation. As was said above, zontaiandtheir relation to the sides of the composition* Verti-to which they are parallel in rectangular pic-tures is of great importance in uniting the subjectto its bounding lines and giving it a well-knit look,conveying a feeling of great stability to a picture.How impressive and suggestive of contemplationis the long line of the horizon on a calm day at sea,or the long horizon line of a desert plain ! Thelack of variety, with all the energy and vitality thataccompany it, gives one a sense of peace and rest,a touch of infinity that no other lines can convey.The horizontal lines which the breeze makes onstill water, and which the sky often assumes atsunset, affect us from the same harmonic cause.The pine and the cypress are typical instancesof the sublime associated with the vertical in nature.Even a factory chimney rising above a distanttown, in spite of its unpleasant associations, is im-pressive, not to speak of the beautiful spires of someof our Gothic cathedrals, pointing upwards. Howwell Constable has used the vertical sublimity ofthe spire of Salisbury Cathedral can be seen in hispicture, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, wherehe has contrasted it with the gay tracery of an arch149
  • 179. UNITY OF LINEof elm trees. Gothic cathedrals generally dependmuch on this vertical feeling of line for their im-pressiveness.The Romans knew the expressive power of thevertical when they set up a lonely column as amonument to some great deed or person. And asense of this sublimity may be an unconscious ex-planation of the craze for putting towers and obeliskson high places that one comes across in differentparts of the country, usually called someones"folly."In the accompanying diagrams, A, B, C and D, E,F, pages 152 and 153, are examples of the influenceto be associated with horizontal and vertical lines.A is nothing but six straight lines drawn acrossa rectangular shape, and yet I think they conveysomething of the contemplative and peaceful sensegiven by a sunset over the sea on a calm evening.And this is entirely due to the expressive powerstraight lines possess, and the feelings they have thepower to call up in the mind. In B a little moreincident and variety has been introduced, andalthough there is a certain loss of calm, it is not yetenough to destroy the impression. The line suggest-ing a figure is vertical and so plays up to the samecalm feeling as the horizontal lines. The circulardisc of the sun has the same static quality, being thecurve most devoid of variety. It is the lines of theclouds that give some excitement, but they are onlyenough to suggest the dying energy of departingday.Now let us but bend the figure in a slight curve,as at C, and destroy its vertical direction, partlycover the disc of the sun so as to destroy the com-plete circle, and all this is immediately altered, our150
  • 180. UNITY OF LINEcalm evening has become a windy one, our lines nowbeing expressive of some energy.To take a similar instance with vertical lines. LetD represent a row of pine trees in a wide plain.Such lines convey a sense of exaltation and infinitecalm. Now if some foliage is introduced, as at E,giving a swinging line, and if this swinging line iscarried on by a corresponding one in the sky, wehave introduced some life and variety. If we entirelydestroy the vertical feeling and bend our trees, as atF, the expression of much energy will be the re-sult, and a feeling of the stress and struggle of theelements introduced where there was perfect calm.It is the aloofness of straight lines from all thefuss and flurry of variety that gives them this calm,infinite expression. And their value as a steadyinginfluence among the more exuberant forms of a com-position is very great. The Venetians knew thisand made great use of straight lines among the richerforms they so delighted in.It is interesting to note how Giorgione in his "FeteChampetre"of the Louvre (see illustration, page 151),went out of his way to get a straight line to steadyhis picture and contrast with the curves. Not want-ing it in the landscape, he has boldly made the con-tour of the seated female figure conform to a rigidstraight line, accentuated still further by the flutein her hand. If it were not for this and otherstraight lines in the picture, and a certain square-ness of drawing in the draperies, the richness of thetrees in the background, the full forms of the fleshand drapery would be too much, and the effect be-come sickly, if not positively sweet. Van Dyck,also, used to go out of his way to introduce a hardstraight line near the head in his portraits for151
  • 183. UNITY OF LINEthe same reason, often ending abruptly, without anyapparent reason, a dark background in a hard line,and showing a distant landscape beyond in order toget a light mass to accentuate the straight line.The rich modelling and swinging lines of the"Bacchus and Ariadne" of Titian in the NationalGallery, reproduced on the opposite page, would betoo gross, were it not for the steadying influence ofthe horizontal lines in the sky and the vertical linesof the tree-trunks.While speaking of this picture, it might not beout of place to mention an idea that occurred tome as to the reason for the somewhat aggressivestanding leg of the female figure with the cymbalsleading the procession of revellers. I will notattempt any analysis of this composition, which isably gone into in another book of this series. Butthe standing leg of this figure, given such promi-nence in the composition, has always rather puzzledme. I knew Titian would not have given it thatvigorous stand without a good reason. It certainlydoes not help the run of the composition, althoughit may be useful in steadying it, and it is not aparticularly beautiful thing in itself, as the positionis one better suited to a mans leg than to a womans.But if you cover it over with your finger and lookat the composition without it, I think the reasonof its prominence becomes plainer. Titian evidentlyhad some trouble, as well he might have, with theforward leg of the Bacchus. He wished to give thelook of his stepping from the car lightly treading theair, as gods may be permitted to do. But the wheelof the car that comes behind the foot made itdifficult to evade the idea that he was stepping onit, which would be the way an ordinary mortal154
  • 184. UNITY OF LINEwould alight. I think the duty of the aggressivestanding leg of the leading Bacchante, with itsgreat look of weight, is to give a look of lightnessto this forward leg of Bacchus, by contrast whichit certainly does. On examining the picture closelyin a good light, you will see that he has had the footof Bacchus in several positions before he got it right.Another foot can distinctly be seen about a coupleof inches or so above the present one. The generalvertical direction of this leg is also against its lookof lightness and motion, tending rather to give ita stationary, static look. I could not at first seewhy he did not bring the foot further to the right,which would have aided the lightness of the figureand increased its movement. But you will observethat this would have hurled the whole weight ofthe mass of figures on the right, forward on to thesingle figure of Ariadne, and upset the balance ;asyou can see by covering this leg with your finger andimagining it swinging to the right. So that Titian,having to retain the vertical position for Bacchusforward leg, used the aggressive standing leg of thecymbal lady to accentuate its spring and lightness.A feeling of straight-up-ness in a figure or of thehorizontal plane in anything will produce the sameeffect as a vertical or horizontal line without anyactual line being visible. Blakes "Morning Stars Sing-ing Together"is an instance of the vertical chord, al-though there is no actual upright line in the figures.But they all have a vigorous straight-up-ness thatgives them the feeling of peace and elevation coupledwith a flame-like line running through them thatgives them their joyous energy. (See page 148.)The combination of the vertical with the hori-zontal produces one of the strongest and most arrest-155
  • 185. UNITY OF LINEing chords that you can make, and it will be foundto exist in most pictures and drawings wherethere is the expression of dramatic power.The cross is the typical example of this.It is a combination of lines that instantlyrivets the attention, and has probablya more powerful effect upon the mindquite apart from anything symbolisedby it than any other simple combina-tions that could have been devised. Howpowerful is the effect of a vertical figure,or even a post, seen cutting the longhorizontal line of the horizon on thesea-shore. Or a telegraph post by theside of the road, seen against the longhorizontal line of a hill at sunset. Thelook of power given by the vertical linesof a contracted brow is due to the samecause. The vertical furrows of thebrow continuing the lines of the nose,make a continuous vertical which thehorizontal lines of the brow cross (seeFig. A in the illustration). The samecause gives the profile a powerful lookwhen the eyebrows make a horizontalline contrasting with the vertical lineof the forehead (Fig. B). Everybodyknows the look of power associatedwith a square brow : it is not that thesquare forehead gives the look of a larger braincapacity, for if the forehead protrudes in a curvedline, as at C, the look of power is lost, althoughthere is obviously more room for brains.This power of the right angle is well exemplifiedin Watts "Love and Death," here reproduced, page 158,156Diagram XII
  • 186. UNITY OF LINEIn this noble composition, in the writers opinionone of the most sublime expressions produced bynineteenth-century art, the irresistible power andmajesty of the slowly advancing figure of Deathis largely due to the right angle felt through thepose. Not getting it in the contour, Watts hasboldly introduced it by means of shading the fartherarm and insisting on the light upper edge of theoutstretched arm and hand, while losing somewhatthe outline of the head beyond. Note also thelook of power the insistence on square forms inthe drapery gives this figure. The expression isstill further emphasised by the hard square formsof the steps, and particularly by the strong hori-zontal line of the first step, so insisted on, at rightangles to the vertical stand of the figure ;and alsothe upright lines of the doorway above. In con-trast with the awful sublimity of this figure ofDeath, how touching is the expression of the littlefigure of Love, trying vainly to stop the inevitableadvance. And this expression is due to the curvedlines on which the action of the figure is hung,and the soft undulating forms of its modelling.Whereas the figure of Death is all square lines andflat crisp planes, the whole hanging on a dramaticright angle ;this figure is all subtle fullness bothof contour and modelling melting one into the other,the whole hung upon a rich full curve starting atthe standing foot of the advancing figure. Andwhereas the expression of Death is supported andemphasised by the hard, square forms and textureof the stone steps, the expression of Love is sup-ported and emphasised by the rounded forms andsoft texture of the clustering roses. On this con-trast of line and form, so in sympathy with the157
  • 188. Plate XXXV Photo HollyerLOVE AND DEATH. BY G. F. WATTSA noble composition, founded on the power of the right angle in the figure of Death, incontrast with the curved lines in the figure of Love. (See diagram opposite.)
  • 189. UNITY OF LINEprofound sentiment to which this picture owes itsorigin, the expressive power of this compositionwill be found to depend.In the diagram accompanying the reproductionof this picture I have tried to indicate in diagram-matical form some of the chief lines of its anatomy.In these diagrams of the anatomy of composi-tions the lines selected are not always very obviousin the originals and are justly much broken intoby truths of natural appearance. But an emotionalsignificance depending on some arrangement ofabstract lines is to be found underlying the ex-pression in every good picture, carefully hiddenas it is by all great artists. And although someapology is perhaps necessary for the ugliness ofthese diagrams, it is an ugliness that attends allanatomy drawings. If the student will trace themand put his tracing over the reproductions of theoriginals, they will help him to see on what thingsin the arrangement the rhythmic force of thepicture depends.Other lines, as important as those selected, mayhave been overlooked, but the ones chosen willsuffice to show the general character of them all.There is one condition in a composition, that islaid down before you begin, and that is the shapeof your panel or canvas. This is usually a rectan-gular form, and all the lines of your design willhave to be considered in relation to this shape.Vertical and horizontal lines being parallel to theboundaries of rectangular pictures, are always rightand immediately set up a relationship, as we have seen.The arresting power of the right angle existsat each corner of a rectangular picture, where the159
  • 190. UNITY OF LINEvertical sides meet the horizontal base, and thispresents a difficulty, because you do not wish thespectators attention drawn to the corners, and thisdramatic combination of lines always attracts theeye. A favourite way of getting rid of this is tofill them with some dark mass, or with linesswinging round and carrying the eye past them,so that the attention is continually swung to thecentre of the picture. For lines have a power ofdirecting the attention, the eye instinctively run-ning with them, and this power is of the greatestservice in directing the spectator to the principalinterest.It is this trouble with the corners that makesthe problem of filling a square so exacting. Inan ordinary rectangular panel you have a certainamount of free space in the middle, and the diffi-culty of filling the corners comfortably does notpresent itself until this space is arranged for. Butin a square, the moment you leave the centre youare in one or other of the corners, and the fillingof them governs the problem much more than inthe case of other shapes. It is a good exercise forstudents to give themselves a square to fill, inorder to understand this difficulty and learn toovercome it.Other lines that possess a direct relation to arectangular shape are the diagonals. Many com-positions that do not hang on a vertical or hori-zontal basis are built on this line, and are thusrelated to the bounding shape.When vertical, horizontal, or diagonal lines arereferred to, it must not be assumed that one meansin all cases naked lines. There is no pure verticalline in a stone pine or cypress tree, nor pure hori-160
  • 191. UNITY OF LINEzontal line in a stretch of country, but the wholeswing of their lines is vertical or horizontal. Andin the same way, when one speaks of a compositionbeing hung upon a diagonal, it is seldom that anaked diagonal line exists in the composition, butthe general swing is across the panel in harmonywith one or other diagonal. And when this is so,there is a unity set up between the design and itsboundaries. A good instance of vertical, horizontal,and diagonal lines to unite a picture is Velazquezs"The Surrender of Breda," here reproduced. Notethe vertical chord in the spears on the left, con-tinued in the leg of the horse and front leg of thefigure receiving the key, and the horizontal linemade by the dark mass of distant city, to be con-tinued by the gun carried over the shoulder of thefigure with the slouch hat behind the principalgroup. Velazquez has gone out of his way to getthis line, as it could hardly have been the fashionto carry a gun in this position, pointing straightat the head of the man behind. Horizontal linesalso occur in the sky and distant landscape, onerunning right through the group of spears. Theuse of the diagonal is another remarkable thing inthe lines of this picture. If you place a ruler onthe slanting line of the flag behind the horses headto the right, you find it is exactly parallel to adiagonal drawn from the top right-hand corner tothe lower left-hand corner. Another line practi-cally parallel to this diagonal is the line of thesword belonging to the figure offering the key,the feeling of which is continued in the hand andkey of this same figure. It may be noted also thatthe back right leg of the horse in the front isparallel to the other diagonal, the under side of it161 L
  • 192. UNITY OF LINEbeing actually on the diagonal and thus broughtinto relation with the bounding lines of the picture.And all these lines, without the artifice being tooapparent, give that well-knit, dignified look so inharmony with the nature of the subject.Curved lines have not the moral integrity ofstraight lines. Theirs is not so much to ministerto the expression of the sublime as toSnes6dwoo us to the beauteous joys of the senses.They hold the secrets of charm. But with-out the steadying power of straight lines and flat-nesses, curves get out of hand and lose their power.In architecture the rococo style is an example ofthis excess. While all expressions of exuberantlife and energy, of charm and grace depend oncurved lines for their effect, yet in their most re-fined and beautiful expression they err on the sideof the square forms rather than the circle. Whenthe uncontrolled use of curves approaching thecircle and volute are indulged in, unrestrained bythe steadying influence of any straight lines, theeffect is gross. The finest curves are full of re-straint, and excessive curvature is a thing to beavoided in good drawing. We recognise this in-tegrity of straight lines when we say anybody is"an upright man" or is "quite straight," wishingto convey the impression of moral worth.Rubens was a painter who gloried in the un-restrained expression of the zeal to live and drinkdeeply of life, and glorious as much of his workis, and wonderful as it all is, the excessive use ofcurves and rounded forms in his later work robsit of much of its power and offends us by its gross-ness. His best work is full of squarer drawing andplanes.162
  • 193. UNITY OF LINEAlways be on the look out for straightnesses incurved forms and for planes in your modelling.Let us take our simplest form of compositionagain, a stretch of sea and sky, and apply curvedlines where we formerly had straight lines. You willsee how the lines at A, page 164, although but slightlycurved, express some energy, where the straightlines of our former diagram expressed repose, andthen how in B and C the increasing curvature ofthe lines increases the energy expressed, until inD, where the lines sweep round in one vigorousswirl, a perfect hurricane is expressed. This last, isroughly the rhythmic basis of Turners " HannibalCrossing the Alps"in the Turner Gallery.One of the simplest and most graceful forms thetying lines of a composition may take is a con-tinuous flow, one line evolving out of another ingraceful sequence, thus leading the eye on fromone part to another and carrying the attention tothe principal interests.Two good instances of this arrangement are Botti-cellis" Birth of Venus"and the "Rape of Europa,"by Paolo Veronese, reproduced on pages 166 and 168.The Venetian picture does not depend so much onthe clarity of its line basis as the Florentine. Andit is interesting to note how much nearer to thecurves of the circle the lines of Europa approachthan do those of the Venus picture. Were thesame primitive treatment applied to the laterwork painted in the oil medium as has been usedby Botticelli in his tempera picture, the robustnessof the curves would have offended and been toogross for the simple formula ;whereas overlaid andhidden under such a rich abundance of naturaltruth as it is in this gorgeous picture, we are too163
  • 195. LINES TO CONVEY ENERGYDiagram XIV (2)165
  • 196. 166
  • 197. UNITY OF LINEmuch distracted and entertained by such wealth tohave time to dwell on the purity of the line arrange-ment at its base. And the rich fullness of line ar-rangement, although rather excessive, seen detached,is in keeping with the sumptuous luxuriance theVenetian loved so well to express. But for pureline beauty the greater restraint of the curves inBotticellis picture is infinitely more satisfying,though here we have not anything like the samewealth and richness of natural appearance to engageour attention, and the innocent simplicity of thetechnique leaves much more exposed the structureof lines, which in consequence play a greater partin the effect of the picture.In both cases note the way the lines lead up tothe principal subject, and the steadying power in-troduced by means of horizontal, vertical, and otherstraight lines. Veronese has contented himself withkeeping a certain horizontal feeling in the sky, cul-minating in the straight lines of the horizon andof the sea edge. And he has also introduced twopyramids, giving straight lines in among the trees,the most pronounced of which leads the eye straighton to the principal head.Botticelli has first the long line of the horizonechoed in the ground at the right-hand lowercorner. And then he has made a determined standagainst the flow of lines carrying you out of thepicture on the right, by putting straight, uprighttrees and insisting upon their straightness.Another rhythmic form the lines at the basisof a composition may take is a flame-like flow oflines ; curved lines meeting and parting and meetingagain, or even crossing in one continual movementonwards. A striking instance of the use of this167
  • 198. UNITY OF LINE168
  • 199. UNITY OF LINEquality is the work of the remarkable Spanishpainter usually called El Greco, two of whose worksare here shown (page 172). Whatever may besaid by the academically minded as to the in-correctness of his drawing, there can be no twoopinions as to the remarkable rhythmic vitality ofhis work. The upward flow of his lines and theflame-like flicker of his light masses thrills one inmuch the same way as watching a flaring fire.There is something exalting and stimulating in it,although, used to excess as he sometimes uses it,it is apt to suffer from lack of repose. Two examplesof his pictures are reproduced here, and illustratehis use of this form of movement in the lines andmasses of his compositions. Nowhere does he letthe eye rest, but keeps the same flickering movementgoing throughout all his masses and edges. Theextraordinary thing about this remarkable painteris that while this restless, unrestrained form ofcomposition makes his work akin to the rococo workof a later period, there is a fiery earnestness andsincerity in all he does, only to be matched amongthe primitive painters of the fourteenth and fifteenthcenturies, and very different from the false sentimentof the later school.Blake was also fond of this flame line, but usuallyused it in combination with more straight linesthan the energetic Spaniard allowed himself. PlatesIII and V in the Job series are good examplesof his use of this form. In both cases it will beseen that he uses it in combination with the steady-ing influence of straight lines, which help to keepthe balance and repose necessary in the treatmentof even the most violent subjects in art.A continual interruption in the flow of Hues, and169
  • 200. 170
  • 201. 02 3
  • 202. UNITY OF LINEa harsh jarring of one against another in an angular,jagged fashion, produces a feeling of terror andhorror. A streak of fork lightning is a naturalexample of this. The plate of Blakes No. XI, p. 148,reproduced here, is also a good example. I have hadit put sideways on so that you may see that the lookof horror is not only in the subject but belongs tothe particular music of line in the picture. Theeffect of the harsh contrasts in the lines is furtheradded to by the harsh contrasts of tone :everywherehard lights are brought up against hard darks.Harsh contrasts of tone produce much the samelook of terror as harsh contrasts of line. Battlepictures are usually, when good, full of these clashesof line and tone, and thrilling dramatic effects inwhich a touch of horror enters are usually foundedon the same principle. In the picture by PaoloUccello in the National Gallery, reproduced on page170, a milder edition of this effect is seen. The artisthas been more interested in the pageantry of warand a desire to show off his newly-acquired know-ledge of perspective, than anything very terrible.The contrasts of line are here but confined to thesmaller parts, and there are no contrasts of lightand shade, chiaroscuro not being yet invented.However, it will be seen by the accompanying dia-gram how consistently the harsh contrasts of linewere carried out in the planning of this picture.Notice the unconscious humour of the foreshortenedspears and figure carefully arranged on the groundto vanish to the recently discovered vanishing point.Lines radiating in smooth curves from a commoncentre are another form employed to give unity inpictorial design. The point from which they radiate171
  • 203. UNITY OF LINEneed not necessarily be within the picture, and isoften considerably outside it. But the feeling thatthey would meet if produced gives them a unitythat brings them into harmonious relationship.There is also another point about radiating lines,and that is their power of setting up a relationshipbetween lines otherwise unrelated. Let us try andexplain this. In Panel A, page 174, some lines aredrawn at random, with the idea of their being aslittle related to each other as possible. In B, bythe introduction of radiating lines in sympathy witjithem, they have been brought into some sort ofrelationship. The line 1-2 has been selected as thedominating line, and an assortment of radiatingones drawn about it. Now, by drawing 7-8, wehave set up a relationship between lines 3-4, 5-6,and 1-2, for this line radiates with all of them.Line 9-10 accentuates this relationship with 1-2.The others echo the same thing. It is this echoingof lines through a composition that unites the differ-ent parts and gives unity to the whole.The crossing of lines at angles approaching theright angle is always harsh and somewhat discord-ant, useful when you want to draw attention drama-tically to a particular spot, but to be avoided orcovered up at other times. There is an uglyclash of crossing lines in our original scribble, andat C we have introduced a mass to cover this up,and also the angles made by line 3-4 as it crossesthe radiating lines above 1-2. With a small massat 11 to make the balance right, you have a basisfor a composition, Diagram C, not at all unpleasingin arrangement, although based on a group of dis-cordant lines drawn at random, but brought intoharmony by means of sympathetic radiation.172
  • 204. Plate XL Ihiito AndersonTHE ASCENSION OF CHRIST. BY DOMINICO THEOTOCOPULICALLED EL GRECONote the flame-like form and flow of the light masses, and the exalted feeling- this conveys.
  • 205. Plate XLI Ihoto AndersonTHE BAPTISM OF CHRIST. BY DOMINICO THEOTOCOPULICALLED EL GRECOAnother example of his restless, flame-like composition.
  • 206. UNITY OF LINEIn Panel D the same group is taken, but thistime line 3-4 is used as the dominant one. Line7-8 introduces 3-4 to 1-2, as it is related toboth. Lines 9-10 and 11-12 introduce 3-4 to 5-6,as they are related to both, and the others followon the same principle. By introducing some massescovering up the crossings, a rhythmic basis for acomposition (Diagram E) entirely different from C isobtained, based on the same random group.In Panel F, 5-6 has been taken as the domi-nant line, and sympathetic lines drawn on thesame principle as before. By again covering thecrossings and introducing balancing masses we ob-tain yet another arrangement from the same randomscribble.I would suggest this as a new game to students,one giving another two or three lines drawn in apanel at random, the problem being to make har-monious arrangements by the introduction of othersradiating in sympathy.Often in a picture certain conditions are laid downto start with ; something as ugly as our originalgroup of lines drawn at random has to be treatedpictorially, and it is by means such as here suggestedthat its discordancy can be subdued and the wholebrought into harmony with the shape of your panel.The same principles apply in colour, discordant notescan be brought into harmony by the introductionof others related to both the original colours, thusleading the eye from one to the other by easystages and destroying the shock. Somewhat inthe way a musician will take you from one keyinto another very remote by means of a few chordsleading from the one to the other ; whereas, hadhe taken you straight there, the shock would have173
  • 208. UNITY OF LINEbeen terrible. As it is, these transitions from oneDiagram XIXSHOWING HOW LINES UNRELATED CAN BE BROUGHTINTO HARMONY BY THE INTRODUCTION OF OTHERSIN SYMPATHY WITH THEMkey into another please and surprise one, and arevery effective.In H, I have introduced a straight line into our175
  • 209. UNITY OF LINEinitial scribble, and this somewhat increases thedifficulties of relating them. But by drawing 7-8and 9-10 radiating from 1-2, we have introducedthis straight line to 5-6. For although 5-6 and9-10 do not radiate from the same point, they areobviously in sympathy. It is only a short part ofthe line at the end marked 5 that is out of sympathy,and had 5-6 taken the course of the dotted line,it would have radiated from the same point as9-10. We still have line 3-4 to account for. Butby drawing 11-12 we bring it into relationship with5-6, and so by stages through 9-10 and 7-8 to theoriginal straight line 1-2. Line 13-14, by being re-lated to 3-4, 11-12, and also 5-6, still further har-monises the group, and the remainder echo 5-6and increase the dominant swing. At L masseshave been introduced, covering crossing lines, andwe have a basis for a composition.In Diagram I lines have been drawn as before,at random, but two of them are straight and atright angles, the longer being across the centre ofthe panel. The first thing to do is to trick the eyeout of knowing that this line is in the centre bydrawing others parallel to it, leading the eye down-wards to line 9-10, which is now much more im-portant than 1-2 and in better proportion with theheight of the panel. The vertical line 3-4 is ratherstark and lonely, and so we introduce two moreverticals at 11-12 and 13-14, which modify this,and with another two lines in sympathy with 5-6and leading the eye back to the horizontal top ofthe panel, some sort of unity is set up, the introduc-tion of some masses completing the scheme at M.There is a quality of sympathy set up by certainline relationships about which it is important to say176
  • 210. UNITY OF LINEsomething. Ladies who have the instinct for choos-ing a hat or doing their hair to suit their faceinstinctively know something of this ; know thatcertain things in their face are emphasised by certainforms in their hats or hair, and the care that hasto be taken to see that the things thus drawnattention to are their best- and not their worstpoints.The principle is more generally understood inrelation to colour; everybody knows how theblueness of blue eyes is emphasised by a sympatheticblue dress or touch of blue on a hat, &c. But thesame principle applies to lines. The qualities ofline in beautiful eyes and eyebrows are emphasisedby the long sympathetic curve of a picture hat, andthe becoming effect of a necklace is partly due tothe same cause, the lines being in sympathy withthe eyes or the oval of the face, according to howlow or high it hangs. The influence of long linesis thus to "pick out"from among the lines of aface those with which they are in sympathy, andthus to accentuate them.To illustrate this, on page 178 is reproduced" ThePortrait of the Artists Daughter," by Sir EdwardBurne-Jones, Bart.The two things that are brought out by the linearrangement in this portrait are the beauty of theeyes and the shape of the face. Instead of thepicture hat you have the mirror, the widening circlesof which swing round in sympathy with the eyesand concentrate the attention on them. That onthe left (looking at the picture) has the greatestattention concentrated upon it, the lines of themirror being more in sympathy with this than theother eye, as it is nearer the centre. If you care177 M
  • 212. Plate XLII Photo HollyerPORTRAIT OF THE ARTISTS DAUGHTERSIR EDWARD BURNE-JONES, BART.An example of sympathetic rhythm. (See diagram on opposite page.)
  • 213. UNITY OF LINEto take the trouble, cut a hole in a piece of opaquepaper the size of the head and placing it over theillustration look at the face without the influenceof these outside lines ;and note how much moreequally divided the attention is between the twoeyes without the emphasis given to the one by themirror. *This helps the unity of impression, whichwith both eyes realised to so intense a focusmight have suffered. This mirror forms a sort ofecho of the pupil of the eye with its reflection ofthe window in the left-hand corner correspondingto the high light, greatly helping the spell theseeyes hold.The other form accentuated by the line arrange-ment is the oval of the face. There is first thenecklace, the lines of which lead on to those on theright in the reflection. It is no mere accident thatthis chain is so in sympathy with the line of theface : it would hardly have remained where it is forlong, and must have been put in this position bythe artist with the intention (conscious or instinc-tive) of accentuating the face line. The line of thereflection on the left and the lines of the mirrorare also sympathetic. Others in the folds of thedress, and those forming the mass of the hands andarms, echo still further this line of the face andbring the whole canvas into intense sympatheticunity of expression.The influence that different ways of doing the hairmay have on a face is illustrated in the accompanyingscribbles. The two profiles are exactly alike I tookgreat trouble to make them so. It is quite remark-able the difference the two ways of doing the hairmake to the look of the faces. The upward swingof the lines in A sympathise with the line of the179
  • 214. UNITY OF LINEone and the sharper projections of the face gener-Diagram XXI AILLUSTRATING THE EFFECT ON THE FACE OF PUTTINGTHE HAIR UP AT THE BACK. HOW THE UPWARDFLOW OF LINES ACCENTUATES THE SHARPNESSESOF THE FEATURESally (see dotted lines), while the full downwardcurves of B sympathise with the fuller curves of180
  • 215. UNITY OF LINEthe face and particularly emphasise the fullnessunder the chin so dreaded by beauty past itsDiagram XXIIILLUSTRATING THE EFFECT ON THE SAME FACE ASDIAGRAM XXI, OF PUTTING THE HAIR LOW ATTHE BACK. HOW THE FULLER LlNES THUS GIVENACCENTUATE THE FULLNESSES OF THE FEATURESfirst youth (see dotted lines). It is only a verysharply-cut face that can stand this low knot atthe back of the head, in which case it is one of thesimplest and most beautiful ways of doing the hair.181
  • 216. UNITY OF LINEThe hair dragged up high at the back sharpens thelines of the profile as the low knot blunts them.The illustrations to this chapter have been drawnin diagrammatical form in order to try and show thatthe musical quality of lines and the emotions theyare capable of calling up are not dependent upontruth to natural forms but are inherent in abstractarrangements themselves. That is to say, wheneveryou get certain arrangements of lines, no matterwhat the objects in nature may be that yield them,you will always get the particular emotional stimulusbelonging to such arrangements. For instance,whenever you get long uninterrupted horizontallines running through a picture not opposed by anyviolent contrast, you will always get an impressionof intense quiet and repose ; no matter whether thenatural objects yielding these lines are a wide stretchof country with long horizontal clouds in the sky, apool with a gentle breeze making horizontal bars onits surface, or a pile of wood in a timber yard. Andwhenever you get long vertical lines in a composition,no matter whether it be a cathedral interior, a pineforest, or a row of scaffold poles, you will alwayshave the particular feeling associated with rows ofvertical lines in the abstract. And further, when-ever you get the swinging lines of the volute, animpression of energy will be conveyed, no matterwhether it be a breaking wave, rolling clouds,whirling dust, or only a mass of tangled hoop ironin a wheelwrights yard. As was said above, theseeffects may be greatly increased, modified, or evendestroyed by associations connected with the thingsrepresented. If in painting the timber yard theartist is thinking more about making it look like astack of real wood with its commercial associations182
  • 217. UNITY OF LINEand less about using the artistic material its appear-ance presents for the making of a picture, he maymiss the harmonic impression the long lines of thestacks of wood present. If real wood is the firstthing you are led to think of in looking at his work,he will obviously have missed the expression of anyartistic feeling the subject was capable of producing.And the same may be said of the scaffold poles orthe hoop iron in the wheelwrights yard.This structure of abstract lines at the basis of apicture will be more or less overlaid with the truthsof nature, and all the rich variety of natural forms,according to the requirements of the subject. Thus,in large decorative work, where the painting has totake its place as part of an architectural scheme, theseverity of this skeleton will be necessary to unitethe work to the architectural forms around it, ofwhich it has to form a part ; and very little indul-gence in the realisation of natural truth should bepermitted to obscure it. But in the painting of asmall cabinet picture that exists for close inspection,the supporting power of this line basis is not nearlyso essential, and a full indulgence in all the richvariety of natural detail is permissible. And this ishow it happens that painters who have gloried inrich details have always painted small pictures, andpainters who have preferred larger truths picturesof bigger dimensions. It sounds rather paradoxicalto say the smaller the picture the more detail itshould contain, and the larger the less, but it isnevertheless true. For although a large picture hasnot of necessity got to be part of an architecturalscheme, it has to be looked at from a distance atwhich small detail could not be seen, and where suchdetail would greatly weaken its expressive power.183
  • 218. UNITY OF LINEAnd further, the small picture easily comes withinthe field of vision, and the whole impression can bereadily grasped without the main lines being, as itwere, underlined. But in a big picture one of thegreatest difficulties is to get it to read simply, tostrike the eye as one impression. Its size makingit difficult for it to be got comfortably within thefield of vision, every artifice has to be used to giveit" breadth of treatment," as it is called, and nothinginterferes with this like detail.184
  • 219. XIIIVARIETY OF MASSTHE masses that go to make up a picture havevariety in their shape, their tone values, their edges,in texture or quality, and in gradation. Quite aformidable list, but each of these particulars hassome rhythmic quality of its own about which itwill be necessary to say a word.As to variety of shape, many things that weresaid about lines apply equally to the spaces enclosedby them. It is impossible to write of therhythmic possibilities that the infiniteg^eety ofvariety of shapes possessed by naturalobjects contain, except to point out how necessarythe study of nature is for this. Variety of shape isone of the most difficult things to invent, and oneof the commonest things in nature. Howeverimaginative your conception, and no matter howfar you may carry your design, working fromimagination, there will come a time when studiesfrom nature will be necessary if your work isto have the variety that will give life andinterest. Try and draw from imagination a rowof elm trees of about the same height and distanceapart, and get the variety of nature into them ;and you will see how difficult it is to invent.On examining your work you will probablydiscover two or three pet forms repeated, or theremay be only one. Or try and draw some cumulusclouds from imagination, several groups of them185
  • 220. VARIETY OF MASSacross a sky, and you will find how often againyou have repeated unconsciously the same forms.How tired one gets of the pet cloud or tree of apainter who does not often consult nature in hispictures. Nature is the great storehouse of variety ;even a piece of coal will suggest more interestingrock-forms than you can invent. And it is fas-cinating to watch the infinite variety of gracefulforms assumed by the curling smoke from a cigar-ette, full of suggestions for beautiful line arrange-ments. If this variety of form in your work isallowed to become excessive it will overpowerthe unity of your conception. It is in the largerunity of your composition that the imaginativefaculty will be wanted, and variety in your formsshould always be subordinated to this idea.Nature does not so readily suggest a schemeof unity, for the simple reason that the first con-dition of your picture, the four bounding lines, doesnot exist in nature. You may get infinite sugges-tions for arrangements, and should always be onthe look out for them, but your imagination willhave to relate them to the rigorous conditions ofyour four bounding lines, and nature does nothelp you much here. But when variety in theforms is wanted, she is pre-eminent, and it is neveradvisable to waste inventive power where it is sounnecessary.But although nature does not readily suggesta design fitting the conditions of a panel her ten-dency is always towards unity of arrangement.If you take a bunch of flowers or leaves andhaphazard stuff them into a vase of water, youwill probably get a very chaotic arrangement. Butif you leave it for some time and let nature have186
  • 221. VARIETY OF MASSa chance you will find that the leaves and flowershave arranged themselves much more harmoni-ously. And if you cut down one of a group oftrees, what a harsh discordant gap is usually left;but in time nature will, by throwing a bough hereand filling up a gap there, as far as possible rectifymatters and bring all into unity again. I amprepared to be told this has nothing to do withbeauty but is only the result of natures attemptsto seek for light and air. But whatever be thephysical cause, the fact is the same, that natureslaws tend to pictorial unity of arrangement.It will be as well to try and explain what ismeant by tone values. All the masses or tones(for the terms are often used interchange- Variety ofably) that go to the making of a visual Toneimpression can be considered in relationto an imagined scale from white, to represent thelightest, to black, to represent the darkest tones.This scale of values does not refer to light andshade only, but light and shade, colour, and the wholevisual impression are considered as one mosaic ofmasses of different degrees of darkness or lightness.A dark object in strong light may be lighter thana white object in shadow, or the reverse : it willdepend on the amount of reflected light. Colouronly matters in so far as it affects the position ofthe tone in this imagined scale of black and white.The correct observation of these tone values is amost important matter, and one of no little difficulty.The word tone is used in two senses, in thefirst place when referring to the individual massesas to their relations in the scale of " tone values";and secondly when referring to the musical rela-tionship of these values to a oneness of tone idea187
  • 222. VARIETY OF MASSgoverning the whole impression. In very much thesame way you might refer to a single note inmusic as a tone, and also to the tone of the wholeorchestra. The word values always refers to therelationship of the individual masses or tones inour imagined scale from black to white. We saya picture is out of value or out of tone when someof the values are darker or lighter than our senseof harmony feels they should be, in the same wayas we should say an instrument in an orchestrawas out of tone or tune when it was higher orlower than our sense of harmony allowed. Toneis so intimately associated with the colour of apicture that it is a little difficult to treat of itapart, and it is often used in a sense to includecolour in speaking of the general tone. We sayit has a warm tone or a cold tone.There is a particular rhythmic beauty about awell-ordered arrangement of tone values that isa very important part of pictorial design. Thismusic of tone has been present in art in a rudi-mentary way since the earliest time, but hasrecently received a much greater amount of atten-tion, and much new light on the subject has beengiven by the impressionist movement and thestudy of the art of China and Japan, which isnearly always very beautiful in this respect.This quality of tone music is most dominantwhen the masses are large and simple, when thecontemplation of them is not disturbed by muchvariety, and they have little variation of textureand gradation. A slight mist will often improvethe tone of a landscape for this reason. It simplifiesthe tones, masses them together, obliterating manysmaller varieties. I have even heard of the tone188
  • 223. of a picture being improved by such a mist scrambledor glazed over it.The powder on a ladys face, when not over-done, is an improvement for the same reason. Itsimplifies the tones by destroying the distressingshining lights that were cutting up the masses ;and it also destroys a large amount of half tone,broadening the lights almost up to the commence-ment of the shadows.Tone relationships are most sympathetic when themiddle 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 con-trasts are great and the jumps from dark to lightsudden.The sympathetic charm of half-light effects isdue largely to the tones being of this middle rangeonly ;whereas the striking dramatic effect of astorm clearing, in which you may get a landscapebrilliantly lit by the sudden appearance of the sun,seen against the dark clouds of the retreatingstorm, owes its dramatic quality to contrast. Thestrong contrasts of tone values coupled with thestrong colour contrast between the warm sunlit landand the cold angry blue of the retreating storm,gives such a scene much dramatic effect and power.The subject of values will be further treatedin dealing with unity of tone.Variety in quality and texture is almost too subtleto write about with any prospect of beingunderstood. The play of different qualitiesand textures in the masses that go toture.form a picture must be appreciated atfirst hand, and little can be written about it. Oilpaint is capable of almost unlimited variety in this189
  • 224. VARIETY OF MASSway. But it is better to leave the study of suchqualities until you have mastered the medium inits more simple aspects.The particular tone music of which we werespeaking is not helped by any great use of thisvariety. A oneness of quality throughout the workis best suited to exhibit it. Masters of tone, likeWhistler, preserve this oneness of quality verycarefully in their work, relying chiefly on the grainof a rough canvas to give the necessary varietyand 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, brokenmanner is necessary, as it catches more light, thusincreasing the force of the impression. ClaudeMonet and his followers in their search for brilliancyused this quality throughout many of their paint-ings, with new and striking results. But it is atthe sacrifice of many beautiful qualities of form,as this roughness of surface does not lend itselfreadily to any finesse of modelling. In the caseof Claude Monets work, however, this does notmatter, as form with all its subtleties is not athing he made any attempt at exploiting. Natureis sufficiently vast for beautiful work to be donein separate departments of vision, although onecannot place such work on the same plane withsuccessful pictures of wider scope. And the par-ticular visual beauty of sparkling light and atmos-phere, of which he was one of the first to makea separate study, could hardly exist in a workthat aimed also at the significance of beautifulform, the appeal of form, as was explained in anearlier chapter, not being entirely due to a visualbut to a mental perception, into which the sense190
  • 225. VARIETY OF MASSof touch enters by association. The scintillationand glitter of light destroys this touch idea, whichis better preserved in quieter lightings.There is another point in connection with theuse of thick paint, that I dont think is sufficientlywell known, and that is, its greater readiness to bediscoloured by the oil in its composition coming tothe surface. Fifteen years ago I did what it wouldbe advisable for every student to do as soon aspossible, namely, make a chart of the colours he islikely to use. Get a good white canvas, and setupon it in columns the different colours, very muchas you would do on your palette, writing the namesin ink beside them. Then take a palette-knife, anivory one by preference, and drag it from the in-dividual masses of paint so as to get a gradation ofdifferent thicknesses, from the thinnest possiblelayer where your knife ends to the thick masswhere it was squeezed out of the tube. It is alsoadvisable to have previously ruled some pencil lineswith a hard point down the canvas in such a mannerthat the strips of paint will cross the lines. Thischart will be of the greatest value to you in notingthe effect of time on paint. To make it more com-plete, the colours of several makers should be putdown, and at any rate the whites of several differentmakes should be on it. As white enters so largelyinto your painting it is highly necessary to use onethat does not change.The two things that I have noticed are that thethin ends of the strips of white have invariably keptwhiter than the thick end, and that all the paintshave become a little more transparent with time.The pencil lines here come in useful, as they can beseen through the thinner portion, and show to what191
  • 226. VARIETY OF MASSextent this transparency has occurred. But the pointI wish to emphasise is that at the thick end thelarger body of oil in the paint, which always coniesto the surface as it dries, has darkened and yellowedthe surface greatly; while the small amount of oilat the thin end has not darkened it to any extent.Claude Monet evidently knew this, and got overthe difficulty by painting on an absorbent canvas,which sucks the surplus oil out from below and thusprevents its coming to the surface and discolouringthe work in time. When this thick manner ofpainting is adopted, an absorbent canvas shouldalways be used. It also has the advantage of givinga dull dry surface of more brilliancy than a shiny one.Although not so much as with painting, varietiesof texture enter into drawings done with any of themediums that lend themselves to mass drawing ; char-coal, conte crayon, lithographic chalk, and even redchalk and lead pencil are capable of giving a varietyof textures, governed largely by the surface of thepaper used. But this is more the province of paint-ing than of drawing proper, and charcoal, which ismore painting than drawing, is the only medium inwhich it can be used with much effect.There is a very beautiful rhythmic quality in theplay from softness to sharpness on the edges ofmasses. A monotonous sharpness of edgeEdges*fi8 nard, stern, and unsympathetic. This is auseful quality at times, particularly in deco-rative work, where the more intimate sympatheticqualities are not so much wanted, and where theharder forms go better with the architectural sur-roundings of which your painted decoration shouldform a part. On the other hand, a monotonous soft-ness of edge is very weak and feeble-looking, and192
  • 227. VARIETY OF MASStoo entirely lacking in power to be desirable. Ifyou find any successful work done with this qualityof edge unrelieved by any sharpnesses, it will dependon colour, and not form, for any qualities it maypossess.Some amount of softness makes for charm, andis extremely popular: "I do like that because itsso nice and soft"is a regular show-day remark inthe studio, and is always meant as a great compli-ment, but is seldom taken as such by the sufferingpainter. But a balance of these two qualities play-ing about your contours produces the most delight-ful results, and the artist is always on the look outfor such variations. He seldom lets a sharpnessof edge run far without losing it occasionally. Itmay be necessary for the hang of the compositionthat some leading edges should be much insistedon. But even here a monotonous sharpness is toodead a thing, and although a firmness of run willbe allowed to be felt, subtle variations will be in-troduced to prevent deadness. The Venetians fromGiorgiones time were great masters of this musicof edges. The structure of lines surrounding themasses on which their compositions are built werefused 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 Vene-tian manner as the "Bacchus and Ariadne" at theNational Gallery, and note where they are hard andwhere lost.There is one rather remarkable, fact to be ob-served in this picture and many Venetian works, andthis is that the most accented edges are reserved forunessential parts, like the piece of white drapery193 N
  • 228. VARIETY OF MASSon the lower arm of the girl with the cymbals, andthe little white flower on the boys head in front.The edges on the flesh are everywhere fused andsoft, the draperies being much sharper. You maynotice the same thing in many pictures of the laterVenetian schools. The greatest accents on the edgesare rarely in the head, except it may be occasionallyin the eyes. But they love to get some strongly-accented feature, such as a crisply-painted shirtcoming against the soft modelling of the neck, tobalance the fused edges in the flesh. In the headof Philip IV in our National Gallery the only placewhere Velazquez has allowed himself anything likea sharp edge is in the high lights on the chain hang-ing round the neck. The softer edges of the princi-pal features in such compositions give a largenessand mystery to these parts, and to restore thebalance, sharpnesses are introduced in non-essentialaccessories.In the figure with the white tunic from Velazquezs"Surrender of Breda," here reproduced, note thewonderful variety on the edges of the white massesof the coat and the horses nose, and also that thesharpest accents are reserved for such non-essentialsas the bows on the tunic and the loose hair on thehorses forehead. Velazquezs edges are wonderful,and cannot be too carefully studied. He workedlargely in flat tones or planes ; but this richnessand variety of his edges keeps his work from look-ing flat and dull, like that of some of his followers.I am sorry to say this variety does not come outso well in the reproduction on page 194 as I couldhave wished, the half-tone process having a tendencyto sharpen edges rather monotonously.This quality is everywhere to be found in194
  • 229. Plate XLIV Phnto AndersonPART OF THE SURRENDER OF BREDA. BY VELAZQUEZNote the varied quantity of the edge in white mass of tunic. (The reproduction doesnot unfortunately show this as well as the original.)
  • 230. VARIETY OF MASSnature. If you regard any scene pictorially, lookingat it as a whole and not letting your eye focus onindividual objects wandering from one to anotherwhile being but dimly conscious of the whole, butregarding it as a beautiful ensemble; you will findthat the boundaries of the masses are not hardcontinuous edges but play continually along theircourse, here melting imperceptibly into the surround-ing mass, and there accentuated more sharply. Evena long continuous line, like the horizon at sea, hassome amount of this play, which you should alwaysbe on the look out for. But when the parts onlyof nature are regarded and each is separatelyfocussed, hard edges will be found to exist almosteverywhere, unless there is a positive mist envelop-ing the objects. And this is the usual way oflooking at things. But a picture that is a catalogueof many little parts separately focussed will nothang together as one visual impression.In naturalistic work the necessity for paintingto one focal impression is as great as the necessityof painting in true perspective. What perspectivehas done for drawing, the impressionist system ofpainting to one all-embracing focus has done fortone. Before perspective was introduced, each in-dividual object in a picture was drawn with aseparate centre of vision fixed on it in turn. Whatperspective did was to insist that all objects in apicture should be drawn in relation to one fixedcentre of vision. And whereas formerly each objectwas painted to a hard focus, whether it was inthe foreground or the distance, impressionismteaches that you cannot have the focus in apicture at the same time on the foreground andthe distance.195
  • 231. VARIETY OF MASSOf course there are many manners of paintingwith more primitive conventions in which theconsideration of focus does not enter. But in allpainting that aims at reproducing the impressionsdirectly produced in us by natural appearances, thisquestion of focus and its influence on the qualityof your edges is of great importance.Something should be said about the serratededges of masses, like those of trees seen against thesky. These are very difficult to treat, and almostevery landscape painter has a different formula.The hard, fussy, cut-out, photographic appearanceof trees misses all their beauty and sublimity.There are three principal types of treatmentthat may serve as examples. In the first placethere are the trees of the early Italian painters,three examples of which are illustrated on page 197.A thin tree is always selected, and a rhythmicpattern of leaves against the sky painted. Thistreatment of a dark pattern on a light ground isvery useful as a contrast to the softer tones of flesh.But the treatment is more often applied nowadaysto a spray of foliage in the foreground, the patternof which gives a very rich effect. The poplar trees inMillais " Vale of Rest"are painted in much the samemanner as that employed by the Italians, and areexceptional among modern tree paintings, the treesbeing treated as a pattern of leaves against the sky.Millais has also got a raised quality of paint in hisdarks very similar to that of Bellini and many earlypainters.Giorgione added another tree to landscape art :the rich, full, solidly-massed forms that occur in his" Concert Champetre"of the Louvre, reproduced onpage 151. In this picture you may see both types196
  • 232. VARIETY OF MASSof treatment. There are the patterns of leavesvariety on the left and the solidly-massed treatmenton the right.C A BDiagram XXIIIEXAMPLES OP EARLY ITALIAN TREATMENT OF TREESA. From pictures in Oratorio di S. Ansano. "II trioufo dell1Amore,"attributed to Botticelli.B. From "LAnnunziazione," by Botticelli, Uffizi, Florence.C. From " La Vergiue," by Giovanni Bellini in the Accademia, Venice.Corot in his later work developed a treatmentthat has been largely followed since. Looking attrees with a very wide focus, he ignored individualleaves, and resolved them into masses of tone,197
  • 233. VARIETY OF MASShere lost and here found more sharply against thesky. The subordinate masses of foliage within thesemain boundaries are treated in the same way,resolved into masses of infinitely varying edges.This play, this lost-and-foundness at his edges isone of the great distinguishing charms of Corotstrees. When they have been painted from thismass point of view, a suggestion of a few leaveshere and a bough there may be indicated, comingsharply against the sky, but you will find this basisof tone music, this crescendo and diminuendothroughout all his later work (see illustration,page 215).These are three of the more extreme types oftrees to be met with in art, but the variationson these types are very numerous. Whatevertreatment you adopt, the tree must be consideredas a whole, and some rhythmic form related to thislarge impression selected. And this applies to allforms with serrated edges : some large order mustbe found to which the fussiness of the edges mustconform.The subject of edges generally is a very importantone, and one much more worried over by a masterthan by the average student. It is interesting tonote how all the great painters have begun with ahard manner, with edges of little variety, fromwhich they have gradually developed a loosermanner, learning to master the difficulties of designthat hard contours insist on your facing, and onlywhen this is thoroughly mastered letting themselvesdevelop freely this play on the edges, this looserhandling.For under the freest painting, if it be good, therewill be found a bed-rock structure of well-constructed198
  • 234. VARIETY OF MASSmasses and lines. They may never be insisted onbut their steadying influence will always be felt. Soerr in your student work on the side of hardnessrather than looseness, if you would discipline your-self to design your work well. Occasionally onlylet yourself go at a looser handling.Variety of gradation will naturally be governedlargely by the form and light and shade of theobjects in your composition. But while Variety ofstudying the gradations of tone that express Grada-form and give the modelling, you shouldnever neglect to keep the mind fixed upon the rela-tion the part you are painting bears to the wholepicture. And nothing should be done that is out ofharmony with this large conception. It is one ofthe most difficult things to decide the amount ofvariety and emphasis allowable for the smaller partsof a picture, so as to bring all in harmony with thatoneness of impression that should dominate thewhole ; how much of your scale of values it is per-missible to use for the modelling of each individualpart. In the best work the greatest economy isexercised in this respect, so that as much power maybe kept in reserve as possible. You have only theone scale from black to white to work with, onlyone octave within the limits of which to composeyour tone symphonies. There are no higher andlower octaves as in music to extend your effect. Sobe very sparing with your tone values when model-ling the different parts.199
  • 235. XIVsUNITY OF MASSWHAT has been said about unity of line appliesobviously to the outlines bounding the masses, sothat we need not say anything further on that sub-ject. The particular quality of which somethingshould be said, is the unity that is given to a pictureby means of a well-arranged and rhythmically con-sidered scheme of tone values.The modifications in the relative tone values ofobjects seen under different aspects of light andatmosphere are infinite and ever varying ;and thisis quite a special study in itself. Nature is thegreat teacher here, her tone arrangements alwayspossessing unity. How kind to the eye is herattempt to cover the ugliness of our great towns inan envelope of atmosphere, giving the most wonder-ful tone symphonies ; thus using mans desecrationof her air by smoke to cover up his other desecra-tion of her country-side, a manufacturing town.This study of values is a distinguishing feature ofmodern art. But schemes taken from nature are notthe only harmonious ones. The older masters werecontent with one or two well-tried arrangements oftone in their pictures, which were often not at alltrue to natural appearances but nevertheless har-monious. The chief instance of this is the low-tonedsky. The painting of flesh higher in tone than the200
  • 236. UNITY OF MASSsky was almost universal at many periods of art,and in portraits is still often seen. Yet it is onlyin strong sunlight that this is ever so in nature, asyou can easily see by holding your hand up againsta sky background. The possible exception to thisrule is a dark storm-cloud, in which case your handwould have to be strongly lit by some bright lightin another part of the sky to appear light against it.This high tone of the sky is a considerable diffi-culty when one wishes the interest centred on thefigures. The eye instinctively goes to the lightmasses in a picture, and if these masses are sky, thefigures lose some importance. The fashion of lower-ing its tone has much to be said for it on the scoreof the added interest it gives to the figures. But itis apt to bring a heavy stuffy look into the atmos-phere, and is only really admissible in frankly con-ventional treatment, in which one has not been ledto expect implicit truth to natural effect. If truthto 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 backgroundwithout loss of verisimilitude.But there is a unity about natures tone arrange-ments that it is very difficult to improve upon ; andit is usually advisable, if you can, to base the schemeof tone in your picture on a good study of valuesfrom nature.Such effects as twilight, moonlight, or even sun-light were seldom attempted by the older painters,at any rate in their figure subjects. All the lovelytone arrangements that nature presents in thesemore unusual aspects are a new study, and offer201
  • 237. UNITY OF MASSunlimited new material to the artist. Many artistsare content to use this simply for itself, the beauty ofa rare tone effect being sufficient with the simplestaccessories to make a picture. But in figure com-position, what new and wonderful things can beimagined in which some rare aspect of naturestone-music is combined with a fine figure design.These values are not easily perceived withaccuracy, although their influence may be felt bymany. A true eye for the accurate perception ofsubtle tone arrangements is a thing you shouldstudy very diligently to acquire. How then is thisto be done? It is very difficult, if not impossible,to teach anybody to see. Little more can besaid than has already been written about thissubject in the chapter on variety in mass. Everymass has to be considered in relation to an imaginedtone scale, taking black for your darkest and whitefor your highest light as we have seen. A blackglass, by reducing the light, enables you to observethese relationships more accurately ;the dazzlingquality of strong light making it difficult to judgethem. But this should only be used to correct oneseye, and the comparison should be made betweennature seen in the glass and your work seen alsoin the glass. To look in a black glass and thencompare what you saw with your work looked atdirect is not a fair comparison, and will result inlow-toned work with little brilliancy.Now, to represent this scale of tones in paintingwe have white paint as our highest and black paintas our lowest notes. It is never advisable to playeither of these extremes, although you may govery near to them. That is to say, there shouldnever be pure white or pure black masses in a202
  • 238. UNITY OF MASSpicture. There is a kind of screaminess set up whenone goes the whole gamut of tone, that gives alook of unrestraint and weakness ; somewhat likethe feeling experienced when a vocalist sings hisor her very highest or very lowest note. In agood singer one always feels he could have gonestill higher or still lower, as the case may be, andthis gives an added power to the impression ofhis singing. And in art, likewise, it is always ad-visable to keep something of this reserve power.Also, the highest lights in nature are never withoutcolour, and this will lower the tone ; neither arethe deepest darks colourless, and this will raisetheir tone. But perhaps this is dogmatising, andit may be that beautiful work is to be done withall the extremes you can "clap on," though I thinkit very unlikely.In all the quieter aspects of lighting this rangefrom black to white paint is sufficient. But wherestrong, brilliantly lit effects are wanted, somethinghas to be sacrificed, if this look of brilliancy is tobe made telling.In order to increase the relationship betweensome of the tones others must be sacrificed. Thereare two ways of doing this. The first, which wasthe method earliest adopted, is to begin from thelight end of the scale, and, taking something verynear pure white as your highest light, to get therelationships between this and the next most brillianttone, and to proceed thus, tone by tone, from thelightest to the darkest. But working in this wayyou will find that you arrive at the greatest darkyou can make in paint before you have completedthe scale of relationships as in nature, if the subjecthappens to be brilliantly lit.203
  • 239. UNITY OF MASSAnother method is to put down the highestlight and the darkest dark, and then work yourscale of tone relatively between them. But it willbe found that working in this way, unless thesubject in nature is very quietly lit, you will notget anything like the forceful impression of tonethat nature gives.The third way, and this is the more modern, isto begin from the dark end of the scale, gettingthe true relationship felt between the greatest darkand the next darkest tone to it, and so on, pro-ceeding towards the light. By this method youwill arrive at your highest light in paint beforethe highest light in nature has been reached. Allvariety of tone at the light end of the scale willhave to be modified in this case, instead of at thedark end as in the other case. In the painting ofsunlight the latter method is much the more effec-tive, a look of great brilliancy and light beingproduced, whereas in the earlier method, the scalebeing commenced from the light end, so much of thepicture was dark that the impression of light andair was lost and a dark gloomy land took its place,a gloom accentuated rather than dispelled by thestreaks of lurid light where the sun struck.Rembrandt is an example of beginning the tonerelationships from the light side of the scale, and alarge part of his canvas is in consequence alwaysdarkBastion Lepage is an example of the secondmethod, that of fixing upon two extremes andworking relatively between them. And it will benoticed that he confined himself chiefly to quietgrey day effects of lighting, the rendering of whichwas well within the range of his palette.204
  • 240. UNITY OF MASSThe method of beginning from the dark side,getting the true relations of tones on this side ofthe scale, and letting the lights take care of them-selves, was perhaps first used by Turner. But it islargely used now whenever a strong impression oflight is desired. The light masses instead of thedark masses dominate the pictures, which have greatbrilliancy.These tone values are only to be perceived intheir true relationship by the eye contemplating awide field of vision. With the ordinary habit oflooking only at individual parts of nature, thegeneral impression being but dimly felt, they arenot observed. The artist has to acquire the habitof generalising his visual attention over a wide fieldif he would perceive the true relation of the partsto this scale of values. Half closing the eyes, whichis the usual method of doing this, destroys the per-ception of a great deal of colour. Another methodof throwing the eyes out of focus and enabling oneto judge of large relationships, is to dilate themwidely. This rather increases than diminishes thecolour, but is not so safe a method of judging subtletone relationships.It is easier in approaching this study out of doorsto begin with quiet effects of light. Some of thosesoft grey days in this country are very beautiful intone, and change so little that careful studies can bemade. And with indoor work, place your subjectrather away from the direct light and avoid muchlight and shade ; let the light come from behind you.If very strong light effects, such as sunlight, ora dark interior lit by one brilliant window, are at-tempted, the values will be found to be much simplerand more harsh, often resolving themselves into two205
  • 241. UNITY OF MASSmasses, a brilliant light contrasted with a darkshadow. This tone arrangement of strong light incontrast with dark shadow was a favourite formulawith many schools of the past, since Leonardo daVinci first used it. Great breadth and splendour isgiven by it to design, and it is one of the most im-pressive of tone arrangements. Leonardo da Vincis" Our Lady of the Rocks," in the National Gallery, isan early example of this treatment. And Correggios"Venus, Mercury, and Cupid," here reproduced, is an-other particularly fine example. Reynolds and manyof the eighteenth-century men used this scheme intheir work almost entirely. This strong light andshade, by eliminating to a large extent the halftones, helps to preserve in highly complete work asimplicity and directness of statement that is verypowerful. For certain impressions it probably willnever be bettered, but it is a very well-worn conven-tion. Manet among the moderns has given new lifeto this formula, although he did not derive his in-spiration directly from Correggio but through theSpanish school. By working in a strong, ratherglaring, direct light, he eliminated still further thehalf tones, and got rid to a great extent of light andshade. Coming at a time when the realistic andplain air movements were destroying simple direct-ness, his work was of great value, bringing back, asit did with its insistence on large, simple masses, asense of frank design. His influence has been verygreat in recent years, as artists have felt that itoffered a new formula for design and colour. Lightand shade and half tone are the great enemies ofcolour, sullying, as they do, its purity ; and to someextent to design also, destroying, as they do, theflatness of the picture. But with the strong direct206
  • 242. Plate XLV Photo HaufstaenglCORREGGIO. 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.
  • 243. UNITY OF MASSlight, the masses are cut out as simply as possible,and their colour is little sullied by light and shade.The picture of Manets reproduced is a typical ex-ample of his manner. The aggressive shape of thepattern made by the light mass against the darkbackground is typical of his revolutionary attitudetowards all accepted canons of beauty. But evenhere it is interesting to note that many principlesof composition are conformed to. The design isunited to its boundaries by the horizontal line ofthe couch and the vertical line of the screen at theback, while the whole swing hangs on the diagonalfrom 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 isparallel.Large flat tones give a power and simplicity toa design, and a largeness and breadth of expressionthat are very valuable, besides showing up everylittle variety in the values used for your modelling ;and thus enabling you to model with the least ex-penditure of tones. Whatever richness of variationyou may ultimately desire to add to your values,see to it that in planning your picture you get agood basic structure of simply designed, and as faras possible flat, tones.In speaking of variety in mass we saw how thenearer these tones are in the scale of values, the morereserved and quiet the impression created, and thefurther apart or greater the contrast, the moredramatic and intense the effect. And the sentimentof tone in a picture, like the sentiment of line andcolour, should be in harmony with the nature ofyour subject.Generally speaking more variety of tone and shape207
  • 244. UNITY OF MASSin the masses of your composition is permissible whena smaller range of values is used than when yoursubject demands strong contrasts. When strong con-trasts of tone or what are called black and whiteeffects are desired, the masses must be very simplydesigned. Were this not so, and were the composi-tion patterned all over with smaller masses instrong contrast, the breadth and unity of the effectwould be lost. While when the difference of rela-tive values between one tone and another is slight,the oneness of effect is not so much interfered withby there being a large number of them. Effectsof strong contrasts are therefore far the mostdifficult to manage, as it is not easy to reduce acomposition of any complexity to a simple expressivepattern of large masses.This principle applies also in the matter of colour.Greater contrasts and variety of colour may beindulged in where the middle range only of tonesis 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 strongcontrasts of colour and strong contrasts of tone inthe same picture : it is too violent.If you have strong contrasts of colour, thecontrasts of tone between them must be small.The Japanese and Chinese often make the mostsuccessful use of violent contrasts of colour bybeing careful that they shall be of the same tonevalue.And again, where you have strong contrasts oftone, such as Rembrandt was fond of, you cannotsuccessfully have strong contrasts of colour as well.Reynolds, who was fond both of colour and strongtone contrast, had to compromise, as he tells us in208
  • 245. UNITY OF MASShis lectures, by making the shadows all tho samebrown colour, to keep a harmony in his work.There is some analogy between straight linesand flat tones, and curved lines and gradated tones.And a great deal that was said about the rhythmicsignificance of these lines will apply equally wellhere. What was said about long vertical and hori-zontal lines conveying a look of repose and touchingthe serious emotional notes, can be said of largeflat tones. The feeling of infinity suggested by awide blue sky without a cloud, seen above a widebare plain, is an obvious instance of this. And for thesame harmonic cause, a calm evening has so peacefuland infinite an expression. The waning light darkensthe land and increases the contrast between it and thesky, with the result that all the landscape towardsthe west is reduced to practically one dark tone, cut-ting sharply against the wide light of the sky.And the graceful charm of curved lines swingingin harmonious rhythm through a composition hasits analogy in gradated tones. Watteau and Gains-borough, those masters of charm, knew this, andin their most alluring compositions the tone-musicis founded on a principle of tone-gradations, swing-ing and interlacing with each other in harmoniousrhythm throughout the composition. Large, flattones, with their more thoughtful associations areout of place here, and are seldom if ever used. Intheir work we see a world where the saddeninginfluences of profound thought and its expressionare far away. No deeper notes are allowed to marthe gaiety of this holiday world. Watteau createda dream country of his own, in which a tiredhumanity has delighted ever since, in which allserious thoughts are far away and the mind takes209 O
  • 246. 210
  • 247. UNITY OF MASSrefreshment in the contemplation of delightful things.And a great deal of this charm is due to the prettyplay from a crescendo to a diminuendo in the tonevalues on which his compositions are based so farremoved from the simple structure of flat masses towhich more primitive and austere art owes its power.But Watteaus great accomplishment was indoing this without degenerating into feeble pretti-ness, and this he did by an insistence on characterin his figures, particularly his men. His draperiesalso are always beautifully drawn and full of variety,never feeble and characterless. The landscape back-grounds are much more lacking in this respect,nothing ever happened there, no storms have everbent his graceful tree-trunks, and the incessantgradations might easily become wearisome. Butpossibly the charm in which we delight would be lost,did the landscape possess more character. At anyrate there is enough in the figures to prevent anysickly prettiness, although I think if you removedthe figures the landscape would not be tolerable.But the followers of Watteau seized upon theprettiness and gradually got out of touch with thecharacter, and if you compare Bouchers heads,particularly his mens heads, with Watteaus youmay see how much has been lost.The following are three examples of this gradatedtone composition (see pages 210, 213, 215) :Watteau: "Embarquement pour 1lle de Cythere."This is a typical Watteau composition, foundedon a rhythmic play of gradated tones and gradatededges. Flat tones and hard edges are avoided.Beginning at the centre of the top with a stronglyaccented note of contrast, the dark tone of themass of trees gradates into the ground and on past211
  • 248. UNITY OF MASSthe lower right-hand corner across the front of thepicture, until, when nearing the lower left-handcorner, it reverses the process and from dark to lightbegins gradating light to dark, ending somewhatsharply against the sky in the rock form to the left.The rich play of tone that is introduced in the treesand ground, &c., blinds one at first to the perception ofthis larger tone motive, but without it the rich varietywould not hold together. Roughly speaking thewhole of this dark frame of tones from the accentedpoint of the trees at the top to the mass of therock on the left, may be said to gradate away intothe distance; cut into by the wedge-shaped middletone 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 isbroken by the little flight of cupids, and continuingacross the picture until it is brought up sharply bythe light figure under the trees on the right. Notethe pretty clatter of spots this line of figures bringsacross the picture, introducing light spots into thedarker masses, ending up with the strongly accentedlight spot of the figure on the right ;and dark spotsinto the lighter masses, ending up with the figures ofthe cupids dark against the sky.Steadying influences in all this flux of tone areintroduced by the vertical accent of the tree-stemand statue in the dark mass on the right, by thehorizontal line of the distance on the left, the outlineof the ground in the front, and the straight staffsheld by some of the figures.In the charcoal scribble illustrating this composi-tion I have tried carefully to avoid any drawing inthe figures or trees to show how the tone-musicdepends not so much on truth to natural appear-212
  • 249. 213
  • 250. UNITY OF MASSances as on the abstract arrangement of tone valuesand tlieir rhythmic play.Of course nature contains every conceivablevariety of tone-music, but it is not to be foundby unintelligent copying except in rare accidents.Emerson says, "Although you search the wholeworld for the beautiful youll not find it unless youtake it with you," and this is true to a greater extentof rhythmic tone arrangements.Turner :"Ulysses deriding Polyphemus."Turner was very fond of these gradated tone com-positions, and carried them to a lyrical height towhich they had never before attained. His "Ulyssesderiding Polyphemus," in the National Gallery ofBritish Art, is a splendid example of his use of thisprinciple. A great unity of expression is given bybringing the greatest dark and light together in sharpcontrast, as is done in this picture by the dark rocksand ships prows coming against the rising sun.From this point the dark and light masses gradatein different directions until they merge above theships sails. These sails cut sharply into the darkmass as the rocks and ship on the extreme right cutsharply into the light mass. Note also the edgeswhere they are accented and come sharply againstthe neighbouring mass, and where they are lost, andthe pleasing quality this play of edges gives.Stability is given by the line of the horizon andwaves in front, and the masts of the ships, the oars,and, in the original picture, a feeling of radiatinglines from the rising sun. Without these steadyinginfluences these compositions of gradated masseswould be sickly and weak.Corot : 2470 Collection Chauchard, Louvre.This is a typical example of Corots tone scheme,214
  • 252. UNITY OF MASSand little need be added to the description alreadygiven. 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 infiniteplay of lost-and-foundness in the edges giving tothis simple structure a richness and beauty effectthat is very satisfying. Note how Corot, like Turner,brings his greatest light and dark together in sharpcontrast where the rock on the right cuts the sky.Stability is given by the vertical feeling in thecentral group of trees and the suggestion of hori-zontal distance behind the figure.It is not only in the larger disposition of themasses in a composition that this principle ofgradated masses and lost and found edges can beused. Wherever grace and charm are your motivethey should be looked for in the working out of thesmallest details.In concluding this chapter I must again insistthat knowledge of these matters will not make youcompose a good picture. A composition may beperfect as far as any rules or principles of composi-tion go, and yet be of no account whatever. Thelife-giving quality in art always defies analysis andrefuses to be tabulated in any formula. This vitalquality in drawing and composition must come fromthe individual artist himself, and nobody can helphim much here. He must ever be on the look outfor those visions his imagination stirs within him,and endeavour, however haltingly at first, to givethem some sincere expression. Try always whenyour mind is filled with some pictorial idea to getsomething put down, a mere fumbled expressionpossibly, but it may contain the germ. Later on the216
  • 253. UNITY OF MASSsame idea may occur to you again, only it will beless vague this time, and a process of developmentwill have taken place. It may be years before ittakes 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 somerecord of what pictorial ideas pass in the mind,and dont wait until you can draw and paint wellto begin. Qualities of drawing and painting dontmatter a bit here, it is the sensation, the feelingfor the picture, that is everything.If knowledge of the rhythmic properties of linesand masses will not enable you to compose a finepicture, you may well ask what is their use ? Theremay be those to whom they are of no use. Theirartistic instincts are sufficiently strong to need nodirection. But such natures are rare, and it isdoubtful if they ever go far, while many a paintermight be saved a lot of worry over something inhis picture that "wont come "did he but knowmore of the principle of pictorial design his workis transgressing. I feel certain that the old painters,like the Venetians, were far more systematic andhad far more hard and fast principles of design thanourselves. They knew the science of their craftso well that they did not so often have to call upontheir artistic instinct to get them out of difficulties.Their artistic instinct was free to attend to higherthings, their knowledge of the science of picture-making keeping them from many petty mistakesthat a modern artist falls into. The desire of somany artists in these days to cut loose from tradi-tion and start all over again puts a very severestrain upon their intuitive faculties, and keeps themoccupied correcting things that more knowledge of217
  • 254. UNITY OF MASSsome of the fundamental principles that dont reallyalter and that are the same in all schools would havesaved them. Knowledge in art is like a railwaybuilt behind the pioneers who have gone before ;it offers a point of departure for those who comeafter, further on into the unknown country ofnatures secrets a help not lightly to be discarded.But all artifice in art must be concealed, a pictureobviously composed is badly composed. In a goodcomposition it is as though the parts had beencarefully placed in rhythmic relation and then thepicture jarred a little, so that everything is slightlyshifted out of place, thus introducing our "dither"or play of life between the parts. Of course nomechanical jogging will introduce the vital qualityreferred to, which must come from the vitalityof the artists intuition; although I have heard ofphotographers jogging the camera in an endeavourto introduce some artistic "play" in its mechanicalrenderings. But one must say something to showhow in all good composition the mechanical principlesat the basis of the matter are subordinate to a vitalprinciple on which the life in the work depends.This concealment of all artifice, this artlessnessand spontaneity of appearance, is one of the greatestqualities in a composition, any analysis of whichis futile. It is what occasionally gives to the workof the unlettered genius so great a charm. Butthe artist in whom the true spark has not beenquenched by worldly success or other enervatinginfluence, keeps the secret of this freshness righton, the culture of his student days being usedonly to give it splendour of expression, but neverto stifle or suppress its native charm.218
  • 255. XVBALANCETHERE seems to be a strife between opposing forcesat the basis of all things, a strife in which a per-fect balance is never attained, or life would cease.The worlds are kept on their courses by such op-posing forces, the perfect equilibrium never beingfound, and so the vitalising movement is kept up.States are held together on the same principle, noState seeming able to preserve a balance for long ;new forces arise, the balance is upset, and theState totters until a new equilibrium has beenfound. It would seem, however, to be the aimof life to strive after balance, any violent deviationfrom which is accompanied by calamity.And in art we have the same play of opposingfactors, straight lines and curves, light and dark,warm and cold colour oppose each other. Werethe balance between them perfect, the result wouldbe dull and dead. But if the balance, is very muchout, the eye is disturbed and the effect too dis-quieting. It will naturally be in pictures that aimat repose that this balance will be most perfect.In more exciting subjects less will be necessary,but some amount should exist in every picture, nomatter how turbulent its motive ; as in good tragedythe horror of the situation is never allowed to over-balance the beauty of the treatment.219
  • 256. BALANCELet us consider in the first place the balancebetween straight lines and curves. The richer andfuller the curves, the more severe shouldstraight be the straight lines that balance them,curves*"1^ perfect repose is desired. But if thesubject demands excess of movement andlife, of course there will be less necessity for thebalancing influence of straight lines. And on theother hand, if the subject demands an excess ofrepose and contemplation, the bias will be on theside of straight lines. But a picture composedentirely of rich, rolling curves is too disquietinga thing to contemplate, and would become veryirritating. Of the two extremes, one composedentirely of straight lines would be preferable toone with no squareness to relieve the richness ofthe curves. For straight lines are significant ofthe deeper and more permanent things of life, ofthe powers that govern and restrain, and of in-finity ; while the rich curves (that is, curves thefarthest removed from the straight line) seem tobe expressive of uncontrolled energy and the moreexuberant joys of life. Vice may be excess inany direction, but asceticism has generally beenaccepted as a nobler vice than voluptuousness.The rococo art of the eighteenth century is aninstance of the excessive use of curved forms, and,like all excesses in the joys of life, it is viciousand is the favourite style of decoration in vulgarplaces of entertainment. The excessive use ofstraight lines and square forms may be seen insome ancient Egyptian architecture, but this severitywas originally, no doubt, softened by the use ofcolour, and in any case it is nobler and finer thanthe vicious cleverness of rococo art.220
  • 257. BALANCEWe have seen how the Greeks balanced thestraight lines of their architectural forms with therich lines of the sculpture which they used solavishly on their temples. But the balance wasalways kept on the side of the square forms andnever on the side of undue roundness. And it ison this side that the balance would seem to be inthe finest art. Even the finest curves are thosethat approach the straight line rather than thecircle, that err on the side of flatnesses ratherthan roundnesses.What has been said about the balance of straightlines and curves applies equally well to tones, iffor straight lines you substitute flat tones,and for curved lines gradated tones. Thedeeper, more permanent things find ex-pression in the wider, flatter tones, whilean excess of gradations makes for prettiness, ifnot for the gross roundnesses of vicious modelling.Often when a picture is hopelessly out of gearand " mucked up," as they say in the studio, it canbe got on the right road again by reducing it toa basis of flat tones, going over it and paintingout the gradations, getting it back to a simplerequation from which the right road to completioncan be more readily seen. Overmuch concernwith the gradations of the smaller modelling is avery common reason of pictures and drawingsgetting out of gear. The less expenditure of tonevalues you can express your modelling with, thebetter, as a general rule. The balance in the finestwork is usually on the side of flat tones ratherthan on the side of gradated tones. Work thaterrs on the side of gradations, like that of Greuze,however popular its appeal, is much poorer stuff221
  • 258. than work that errs on the side of flatness in tone,like Giotto and the Italian primitives, or Puvis deChavannes among the moderns.There is a balance of tone set up also betweenlight and dark, between black and white in thescale of tone. Pictures that do not goLigMand far m the direction of light, starting fromTonesa middle tone, should not go far in thedirection of dark either. In this respectnote the pictures of Whistler, a great master inmatters of tone ;his lights seldom approach any-where near white, and, on the other hand, his darksnever approach black in tone. When the highestlights are low in tone, the darkest darks should behigh in tone. Painters like Rembrandt, whosepictures when fresh must have approached verynear white in the high lights, also approach blackin the darks, and nearer our own time, Frank Hollforced the whites of his pictures very high andcorrespondingly the darks were very heavy. Andwhen this balance is kept there is a Tightness aboutit that is instinctively felt. We do not mean thatthe amount of light tones in a picture should bebalanced by the amount of dark tones, but thatthere should be some balance between the extremesof light and dark used in the tone scheme of apicture. The old rule was, I believe, that a pictureshould be two-thirds light and one-third dark.But I do not think there is any rule to be observedhere : there are too many exceptions, and no men-tion is made of half tones.Like all so-called laws in art, this rule is capableof many apparent exceptions. There is the whitepicture in which all the tones are high. But inBome of the most successful of these you will gener-222
  • 259. BALANCEally find spots of intensely dark pigment. Turnerwas fond of these light pictures in his later manner,but he usually put in some dark spot, such as theblack gondolas in some of his Venetian pictures,that illustrate the law of balance we are speakingof, and are usually put in excessively dark in pro-portion as the rest of the picture is excessivelylight.The successful one-tone pictures are generallypainted in the middle tones, and thus do not inany way contradict our principle of balance.One is tempted at this point to wander a littleinto the province of colour, where the principle ofbalance of which we are speaking is muchfelt, the scale here being between warmand cold colours. If you divide the solarColours.spectrum roughly into half, you will havethe reds, oranges, and yellows on one side, and thepurples, blues, and greens on the other, the formerbeing roughly the warm and the latter the coldcolours. The clever manipulation of the oppositionbetween these warm and cold colours is one ofthe chief means used in giving vitality to colouring.But the point to notice here is that the furtheryour colouring goes in the direction of warmth,the further it will be necessary to go in the oppositedirection, to right the balance. That is how itcomes about that painters like Titian, who loved awarm, glowing, golden colouring, so often had toput a mass of the coldest blue in their pictures.Gainsboroughs" Blue Boy," although done in defianceof Reynolds principle, is no contradiction of ourrule, for although the boy has a blue dress all therest of the picture is warm brown and so thebalance is kept. It is the failure to observe this223
  • 260. balance that makes so many of the red-coatedhuntsmen and soldiers portraits in our exhibitionsso objectionable. They are too often painted on adark, hot, burnt sienna and black background, withnothing but warm colours in the flesh, &c., withthe result that the screaming heat is intolerable.With a hot mass of red like a huntsmans coat inyour picture, the coolest colour should be lookedfor everywhere else. Seen in a November landscape,how well a huntsmans coat looks, but then, howcold and grey is the colouring of the landscape. Theright thing to do is to support your red with asmany cool and neutral tones as possible and avoidhot shadows. With so strong a red, blue might betoo much of a contrast, unless your canvas waslarge enough to admit of its being introduced atsome distance from the red.Most painters, of course, are content to keep tomiddle courses, never going very far in the warmor cold directions. And, undoubtedly, much morefreedom of action is possible here, although theresults may not be so powerful. But when beautyand refinement of sentiment rather than force aredesired, the middle range of colouring (that is to say,all colours partly neutralised by admixture withtheir opposites) is much safer.There is another form of balance that must bementioned, although it is connected more with theBetween subject matter of art, as it concerns theinterest mental significance of objects rather thanthe rhythmic qualities possessed by linesand masses ;I refer to the balance there is betweeninterest and mass. The all-absorbing interest ofthe human figure makes it often when quite minutein scale balance the weight and interest of a great224
  • 261. BALANCEmass. Diagram XXVII is a rough instance of whatis meant. Without the little figure the compositionwould be out of balance. But the weight of interestcentred upon that lonely little person is enoughto right the balance occasioned by the great massof trees on the left. Figures are largely used bylandscape painters in this way, and are of great usein restoring balance in a picture.Diagram XXVIIILLUSTRATING HOW INTEREST MAY BALANCE MASSAnd lastly, there must be a balance struckbetween variety and unity. A great deal hasalready been said about this, and it will Betweenonly be necessary to recapitulate here that variety... j n . i. c 4.1 variety is due all the expression or thepicturesque, of the joyous energy of life, and allthat makes the world such a delightful place, butthat to unity belongs the relating of this varietyto the underlying bed-rock principles that supportit in nature and in all good art. It will depend onthe nature of the artist and on the nature of histheme how far this underlying unity will dominatethe expression in his work ;and how far it will beoverlaid and hidden behind a rich garment of variety.225 P
  • 262. BALANCEBut both ideas must be considered in his work.If the unity of his conception is allowed to excludevariety entirely, it will result in a dead abstraction^and if the variety is to be allowed none of therestraining influences of unity, it will develop intoa riotous extravagance.226
  • 263. XVIRHYTHM: PROPORTIONRULES and canons of proportion designed to reduceto a mathematical formula the things that move usin beautiful objects, have not been a great success ;the beautiful will always defy such clumsy analysis.But however true it is that beauty of proportionmust ever be the result of the finer senses of theartist, it is possible that canons of proportion, suchas those of the human body, may be of service tothe artist by offering some standard from whichhe can depart at the dictates of his artistic instinct.There appears to be no doubt that the ancientsculptors used some such system. And many ofthe renaissance painters were interested in thesubject, Leonardo da Vinci having much to sayabout it in his book.Like all scientific knowledge in art, it fails totrap the elusive something that is the vital essenceof the whole matter, but such scientific knowledgedoes help to bring ones work up to a high pointof mechanical perfection, from which ones artisticinstinct can soar with a better chance of successthan if no scientific scaffolding had been used inthe initial building up. Yet, however perfect yoursystem, dont forget that the life, the "dither,"will still have to be accounted for, and no sciencewill help you here.The idea that certain mathematical proportions227
  • 264. PROPORTIONor relationships underlie the phenomena we callbeauty is very ancient, and too abstruse to trouble ushere. But undoubtedly proportion, the quantitativerelation of the parts to each other and to the whole,forms a very important part in the impression worksof art and objects give us, and should be a subjectof the greatest consideration in planning your work.The mathematical relationship of these quantitiesis a subject that has always fascinated scholars,who have measured the antique statues accuratelyand painstakingly to find the secret of their charm.Science, by showing that different sounds anddifferent colours are produced by waves of differentlengths, and that therefore different colours andsounds can be expressed in terms of numbers, hascertainly opened the door to a new considerationof this subject of beauty in relation to mathematics.And the result of such an inquiry, if it is beingor has been carried on, will be of much interest.But there is something chilling to the artist inan array of dead figures, for he has a consciousnessthat the life of the whole matter will never becaptured by such mechanical means.The question we are interested to ask here is :are there particular sentiments connected with thedifferent relations of quantities, their proportions,as we found there were in connection with differentarrangements of lines and masses? Have abstractproportions any significance in art, as we foundabstract line and mass arrangements had? It isa difficult thing to be definite about, and I canonly give my own feeling on the matter ; but Ithink in some degree they have.Proportion can be considered from our twopoints of view of unity and variety. In so far as228
  • 265. PROPORTIONthe proportions of any picture or object resolvethemselves into a simple, easily grasped unity ofrelationship, a sense of repose and sublimity isproduced. In so far as the variety of proportionin the different parts is assertive and prevents theeye grasping the arrangement as a simple whole,a sense of the lively restlessness of life and activityis produced. In other words, as we found in linearrangements, unity makes for sublimity, whilevariety makes for the expression of life. Of coursethe scale of the object will have something to dowith this. That is to say, the most sublimely pro-portioned dog-kennel could never give us the im-pression of sublimity produced by a great temple. Inpictures the scale of the work is not of so great im-portance, a painting or drawing having the power ofgiving the impression of great size on a small scale.The proportion that is most easily grasped isthe half two equal parts. This is the most devoidof variety, and therefore of life, and is only usedwhen an effect of great repose and aloofness fromlife is wanted ;and even then, never without somevariety in the minor parts to give vitality. Thethird and the quarter, and in fact any equal pro-portions, are others that are easily grasped andpartake in a lesser degree of the same qualities asthe half. So that equality of proportion should beavoided except on those rare occasions when effectsremote from nature and life are desired. Natureseems to abhor equalities, never making two thingsalike or the same proportion if she can help it.All systems founded on equalities, as are somany modern systems of social reform, are manswork, the products of a machine-made age. Forthis is the difference between nature and the229
  • 266. PROPORTIONmachine : nature never produces two things alike,the machine never produces two things different.Man could solve the social problem to-morrow ifyou could produce him equal units. But if all menwere alike and equal, where would be the life andfun of existence? it would depart with the variety.And in proportion, as in life, variety is the secretof vitality, only to be suppressed where a staticeffect is wanted. In architecture equality of pro-portion is more often met with, as the staticqualities of repose are of more importance herethan in painting. One meets it on all fine buildingsin such things as rows of columns and windows ofequal size and distances apart, or the continualrepetition of the same forms in mouldings, &c. Buteven here, in the best work, some variety is allowedto keep the effect from being quite dead, the columnson the outside of a Greek pediment being nearertogether and leaning slightly inwards, and therepeated forms of windows, columns, and mouldingsbeing infinitely varied in themselves. But althoughyou often find repetitions of the same forms equi-distant in architecture, it is seldom that equality ofproportion is observable in the main distribution ofthe large masses.Let us take our simple type of composition, andin Diagram XXVIII, A, put the horizon across thecentre and an upright post cutting it in the middleof the picture. And let us introduce two spots thatmay indicate the position of birds in the upperspaces on either side of this.Here we have a maximum of equality and thedeadest and most static of results.To see these diagrams properly it is necessary tocover over with some pieces of notepaper all but230
  • 267. Plate XLVIII 7/io/o HanfstaenglTHE ANSIDEI MADONNA. BY RAPHAEL (NATIONAL GALLERY)A typical example of static balance in composition.
  • 268. PROPORTIONthe one being considered, as they affect each otherwhen seen together, and the quality of their pro-portion is not so readily observed.In many pictures of the Madonna, when a hushand reverence are desired rather than exuberantlife, the figure is put in the centre of the canvas,equality of proportion existing between the spaceson either side of her. But having got the reposethis centralisation gives, everything is done to con-ceal this equality, and variety in the contours oneither side, and in any figures there may be, is care-fully sought. Raphaels "Ansidei Madonna," in theNational Gallery, is an instance of this (p. 230). Youhave first the centralisation of the figure of theMadonna with the throne on which she sits, exactlyin the middle of the picture. Not only is the thronein the centre of the picture, but its width is exactlythat of the spaces on either side of it, giving usthree equal proportions across the picture. Thenyou have the circular lines of the arches behind,curves possessed of the least possible amount ofvariety and therefore the calmest and most repose-ful; while the horizontal lines of the steps and thevertical lines of the throne and architecture, andalso the rows of hanging beads give further em-phasis to this infinity of calm. But when we cometo the figures this symmetry has been varied every-where. All the heads swing towards the right,while the lines of the draperies swing freely inmany directions. The swing of the heads towardsthe right is balanced and the eye brought back toequilibrium by the strongly-insisted-upon staff ofSt. Nicholas on the right. The staff of St. Johnnecessary to balance this line somewhat, is veryslightly insisted on, being represented transparent231
  • 269. Diagram XXVIII (1)232
  • 270. 233Diagram XXVIII (2)
  • 271. Diagram XXVIII (3234
  • 272. PROPORTIONas if made of glass, so as not to increase the swingto the right occasioned by the heads. It is interest-ing to note the fruit introduced at the last momentin the right-hand lower corner, dragged in, as itwere, to restore the balance occasioned by the figureof the Christ being on the left. In the writershumble opinion the extremely obvious artificewith which the lines have been balanced, and theseverity of the convention of this composition gener-ally, are out of harmony with the amount of natural-istic detail and particularly of solidity allowed in thetreatment of the figures and accessories. The smallamount of truth to visual nature in the work ofearlier men went better with the formality of suchcompositions. With so little of the variety of lifein their treatment of natural appearances, one wasnot led to demand so much of the variety of lifein the arrangement. It is the simplicity and re-moteness from the full effect of natural appearancesin the work of the early Italian schools that madetheir painting such a ready medium for the expres-sion of religious subjects. This atmosphere ofother-worldliness where the music of line and colourwas uninterrupted by any aggressive look of realthings is a better convention for the expressionof such ideas and emotions.In B and C the proportions of the third andthe quarter are shown, producing the same staticeffect as the half, although not so completely.At D, E, F the same number of lines and spotsas we have at A, B, C have been used, but variedas to size and position, so that they have no obviousmechanical relationship. The result is an expres-sion of much more life and character.At G, H, I more lines and spots have been235
  • 273. PROPORTIONadded. At G they are equidistant and dead fromlack of variety, while at H and I they are variedto a degree that prevents the eye grasping anyobvious relationship between them. They haveconsequently a look of liveliness and life very differ-ent from A, B, C, or G. It will be observed thatas the amount of variety increases so does the lifeand liveliness of the impression.In these diagrams a certain static effect is keptup throughout, on account of our lines being verticaland horizontal only, which lines, as we saw in anearlier chapter, are the calmest we have. Butdespite this, I think the added life due to the varietyin the proportions is sufficiently apparent in thediagrams to prove the point we wish to make.As a contrast to the infinite calm of Raphaels"Madonna," we have reproduced Tintorettos "Findingof the Body of St. Mark," in the Brera Gallery, Milan.Here all is life and movement. The proportions areinfinitely varied, nowhere does the eye grasp anyobvious mathematical relationship. We have thesame semi-circular arches as in the Raphael, but notsymmetrically placed, and their lines everywherevaried, and their calm effect destroyed by theflickering lights playing about them. Note thegreat emphasis given to the outstretched hand ofthe powerful figure of the Apostle on the left by thelines of the architecture and the line of arm of thekneeling figure in the centre of the picture converg-ing on this hand and leading the eye immediatelyto it. There is here no static symmetry, all is energyand force. Starting with this arresting arm, theeye is led down the majestic figure of St. Mark,past the recumbent figure, and across the pictureby means of the band of light on the ground, to the236
  • 274. Plate XLIX Photo AndersonTHE FINDING OF THE BODY OF ST. MARKTINTORETTO (BREDA, MILAN)Compare with Raphaels Ansidei Madonna, and note how energy and movement takethe place of static calm in the balance of this composition.
  • 275. PROPORTIONimportant group of frightened figures on the right.And from them on to the figures engaged in lower-ing a corpse from its tomb. Or, following the direc-tion of the outstretched arm of St. Mark, we areled by the lines of the architecture to this groupstraight away, and back again by means of thegroup on the right and the band of light on theground. The quantities are not placed in reposefulsymmetry about the canvas, as was the case inthe Raphael, but are thrown off apparently hap-hazard from lines leading the eye round the picture.Note also the dramatic intensity given by thestrongly contrasted light and shade, and how Tintor-etto has enjoyed the weird effect of the two figureslooking into a tomb with a light, their shadows beingthrown on the lid they hold open, at the far end ofthe room. This must have been an amazingly newpiece of realism at the time, and is wonderfully used,to give an eerie effect to the darkened end of theroom. With his boundless energy and full enjoymentof life, Tintorettos work naturally shows a strongleaning towards variety, and his amazing composi-tions are a liberal education in the innumerable andunexpected ways in which a panel can be filled,and should be carefully studied by students.A pleasing proportion that often occurs in natureand art is one that may be roughly stated in figuresas that between 5 and 8. In such a proportion theeye sees no mathematical relationship. Were it lessthan 5, it would be too near the proportion of 4 to 8(or one-third the total length), a dull proportion ;orwere it more, it would be approaching too nearequality of proportion to be quite satisfactory.I have seen a proportional compass, importedfrom Germany, giving a relationship similar to this237
  • 276. PROPORTIONand said to contain the secret of good proportion.There is certainly something remarkable about it,and in the Appendix, page 289, you will find somefurther interesting facts about this.The variety of proportions in a building, apicture, or a piece of sculpture should always beunder the control of a few simple, dominant quan-tities that simplify the appearance and give it aunity which is readily grasped except where violenceand lack of repose are wanted. The simpler theproportion is, the more sublime will be the impres-sion, and the more complicated, the livelier and morevivacious the effect. From a few well-chosen largeproportions the eye may be led on to enjoy thesmaller varieties. But in good proportion the lesserparts are not allowed to obtrude, but are kept insubordination to the main dispositions on which theunity of the effect depends.238
  • 277. XVIIPORTRAIT DRAWINGTHERE is something in every individual that is likelyfor a long time to defy the analysis of science.When you have summed up the total of atoms orelectrons or whatever it is that goes to the makingof the tissues and also the innumerable complexfunctions performed by the different parts, you havenot yet got on the track of the individual thatgoverns the whole performance. The effect of thispersonality on the outward form, and the influenceit has in modifying the aspect of body and features,are the things that concern the portrait draughts-man : the seizing on and expressing forcefully theindividual character of the sitter, as expressed byhis outward appearance.This character expression in form has beenthought to be somewhat antagonistic to beauty,and many sitters are shy of the particular char-acteristics of their own features. The fashionablephotographer, knowing this, carefully stipples outof his negative any striking characteristics in theform of his sitter the negative may show. Butjudging by the result, it is doubtful whether anybeauty has been gained, and certain that interestand vitality have been lost in the process. What-ever may be the nature of beauty, it is obvious thatwhat makes one object more beautiful than another239
  • 278. PORTRAIT DRAWINGis something that is characteristic of the appearanceof the one and not of the other : so that some closestudy of individual characteristics must be the aimof the artist who would seek to express beauty, aswell as the artist who seeks the expression of char-acter and professes no interest in beauty.Catching the likeness, as it is called, is simplyseizing on the essential things that belong only toa particular individual and differentiate that indi-vidual from others, and expressing them in a force-ful manner. There are certain things that arecommon to the whole species, likeness to a commontype ; the individual likeness is not in this directionbut at the opposite pole to it.It is one of the most remarkable things connectedwith the amazing subtlety of appreciation possessedby the human eye, that of the millions of headsin the world, and probably of all that have everexisted in the world, no two look exactly alike.When one considers how alike they are, and howvery restricted is the range of difference betweenthem, is it not remarkable how quickly the eyerecognises one person from another? It is moreremarkable still how one sometimes recognises afriend not seen for many years, and whose appear-ance has changed considerably in the meantime.And this likeness that we recognise is not so muchas is generally thought a matter of the individualfeatures. If one sees the eye alone, the remainderof the face being covered, it is almost impossibleto recognise even a well-known friend, or tellwhether the expression is that of laughing or crying.And again, how difficult it is to recognise anybodywhen the eyes are masked and only the lower partof the face visible.240
  • 279. Plate LFROM A DRAWING IN RED CHALK BY HOLBEEN INTHE BRITISH MUSEUM PRINT ROOMNote how every bit of variety is sought for, the difference in the eyes and oneither side of the mouth, etc.
  • 280. PORTRAIT DRAWINGIf you try and recall a well-known head it willnot be the shape of the features that will be re-collected so much as an impression, the result ofall these combined, a sort of chord of which thefeatures will be but the component elements. Itis the relation of the different parts to this chord,this impression of the personality of a head, thatis the all-important thing in what is popularly called"catching the likeness." In drawing a portrait themind must be centred on this, and all the individualparts drawn in relation to it. The moment theeye gets interested solely in some individual partand forgets the consideration of its relationship tothis whole impression, the likeness suffers.Where there is so much that is similar in heads,it is obvious that what differences there are mustbe searched out and seized upon forcefully, if theindividuality of the head is to be made telling. Thedrawing of portraits should therefore be approachedfrom the direction of these differences ; that is tosay, the things in general disposition and proportionin which your subject differs from a common type,should be first sought for, the things common toall heads being left to take care of themselves fora bit. The reason for this is that the eye, whenfresh, sees these differences much more readily thanafter it has been working for some time. Thetendency of a tired eye is to see less differentiation,and to hark back to a dull uniformity; so get intouch at once with the vital differences while youreye is fresh and your vision keen.Look out first for the character of the dispositionof the features, note the proportions down animagined centre line, of the brows, the base of thenose, the mouth and chin, and get the character241 Q
  • 281. PORTRAIT DRAWINGof the shape of the enclosing line of the face blockedout in square lines. The great importance of gettingthese proportions right early cannot be over-em-phasised, as any mistake may later on necessitatecompletely shifting a carefully drawn feature. Andthe importance of this may be judged from the factthat you recognise a head a long way off, before any-thing but the general disposition of the masses sur-rounding the features can be seen. The shape ofthe skull, too, is another thing of which to get anearly idea, and its relation to the face should becarefully noted. But it is impossible to lay downhard and fast rules for these things.Some artists begin in point drawing with theeyes, and some leave the eyes until the very last.Some draughtsmen are never happy until they havean eye to adjust the head round, treating it as thecentre of interest and drawing the parts relativelyto it. While others say, with some truth, that thereis a mesmeric effect produced when the eye is drawnthat blinds one to the cold-blooded technical con-sideration of a head as line and tone in certainrelationships ; that it is as well to postpone untilthe last, that moment when the shapes and tonesthat represent form in your drawing shall be litup by the introduction of the eye, to the look of alive person. One is freer to consider the accuracyof ones form before this disturbing influence is in-troduced. And there is a good deal to be said forthis.Although in point drawing you can, withoutserious effect, begin at any part that interests you,in setting out a painting I think there can be notwo opinions as to the right way to go about it.The character of the general disposition of the242
  • 282. trPlato LISIR CHARLES DILKE, BART.From the drawing in the collection of Sir Robert Essex, M.P., in red conte chalkrubbed, the high lights being picked out with rubber.
  • 283. masses must be first constructed. And if thisgeneral blocking in has been well done, the characterof the sitter will be apparent from the first even inthis early stage ;and you will be able to judge of theaccuracy of your blocking out by whether or not itdoes suggest the original. If it does not, correct itbefore going any further, working, as it were, fromthe general impression of the masses of the head asseen a long way off, adding more and more detail, andgradually bringing the impression nearer, until thecompleted head is arrived at, thus getting in touchfrom the very first with the likeness which shoulddominate the work all along.There are many points of view from which aportrait can be drawn I mean, mental points ofview. And, as in a biography, the value of thework will depend on the insight and distinction ofthe author or artist. The valet of a great manmight write a biography of his master that couldbe quite true to his point of view ; but, assuminghim to be an average valet, it would not be a greatwork. I believe the gardener of Darwin when askedhow his master was, said,"Not at all well. You see,he moons about all day. Ive seen him staring ata 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 exceptby a man who can comprehend his subject and takea wide view of his position among men, sortingwhat is trivial from what is essential, what iscommon to all men from what is particular to thesubject of his work. And it is very much the samein portraiture. It is only the painter who possessesthe intuitive faculty for seizing on the significantthings in the form expression of his subject, of243
  • 284. PORTRAIT DRAWINGdisentangling what is trivial from what is im-portant; and who can convey this forcibly to thebeholder on his canvas, more forcibly than a casualsight of the real person could do it is only thispainter who can hope to paint a really fineportrait.It is true, the honest and sincere expression ofany painter will be of some interest, just as thebiography written by Darwins gardener might be ;but there is a vast difference between this point ofview and that of the man who thoroughly compre-hends his subject.Not that it is necessary for the artist to grasp themind of his sitter, although that is no disadvantage.But this is not his point of view, his business is withthe effect of this inner man on his outward appear-ance. And it is necessary for him to have thatintuitive power that seizes instinctively on thosevariations of form that are expressive of this innerman. The habitual cast of thought in any individualaffects the shape and moulds the form of thefeatures, and, to the discerning, the head is ex-pressive of the person ; both the bigger and thesmaller person, both the larger and the pettycharacteristics everybody possesses. And the fineportrait will express the larger and subordinatethe petty individualities, will give you what is ofvalue, and subordinate what is trivial in a personsappearance.The pose of the head is a characteristic featureabout people that is not always given enough at-tention in portraits. The habitual cast of thoughtaffects its carriage to a very large degree. The twoextreme types of what we mean are the stronglyemotional man who carries his head high, drinking244
  • 285. PORTRAIT DRAWINGin impressions as he goes through the world; andthe man of deep thought who carries his head bentforward, his back bent in sympathy with it. Every-body has some characteristic action in the way thatshould be looked out for and that is usually absentwhen a sitter first appears before a painter on thestudio throne. A little diplomacy and conversationalhumouring is necessary to produce that unconscious-ness that will betray the man in his appearance.How the power to discover these things can beacquired, it is, of course, impossible to teach. Allthe student can do is to familiarise himself withthe best examples of portraiture, in the hope that hemay be stimulated by this means to observe finerqualities in nature and develop the best that is inhim. But he must never be insincere in his work.If he does not appreciate fine things in the workof recognised masters, let him stick to the honestportrayal of what he does see in nature. The onlydistinction of which he is capable lies in this direction.It is not until he awakens to the sight in nature ofqualities he may have admired in others work thathe is in a position honestly to introduce them intohis own performances.Probably the most popular point of view inportraiture at present is the one that can be de-scribed as a "striking presentment of the live person."This is the portrait that arrests the crowd in anexhibition. You cannot ignore it, vitality burstsfrom it, and everything seems sacrificed to thisquality of striking lifelikeness. And some verywonderful modern portraits have been painted fromthis point of view. But have we not sacrificed toomuch to this quality of vitality? Here is a lady245
  • 286. PORTRAIT DRAWINGhurriedly getting up from a couch, there a gentle-man stepping out of the frame to greet you, violenceand vitality everywhere. But what of repose,harmony of colour and form, and the wise orderingand selecting of the materials of vision that onehas been used to in the great portraiture of thepast ? While the craftsman in one is staggered andamazed at the brilliant virtuosity of the thing, theartist in one resents the sacrifice of so much forwhat is, after all, but a short-lived excitement. Agemay, no doubt, improve some of the portraits ofthis class by quieting them in colour and tone. Andthose that are good in design and arrangement willstand this without loss of distinction, but those inwhich everything has been sacrificed to this strikinglifelike quality will suffer considerably. This par-ticular quality depends so much on the freshnessof the paint that when this is mellowed and itsvividness is lost, nothing will remain of value, ifthe quieter qualities of design and arrangementhave been sacrificed for it.Frans Hals is the only old master I can thinkof with whom this form of portrait can be compared.But it will be noticed that besides designing hiscanvases carefully, he usually balanced the vigourand vitality of his form with a great sobriety ofcolour. In fact, in some of his later work, wherethis restless vitality is most in evidence, the colouris little more than black and white, with a littleyellow ochre and Venetian red. It is this extremereposefulness of colour that opposes the unrest inthe form and helps to restore the balance and neces-sary repose in the picture. It is interesting to notethe restless variety of the edges in Frans Halswork, how he never, if he can help it, lets an edge240
  • 287. Plate LIIJOHN REDMOND, M.P.From the drawing in the collection of Sir Robert Essex, M.P., in red conte chalkrubbed, the high lights being picked out with rubber.
  • 288. PORTRAIT DRAWINGrun smoothly, but keeps it constantly on the move,often leaving it quite jagged, and to compare thiswith what was said about vitality depending onvariety.Another point of view is that of the artist whoseeks to give a significant and calm view of theexterior forms of the sitter, an expressive map ofthe individuality of those forms, leaving you toform your own intellectual judgments. A simple,rather formal, attitude is usually chosen, and thesitter is drawn with searching honesty. There isa great deal to be said for this point of view inthe hands of a painter with a large appreciationof form and design. But without these more in-spiring qualities it is apt to have the dulness thatattends most literal transcriptions. There are manyinstances of this point of view among early portraitpainters, one of the best of which is the work ofHolbein. But then, to a very distinguished appreci-ation of the subtleties of form characterisation headded a fine sense of design and colour arrange-ment, qualities by no means always at the commandof some of the lesser men of this school.Every portrait draughtsman should make apilgrimage to Windsor, armed with the necessarypermission to view the wonderful series of portraitdrawings by this master in the library of thecastle. They are a liberal education in portraitdrawing. It is necessary to see the originals, forit is only after having seen them that one canproperly understand the numerous and well-knownreproductions. A study of these drawings will, Ithink, reveal the fact that they are not so literal asis usually thought. Unflinchingly and unaffectedly247
  • 289. PORTRAIT DRAWINGhonest they are, but honest not to a cold, mechani-cally accurate record of the sitters appearance, buthonest and accurate to the vital impression of thelive sitter made on the mind of the live artist. Thisis the difference we were trying to explain thatexists between the academic and the vital drawing,and it is a very subtle and elusive quality, like allartistic qualities, to talk about. The record of avital impression done with unflinching accuracy,but under the guidance of intense mental activityis a very different thing from a drawing done withthe cold, mechanical accuracy of a machine. Theone will instantly grip the attention and give onea vivid sensation in a way that no mechanically ac-curate drawing could do, and in a way that possiblythe sight of the real person would not always do.We see numbers of faces during a day, but onlya few with the vividness of which I am speaking.How many faces in a crowd are passed indiffer-ently there is no vitality in the impression theymake on our mind ;but suddenly a face will rivetour attention, and although it is gone in a flash,the memory of the impression will remain for sometime.The best of Holbeins portrait drawings give onethe impression of having been seen in one of theseflashes and rivet the attention in consequence. Draw-ings done under this mental stimulus present subtledifferences from drawings done with cold accuracy.The drawing of the Lady Audley, here reproduced,bears evidence of some of this subtle variation onwhat are called the facts, in the left eye of thesitter. It will be noticed that the pupil of this eyeis larger than the other. Now I do not supposethat as a matter of mechanical accuracy this was so,248
  • 290. Plate LIIITHE LADY AUDLEY. HOLBEIN (WINDSOR)Note the different sizes of pupils in the eyes, and see letterpress on the opposite page.
  • 291. PORTRAIT DRAWINGbut the impression of the eyes seen as part of avivid impression of the head is seldom that theyare the same size. Holbein had in the first instancein this very carefully wrought drawing made themso, but when at the last he was vitalising the im-pression, "pulling it together" as artists say, hehas deliberately put a line outside the original one,making this pupil larger. This is not at all clearlyseen in the reproduction, but is distinctly visiblein the original. And to my thinking it was doneat the dictates of the vivid mental impression hewished his drawing to convey. Few can fail to bestruck in turning over this wonderful series ofdrawings by the vividness of their portraiture, andthe vividness is due to their being severely accurateto the vital impression on the mind of Holbein, notmerely to the facts coldly observed.Another point of view is that of seeking in theface a symbol of the person within, and selectingthose things about a head that express this. Ashas already been said, the habitual attitude of mindhas in the course of time a marked influence on theform of the face, and in fact of the whole body, sothat to those who can see the man or womanis a visible symbol of themselves. But this is by nomeans apparent to all.The striking example of this class is the splendidseries of portraits by the late G. F. Watts. Lookingat these heads one is made conscious of the peoplein a fuller, deeper sense than if they were beforeone in the flesh. For "Watts sought to discover theperson in their appearance and to paint a picturethat should be a living symbol of them. He tookpains to find out all he could about the mind of249
  • 292. PORTRAIT DRAWINGhis sitters before he painted them, and sought inthe appearance the expression of this inner man.So that whereas with Holbein it was the vividpresentation of the impression as one might see ahead that struck one in a crowd, with Watts it isthe spirit one is first conscious of. The thundersof war appear in the powerful head of LordLawrence, the music of poetry in the head ofSwinburne; and the dry atmosphere of the higherregions of thought in the John Stuart Mill, &c.In the National Portrait Gallery there are twopaintings of the poet Robert Browning, one byRudolph Lehmann and one by Watts. Now theformer portrait is probably much more "like" thepoet as the people who met him casually saw him.But Wattss portrait is like the man who wrote thepoetry, and Lehmanns is not. Browning was aparticularly difficult subject in this respect, in thatto a casual observer there was much more abouthis external appearance to suggest a prosperous manof business, than the fiery zeal of the poet.These portraits by Watts will repay the closeststudy by the student of portraiture. They are fullof that wise selection by a great mind that liftssuch work above the triviality of the commonplaceto the level of great imaginative painting.Another point of view is that of treating thesitter as part of a symphony of form and colour,and subordinating everything to this artistic con-sideration. This is very fashionable at the presenttime, and much beautiful work is being done withthis motive. And with many ladies who would not,I hope, object to ones saying that their principalcharacteristic was the charm of their appearance250
  • 293. PORTRAIT DRAWINGthis point of view offers, perhaps, one of the bestopportunities of a successful painting. A pose isselected that makes a good design of line and coloura good pattern and the character of the sitteris not allowed to obtrude or mar the symmetry ofthe whole considered as a beautiful panel. Theportraits of J. MNeill Whistler are examples of thistreatment, a point of view that has very largelyinfluenced modern portrait painting in England.Then there is the official portrait in which thedignity of an office held by the sitter, of which occa-sion the portrait is a memorial, has to be considered.The more intimate interest in the personal characterof the sitter is here subordinated to the interest ofhis public character and attitude of mind towardshis office. Thus it happens that much more decorativepageantry symbolic of these things is permissible inthis kind of portraiture than in that of plain Mr.Smith ;a greater stateliness of design as befittingofficial occasions.It is not contended that this forms anythinglike a complete list of the numerous aspects fromwhich a portrait can be considered, but they aresome of the more extreme of those prevalent atthe present time. Neither is it contended that theyare incompatible with each other: the qualities oftwo or more of these points of view are often foundin the same work. And it is not inconceivable that asingle portrait might contain all and be a strikinglifelike presentment, a faithful catalogue of all thefeatures, a symbol of the person and a symphonyof form and colour. But the chances are againstsuch a composite affair being a success. One or
  • 294. PORTRAIT DRAWINGother quality will dominate in a successful work ;and it is not advisable to try and combine toomany different points of view as, in the confusionof ideas, directness of expression is lost. But nogood portrait is without some of the qualities ofall these points of view, whichever may dominatethe artists intention.The camera, and more particularly the instan-taneous camera, has habituated people to expect ina portrait a momentary expression, and ofthese momentary expressions the faint smile,as we all know, is an easy first in the matterof popularity. It is no uncommon thing for thepainter to be asked in the early stages of his workwhen he is going to put in the smile, it neverbeing questioned that this is the artists aim inthe matter of expression.The giving of lifelike expression to a paintingis not so simple a matter as it might appear tobe. Could one set the real person behind the frameand suddenly fix them for ever with one of thosepassing expressions on their faces, however naturalit might have been at the moment, fixed for everit is terrible, and most unlifelike. As we havealready said, a few lines scribbled on a piece ofpaper by a consummate artist would give a greatersense of life than this fixed actuality. It is notultimately by the pursuit of the actual realisationthat expression and life are conveyed in a portrait.Every face has expression of a far more interest-ing and enduring kind than these momentary dis-turbances of its form occasioned by laughter orsome passing thought, &c. And it must never beforgotten that a portrait is a panel painted toremain for centuries without movement. So that252
  • 295. PORTRAIT DRAWINGa large amount of the quality of repose mustenter into its composition. Portraits in whichthis has not been borne in mind, however enter-taining at a picture exhibition, where they areseen for a few moments only, pall on one if con-stantly seen, and are finally very irritating.But the real expression in a head is somethingmore enduring than these passing movements : onethat belongs to the forms of a head, and the marksleft on that form by the life and character of theperson. This is of far more interest than thosepassing expressions, the results of the contractionof certain muscles under the skin, the effect ofwhich is very similar in most people. It is forthe portrait painter to find this more enduringexpression and give it noble expression in his work.It is a common idea among sitters that if theyare painted in modern clothes the picture willlook old-fashioned in a few years. If the Treat_sitters appearance were fixed upon the mentofcanvas exactly as they stood before theartist in his studio, without any selection on thepart of the painter, this might be the result, andis the result in the case of painters who have nohigher aim than this.But there are qualities in dress that do notbelong exclusively to the particular period of theirfashion. Qualities that are the same in all ages.And when these are insisted upon, and the frivolitiesof the moment in dress not troubled about so much,the portrait has a permanent quality, and willnever in consequence look old-fashioned in theoffensive way that is usually meant. In the firstplace, the drapery and stuffs of which clothes aremade follow laws in the manner in which they fold253
  • 296. PORTRAIT DRAWINGand drape over the figure, that are the same in alltimes. If the expression of the figure through thedraperies is sought by the painter, a permanentquality will be given in his work, whatever fantasticshapes the cut of the garments may assume.And further, the artist does not take whatevercomes to hand in the appearance of his sitter, butworks to a thought-out arrangement of colour andform, to a design. This he selects from the movingand varied appearance of his sitter, trying one thingafter another, until he sees a suggestive arrange-ment, from the impression of which he makes hisdesign. It is true that the extremes of fashion donot always lend themselves so readily as morereasonable modes to the making of a good pictorialpattern. But this is not always so, some extremefashions giving opportunities of very piquant andinteresting portrait designs. So that, howeverextreme the fashion, if the artist is able to selectsome aspect of it that will result in a good arrange-ment for his portrait, the work will never havethe offensive old-fashioned look. The principlesgoverning good designs are the same in all times;and if material for such arrangement has beendiscovered in the most modish of fashions, it hasbeen lifted into a sphere where nothing is ever outof date.It is only when the painter is concerned withthe 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 theappearance of fashionable clothes by selection intothe permanent realms of form and colour design,that his work will justify one in saying that it willlook stale in a few years.254
  • 297. PORTRAIT DRAWINGThe fashion of dressing sitters in meaningless, so-called classical draperies is a feeble one, and usuallyargues a lack of capacity for selecting a goodarrangement from the clothes of the period in theartist who adopts it. Modern womens clothes arefull of suggestions for new arrangements anddesigns quite as good as anything that has beendone in the past. The range of subtle colours andvarieties of texture in materials is amazing, andthe subtlety of invention displayed in some of thedesigns for costumes leads one to wonder whetherthere is not something in the remark attributed toan eminent sculptor that "designing ladies fashionsis one of the few arts that is thoroughly vitalto-day."255
  • 298. XVIIITHE VISUAL MEMORYTHE memory is the great storehouse of artisticmaterial, the treasures of which the artist mayknow little about until a chance association lightsup some of its dark recesses. From early yearsthe mind of the young artist has been storing upimpressions in these mysterious chambers, collectedfrom natures aspects, works of art, and anythingthat comes within the field of vision. It is fromthis store that the imagination draws its material,however fantastic and remote from natural appear-ances the forms it may assume.How much our memory of pictures colours theimpressions of nature we receive is probably notsuspected by us, but who could say how a scenewould appear to him, had he never looked at apicture? So sensitive is the vision to the influenceof memory that, after seeing the pictures of somepainter whose work has deeply impressed us, weare apt, while the memory of it is still fresh inour minds, to see things as he would paint them.On different occasions after leaving the NationalGallery I can remember having seen TrafalgarSquare as Paolo Veronese, Turner, or whateverpainter may have impressed me in the Gallery,would have painted, it, the memory of their workcolouring the impression the scene produced.256
  • 299. THE VISUAL MEMORYBut, putting aside the memory of pictures, letus consider the place of direct visual memory fromnature in our work, pictures being indirect or second-hand impressions.We have seen in an earlier chapter how certainpainters in the nineteenth century, feeling how verysecond-hand and far removed from nature paintinghad become, started a movement to discard studiotraditions and study nature with a single eye, takingtheir pictures out of doors, and endeavouring towrest natures secrets from her on the spot. ThePre-Raphaelite movement in England and the Im-pressionist movement in France were the resultsof this impulse. And it is interesting, by the way,to contrast the different manner in which thisdesire for more truth to nature affected the Frenchand English temperaments. The intense indi-vidualism of the English sought out every detail,every leaf and flower for itself, painting themwith a passion and intensity that made their paint-ing a vivid medium for the expression of poeticideas ;while the more synthetic mind of the French-man approached this search for visual truth fromthe opposite point of view of the whole effect,finding in the large, generalised impression a newworld of beauty. And his more logical mind ledhim to inquire into the nature of light, and so toinvent a technique founded on scientific principles.But now the first blush of freshness has wornoff the new movement, painters have begun to seethat if anything but very ordinary effects are tobe attempted, this painting on the spot must giveplace to more reliance on the memory.Memory has this great advantage over directvision : it retains more vividly the essential things,257 R
  • 300. THE VISUAL MEMORYand has a habit of losing what is unessential tothe pictorial impression.But what is the essential in a painting? Whatis it makes one want to paint at all ? Ah ! Herewe approach very debatable and shadowy ground,and we can do little but ask questions, theanswer to which will vary with each individualtemperament. What is it that these rays oflight striking our retina convey to our brain,and from our brain to whatever is ourselves, inthe seat of consciousness above this? What isthis mysterious correspondence set up betweensomething within and something without, that attimes sends such a clamour of harmony throughour whole being? Why do certain combinationsof sound in music and of form and colour in artaffect us so profoundly? What are the lawsgoverning harmony in the universe, and whencedo 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 memorablemoments he is permitted a consciousness of deeperthings, and impelled to seek utterance for whatis moving him. It is the record of these raremoments in which one apprehends truth in thingsseen that the artist wishes to convey to others.But these moments, these flashes of inspirationwhich are at the inception of every vital picture,occur but seldom. What the painter has to dois to fix them vividly in his memory, to snapshotthem, as it were, so that they may stand by himduring the toilsome procedure of the painting,and guide the work.This initial inspiration, this initial flash in themind, need not be the result of a scene in nature,258
  • 301. THE VISUAL MEMORYbut may of course be purely the work of the im-agination ; a composition, the sense of which flashesacross the mind. But in either case the difficultyis to preserve vividly the sensation of this originalartistic impulse. And in the case of its havingbeen derived from nature direct, as is so often thecase in modern art, the system of painting continu-ally on the spot is apt to lose touch with it verysoon. For in the continual observation of anythingyou have set your easel before day after day, comesa series of impressions, more and more commonplace,as the eye becomes more and more familiar withthe details of the subject. And ere long the originalemotion that was the reason of the whole workis lost sight of, and one of those pictures or draw-ings giving a catalogue of tired objects more orless ingeniously arranged (that we all know sowell) is the result work utterly lacking in thefreshness and charm of true inspiration. For how-ever commonplace the subject seen by the artistin one of his "flashes," it is clothed in a newnessand surprise that charm us, be it only an orangeon a plate.Now a picture is a thing of paint upon a flatsurface, and a drawing is a matter of certain marksupon a paper, and how to translate the intricaciesof a visual or imagined impression to the prosaicterms of masses of coloured pigment or lines andtones is the business with which our technique isconcerned. The ease, therefore, with which a painterwiU be able to remember an impression in a formfrom which he can work, will depend upon his powerto analyse vision in this technical sense. The moreone knows about what may be called the anatomyof picture-making how certain forms produce cer-259
  • 302. THE VISUAL MEMORYtain effects, certain colours or arrangements othereffects, &c. the easier will it be for him to carryaway a visual memory of his subject that will standby him during the long hours of his labours atthe picture. The more he knows of the expressivepowers of lines and tones, the more easily will hebe able to observe the vital things in nature thatconvey the impression he wishes to memorise.It is not enough to drink in and remember theemotional side of the matter, although this mustbe done fully, but if a memory of the subject isto be carried away that will be of service techni-cally, the scene must be committed to memory interms of whatever medium you intend to employfor reproducing it in the case of a drawing, linesand tones. And the impression will have to beanalysed into these terms as if you were actuallydrawing the scene on some imagined piece of paperin your mind. The faculty of doing this is not tobe acquired all at once, but it is amazing of howmuch development it is capable. Just as the facultyof committing to memory long poems or plays canbe developed, so can the faculty of rememberingvisual things. This subject has received little at-tention in art schools until just recently. But itis not yet so systematically done as it might be.Monsieur Lecoq de Boisbaudran in France experi-mented with pupils in this memory training, begin-ning with very simple things like the outline ofa nose, and going on to more complex subjects byeasy stages, with the most surprising results. Andthere is no doubt that a great deal more can andshould be done in this direction than is at presentattempted. What students should do is to forma habit of making every day in their sketch-book260
  • 303. Plate LIVSTUDY ON BROWN PAPER IN BLACK AND WHITE CONTK CHALKIllustrating a simple method of studying- drapery forms.
  • 304. THE VISUAL MEMORYa drawing of something they have seen that has in-terested them, and that they have made some at-tempt at memorising. Dont be discouraged if theresults are poor and disappointing at first you willfind that by persevering your power of memorywill develop and be of the greatest service to youin your after work. Try particularly to rememberthe spirit of the subject, and in this memory-draw-ing some scribbling and fumbling will necessarilyhave to be done. You cannot expect to be able todraw definitely and clearly from memory, at leastat first, although your aim should always be todraw as frankly and clearly as you can.Let us assume that you have found a subjectthat moves you and that, being too fleeting todraw on the spot, you wish to commit to memory.Drink a full enjoyment of it, let it soak in, forthe recollection of this will be of the utmost useto you afterwards in guiding your memory-draw-ing. This mental impression is not difficult torecall; it is the visual impression in terms of lineand tone that is difficult to remember. Having ex-perienced your full enjoyment of the artistic matterin the subject, you must next consider it from thematerial side, as a flat, visual impression, as thisis the only form in which it can be expressed ona flat sheet of paper. Note the proportions of themain lines, their shapes and disposition, as if youwere drawing it, in fact do the whole drawing inyour mind, memorising the forms and proportionsof the different parts, and fix it in your memoryto the smallest detail.If only the emotional side of the matter hasbeen remembered, when you come to draw it youwill be hopelessly at sea, as it is remarkable how261
  • 305. THE VISUAL MEMORYlittle the memory retains of the appearance ofthings constantly seen, if no attempt has been madeto memorise their visual appearance.The true artist, even vhen working from nature,works from memory very largely. That is to say,he works to a scheme in tune to some emotionalenthusiasm with which the subject has inspiredhim in the first instance. Nature is always chang-ing, but he does not change the intention of hispicture. He always keeps before him the initial im-pression he sets out to paint, and only selects fromnature those things that play up to it. He is afeeble artist, who copies individually the parts of ascene with whatever effect they may have at themoment he is doing them, and then expects thesum total to make a picture. If circumstancespermit, it is always as well to make in the firstinstance a rapid sketch that shall, whatever it maylack, at least contain the main disposition of themasses and lines of your composition seen underthe influence of the enthusiasm that has inspiredthe work. This will be of great value afterwardsin freshening your memory when in the labour ofthe work the original impulse gets dulled. It isseldom that the vitality of this first sketch issurpassed by the completed work, and often, alas !it is far from equalled.In portrait painting and drawing the memorymust be used also. A sitter varies very much inthe impression he gives on different days, and theartist must in the early sittings, when his mindis fresh, select the aspect he means to paint andafterwards work largely to the memory of this.Always work to a scheme on which you havedecided, and do not flounder on in the hope of some-262
  • 306. THE VISUAL MEMORYthing turning up as you go along. Your facultiesare never so active and prone to see somethinginteresting and fine as when the subject is firstpresented to them. This is the time to decide yourscheme; this is the time to take your fill of theimpression you mean to convey. This is the timeto learn your subject thoroughly and decide onwhat you wish the picture to be. And having de-cided this, work straight on, using nature to sup-port your original impression, but dont be led offby a fresh scheme because others strike you as yougo along. New schemes will do so, of course, andevery new one has a knack of looking better thanyour original one. But it is not often that this isso; the fact that they are new makes them appearto greater advantage than the original scheme towhich you have got accustomed. So that it is notonly in working away from nature that the memoryis of use, but actually when working directly infront 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 consciouslyor unconsciously convey, and the other concernedwith the lines, tones, shapes, &c., and theirrhythmic ordering, by means of which it is to beexpressed the matter and manner, as they maybe called. And, if the artists memory is to be ofuse to him in his work, both these aspects mustbe memorised, and of the two the second will needthe most attention. But although there are thesetwo aspects of the subject, and each must receiveseparate attention when memorising it, they arein reality only two aspects of the same thing,which in the act of painting or drawing must be263
  • 307. THE VISUAL MEMORYunited if a work of art is to result. When a sub-ject first flashes upon an artist he delights in itas a painted or drawn thing, and feels instinctivelythe treatment it will require. In good draughts-manship the thing felt will guide and govern every-thing, every touch will be instinct with the thrillof that first impression. The craftsman mind, solaboriously built up, should by now have becomean instinct, a second nature, at the direction of ahigher consciousness. At such times the rightstrokes, the right tones come naturally and go onthe right place, the artist being only conscious ofa fierce joy and a feeling that things are in tuneand going well for once. It is the thirst for thisglorious enthusiasm, this fusing of matter andmanner, this act of giving the spirit within out-ward form, that spurs the artist on at all times,and it is this that is the wonderful thing aboutart.204
  • 308. XIXPROCEDUREIN commencing a drawing, dont, as so manystudents do, start carelessly floundering about withyour chalk or charcoal in the hope that somethingwill turn up. It is seldom if ever that an artist putson paper anything better than he has in his mindbefore he starts, and usually it is not nearly sogood.Dont spoil the beauty of a clean sheet of paperby a lot of scribble. Try and see in your minds eyethe drawing you mean to do, and then try and makeyour hand realise it, making the paper more beauti-ful by every touch you give instead of spoiling itby a slovenly manner of procedure.To know what you want to do and then to doit is the secret of good style and technique. Thissounds very commonplace, but it is surprising howfew students make it their aim. You may oftenobserve them come in, pin a piece of paper on theirboard, draw a line down the middle, make a fewmeasurements, and start blocking in the drawingwithout having given the subject to be drawn athought, as if it were all there done before them,and only needed copying, as a clerk would copy aletter already drafted for him.Now, nothing is being said against the practiceof drawing guide lines and taking measurements265
  • 309. PROCEDUREand blocking in your work. This is very necessaryin academic work, if rather fettering to expressivedrawing ;but even in the most academic drawingthe artistic intelligence must be used, althoughthat is not the kind of drawing this chapter isparticularly referring to.Look well at the model first ; try and be movedby something in the form that you feel is fine orinteresting, and try and see in your minds eyewhat sort of drawing you mean to do before touch-ing your paper. In school studies, be always un-flinchingly honest to the impression the model givesyou, but dismiss the camera idea of truth from yourmind. Instead of converting yourself into a me-chanical instrument for the copying of what isbefore you, let your drawing be an expression oftruth perceived intelligently.Be extremely careful about the first few strokesyou put on your paper : the quality of your drawingis often decided in these early stages. If they arevital and expressive, you have started along linesyou can develop, and have some hope of doing agood drawing. If they are feeble and poor, thechances are greatly against your getting anythinggood built upon them. If your start has been bad,pull yourself together, turn your paper over andstart afresh, trying to seize upon the big, significantlines and swings in your subject at once. Rememberit is much easier to put down a statement correctlythan to correct a wrong one ; so out with the wholepart if you are convinced it is wrong. Train your-self to make direct, accurate statements in yourdrawings, and dont waste time trying to manoeuvrea bad drawing into a good one. Stop as soon asyou feel you have gone wrong and correct the work266
  • 310. PROCEDUREin its early stages, instead of rushing on upon awrong foundation in the vague hope that it will allcome right in the end. When out walking, if youfind you have taken a wrong road you do not, ifyou are wise, go on in the hope that the wrong waywill lead to the right one, but you turn round andgo back to the point at which you left the rightroad. It is very much the same in drawing andpainting. As soon as you become aware that youhave got upon the wrong track, stop and rub outyour work until an earlier stage that was right isreached, and start along again from this point. Asyour eye gets trained you will more quickly perceivewhen you have done a wrong stroke, and be ableto correct it before having gone very far along thewrong road.Do not work too long without giving your eyea little rest ;a few moments will be quite sufficient.If things wont come, stop a minute ; the eye oftengets 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 yourmind is not working ; you are not doing any good,and probably are spoiling any good you have alreadydone. Pull yourself together, and ask what it isyou are trying to express, and having got this ideafirmly fixed in your mind, go for your drawing withthe determination that it shall express it.All this will sound very trite to students of anymettle, but tnere are large numbers who waste noend of time working in a purely mechanical, lifelessway, and with their minds anywhere but concen-trated upon the work before them. And if themind is not working, the work of the hand willbe of no account. My own experience is that one207
  • 311. PROCEDUREhas constantly to be making fresh effort during theprocedure of the work. The mind is apt to tire andneeds rousing continually, otherwise the work willlack the impulse that shall make it vital. Particu-larly is this so in the final stages of a drawing orpainting, when, in adding details and small refine-ments, it is doubly necessary for the mind to beon fire with the initial impulse, or the main quali-ties will be obscured and the result enfeebled bythese smaller matters.Do not rub out, if you can possibly help it, indrawings that aim at artistic expression. In acade-mic work, where artistic feeling is less importantthan the discipline of your faculties, you may, ofcourse, do so, but even here as little as possible.In beautiful drawing of any facility it has a weaken-ing effect, somewhat similar to that produced bya person stopping in the middle of a witty or bril-liant remark to correct a word. If a wrong lineis made, it is left in by the side of the right onein the drawing of many of the masters. But thegreat aim of the draughtsman should be to trainhimself to draw cleanly and fearlessly, hand andeye going together. But this state of things cannotbe expected for some time.Let painstaking accuracy be your aim for a longtime. When your eye and hand have acquired thepower of seeing and expressing on paper with somedegree of accuracy what you see, you will findfacility and quickness of execution will come oftheir own accord. In drawing of any expressivepower this quickness and facility of execution areabsolutely essential. The waves of emotion, underthe influence of which the eye really sees in anyartistic sense, do not last long enough to allow of208
  • 312. PROCEDUREa slow, painstaking manner of execution. Theremust be no hitch in the machinery of expressionwhen the consciousness is alive to the realisationof something fine. Fluency of hand and accuracyof eye are the things your academic studies shouldhave taught you, and these powers will be neededif you are to catch the expression of any of thefiner things in form that constitute good drawing.Try and express yourself in as simple, not as com-plicated a manner as possible. Let every touchmean something, and if you dont see what to donext, dont fill in the time by meaningless shadingand scribbling until you do. Wait awhile, rest youreye by looking away, and then see if you cannotfind something right that needs doing.Before beginning a drawing, it is not a bad ideato study carefully the work of some master draughts-man whom the subject to be drawn may suggest.If you do this carefully and thoughtfully, and takein a full enjoyment, your eye will unconsciously beled to see in nature some of the qualities of themasters work. And you will see the subject to bedrawn as a much finer thing than would have beenthe case had you come to it with your eye unpre-pared in any way. Reproductions are now so goodand cheap that the best drawings in the world canbe had for a few pence, and every student shouldbegin collecting reproductions of the things thatinterest him.This is not the place to discuss questions ofhealth, but perhaps it will not be thought grand-motherly to mention the extreme importance ofnervous vitality in a fine draughtsman, and how hislife should be ordered on such healthy lines thathe has at his command the maximum instead of the269
  • 313. PROCEDUREminimum of this faculty. After a certain point, itis a question of vitality how far an artist is likelyto go in art. Given two men of equal ability, theone leading a careless life and the other a healthyone, as far as a healthy one is possible to such asupersensitive creature as an artist, there can beno doubt as to the result. It is because there is stilla lingering idea in the minds of many that an artistmust lead a dissipated life or he is not really anartist, that one feels it necessary to mention thesubject. This idea has evidently arisen from theinability of the average person to associate an un-conventional mode of life with anything but riotousdissipation. A conventional life is not the onlywholesome form of existence, and is certainly amost unwholesome and deadening form to theartist; and neither is a dissipated life the only un-conventional one open to him. It is as well thatthe young student should know this, and be ledearly to take great care of that most valuable ofstudio properties, vigorous health.270
  • 314. XXMATERIALSTHE materials in which the artist works are of thegreatest importance in determining what qualitiesin the infinite complexity of nature he selects forexpression. And the good draughtsman will findout the particular ones that belong to whatevermedium he selects for his drawing, and be carefulnever to attempt more than it is capable of doing.Every material he works with possesses certainvital qualities peculiar to itself, and it is his businessto find out what these are and use them to theadvantage of his drawing. When .one is workingwith, say, pen and ink, the necessity for selectingonly certain things is obvious enough. But whena medium with the vast capacity of oil paint isbeing used, the principle of its governing the natureof the work is more often lost sight of. So nearcan oil paint approach an actual illusion of naturalappearances, that much misdirected effort has beenwasted on this object, all enjoyment of the mediumbeing subordinated to a meretricious attempt todeceive the eye. And I believe a popular idea ofthe art of painting is that it exists chiefly to pro-duce this deception. No vital expression of naturecan be achieved without the aid of the particularvitality possessed by the medium with which oneis working. If this is lost sight of and the eye is271
  • 315. MATERIALStricked into thinking that it is looking at realnature, it is not a fine picture. Art is not a sub-stitute for nature, but an expression of feelingproduced in the consciousness of the artist, andintimately associated with the material throughwhich it is expressed in his work. Inspired, it maybe, in the first instance, by something seen, andexpressed by him in painted symbols as true tonature as he can make them while keeping intune to the emotional idea that prompted the work ;but never regarded by the fine artist as anythingbut painted symbols nevertheless. Never for onemoment does he intend you to forget that it is apainted picture you are looking at, however natural-istic the treatment his theme may demand.In the earlier history of art it was not so neces-sary to insist on the limitations imposed by differentmediums. With their more limited knowledge ofthe phenomena of vision, the early masters hadnot the same opportunities of going astray in thisrespect. But now that the whole field of visionhas been discovered, and that the subtlest effectsof light and atmosphere are capable of beingrepresented, it has become necessary to decide howfar complete accuracy of representation will helpthe particular impression you may intend yourpicture or drawing to create. The danger is thatin producing a complete illusion of representation,the particular vitality of your medium, with all theexpressive power it is capable of yielding, may belost.Perhaps the chief difference between the greatmasters of the past and many modern painters isthe neglect of this principle. They represented naturein terms of whatever medium they worked in, and272
  • 316. never overstepped this limitation. Modern artists,particularly in the nineteenth century, often at-tempted to copy nature, the medium being subordi-nated to the attempt to make it look like the realthing. In the same way, the drawings of the greatmasters were drawings. They did not attempt any-thing with a point that a point was not capableof expressing. The drawings of many modern artistsare full of attempts to express tone and coloureffects, things entirely outside the true province ofdrawing. The small but infinitely important part ofnature that pure drawing is capable of conveyinghas been neglected, and line work, until recently,went out of fashion in our schools.There is something that makes for power in thelimitations your materials impose. Many artistswhose work in some of the more limited mediumsis fine, are utterly feeble when they attempt onewith so few restrictions as oil paint. If studentscould only be induced to impose more restraintupon themselves when they attempt so difficult amedium as paint, it would be greatly to the ad-vantage of their work. Beginning first with mono-chrome in three tones, as explained in a formerchapter, they might then take for figure work ivoryblack and Venetian red. It is surprising what anamount of colour effect can be got with this simplemeans, and how much can be learned about therelative positions of the warm and cold colours.Do not attempt the full range of tone at first, butkeep the darks rather lighter and the lights darkerthan nature. Attempt the full scale of tone onlywhen you have acquired sufficient experience withthe simpler range, and gradually add more coloursas you learn to master a few. But restraints are273 S
  • 317. MATERIALSnot so fashionable just now as unbridled licence.Art students start in with a palette full of themost amazing colours, producing results that itwere better not to discuss. It is a wise man whocan discover his limitations and select a medium thecapacities of which just tally with his own. Todiscover this, it is advisable to try many, and belowis a short description of the chief ones used by thedraughtsman. But very little can be said aboutthem, and very little idea of their capacities givenin a written description ; they must be handled bythe student, and are no doubt capable of many morequalities than have yet been got out of them.This well-known medium is one of the mostbeautiful for pure line work, and its use is anexcellent training to the eye and hand inPencil precision of observation. Perhaps this iswhy it has not been so popular in our artschools recently, where the charms of severe dis-cipline are not so much in favour as they should be.It is the first medium we are given to draw with,as the handiest and most convenient is unrivalledfor sketch-book use.It is made in a large variety of degrees, fromthe 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, exceptsilver point, and great draughtsmen, like Ingres,have always loved it. It does not lend itself soreadily to any form of mass drawing. Although itis sometimes used for this purpose, the offensiveshine that occurs if dark masses are introduced isagainst its use in any but very lightly shadedwork.274
  • 319. MATERIALSIts charm is the extreme delicacy of its grey-black lines.Similar to lead pencil, and of even greaterdelicacy, is silver-point drawing. A more ancientmethod, it consists in drawing with a silver gilver andpoint on paper the surface of which has Goldbeen treated with a faint wash of Chinesewhite. Without this wash the point will not makea mark.For extreme delicacy and purity of line nomedium can surpass this method. And for theexpression 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 greatvalue, as no rubbing out of any sort is possible,and eye and hand must work together with greatexactness. The discipline of silver-point drawingis to be recommended as a corrective to the pic-turesque vagaries of charcoal work.A gold point, giving a warmer line, can also beused in the same way as a silver point, the paperfirst having been treated with Chinese white.Two extreme points of view from which therendering of form can be approached have beenexplained, and it has been suggested thatstudents should study them both separatelyin the first instance, as they each have differentthings to teach. Of the mediums that are best suitedto a drawing combining both points of view, thefirst and most popular is charcoal.Charcoal is made in many different degrees ofhardness and softness, the harder varieties beingcapable of quite a fine point. A chisel-shaped pointis the most convenient, as it does not wear awayso quickly. And if the broad side of the chisel point275
  • 320. MATERIALSis used when a dark mass is wanted, the edge canconstantly be kept sharp. With this edge a veryfine line can be drawn.Charcoal works with great freedom, and answersreadily when forceful expression is wanted. It ismuch more like painting than any other form ofdrawing, a wide piece of charcoal making a widemark similar to a brush. The delicacy and lightnesswith which it has to be handled is also much morelike the handling of a brush than any other pointdrawing. When rubbed with the finger, it sheds asoft grey tone over the whole work. With a pieceof bread pressed by thumb and finger into a pellet,high lights can be taken out with the precision ofwhite chalk ;or rubber can be used. Bread is, per-haps, the best, as it does not smudge the charcoalbut lifts it readily off. When rubbed with thefinger, the darks, of course, are lightened in tone.It is therefore useful to draw in the general pro-portions roughly and rub down in this way. Youthen have a middle tone over the work, with therough drawing showing through. Now proceedcarefully to draw your lights with bread or rubber,and your shadows with charcoal, in much the samemanner as you did in the monochrome exercisesalready described.All the preliminary setting out of work on canvasis usually done with charcoal, which must of coursebe fixed with a spray diffuser. For large work,such as a full-length portrait, sticks of charcoalnearly an inch in diameter are made, and a longswinging line can be done without their breaking.For drawings that are intended as things ofbeauty in themselves, and are not merely done asa preparatory study for a painting, charcoal is per-276
  • 321. MATERIALShaps not so refined a medium as a great manyothers. It is too much like painting to have theparticular beauties of a drawing, and too muchlike drawing to have the qualities of a painting.However, some beautiful things have been donewith it.It is useful in doing studies where much finishis desired, to fix the work slightly when drawn inand carried some way on. You can work overthis again without continually rubbing out withyour hand what you have already drawn. If neces-sary you can rub out with a hard piece of rubberany parts that have already been fixed, or evenscrape with a pen-knife. But this is not advisablefor anything but an academic study, or workingdrawings, as it spoils the beauty and freshness ofcharcoal work. Studies done in this medium canalso be finished with Conte" chalk.There is also an artificial charcoal put up insticks, that is very good for refined work. It hassome advantages over natural charcoal, in thatthere are no knots and it works much more evenly.The best natural charcoal I have used is the Frenchmake known as "Fusain Rouget." It is made inthree degrees, No. 3 being the softest, and, of course,the blackest. But some of the ordinary Venetianand vine charcoals sold are good. But dont get thecheaper varieties : a bad piece of charcoal is worsethan useless.Charcoal is fixed by means of a solution of whiteshellac dissolved in spirits of wine, blown on with aspray diffuser. This is sold by the artists colourmen,or can be easily made by the student. It lightly de-posits a thin film of shellac over the work, actingas a varnish and preventing its rubbing off.277
  • 322. MATERIALSCharcoal is not on the whole the medium anartist with a pure love of form selects, but ratherthat of the painter, who uses it when his brushesand paints are not handy.A delightful medium that can be used for eitherpure line work or a mixed method of drawing, isRed chalkre(^ cnalk. This natural red earth is one(San- of the most ancient materials for drawing.It is a lovely Venetian red in colour, andworks well in the natural state, if you get a goodpiece. It is sold by the ounce, and it is advisable totry the pieces as they vary very much, some beinghard and gritty and some more soft and smooth.It is also made by Messrs. Conte" of Paris in sticksartificially prepared. These work well and are nevergritty, but are not so hard as the natural chalk,and consequently wear away quickly and do notmake fine lines as well.Red chalk when rubbed with the finger or arag spreads evenly on paper, and produces a middletone on which lights can be drawn with rubberor bread. Sticks of hard, pointed rubber are every-where sold, which, cut in a chisel shape, workbeautifully on red chalk drawings. Bread is alsoexcellent when a softer light is wanted. You cancontinually correct and redraw in this medium byrubbing it with the finger or a rag, thus destroyingthe lights and shadows to a large extent, and enab-ling you to draw them again more carefully. For thisreason red chalk is greatly to be recommended formaking drawings for a picture where much fumb-ling may be necessary before you find what youwant. Unlike charcoal, it hardly needs fixing, andmuch more intimate study of the forms can be gotinto it.278
  • 323. MATERIALSMost of the drawings by the author reproducedin this book are done in this medium. For drawingsintended to have a separate existence it is one ofthe prettiest mediums. In fact, this is the dangerto the student while studying :your drawing looks somuch at its best that you are apt to be satisfied toosoon. But for portrait drawings there is no mediumto equal it.Additional quality of dark is occasionally gotby mixing a little of this red chalk in a powderedstate 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 somecare. The ordinary paper has too much size onit. This is picked up by the chalk, and will pre-vent its marking. A paper with little size is best,or old paper where the size has perished. I findan O.W. paper, made for printing etchings, asgood as any for ordinary work. It is not perfect,but works very well. What one wants is thesmoothest paper without a faced and hot-pressedsurface, and it is difficult to find.Occasionally black chalk is used with the redto add strength to it. And some draughtsmen useit with the red in such a manner as to producealmost a full colour effect.Holbein, who used this medium largely, tintedthe paper .in most of his portrait drawings, vary-ing the tint very much, and sometimes usingzinc white as a wash, which enabled him tosupplement his work with a silver-point line hereand there, and also got over any difficulty thesize in the paper might cause. His aim seemsto have been to select the few essential things279
  • 324. MATERIALSin a head and draw them with great finality andexactness. In many of the drawings the earlierwork has been done with red or black chalk andthen rubbed down and the drawing redone witheither a brush and some of the chalk rubbed upwith water and gum or a silver-point line of greatpurity, while in others he has tinted the paperwith water-colour and rubbed this away to thewhite paper where he wanted a light, or Chinesewhite has been used for the same purpose.Black Conte is a hard black chalk made insmall sticks of different degrees. It is also putup in cedar pencils. Rather more grittycdnte and than red chalk or charcoal, it is a favouritecarbon medium with some, and can be used withl^CHCli.advantage to supplement charcoal whenmore precision and definition are wanted. It hasvery much the same quality of line and so doesnot show as a different medium. It can be rubbedlike charcoal and red chalk and will spread a toneover the paper in very much the same way.Carbon pencils are similar to Conte, but smootherin working and do not rub.White chalk is sometimes used on toned paper todraw the lights, the paper serving as a half tonewhile the shadows and outlines are drawnin black or red. In this kind of drawingthe chalk should never be allowed to comein contact with the black or red chalk of theshadows, the half tone of the paper should alwaysbe between them.For rubbed work white pastel is better thanthe ordinary white chalk sold for drawing, as itis not so hard. A drawing done in this methodwith white pastel and red chalk is reproduced on280
  • 325. MATERIALSpage 46, and one with the hard white chalk, onpage 260.This is the method commonly used for makingstudies of drapery, the extreme rapidity with whichthe position of the lights and shadows can be ex-pressed being of great importance when so unstable asubject as an arrangement of drapery is being drawn.Lithography as a means of artistic reproduc-tion has suffered much in public esteem by beingput to all manner of inartistic trade uses.It is really one of the most wonderful meansof reproducing an artists actual work, theresult being, in most cases, so identical with theoriginal that, seen together, if the original drawinghas been done on paper, it is almost impossibleto distinguish any difference. And of course, asin etching, it is the prints that are really theoriginals. The initial work is only done as a meansof producing these.A drawing is made on a lithographic stone, thatis, a piece of limestone that has been prepared withan almost perfectly smooth surface. The chalk usedis a special kind of a greasy nature, and is made inseveral degrees of hardness and softness. No rub-bing out is possible, but lines can be scratched outwith a knife, or parts made lighter by white linesbeing drawn by a knife over them. A great rangeof freedom and variety is possible in these initialdrawings on stone. The chalk can be rubbed upwith a little water, like a cake of water-colour, andapplied with a brush. And every variety of tone canbe made with the side of the chalk.Some care should be taken not to let the warmfinger touch the stone, or it may make a greasymark that will print.281
  • 326. MATERIALSWhen this initial drawing is done to the artistssatisfaction, the most usual method is to treat thestone with a solution of gum-arabic and a littlenitric acid. After this is dry, the gum is washed offas far as may be with water; some of the gumis left in the porous stone, but it is rejected wherethe greasy lines and tones of the drawing come.Prints may now be obtained by rolling up the stonewith an inked roller. The ink is composed of avarnish of boiled linseed oil and any of the litho-graphic colours to be commercially obtained.The ink does not take on the damp gummedstone, but only where the lithographic chalk hasmade a greasy mark, so that a perfect facsimileof the drawing on stone is obtained, when a sheetof paper is placed on the stone and the whole putthrough the press.The medium deserves to be much more popularwith draughtsmen than it is, as no more perfectmeans of reproduction could be devised.The lithographic stone is rather a cumbersomething to handle, but the initial drawing can be doneon paper and afterwards transferred to the stone.In the case of line work the result is practicallyidentical, but where much tone and playing aboutwith the chalk is indulged in, the stone is muchbetter. Lithographic papers of different texturesare made for this purpose, but almost any paperwill do, provided the drawing is done with thespecial lithographic chalk.Pen and ink was a favourite means of makingstudies with many old masters, notably Rembrandt.Often heightening the effect with a wash, he con-veyed marvellous suggestions with the simplestscribbles. But it is a difficult medium for the young282
  • 328. MATERIALSstudent to hope to do much with in his studies,although for training the eye and hand to quickdefinite statement of impressions, there ismuch to be said for it. No hugging of halfandtones is possible, things must be reduced toa statement of clear darks which would be a usefulcorrective to the tendency so many students haveof seeing chiefly the half tones in their work.The kind of pen used will depend on the kind ofdrawing you wish to make. In steel pens there areinnumerable varieties, from the fine crow-quills to thethick " J "nibs. The natural crow-quill is a muchmore sympathetic tool than a steel pen, althoughnot quite so certain in its line. But more play andvariety is to be got out of it, and when a free pendrawing is wanted it is preferable.Reed pens are also made, and are useful whenthick lines are wanted. They sometimes have asteel spring underneath to hold the ink somewhat inthe same manner as some fountain pens.There is even a glass pen, consisting of a sharp-pointed cone of glass with grooves running downto the point. The ink is held in these grooves,and runs down and is deposited freely as the penis used. A line of only one thickness can be drawnwith it, but this can be drawn in any direction, anadvantage over most other shapes.Etching is a process of reproduction that consistsin drawing with a steel point on a waxed plate ofcopper or zinc, and then putting it in abath of diluted nitric acid to bite in thelines. The longer the plate remains in the baththe deeper and darker the lines become, so thatvariety in thickness is got by stopping out with avarnish the light lines when they are sufficiently283
  • 329. MATERIALSstrong, and letting the darker ones have a longerexposure to the acid.Many wonderful and beautiful things have beendone with this simple means. The printing consistsin inking the plate all over and wiping off untilonly the lines retain any ink, when the plate is putin a press and an impression taken. Or some slightamount of ink may be left on the plate in certainplaces where a tint is wanted, and a little may besmudged out of the lines themselves to give thema softer quality. In fact there are no end of tricksa clever etching printer will adopt to give qualityto his print.The varieties of paper on the market at theservice of the artist are innumerable, and nothingneed be said here except that the texture ofyour paper will have a considerable influenceon your drawing. But try every sort of paper so asto find what suits the particular things you want toexpress. I make a point of buying every new paperI see, and a new paper is often a stimulant to somenew quality in drawing. Avoid the wood-pulp papers,as they turn dark after a time. Linen rag is theonly safe substance for good papers, and artists nowhave in the O.W. papers a large series that they canrely on being made of linen only.It is sometimes advisable, when you are notdrawing 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 theone you are working on, pinned on the drawing-board. This gives you a more sympathetic surfaceto work upon and improves the quality of your work.In redrawing a study with which you are not quitesatisfied, it is a good plan to use a thin paper,284
  • 330. (MATERIALSpinning it over the first study so that it can be seenthrough. One can by this means start as it werefrom the point where one left off. Good papers ofthis description are now on the market. I fancythey are called " bank-note"papers.285
  • 331. XXICONCLUSIONMECHANICAL invention, mechanical knowledge, andeven a mechanical theory of the universe, have soinfluenced the average modern mind, that it hasbeen thought necessary in the foregoing pages tospeak out strongly against the idea of a mechanicalstandard of accuracy in artistic drawing. If therewere such a standard, the photographic camerawould serve our purpose well enough. And, con-sidering how largely this idea is held, one need notbe 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 accu-racy which is all they seem to aim at in their work.There may be times when the camera can be of useto artists, but only to those who are thoroughly com-petent to do without it to those who can look, asit were, through the photograph and draw from itwith the same freedom and spontaneity with whichthey would draw from nature, thus avoiding its deadmechanical accuracy, which is a very difficult thingto do. But the camera is a convenience to be avoidedby the student.Now, although it has been necessary to insiststrongly on the difference between phenomenamechanically recorded and the records of a livingindividual consciousness, I should be very sorry if286
  • 332. CONCLUSIONanything said should lead students to assume thata loose and careless manner of study was in anyway advocated. The training of his eye and handto the most painstaking accuracy of observation andrecord must be the students aim for many years.The variations on mechanical accuracy in the workof a fine draughtsman need not be, and seldom are,conscious variations. Mechanical accuracy is a mucheasier thing to accomplish than accuracy to thesubtle perceptions of the artist. And he who cannotdraw with great precision the ordinary cold aspectof things cannot hope to catch the fleeting aspectof his finer vision.Those artists who can only draw in some weirdfashion remote from nature may produce work ofsome interest ;but they are too much at the mercyof a natural trick of hand to hope to be more thaninteresting curiosities in art.The object of your training in drawing should beto develop to the uttermost the observation of formand all that it signifies, and your powers of accu-rately portraying this on paper.Unflinching honesty must be observed in all yourstudies. It is only then that the "you" in youwill eventually find expression in your work. Andit is this personal quality, this recording of theimpressions of life as felt by a conscious individualthat is the very essence of distinction in art.The "seeking after originality"so much advo-cated would be better put "seeking for sincerity."Seeking for originality usually resolves itself intorunning after any peculiarity in manner that thechanging fashions of a restless age may throw up.One of the most original men who ever lived didnot trouble to invent the plots of more than three287
  • 333. CONCLUSIONor four of his plays, but was content to take thehackneyed work of his time as the vehicle throughwhich to pour the rich treasures of his vision oflife. And wrote :" What custom wills in all things do you do it."Individual style will come to you naturally asyou become more conscious of what it is you wish toexpress. There are two kinds of insincerity in style,the employment of a ready-made conventionalmanner that is not understood and that does notfit the matter ;and the running after and laboriouslyseeking an original manner when no original matterexists. Good style depends on a clear idea of whatit is you wish to do ; it is the shortest means to theend aimed at, the most apt manner of conveyingthat personal"something"that is in all good work."The style is the man," as Buffon says. Thesplendour and value of your style will dependon the splendour and value of the mental visioninspired in you, that you seek to convey; on thequality of the man, in other words. And this isnot a matter where direct teaching can help you,but rests between your own consciousness and thosehigher powers that move it.288
  • 334. APPENDIXIF you add a line of 5 inches to one of 8 inches youproduce one 13 inches long, and if you proceed byalways adding the last two you arrive at a series oflengths, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 inches, &c. Mr. WilliamSchooling tells me that any two of these lines adjoin-ing one another are practically in the same propor-tion to each other ; that is to say, one 8 inches is 1*600times the size of one 5 inches, and the 13-inch line is1-625 the size of the 8-inch, and the 21-inch line being1-615 times the 13-inch line, and so on. With themathematicians love of accuracy, Mr. Schooling hasworked out the exact proportion that should existbetween a series of quantities for them to be in thesame proportion to their neighbours, and in whichany two added together would produce the next.There is only one proportion that will do this, andalthough very formidable, stated exactly, for practicalpurposes, it is that between 5 and a fraction over 8.Stated accurately to eleven places of decimals it is(1+ ^5)^2 = 1-61803398875 (nearly).We have evidently here a very unique proportion,Mr. Schooling has called this the Phi proportion, andit will be convenient to refer to it by this name.I I I! !ABC D ETHE PHI PROPORTIONBC is 1-618033, &c., times size of AB,CD BC,DE CD, &c.,AC = CDBD = DE, &c.289 T
  • 335. APPENDIXTesting this proportion on the reproductions ofpictures in this book in the order of their appearing,we find the following remarkable results :"Los Meninas," Velazquez, page 60. The right-hand side of light opening of door at the end of theroom is exactly Phi proportion with the two sides ofpicture ;and further, the bottom of this opening isexactly Phi proportion with the top and bottom ofcanvas.It will be noticed that this is a very importantpoint in the "placing"of the composition."Fete Champetre," Giorgione, page 151. Lowerend of flute held by seated female figure exactlyPhi proportion with sides of picture, and lower sideof hand holding it (a point slightly above the endof flute) exactly Phi proportion with top and bottomof canvas. This is also an important centre in theconstruction of the composition." Bacchus and Ariadne," Titian, page 154. Theproportion in this picture both with top and bottomand sides of canvas comes in the shadow under chinof Bacchus ; the most important point in the com-position being the placing of this head."Love and Death," by Watts, page 158. Pointfrom which drapery radiates on figure of Deathexactly Phi proportion with top and bottom ofpicture.Point where right-hand side of right leg of Lovecuts dark edge of steps exactly Phi proportion withsides of picture."Surrender of Breda," by Velazquez, page 161.First spear in upright row on the right top ofpicture, exactly Phi proportion with sides of canvas.Height of gun carried horizontally by man in middledistance above central group, exactly Phi proportion290
  • 336. APPENDIXwith top and bottom of picture. This line givesheight of group of figures on left, and is the mostimportant horizontal line in the picture." Birth of Yenus," Botticelli, page 166. Height ofhorizon line Phi proportion with top and bottomof picture. Height of shell on which Venus standsPhi proportion with top and bottom of picture, thesmaller quantity being below this time. Laterallythe extreme edge of dark drapery held by figureon right that blows towards Venus is Phi proportionwith sides of picture." The Rape of Europa," by Paolo Veronese,page 168. Top of head of Europa exactly Phi pro-portion with top and bottom of picture. Right-hand side of same head slightly to left of Phiproportion with sides of picture (unless in thereproduction a part of the picture on the left hasbeen trimmed away, as is likely, in which case itwould be exactly Phi proportion).I have taken the first seven pictures reproducedin this book that were not selected with any ideaof illustrating this point, and I think you will admitthat in each some very important quantity has beenplaced in this proportion. One could go on throughall the illustrations were it not for the fear ofbecoming wearisome; and also, one could go onthrough some of the minor relationships, and pointout how often this proportion turns up in composi-tions. But enough has been said to show that theeye evidently takes some especial pleasure in it,whatever may eventually be found to be the physio-ogical reason underlying it.291
  • 337. INDEXABSORBENT canvas, 192Academic drawing, 34Academic and conventional, 68Academic students, 68Accuracy, scientific and artistic, 36Anatomy, study of, its importance,36, 122 Ansidei Madonna," Raphaels, 231Apelles and his colours, 31Architecture, proportion in, 230Art, some definitions of, 18Artist, the, 27Atmosphere indicated by shading,102Atmospheric colours, 39Audley, Lady, Holbeins portrait of,248"BACCHUS and Ariadne," Titians,154, 193Backgrounds, 93, 141Balance, 219Balance between straight lines andcurves, 220Balance between flat and gradatedtones, 221Balance between light and darktones, 222Balance between warm and coldcolours, 223Balance between interest and mass,224Balance between variety and unity,225"Bank-note" papers, 285Bastien Lepage, 204Bath for etching, 283Beauty, definition of, 23Beauty and prettiness, 135Beauty and truth, 22" Birth of Venus, the," Botticellis,163Black chalk, 179Black Conte, 280Black glass, the use of a, 120, 202Blake, example of parallelism, 145Blakes designs, 51, 109Blakes use of the vertical, 155Blocking in the drawing, 90Blocking out with square lines, 85,120"Blue Boy," Gainsboroughs, 223Botany, the study of, 36Botticellis work, 34, 51, 145, 163Bouchers heads compared withWatteaus, 211Boundaries of forms, 93Boundaries of masses in Nature,195Bread, use of, in charcoal drawing,276Browning, R., portraits of, 250Brush, manipulation of the, 114Brush strokes, 115Brushes, various kinds of, 115Burke on "The Sublime and theBeautiful," 135Burne-Jones, 55, 71, 125, 177CAMERA, use of the, 286Carbon pencils, 180Carlyle, 64Circle, perfect curve of, to beavoided, 138Chalks, drawing in, 125Charcoal drawing, 54, 111, 113, 192,275 ; fixing solution, 277Chavannes, Peuvis de, 55, 103Chiaroscuro, 53Chinese art, 21292
  • 338. INDEXChina and Japan, the art of, 59Colour, contrasts of, 208Colours for figure work, 273Colours, a useful chart of, 191Classic architecture, 148Claude Monet, 62, 190Clothes, the treatment of, 253Composition of a picture, the, 216Constable, 149Conte crayon, 192, 277"Contrasts in Harmony," 136Conventional art, 74Conventional life, deadness of the,270Corners of the panel or canvas, the,160Corot, his masses of foliage, 197,214Correggio, 206Crow-quill pen, the, 283Curves, how to observe the shapeof, 90, 162, 209Curves and straight lines, 220DAEWIN, anecdote of, 243Deadness, to avoid, 132, 193Decorative work, 183Degas, 66"Dither," 71Diagonal lines, 160Discord and harmony, 173Discordant lines, 172Draperies of Watteau, the, 211Drapery studies in chalks, 125Drapery in portrait-drawing, 253Draughtsmanship and impression-ism, 66Drawing, academic, 35Drawing, definition of, 31EAST, arts of the, 57Edges, variety of, 192Edges, the importance of thesubject of, 198Egg and dart moulding, 138Egyptian sculpture, 135Egyptian wall paintings, 51El Greco, 169Elgin Marbles, the, 135Ellipse, the, 138"Embarquement pour 1Ile deCythere," Watteau s, 211Emerson on the beautiful, 214Emotional power of the arts, 20Emotional significance of objects, 31Erechtheum, moulding from the, 138Etching, 283Exercises in mass drawing, 110Exhibitions, 57Expression in portrait-drawing, 242Eye, anatomy of the, 105Eye, the, in portrait-drawing, 242Eyebrow, the, 105Eyelashes, the, 108Eyelids, the, 1064 FftTE Champetre,"Giorgionis, 151Figure work, colours for, 273"Finding of the Body of St. Mark,"123, 236Fixing positions of salient points,86Flaubert, 68Foliage, treatment of, 196Foreshortenings, 93Form and colour, 18Form, the influence of, 32Form, the study of, 81Frans Hals, 246French Revolution, Carlyles, 64French schools, 68Fripp, Sir Alfred, 91Fromentins definition of art, 23Fulness of form indicated by shad-ing, 102, 124GAINSBOROUGH, the charm of, 209,223Genius and talent, 17Geology, the study of, 36Giorgioni, 151, 196"Giorgioni, The School of," WalterPater.s 29Giotto, 222Glass pens, 283Goethe, 64Gold point, 275Gold and silver paint for shading,125Gothic architecture, 148, 150Gradation, variety of, 199Greek architecture, 221Greek art in the Middle Ages, 130Greek art, variety in, 133Greek vivacity of moulding, 134Greek and Gothic sculpture, 147293
  • 339. INDEXGreek type of profile, 140Greuze, 221HAIR, the treatment of, 77, 102Hair, effect of style upon the face,180Half tones, 98" Hannibal crossing the Alps," Tur-ners, 163Hardness indicated by shading, 102Harsh contrasts, effect of, 171Hatching, 118Health, questions of, 269Henner, the work of, 124High lights, 94Hogarths definition, 136Holbeins drawings, 99, 179, 247Holl, Frank, 222Horizontal, calm and repose of the,150Horizontal and vertical, the, 149Human Anatomy for Art Students, 91Human figure, the outline of the, 52IMPBESSIONISM, 195, 257Impressionist vision, 61Ingres, studies of, 73, 274Ink used in lithography, 282Intellect and feeling, 19Intuitions, 17Italian Renaissance, the, 51Italian work in the fifteenth century,34JAPANESE art, 21Japanese method, a, 47Japanese and Chinese use of con-trasts of colour, 208KEATS definition of beauty, 22LANDSCAPES of Watteau, the, 211Lang, Andrew, his definition ofart, 19Lawrence, Lord, portrait of, 250Lead pencil, 192, 274Lecoq de Boisbaudran, M. ,260Lehmann, It., portraits by, 250Leonardo da Vinci, 51, 206, 227Light, 38Light and shade, principles of, 51,95Lighting and light effects, 202Likeness, catching the, 240Line and the circle, the, 137Line drawing and mass drawing,48,50Lines expressing repose or energy,163Line, the power of the, 50, 80Lines, value of, in portrait-painting,138Lines of shading, different, 102, 123Lithographic chalk, 192Lithography, 281" Love and Death," Watts, 156MANET, 206Mass drawing, 49, 58, 80, 81, 110Masters, past and modern, 272Materials, 271Mathematical proportions, 228Measuring comparative distances,88Measurements, vertical and hori-zontal, 88Medium, the use of, 111Michael Angelo, the figures of, 33,53, 56Michael Angelo and Degas, 66Millais, 196Mist, effect of a, on the tone of apicture, 188Model, the, 61, 81Monet, Claude, 118Morriss definition of art, 19NATURE, variety of forms in, 187Natures tendency to pictorial unityof arrangement, 186Newspaper as a background, 99Norman architecture, 148OIL, surplus in paint, 191Originality, 76"Our Lady of the Rocks," L. daVincis, 206Outline drawing, 50Outline studies and models, 81PAINT, the vitality of, 114Paint, the consistency of, 117Paint, effect of oil in thick, 191"Painted Poetry," 46Painters training, the object ofthe, 29294
  • 340. INDEXPainting and drawing, 110Panel or canvas, the, 159Paolo Uccello, 171Paolo Veronese, 145, 163Paper for drawing, 279, 284Parallel shading, 100Parallelism of lines, 145Parthenon, the, 55Pater, Walter, 29Pen-and-ink drawing, 101, 282Pens for pen-and-ink drawing, 283Perspective, the study of, 36, 195Philip IV, Velazquez portrait of,194Photograph, failure of the, 72Picture galleries, the influence of,33Pictures, small and large, treatmentof, 183Planes of tone, painting in the,122Pre-Raphaelite paintings, 46Pre-Raphaelite movement, the, 257Preparatory drawings, disadvantageof, 121Primitive art, 55, 128Primitive emotions, 21Procedure, in commencing a draw-ing, 265Profiles, beauty of, 140Proportions, 228Poppy oil and turpentine, the useof, 119Portrait- drawing, 99, 239" Portrait of the Artists Daughter,"Sir E. Burne-Joness, 177Pose, the, 251Peuvis de Chavannes, 55, 103QUALITY and texture, variety in,189RADIATING lines, 171"Rape of Europa, The," PaulVeroneses, 163Raphael, 53, 231Red rays, 39, 192, 278Reed pens, 283Rembrandt and his colours, 31, 204,208Reproduction, advantages of up-to-date, 104, 269Retina, effect of light on the, 38Reynolds contrasts of colour, 208Rhythm, definition of, 27, 127,227Right angle, power of the, 156Roman sculpture, lack of vitalityin, 133Rossetti, 55Royal Academy Schools, 69Rubens, 162Ruskin, 17SCHOOLS of Art, 68Scientific and artistic accuracy, 36Scientific study, necessity for, 36Scumbling, 111Shading, 51, 93, 101, 124Shape, variety of, 185Silhouette, the, 66Silver-point, 275Silver-point work, shading in, 101Sitter, the, 249Softness indicated by shading, 102,123Solar spectrum, the, 38Solids as flat copy, 84Spanish school, the, 62Straight lines indicative of strength,148Straight lines and flat tones, analogybetween, 209Strong light in contrast with darkshadow, 206Study of drawing, the, 80Stump, the, 54Style, 288" Sublime and the Beautiful, The,"Burkes, 135" Surrender of Breda, The," Velaz-quez, 161, 194Sympathetic lines, 173TALENT and genius, 17Teachers in Art Schools, 69Technical side of an art, the, 21Thickness and accent, variety of,143Tintoretto, 123, 237Titian, 53, 154Tolstoys definition of art, 19Tone, meaning of the word, 121187, 208Tone values, variety of, 187Toned paper, drawing on, 125295
  • 341. INDEXTones, large flat, the effect of, 207Touch, the sense of, 40Trafalgar Square lions, the, 78Trees, the masses of, 196Turner, 163, 205, 214, 223Types, lifelessness of, 134"ULYSSES deriding Polyphemus,"Turners, 214Unity and variety, 132Unity of line, 144" VALE of Rest," Millais, 196Value, meaning of the word asapplied to a picture, 188Values of tone drawing, the, 122Van Dyck, his use of the straightline, 151Variety in symmetry, 142"Variety in Unity," 136"Varying well," 136Velazquez, S3, 60, 161Venetian painters, and the musicof edges, 193Venetians, the, their use of straightlines, 151Venetians, system and principles ofdesign of the, 217"Venus, Mercury, and Cupid,"Correggios, 206Vertical, the, associated with thesublime, 149Vertical lines, feeling associatedwith, 182Vision, 38Visual blindness, 47Visual memory, the, 256WARD, the animal painter, 124Warm colours, 224Watteau, the charm of, 209Watts, G. F., portraits by, 249Watts use of the right angle, 156Windsor, Holbeins portraits at.247Whistler, a master of tone, 190,222, 251White casts, drawing from, 99White chalk, 180White paint, 191White pastel, 280Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & Pauls Work, Edinburgh
  • 342. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARYLos AngelesThis book is DUE on the last date stamped below.1! iiiBKARYRECEIVED^ART LIBRARY316
  • 343. STRATFORD & GREENUCLA-Art LibraryNC 730 S64 1913L 006 271 1171001 231 578 4