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Full text of "The practice & science of drawing"

THE PRACTICE AND SCIENCE 
OF DRAWING 




Plate I 



FOUR PHOTOGRAPHS OF SAME MONOCHROME PAINTING IN DIFFERENT 
STAGES ILLUSTRATING A METHOD OF STUDYING MASS DRAWING 
WITH THE BRUSH 



THE 

PRACTICE 8f SCIENCE 



OF 



DRAWING 



BY 

HAROLD SPEED 

it 

Associ de la Socie'te' Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris ; Member of 
the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, &>c. 



With 93 Illustrations & Diagrams 



Fourth Edition 



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PREFACE 

PERMIT me in the first place to anticipate the dis- 
appointment of any student who opens this book 
with the idea of finding "wrinkles" on how to 
draw faces, trees, clouds, or what not, short cuts 
to excellence in drawing, or any of the tricks so 
popular with the drawing masters of our grand- 
mothers and still dearly loved by a large number 
of people. No good can come of such methods, for 
there are no short cuts to excellence. But help of 
a very practical kind it is the aim of the following 
pages to give; although it may be necessary to 
make a greater call upon the intelligence of the 
student than these Victorian methods attempted. 

It was not until some time after having passed 
through the course of training in two of our chief 
schools of art, that the author got any idea of what 
drawing really meant. What was taught was the 
faithful copying of a series of objects, beginning 
with the simplest forms, such as cubes, cones, cylin- 
ders, &c. (an excellent system to begin with at 
present in danger of some neglect), after which 
more complicated objects in plaster of Paris were 
attempted, and finally copies of the human head 
and figure posed in suspended animation and sup- 
ported by blocks, &c. In so far as this was accurately 
done, all this mechanical training of eye and hand 
was excellent; but it was not enough. And when 
with an eye trained to the closest mechanical 

V 

A. r* 

* ~ \j 



PREFACE 

accuracy the author visited the galleries of the 
Continent and studied the drawings of the old 
masters, it soon became apparent that either his or 
their ideas of drawing were all wrong. Very few 
drawings could be found sufficiently "like the 
model" to obtain the prize at either of the great 
schools he had attended. Luckily there was just 
enough modesty left for him to realise that possibly 
they were in some mysterious way right and his 
own training in some way lacking. And so he set 
to work to try and climb the long uphill road that 
separates mechanically accurate drawing from 
artistically accurate drawing. 

Now this journey should have been commenced 
much earlier, and perhaps it was due to his own 
stupidity that it was not; but it was with a vague 
idea of saving some students from such wrong- 
headedness, and possibly straightening out some 
of the path, that he accepted the invitation to write 
this book. 

In writing upon any matter of experience, such 
as art, the possibilities of misunderstanding are 
enormous, and one shudders to think of the things 
that may be put down to one's credit, owing to 
such misunderstandings. It is like writing about 
the taste of sugar, you are only likely to be 
understood by those who have already experienced 
the flavour ; by those who have not, the wildest 
interpretation will be put upon your words. The 
written word is necessarily confined to the things 
of the understanding because only the understand- 
ing has written language ; whereas art deals with 
ideas of a different mental texture, which words 
can only vaguely suggest. However, there are a 
large number of people who, although they cannot 

vi 



PREFACE 

be jsaid to have experienced in a full sense any 
works of art, have undoubtedly the impelling desire 
which a little direction may lead on to a fuller 
appreciation. And it is to such that books on 
art are useful. So that although this book is 
primarily addressed to working students, it is 
hoped that it may be of interest to that increasing 
number of people who, tired with the rush and 
struggle of modern existence, seek refreshment in 
artistic things. To many such in this country 
modern art is still a closed book ; its point of 
view is so different from that of the art they 
have been brought up with, that they refuse to 
have anything to do with it. Whereas, if they 
only took the trouble to find out something of 
the point of view of the modern artist, they would 
discover new beauties they little suspected. 

If anybody looks at a picture by Claude Monet 
from the point of view of a Raphael, he will see 
nothing but a meaningless jargon of wild paint- 
strokes. And if anybody looks at a Raphael from 
the point of view of a Claude Monet, he will, no 
doubt, only see hard, tinny figures in a setting 
devoid of any of the lovely atmosphere that always 
envelops form seen in nature. So wide apart are 
some of the points of view in painting. In the 
treatment of form these differences in point of 
view make for enormous variety in the work. 
So that no apology need be made for the large 
amount of space occupied in the following pages 
by what is usually dismissed as mere theory; but 
what is in reality the first essential of any good 
practice in drawing. To have a clear idea of what 
it is you wish to do, is the first necessity of any 
successful performance. But our exhibitions are 

vii 



PREFACE 

full of works that show how seldom this is the 
case in art. Works showing much ingenuity and 
ability, but no artistic brains ; pictures that are 
little more than school studies, exercises in the 
representation of carefully or carelessly arranged 
objects, but cold to any artistic intention. 

At this time particularly some principles, and a 
clear intellectual understanding of what it is you 
are trying to do, are needed. We have no set tra- 
ditions to guide us. The times when the student 
accepted the style and traditions of his master and 
blindly followed them until he found himself, are 
gone. Such conditions belonged to an age when 
intercommunication was difficult, and when the 
artistic horizon was restricted to a single town or 
province. Science has altered all that, and we may 
regret the loss of local colour and singleness of 
aim this growth of art in separate compartments 
produced; but it is unlikely that such conditions 
will occur again. Quick means of transit and cheap 
methods of reproduction have brought the art of 
the whole world to our doors. Where formerly the 
artistic food at the disposal of the student was 
restricted to the few pictures in his vicinity and 
some prints of others, now there is scarcely a picture 
of note in the world that is not known to the 
average student, either from personal inspection at 
our museums and loan exhibitions, or from excellent 
photographic reproductions. Not only European art, 
but the art of the East, China and Japan, is part 
of the formative influence by which he is sur- 
rounded ; not to mention the modern science of 
light and colour that has had such an influence on 
technique. It is no wonder that a period of artistic 
indigestion is upon us. Hence the student has need 

viii 



PREFACE 

of sound principles and a clear understanding of 
the science of his art, if he would select from this 
mass of material those things which answer to his 
own inner need for artistic expression. 

The position of art to-day is like that of a river 
where many tributaries meeting at one point, sud- 
denly turn the steady flow to turbulence, the many 
streams jostling each other and the different cur- 
rents pulling hither and thither. After a time 
these newly-met forces will adjust themselves to the 
altered condition, and a larger, finer stream be the 
result. Something analogous to this would seem to 
be happening in art at the present time, when all 
nations and all schools are acting and reacting upon 
each other, and art is losing its national character- 
istics. The hope of the future is that a larger and 
deeper art, answering to the altered conditions of 
humanity, will result. 

There are those who would leave this scene of 
struggling influences and away up on some bare 
primitive mountain-top start a new stream, begin 
all over again. But however necessary it may be 
to give the primitive mountain waters that were 
the start of all the streams a more prominent place 
in the new flow onwards, it is unlikely that much 
can come of any attempt to leave the turbulent 
waters, go backwards, and start again; they can 
only flow onwards. To speak more plainly, the 
complexity of modern art influences may make it 
necessary to call attention to the primitive principles 
of expression that should never be lost sight of in 
any work, but hardly justifies the attitude of those 
anarchists in art who would flout the heritage 
of culture we possess and attempt a new start. 
Such attempts however when sincere are interest- 

ix 



PREFACE 

ing and may be productive of some new vitality, 
adding to the weight of the main stream. But it 
must be along the main stream, along lines in har- 
mony with tradition that the chief advance must 
be looked for. 

Although it has been felt necessary to devote 
much space to an attempt to find principles that 
may be said to be at the basis of the art of all 
nations, the executive side of the question has not 
been neglected. And it is hoped that the logical 
method for the study of drawing from the two 
opposite points of view of line and mass here advo- 
cated may be useful, and help students to avoid 
some of the confusion that results from attempting 
simultaneously the study of these different qualities 
of form expression. 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PAGE 

I. INTRODUCTION .17 

II. DRAWING . . . . . * . .31 

III. VISION 38 

IV. LINE DRAWING .50 

V. MASS DRAWING 58 

VI. THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONAL ... 68 

VII. THE STUDY OF DRAWING ..... 80 

VIII. LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL. .... 84 

IX. MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL. . . . .110 

X. RHYTHM 127 

XL RHYTHM: VARIETY OF LINE . .137 

XII. RHYTHM : UNITY OF LINE . . .144 

XIII. RHYTHM : VARIETY OF MASS . . .185 

XIV. RHYTHM: UNITY OF MASS 200 

XV. RHYTHM: BALANCE .... .219 

XVI. RHYTHM: PROPORTION 227 

XVII. PORTRAIT DRAWING .239 

XVIII. THE VISUAL MEMORY . . . . . .256 

XIX. PROCEDURE 265 

XX. MATERIALS 271 

XXI. CONCLUSION 286 

APPENDIX 289 

INDEX . . . .'.. . . . . 292 

xi 



LIST OF PLATES 

PLATE 

I. SET OF FOUR PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SAME STUDY 

FROM THE LIFE IN DIFFERENT STAGES . Frontispiece 

PAQB 

II. DRAWING BY LEONARDO DA VINCI ... 22 

III. STUDY FOR "APRIL" 26 

IV. STUDY FOR THE FIGURE OF " BOREAS" . . 28 
V. FROM A STUDY BY BOTTICELLI . 34 

VI. STUDY BY ALFRED STEPHENS .... 36 

VII. STUDY FOR THE FIGURE OF APOLLO ... 42 

VIII. STUDY FOR A PICTURE ..... 46 

IX. STUDY BY WATTEAU 52 

X. EXAMPLE OF XVra CENTURY CHINESE WORK . 58 

XI. LAS MENINAS. BY VELAZQUEZ Go 

XII. STUDY ATTRIBUTED TO MICHAEL ANGELO . . 66 

XIII. STUDY BY DEGAS .67 

XIV. DRAWING BY ERNEST COLE 70 

XV. FROM A PENCIL DRAWING BY INGRES ... 72 

XVI. STUDY BY RUBENS 82 

XVII. A DEMONSTRATION DRAWING AT THE GOLDSMITHS' 

COLLEGE 88 

XVIII. STUDY ILLUSTRATING METHOD OF DRAWING . . 90 

xii 



LIST OF PLATES 

PLATE PAGE 

XIX. ILLUSTRATING CURVED LINES . . .93 

XX. STUDY FOR THE FIGURE or "Lo\E" . .100 

XXI. STUDY ILLUSTRATING TREATMENT OF HAIR . 102 

XXII. STUDY FOR DECORATION AT AMIENS . . 104 

XXIII. DIFFERENT STAGES OF THE PAINTING FROM A 

CAST (1) 110 

XXIII. DIFFERENT STAGES OF THE PAINTING FROM A 

CAST (2) 110 

XXIV. DIFFERENT STAGES OF THE PAINTING FROM A 

CAST (3) Ill 

XXIV. DIFFERENT STAGES OF THE PAINTING FROM A 

CAST (4) Ill 

XXV. ILLUSTRATING SOME TYPICAL BRUSH STROKES . 117 

XXVI. DIFFERENT STAGES OF THE SAME STUDY (1) . 122 

XXVII. ( 2 ) . 122 

XXVIII. (3) . 122 

XXIX. (4) . 122 

XXX. A % STUDY FOR A PICTURE OF " ROSALIND AND 

ORLANDO" . . . . . .130 

XXXI. ILLUSTRATIONS FROM BLAKE'S "Jon" (PLATES 

I., V., X., XXI.) 146 

XXXII. ILLUSTRATIONS FROM BLAKE'S "Joe" (PLATES 

II., XI., XVIII., XIV.) .... 148. 

XXXIII. FETE CHAMPTRE 150 

XXXIV. BACCHUS AND ARIADNE . ... l.H 

XXXV. LOVE AND DEATH . . . . . .1.58 

XXXVI. SURRENDER OF BREDA Ifil 

xiii 



LIST OF PLATES 

PLATE PAGE 

XXXVII. THE BIRTH OF VENUS 166 

XXXVIII. THE RAPE OF EUROPA 168 

XXXIX. BATTLE OF S. EGIDIO 170 

XL. THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST . . . .172 

XLI. THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST . . . .173 

XLII. PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST'S DAUGHTER . .178 

XLIII. MCNTE SOLARO, CAPRI 188 

XLIV. PART OF THE " SURRENDER OF BREDA". . 194 

XLV. VENUS, MERCURY, AND CUPID . . . 206 

XLVI. OLYMPIA 208 

XLVII. I/EMBARQUEMENT POUR CYTHERE . . . 210 

XLVIII. THE ANSIDEI MADONNA 230 

XLIX. FINDING OF THE BODY OF ST. MARK .- . 236 

L. FROM A DRAWING BY HOLBEIN . . . 240 

LI. SIR CHARLES DILKE 242 

LII. JOHN REDMOND, M.P 246 

LIII. THE LADY AUDLEY 248 

LIV. STUDY ON BROWN PAPER .... 260 

LV. FROM A SILVER POINT DRAWING . . . 274 

LVI. STUDY FOR TREE IN "THE BOAR HUNT" . 282 



XIV 



LIST OF DIAGRAMS 

DIAGRAM PAGB 

I. TYPES OF FIRST DRAWINGS BY CHILDREN . . 44 

II. SHOWING WHERE SQUARENESSES MAY BE LOOKED FOR 82 

III. A DEVICE FOR ENABLING STUDENTS TO OBSERVE 

APPEARANCES AS A FLAT SUBJECT ... 85 

IV. SHOWING THREE PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION USED 

IN OBSERVING MASSES, CURVES, AND POSITION OF 

POINTS ..... ... 87 

V. PLAN OF CONE ILLUSTRATING PRINCIPLES OF LIGHT 

AND SHADE ....... 95 

VI. ILLUSTRATING SOME POINTS CONNECTED WITH THE 

EYES 107 

VII. EGG AND DART MOULDING . . . . .139 

VIII. ILLUSTRATING VARIETY IN SYMMETRY . . .140 

IX. 142 

X. ILLUSTRATING INFLUENCE OF HORIZONTAL LINES . 152 

XI. ILLUSTRATING INFLUENCE OF VERTICAL LINES . 153 

XII. ILLUSTRATING INFLUENCE OF THE RIGHT ANGLE . 156 

XIII. LOVE AND DEATH 158 

XIV. ILLUSTRATING POWER OF CURVED LINES . 164-165 
XV. THE BIRTH OF VENUS 166 

XVI. THE RAPE OF EUROPA 168 

XV 



LIST OF DIAGRAMS 

DIAGRAM FAOB 

XVII. BATTLE OF S. EGIDIO 170 

XVIII. SHOWING HOW LINES UNRELATED CAN BE BROUGHT 

INTO HARMONY . . . . . .174 

XIX. SHOWING HOW LINES UNRELATED CAN BE BROUGHT 

INTO HARMONY 175 

XX. THE ARTIST'S DAUGHTER 178 

XXI. THE INFLUENCE ON THE FACE OF DIFFERENT 

WAYS OF DOING THE HAIR . . . .180 

XXII. THE INFLUENCE ON THE FACE OF DIFFERENT 

WAYS OF DOING THE HAIR . . . .181 

XXIII. EXAMPLES OF EARLY ITALIAN TREATMENT OF 

TREES 197 

XXIV. THE PRINCIPLE OF MASS OR TONE RHYTHM . 210 

XXV. MASS OR TONE RHYTHM IN " ULYSSES DERID- 
ING POLYPHEMUS" ..... 213 

XXVI. EXAMPLE OF COROT'S SYSTEM OF MASS RHYTHM 215 

XXVII. ILLUSTRATING HOW INTEREST MAY BALANCE 

MASS 225 

XXVIII. PROPORTION 232-234 



THE PRACTICE AND SCIENCE 
OF DRAWING 

I 

INTRODUCTION 

THE best things in an artist's work are so much a 
matter of intuition, that there is much to be said 
for the point of view that would altogether dis- 
courage intellectual inquiry into artistic phenomena 
on the part of the artist. Intuitions are shy things 
and apt to disappear if looked into too closely. And 
there is undoubtedly a danger that too much know- 
ledge and training may supplant the natural intuitive 
feeling of a student, leaving only a cold knowledge of 
the 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 has 
said, "not in him but through him." He has been, 
as it were, but the agent through which it has found 
expression. 

Talent can be described as " that which we have," 
and Genius as "that which has us." Now, although 
we may have little control over this power that " has 
us," and although it may be as well to abandon 
oneself unreservedly to its influence, there can be 
little doubt as to its being the business of the artist 
to see to it that his talent be so developed, that he 

17 B 



; V INTKODUCTION 

may prove a fit instrument for the expression of 
whatever it may be given him to express; while 
it must be left to his individual temperament to 
decide how far it is advisable to pursue any intel- 
lectual analysis of the elusive things that are the 
true matter of art. 

Provided the student realises this, and that art 
training can only deal with the perfecting of a means 
of expression and that the real matter of art lies 
above this and is beyond the scope of teaching, he 
cannot have too much of it. For although he must 
ever be a child before the influences that move him, 
if it is not with the knowledge of the grown man 
that he takes off his coat and approaches the craft of 
painting or drawing, he will be poorly equipped to 
make 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 creative 
instinct of the artist has a well-organised executive 
faculty at its disposal. 

Of the two divisions into which the technical 
study of painting can be divided, namely Form 
and Colour, we are concerned in this book with 
Form alone. But before proceeding to our immediate 
subject, something should be said as to the nature 
of art generally, not with the ambition of arriving 
at any final result in a short chapter, but merely 
in order to give an idea of the point of view from 
which the following pages are written, so that mis- 
understandings may be avoided. 

The variety of definitions that exist justifies some 
inquiry. The following are a few that come to 
mind: 

" Art is nature expressed through a personality." 
18 



INTRODUCTION 

But what of architecture ? Or music ? Then there is 
Morris's 

" Art is the expression of pleasure in work." 

But this does not apply to music and poetry. Andrew 
Lang's 

" Everything which we distinguish from nature " 
seems too broad to catch hold of, while Tolstoy's 

" An action by means of which one man, having experienced 
a 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 senses 
to the consciousness within us, and stimulate the 
world of thought and feeling that constitutes our 
real life. Thought and feeling are very intimately 
connected, few of our mental perceptions, particularly 
when they first dawn upon us, being unaccompanied 
by some feeling. But there is this general division 
to be made, on one extreme of which is what we 
call pure intellect, and on the other pure feeling or 
emotion. The arts, I take it, are a means of giving 
expression to the emotional side of this mental 
activity, intimately related as it often is to the more 
purely intellectual side. The more sensual side of 
this feeling is perhaps its lowest, while the feelings 
associated with the intelligence, the little sensitive- 
nesses of perception that escape pure intellect, are 
possibly its noblest experiences. 

Pure intellect seeks to construct from the facts 
brought to our consciousness by the senses, an accu- 

19 



INTRODUCTION 

rately measured world of phenomena, uncoloured by 
the human equation in each of us. It seeks to create 
a point of view outside the human standpoint, one 
more stable and accurate, unaffected by the ever- 
changing current of human life. It therefore invents 
mechanical instruments to do the measuring of our 
sense perceptions, as their records are more accurate 
than human observation unaided. 

But while in science observation is made much 
more effective by the use of mechanical instruments 
in registering facts, the facts with which art deals, 
being those of feeling, can only be recorded by the 
feeling instrument man, and are entirely missed 
by any mechanically devised substitutes. 

The artistic intelligence is not interested in 
things 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 number 
of artistic intelligences should be different in each 
case, whereas the same fact accurately expressed by 
a number of scientific intelligences should be the 
same. 

But besides the feelings connected with a wide 
range of experience, each art has certain emotions be- 
longing to the particular sense perceptions connected 
with it. That is to say, there are some that only 
music can convey : those connected with sound ; others 
that only painting, sculpture, or architecture can 
convey: those connected with the form and colour 
that they severally deal with. 

In abstract form and colour that is, form and 
colour unconnected with natural appearances there 
is an emotional power, such as there is in music, 
the sounds of which have no direct connection with 

20 



INTRODUCTION 

anything in nature, but only with that mysterious 
sense we have, the sense of Harmony, Beauty, or 
Rhythm (all three but different aspects of the same 
thing). 

This inner sense is a very remarkable fact, and 
will be found to some extent in all, certainly all 
civilised, races. And when the art of a remote people 
like the Chinese and Japanese is understood, our 
senses of harmony are found to be wonderfully in 
agreement. Despite the fact that their art has de- 
veloped on lines widely different from our own, 
none the less, when the surprise at its newness 
has worn off and we begin to understand it, we 
find it conforms to very much the same sense of 
harmony. 

But apart from the feelings connected directly 
with the means of expression, there appears to be 
much in common between all the arts in their most 
profound expression ; there seems to be a common 
cdntre in our inner life that they all appeal to. 
Possibly at this centre are the great primitive 
emotions common to all men. The religious group, 
the deep awe and reverence men feel when con- 
templating the great mystery of the Universe 
and their own littleness in the face of its vastness 
the desire to correspond and develop relationship 
with the something outside themselves that is 
felt to be behind and through all things. Then 
there are those connected with the joy of life, the 
throbbing of the great life spirit, the gladness of 
being, the desire of the sexes ; and also those con- 
nected with the sadness and mystery of death and 
decay, &c. 

The technical side of an art is, however, not 
concerned with these deeper motives but with the 

21 



INTRODUCTION 

things of sense through which they find expression ; 
in the case of painting, the visible universe. 

The artist is capable of being stimulated to 
artistic expression by all things seen, no matter 
what ; to him nothing comes amiss. Great pictures 
have been made of beautiful people in beautiful 
clothes and of squalid people in ugly clothes, of 
beautiful architectural buildings and the ugly hovels 
of the poor. And the same painter who painted the 
Alps painted the Great Western Railway. 

The visible world is to the artist, as it were, a 
wonderful garment, afc times revealing to him the 
Beyond, the Inner Truth there is in all things. He 
has a consciousness of some correspondence with 
something the other side of visible things and dimly 
felt through them, a " still, small voice " which he is 
impelled to interpret to man. It is the expression of 
this all-pervading inner significance that I think we 
recognise as beauty, and that prompted Keats to 

say: 

" Beauty is truth, truth beauty." 

And hence it is that the love of truth and the 
love of beauty can exist together in the work of the 
artist. The search for this inner truth is the search 
for beauty. People whose vision does not penetrate 
beyond the narrow limits of the commonplace, and 
to 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 that 
he has consciously altered its appearance on some 
idealistic formula; whereas he has probably only 
honestly given expression to a truer, deeper vision 
than they had been aware of. The commonplace is 
not the true, but only the shallow, view of things. 




\ 




Plate II 



Copyright photo, Braun db Co. 



DRAWING BY LEONARDO DA VINCI FROM THE 
ROYAL COLLECTION AT WINDSOR 



I 

INTRODUCTION 

Fromentin's 
" Art is the expression of the invisible by means of the visible " 

expresses the same idea, and it is this that gives 
to art its high place among the works of man. 

Beautiful things seem to put us in correspondence 
with a world the harmonies of which are more 
perfect, and bring a deeper peace than this imperfect 
life seems capable of yielding of itself. Our moments 
of peace are, I think, always associated with some 
form of beauty, of this spark of harmony within 
corresponding with some infinite source without. 
Like a mariner's compass, we are restless until we 
find repose in this one direction. In moments of 
beauty (for beauty is, strictly speaking, a state of 
mind rather than an attribute of certain objects, 
although certain things have the power of inducing 
it more than others) we seem to get a glimpse of 
this deeper truth behind the things of sense. And 
who can say but that this sense, dull enough in most 
of us, is not an echo of a greater harmony existing 
somewhere the other side of things, that we dimly 
feel through them, evasive though it is. 

But we must tread lightly in these rarefied 
regions and get on to more practical concerns. By 
finding and emphasising in his work those elements 
in visual appearances that express these profounder 
things, the painter is enabled to stimulate the per- 
ception of them in others. 

In the representation of a fine mountain, for 
instance, there are, besides all its rhythmic beauty 
of form and colour, associations touching deeper 
chords in our natures associations connected with 
its size, age, and permanence, &c. ; at any rate we 
have more feelings than form and colour of them- 

23 



INTRODUCTION 

n 

selves are capable of arousing. And these things 
must be felt by the painter, and his picture painted 
under the influence of these feelings, if he is instinc- 
tively to select those elements of form and colour 
that convey them. Such deeper feelings are far 
too intimately associated even with the finer beauties 
of mere form and colour for the painter to be able 
to neglect them ; no amount of technical knowledge 
will take the place of feeling, or direct the painter 
so surely in his selection of what is fine. 

There are those who would say, " This is all very 
well, but the painter's concern is with form and 
colour and paint, and nothing else. If he paints the 
mountain faithfully from that point of view, it will 
suggest all these other associations to those who 
want them." And others who would say that the 
form and colour of appearances are only to be used 
as a language to give expression to the feelings 
common to all men. " Art for art's sake " and " Art 
for subject's sake." There are these two extreme 
positions to consider, and it will depend on the indi- 
vidual on which side his work lies. His interest will 
be more on the a3sthetic side, in the feelings directly 
concerned with form and colour ; or on the side of the 
mental associations connected with appearances, ac- 
cording to his temperament. But neither position 
can neglect the other without fatal loss. The picture 
of form and colour will never be able to escape the 
associations connected with visual things, neither 
will the picture all for subject be able to get away 
from its form and colour. And it is wrong to say 
" If he paints the mountain faithfully from the form 
and colour point of view it will suggest all those 
other associations to those who want them," unless, 
as is possible with a simple.-minded painter, he 

24 



INTRODUCTION 

be unconsciously moved by deeper feelings, and 
impelled to select the significant things while only 
conscious of his paint. But the chances are that 
his picture will convey the things he was thinking 
about, and, in consequence, instead of impressing 
us with the grandeur of the mountain, will say 
something very like "See what a clever painter I 
am ! " Unless the artist has painted his picture 
under the influence of the deeper feelings the scene 
was capable of producing, it is not likely anybody 
will be so impressed when they look at his work. 

And the painter deeply moved with high ideals 
as to subject matter, who neglects the form and 
colour through which he is expressing them, will 
find that his work has failed to be convincing. The 
immaterial can only be expressed through the 
material in art, and the painted symbols of the 
picture must be very perfect if subtle and elusive 
meanings are to be conveyed. If he cannot paint 
the commonplace aspect of our mountain, how can 
he expect to paint any expression of the deeper 
things in it? The fact is, both positions are in- 
complete. In all good art the matter expressed 
and the manner of its expression are so intimate 
as to have become one. The deeper associations 
connected with the mountain are only matters for 
art in so far as they affect its appearance and take 
shape as form and colour in the mind of the artist, 
informing the whole process of the painting, even 
to the brush strokes. As in a good poem, it is 
impossible to consider the poetic idea apart from 
the words that express it : they are fired together 
at its creation. 

Now an expression by means of one of our dif- 
ferent sense perceptions does not constitute art, or 

25 



INTRODUCTION 

the boy shouting at the top of his voice, giving ex- 
pression to his delight in life but making a horrible 
noise, would be an artist. If his expression is to be 
adequate to convey his feeling to others, there must 
be some arrangement. The expression must be 
ordered, rhythmic, or whatever word most fitly 
conveys the idea of those powers, conscious or un- 
conscious, that select and arrange the sensuous 
material of art, so as to make the most telling impres- 
sion, by bringing it into relation with our innate 
sense of harmony. If we can find a rough definition 
that will include all the arts, it will help us to see 
in what direction lie those things in painting that 
make it an art. The not uncommon idea, that 
painting is "the production by means of colours 
of more or less perfect representations of natural 
objects " will not do. And it is devoutly to be hoped 
that 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 ego 
that perceives and is moved by the phenomena of 
life around us. And, on the other hand, something 
about the ordering of its expression. 

But who knows of words that can convey a just 
idea of such subtle matter? If one says "Art is 
the rhythmic expression of Life, or emotional con- 
sciousness, or feeling," all are inadequate. Perhaps 
the " rhythmic expression of life " would be the more 
perfect definition. But the word " life " is so much 
more associated with eating and drinking in the 
popular mind, than with the spirit or force or what- 
ever you care to call it, that exists behind conscious- 

26 








Plate III 



STUDY FOR " APRIL" 

In red chalk on toned paper. 



INTRODUCTION 

ness 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 will 
at least point away from the mechanical perfor- 
mances that so often pass for art, " the Rhythmic ex- 
pression of Feeling " will do : for hy Rhythm is meant 
that ordering of the materials of art (form and 
colour, in the case of painting) so as to bring them 
into relationship with our innate sense of harmony 
which gives them their expressive power. Without 
this relationship we have no direct means, of making 
the sensuous material of art awaken an answering 
echo in others. The boy shouting at the top of his 
voice, making a horrible noise, was not an artist be- 
cause his expression was inadequate was not related 
to the underlying sense of harmony that would have 
given it expressive power. 

Let us test this definition with some simple cases. 
Here is a savage, shouting and flinging his arms and 
legs about in wild delight; he is not an artist, al- 
though he may be moved by life and feeling. But 
let this shouting be done on some ordered plan, to a 
rhythm expressive of joy and delight, and his leg 
and arm movements governed by it also, and he has 
become an artist, and singing and dancing (possibly 
the oldest of the arts) will result. 

Or take the case of one who has been deeply 
moved by something he has seen, say a man killed 
by a wild beast, which he wishes to tell his friends. 
If he just explains the facts as he saw them, making 
no effort to order his words so as to make the most 
telling impression upon his hearers and convey to 
them something of the feelings that are stirring in 
him, if he merely does this, he is not an artist, al- 
though the recital of such a terrible incident may be 

27 



INTRODUCTION 

moving. But the moment he arranges his words so 
as to convey in a telling manner not only the plain 
facts, but the horrible feelings he experienced at the 
sight, he has become an artist. And if he further 
orders his words to a rhythmic beat, a beat in sym- 
pathy with his subject, he has become still more 
artistic, 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 up 
walls as he needs protection from wild beasts, and a 
roof to keep out the rain, he is not yet an artist. 
But the moment he begins to consider his work with 
some feeling, and arranges the relative sizes of his 
walls and roof so that they answer to some sense 
he has for beautiful proportion, he has become an 
artist, and his hut has some architectural preten- 
sions. Now if his hut is of wood, and he paints it 
to protect it from the elements, nothing necessarily 
artistic has been done. But if he selects colours that 
give him pleasure in their arrangement, and if the 
forms his colour masses assume are designed with 
some personal feeling, he has invented a primitive 
form of decoration. 

And likewise the savage who, wishing to illustrate 
his description of a strange animal he has seen, takes 
a piece of burnt wood and draws on the wall his 
idea of what it looked like, a sort of catalogue of its 
appearance, he is not necessarily an artist. It is 
only when he draws under the influence of some 
feeling, of some pleasure he felt in the appearance 
of the animal, that he becomes an artist. 

Of course in each case it is assumed that the 
men have the power to be moved by these things, 
and whether they are good or poor artists will 

28 











STUDY ON TISSUE-PAPER IN RED CHALK FOR FIGURE OF BOREAS 



INTRODUCTION 

depend on the quality of their feeling and the fitness 
of its expression. 

The purest form of this "rhythmic expression 
of feeling " is music. And as Walter Pater shows us 
in his essay on " The School of Giorgione," " music is 
the type of art." The others are more artistic as 
they approach its conditions. Poetry, the most 
musical form of literature, is its most artistic form. 
And in the greatest pictures form, colour, and idea 
are united to thrill us with harmonies analogous 
to music. 

The painter expresses his feelings through the 
representation of the visible world of Nature, and 
through the representation of those combinations of 
form and colour inspired in his imagination, that 
were all originally derived from visible nature. If he 
fails from lack of skill to make his representation con- 
vincing to reasonable people, no matter how sublime 
has been his artistic intention, he will probably 
have landed in the ridiculous. And yet, so great is 
the power of direction exercised by the emotions on 
the artist that it .is seldom his work fails to convey 
something, when genuine feeling has been the motive. 
On the other hand, the painter with no artistic 
impulse who makes a laboriously commonplace 
picture of some ordinary or pretentious subject, 
has equally failed as an artist, however much the 
skilfulness of his representations may gain him re- 
putation with the unthinking. 

The study, therefore, of the representation of visible 
nature and of the powers of expression possessed by 
form and colour is the object of the painter's training. 

And a command over this power of representation 
and expression is absolutely necessary if he is to 
be capable of doing anything worthy of his art. 

20 



INTRODUCTION 

This 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 can 
do is to surround them with the conditions calculated 
to stimulate any natural feeling they may possess. 
And this is done by familiarising students with the 
best works of art and nature. 

It is surprising how few art students have any 
idea of what it is that constitutes art. They are 
impelled, ib is to be assumed, by a natural desire 
to express themselves by painting, and, if their 
intuitive ability is strong enough, it perhaps matters 
little whether they know or not. But to the larger 
number who are not so violently impelled, it is 
highly essential that they have some better idea of 
art than that it consists in setting down your canvas 
before nature and copying it. 

Inadequate as this imperfect treatment of a pro- 
foundly interesting subject is, it may serve to give 
some idea of the point of view from which the 
following pages are written, and if it also serves to 
disturb the "copying theory" in the minds of any 
students and encourages them to make further 
inquiry, it will have served a useful purpose. 



80 



II 

DRAWING 

BY drawing is here meant the expression of form 
upon a plane surface. 

Art probably owes more to form for its range 
of expression than to colour. Many of the noblest 
things it is capable of conveying are expressed by 
form more directly than by anything else. And it 
is interesting to notice how some of the world's 
greatest artists have been very restricted in their 
use of colour, preferring to depend on form for their 
chief appeal. It is reported that Apelles only used 
three colours, black, red, and yellow, and Rembrandt 
used little else. Drawing, although the first, is also 
the last, thing the painter usually studies. There 
is more in it that can be taught and that repays 
constant application and effort. Colour would seem 
to depend much more on a natural sense and to be 
less amenable to teaching. A well-trained eye for 
the appreciation of form is what every student 
should set himself to acquire with all the might of 
which he is capable. 

It is not enough in artistic drawing to portray 
accurately and in cold blood the appearance of 
objects. To express form one must first be moved 
by it. There is in the appearance of all objects, 
animate and inanimate, what has been called an 
significance, a hidden rhythm that is not 
31 



DRAWING 

caught by the accurate, painstaking, but cold artist. 
The form significance of which we speak is never 
found in a mechanical reproduction like a photo- 
graph. You are never moved to say when looking 
at one, " What fine form." 

It is difficult to say in what this quality consists. 
The emphasis and selection that is unconsciously 
given in a drawing done directly under the guidance 
of strong feeling, are too subtle to be tabulated ; they 
escape analysis. But it is this selection of the sig- 
nificant and suppression of the non-essential that 
often gives to a few lines drawn quickly, and having 
a somewhat remote relation to the complex appear- 
ance of the real object, more vitality and truth than 
are to be found in a highly- wrought and painstaking 
drawing, during the process of which the essential 
and vital things have been lost sight of in the 
labour of the work ; and the non-essential, which is 
usually more obvious, has been allowed to creep in 
and obscure the original impression. Of course, had 
the finished drawing been done with the mind centred 
upon the particular form significance aimed at, and 
every touch and detail added in tune to this idea, 
the comparison m~ght have been different. But it 
is rarely that good drawings are done this way. 
Fine things seem only to be seen in flashes, and the 
nature that can carry over the impression of one of 
these moments during the labour of a highly- wrought 
drawing is very rare, and belongs to the few great 
ones of the craft alone. 

It is difficult to know why one should be moved 
by the expression of form; but it appears to have 
some physical influence over us. In looking at a 
fine drawing, say of a strong man, we seem to identify 
ourselves with it and feel a thrill of its strength in 

32 



DRAWING 

our own bodies, prompting us to set our teeth, stiffen 
our frame, and exclaim "That's fine." Or, when 
looking at the drawing of a beautiful woman, we 
are softened by its charm and feel in ourselves 
something of its sweetness as we exclaim, " How 
beautiful." The measure of the feeling in either case 
will be the extent to which the artist has identified 
himself with the subject when making the drawing, 
and has been impelled to select the expressive elements 
in the forms. 

Art thus enables us to experience life at second 
hand. The small man may enjoy somewhat of the 
wider experience of the bigger man, and be edu- 
cated to appreciate in time a wider experience for 
himself. This is the true justification for public picture 
galleries. Not so much for the moral influence they 
exert, of which we have heard so much, but that 
people may be led through the vision of the artist 
to enlarge their experience of life. This enlarging 
of the experience is true education, and a very 
different thing from the memorising of facts that 
so often passes as such. In a way this may be said 
to be a moral influence, as a larger mind is less 
likely to harbour small meannesses. But this is not 
the kind of moral influence usually looked for by 
the many, who rather demand a moral story told by 
the picture; a thing not always suitable to artistic 
expression. 

One is always profoundly impressed by the 
expression of a sense of bulk, vastness, or mass in 
form. There is a feeling of being lifted out of one's 
puny self to something bigger and more stable. It 
is this splendid feeling of bigness in Michael Angelo's 
figures that is so satisfying. One cannot come away 
from the contemplation of that wonderful ceiling of 

33 C 



DRAWING 

his in the Vatican without the sense of having 
experienced something of a larger life than one had 
known before. Never has the dignity of man 
reached so high an expression in paint, a height 
that has been the despair of all who have since 
tried to follow that lonely master. In landscape 
also this expression of largeness is fine : one likes to 
feel the weight and mass of the ground, the vastness 
of the sky and sea, the bulk of a mountain. 

On the other hand one is charmed also by the 
expression of lightness. This may be noted in much 
of the work of Botticelli and the Italians of the 
fifteenth century. Botticelli's figures seldom have 
any weight; they drift about as if walking on air, 
giving a delightful feeling of otherworldliness. The 
hands of the Madonna that hold the Child might be 
holding flowers for any sense of support they ex- 
press. It is, I think, on this sense of lightness that 
a great deal of the exquisite charm of Botticelli's 
drawing depends. 

The feathery lightness of clouds and of draperies 
blown by the wind is always pleasing, and Botticelli 
nearly always has a light wind passing through his 
draperies to give them this sense. 

As will be explained later, in connection with 
academic drawing, it is eminently necessary for the 
student to train his eye accurately to observe the 
forms 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 singer 
trains himself to sing scales, giving every note 
exactly the same weight and preserving a most 
mechanical time throughout, so that every note of his 
voice may be accurately under his control and be 
equal to the subtlest variations he may afterwards 

34 




Plate V 



FROM A STUDY BY BOTTICELLI 

In the Print Room at the British Museum. 



DRAWING 

want to infuse into it at the dictates of feeling. For 
how can the draughtsman, who does not know how 
to draw accurately the cold, commonplace view of 
an object, hope to give expression to the subtle 
differences presented by the same thing seen under 
the excitement of strong feeling ? 

These academic drawings, too, should be as 
highly finished as hard application can make them, 
so that the habit of minute visual expression may be 
acquired. It will be needed later, when drawing of 
a finer kind is attempted, and when in the heat of an 
emotional stimulus the artist has no time to consider 
the smaller subtleties of drawing, which by then 
should have become almost instinctive with him, 
leaving his mind free to dwell on the bigger 
qualities. 

Drawing, then, to be worthy of the name, must 
be more ' than what is called accurate. It must 
present the form of things in a more vivid manner 
than we ordinarily see them in nature. Every new 
draughtsman in the history of art has discovered a 
new significance in the form of common things, and 
given the world a new experience. He has repre- 
sented these qualities under the stimulus of the 
feeling they inspired in him, hot and underlined, 
as it were, adding to the great book of sight the 
world possesses in its art, a book by no means 
completed yet. 

So that to say of a drawing, as is so often said, 
that it is not true because it does not present the 
commonplace appearance of an object accurately, 
may be foolish. Its accuracy depends on the com- 
pleteness with which it conveys the particular 
emotional significance that is the object of the 
drawing. What this significance is will vary 

35 



DRAWING 

enormously with the individual artist, but it is 
only by this standard that the accuracy of the 
drawing can be judged. 

It is this difference between scientific accuracy 
and artistic accuracy that puzzles so many people. 
Science demands that phenomena be observed with 
the unemotional accuracy of a weighing machine, 
while artistic accuracy demands that things be 
observed by a sentient individual recording the 
sensations produced in him by the phenomena of 
life. And people with the scientific habit that is 
now so common among us, seeing a picture or 
drawing in which what are called facts have been 
expressed emotionally, are puzzled, if they are 
modest, or laugh at what they consider a glaring 
mistake in drawing if they are not, when all the 
time it may be their mistaken point of view that 
is at fault. 

But while there is no absolute artistic standard 
by which accuracy of drawing can be judged, as 
such standard must necessarily vary with the artistic 
intention of each individual artist, this fact must 
not be taken as an excuse for any obviously faulty 
drawing that incompetence may produce, as is often 
done by students, who when corrected, say that they 
" saw it so." For there undoubtedly exists a rough 
physical standard of Tightness in drawing, any 
violent deviations from which, even at the dictates 
of emotional expression, is productive of the gro- 
tesque. This physical standard of accuracy in his 
work it is the business of the student to acquire in 
his academic training; and every aid that science 
can give by such studies as Perspective, Anatomy, 
and, in the case of Landscape, even Geology and 
Botany, should be used to increase the accuracy of 

36 





Plate VI 



STUDY IN NATURAL RED CHALK BY ALFRED STEPHENS 

From the collection of Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon 



DRAWING 

his representations. For the strength of appeal 
in artistic work will depend much on the power the 
artist possesses of expressing himself through repre- 
sentations that arrest everyone by their truth and 
naturalness. And although, when truth and natural- 
ness exist without any artistic expression, the result 
is of little account as art, on the other hand, when 
truly artistic expression is clothed in representations 
that offend our ideas of physical truth, it is only 
the few who can forgive the offence for the sake 
of the genuine feeling they perceive behind it. 

How far the necessities of expression may be 
allowed to override the dictates of truth to physical 
structure in the appearance of objects, will always 
be a much debated point. In the best drawing the 
departures from mechanical accuracy are so subtle 
that I have no doubt many will deny the existence 
of such a thing altogether. Good artists of strong 
natural inspiration, but simple minds, are often quite 
unconscious of doing anything but being as mechani- 
cally accurate as possible, when painting. 

Yet however much it may be advisable to let 
yourself go in artistic work, during your academic 
training let your aim be a searching accuracy. 



37 



Ill 

VISION 

IT is necessary to say something about Vision in the 
first place, if we are to have any grasp of the idea 
of form. 

An act of vision is not so simple a matter as the 
student who asked her master if she should "paint 
nature as she saw nature " would seem to have 
thought. And his answer, "Yes, madam, provided 
you don't see nature as you paint nature," expressed 
the first difficulty the student of painting has to 
face : the difficulty of learning to see. 

Let us roughly examine what we know of vision. 
Science tells us that all objects are made visible to 
us by means of light ; and that white light, by which 
we see things in what may be called their normal 
aspect, is composed of all the colours of the solar 
spectrum, as may be seen in a rainbow ; a phe- 
nomenon caused, as everybody knows, by the sun's 
rays being split up into their component parts. 

This light travels in straight lines and, striking 
objects before us, is reflected in all directions. Some 
of these rays passing through a point situated behind 
the lenses of the eye, strike the retina. The multi- 
plication of these rays on the retina produces a 
picture of whatever is before the eye, such as can 
be seen on the ground glass at the back of a 

88 



VISION 

photographer's camera, or on the table of a camera 
obscura, both of which instruments are constructed 
roughly 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 be 
a red one, the yellow, green, and blue rays, all, in 
fact, except the red rays, are absorbed by the object, 
while the red is allowed to escape. These red rays 
striking the retina produce certain effects which 
convey to our consciousness the sensation of red, and 
we say "That is a red object." But there may be 
particles of moisture or dust in the air that will 
modify the red rays so that by the time they reach 
the eye they may be somewhat different. This modi- 
fication is naturally most effective when a large 
amount of atmosphere has to be passed through, and 
in things very distant the colour of the natural 
object is often entirely lost, to be replaced by atmos- 
pheric colours, as we see in distant mountains when 
the air is not perfectly clear. But we must not stray 
into the fascinating province of colour. 

What chiefly concerns us here is the fact that the 
pictures on our retinas are flat, of two dimensions, 
the same as the canvas on which we paint. If you 
examine these visual pictures without any prejudice, 
as one may with a camera obscura, you will see that 
they are composed of masses of colour in infinite 
variety and complexity, of different shapes and grada- 
tions, and with many varieties of edges ; giving to the 
eye the illusion of nature with actual depths and 
distances, although one knows all the time that it 
is a flat table on which one is looking. 

Seeing then that our eyes have only flat pictures 
containing two - dimension infonnation about the 

89 



VISION 

objective world, from whence is this knowledge of 
distance and the solidity of things? How do we 
see the third dimension, the depth and thickness, by 
means of flat pictures of two dimensions ? 

The power to judge distance is due principally 
to our possessing two eyes situated in slightly differ- 
ent positions, from which we get two views of 
objects, and also to the power possessed by the eyes 
of focussing at different distances, others being out 
of focus for the time being. In a picture the eyes 
can only focus at one distance (the distance the eye 
is from the plane of the picture when you are 
looking at it), and this is one of the chief causes 
of the perennial difficulty in painting backgrounds. 
In nature they are out of focus when one is looking 
at an object, but in a painting the background is 
necessarily on the same focal plane as the object. 
Numerous are the devices resorted to by painters 
to overcome this difficulty, but they do not concern 
us here. 

The fact that we have two flat pictures on our 
two retinas to help us, and that we can focus at 
different planes, would not suffice to account for 
our knowledge of the solidity and shape of the 
objective world, were these senses not associated 
with another sense all important in ideas of form, 
the sense of touch. 

This sense is very highly developed in us, and 
the earlier period of our existence is largely given 
over to feeling for the objective world outside our- 
selves. Who has not watched the little baby hands 
feeling for everything within reach, and without its 
reach, for the matter of that ; for the infant has no 
knowledge yet of what is and what is not within its 
reach. Who has not offered some bright object to a 

40 



1 



VISION 

young child and watched its clumsy attempts to feel 
for it, almost as clumsy at first as if it were blind 
as it has not yet learned to focus distances. And 
when he has at last got hold of it, how eagerly he 
feels it all over, looking intently at it all the time ; 
thus learning early to associate the "feel of an 
object " with its appearance. In this way by degrees 
he acquires those ideas of roughness and smooth- 
ness, hardness and softness, solidity, &c., which later 
on he will be able to distinguish by vision alone, 
and without touching the object. 

Our survival depends so much on this sense of 
touch, that it is of the first importance to us. We 
must know whether the ground is hard enough for 
us to walk on, or whether there is a hole in front 
of 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 knowledge 
accumulated in our early years, by connecting touch 
with sight, we do know when certain combinations 
of colour rays strike the eye that there is a road 
for us to walk on, and that when certain other 
combinations occur there is a hole in front of us, 
or the edge of a precipice. 

And likewise with hardness and softness, the child 
who strikes his head against the bed-post is forcibly 
reminded by nature that such things are to be 
avoided, and feeling that it is hard and that hard- 
ness has a certain look, it avoids that kind of thing 
in the future. And when it strikes its head against 
the pillow, it learns the nature of softness, and 
associating this sensation with the appearance of 
the pillow, knows in future that when softness 
is observed it need not be avoided as hardness 
must be. 

41 



VISION 

Sight is therefore not a matter of the eye alone. 
A whole train of associations connected with the 
objective world is set going in the mind when rays 
of light strike the retina refracted from objects. 
And these associations vary enormously in quantity 
and value with different individuals ; but the one 
we are here chiefly concerned with is this universal 
one of touch. Everybody "sees" the shape of an 
object, and " sees " whether it " looks " hard or soft, 
&c. Sees, in other words, the " feel " of it. 

If you are asked to think of an object, say a 
cone, it will not, I think, be the visual aspect that 
will occur to most people. They will think of a 
circular base from which a continuous side slopes 
up to a point situated above its centre, as one 
would feel it. The fact that in almost every visual 
aspect the base line is that of an ellipse, not a 
circle, comes as a surprise to people unaccustomed 
to drawing. 

But above these cruder instances, what a wealth 
of associations crowd in upon the mind, when a 
sight that moves one is observed. Put two men 
before a scene, one an ordinary person and the 
other a great poet, and ask them to describe what 
they see. Assuming them both to be possessed of a 
reasonable power honestly to express themselves, 
what a difference would there be in the value of 
their descriptions. Or take two painters both equally 
gifted in the power of expressing their visual per- 
ceptions, and put them before the scene to paint 
it. And assuming one to be a commonplace man 
and the other a great artist, what a difference will 
there be in their work. The commonplace painter 
will paint a commonplace picture, while the form 
and colour will be the means of stirring deep associ- 

42 




Plate VII 



STUDY FOB THE FIGURE OF APOLLO IN THE PICTURE 
"APOLLO AND DAPHNE " 

In natural red chalk rubbed with fineer: the hierh Herhts are nicked out with rubber. 



VISION 

ations and feelings in the mind of the other, and 
will move him to paint the scene so that the same 
splendour of associations may be conveyed to the 
beholder. 

But to return to our infant mind. While the 
development of the perception of things has been 
going on, the purely visual side of the question, the 
observation of the picture on the retina for what 
it is as form and colour, has been neglected 
neglected to such an extent that when the child 
comes to attempt drawing, sight 'is not the sense he 
consults. The mental idea of the objective world 
that has grown up in his mind is now associated 
more directly with touch than with sight, with the 
felt shape rather than the visual appearance". So 
that if he is asked to draw a head, he thinks of it 
first as an object having a continuous boundary in 
space. This his mind instinctively conceives as a 
line. Then, hair he expresses by a row of little 
lines coming out from the boundary, all round the 
top. He thinks of eyes as two points or circles, or 
as points in circles, and the nose either as a triangle 
or an L- shaped line. If you feel the nose you will 
see the reason of this. Down the front you have 
the L line, and if you feel round it you will find 
the two sides meeting at the top and a base joining 
them, suggesting the triangle. The mouth similarly 
is an opening with a row of teeth, which are gener- 
ally shown although so seldom seen, but always 
apparent if the mouth is felt (see diagram A). This 
is, I think, a fair type of the first drawing the ordi 
nary child makes and judging by some ancient 
scribbling of the same order I remember noticing 
scratched on a wall at Pompeii, and by savage draw- 
ing generally, it appears to be a fairly universal 

43 



VISION 



type. It is a very remarkable thing which, as far 
as I know, has not yet been pointed out, that in 
these first attempts at drawing the vision should 
not be consulted. A blind man would not draw 
differently, could he but see to draw. Were vision 
the first sense consulted, and were the simplest visual 





Diagram I 

A, TYPE OF FIRST DRAWING MADE BY CHILDREN, 

SHOWING HOW VISION HAS NOT BEEN CONSULTED 

B, TYPE OF WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN EXPECTED IF 

CRUDEST EXPRESSION OF VISUAL APPEARANCE 
HAD BEEN ATTEMPTED 



appearance sought after, one might expect some- 
thing like diagram B, the shadows under eyes, nose, 
mouth, and chin, with the darker mass of the hair 
being the simplest thing the visual appearance can 
be reduced to. But despite this being quite as easy 
to do, it does not appeal to the ordinary child as 
the other type does, because it does not satisfy the 

44 



VISION 

sense of touch that forms so large a part of the 
idea of an object in the mind. All architectural eleva- 
tions and geometrical projections generally appeal 
to this mental idea of form. They consist of views 
of a building or object that could never possibly 
be seen by anybody, assuming as they do that the 
eye of the spectator is exactly in front of every 
part of the building at the same time, a physical 
impossibility. And yet so removed from the actual 
visual appearance is our mental idea of objects that 
such drawings do convey a very accurate idea of 
a building or object. And of course they have great 
advantage as working drawings in that they can be 
scaled. 

If so early the sense of vision is neglected and 
relegated to be the handmaiden of other senses, it 
is no wonder that in the average adult it is in such 
a shocking ' state of neglect. I feel convinced that 
with the great majority of people vision is seldom 
if ever consulted for itself, but only to minister 
to some other sense. They look at the sky to see 
if it is going to be fine ; at the fields to see if they 
are dry enough to walk on, or whether there will 
be a good crop of hay ; at the stream not to observe 
the beauty of the reflections from the blue sky or 
green fields dancing upon its surface or the rich 
colouring of its shadowed depths, but to calculate 
how deep it is or how much power it would supply 
to work a mill, how many fish it contains, or some 
other association alien to its visual aspect. If one 
looks up at a fine mass of cumulus clouds above 
a London street, the ordinary passer-by who follows 
one's gaze expects to see a balloon or a flying-machine 
at least, and when he sees it is only clouds he is apt 
to wonder what one is gazing at. The beautiful 

45 



VISION 

form and colour of the cloud seem to be unobserved. 
Clouds mean nothing to him but an accumulation 
of water dust that may bring rain. This accounts 
in some way for the number of good paintings that 
are incomprehensible to the majority of people. It 
is only those pictures that pursue the visual aspect 
of objects to a sufficient completion to contain the 
suggestion of these other associations, that they 
understand at all. Other pictures, they say, are 
not finished enough. And it is so seldom that a 
picture can have this petty realisation and at the 
same time be an expression of those larger emotional 
qualities that constitute good painting. 

The early paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite Brother- 
hood appear to be a striking exception to this. But 
in their work the excessive realisation of all details 
was part of the expression and gave emphasis to 
the poetic idea at the basis of their pictures, and 
was therefore part of the artistic intention. In 
these paintings the fiery intensity with which every - 
little detail was painted made their picture a ready 
medium for the expression of poetic thought, a 
sort of " painted poetry," every detail being selected * 
on account of some symbolic meaning it had, bear- 
ing on the poetic idea that was the object of the 
picture. 

But to those painters who do not attempt " painted 
poetry," 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 those 
qualities in vision they wish to express. Finish 
in art has no connection with the amount of detail 
in a picture, but has reference only to the complete- 
ness with which the emotional idea the painter set 
out to express has been realised. 

46 




Plate VIII 



STUDY FOR A PICTURE 

In red conte chalk and white pastel rubbed on toned paper. 



VISION 

The visual blindness of the majority of people 
is greatly to be deplored, as nature is ever offering 
them on their retina, even in the meanest slum, 
a music of colour and form that is a constant source 
of pleasure to those who can see it. But so many 
are content to use this wonderful faculty of vision 
for utilitarian purposes only. It is the privilege of 
the artist to show how wonderful and beautiful is 
all this music of colour and form, so that people, 
having been moved by it in his work, may be 
encouraged to see the same beauty in the things 
around them. This is the best argument in favour 
of making art a subject of general education : that 
it should teach people to see. Everybody does not 
need to draw and paint, but if everybody could get 
the faculty of appreciating the form and colour on 
their retinas as form and colour, what a wealth 
would always be at their disposal for enjoyment ! 
The Japanese habit of looking at a landscape upside 
down between their legs is a way of seeing without 
the deadening influence of touch associations. Thus 
looking, one is surprised into seeing for once the 
colour and form of things with the association of 
touch for the moment forgotten, and is puzzled at 
the beauty. The odd thing is that although thus 
we see things upside down, the pictures on our 
retinas are for once the right way up ; for ordinarily 
the visual picture is inverted on the retina, like that 
on the ground glass at the back of a photographic 
camera. 

To sum up this somewhat rambling chapter, I 
have endeavoured to show that there are two as- 
pects from which the objective world can be ap- 
prehended. There is the purely mental perception 
founded chiefly on knowledge derived from our sense 

47 



VISION 

of 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 concerned 
with the visual aspects of objects as they appear on 
the retina ; an arrangement of colour shapes, a sort 
of mosaic of colour. And these two aspects give us 
two different points of view from which the repre- 
sentation of visible things can be approached. 

When the representation from either point of 
view is carried far enough, the result is very similar. 
Work built up on outline drawing to which has been 
added light and shade, colour, aerial perspective, &c., 
may eventually approximate to the perfect visual 
appearance. And inversely, representations ap- 
proached from the point of view of pure vision, 
the mosaic of colour on the retina, if pushed far 
enough, may satisfy the mental perception of form 
with its touch associations. And of course the two 
points of view are intimately connected. You 
cannot put an accurate outline round an object 
without observing the shape it occupies in the field 
of vision. And it is difficult to consider the " mosaic 
of colour forms " without being very conscious of the 
objective significance of the colour masses portrayed. 
But they present two entirely different and opposite 
points of view from which the representation of 
objects can be approached. In considering the sub- 
ject of drawing I think it necessary to make this 
division of the subject, and both methods of form 
expression should be studied by the student. Let us 
call the first method Line Drawing and the second 
Mass Drawing. Most modern drawing is a mixture 
of both these points of view, but they should be 
studied separately if confusion is to be avoided. If 

48 



VISION 

the student neglects line drawing, his work will lack 
the 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 poorly 
equipped when he comes to express form with a 
brush full of paint to work with. 



IV 

LINE DRAWING 

MOST of the earliest forms of drawing known to us 
in history, like those of the child we were discussing 
in 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 the 
complete phenomena of vision. Outlines can only 
be said to exist in appearances as the boundaries of 
masses. But even here a line seems a poor thing 
from the visual point of view ; as the boundaries are 
not always clearly defined, but are continually merg- 
ing into the surrounding mass and losing themselves 
to be caught up again later on and defined once 
more. Its relationship with visual appearances is 
not sufficient to justify the instinct for line drawing. 
It comes, I think, as has already been said, from 
the sense of touch. When an object is felt there is 
no merging in the surrounding mass, but a firm de- 
finition of its boundary, which the mind instinctively 
conceives as a line. 

There is a more direct appeal to the imagination 
in line drawing than in possibly anything else in 
pictorial art. The emotional stimulus given by fine 
design is due largely to line work. The power a line 
possesses of instinctively directing the eye along its 
course is of the utmost value also, enabling the 
artist to concentrate the attention of the beholder 

5Q 



LINE DRAWING 

where he wishes. Then there is a harmonic sense in 
lines and their relationships, a music of line that 
is found at the basis of all good art. But this 
subject will be treated later on when talking of line 
rhythm. 

Most artists whose work makes a large appeal 
to the imagination are strong on the value of line. 
Blake, whose visual knowledge was such a negli- 
gible quantity, but whose mental perceptions were 
so magnificent, was always insisting on its value. 
And his designs are splendid examples of its powerful 
appeal to the imagination. 

On this basis of line drawing the development 
of art proceeded. The early Egyptian wall paintings 
were outlines tinted, and the earliest wall sculpture 
was an incised outline. After these incised lines 
some man of genius thought of cutting away the 
surface of the wall between the outlines and 
modelling it in low relief. The appearance of 
this may have suggested to the man painting his 
outline on the wall the idea of shading between 
his outlines. 

At any rate the next development was the intro- 
duction of a little shading to relieve the flatness of 
the line- work and suggest modelling. And this was 
as far as things had gone in the direction of the 
representation of form, until well on in the Italian 
Renaissance. Botticelli used nothing else than an 
outline lightly shaded to indicate form. Light and 
shade were not seriously perceived until Leonardo 
da Vinci. And a wonderful discovery it was thought 
to be, and was, indeed, although it seems difficult 
to understand where men's eyes had been for so long 
with the phenomena of light and shade before them 
all the time. But this is only another proof of 

51 



LINE DRAWING 

what cannot be too often insisted on, namely that 
the 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 object 
that was the dominant one ; it was within the out- 
line demanded by this sense that the light and shade 
were to be introduced as something as it were put 
on the object. It was the "solids in space" idea 
that art was still appealing to. 

" The first object of a painter is to make a simple 
flat surface appear like a relievo, and some of its 
parts detached from the ground ; he who excels all 
others in that part of the art deserves the greatest 
praise," x wrote Leonardo da Vinci, and the insist- 
ence on this " standing out " quality, with its appeal 
to the touch sense as something great in art, sounds 
very strange in these days. But it must be re- 
membered that the means of creating this illusion 
were new to all and greatly wondered at. 

And again, in paragraph 176 of his treatise, 
Leonardo writes: "The knowledge of the outline is 
of most consequence, and yet may be acquired to great 
certainty by dint of study; as the outlines of the 
human figure, particularly those which do not bend, 
are invariably the same. But the knowledge of the 
situation, quality and quantity of shadows, being 
infinite, requires the most extensive study." 

The outlines of the human figure are " invariably 
the same " ? What does this mean ? From the 
visual point of view we know that the space occupied 
by figures in the field of our vision is by no means 
"invariably the same," but of great variety. So it 
cannot be the visual appearance he is speaking about. 

1 Leonardo da Vinci, Treatise on Painting, paragraph 178. 

52 




STUDY BY WATTEAU 

From an original drawing in the collection of Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon. 



LINE DRAWING 

It can only refer to the mental idea of the shape 
of 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 idea 
of its form must be altered. There is no hint yet 
of vision being exploited for itself, but only in so 
far as it yielded material to stimulate this mental 
idea of the exterior world. 

All through the work of the men who used this 
light and shade (or chiaroscuro, as it was called) 
the outline basis remained. Leonardo, Raphael, 
Michael Angelo, Titian, and the Venetians were all 
faithful to it as the means of holding their pictures 
together ; although the Venetians, by fusing the edges 
of their outline masses, got very near the visual 
method to be introduced later by Velazquez. 

In this way, little by little, starting from a basis 
of simple outline forms, art grew up, each new detail 
of visual appearance discovered adding, as it were, 
another instrument to the orchestra at the disposal 
of the artist, enabling him to add to the somewhat 
crude directness and simplicity of the early work 
the graces and refinements of the more complex 
work, making the problem of composition more 
difficult but increasing the range of its expression. 

But these additions to the visual formula used 
by artists was not all gain ; the simplicity of the 
means at the disposal of a Botticelli gives an innocence 
and imaginative appeal to his work that it is difficult 
to think of preserving with the more complete 
visual realisation of later schools. When the realisa- 
tion of actual appearance is most complete, the mind 
is liable to be led away by side issues connected 
with the things represented, instead of seeing the 
emotional intentions of the artist expressed through 

53 



LINE DRAWING 

them. The mind is apt to leave the picture and 
looking, as it were, not at it but through it, to 
pursue a train of thought associated with the objects 
represented as real objects, but alien to the artistic 
intention of the picture. There is nothing in these 
early formulte to disturb the contemplation of the 
emotional appeal of pure form and colour. To those 
who approach a picture with the idea that the re- 
presentation of nature, the " making it look like 
the real thing," is the sole object of painting, how 
strange must be the appearance of such pictures as 
Botticelli's. 

The accumulation of the details of visual observa- 
tion in art is liable eventually to obscure the main 
idea and disturb the large sense of design on which 
so much of the imaginative appeal of a work of art 
depends. The large amount of new visual know- 
ledge that the naturalistic movements of the nine- 
teenth century brought to light is particularly liable 
at this time to obscure the simpler and more primitive 
qualities on which all good art is built. At the 
height of that movement line drawing went out 
of fashion, and charcoal, and an awful thing called 
a 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, although 
I believe it still lingers on in some schools. 

Line drawing is happily reviving, and nothing is 
so calculated to put new life and strength into the 
vagaries of naturalistic painting and get back into 
art a fine sense of design. 

This obscuring of the direct appeal of art by the 
accumulation of too much naturalistic detail, and 
the loss of power it entails, is the cause of artists 

54 



LINE DRAWING 

having occasionally gone back to a more primitive 
convention. There was the Archaistic movement 
in Greece, and men like Rossetti and Burne-Jones 
found a better means of expressing the things that 
moved them in the technique of the fourteenth 
century. And it was no doubt a feeling of the 
weakening influence on art, as an expressive force, 
of the elaborate realisations of the modern school, 
that prompted Puvis de Chavannes to invent for 
himself his large primitive manner. It will be 
noticed that in these instances it is chiefly the in- 
sistence upon outline that distinguishes these artists 
from their contemporaries. 

Art, like life, is apt to languish if it gets too far 
away from primitive conditions. But, like life also, 
it is a poor thing and a very uncouth affair if it has 
nothing but primitive conditions to recommend it. 
Because there is a decadent art about, one need not 
make a hero of the pavement artist. But without 
going to the extreme of flouting the centuries of 
culture that art inherits, as it is now fashionable 
in many places to do, students will do well to study 
at first the early rather than the late work of the 
different schools, so as to get in touch with the 
simple conditions of design on which good work 
is built. It is easier to study these essential qualities 
when they are not overlaid by so much knowledge 
of visual realisation. The skeleton of the picture is 
more apparent in the earlier than the later work 
of any school. 

The finest example of the union of the primitive 
with the most refined and cultured art the world 
has ever seen is probably the Parthenon at Athens, 
a building that has been the wonder of the artistic 
world for over two thousand years. Not only are 

55 



LINE DRAWING 

the fragments of its sculptures in the British Museum 
amazing, but the beauty and proportions of its archi- 
tecture are of a refinement that is, I think, never 
even attempted in these days. What architect now 
thinks of correcting the poorness of hard, straight 
lines by very slightly curving them ? Or of slightly 
sloping inwards the columns of his facade to add 
to the strength of its appearance? The amount 
of these variations is of the very slightest and bears 
witness to the pitch of refinement attempted. And 
yet, with it all, how simple! There is something 
of the primitive strength of Stonehenge in that 
solemn row of columns rising firmly from the steps 
without any base. With all its magnificence, it still 
retains the simplicity of the hut from which it 
was evolved. 

Something of the same combination of primitive 
grandeur and strength with exquisite refinement of 
visualisation is seen in the art of Michael Angelo. 
His followers adopted the big, muscular type of their 
master, but lost the primitive strength he expressed ; 
and when this primitive force was lost sight of, what 
a decadence set in ! 

This is the point at which art reaches its highest 
mark : when to the primitive strength and simplicity 
of early art are added the infinite refinements and 
graces of culture without destroying 6r weakening 
the sublimity of the expression. 

In painting, the refinement and graces of culture 
take the form of an increasing truth to natural 
appearances, added bit by bit to the primitive bald- 
ness of early work; until the point is reached, as 
it was in the nineteenth century, when apparently 
the whole facts of visual nature are incorporated. 
From this wealth of visual material, to which must 

56 



LINE DRAWING 

be added the knowledge we now have of the arts 
of the East, of China, Japan, and India, the modern 
artist has to select those things that appeal to him ; 
has to select those elements that answer to his 
inmost need of expressing himself as an artist. No 
wonder a period of artistic dyspepsia is upon us, 
no wonder our exhibitions, particularly those on 
the Continent, are full of strange, weird things. 
The problem before the artist was never so complex, 
but also never so interesting. New forms, new 
combinations, new simplifications are to be found. 
But the steadying influence and discipline of line 
work were never more necessary to the student. 

The primitive force we are in danger of losing 
depends much on line, and no work that aims at a 
sublime impression can dispense with the basis of 
a carefully wrought and simple line scheme. 

The study, therefore, of pure line drawing is of 
great importance to the painter, and the numerous 
drawings that exist by the great masters in this 
method show how much they understood its value. 

And the revival of line drawing, and the desire 
there is to find a simpler convention founded on 
this basis, are among the most hopeful signs in the 
art of the moment. 



67 



MASS DRAWING 

IN the preceding chapter it has, I hope, been shown 
that outline drawing is an instinct with Western 
artists and has been so from the earliest times ; that 
this instinct is due to the fact that the first mental 
idea of an object is the sense of its form as a felt 
thing, not a thing seen ; and that an outline drawing 
satisfies and appeals directly to this mental idea of 
objects. 

But there is another basis of expression directly 
related to visual appearances that in the fulness of 
time was evolved, and has had a very great influence 
on modern art. This form of drawing is based on 
the consideration of the flat appearances on the 
retina, with the knowledge of the felt shapes of 
objects for the time being forgotten. In opposition 
to line drawing, we may call this Mass Drawing. 

The scientific truth of this point of view is 
obvious. If only the accurate copying of the appear- 
ances of nature were the sole object of art (an 
idea to be met with among students) the problem 
of painting would be simpler than it is, and would 
be likely ere long to be solved by the photographic 
camera. 

This form of drawing is the natural means of 
expression when a brush full of paint is in your 
hands. The reducing of a complicated acpearance 

58 




1 

. 

Plate^X 

EXAMPLE OP FIFTEENTH-CENTURY CHINESE WORK 
BY Lui LIANG (BRITISH MUSEUM) 

Showing how early Chinese masters had developed the mass-drawing point of view. 



MASS DRAWING 

to a few simple masses is the first necessity of the 
painter. But this will be fully explained in a later 
chapter treating more practically of the practice of 
mass drawing. 

The art of China and Japan appears to have 
been more influenced by this view of natural 
appearances than that of the West has been, until 
quite lately. The Eastern mind does not seem to 
be so obsessed by the objectivity of things as is 
the Western mind. With us the practical sense 
of touch is all powerful. "I know that is so, 
because I felt it with my hands" would be a 
characteristic expression with us. Whereas I do 
not think it would be an expression the Eastern 
mind would use. With them the spiritual essence 
of the thing seen appears to be the more real, 
judging from their art. And who is to say they 
may not be right? This is certainly the im- 
pression one gets from their beautiful painting, 
with its lightness of texture and avoidance of 
solidity. It is founded on nature regarded as a 
flat vision, instead of a collection of solids in space. 
Their use of line is also much more restrained than 
with us, and it is seldom used to accentuate the 
solidity of things, but chiefly to support the 
boundaries of masses and suggest detail. Light 
and shade, which suggest solidity, are never used, 
a wide light where there is no shadow pervades 
everything, their drawing being done with the 
brush in masses. 

When, as in the time of Titian, the art of the 
West had discovered light and shade, linear per- 
spective, aerial perspective, &c., and had begun by 
fusing the edges of the masses to suspect the 
necessity of painting to a widely diffused focus, 

59 



MASS DRAWING 

they had got very near considering appearances 
as a visual whole. But it was not until Velazquez 
that a picture was painted that was founded 
entirely on visual appearances, in which a basis of 
objective outlines was discarded and replaced by 
a structure of tone masses. 

When he took his own painting room with the 
little Infanta and her maids as a subject, Velazquez 
seems to have considered it entirely as one flat 
visual impression. The focal attention is centred 
on the Infanta, with the figures on either side 
more or less out of focus, those on the extreme 
right being quite blurred. The reproduction here 
given unfortunately does not show these subtleties, 
and flattens the general appearance very much. 
The focus is nowhere sharp, as this would disturb 
the contemplation of the large visual impression. 
And there, I think, for the first time, the whole 
gamut of natural vision, tone, colour, form, light 
and shade, atmosphere, focus, &c., considered as 
one impression, were put on canvas. 

All sense of design is lost. The picture has no 
surface ; it is all atmosphere between the four edges 
of the frame, and the objects are within. Placed as 
it is in the Prado, with the light coming from the 
right as in the picture, there is no break between the 
real people before it and the figures within, except 
the slight yellow veil due to age. 

But wonderful as this picture, is, as a "tour de 
force," like his Venus of the same period in the 
National Gallery, it is a painter's picture, and makes 
but a cold impression on those not interested in the 
technique of painting. With the cutting away of 
the primitive support of fine outline design and 
the absence of those accents conveying a fine form 

60 




Plate XI 



Photo Andrrson 



LAS MENINAS. BY VELAZQUEZ (PRADO) 

Probably the first picture ever painted entirely from the visual or impressionist standpoint. 



MASS DRAWING 

stimulus to the mind, art has lost much of its 
emotional significance. 

But art has gained a new point of view. With 
this subjective way of considering appearances this 
" impressionist vision," as it has been called 
many things that were too ugly, either from pression- 
shape or association, to yield material for the J* yjJJJJ* 
painter, were yet found, when viewed as part 
of a scheme of colour sensations on the retina which 
the artist considers emotionally and rhythmically, to 
lend themselves to new and beautiful harmonies and 
"ensembles" undreamt of by the earlier formulae. 
And further, many effects of light that were too 
hopelessly complicated for painting, considered on 
the old light and shade principles (for instance, 
sunlight through trees in a wood), were found to 
be quite paintable, considered as an impression of 
various colour masses. The early formula could 
never free itself from the object as a solid thing, 
and had consequently to confine its attention to 
beautiful ones. But from the new point of view, 
form consists of the shape and qualities of masses 
of colour on the retina; and what objects happen 
to be the outside cause of these shapes matters 
little to the impressionist. Nothing is ugly when 
seen in a beautiful aspect of light, and aspect is 
with them everything. 

This consideration of the visual appearance in 
the first place necessitated an increased dependence 
on the model. As he does not now draw from his 
mental perceptions the artist has nothing to select 
the material of his picture from until it has existed 
as a seen thing before him: until he has a visual 
impression of it in his mind. With the older point 
of view (the representation by a pictorial descrip- 

61 



MASS DRAWING 

tion, as it were, based on the mental idea of an 
object), the model was not so necessary. In the 
case of the Impressionist the mental perception is 
arrived at from the visual impression, and in the 
older point of view the visual impression is the result 
of the mental perception. Thus it happens that the 
Impressionist movement has produced chiefly pictures 
inspired by the actual world of visual phenomena 
around us, the older point of view producing most 
of the pictures deriving their inspiration from the 
glories of the imagination, the mental world in the 
mind of the artist. And although interesting at- 
tempts are being made to produce imaginative works 
founded on the impressionist point of view of light 
and air, the loss of imaginative appeal consequent 
upon the destruction of contours by scintillation, 
atmosphere, &c., and the loss of line rhythm it en- 
tails, have so far prevented the production of any 
very satisfactory results. But undoubtedly there is 
much new material brought to light by this move- 
ment waiting to be used imaginatively ; and it offers 
a new field for the selection of expressive qualities. 

This point of view, although continuing to some 
extent in the Spanish school, did not come into 
general recognition until the last century in France. 
The most extreme exponents of it are the body of 
artists who grouped themselves round Claude Monet. 
This impressionist movement, as the critics have 
labelled it, was the result of a fierce determination 
to consider nature solely from the visual point of 
view, making no concessions to any other associa- 
tions connected with sight. The result was an en- 
tirely new vision of nature, startling and repulsive 
to eyes unaccustomed to observation from a purely 
visual point of view and used only to seeing the 

62 



MASS DRAWING 

"feel of things," as it were. And the first results 
were naturally rather crude. But a great amount of 
new visual facts were brought to light, particularly 
those connected with the painting of sunlight and 
half light effects. Indeed the whole painting of 
strong light has been permanently affected by the 
work of this group of painters. Emancipated from 
the objective world, they no longer dissected the 
object to see what was inside it, but studied rather 
the anatomy of the light refracted from it to their 
eyes. Finding this to be composed of all the colours 
of the rainbow as seen in the solar spectrum, and 
that all the effects nature produced are done with 
different proportions of these colours, they took them, 
or the nearest pigments they could get to them, 
for their palette, eliminating the earth colours and 
black. And further, finding that nature's colours 
(the rays of coloured light) when mixed produced 
different results than their corresponding pigments 
mixed together, they determined to use their paints 
as pure as possible, placing them one against the 
other to be mixed as they came to the eye, the 
mixture 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 school 
of outline form said there was no drawing in these 
impressionist pictures, and from the point of view 
of the mental idea of form discussed in the last 
chapter, there was indeed little, although, had the 
impression been realised to a sufficiently definite 
focus, the sense of touch and solidity would probably 
have been satisfied. But the particular field of this 

63 



MASS DRAWING 

new point of view, the beauty of tone and colour 
relations considered as an impression apart from 
objectivity, did not tempt them to carry their work 
so far as this, or the insistence on these particular 
qualities would have been lost. 

But interesting and alluring as is the new world 
of 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 sees 
in it what the eye brings means of seeing," l 

and it is the mind behind the eye that supplies this 
means of perception: one sees with the mind. The 
ultimate effect of any picture, be it impressionist, 
post, anti, or otherwise is its power to stimulate 
these mental perceptions within the mind. 

But even from the point of view of the true visual 
perception (if there is such a thing) that modern art 
has heard so much talk of, the copying of the retina 
picture is not so great a success. The impression 
carried away from a scene that has moved us is 
not its complete visual aspect. Only those things 
that are significant to the felt impression have been 
retained by the mind ; and if the picture is to be 
a true representation of this, the significant facts 
must be sorted out from the mass of irrelevant matter 
and presented in a lively manner. The impres- 
sionist's habit of painting before nature entirely 
Is not calculated to do this. Going time after time 
to the same place, even if similar weather conditions 
are waited for, although well enough for studies, 
is against the production of a fine picture. Every 

1 Goethe, quoted in Carlyle's French Revolution, chap. i. 

64 



MASS DRAWING 

time the artist goes to the selected spot he receives 
a different impression, so that he must either paint 
all over his picture each time, in which case his 
work must be confined to a small scale and will be 
hurried in execution, or he must paint a bit of to- 
day's impression alongside of yesterday's, in which 
case his work will be dull and lacking in oneness 
of conception. 

And further, in decomposing the colour rays 
that come to the eye and painting in pure colour, 
while great addition was made to the power of 
expressing light, yet by destroying the definitions 
and enveloping everything in a scintillating atmos- 
phere, the power to design in a large manner was 
lost with the wealth of significance that the music 
of line can convey. 

But impressionism has opened up a view from 
which mucJh interesting matter for art is to be 
gleaned. And everywhere painters are selecting 
from this, and grafting it on to some of the more 
traditional schools of design. 

Our concern here is with the influence this point 
of view has had upon draughtsmanship. The influ- 
ence has been considerable, particularly with those 
draughtsmen whose work deals with the rendering 
of modern life. It consists in drawing from the ob- 
servation of the silhouette occupied by objects in the 
field of vision, observing the flat appearance of 
things as they are on the retina. This is, of course, 
the only accurate way in which to observe visual 
shapes. The difference between this and the older 
point of view is its insistence on the observation of 
the flat visual impression to the exclusion of the 
tactile or touch sense that by the association of 
ideas we have come to expect in things seen. An 

65 E 



MASS DRAWING 

increased truth to the character of appearances 
has been the result, with a corresponding loss of 
plastic form expression. 

On pages 66 and 67 a reproduction of a drawing 
in the British Museum, attributed to Michael Angelo, 
is contrasted with one in the Louvre by Degas. The 
one is drawn from the line point of view and the 
other from the mass. They both contain lines, but 
in the one case the lines are the contours of felt 
forms and in the other the boundaries of visual 
masses. In the Michael Angelo the silhouette is only 
the result of the overlapping of rich forms con- 
sidered in the round. Every muscle and bone has 
been mentally realised as a concrete thing and the 
drawing made as an expression of this idea. Note 
the 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 the 
rhythmic significance of swinging curves. 

Then compare it with the Degas and observe the 
totally different attitude of mind in which this 
drawing has been approached. Instead of the out- 
lines being the result of forms felt as concrete 
things, the silhouette is everywhere considered first, 
the plastic sense (nowhere so great as in the other) 
being arrived at from the accurate consideration of 
the mass shapes. 

Notice also the increased attention to individual 
character in the Degas, observe the pathos of those 
underfed little arms, and the hand holding the tired 
ankle how individual it all is. What a different 
tale this little figure tells from that given before 
the footlights ! See with what sympathy the contours 
have been searched for those accents expressive of 
all this. 

66 







I 





Plate XII 



STUDY ATTRIBUTED TO MICHAEL ANGELO (BRITISH MUSEUM) 

Note the desire to express torm as a felt solid thing, the contours resulting from the over- 
lapping forms. The visual appearance is arrived at as a result of giving expression 
to the mental idea of a solid object. 




Plate XIII 



Photo Levy 



STUDY BY DEGAS (LUXEMBOURG) 

In contrast with Michael Angelo s drawing, note the preoccupation with the silhouette, 
the spaces occupied by the different masses in the field of vision ; how the appearance of 
solid forms is the result of accurately portraying this visual appearance. 



MASS DRAWING 

How remote from individual character is the 
Michael Angelo in contrast with this ! Instead of 
an individual he gives us the expression of a glowing 
mental conception of man as a type of physical 
strength and power. 

The rhythm is different also, in the one case 
being a line rhythm, and in the other a considera- 
tion of the flat pattern of shapes or masses with a 
play of lost-and-foundness on the edges (see later, 
pages 192 et seq., variety of edges). It is this feeling 
for rhythm in Degas's drawing and the sympathetic 
searching for and emphasis of those points expressive 
of character, that keep it from being the mechanical 
performance which so much concern with scientific 
visual accuracy might well have made it, and which 
has made mechanical many of the drawings of Degas's 
followers who unintelligently copy his method. 



67 



VI 

THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONAL 

THE terms Academic and Conventional are much 
used in criticism and greatly feared by the criticised, 
often without either party appearing to have much 
idea of what is meant. New so-called schools of 
painting seem to arrive annually with the spring 
fashions, and sooner or later the one of last year 
gets called out of date, if not conventional and 
academic. And as students, for fear of having their 
work called by one or other of these dread terms, 
are inclined to rush into any new extravagance that 
comes along, some inquiry as to their meaning will 
not be out of place before we pass on to the chapters 
dealing with academic study. 

It has been the cry for some time that Schools 
of Art turned out only academic students. And 
one certainly associates a dead level of respectable 
mediocrity with much school work. We can call 
to mind a lot of dull, lifeless, highly-finished work, 
imperfectly perfect, that has won the prize in many a 
school competition. Flaubert says " a form deadens," 
and it does seem as if the necessary formality of 
a school course had some deadening influence on 
students ; and that there was some important part 
of the artist's development which it has failed to 
recognise and encourage. 

The freer system of the French schools has been 
68 



THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONAL 

in many cases more successful. But each school 
was presided over by an artist of distinction, and 
this put the students in touch with real work and 
thus introduced vitality. In England, until quite 
lately, 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 their 
own. The Royal Academy Schools are an exception 
to this. There the students have the advantage of 
teaching from some distinguished member or associ- 
ate who has charge of the upper school for a month 
at a time. But as the visitor is constantly changed, 
the less experienced students are puzzled by the 
different methods advocated, and flounder hopelessly 
for want of a definite system to work on ; although 
for a student already in possession of a good ground- 
ing there is much to be said for the system, as 
contact with the different masters widens their 
outlook. 

But perhaps the chief mistake in Art Schools 
has been that they have too largely confined them- 
selves to training students mechanically to observe 
and portray the thing set before them to copy, an 
antique figure, a still-life group, a living model sitting 
as still and lifeless as he can. Now this is all very 
well as far as it goes, but the real matter of art is 
not necessarily in all this. And if the real matter 
of art is neglected too long the student may find it 
difficult to get in touch with it again. 

These accurate, painstaking school studies are 
very necessary indeed as a training for the eye in 
observing accurately, and the hand in reproducing 
the appearances of things, because it is through the 
reproduction of natural appearances and the know- 
ledge of form and colour derived from such study 

69 



THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONAL 

that the student will afterwards find the means of 
giving expression to his feelings. But when valuable 
prizes and scholarships are given for them, and not 
for really artistic work, they do tend to become the 
end instead of the means. 

It is of course improbable that even school studies 
done with the sole idea of accuracy by a young 
artist will in all cases be devoid of artistic feeling ; 
it will creep in, if he has the artistic instinct. But 
it is not enough encouraged, and the prize is gener- 
ally given to the drawing that is most complete 
and like the model in a commonplace way. If a 
student, moved by a strong feeling for form, lets 
himself go and does a fine thing, probably only 
remotely like the model to the average eye, the 
authorities are puzzled and don't usually know what 
to make of it. 

There are schools where the most artistic quali- 
ties are encouraged, but they generally neglect the 
academic side ; and the student leaves them poorly 
equipped for fine work. Surely it would be possible 
to make a distinction, giving prizes for academic 
drawings which should be as thoroughly accurate 
in a mechanical way as industry and application can 
make them, and also for artistic drawings, in which 
the student should be encouraged to follow his bent, 
striving for the expression of any qualities that 
delight him, and troubling less about mechanical 
accuracy. The use of drawing as an expression of 
something felt is so often left until after the school 
training is done that many students fail to achieve 
it altogether. And rows of lifeless pictures, made 
up of models copied in different attitudes, with studio 
properties around them, are the result, and pass for 
art in many quarters. Such pictures often display 

70 




Plate XIV 






DRAWING IN RED CHALK BY ERNEST COLE 

Example of unacademic drawing made in the author's class at the Goldsmiths' College 

School of Art. 



\ 

* * * * 



THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONAL 

considerable ability, for as Burne- Jones says in one 
of his letters, " It is veiy difficult to paint even a 
bad picture." But had the ability been differently 
directed, the pictures might have been good. 

It is difficult to explain what is wrong with an 
academic drawing, and what is the difference 
between it and a fine drawing. But perhaps this 
difference can be brought home a little more clearly 
if you will pardon a rather fanciful simile. I am 
told that if you construct a perfectly fitted engine 
the piston fitting the cylinder with absolute 
accuracy and the axles their sockets with no space 
between, &c. it will not work, but be a lifeless 
mass of iron. There must be enough play between 
the vital parts to allow of some movement ; " dither " 
is, I believe, the Scotch word for it. The piston 
must be allowed some play in the opening of the 
cylinder through which it passes, or it will not 
be able to move and show any life. And the axles 
of the wheels in their sockets, and, in fact, all 
parts of the machine where life and movement 
are to occur, must have this play, this " dither." 
It has always seemed to me that the accurately 
fitting engine was like a good academic drawing, 
in a way a perfect piece of workmanship, but 
lifeless. Imperfectly perfect, because there was 
no room left for the play of life. And to carry 
the simile further, if you allow too great a play 
between the parts, so that they fit one over the 
other too loosely, the engine will lose power and 
become a poor rickety thing. There must be the 
smallest amount of play that will allow of its 
working. 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 give 
71 



THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONAL 

that elusive quality, that play on mechanical ac- 
curacy, existing in all vital art. It is this vital 
quality that has not yet received much attention in 
art training. 

It is here that the photograph fails, it can only 
at best give mechanical accuracy, whereas art 
gives the impression of a live, individual conscious- 
ness. Where the recording instrument is a live 
individual, there is no mechanical standard of 
accuracy possible, as every recording instrument 
is a different personality. And it is the subtle 
differences in the individual renderings of nature 
that are the life-blood of art. The photograph, on 
account of its being chained to mechanical accuracy, 
has none of this play of life to give it charm. It 
only approaches artistic conditions when it is 
blurred, vague, and indefinite, as in so-called artistic 
photography, for then only can some amount of 
this vitalising play, this " dither " be imagined to 
exist. 

It is this perfect accuracy, this lack of play, 
of variety, that makes the machine-made article 
so lifeless. Wherever there is life there is variety, 
and the substitution of the machine-made for the 
hand-made article has impoverished the world to 
a greater extent than we are probably yet aware 
of. Whereas formerly, before the advent of 
machinery, the commonest article you could pick 
up had a life and warmth which gave it individual 
interest, now everything is turned out to such a 
perfection of deadness that one is driven to pick 
up and collect, in sheer desperation, the commonest 
rubbish still surviving from earlier periods. 

But to return to our drawings. If the varia- 
tions from strict accuracy made under the influence 

72 



THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONAL 

of feeling are too great, the result will be a cari- 
cature. The variations in a beautiful drawing are 
so subtle as often to defy detection. The studies 
of Ingres are an instance of what I mean. How 
true and instinct with life are his lines, and how 
easily one might assume that they were merely 
accurate. But no merely accurate work would 
have the impelling quality these drawings possess. 
If the writer may venture an opinion on so great 
an artist, the subtle difference we are talking 
about was sometimes missed by even Ingres him- 
self, when he transferred his drawings to the 
canvas ; and the pictures have in some cases become 
academic and lifeless. Without the stimulus of 
nature 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 your 
drawing that make for vitality of expression, in 
the process of copying in cold blood. 

The fact is: it is only the academic that can be 
taught. And it is no small thing if this is well done 
in a school. The qualities that give vitality and 
distinction to drawing must be appreciated by the 
student himself, and may often assert themselves 
in his drawing without his being aware that he is 
doing aught but honestly copying. And if he has 
trained himself thoroughly he will not find much 
difficulty when he is moved to vital expression. All 
the master can do is to stand by and encourage 
whenever he sees evidence of the real thing. But 
there is undoubtedly this danger of the school 
studies becoming the end instead of the means. 

A drawing is not necessarily academic because 
it is thorough, but only because it is dead. Neither 

73 



THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONAL 

is a drawing necessarily academic because it is done 
in what is called a conventional style, any more 
than it is good because it is done in an unconven- 
tional style. The test is whether it has life and 
conveys genuine feeling. 

There is much foolish talk about conventional 
art, as if art could ever get away from conventions, 
if it would. The convention will be more natural 
or more abstract according to the nature of the 
thing to be conveyed and the medium employed 
to express it. But naturalism is just as much a 
convention as any of the other isms that art has 
lately been so assailed with. For a really uncon- 
ventional art there is Madame Tussaud's Waxworks. 
There, even the convention of a frame and flat 
surface are done away with, besides the painted 
symbols to represent things. They have real 
natural chairs, tables, and floors, real clothes, and 
even 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 a 
good artist than in all the reality of the popular 
show. 

It would seem that, after a certain point, the 
nearer your picture approaches the actual illusion of 
natural appearance, the further you are from the 
expression of life. One can never hope to surpass 
the illusionary appearance of a tableau vivant. 
There you have real, living people. But what an 
awful deathlike stillness is felt when the curtain 
is drawn aside. The nearer you approach the actual 
in all its completeness, the more evident is the lack 
of that movement which always accompanies life. 
You cannot express life by copying laboriously 

74 ' 



THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONAL 

natural appearances. Those things in the appear- 
ance that convey vital expression and are capable 
of being translated into the medium he is working 
with, have to be sought by the artist, and the 
painted symbols of his picture made accordingly. 
This lack of the movement of life is never noticed 
in a good picture, 011 the other hand the figures 
are often felt to move. 

Pictures are blamed for being conventional when 
it is lack of vitality that is the trouble. If the 
convention adopted has not been vitalised by the 
emotion that is the reason of the painting, it will, 
of course, be a lifeless affair. But however abstract 
and unnaturalistic the manner adopted, if it has 
been truly felt by the artist as the right means of 
expressing his emotional idea, it will have life and 
should not be called conventional in the commonly 
accepted offensive use of the term. 

It is only when a painter consciously chooses a 
manner not his own, which he does not comprehend 
and is incapable of firing with his own personality, 
that his picture is ridiculous and conventional in the 
dead sense. 

But every age differs in its temperament, and 
the artistic conventions of one age seldom fit 
another. The artist has to discover a convention 
for himself, one that fits his particular individuality. 
But this is done simply and naturally not by 
starting out with the intention of flouting all 
traditional conventions on principle ; nor, on the 
other hand, by accepting them all on principle, 
but by simply following his own bent and selecting 
what appeals to him in anything and everything 
that comes within the range of his vision. The 
result is likely to be something very different from 

75 



THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONAL 

the violent exploits in peculiarity that have been 
masquerading as originality lately. Originality is 
more concerned with sincerity than with peculiarity. 

The struggling and fretting after originality that 
one sees in modern art is certainly an evidence of 
vitality, but one is inclined to doubt whether any- 
thing really original was ever done in so forced a 
way. The older masters, it seems, were content 
sincerely to try and do the best they were capable 
of doing. And this continual striving to do better 
led them almost unconsciously to new and original re- 
sults. Originality is a quality over which an artist has 
as little influence as over the shape and distinction of 
his features. All he can do is to be sincere and try and 
find out the things that really move him and that 
he really likes. If he has a strong and original char- 
acter, he will have no difficulty in this, and his work 
will be original in the true sense. And if he has 
not, it is a matter of opinion whether he is not 
better employed in working along the lines of some 
well-tried manner that will at any rate keep him 
from doing anything really bad, than in struggling 
to cloak his own commonplaceness under violent 
essays in peculiarity and the avoidance of the obvious 
at all costs. 

But while speaking against fretting after eccen- 
tricity, don't 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 and 
has found embodiment in some complete work of 
art, it has been done once for all. The circumstances 
that 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, never 

76 



THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONAL 

afterwards obtain the success of the original per- 
formance. Every beautiful work of art is a new 
creation, the result of particular circumstances in the 
life of the artist and the time of its production, that 
have never existed before and will never recur again. 
Were any of the great masters of the past alive 
now, they would do very different work from what 
they did then, the circumstances being so entirely 
different. So that should anybody seek to paint 
like Titian now, by trying to paint like Titian did 
in his time, he could not attempt anything more 
unlike 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 truthful 
attitude of mind that the new and original circum- 
stances in which we find ourselves can be taken 
advantage of for the production of original work. 
And self-conscious seeking after peculiarity only 
stops the natural evolution and produces abortions. 

But do not be frightened by conventions, the 
different materials in which the artist works impose 
their conventions. And as it is through these 
materials that he has to find expression, what ex- 
pressive qualities they possess must be studied, and 
those facts in nature selected that are in harmony 
with them. The treatment of hair by sculptors is 
an 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 the 
mass forms in which the hair arranges itself. The 
finest sculptors have never attempted more than 
this, have never lost sight of the fact that it was 
stone U:ey were working with, and never made any 
attempt to create an illusion of real hair. And in the 
same way, when working in bronze, the fine artist 

77 



THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONAL 

never loses sight of tne fact that it is bronze with 
which he is working. How sadly the distinguished 
painter to whom a misguided administration en- 
trusted the work of modelling the British emblem 
overlooked this, may be seen any day in Trafalgar 
Square, the lions there possessing none of the splen- 
dour of bronze but looking as if they were modelled 
in dough, and possessing in consequence none of the 
vital qualities of the lion. It is interesting to com- 
pare them with the little lion Alfred Stevens modelled 
for the railing of the British Museum, and to specu- 
late on what a thrill we might have received every 
time we passed Trafalgar Square, had he been en- 
trusted with the work, as he might have been. 

And in painting, the great painters never lose 
sight of the fact that it is paint with which they 
are expressing themselves. And although paint is 
capable of approaching much nearer the actual 
appearance of nature than stone or bronze, they 
never push this to the point where you forget that 
it is paint. This has been left for some of the 
smaller men. 

And when it comes to drawing, the great artists 
have always confined themselves to the qualities 
in nature that the tool they were drawing with 
was capable of expressing, and no others. Whether 
working with pen, pencil, chalk, or charcoal, they 
always created a convention within which unlimited 
expression has been possible. 

To sum up, academic drawing is all that can 
be really taught, and is as necessary to the painter 
as the practising of exercises is to the musician, 
that his powers of observation and execution may 
be trained. But the vital matter of art is not in 
all this necessary training. And this fact the student 

78 



THE ACADEMIC AND CONVENTIONAL 

should always keep in mind, and be ever ready to 
give rein to those natural enthusiasms which, if 
he is an artist, he will find welling up within him. 
The danger is that the absorbing interest in his 
academic studies may take up his whole attention, 
to the neglect of the instinctive qualities that he 
should possess the possession of which alone will 
entitle him to be an artist. 



79 



VII 

THE STUDY OF DRAWING 

WE have seen that there are two extreme points 
of view from which the representation of form can 
be approached, that of outline directly related to 
the mental idea of form with its touch associa- 
tion on the one hand, and that of mass connected 
directly with the visual picture on the retina on 
the other. 

Now, between these two extreme points of view 
there are an infinite variety of styles combining 
them both and leaning more to the one side or the 
other, as the case may be. But it is advisable for 
the student to study both separately, for there are 
different things to be learnt and different expressive 
qualities in nature to be studied in both. 

From the study of outline drawing the eye is 
trained to accurate observation and learns the ex- 
pressive value of a line. And the hand is also 
trained to definite statement, the student being 
led on by degrees from simple outlines to approach 
the full realisation of form in all the complexity 
of light and shade. 

But at the same time he should study mass 
drawing with paint from the purely visual point 
of view, in order to be introduced to the important 
study of tone values and the expression of form 
by means of planes. And so by degrees he will 

80 



THE STUDY OF DRAWING 

learn accurately to observe and portray the tone 
masses (their shapes and values) to which all visual 
appearances can be reduced; and he will gradually 
arrive at the full realisation of form a realisation 
that will bring him to a point somewhat similar 
to that arrived at from the opposite point of view 
of an outline to which has been added light and 
shade, &c. 

But unless both points of view are studied, 
the student's work will be incomplete. If form 
be studied only from the outline point of view, and 
what have been called sculptor's drawings alone 
attempted, the student will lack knowledge of the 
tone and atmosphere that always envelop form 
in nature. And also he will be poorly equipped 
when he comes to exchange the pencil for a brush 
and endeavours to express himself in paint. 

And if h'is studies be only from the mass point 
of view, the training of his eye to the accurate 
observation of all the subtleties of contours and 
the construction of form will be neglected. And 
he will not understand the mental form stimulus 
that the direction and swing of a brush stroke 
can give. These and many things connected with 
expression can best be studied in line work. 

Let the student therefore begin on the principles 
adopted in most schools, with outline studies of 
simple casts or models, and gradually add light 
and shade. When he has acquired more proficiency 
he may approach drawing from the life. This is 
sufficiently well done in the numerous schools of 
art that now exist all over the country. But, at 
the same time (and this, as far as I know, is not 
done anywhere), the student should begin some 
simple form of mass drawing in paint, simple exer- 

81 P 




Diagram II 

SHOWING WHERE SQUARENESSES MAY BE LOOKED FOR 
IN THE DRAWING ON THE OPPOSITE PAGE 

82 





Plate XVJ 



STUDY BY RUBENS FROM THE COLLECTION OF CHARLES RICKETTS 
AND CHARLES SHANNON 

A splendid example of Rubens' love of rich, full forms. Compare with the diagram opposite, 
and note the flatnesses that give strength to the forms. 



THE STUDY OF DRAWING 

cises, as is explained later in the chapter on Mass 
Drawing, Practical, being at first attempted and 
criticised solely from the point of view of tone 
values. 

From lack of this elementary tone study, the 
student, when he approaches painting for the first 
time, with only his outline and light and shade 
knowledge, is entirely at sea. With brushes and 
paint he is presented with a problem of form 
expressions entirely new. And he usually begins 
to flounder about, using his paint as much like 
chalk on paper as possible. And timid of losing 
his outlines, he fears to put down a mass, as he 
has no knowledge of reducing appearances to a 
structure of tone masses or planes. 

I would suggest, therefore, that the student 
should study simultaneously from these two points 
of view, beginning with their most extreme posi- 
tions, that is, bare outline on the one side and 
on the other side tone masses criticised for their 
accuracy of values only in the first instance. As 
he advances, the one study will help the other. 
The line work will help the accuracy with which 
he observes the shapes of masses, and when he 
comes to light and shade his knowledge of tone 
values will help him here. United at last, when 
complete light and shade has been added to his 
outline drawings and to his mass drawing an 
intimate knowledge of form, the results will ap- 
proximate and the two paths will meet. But if 
the qualities appertaining to either point of view 
are not studied separately, the result is confusion 
and the "muddling through" method so common 
ir> our schools of art. 

83 



VIII 

LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

SEEING that the first condition of your drawing 
is that it has to be made on a flat surface, no 
matter whether it is to be in line or mass you 
intend to draw, it is obvious that appearances must 
be reduced to terms of a flat surface before they 
can be expressed on paper. And this is the first 
difficulty that confronts the student in attempting 
to draw a solid object. He has so acquired the 
habit of perceiving the solidity of things, as was 
explained in an earlier chapter, that no little 
difficulty will be experienced in accurately seeing 
them as a flat picture. 

As it is only from one point of view that things 
observin can ^ e drawn, and as we have two eyes, 
soiida as a therefore two points of view, the closing of 
Flat Copy. Qne eye w . u be helpful at first 

The simplest and most mechanical way of ob- 
serving things as a flat subject is to have a piece 
of cardboard with a rectangular hole cut out of the 
middle, and also pieces of cotton threaded through 
it in such a manner that they make a pattern of 
squares across the opening, as in the accompanying 
sketch. To make such a frame, get a piece of stiff 
cardboard, about 12 inches by 9 inches, and cut a 
rectangular hole in the centre, 7 inches by 5 inches, 
as in Diagram III. Now mark off the inches on 

84 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

all sides of the opening, and taking some black 
thread, pass it through the point A with a needle 
(fixing the end at this point with sealing-wax), 



...'i 



: B 
'< 



Diagram in 

A DEVICE FOB ENABLING STUDENTS TO OBSERVE 
APPEARANCES AS A FLAT SUBJECT 



and across the opening to the corresponding point 
on the opposite side. Take it along to the next 
point, as shown by the dotted line, and pass it 
through and across the opening again, and so on, 
until B is reached, when the thread should be held 
by some sealing-wax quite taut everywhere. Do 
the same for the other side. This frame should be 
held between the eye and the object to be drawn 

85 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

(one eye being closed) in a perfectly vertical position, 
and with the rectangular sides of the opening 
vertical and horizontal. The object can then be 
observed as a flat copy. The trellis of cotton will 
greatly help the student in seeing the subject to 
be drawn in two dimensions, and this is the first 
technical difficulty the young draughtsman has 
to overcome. It is useful also in training the 
eye to see the proportions of different parts one 
to another, the squares of equal size giving one 
a. unit of measurement by which all parts can be 
scaled. 

Vertical and horizontal lines are also of the 
utmost importance in that first consideration for 
setting out a drawing, namely the fixing 
of salient points, and getting their relative 

P sitions - Fi g- z > on P a g e 87 > wil1 illus - 
trate what is meant. Let ABODE be 
assumed to be points of some importance in an 
object you wish to draw. Unaided, the placing 
of these points would be a matter of considerable 
difficulty. But if you assume a vertical line drawn 
from A, the positions of B, C, D, and E can be 
observed in relation to it by noting the height and 
length of horizontal lines drawn from them to this 
vertical line. This vertical can be drawn by holding 
a plumb line at arm's length (closing one eye, of 
course) and bringing it to a position where it will 
cover the point A on your subject. The position 
of the other points on either side of this vertical 
line can then be observed. Or a knitting-needle 
can be held vertically before you at arm's length, 
giving you a line passing through point A. The 
advantage of the needle is that comparative measure- 
ments can be taken with it. 

86 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 




Diagram IV 

SHOWING THREE PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION USED 
IN OBSERVING FlG. X, MASSES; FlG. Y, CURVES J 
FIG. Z, POSITION OF POINTS 



87 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

In measuring comparative distances the needle 
should always be held at arm's length and the eye 
kept in one position during the operation; and, 
whether held vertically or horizontally, always 
kept in a vertical plane, that is, either straight up 
and down, or across at right angles to the line of 
your vision. If these things are not carefully 
observed, your comparisons will not be true. The 
method employed is to run the thumb-nail up the 
needle until the distance from the point so reached 
to the top exactly corresponds with the distance on 
the object you wish to measure. Having this care- 
fully noted on your needle, without moving the 
position of your eye, you can move your outstretched 
arm and compare it with other distances on the 
object. It is never advisable to compare other than 
vertical and horizontal measurements. In our dia- 
gram the points were drawn at random and do 
not come in any obvious mathematical relationship, 
and this is the usual circumstance in nature. But 
point C will be found to be a little above the half, 
and point D a little less than a third of the way up 
the vertical line. How much above the half and 
less than the third will have to be observed by eye 
and a corresponding amount allowed in setting out 
your drawing. In the horizontal distances, E will 
be found to be one-fourth the distance from X to 
the height of G 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 less 
than one-fifth of the whole height. The height of 
B is so near the top as to be best judged by eye, 
and its distance to the right is the same as E. These 
measurements are never to be taken as absolutely 
accurate, but are a great help to beginners in train- 

88 




Plate XVII 

DEMONSTRATION DRAWING MADE BEFORE THE STUDENTS OF THE 
GOLDSMITHS COLLEGE SCHOOL OF ART 

Illustrating how different directions of lines can help expression of form. 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

ing the eye, and are at times useful in every artist's 
work. 

It is useful if one can establish a unit of measure- 
ment, some conspicuous distance that does not vary 
in the object (if a living model a great many dis- 
tances will be constantly varying), and with which 
all distances can be compared. 

In setting out a drawing, this fixing of certain 
salient points is the first thing for the student to 
do. The drawing reproduced on page 90 has 
been made to illustrate the method of procedure 
it is advisable to adopt in training the eye to 
accurate observation. It was felt that a vertical 
line drawn through the pit of the arm would be 
the most useful for taking measurements on, and 
this was first drawn and its length decided upon. 
Train yourself to draw between limits decided upon 
at the start. This power will be of great use to you 
when you wish to place a figure in an exact position 
in a picture. The next thing to do is to get the 
relative heights of different points marked upon 
this line. The fold at the pit of the stomach was 
found to be exactly in the centre. This was a useful 
start, and it is generally advisable to note where 
the half comes first, and very useful if it comes in 
some obvious place. Other measurements were 
taken in the same way as our points ABODE 
in the diagram on page 87, and horizontal lines 
drawn across, and the transverse distances measured 
in relation to the heights. I have left these lines 
on the drawing, and also different parts of it 
unfinished, so as to show the different stages of the 
work. These guide lines are done mentally later 
on, when the student is more advanced, and with 
more accuracy than the clumsy knitting-needle. 

89 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

But before the habit of having constantly in mind 
a vertical and horizontal line with which to compare 
positions is acquired, they should be put in with 
as much accuracy as measuring can give. 

The next thing to do is to block out the spaces 
corresponding to those occupied by the model 

Blocking m the ^ e ^ ^ vour vision. The method 
in your employed to do this is somewhat similar 
ing ' to that adopted by a surveyor in drawing 
the plan of a field. Assuming he had an irregular 
shaped 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 which 
these straight lines cut each other, and then re- 
producing them to scale on his plan. Once having 
got this scaffolding accurately placed, he can draw 
the irregularities of the shape in relation to 
these lines with some certainty of getting them 
right. 

You should proceed in very much the same way 
to block out the spaces that the forms of your 
drawing are to occupy. I have produced these 
blocking-out lines beyond what was necessary in the 
accompanying drawing (page 87), in order to show 
them more clearly. 

There is yet another method of construction 
useful in noting accurately the shape of a curved 

line, which is illustrated in Fig. Y, page 87. 

First of all, fix the positions of the ex- 
Curves * tremities of the line by means of the vertical 

and horizontal. And also, as this is a 
double curve, the point at which the curvature 
changes from one direction to the other: point C. 
By drawing lines CA, CB and noting the distances 

90 




Plate XVIII 



STUDY ILLUSTRATING METHOD OF DRAWING 

Note the different stages, ist. Centre line and transverse lines for settling position 
of salient points. 2nd. Blocking in, as shown in further leg. srd. Drawing in the forms 
and shading, as shown in front leg. 4th. Rubbing with fingers (giving a faint middle 
tone over the whole), and picking out high lights with bread, as shown on back and arms. 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

your curves travel from these straight lines, and 
particularly the relative position of the farthest 
points reached, their curvature can be accurately 
observed and copied. In noting the varying curva- 
ture of forms, this construction should always be 
in your mind to enable you to observe them accu- 
rately. First note the points at which the curvature 
begins and ends, and then the distances it travels 
from a line joining these two points, holding up 
a pencil or knitting-needle against the model if 
need be. 

A drawing being blocked out in such a state as 
the further leg and foot of our demonstration draw- 
ing (page 90), it is time to begin the .^ 
drawing proper. So far you have only been Drawing 
pegging out the ground it is going to oc- J 
cupy. This initial scaffolding, so necessary to train 
the eye, should be done as accurately as possible, 
but don't let it interfere with your freedom in ex- 
pressing the forms afterwards. The work up to 
this point has been mechanical, but it is time to 
consider the subject with some feeling for form. 
Here knowledge of the structure of bones and 
muscles that underlie the skin will help you to 
seize on those things that are significant and express 
the form of the figure. And the student cannot do 
better than study the excellent book by Sir Alfred 
D. Fripp on this subject, entitled Human Anatomy 
for Art Students. Notice particularly the swing 
of the action, such things as the pull occasioned by 
the arm resting on the farther thigh, and the 
prominence given to the forms by the straining of 
the skin at the shoulder. Also the firm lines of 
the bent back and the crumpled forms of the front 
of the body. Notice the overlapping of the con- 

91 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

tours, and where they are accentuated and where 
more lost, &c., drawing with as much feeling 
and conviction as you are capable of. You will 
have for some time to work tentatively, feeling for 
the true shapes that you do not yet rightly see, but 
as soon as you feel any confidence, remember it 
should be your aim to express yourself freely and 
swiftly. 

There is a tendency in some quarters to dis- 
courage this blocking in of the forms in straight 
lines, and certainly it has been harmful to the 
freedom 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 same 
mechanical fashion, cutting up almost all their 
curves into flatnesses, and never once breaking free 
from this scaffolding to indulge in the enjoyment 
of free line expression. This, of course, is bad, and 
yet the character of a curved line is hardly to be 
accurately studied in any other way than by ob- 
serving its relation to straight lines. The inclination 
and length of straight lines can be observed with 
certainty. But a curve has not this definiteness, 
and is a very unstable thing to set about copying 
unaided. Who but the highly skilled draughtsman 
could attempt to copy our random shape at Fig. 
X, page 87, without any guiding straight lines? 
And even the highly skilled draughtsman would 
draw such straight lines mentally. So that some 
blocking out of the curved forms, either done practi- 
cally or in imagination, must be adopted to rightly 
observe any shapes. But do not forget that this 
is only a scaffolding, and should always be regarded 
as such and kicked away as soon as real form ex- 
pression with any feeling begins. 

92 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

But it will be some years before the beginner 
has got his eye trained to such accuracy of observa- 
tion that he can dispense with it. 

In the case of foreshortenings, the eye, unaided 
by this blocking out, is always apt to be led astray. 
And here the observation of the shape of T 

in. Blocic- 

the background against the object will be ing-inob- 
of great assistance. The appearance of Ihajfeof 
the foreshortened object is so unlike what tll ^!5J^ 
you know it to be as a solid thing, that much as 
it is as well to concentrate the attention 
on the background rather than on the form in this 
blocking-out process. And in fact, in blocking out any 
object, whether foreshortened or not, the shape of the 
background should be observed as carefully as any 
other shape. But in making the drawing proper, the 
forms must be observed in their inner relations. 
That is to say, the lines bounding one side of a 
form must be observed in relation to the lines 
bounding the other side; as the true expression of 
form, which is the object of drawing, depends on the 
true relationship of these boundaries. The drawing 
of 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- Bound _ 
ous lines. One form overlaps another, like aries a 
the lines of a range of hills. And this over- overlap- 
lapping should be sought for and carefully pin 8 - 
expressed, the outlines being made up of a series 
of overlappings. 

In Line Drawing shading should only be used 
to aid the expression of form. It is not Shading, 
advisable to aim at representing the true tone 
values. 

93 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

In direct light it will be observed that a solid 
object has some portion of its surface in light, 
while other portions, those turned away from the 
light, are in shadow. Shadows are also cast on 
the ground and surrounding objects, called cast 
shadows. The parts of an object reflecting the 
most direct light are called the high lights. If 
the object have a shiny surface these lights are 
clear and distinct ; if a dull surface, soft and 
diffused. In the case of a very shiny surface, 
such as a glazed pot, the light may be reflected 
so completely that a picture of the source of light, 
usually a window, will be seen. 

In the diagram on page 95, let A represent the 
plan of a cone, B C the opening of a window, 
and D the eye of the spectator, and E F G the 
wall of a room. Light travels in straight lines 
from the window, strikes the surface of the cone, 
and is reflected to the eye, making the angle of 
incidence equal to the angle of reflection, the 
angle of incidence being that made by the light 
striking an object, and the angle of reflection that 
made by the light in leaving the surface. 

It will be seen that the lines BID, C 2 D are 
the limits of the direct rays of light that come 
to 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, such 
as a looking-glass has, this would be all the direct 
light that would be reflected from the cone to the 
eye. But assuming it to have what is called a 
dull surface, light would be reflected from other 
parts also, although not in so great a quantity. 
If what is called a dull surface is looked at under 
a microscope it will be found to be quite rough, 

94 




Diagram V 

PLAN OF CONE A, LIT BY WINDOW BC; POSITION OF 
EYE D. ILLUSTRATING PRINCIPLES OF LIGHT AND 
SHADE 

95 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

i.e. made up of many facets which catch light at 
different angles. 

Lines B 4, 03 represent the extreme limits of 
light 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 right 
up to the point 3 does not upset the theory that 
it can only be reflected from points where the 
angle of incidence can equal the angle of reflection, 
as it would seem to do, because the surface being 
rough presents facets at different angles, from some 
of which it can be reflected to the eye right up to 
point 3. The number of these facets that can so 
reflect is naturally greatest near the high lights, 
and gets gradually less as the surface turns more 
away ; until the point is reached where the shadows 
begin, at which point the surface positively turns 
away from the light and the reflection of direct 
light ceases altogether. After point 3 there would 
be 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 come 
from the direction opposite to that of the direct 
light, as all objects in this direction are strongly 
lit. The surface of the wall between points E and 
H, being directly opposite the light, will give most 
reflection. And between points 5 and 6 this light 
will be reflected by the cone to the eye in its 
greatest intensity, since at these points the angles 
of incidence equal the angles of reflection. The 
other parts of the shadow will receive a certain 
amount of reflected light, lessening in amount on 
either side of these points. We have now rays 
of light coming to the eye from the cone between 
the extreme points 7 and 8. From 7 to 3 we have 

96 



, " * * * V 

WA > :.-.." 
..-.;/:. 




Plate XIX 



ILLUSTRATING CURVED LINES SUGGESTING FULLNESS 
AND FORESHORTENING 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

the light, including the half tones. Between 1 and 
2 the high light. Between 3 and 8 the shadows 
with the greatest amount of reflected light between 
5 and 6. 

I should not have troubled the reader with this 
tedious diagram were it not that certain facts about 
light and shade can be learned from it. The firs 
is that the high lights come much more within the 
edge of the object than you would have expected 
With the light directly opposite point 7, one might 
have thought the highest light would have come 
there, and that is where many students put it, until 
the loss of roundness in the appearance of their 
work makes them look more carefully for its position. 
So remember always to look out for high lights 
within the contours of forms, not on the edges. 

The next thing to notice is that the darkest part 
of the shadow will come nearest the lights between 
points 3 and 5. This is the part turned most away 
from the direction of the greatest amount of re- 
flected light, and therefore receiving least. The 
lightest 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 will 
be dark, like the darkest part of the shadow on the 
cone, as its surface is also turned away from the 
chief source of reflected light. 

Although the artist will very seldom be called 
upon to draw a cone, the same principles of light 
and shade that are so clearly seen in such a simple 
figure obtain throughout the whole of nature. This 
is why the much abused drawing and shading from 
whitened blocks and pots is so useful. Nothing so 
clearly impresses the general laws of light and shade 
as this so-called dull study. 

U7 G 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

This lightening of shadows in the middle by re- 
flected light and darkening towards their edges is 
a very important thing to remember, the heavy, 
smoky look students' early work is so prone to, 
being almost entirely due to their neglect through 
ignorance of this principle. Nothing is more awful 
than shadows darker in the middle and gradually 
lighter towards their edges. Of course, where there 
is a deep hollow in the shadow parts, as at the arm- 
pit and the fold at the navel in the drawing on 
page 90, you will get a darker tone. But this does 
not contradict the principle that generally shadows 
are lighter in the middle and darker towards the 
edges. Note the luminous quality the observation 
of this principle gives the shadow on the body of 
our demonstration drawing. 

This is a crude statement of the general principles 
of light and shade on a simple round object. In one 
with complex surfaces the varieties of light and 
shade are infinite. But the same principles hold 
good. The surfaces turned more to the source of 
light receive the greatest amount, and are the 
lightest. And from these parts the amount of light 
lessens through what are called the half tones as 
the surface turns more away, until a point is reached 
where no more direct light is received, and the 
shadows begin. And in the shadows the same law 
applies: those surfaces turned most towards the 
source of reflected light will receive the most, and 
the amount received will gradually lessen as the 
surface turns away, until at the point immediately 
before where the half tones begin the amount of 
reflected light will be very little, and in consequence 
the darkest part of the shadows may be looked for. 
There may, of course, be other sources of direct 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

light on the shadow side that will entirely alter 
and complicate the effect. Or one may draw in a 
wide, diffused light, such as is found in the open 
air on a grey day ; in which case there will be little 
or no shadow, the modelling depending entirely on 
degrees of light and half tone. 

In studying the principles of simple light and 
shade it is advisable to draw from objects of one 
local colour, such as white casts. In parti-coloured 
objects the problem is complicated by the different 
tones of the local colour. In line drawing it is as 
well to take as little notice as possible of these 
variations which disturb the contemplation of pure 
form and do not belong to the particular province of 
form expression with which we are here concerned. 

Although one has selected a strong half light 
and half shade effect to illustrate the general prin- 
ciples of light and shade, it is not advisable in 
making line drawings to select such a position. A 
point of view with a fairly wide light at your back 
is the best. In this position little shadow will be 
seen, most of the forms being expressed by the play 
of light and half tone. The contours, as they are 
turned away from the light, will naturally be darker, 
and against a light background your subject has an 
appearance with dark edges that is easily expressed 
by a line drawing. Strong light and shade effects 
should be left for mass drawing. You seldom see 
any shadows in Holbein's drawings ; he seems to 
have put his sitters near a wide window, close 
against which he worked. Select also a background 
as near the tone of the highest light on the object to 
be drawn as possible. This will show up clearly the 
contour. In the case of a portrait drawing, a news- 
paper hung behind the head answers very well and 

99 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

is always easily obtained. The tone of it can be 
varied by the distance at which it is placed from 
the head, and by the angle at which it is turned away 
from or towards the light. 

Don't burden a line drawing with heavy half tones 
and shadows ; keep them light. The beauty that is 
the particular province of line drawing is the beauty 
of contours, and this is marred by heavy light and 
shade. Great draughtsmen use only just enough to 
express the form, but never to attempt the expres- 
sion of tone. Think of the half tones as part of the 
lights and not as part of the shadows. 

There are many different methods of drawing in 
line, and a student of any originality will find one 
that suits his temperament. But I will try and illus- 
trate one that is at any rate logical, and that may 
serve as a fair type of line drawing generally. 

The appearance of an object is first considered 
as a series of contours, some forming the boundaries 
of the form against the background, and others 
the boundaries of the subordinate forms withiu 
these bounding lines. The light and shade and 
differences of local colour (like the lips, eyebrows, 
and eyes in a head) are considered together as 
tones of varying degrees of lightness and darkness, 
and suggested by means of lines drawn parallel 
across the drawing from left to right, and from 
below upwards, or vice versa, darker and closer 
together when depth is wanted, and fainter and 
further apart where delicacy is demanded, and vary- 
ing in thickness when gradation is needed. This rule 
of parallel shading is broken only when strongly 
marked forms, such as the swinging lines of hair, a 
prominent bone or straining muscles, &c., demand 
it. This parallel shading gives a great beauty of 

100 




\ 



Plate XX 



STUDY FOB THE FIGURE OF LOVE IN THE PICTURE "LOVE LEAVING 
PSYCHE " ILLUSTRATING A METHOD OF DRAWING 

The lines of shading following a convenient parallel direction unless prominent 
forms demand otherwise. 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL : , 

surface and fleshiness to a drawing. The lines 
following, as it were, the direction of the light 
across the object rather than the form, give a 
unity that has a great charm. It is more suited 
to drawings where extreme delicacy of form is de- 
sired, and is usually used in silver point work, a 
medium capable of the utmost refinement. 

In this method the lines of shading not being 
much varied in direction or curved at all, a minimum 
amount of that "form stimulus" is conveyed. The 
curving of the lines in shading adds considerably to 
the force of the relief, and suggests much stronger 
modelling. In the case of foreshortened effects, 
where the forms are seen at their fullest, arching 
one over the other, some curvature in the lines of 
shading is of considerable advantage in adding to 
the 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 such 
things as joints and sinews, rocks, hard ground, or 
gnarled tree-trunks, &c. In figure drawing it is an 
interesting quality to use sparingly, with the shad- 
ing done on the across-the-form principle; and to 
suggest a difference of texture or a straining of the 
form. Lines of shading drawn in every direction, 
crossing each other and resolving themselves into 
tone effects, suggest atmosphere and the absence 
of surface form. This is more often used in the 
backgrounds of pen and ink work and is seldom 
necessary in pencil or chalk drawing, as they are 
more concerned with form than atmosphere. Pen 
and ink is more often used for elaborate pictorial 
effects in illustration work, owing to the ease with 
which it can be reproduced and printed; and it is 

101 



, EINE DRAWING : PRACTICAL 

tere that one often finds this muddled quality of 
line spots being used to fill up interstices and make 
the tone even. 

Speaking generally, lines of shading drawn across 
the forms suggest softness, lines drawn in curves 
fulness of form, lines drawn down the forms hard- 
ness, and lines crossing in all directions so that only 
a mystery of tone results, atmosphere. And if these 
four qualities of line be used judiciously, a great 
deal of expressive power is added to your shading. 
And, as will be explained in the next chapter, 
somewhat the same principle applies to the direction 
of the swing of the brush in painting. 

Shading lines should never be drawn backwards 
and forwards from left to right (scribbled), except 
possibly where a mystery of shadow is wanted 
and the lines are being crossed in every direction; 
but never when lines are being used to express 
form. They are not sufficiently under control, and 
also the little extra thickness that occurs at the 
turn is a nuisance. 

The crossing of lines in shading gives a more 
opaque look. This is useful to suggest the opaque 
appearance of the darker passage that occurs in 
that part of a shadow nearest the lights ; and it is 
sometimes used in the half tones also. 

Draughtsmen vary very much in their treatment 
of hair, and different qualities of hair require 
different treatment. The particular beauty of it 
that belongs to point drawing is the swing and 
flow of its lines. These are especially apparent in 
the lights. In the shadows the flow of line often 
stops, to be replaced by a mystery of shadow. So 
that a play of swinging lines alternating with 
shadow passages, drawn like all the other shadows 

102 



> ''>>> 

. - 

4 * ' 




m 







Plate XXI 



STUDY IN RED CHALK 

Illustrating a treatment of hair in line-work. 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

with parallel lines not following the form, is often 
effective, and suggests the quality of hair in nature. 
The swinging lines should vary in thickness along 
their course, getting darker as they pass certain 
parts, and gradating into lighter lines at other parts 
according to the effect desired. (See illustration, 
page 102.) 

To sum up, in the method of line drawing we 
are trying to explain (the method employed for 
most 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 some 
quality in the form suggests their following other 
directions. So that when you are in doubt as to 
what direction they should follow, draw them on the 
parallel principle. This preserves a unity in your 
work, and allows the lines drawn in other directions 
for special reasons to tell expressively. 

As has already been explained, it is not sufficient 
in drawing to concentrate the attention on copying 
accurately 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 can 
take a horse to the fountain, but you cannot make 
him drink," and in art you can take the student 
to the point of view from which things are to be 
appreciated, but you cannot make him see. How, 
then, is this appreciation of form to be developed? 
Simply by feeding. Familiarise yourself with all 
the best examples of drawing you can find, trying 
to see in nature the same qualities. Study the 
splendid drawing by Puvis de Chavannes repro- 
duced on page 104. Note the way the contours have 
been searched for expressive qualities. Look how 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

the expressive line of the back of the seated figure 
has been "felt," the powerful expression of the 
upraised arm with its right angle (see later page 155, 
chapter on line rhythm). And then observe the 
different types of the two standing figures ; the 
practical vigour of the one and the soft grace of 
the other, and how their contours have been studied 
to express this feeling, &c. There is a mine of 
knowledge to be unearthed in this drawing. 

There never was an age when such an amount 
of artistic food was at the disposal of students. 
Cheap means of reproduction have brought the 
treasures of the world's galleries and collections to 
our very doors in convenient forms for a few pence. 
The danger is not from starvation, but indigestion. 
Students are so surfeited with good things that 
they often fail to digest any of them ; but rush 
on from one example to another, taking but snap- 
shot views of what is offered, until their natural 
powers of appreciation are in a perfect whirlwind 
of confused ideas. What then is to be done? 
You cannot avoid the good things that are 
hurled at you in these days, but when you come 
across anything that strikes you as being a par- 
ticularly fine thing, feed deeply on it. Hang it up 
where you will see it constantly; in your bedroom, 
for instance, where it will entertain your sleepless 
hours, if you are unfortunate enough to have any. 
You will probably like very indifferent drawings at 
first, the pretty, the picturesque and the tricky will 
possibly attract before the sublimity of finer things. 
"Rut be quite honest and feed on the best that 
you genuinely like, and when you have thoroughly 
digested and comprehended that, you will weary of 
it and long for something better, and so, gradually, 

104 




Plate XXII 



Photo Nenrdein 



STUDY FOB DECORATION AT AMIENS " REPOSE " 
BY PEUVIS DE CHAVANNES 

Note how the contours are searched for expressive forms, the power given to the seated 
figure by the right angle of the raised arm, and the contrast between the upright vigour 
of the right-hand figure with the softer lines of the middle one 



c c ' ' < ' ' c * * 

'< ' ' ' < ' c 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

be led on to appreciate the best you are capable 
of appreciating. 

Before closing this chapter there are one or two 
points connected with the drawing of a head that 
might be mentioned, as students are not always 
sufficiently on the look out for them. 

In our diagram on page 107, let Fig. 1 represent 
a normal eye. At Fig. 2 we have removed the skin 
and muscles and exposed the two main structural 
features in the form of the eye, namely the bony 
ring of the socket and the globe containing the 
lenses and retina. Examining this opening, we find 
from A to B that it runs smoothly into the bony 
prominence at the top of the nose, and that the 
rest of the edge is sharp, and from point C to E 
quite free. It is at point A, starting from a little 
hole, that , the sharp edge begins ; and near this 
point the corner of the eye is situated: A, Figs. 1, 
2, 3. From points A to F the bony edge of the 
opening is very near the surface and should be 
looked for. 

The next thing to note is the fact that the eye- 
brow at first follows the upper edge of the bony 
opening from B to C, but that from point C it 
crosses the free arch between C and D and soon 
ends. So that considering the under side of the 
eyebrow, whereas from point C towards B there 
is usually a cavernous hollow, from C towards D 
there is a prominence. The character of eyes varies 
greatly, and this effect is often modified by the 
fleshy fulness that fills in the space between the 
eyelid and the brow, but some indication of a 
change is almost always to be observed at a point 
somewhere about C, and should be looked out for. 
Any bony prominence from this point towards D 

105 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

should be carefully constructed. Look out for the 
bone, therefore, between the points C D and A F. 

Never forget when painting an eye that what 
we call the white of the eye is part of a sphere 
and will therefore have the light and shade of a 
sphere. It will seldom be the same tone all over; 
if the light is coming from the right, it will be in 
shade towards the left and vice versa. Also the 
eyelids are bands of flesh placed on this spherical 
surface. They will therefore partake of the model- 
ling of the sphere and not be the same tone all 
across. Note particularly the sudden change of plane 
usually marked by a fold, where the under eyelid 
meets the surface coming from the cheek bone. 
The neglect to construct these planes of the under 
eyelid is a very common fault in poorly painted 
eyes. Note also where the upper eyelid comes 
against the flesh under the eyebrow (usually a 
strongly marked fold) and the differences of planes 
that occur at this juncture. In some eyes, when 
there is little loose flesh above the eyelid, there is 
a deep hollow here, the eyelid running up under the 
bony prominence, C D. This is an important struc- 
tural line, marking as it does the limit of the spherical 
surface of the eyeball, on which surface the eyelids 
are placed. 

Fig. 4 is a rough diagram of the direction it is 
usual for the hairs forming the eyebrow to take. 
From A a few scant hairs start radiating above 
the nose and quite suddenly reach their thickest 
and strongest growth between B and E. They con- 
tinue, still following a slightly radiating course 
until D. These hairs are now met by another lot, 
starting from above downwards, and growing from 
B to C. An eyebrow is considered by the draughts- 

106 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 




Diagram VI 

ILLUSTRATING SOME POINTS CONNECTED WITH THE EYES 

NOT ALWAYS OBSERVED IN DRAWING A HEAD 

ior 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

man as a tone of a certain shape and qualities of 
edge. And what interests us here is to note the 
effect of this order of growth upon its appearance 
as tone. The meeting of the strong growth of 
hair upwards with the downward growth between 
points B and E creates what is usually the darkest 
part of the eyebrow at this point. And the coming 
together of the hairs towards D often makes another 
dark part in this direction. The edge from C to 
B is nearly always a soft one, the tone melting 
into the flesh, and this should be looked out for, 
giving as it does a pretty variety to the run of the 
line. Another thing that tends to make this edge 
soft is the fact that a bony prominence is situated 
here and has usually a high light upon it that 
crosses the eyebrow. From C to D you usually 
find a sharper edge, the hairs running parallel to 
the line of the eyebrow, while from D to E and 
A to B a softer boundary can be looked for. The 
chief accent will generally be found at B, where a 
dark mass often comes sharply against the tone of 
the forehead. 

The eyelashes do not count for much in drawing 
a head, except in so far as they affect the tone 
impression. In the first place they shade the white 
of the eye when the light is above, as is usually 
the case. They are much thicker on the outer than 
on the inner side of the eyelids, and have a 
tendency to grow in an outward direction, so that 
when the light comes from the left, as is shown 
by arrow, Fig. 5, the white of the eye at A 1 
will not be much shaded, and the light tone will 
run nearly up to the top. But at B 4, which should 
be the light side of this eye, the thick crop of eye- 
lashes will shade it somewhat and the light will not 

108 



LINE DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

run far up lin consequence, while B 3, A 2 will be 
in the shade from the turning away from the 
direction of the light of the spherical surface of the 
whites of the eyes. 

These may seem smi'll points to mention, but 
the observance of such small points makes a great 
difference to the construction of a head. 

Fig. 6 gives a series of blocks all exactly alike 
in outline, with lines showing how the different 
actions of the head affect the guide lines on which 
the features hang ; and how these actions can be 
suggested even when the contours are not varied. 
These archings over should be carefully looked out 
for when the head is in any but a simple full face 
position. 



109 



IX 

MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

THIS is the form of drawing with which painting 
in the oil medium is properly concerned. The dis- 
tinction between drawing and painting that is 
sometimes made is a wrong one in so far as it 
conveys any idea of painting being distinct from 
drawing. Painting is drawing (i.e. the expression of 
form) with the added complication of colour and 
tone. And with a brush full of paint as your tool, 
some form of mass drawing must be adopted. So 
that at the same time that the student is progressing 
with line drawing, he should begin to accustom 
himself to this other method of seeing, by attempt- 
ing very simple exercises in drawing with the brush. 

Most objects can be reduced broadly into three 
tone masses, the lights (including the high lights), 
the half tones, and the shadows. And the habit of 
reducing things into a simple equation of three tones 
as a foundation on which to build complex appear- 
ances should early be sought for. 

Here is a simple exercise in mass drawing with 
the brush that is, as far as I know, never offered to 
EX rcis ^ e voun student. Select a simple object : 
in Mass some of those casts of fruit hanging up that 
Drawing. are common m ar t schools will do. Place 
it in a strong light and shade, preferably by artificial 
light, as it is not so subtle, and therefore easier ; the 

110 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

light coining from either the right or left hand, but 
not from in front. Try and arrange it so that the 
tone of the ground of your cast comes about equal 
to the half tones in the relief. 

First draw in the outlines of the masses strongly 
in charcoal, noting the shapes of the shadows care- 
fully, taking great care that you get their shapes 
blocked 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 which 
you will afterwards express the form, rather than 
a drawing the same scaffolding, in fact, that you 
were advised to do in the case of a line drawing, 
only, in that case, the drawing proper was to be 
done with a point, and in this case the draw- 
ing proper is to be done with a brush full of 
paint. Fix -the charcoal well with a spray diffuser 
and the usual solution of white shellac in spirits 
of wine. 

Taking raw umber and white (oil paint), mix up 
a tone that you think equal to the half tones of the 
cast before you. Extreme care should be taken in 
matching this tone. Now scumble this with a big 
brush equally over the whole canvas (or whatever 
you are making your study on). Don't use much 
medium, 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, and 
laying just the thinnest solid tone that will cover the 
surface. If this is properly done, and your drawing 
was well fixed, you will just be able to see it through 
the paint. Now mix up a tone equal to the highest 
lights on the cast, and map out simply the shapes 
of the light masses on your study, leaving the 

111 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

scumbled tone for the half tones. Note carefully 
where the light masses come sharply against the 
half tones and where they merge softly into them. 

You will find that the scumbled tone of your 
ground will mix with the tone of the lights with 
which you are painting, and darken it somewhat. 
This will enable you to get the amount of variety 
you want in the tone of the lights. The thicker 
you paint the lighter will be the tone, while the 
thinner paint will be more affected by the original 
half tone, and will consequently be darker. When 
this is done, mix up a tone equal to the darkest 
shadow, and proceed to map out the shadows in 
the same way as you did the lights ; noting care- 
fully where they come sharply against the half 
tone and where they are lost. In the case of the 
shadows the thicker you paint the darker will be 
the tone ; and the thinner, the lighter. 

When the lights and shadows have been mapped 
out, if this has been done with any accuracy, your 
work should be well advanced. And it now remains 
to correct and refine it here and there, as you feel 
it wants it. Place your work alongside the cast, 
and walk back to correct it. Faults that are not 
apparent when close, are easily seen at a little dis- 
tance. 

I don't suggest that this is the right or only 
way of painting, but I do suggest that exercises 
of this description will teach the student many of 
the rudimentary essentials of painting, such elemen- 
tary things as how to lay a tone, how to manage 
a brush, how to resolve appearances into a simple 
structure of tones, and how to manipulate your 
paint so as to express the desired shape. This ele- 
mentary paint drawing is, as far as I know, never 

112 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

given as an exercise, the study of drawing at pre- 
sent being confined to paper and charcoal or chalk 
mediums. Drawing in charcoal is the nearest thing 
to this "paint drawing," it being a sort of mixed 
method, half line and half mass drawing. But 
although allied to painting, it is a very different 
thing from expressing form with paint, and no 
substitute for some elementary exercise with the 
brush. The use of charcoal to the neglect of line 
drawing often gets the student into a sloppy manner 
of work, and is not so good a training to the eye 
and hand in clear, definite statement. Its popularity 
is no doubt due to the fact that you can get much 
effect with little knowledge. Although this painting 
into a middle tone is not by any means the only 
method of painting, I do feel that it is the best 
method for studying form expression with the 
brush. 

But, when you come to colour, the fact of the 
opaque middle tone (or half tone) being first painted 
over the whole will spoil the clearness and transpar- 
ency of your shadows, and may also interfere with 
the brilliancy of the colour in the lights. When 
colour comes to be considered it may be necessary 
to adopt many expedients that it is as well not 
to trouble too much about until a further stage is 
reached. But there is no necessity for the half tone 
to be painted over the shadows. In working in 
colour the half tone or middle tone of the lights 
can be made, and a middle tone of the shadows, and 
these two first painted separately, the edges where 
they come together being carefully studied and 
finished. Afterwards the variety of tone in the 
lights and the shadows can be added. By this means 
the difference in the quality of the colour between 

113 H 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

lights and shadows is preserved. This is an im- 
portant consideration, as there is generally a strong 
contrast between them, the shadows usually being 
warm if the lights are cool and vice versa ; and such 
contrasts greatly affect the vitality of colouring. 

Try always to do as much as possible with one 
stroke of the brush ; paint has a vitality when 
the touches are deft, that much handling and con- 
tinual touching kills. Look carefully at the shape 
and variety of the tone you wish to express, and 
try and manipulate the swing of your brush in 
such a way as to get in one touch as near 
the quality of shape and gradation you want. Re- 
member that the lightest part of your touch will 
be where the brush first touches the canvas when 
you are painting lights into a middle tone; and 
that as the amount of paint in the brush gets 
less, so the tone will be more affected by what 
you are painting into, and get darker. And in 
painting the shadows, the darkest part of your 
stroke will be where the brush first touches the 
canvas; and it will gradually lighten as the paint 
in your brush gets less and therefore more affected 
by the tone you are painting into. If your brush 
is very full it will not be influenced nearly so 
much. And if one wants a touch that shall be 
distinct, as would be the case in painting the shiny 
light on a glazed pot, a very full brush would 
be used. But generally speaking, get your effects 
with as little paint as possible. Thinner paint 
is easier to refine and manipulate. There will be 
no fear of its not being solid if you artT painting 
into a solidly scumbled middle tone. 

Many charming things are to be done with a 
mixture of solid and transparent paint, but it is 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

well at first not to complicate the problem too 
much, and therefore to leave this until later on, 
when you are competent to attack problems of 
colour. Keep your early work both in monochrome 
and colour quite solid, but as thin as you can, re- 
serving thicker paint for those occasions when you 
wish to put a touch that shall not be influenced 
by what you are painting into. 

It will perhaps be as well to illustrate a few of 
the different brush strokes, and say something about 
the different qualities of each. These are only 
given as typical examples of the innumerable ways 
a brush may be used as an aid to very elementary 
students; every artist will, of course, develop ways 
of his own. 

The touch will of necessity depend in the first 
instance upon the shape of the brush, and these 
shapes are innumerable. But there are two classes 
into which they can roughly be divided, flat and 
round. The round brushes usually sold, which we 
will call Class A, have rather a sharp point, and 
this, although helpful in certain circumstances, is 
against their general usefulness. But a round 
brush with a round point is also made, and this is 
much more convenient for mass drawing. Where 
there is a sharp point the central hairs are much 
longer, and consequently when the brush is drawn 
along and pressed so that all the hairs are touch- 
ing the canvas, the pressure in the centre, where 
the long hairs are situated, is different from that 
at the sides. This has the effect of giving a touch 
that is not equal in quality all across, and the 
variety thus given is difficult to manipulate. I 
should therefore advise the student to try the 
blunt-ended round brushes first, as they give a 

115 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

much more even touch, and one much more suited 
to painting in planes of tone. 

The most extreme flat brushes (Class B) are thin 
and rather short, with sharp square ends, and have 
been very popular with students. They can be 
relied upon to give a perfectly flat, even tone, but 
with a rather hard sharp edge at the sides, and 
also at the commencement of the touch. In fact, 
they make touches like little square bricks. But 
as the variety that can be got out of them is 
limited, and the amount of paint they can carry 
so small that only short strokes can be made, they 
are not the best brush for general use. They are 
at times, when great refinement and delicacy are 
wanted, very useful, but are, on the whole, poor 
tools for the draughtsman in paint. Some variety 
can be got by using one or other of their sharp 
corners, by which means the smallest possible 
touch can be made to begin with, which can be 
increased in size as more pressure is brought to 
bear, until the whole surface of the brush is brought 
into play. They are also often used to paint across 
the 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 the 
qualities of both flat and round. It is made with 
much more hair than the lail, is longer, and has a 
square top with rounded corners. This brush carries 
plenty of paint, will lay an even tone, and, from the 
fact that the corners are rounded and the pressure 
consequently lessened at the sides, does not leave so 
hard an edge on either side of your stroke. 

Another brush that has recently come into 
fashion is called a filbert shape (Class D) by the 
makers. It is a fine brush to draw with * being 

116 




Plate XXV 



ILLUSTRATING SOME TYPICAL BRUSH STROKES MADE WITH 
FOUR CLASSES OF BRUSH 

Class A, round ; Class B, flat ; Class C, full flat brush with rounded corners ; 
Class D, filbert shape. 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

flat it paints in planes, and having a rounded top 
is capable of getting in and out of a variety of 
contours. They vary in shape, some being more 
pointed than others. The blunt-ended form is the 
best for general use. Either this class of brush or 
Class C are perhaps the best for the exercises in 
mass drawing we have been describing. But Class A 
should also be tried, and even Class B, to find out 
which suits the particular individuality of the student. 

On opposite page a variety of touches have been 
made in turn by these different shaped brushes. 

In all the strokes illustrated it is assumed that 
the brush is moderately full of paint of a consistency 
a little thinner than that usually put up by colour- 
men. To thin it, mix a little turpentine and linseed 
oil in equal parts with it; and get it into easy 
working consistency before beginning your work, 
so as not to need any medium. 

In the first column (No. 1), a touch firmly painted 
with an equal pressure all along its course is given. 
This gives you a plane of tone with firm edges the 
width of your brush, getting gradually darker or 
lighter as your brush empties, according to the 
length of the stroke and to whether you are painting 
into a lighter or darker ground. 

In column No. 2 a drag touch is illustrated. This 
is a very useful one. The brush is placed firmly 
on the canvas and then dragged from the point 
lightly away, leaving a gradated tone. A great 
deal of the modelling in round objects is to be 
expressed by this variety of handling. The danger 
is that its use is apt to lead to a too dexterous 
manner of painting; a dexterity more concerned 
with the clever manner in which a thing is painted 
than with the truth expressed. 

117 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

Column No. 3. This is a stroke lightly and 
quickly painted, where the brush just grazes the 
surface of the canvas. The paint is put on in a 
manner that is very brilliant, and at the same time 
of a soft quality. If the brush is only moderately 
full, such touches will not have any hard edges, 
but be of a light, feathery nature. It is a most 
useful manner of putting on paint when freshness 
of colour is wanted, as it prevents one tone being 
churned up with another and losing its purity. And 
in the painting of hair, where the tones need to 
be kept very separate, and at the same time not 
hard, it is very useful. But in monochrome painting 
from 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 equal 
or varying thicknesses. This method will lighten 
or darken a tone in varying degree, according to 
whether the lines are thick, thin, or gradated some- 
what in the same way that lines of shading are drawn 
in line work. In cases where the correction of in- 
tricate modelling is desired and where it would be 
very difficult to alter a part accurately by a deft 
stroke of the brush, this method is useful to employ. 
A dry brush can be drawn across the lines to unite 
them with the rest of the work afterwards. This 
method of painting has lately been much used by 
those artists who have attempted painting in sepa- 
rate, pure colours, after the so-called manner of 
Claude Monet, although so mechanical a method is 
seldom used by that master. 

As your power of drawing increases (from the 
line drawing you have been doing), casts of hands 
and heads should be attempted in the same manner 
as has been described. Illustrations are given of 

118 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

exercises of this description on pages 110 and 122. 
Unfortunately the photographs, which were taken 
from the same study at different stages during the 
painting, are not all alike, the first painting of the 
lights being too darkly printed in some cases. But 
they show how much can be expressed with the 
one tone, when variety is got by using the middle 
tone to paint into. The two tones used are noted 
in the right-hand lower corner. 

Try to train yourself to do these studies at one 
sitting. But if you find you cannot manage this, 
use slower drying colours, say bone brown and zinc 
white, which will keep wet until the next day. 

When you begin studying from the life, proceed 
in the same *way with monochrome studies painted 
into a middle tone. 

And what are you to do if you find, when you 
have finished, that it is all wrong ? I should advise 
you to let it dry, and then scumble a middle tone 
right over the whole thing, as you did at first, which 
will show the old work through, and you can then 
correct your drawing and proceed to paint the lights 
and shadows as before. And if only a part of it is 
wrong, when it is quite dry rub a little poppy oil 
thinned with turpentine over the work, as little as 
will serve to cover the surface. If it is found difficult 
to get it to cover, breathe on the canvas, the slightest 
moisture will Jielp it to bite. When this is done, wipe 
it off with the palm of your hand or an old piece 
of clean linen. Now paint a middle tone right over 
the part you wish to retouch, being careful about 
joining it up to the surrounding work, and proceed 
as before, drawing in the light and shadow masses. 

This form of drawing you will probably find more 
difficult at first. For the reason already explained 

119 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

it seems natural to observe objects as made up of 
outlines, not masses. The frame with cottons across 
it should be used to flatten the appearance, as in 
making outline drawings. And besides this a black 
glass should be used. This can easily be made by 
getting a small piece of glass a photographic nega- 
tive will do and sticking some black paper on the 
back ; turning it over the front to keep the raw 
edges of the glass from cutting the fingers. Or the 
glass 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 both 
your painting and the object. Seeing the tones thus 
reduced and simplified, you will be enabled more 
easily to correct your work. 

I should like to emphasise the importance of 
the setting-out work necessary for brush-drawing. 
While it is not necessary to put expressive work into 
this preparatory work, the utmost care should be 
taken to ensure its accuracy as far as it goes. It is 
a great nuisance if, after you have put up some of 
your fair structure, you find the foundations are in 
the wrong place and the whole thing has to be 
torn down and shifted. It is of the utmost necessity 
to have the proportions and the main masses settled 
at this early stage, and every device of blocking out 
with square lines and measuring with your knitting- 
needle, &c., should be adopted to ensure the accuracy 
of these large proportions. The variations and em- 
phases that feeling may dictate can be done in the 
painting stage. This initial stage is not really a 
drawing at all, but a species of mapping out, and as 
such it should be regarded. The only excuse for 
making the elaborate preparatory drawings on 

120 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

canvas students sometimes do, is that it enables them 
to learn the subject, so that when they come to paint 
it, they already know something about it. But the 
danger of making these preparatory drawings inter- 
esting is that the student fears to cover them up and 
lose an outline so carefufly and lovingly wrought; 
and this always results in a poor painting. When 
you take up a brush to express yourself, it must be 
with no fear of hurting a careful drawing. Your 
drawing is going to be done with the brush, and only 
the general setting out of the masses will be of any 
use to you in the work of this initial stage. Never 
paint with the poor spirit of the student who fears 
to lose his drawing, or you will never do any fine 
things in painting. Drawing (expressing form) is 
the thing you should be doing all the time. And in 
art, " he that would save his work must often lose 
it," if you will excuse the paraphrase of a profound 
saying which, like most profound sayings, is appli- 
cable to many things in life besides what it originally 
referred to. It is often necessary when a painting 
is nearly right to destroy the whole thing in order 
to accomplish the apparently little that still divides 
it from what you conceive it should be. It is like a 
man rushing a hill that is just beyond the power of 
his motor-car to climb, he must take a long run at 
it. And if the |jrst attempt lands him nearly up at 
the top but not quite, he has to go back and take the 
long run all over again, to give him the impetus that 
shall carry him right through. 

Another method of judging tone drawing is our 
old method of half closing the eyes. This, by 
lowering the tone and widening the focus, enables 
you to correct the work more easily. 

In tone drawing there is not only the shape of 
121 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

the masses to be considered, but their values that 
is, their position in an imagined scale from dark 
to light. The relation of the different tones in this 
way the values, as it is called is an extremely 
important matter in painting. But it more properly 
belongs to the other department of the subject, 
namely Colour, and this needs a volume to itself. 
But something more will be said on this subject 
when treating of Rhythm. 

We saw, in speaking of line drawing, how the 
character of a line was found by observing its flat- 
nesses and its relation to straight lines. In the 
same way the character of modelling is found by 
observing its planes. So that in building up a com- 
plicated piece of form, like a head or figure, the 
planes (or flat tones) should be sought for every- 
where. As a carver in stone blocks out his work 
in square surfaces, the modelling of a figure or any 
complex surface that is being studied should be set 
out in planes of tone, painting in the first instance 
the larger ones, and then, to these, adding the 
smaller ; when it will be seen that the roundnesses 
have, with a little fusing of edges here and there, 
been arrived at. Good modelling is full of these 
planes subtly fused together. Nothing is so 
characteristic of bad modelling as "gross round- 
nesses." The surface of a sphere is the surface with 
the least character, like the curve of a circle, and 
the 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 utmost 
importance. During the rage for realism and 
naturalism many hard things were said about the 
study of anatomy. And certainly, were it to be 
used to overstep the modesty of nature in these 

122 




Pi 



Plate XXVI 

SET OF FOUR PHOTOGRAPHS or THE SAME STUDY FROM THE LIFE 
rsr DIFFERENT STAGES 

No. i. Blocking out the spaces occupied by different masses in charcoal. 




Plate XXVII 

SET OF FOUR PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SAME STUDY FROM THE LIFE 
IN DIFFERENT STAGES 

No. 2. A middle- tone having been scrumbled over the whole, the lights are painted 
into it ; variety being got by varying the thickness of the paint. The darks are due 
to the charcoal lines of initial drawing showing through middle tone. 




Plate xx wn 



SET OF FOUR PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SAME STUDY FROM THE LIFE 
IN DIFFERENT STAGES 

No. 3. The same as the last, but with the shadows added ; variety being got 
by varying thickness of paint as before. 




Plate XXIX 

SET OF FOUR PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SAME STUDY FROM THE LIFE 
IN DIFFERENT STAGES 

No. 4. The completed head. 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

respects and to be paraded to the exclusion of the 
charm and character of life, it would be as well 
left alone. But if we are to make a drawing that 
shall express something concrete, we must know 
something of its structure, whatever it is. In the 
case of the human figure it is impossible properly 
to understand its action and draw it in a way that 
shall give a powerful impression without a know- 
ledge of the mechanics of its construction. But I 
hardly think the case for anatomy needs much 
stating at the present time. Never let anatomical 
knowledge tempt you into exaggerated statements 
of internal structure, unless such exaggeration 
helps the particular thing you wish to express. In 
drawing a figure in violent action it might, for 
instance, be essential to the drawing, whereas in 
drawing a figure at rest or a portrait, it would 
certainly 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 of 
form, lines drawn down the forms hardness, and 
lines crossing in every direction atmosphere," and 
these rules apply equally well to the direction of 
the brush strokes (the brush work) in a painting. 

The brush swinging round the forms suggests fore- 
shortening, and fulness of form generally, and across 
the forms softness, while the brush following down 
the forms suggests toughness and hardness, and cross- 
ing in every direction atmosphere. A great deal of 
added force can be given to form expression in this 
way. In the foreshortened figure on the ground at 
the left of Tintoretto's " Finding of the Body of St. 
Mark," the foreshortened effect helped by the brush 
work swinging round can be seen (see illustration, 

123 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

page 236). The work of Henner in France is an 
extreme instance of the quality of softness and 
fleshiness got by painting across the form. The 
look of toughness and hardness given by the brush 
work following down the forms is well illustrated 
in much of the work of James Ward, the animal 
painter. In his picture in the National Gallery, 
" Harlech Castle," No. 1158, this can be seen in the 
painting of the tree-trunks, &c. 

The crossing of the brush work in every direction, 
giving a look of atmosphere, is naturally often used 
in painting backgrounds and also such things as the 
plane surfaces of sky and mist, &c. 

It is often inconvenient to paint across the form 
when softness is wanted. It is only possible to 
have one colour in your brush sweep, and the colour 
changes across, much more than down the form 
as a rule. For the shadows, half tones and lights, 
besides varying in tone, vary also in colour ; so that 
it is not always possible to sweep across them with 
one colour. It is usually more convenient to paint 
down where the colours can be laid in overlapping 
bands of shadow, half tone and light, &c. Neverthe- 
less, if this particular look of softness and fleshiness 
is desired, either the painting must be so thin or 
the stones so fused together that no brush strokes 
show, or a dry flat brush must afterwards be drawn 
lightly across when the painting is done, to destroy 
the downward brush strokes and substitute others 
going across, great care being taken to drag only 
from light to dark, and to wipe the brush carefully 
after each touch; and also never to go over the 
same place twice, or the paint will lose vitality. 
This is a method much employed by artists who 
delight in this particular quality. 

124 



MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

But when a strong, tough look is desired, such 
as one sees when a muscle is in violent action, or 
in the tendon above the wrist or above the heel in 
the leg, or generally where a bone conies to the 
surface, in all these cases the brush work should 
follow down the forms. It is not necessary and is 
often 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 they 
do, I think it will generally be found to create the 
effects named. 

Drawing on toned paper with white chalk or 
Chinese white and black or red chalk is another 
form of mass drawing. And for studies it is 
intended to paint from, this is a quick and excellent 
manner. The rapidity with which the facts of an 
appearance can be noted makes it above all others 
the method for drapery studies. The lights are 
drawn with white, the toned paper being allowed 
to show through where a darker tone is needed, 
/the white (either chalk or Chinese white) being 
put on thickly when a bright light is wanted and 
thinly where a quieter light is needed. So with the 
shadows, the chalk is put on heavily in the darks 
and less heavily in the lighter shadows. Since the 
days of the early Italians this has been a favourite 
method of drawing drapery studies (see illustrations, 
page 260). 

Some artists have shaded their lights with gold 
and silver paint. The late Sir Edward Burne-Jones 
was very fond of this, and drawings with much 
decorative charm have been done this way. The 
principle is the same as in drawing with white chalk, 
the half tone being given by the paper. 

Keep the lights separate from the shadows, let 
125 






MASS DRAWING: PRACTICAL 

the half tone paper always come as a buffer state 
between them. Get as much information into the 
drawing of your lights and shadows as possible; 
don't be satisfied with a smudge effect. Use the 
side of your white chalk when you want a mass, 
or work in parallel lines (hatching) on the principle 
described in the chapter on line drawing. 



126 



RHYTHM 

r \ 

THE subject of Rhythm in what are called the Fine 
Arts is so vague, and has received so little attention, 
that some courage, or perhaps foolhardiness, is 
needed to attack it. And in offering the following 
fragmentary ideas that have been stumbled on in 
my own limited practice, I want them to be accepted 
only for what they are worth, as I do not know 
of any proper authority for them. But they may 
serve as a stimulus, and offer some lines on which 
the student can pursue the subject for himself. 

The word rhythm is here used to signify the 
power possessed by lines, tones, and colours, by their 
ordering and arrangement, to affect us, somewhat 
as different notes and combinations of sound do in 
music. And just as in music, where sounds affect us 
without having any direct relation with nature, but 
appeal directly to our own inner life ; so in painting, 
sculpture, and architecture there is a music that 
appeals directly to us apart from any significance that 
may be associated with the representation of natural 
phenomena. There is, as it were, an abstract music 
of line, tone, and colour. 

The danger of the naturalistic movement in 
painting in the nineteenth century has been that 
it has turned our attention away from this funda- 
mental fact of art to the contemplation of interest- 

127 



RHYTHM 

ing realisations of appearances realisations often 
full of poetic suggestiveness due to associations con- 
nected with the objects painted as concrete things, 
but not always made directly significant as artistic 
expression; whereas it is the business of the artist 
to relate the form, colour, and tone of natural appear- 
ances to this abstract musical quality, with which he 
should never lose touch even in the most highly realised 
detail of his work. For only thus, when related to 
rhythm, do the form, tone, and colour of appear- 
ances obtain their full expressive power and become 
a means of vitally conveying the feeling of the 
artist. 

Inquiry as to the origin of this power and of 
rhythm generally is a profoundly interesting subject ; 
and now that recent advances in science tend to 
show that sound, heat, light, and possibly electricity 
and even nerve force are but different rhythmic 
forms of energy, and that matter itself may pos- 
sibly be resolved eventually into different rhythmic 
motions, it does look as if rhythm may yet be 
found to contain even the secret of life itself. At 
any rate it is very intimately associated with life ; 
and primitive man early began to give expression 
in some form of architecture, sculpture, or painting 
to the deeper feelings that were moving him ; found 
some correspondence between the lines and colours 
of architecture, sculpture, and painting and the emo- 
tional life that was awakening within him. Thus, 
looking back at the remains of their work that 
have come down to us, we are enabled to judge of 
the nature of the people from the expression we 
find in hewn stone and on painted walls. 

It is in primitive art generally that we see more 
clearly the direct emotional significance of line and 

128 



RHYTHM 

form. Art appears to have developed, from its 
most abstract position, to which bit by bit have been 
added the truths and graces of natural appearance, 
until as much of this naturalistic truth has been 
added as the abstract significance at the base of 
the expression could stand without loss of power. 
At this point, as has already been explained, a 
school is at the height of its development. The 
work after this usually shows an increased concern 
with naturalistic truth, which is always very popular, 
to the gradual exclusion of the backbone of abstract 
line and form significance that dominated the earlier 
work. And when these primitive conditions are lost 
touch with, a decadence sets in. At least, this is 
roughly the theory to which a study of the two 
great art developments of the past, in Greece and 
Italy, would seem to point. 

And this theory is the excuse for all the attempts 
at primitivism of which we have lately seen so 
much. Art having lost touch with its primitive base 
owing to the over-doses of naturalism it has had, we 
must, these new apostles say, find a new primitive 
base on which to build the new structure of art. The 
theory has its attractions, but there is this differ- 
ence between the primitive archaic Greek or early 
Italian and the modern primitive ; the early men 
reverently clothed the abstract idea they started 
with in the most natural and beautiful form within 
their knowledge, ever seeking to discover new truths 
and graces from nature to enrich their work ; while 
the modern artist, with the art treasures of all 
periods of the world before him, can never be in 
the position of these simple-minded men. It is 
therefore unlikely that the future development of 
art will be on lines similar to that of the past. 

129 I 



RHYTHM 

The same conditions of simple ignorance are never 
likely to occur again. Means of communication and 
prolific reproduction make it very unlikely that the 
art of the world will again be lost for a season, 
as was Greek art in the Middle Ages. Interesting 
intellectually as is the theory that the impressionist 
point of view (the accepting of the flat retina picture 
as a pattern of colour sensations) offers a new field 
from which to select material for a new basis of 
artistic expression, so far the evidence of results 
has not shown anything likely seriously to threaten 
the established principles of traditional design. And 
anything more different in spirit from the genuine 
primitive than the irreverent anarchy and flouting 
of all refinement in the work of some of these new 
primitives, it would be difficult to imagine. But 
much of the work of the movement has undoubted 
artistic vitality, and in its insistence on design and 
selection should do much to kill " realism " and the 
" copying nature " theory of a few years back. 

Although it is perfectly true that the feelings 
and ideas that impel the artist may sooner or later 
find their own expression, there are a great many 
principles connected with the arranging of lines, 
tones, and colours in his picture that it is difficult 
to transgress without calamity. At any rate the 
knowledge of some of them will aid the artist in 
gaining experience, and possibly save him some 
needless fumbling. 

But don't for one moment think that anything 
in the nature of rules is going to take the place of 
the initial artistic impulse which must come from 
within. This is not a matter for teaching, art 
training being only concerned with perfecting the 
means of its expression. 

130 




" 



Plate XXX 



A STUDY FOR A PICTURE or " ROSALIND AND ORLANDO " 

Ros. " He calls us back ; my pride fell with my fortunes." 



RHYTHM 

It is proposed to treat the subject from the 
material side of line and tone only, without any 
reference to subject matter, with the idea of trying 
to find out something about the expressive qualities 
line and tone are capable of yielding unassociated 
with visual things. What use can be made of any 
such knowledge to give expression to the emotional 
life of the artist is not our concern, and is obviously 
a matter for the individual to decide for himself. 

There is at the basis of every picture a structure 
of lines and masses. They may not be very obvious, 
and may be hidden under the most broken of 
techniques, but they will always be found under- 
lying the planning of any painting. Some may 
say that the lines are only the boundaries of the 
masses, an'd others that the masses are only the 
spaces between the lines. But whichever way you 
care to look at it, there are particular emotional 
qualities analogous to music that affect us in lines 
and line arrangements and also in tone or mass 
arrangements. And any power a picture may have 
to move us will be largely due to the rhythmic 
significance of this original planning. These quali- 
ties, as has already been stated, affect us quite 
apart from any association they may have with 
natural things : arrangements of mere geometrical 
lines are sufficient to suggest them. But of course 
other associations connected with the objects repre- 
sented will largely augment the impression, when 
the line and tone arrangements and the sentiment 
of the object are in sympathy. And if they are not, 
it may happen that associations connected with the 
representation will cut in and obscure or entirely 
destroy this line and tone music. That is to say 

131 



RHYTHM 

if the line and tone arrangenient in the abstract 
is expressive of the sublime, and the objects whose 
representation they support something ridiculous, 
say a donkey braying, the associations aroused 
by so ridiculous an appearance will override those 
connected with the line and tone arrangement. 
But it is remarkable how seldom this occurs in 
nature, the sentiment of the line and tone arrange- 
ments things present being usually in harmony 
with the sentiment of the object itself. As a matter 
of fact, the line effect of a donkey in repose is 
much more sublime than when he is braying. 

There are two qualities that may be allowed 
to divide the consideration of this subject, two 
points of view from which the subject 
vSiety nd can be 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 the 
parts to that oneness of conception that should 
control every detail of a work of art. All the more 
profound qualities, the deeper emotional notes, are 
on this side of the subject. On the other hand, 
variety holds the secrets of charm, vitality, and 
the picturesque, it is the " dither," the play between 
the larger parts, that makes for life and character. 
Without variety there can be no life. 

In any conception of a perfect unity, like the 
perfected 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 play 
of life ; all such f retfulness ceases, to be replaced by 
an all-pervading calm, beautiful, if you like, but 
lifeless. There is this deadness about any concep- 
tion of perfection that will always make it an un- 

132 



RHYTHM 

attainable ideal in life. Those who, like the Indian 
fakir or the hermits of the Middle Ages, have staked 
their all on this ideal of perfection, have found it 
necessary to suppress life in every way possible, the 
fakirs often remaining motionless for long periods 
at a time, and one of the mediaeval saints going 
so far as to live on the top of a high column where 
life and movement were well-nigh impossible. 

And in art it is the same; all those who have 
aimed at an absolute perfection have usually ended 
in a deadness. The Greeks knew better than many 
of their imitators this vital necessity in art. In 
their most ideal work there is always that variety 
that gives character and life. No formula or canon 
of proportions or other mechanical device for the 
attainment of perfection was allowed by this vital 
people entirely to subdue their love of life and 
variety. And however near they might go towards 
a perfect type in their ideal heads and figures, they 
never went so far as to kill the individual in the 
type. It is the lack of this subtle distinction that, 
I think, has been the cause of the failure of so much 
art founded on so-called Greek ideals. Much Roman 
sculpture, if you except their portrait busts, illus- 
trates this. Compared with Greek work it lacks 
that subtle variety in the modelling that gives 
vitality. The difference can be felt instinctively 
in the merest fragment of a broken figure. It is not 
difficult to tell Greek from Roman fragments, they 
pulsate with a life that it is impossible to describe 
but that one instinctively feels. And this vitality de- 
pends, I think it will be found, on the greater amount 
of life-giving variety in the surfaces of the modelling. 
In their architectural mouldings, the difference of 
which we are speaking can be more easily traced. 

138 



RHYTHM 

The vivacity and brilliancy of a Greek moulding 
makes a Roman work look heavy and dull. And it 
will generally be found that the Romans used the 
curve 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 lines 
of conic sections, curves possessed of the greatest 
amount of variety. 

But while unity must never exist without this 
life-giving variety, variety must always be under 
the moral control of unity, or it will get out of 
hand and become extravagant. In fact, the most 
perfect work, like the most perfect engine of which 
we spoke in a former chapter, has the least amount 
of variety, as the engine has the least amount of 
" dither," that is compatible with life. One does not 
hear so much talk in these days about a perfect 
type as was the fashion at one time ; and certainly 
the pursuit of this ideal by a process of selecting the 
best features from many models and constructing a 
composite figure out of them, was productive of 
very dead and lifeless work. No account was taken 
of the variety from a common type necessary in 
the most perfect work, if life and individual in- 
terest are not to be lost, and the thing is not to 
become a dead abstraction. But the danger is rather 
the other way at the moment. Artists revel in the 
oddest of individual forms, and the type idea is flouted 
on all hands. An anarchy of individualism is upon 
us, and the vitality of disordered variety is more 
fashionable than the calm beauty of an ordered unity, 

Excess of variations from a common type is 
what I think we recognise as ugliness in the objec- 
tive world, whereas beauty is on the side of unity 
and conformity to type. Beauty possesses both 

134 



RHYTHM 

( / 

variety and unity, and is never extreme, erring 
rather on the side of unity. 

Burke in his essay on "'The Sublime and the 
Beautiful" would seem to use the word beautiful 
where we should use the word pretty, placing it at 
the opposite pole from the sublime, whereas I think 
beauty always has some elements of the sublime in 
it, while the merely pretty has not. Mere pretti- 
ness is a little difficult to place, it does not come 
between either of our extremes, possessing little 
character or type, variety or unity. It is perhaps 
charm without either of these strengthening associ- 
ates, and in consequence is always feeble, and the 
favourite diet of weak artistic digestions. 

The sculpture of ancient Egypt is an instance of 
great unity in conception, and the suppression of 
variety to a point at which life scarcely exists. The 
lines of the Egyptian figures are simple and long, the 
surfaces smooth and unvaried, no action is allowed 
to give variety to the pose, the placing of one foot a 
little in front of the other being alone permitted in 
the standing figures ; the arms, when not hanging 
straight down the sides, are flexed stiffly at the elbow 
at 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 and 
terrible is the lack of that play and variety that 
alone show life. What a relief it is, at the British 
Museum, to go into the Elgin Marble room and be 
warmed by the noble life pulsating in the Greek 
work, after visiting the cold Egyptian rooms. 

In what we call a perfect face it is not so much 
the perfect regularity of shape and balance in the 
features that charms us, not the things that belong 
to an ideal type, but rather the subtle variations 

135 



RHYTHM 

from this type that are individual to the particular 
head we are admiring. A perfect type of head, if 
such could exist, might excite our wonder, but would 
leave us cold. But it can never exist in life; the 
slightest movement of the features, which must 
always accompany life and expression, will mar it. 
And the influence of these habitual movements on 
the form of the features themselves will invariably 
mould them into individual shapes away from the 
so-called perfect type, whatever may have been 
nature's intention in the first instance. 

If we call these variations from a common type 
in the features imperfections, as it is usual to do, 
it would seem to be the imperfections of perfection 
that charm and stir us ; and that perfection without 
these so-called imperfections is a cold, dead abstrac- 
tion, devoid of life: that unity without variety is 
lifeless and incapable of touching us. 

On the other hand, variety without unity to 
govern it is a riotous exuberance of life, lacking all 
power and restraint and wasting itself in a madness 
of excess. 

So that in art a balance has to be struck between 
these two opposing qualities. In good work unity 
is the dominating quality, all the variety being done 
in conformity to some large idea of the whole, which 
is never lost sight of, even in the smallest detail of 
the work. Good style in art has been defined as 
"variety in unity," and Hogarth's definition of 
composition 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 they 
are related to line drawing, and afterwards to mass 
drawing. 

136 



CHAPTER XI 

RHYTHM: VARIETY OF LINE 

LINE rhythm or music depends on the shape of your 
lines, their relation to each other and their re- 
lation to the boundaries of your panel. In all 
good work this music of line is in harmony with 
the subject (the artistic intention) of your picture 
or drawing. 

The two lines with the least variation are a 
perfectly straight line and a circle. A perfectly 
straight line has obviously no variety at all, while 
a circle, by curving at exactly the same ratio all 
along, has no variation of curvature, it is of all 
curves the one with the least possible variety. 
These two lines are, therefore, two of the dullest, 
and are seldom used in pictures except to enhance 
the beauty and variety of others. And even then, 
subtle variations, some amount of play, is intro- 
duced to relieve their baldness. But used in this 
way, vertical and horizontal lines are of the utmost 
value in rectangular pictures, uniting the com- 
position to its bounding lines by their parallel re- 
lationship with them. And further, as a contrast 
to the richness and beauty of curves they are 
of great value, and are constantly used for this 
purpose. The group of mouldings cutting against 
the head in a portrait, or the lines of a column 
used to accentuate the curved forms of a face or 

137 



VARIETY OF LINE 

figure, are well-known instances ; and the portrait 
painter is always on the look out for an object 
in his background that will give him such straight 
lines. You may notice, too, how the lines drawn 
across 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 the 
curves by contrast with the variety lacking straight 
lines. 

The perfect curve of the circle should always 
be avoided in the drawing of natural objects (even 
a full moon), and in vital drawings of any sort 
some variety should always be looked for. Neither 
should the modelling of the sphere ever occur in 
your work, the dullest of all curved surfaces. 

Although the curve of the perfect circle is dull 
from its lack of variety, it is not without beauty, 
and this is due to its perfect unity. It is of all 
curves the most perfect example of static unity. 
Without the excitement of the slightest variation 
it goes on and on for ever. This is, no doubt, the 
reason why it was early chosen as a symbol of 
Eternity, and certainly no more perfect symbol 
could be found. 

The circle seen in perspective assumes the more 
beautiful curve of the ellipse, a curve having much 
variety; but as its four quarters are alike, not 
so much as a symmetrical figure can have. 

Perhaps the most beautiful symmetrically curved 
figure of all is the so-called egg of the well-known 
moulding from such a temple as the Erechtheum, 
called the egg and dart moulding. Here we have 
a perfect balance between variety and unity. The 
curvature is varied to an infinite degree, at no 
point is its curving at the same ratio as at any 

138 



VARIETY OF LINE 

other point; perhaps the maximum amount of 
variety 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 its 
curvature. This is, roughly, the line of the contour 




Diagram VII 

EGG AND DART MOULDING FROM ONE OF THE 
CARYATIDES FROM THE ERECHTHEUM IN THE 
BRITISH MUSEUM 

of a face, and you may note how much painters 
who have excelled in grace have insisted on it 
in their portraits. Gainsborough and Vandyke are 
striking instances. 

The line of a profile is often one of great beauty, 
only here the variety is apt to overbalance the 
unity or run of the line. The most beautiful profiles 

139 



VARIETY OF LINE 

are usually those in which variety is subordinated to 
the unity of the contour. I fancy the Greeks felt 
this when they did away with the hollow above 
the nose, making the line of the forehead run, 



Diagram VIII 

ILLUSTRATING VARIETY IN SYMMETRY 

Note 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 variety 
made more interesting. The idea that this was 
the common Greek type is, I should imagine, un- 
true, for their portrait statues do not show it. 

140 



VARIETY OF LINE 

It does occur in nature at rare intervals, and in 
most Western nationalities, but I do not think 
there is much evidence of its ever having been a 
common type anywhere. 

In drawing or painting a profile this run or unity 
of the line is the thing to feel, if you would express 
its particular beauty. This is best done in the case 
of a painting by finally drawing it with the brush 
from the background side, after having painted all 
the variety there is of tone and colour on the face 
side of the line. As the background usually varies 
little, the swing of the brush is not hampered on 
this side as it is on the other. I have seen students 
worried to distraction trying to paint the profile 
line from the face side, fearing to lose the drawing 
by going over the edge. With the edge blurred 
out from the face side, it is easy to come with a 
brush full of the colour the background is immedi- 
ately against the face (a different colour usually 
from what it is further away), and draw it with 
some decision and conviction, care being taken to 
note 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 form 
of line variety what may be called "Variety in 
Symmetry." While roughly speaking the Variet ^ 
limbs are symmetrical, each side not only sym- 
has variety in itself, but there is usually 
variety of opposition. Supposing there is a convex 
curve on the one side, you will often have a concave 
form on the other. Always look out for this in 
drawing limbs, and it will often improve a poorly 
drawn part if more of this variation on symmetry 
is discovered. 

The whole body, you may say, is symmetrical, 
141 



VARIETY OF LINE 




Diagram IX 

ILLUSTRATING VARIETY IN SYMMETRY 

Note how the hollows marked A are opposed by the fullnesses marked B. 

142 



VARIETY OF LINE 

but even here natural conditions make for variety. 
The body is seldom, except in soldiering, held in a 
symmetrical position. The slightest action produces 
the variety we are speaking about. The accompany 
ing sketches will indicate what is meant. 

Of course the student, if he has any natural 
ability, instinctively looks out for all these variations 
that give the play of life to his drawing. It is not 
for him in the full vigour of inspiration that books 
such as this are written. But there may come a 
time when things " won't come," and it is then that 
it is useful to know where to look for possible weak 
spots in your work. 

A line of equal thickness is a very dead and in- 
expressive thing compared with one varied and 
stressed at certain points. If you observe 
any of the boundaries in nature we use a Thickness 
line to express, you will notice some points and Ac - 
are accentuated, attract the attention, more 
than others. The only means you have to express 
this in a line drawing is by darkening and sharpen- 
ing the line. At other points, where the contour 
is almost lost, the line can be soft and blurred. 

It is impossible to write of the infinite qualities 
of variety that a fine draughtsman will get into 
his line work; they must be studied at first hand. 
But on this play of thickness and quality of line 
much of the vitality of your drawing will depend. 



143 



XII 

RHYTHM: UNITY OF LINE 

UNITY of line is a bigger quality than variety, and 
as it requires a larger mental grasp, is more rarely 
met with. The bigger things in drawing and design 
come under its consideration, including, as it does, 
the relation of the parts to the whole. Its proper 
consideration would take us into the whole field of 
Composition, a subject needing far more considera- 
tion than can be given to it in this book. 

In almost all compositions a rhythmic flow of 
lines can be traced. Not necessarily a flow of actual 
lines (although these often exist) ; they may be only 
imaginary lines linking up or massing certain parts, 
and bringing them into conformity with the rhythmic 
conception of the whole. Or again," only a certain 
stress and flow in the forms, suggesting line move- 
ments. But these line movements flowing through 
your panel are of the utmost importance ; they are 
like the melodies and subjects of a musical sym- 
phony, weaving through and linking up the whole 
composition. 

Often, the line of a contour at one part of a 
picture is picked up again by the contour of some 
object at another part of the composition, and 
although no actual line connects them, a unity is 
thus set up between them. (See diagrams, pages 
166 and 168, illustrating line compositions of pictures 

144 



UNITY OF LINE 

by Botticelli and Paolo Veronese). This imaginary 
following through of contours across spaces in a 
composition should always be looked out for and 
sought after, as nothing serves to unite a picture 
like this relationship of remote parts. The flow of 
these lines will depend on the nature of the subject : 
they will be more gracious and easy, or more 
vigorous and powerful, according to the demands 
of your subject. 

This linking up of the contours applies equ 
well to the drawing of a single figure or eve 
head or hand, and the student should always be 
on the look out for this uniting quality. It is a 
quality of great importanc^in giving unity to a 
composition. 

When groups of lines |n a picture occur parallel 
to each other they produce an accentuation of the 
particular quality the line may contain, a 
sort of sustained effect, like a sustained 
chord on an organ, the effect of which is 
much bigger than that of the same chord struck 
staccato. This sustained quality has a wonderful 
influence in steadying and uniting your work. 

This parallelism can only be used successfully with 
the simplest lines, such as a straight line or a simple 
curve ; it is never advisable except in decorative 
patterns to be used with complicated shapes. Blake 
is very fond of the sustained effect parallelism 
gives, and uses the repetition of curved and straight 
lines very often in his compositions. Note in Plate I 
of the Job series, page 146, the use made of this sus- 
taining quality in the parallelism of the sheep's backs 
in the background and the parallel upward flow of 
the lines of the figures. In Plate II you see it used 
in the curved lines of the figures on either side of 

145 K 




UNITY OF LINE 

the throne above, and in the two angels with the 
scroll at the left-hand corner. Behind these two 
figures you again have its use accentuating by 
repetition the peaceful line of the backs of the 
sheep. The same thing can be seen in Plate IV, 
where the parallelism of the back lines of the 
sheep and the legs of the seated figures gives a 
look of peace contrasting with the violence of the 
messenger come to tell of the destruction of Job's 
sons. The emphasis that parallelism gives to the 
music of particular lines is well illustrated in all 
Blake's work. He is a mine of information on the 
subject of line rhythm. Compare Plate I with 
Plate XXI ; note how the emotional quality is de- 
pendent in both cases on the parallelism of the 
upward flow of the lines. How also in Plate I he 
has carried the vertical feeling even into the sheep 
in the front, introducing little bands of vertical 
shading to carry through the vertical lines made 
by the kneeling figures. And in the last plate, 
"So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more 
than the beginning," note how the greater com- 
pleteness with which the parallelism has been carried 
out has given a much greater emphasis to the effect, 
expressing a greater exaltation and peace than in 
Plate I. Notice in Plate X, where "The just, up- 
right man is laughed to scorn," how this power 
of emphasis is used to increase the look of scorn 
hurled at Job ~hy the pointing fingers of his three 
friends. 

Of the use of this principle in curved forms, 
the repetition of the line of the back in stooping 
figures is a favourite device with Blake. There 
will be found instances of this in Plates II and 
XVIII. (Further instances will be found on reference 

146, 



UNITY OF LINE 

to Plates VII, VIII, XIII, and XVIII, in Blake's Job.) 
In the last instance it is interesting to note how he 
has balanced the composition, which has three figures 
kneeling on the right and only one on the left. By 
losing the outline of the third figure on the right and 
getting a double line out of the single figure on the 
left by means of the outline of the mass of hair, and 
also by shading this single figure more strongly, he 
has contrived to keep a perfect balance. The head 
of Job is also turned to the left, while he stands 
slightly on that side, still further balancing the three 
figures on the right. (This does not show so well in 
the illustration here reproduced as in the original 
print.) 

Some rude things were said above about the 
straight line and the circle, on account of their 
lack of variety, and it is true that a mathematically 
straight line, or a mathematically perfect circle, 
are never found in good artistic drawing. For 
without variety is no charm or life. But these 
lines possess other qualities, due to their maximum 
amount of unity, that give them great power in a 
composition ; and where the expression of sublimity 
or any of the deeper and more profound sentiments 
are in evidenee, they are often to be found. 

The rows of columns in a Greek temple, the 
clusters of vertical lines in a Gothic cathedral in- 
terior, are instances of the sublimity and power 
they possess. The necessary play that makes for 
vitality the " dither " as we called this quality in 
a former chapter is given in the case of the Greek 
temple by the subtle curving of the lines of columns 
and steps, and by the rich variety of the sculpture, 
and in the case of the Gothic cathedral by a rougher 
cutting of the stone blocks and the variety in the 

147 



UNITY OF LINE 

colour of the stone. But generally speaking, in 
Gothic 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 than 
unity. The individual workman was given a large 
amount of freedom and allowed to exercise his per- 
sonal fancy. The capitals of columns, the cusping 
of windows, and the ornaments Were seldom re- 
peated, but varied according to the taste of the 
craftsman. Very high finish was seldom attempted, 
the marks of the chisel often being left showing in 
the stonework. All this gave a warmth and exuber- 
ance of life to a fine Gothic building that makes a 
classical building look cold by comparison. The free- 
dom with which new parts were built on to a Gothic 
building is another proof of the fact that it is not 
in the conception of the unity of the whole that 
their chief charm consists. 

On the other hand, a fine classic building is the 
result of one large conception to which every part 
has rigorously to conform. Any addition to this 
in after years is usually disastrous. A high finish is 
always attempted, no tool marks nor any individual- 
ity of the craftsman is allowed to mar the perfect 
symmetry of the whole. It may be colder, but how 
perfect in sublimity ! The balance here is on the 
side of unity rather than variety. 

The strength and sublimity of Norman archi- 
tecture is due to the use of circular curves in the 
arches, combined with straight lines and the use 
of square forms in the ornaments lines possessed 
of least variety. 

All objects with which one associates the look 
of strength will be found to have straight lines in 
their composition. The look of strength in a strong 

148 




(Plate II, Blake's Job) 

When the Almighty was yet with me, when 
my children were about me. 





(Plate XVIII, Blake's Job) 
And my servant Job shall pray for you. 
Plate XXXII 




(Plate XI, Blakes Job) 

With dreams upon my bed Thou scarest 

me, and affrightest me with visions. 

Printed sideways up in order to show that the look of 

horror is not solely dependent on the things represented, 

but belongs to the rhythm, the pattern of the composition. 







(Plate XIV, Blake's Job) 

When the morning stars sang together, 
and all the sons of God shouted for joy. 



UNITY OF LINE 

man is due to the square lines~of the contours, so 
different from the rounded forms of a fat man. And 
everyone knows the look of mental power a square 
forehead gives to a head and the look of physical 
power expressed by a square jaw. The look of 
power in a rocky landscape or range of hills is due 
to the same cause. 

The horizontal and the vertical are two very im- 
portant lines, the horizontal being associated with 
calm and contemplation and the vertical with 
a feeling of elevation. As was said above, Z ontaiand 
their relation to the sides of the composition *j Verti ' 
to which they are parallel in rectangular pic- 
tures is of great importance in uniting the subject 
to its bounding lines and giving it a well-knit look, 
conveying a feeling of great stability to a picture. 

How impressive and suggestive of contemplation 
is the long line of the horizon on a calm day at sea, 
or the long horizon line of a desert plain! The 
lack of variety, with all the energy and vitality that 
accompany 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 on 
still water, and which the sky often assumes at 
sunset, affect us from the same harmonic cause. 

The pine and the cypress are typical instances 
of the sublime associated with the vertical in nature. 
Even a factory chimney rising above a distant 
town, in spite of its unpleasant associations, is im- 
pressive, not to speak of the beautiful spires of some 
of our Gothic cathedrals, pointing upwards. How 
well Constable has used the vertical sublimity of 
the spire of Salisbury Cathedral can be seen in his 
picture, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where 
he has contrasted it with the gay tracery of an arch 

149 




UNITY OF LINE 

of elm trees. Gothic cathedrals generally depend 
much on this vertical feeling of line for their im- 
pressiveness. 

The Romans knew the expressive power of the 
vertical when they set up a lonely column as a 
monument to some great deed or person. And a 
sense of this sublimity may be an unconscious ex- 
planation of the craze for putting towers and obelisks 
on high places that one comes across in different 
parts of the country, usually called someone's 
"folly." 

In the accompanying diagrams, A, B, C and D, E, 
F, pages 152 and 153, are examples of the influence 
to be associated with horizontal and vertical lines. 
A is nothing but six straight lines drawn across 
a rectangular shape, and yet I think they convey 
something of the contemplative and peaceful sense 
given by a sunset over the sea on a calm evening. 
And this is entirely due to the expressive power 
straight lines possess, and the feelings they have the 
power to call up in the mind. In B a little more 
incident and variety has been introduced, and 
although there is a certain loss of calm, it is not yet 
enough to destroy the impression. The line suggest- 
ing a figure is vertical and so plays up to the same 
calm feeling as the horizontal lines. The circular 
disc of the sun has the same static quality, being the 
curve most devoid of variety. It is the lines of the 
clouds that give some excitement, but they are only 
enough to suggest the dying energy of departing 
day. 

Now let us but bend the figure in a slight curve, 
as at C, and destroy its vertical direction, partly 
cover the disc of the sun so as to destroy the com- 
plete circle, and all this is immediately altered, our 

150 



UNITY OF LINE 

calm evening has become a windy one, our lines no\v 
being expressive of some energy. 

To take a similar instance with vertical lines. Let 
D represent a row of pine trees in a wide plain. 
Such lines convey a sense of exaltation and infinite 
calm. Now if some foliage is introduced, as at E, 
giving a swinging line, and if this swinging line is 
carried on by a corresponding one in the sky, we 
have introduced some life and variety. If we entirely 
destroy the vertical feeling and bend our trees, as at 
F, the expression of much energy will be the re- 
sult, and a feeling of the stress and struggle of the 
elements introduced where there was perfect calm. 

It is the aloofness of straight lines from all the 
fuss and flurry of variety that gives them this calm, 
infinite expression. And their value as a steadying 
influence among the more exuberant forms of a com- 
position is very great. The Venetians knew this 
and made great use of straight lines among the richer 
forms they so delighted in. 

It is interesting to note how Giorgione in his "Fete 
Champetre " of the Louvre (see illustration, page 151), 
went out of his way to get a straight line to steady 
his 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 rigid 
straight line, accentuated still further by the flute 
in her hand. If it were not for this and other 
straight lines in the picture, and a certain square- 
ness of drawing in the draperies, the richness of the 
trees in the background, the full forms of the flesh 
and 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 hard 
straight line near the head in his portraits for 

151 




Diagram X 

ILLUSTRATING, A, CALM RHYTHMIC INFLUENCE OF 
HORIZONTAL LINES SUCH AS A SUNSET OVER THE 
SEA MIGHT GIVE; B, INTRODUCTION OF LINES 

CONVEYING SOME ENERGY ; C, SHOWING DESTRUC- 
TION OF REPOSE BY FURTHER CURVING OF LlNES. 

THE CALM EVENING HAS BECOME A WINDY OXE 
152 




Diagram XI 

ILLUSTRATING, D, RHYTHMIC INFLUENCE OF VERTICAL 
LINES ; E, THE INTRODUCTION OF SOME VARIETY ; 
F, THE DESTRUCTION OF THE VERTICAL AND 

CONSEQUENT LOSS OF REPOSE 

150 



UNITY OF LINE 

the same reason, often ending abruptly, without any 
apparent reason, a dark background in a hard line, 
and showing a distant landscape beyond in order to 
get a light mass to accentuate the straight line. 

The rich modelling and swinging lines of the 
"Bacchus and Ariadne" of Titian in the National 
Gallery, reproduced on the opposite page, would be 
too gross, were it not for the steadying influence of 
the horizontal lines in the sky and the vertical lines 
of the tree-trunks. 

While speaking of this picture, it might not be 
out of place to mention an idea that occurred to 
me as to the reason for the somewhat aggressive 
standing leg of the female figure with the cymbals 
leading the procession of revellers. I will not 
attempt any analysis of this composition, which is 
ably gone into in another book of this series. But 
the standing leg of this figure, given such promi- 
nence in the composition, has always rather puzzled 
me. I knew Titian would not have given it that 
vigorous stand without a good reason. It certainly 
does not help the run of the composition, although 
it may be useful in steadying it, and it is not a 
particularly beautiful thing in itself, as the position 
is one better suited to a man's leg than to a woman's. 
But if you cover it over with your finger and look 
at the composition without it, I think the reason 
of its prominence becomes plainer. Titian evidently 
had some trouble, as well he might have, with the 
forward leg of the Bacchus. He wished to give the 
look of his stepping from the car lightly treading the 
air, as gods may be permitted to do. But the wheel 
of the car that comes behind the foot made it 
difficult to evade the idea that he was stepping on 
it, which would be the w r ay an ordinary mortal 

154 



UNITY OF LINE 

would alight. I think the duty of the aggressive 
standing leg of the leading Bacchante, with its 
great look of weight, is to give a look of lightness 
to this forward leg of Bacchus, by contrast which 
it certainly does. On examining the picture closely 
in a good light, you will see that he has had the foot 
of Bacchus in several positions before he got it right. 
Another foot can distinctly be seen about a couple 
of inches or so above the present one. The general 
vertical direction of this leg is also against its look 
of lightness and motion, tending rather to give it 
a stationary, static look. I could not at first see 
why he did not bring the foot further to the right, 
which would have aided the lightness of the figure 
and increased its movement. But you will observe 
that this 'would have hurled the whole weight of 
the mass of figures on the right, forward on to the 
single figure of Ariadne, and upset the balance; as 
you can see by covering this leg with your finger and 
imagining it swinging to the right. So that Titian, 
having to retain the vertical position for Bacchus' 
forward leg, used the aggressive standing leg of the 
cymbal lady to accentuate its spring and lightness. 

A feeling of straight-up-ness in a figure or of the 
horizontal plane in anything will produce the same 
effect as a vertical or horizontal line without any 
actual line being visible. Blake's " 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 that 
gives' them the feeling of peace and elevation coupled 
with a flame-like line running through them that 
gives 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 



UNITY OF LINE 



rih 



ing chords that you can make, and it will be found 
to exist in most pictures and drawings where 
there is the expression of dramatic power. 
^ ne cross i s the typical example of this. 
It is a combination of lines that instantly 
rivets the attention, and has probably 
a more powerful effect upon the mind 
quite apart from anything symbolised 
by it than any other simple combina- 
tions that could have been devised. How 
powerful is the effect of a vertical figure, 
or even a post, seen cutting the long 
horizontal line of the horizon on the 
sea-shore. Or a telegraph post by the 
side of the road, seen against the long 
horizontal line of a hill at sunset. The 
look of power given by the vertical lines 
of a contracted brow is due to the same 
cause. The vertical furrows of the 
brow continuing the lines of the nose, 
make a continuous vertical which the 
horizontal lines of the brow cross (see 
Fig. A in the illustration). The same 
cause gives the profile a powerful look 
when the eyebrows make a horizontal 
line contrasting with the vertical line 
of the forehead (Fig. B). Everybody 
knows the look of power associated 
with a square brow : it is not that the 
square forehead gives the look of a larger brain 
capacity, for if the forehead protrudes in a curved 
line, as at C, the look of power is lost, although 
there is obviously more room for brains. 

This power of the right angle is well exemplified 
in Watts' "Love and Death," here reproduced, page 158. 

156 





Diagram XII 



UNITY OF LINE 

In this noble composition, in the writer's opinion 
one of the most sublime expressions produced by 
nineteenth-century art, the irresistible power and 
majesty of the slowly advancing figure of Death 
is largely due to the right angle felt through the 
pose. Not getting it in the contour, Watts has 
boldly introduced it by means of shading the farther 
arm and insisting on the light upper edge of the 
outstretched arm and hand, while losing somewhat 
the outline of the head beyond. Note also the 
look of power the insistence on square forms in 
the drapery gives this figure. The expression is 
still further emphasised by the hard square forms 
of the steps, and particularly by the strong hori- 
zontal line of the first step, so insisted on, at right 
angles to the vertical stand of the figure; and also 
the upright lines of the doorway above. In con- 
trast with the awful sublimity of this figure of 
Death, how touching is the expression of the little 
figure of Love, trying vainly to stop the inevitable 
advance. And this expression is due to the curved 
lines 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 and 
flat crisp planes, the whole hanging on a dramatic 
right angle ; this figure is all subtle fullness both 
of contour and modelling melting one into the other, 
the whole hung upon a rich full curve starting at 
the standing foot of the advancing figure. And 
whereas the expression of Death is supported and 
emphasised by the hard, square forms and texture 
of the stone steps, the expression df Love is sup- 
ported and emphasised by the rounded forms and 
soft texture of the clustering roses. On this con- 
trast of line and form, so in sympathy with the 

157 




Diagram XIII 

ILLUSTRATING SOME OF THE LINES ON WHICH THE 

RHYTHMIC POWER OF THIS PICTURE DEPENDS 

158 







Plate XXXV Photo 

LOVE AND DEATH. BY G. F. WATTS 

A noble composition, founded on the power of the right angle in the figure of Death, 
contrast with the curved lines in the figure of Love. (See diagram opposite.) 



UNITY OF LINE 

profound sentiment to which this picture owes its 
origin, the expressive power of this composition 
will he found to depend. 

In the diagram accompanying the reproduction 
of 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 obvious 
in the originals and are justly much broken into 
by truths of natural appearance. But an emotional 
significance depending on some arrangement of 
abstract lines is to be found underlying the ex- 
pression in every good picture, carefully hidden 
as it is by 'all great artists. And although some 
apology is perhaps necessary for the ugliness of 
these diagrams, it is an ugliness that attends all 
anatomy drawings. If the student will trace them 
and put his tracing over the reproductions of the 
originals, they will help him to see on what things 
in the arrangement the rhythmic force of the 
picture depends. 

Other lines, as important as those selected, may 
have been overlooked, but the ones chosen will 
suffice to show the general character of them all. 

There is one condition in a composition, that is 
laid down before you begin, and that is the shape 
of your panel or canvas. This is usually a rectan- 
gular form, and all the lines of your design will 
have to be considered in relation to this shape. 
Vertical and horizontal lines being parallel to the 
boundaries of rectangular pictures, are always right 
and immediately set up a relationship, as we have seen. 

The arresting power of the right angle exists 
at each corner of a rectangular picture, where the 

159 



UNITY OF LINE 

/ 

vertical sides meet the horizontal base, and this 
presents a difficulty, because you do not wish the 
spectator's attention drawn to the corners, and this 
dramatic combination of lines always attracts the 
eye. A favourite way of getting rid of this is to 
fill them with some dark mass, or with lines 
swinging round and carrying the eye past them, 
so that the attention is continually swung to the 
centre of the picture. For lines have a power of 
directing the attention, the eye instinctively run- 
ning with them, and this power is of the greatest 
service in directing the spectator to the principal 
interest. 

It is this trouble with the corners that makes 
the problem of filling a square so exacting. In 
an ordinary rectangular panel you have a certain 
amount of free space in the middle, and the diffi- 
culty of filling the corners comfortably does not 
present itself until this space is arranged for. But 
in a square, the moment you leave the centre you 
are in one or other of the corners, and the filling 
of them governs the problem much more than 4n 
the case of other shapes. It is a good exercise for 
students to give themselves a square to fill, in 
order to understand this difficulty and learn to 
overcome it. 

Other lines that possess a direct relation to a 
rectangular 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 thus 
related to the bounding shape. 

When vertical, horizontal, or diagonal lines are 
referred to, it must not be assumed that one means 
in all cases naked lines. There is no pure vertical 
line in a stone pine or cypress tree, nor pure hori- 

160 



UNITY OF LINE 

zontal line in a stretch of country, but the whole 
swing of their lines is vertical or horizontal. And 
in the same way, when one speaks of a composition 
being hung upon a diagonal, it is seldom that a 
naked diagonal line exists in the composition, but 
the general swing is across the panel in harmony 
with one or other diagonal. And when this is so, 
there is a unity set up between the design and its 
boundaries. A good instance of vertical, horizontal, 
and diagonal lines to unite a picture is Velazquez's 
"The Surrender of Breda," here reproduced. Note 
the vertical chord in the spears on the left, con- 
tinued in the leg of the horse and front leg of the 
figure receiving the key, and the horizontal line 
made by the dark mass of distant city, to be con- 
tinued by the gun carried over the shoulder of the 
figure with the slouch hat behind the principal 
group. Velazquez has gone out of his way to get 
this line, as it could hardly have been the fashion 
to carry a gun in this position, pointing straight 
at the head of the man behind. Horizontal lines 
also occur in the sky and distant landscape, one 
running right through the group of spears. The 
use of the diagonal is another remarkable thing in 
the lines of this picture. If you place a ruler on 
the slanting line of the flag behind the horse's head 
to the right, you find it is exactly parallel to a 
diagonal drawn from the top right-hand corner to 
the lower left-hand corner. Another line practi- 
cally parallel to this diagonal is the line of the 
sword belonging to the figure offering the key, 
the feeling of which is continued in the hand and 
key of this same figure. It may be noted also that 
the back right leg of the horse in the front is 
parallel to the other diagonal, the under side of it 

161 L 



UNITY OF LINE 

being actually on the diagonal and thus brought 
into relation with the bounding lines of the picture. 
And all these lines, without the artifice being too 
apparent, give that well-knit, dignified look so in 
harmony with the nature of the subject. 

Curved lines have not the moral integrity of 
straight lines. Theirs is not so much to minister 

to the expression of the sublime as to 
Lines 6 * wo us ^0 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 of 
this excess. While all expressions of exuberant 
life and energy, of charm and grace depend on 
curved lines for their effect, yet in their most re- 
fined and beautiful expression they err on the side 
of the square forms rather than the circle. When 
the uncontrolled use of curves approaching the 
circle and volute are indulged in, unrestrained by 
the steadying influence of any straight lines, the 
effect is gross. The finest curves are fuU of re- 
straint, and excessive curvature is a thing to be 
avoided in good drawing. We recognise this in- 
tegrity of straight lines when we say anybody is 
"an upright man" or is "quite straight," wishing 
to convey the impression of moral worth. 

Rubens was a painter who gloried in the un- 
restrained expression of the zeal to live and drink 
deeply of life, and glorious- as much of his work 
is, and wonderful as it all is, the excessive use of 
curves and rounded forms in his later work robs 
it of much of its power and offends us by its gross- 
ness. His best work is full of squarer drawing and 
planes. 

162 



UNITY OF LINE 

Always be on the look out for straightnesses in 
curved forms and for planes in your modelling. 

Let us take our simplest form of composition 
again, a stretch of sea and sky, and apply curved 
lines where we formerly had straight lines. You will 
see how the lines at A, page 164, although hut slightly 
curved, express some energy, where the straight 
lines of our former diagram expressed repose, and 
then how in^B and C the increasing curvature of 
the lines increases the energy expressed, until in 
D, where the lines sweep round in one vigorous 
swirl, a perfect hurricane is expressed. This last, is 
roughly the rhythmic basis of Turner's "Hannibal 
Crossing the Alps " in the Turner Gallery. 

One of the simplest and most graceful forms the 
tying lines of a composition may take is a con- 
tinuous flow, one line evolving out of another in 
graceful sequence, thus leading the eye on from 
one part to another and carrying the attention to 
the principal interests. 

Two good instances of this arrangement are Botti- 
celli's "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 on 
the clarity of its line basis as the Florentine. And 
it is interesting to note how much nearer to the 
curves of the circle the lines of Europa approach 
than do those of the Venus picture. Were the 
same primitive treatment applied to the later 
work painted in the oil medium as has been used 
by Botticelli in his tempera picture, the robustness 
of the curves would have offended and been too 
gross for the simple formula ; whereas overlaid and 
hidden under such a rich abundance of natural 
truth as it is in this gorgeous picture, we are too 

163 




Diagram XIV (1) 



ILLUSTRATING POWER OF CURVED 

164 






LINES TO CONVEY ENERGY 



Diagram ZIV (2) 



165 




166 



UNITY OF LINE 

much distracted and entertained by such wealth to 
Have 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 the 
Venetian loved so well to express. But for pure 
line beauty the greater restraint of the curves in 
Botticelli's picture is infinitely more satisfying, 
though here we have not anything like the same 
wealth and richness of natural appearance to engage 
our attention, and the innocent simplicity of the 
technique leaves much more exposed the structure 
of lines, which in consequence play a greater part 
in the effect of the picture. 

In both cases note the way the lines lead up to 
the principal subject, and the steadying power in- 
troduced by means of horizontal, vertical, and other 
straight lines. Veronese has contented himself with 
keeping a certain horizontal feeling in the sky, cul- 
minating in the straight lines of the horizon and 
of the sea edge. And he has also introduced two 
pyramids, giving straight lines in among the trees, 
the most pronounced of which leads the eye straight 
on to the principal head. 

Botticelli has first the long line of the horizon 
echoed in the ground at the right-hand lower 
corner. And then he has made a determined stand 
against the flow of lines carrying you out of the 
picture on the right, by putting straight, upright 
trees and insisting upon their straightness. 

Another rhythmic form the lines at the basis 
of a composition may take is a flame-like flow of 
lines ; curved lines meeting and parting and meeting 
again, or even crossing in one continual movement 
onwards. A striking instance of the use of this 

167 



UNITY OF LINE 




168 



UNITY OF LINE 

quality is the work of the remarkable Spanish 
painter usually called El Greco, two of whose works 
are here shown (page 172). Whatever may be 
said by the academically minded as to the in- 
correctness of his drawing, there can be no two 
opinions as to the remarkable rhythmic vitality of 
his work. The upward flow of his lines and the 
flame-like flicker of his light masses thrills one in 
much 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 examples 
of his pictures are reproduced here, and illustrate 
his use of this form of movement in the lines and 
masses of his compositions. Nowhere does he let 
the eye rest, but keeps the same flickering movement 
going throughout all his masses and edges. The 
extraordinary thing about this remarkable painter 
is that while this restless, unrestrained form of 
composition makes his work akin to the rococo work 
of a later period, there is a fiery earnestness and 
sincerity in all he does, only to be matched among 
the primitive painters of the fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries, and very different from the false sentiment 
of the later school. 

Blake was also fond of this flame line, but usually 
used it in combination with more straight lines 
than the energetic Spaniard allowed himself. Plates 
III and V in the Job series are good examples 
of his use of this form. In both cases it will be 
seen that he uses it in combination with the steady- 
ing influence of straight lines, which help to keep 
the balance and repose necessary in the treatment 
of even the most violent subjects in art. 

A continual interruption in the flow of lines, and 
169 




S I 



O 



I | 



4 

i i 

I! 



o '5 

3 .25. 

w -s 



a s 

11 



UNITY OF LINE 

/ 

a harsh jarring of one against another in an angular, 
jagged fashion, produces a feeling of terror and 
horror. A streak of fork lightning is a natural 
example of this. The plate of Blake's No. XI, p. 148, 
reproduced here, is also a good example. I have had 
it put sideways on so that you may see that the look 
of horror is not only in the subject but belongs to 
the particular music of line in the picture. The 
effect of the harsh contrasts in the lines is further 
added to by the harsh contrasts of tone : everywhere 
hard lights are brought up against hard darks. 
Harsh contrasts of tone produce much the same 
look of terror as harsh contrasts of line. Battle 
pictures are usually, when good, full of these clashes 
of line and tone, and thrilling dramatic effects in 
which a touch of horror enters are usually founded 
on the same principle. In the picture by Paolo 
Uccello in the National Gallery, reproduced on page 
170, a milder edition of this effect is seen. The artist 
has been more interested in the pageantry of war 
and 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 the 
smaller parts, and there are no contrasts of light 
and shade, chiaroscuro not being yet invented. 
However, it will be seen by the accompanying dia- 
gram how consistently the harsh contrasts of line 
were carried out in the planning of this picture. 
Notice the unconscious humour of the foreshortened 
spears and figure carefully arranged on the ground 
to vanish to the recently discovered vanishing point. 

Lines radiating in smooth curves from a common 
centre are another form employed to give unity in 
pictorial design. The point from which they radiate 

171 



UNITY ONLINE 

need not necessarily be within the picture, and is 
often considerably outside it. But the feeling that 
they would meet if produced gives them a unity 
that brings them into harmonious relationship. 

There is also another point about radiating lines, 
and that is their power of setting up a relationship 
between lines otherwise unrelated. Let us try and 
explain this. In Panel A, page 174, some lines are 
drawn at random, with the idea of their being as 
little related to each other as possible. In B, by 
the introduction of radiating lines in sympathy with 
them, they have been brought into some sort of 
relationship. The line 1-2 has been selected as the 
dominating line, and an assortment of radiating 
ones drawn about it. Now, by drawing 78, we 
have 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 echoing 
of lines through a composition that unites the differ- 
ent parts and gives unity to the whole. 

The crossing of lines at angles approaching the 
right 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 or 
covered up at other times. There is an ugly 
clash of crossing lines in our original scribble, and 
at C we have introduced a mass to cover this up, 
and also the angles made by line 3-4 as it crosses 
the radiating lines above 1-2. With a small mass 
at 11 to make the balance right, you have a basis 
for a composition, Diagram C, not at all unpleasing 
in arrangement, although based on a group of dis- 
cordant lines drawn at random, but brought into 
harmony by means of sympathetic radiation. 

172 




Plate XL t'hoto Anderson 

THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST. BY DOMINICO THEOTOCOPULI 
CALLED EL GRECO 

Note the flame-like form and flow of the light masses, and the exalted feeling: this conveys. 



. 

. : 

V. ' ;;::::. 




Photo Anderson 

THE BAPTISM OF CHRIST. BY DOMINICO THEOTOCOPUL 
CALLED EL GRECO 

Another example of his restless flame-like composition. 



UNITY OF LINE 

In Panel D the same group is taken, but this 
time line 3-4 is used as the dominant one. Line 
7-8 introduces 3-4 to 1-2, as it is related to 
both. Lines 9-10 and 11-12 introduce 3-4 to 5-6, 
as they are related to both, and the others follow 
on the same principle. By introducing some masses 
covering up the crossings, a rhythmic basis for a 
composition (Diagram E) entirely different from C is 
obtained, based on the same random group. 

In Panel F, 5-6 has been taken as the domi- 
nant line, and sympathetic lines drawn on the 
same principle as before. By again covering the 
crossings and introducing balancing masses we ob- 
tain yet another arrangement from the same random 
scribble. 

I would suggest this as a new game to students, 
one giving another two or three lines drawn in a 
panel at random, the problem being to make har- 
monious arrangements by the introduction of others 
radiating in sympathy. 

Often in a picture certain conditions are laid down 
to start with; something as ugly as our original 
group of lines drawn at random has to be treated 
pictorially, and it is by means such as here suggested 
that its discordancy can be subdued and the whole 
brought into harmony with the shape of your panel. 
The same principles apply in colour, discordant notes 
can be brought into harmony by the introduction 
of others related to both the original colours, thus 
leading the eye from one to the other by easy 
stages and destroying the shock. Somewhat in 
the way a musician will take you from one key 
into another very remote by means of a few chords 
leading from the one to the other ; whereas, had 
he taken you straight there, the shock would have 

173 



UNITY OF LINE 










Diagram XVIII 

SHOWING HOW LINES UNRELATED CAN BE BROUGHT 
INTO HARMONY BY THE INTRODUCTION OF OTHERS 
IN SYMPATHY WITH THEM 
174 



UNITY OF LINE 

been terrible. As it is, these transitions from one 









Diagram XIX 

SHOWING HOW LINES UNRELATED CAN BE BROUGHT 
INTO HARMONY BY THE INTRODUCTION OF OTHERS 
IN SYMPATHY WITH THEM 

key into another please and surprise one, and are 
very effective. 

In II, I have introduced a straight line into our 
175 



UNITY OF LINE 

initial scribble, and tbis somewhat increases the 
difficulties of relating them. But by drawing 7-8 
and 9-10 radiating from 1-2, we have introduced 
this straight line to 5-6. For although 5-6 and 
9-10 do not radiate from the same point, they are 
obviously in sympathy. It is only a short part of 
the 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 as 
9-10. We still have line 3-4 to account for. But 
by drawing 11-12 we bring it into relationship with 
5-6, and so by stages through 9-10 and 7-8 to the 
original 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 5-6 
and increase the dominant swing. At L masses 
have been introduced, covering crossing lines, and 
we have a basis for a composition. 

In Diagram I lines have been drawn as before, 
at random, but two of them are straight and at 
right angles, the longer being across the centre of 
the panel. The first thing to do is to trick the eye 
out of knowing that this line is in the centre by 
drawing 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 the 
height of the panel. The vertical line 3-4 is rather 
stark and lonely, and so we introduce two more 
verticals at 11-12 and 13-14, which modify this, 
and with another two lines in sympathy with 5-6 
and leading the eye back to the horizontal top of 
the 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 certain 
line relationships about which it is important to say 

176 



UNITY OF LINE 

something. Ladies who have the instinct for choos- 
ing a hat or doing their hair to suit their face 
instinctively know something of this ; know that 
certain things in their face are emphasised by certain 
forms in their hats or hair, and the care that has 
to be taken to see that the things thus drawn 
attention to are their best and not their worst 
points. 

The principle is more generally understood in 
relation to colour; everybody knows how the 
blueness of blue eyes is emphasised by a sympathetic 
blue dress or touch of blue on a hat, &c. But the 
same principle applies to lines. The qualities of 
line in beautiful eyes and eyebrows are emphasised 
by the long sympathetic curve of a picture hat, and 
the becoming effect of a necklace is partly due to 
the same cause, the lines being in sympathy with 
the eyes or the oval of the face, according to how 
low or high it hangs. The influence of long lines 
is thus to "pick out" from among the lines of a 
face those with which they are in sympathy, and 
thus to accentuate them. 

To illustrate this, on page 178 is reproduced " The 
Portrait of the Artist's Daughter," by Sir Edward 
Burne-Jones, Bart. 

The two things that are brought out by the line 
arrangement in this portrait are the beauty of the 
eyes and the shape of the face. Instead of the 
picture hat you have the mirror, the widening circles 
of which swing round in sympathy with the eyes 
and concentrate the attention on them. That on 
the left (looking at the picture) has the greatest 
attention concentrated upon it, the lines of the 
mirror being more in sympathy with this than the 
other eye, as it is nearer the centre. If you care 

177 M 




Diagram XX 

INDICATING THE SYMPATHETIC FLOW OF LINES THAT GIVE 

UNITY TO THIS COMPOSITION 

178 




Plate XLII 



Photo Hollyer 



PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST'S DAUGHTER 
SIR EDWARD BURNE-JONES, BART. 

An example of sympathetic rhythm. (See diagram on opposite page.) 



UNITY OF LINE 

to take the trouble, cut a hole in a piece of opaque 
paper the size of the head and placing it over the 
illustration look at the face without the influence 
of these outside lines ; and note how much more 
equally divided the attention is between the two 
eyes without the emphasis given to the one by the 
mirror. This helps the unity of impression, which 
with both eyes realised to so intense a focus 
might have suffered. This mirror forms a sort of 
echo of the pupil of the eye with its reflection of 
the window in the left-hand corner corresponding 
to the high light, greatly helping the spell these 
eyes hold. 

The other form accentuated by the line arrange- 
ment is the oval of the face. There is first the 
necklace, the lines of which lead on to those on the 
right in the reflection. It is no mere accident that 
this chain is so in sympathy with the line of the 
face : it would hardly have remained where it is for 
long, and must have been put in this position by 
the artist with the intention (conscious or instinc- 
tive) of accentuating the face line. The line of the 
reflection on the left and the lines of the mirror 
are also sympathetic. Others in the folds of the 
dress, and those forming the mass of the hands and 
arms, echo still further this line of the face and 
bring the whole canvas into intense sympathetic 
unity of expression. 

The influence that different ways of doing the hair 
may have on a face is illustrated in the accompanying 
scribbles. The two profiles are exactly alike I took 
great trouble to make them so. It is quite remark- 
able the difference the two ways of doing the hair 
make to the look of the faces. The upward swing 
of the lines in A sympathise with the line of tho 

179 



UNITY OF LINE 

one and the sharper projections of the face gener- 







DiagramXXI A 

ILLUSTRATING THE EFFECT ON THE FACE OF PUTTING 

THE HAIR UP AT THE BACK. HOW THE UPWARD 

FLOW OF LINES ACCENTUATES THE SHARPNESSES 
OF THE FEATURES 

ally (see dotted lines), while the full downward 
curves of B sympathise with the fuller curves of 

180 



UNITY OF LINE 

the face and particularly emphasise the fullness 
under the chin so dreaded by beauty past its 




Diagram XXII 



ILLUSTRATING THE EFFECT ON THE SAME FACE AS 
DIAGRAM XXI, OF PUTTING THE HAIR LOW AT 

THE BACK. HOW THE FULLER LlNES THUS GIVEN 
ACCENTUATE THE FULLNESSES OF THE FEATURES 

first youth (see dotted lines). It is only a very 
sharply-cut face that can stand this low knot at 
the back of the head, in which case it is one of the 
simplest and most beautiful ways of doing the hair. 

181 



UNITY OF LINE 

The hair dragged up high at the back sharpens the 
lines of the profile as the low knot blunts them. 

The illustrations to this chapter have been drawn 
in diagrammatical form in order to try and show that 
the musical quality of lines and the emotions they 
are capable of calling up are not dependent upon 
truth to natural forms but are inherent in abstract 
arrangements themselves. That is to say, whenever 
you get certain arrangements of lines, no matter 
what the objects in nature may be that yield them, 
you will always get the particular emotional stimulus 
belonging to such arrangements. For instance, 
whenever you get long uninterrupted horizontal 
lines running through a picture not opposed by any 
violent contrast, you will always get an impression 
of intense quiet and repose ; no matter whether the 
natural objects yielding these lines are a wide stretch 
of country with long horizontal clouds in the sky, a 
pool with a gentle breeze making horizontal bars on 
its surface, or a pile of wood in a timber yard. And 
whenever you get long vertical lines in a composition, 
no matter whether it be a cathedral interior, a pine 
forest, or a row of scaffold poles, you will always 
have the particular feeling associated with rows of 
vertical lines in the abstract. And further, when- 
ever you get the swinging lines of the volute, an 
impression of energy will be conveyed, no matter 
whether it be a breaking wave, rolling clouds, 
whirling dust, or only a mass of tangled hoop iron 
in a wheelwright's yard. As was said above, these 
effects may be greatly increased, modified, or even 
destroyed by associations connected with the things 
represented. If in painting the timber yard the 
artist is thinking more about making it look like a 
stack of real wood with its commercial associations 

182 



UNITY OF LINE 

and less about using the artistic material its appear- 
ance presents for the making of a picture, he may 
miss the harmonic impression the long lines of the 
stacks of wood present. If real wood is the first 
thing you are led to think of in looking at his work, 
he will obviously have missed the expression of any 
artistic feeling the subject was capable of producing. 
And the same may be said of the scaffold poles or 
the hoop iron in the wheelwright's yard. 

This structure of abstract lines at the basis of a 
picture will be more or less overlaid with the truths 
of 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 to 
take its place as part of an architectural scheme, the 
severity of this skeleton will be necessary to unite 
the work to the architectural forms around it, of 
which it has to form a part ; and very little indul- 
gence in the realisation of natural truth should be 
permitted to obscure it. But in the painting of a 
small cabinet picture that exists for close inspection, 
the supporting power of this line basis is not nearly 
so essential, and a full indulgence in all the rich 
variety of natural detail is permissible. And this is 
how it happens that painters who have gloried in 
rich details have always painted small pictures, and 
painters who have preferred larger truths pictures 
of bigger dimensions. It sounds rather paradoxical 
to say the smaller the picture the more detail it 
should contain, and the larger the less, but it is 
nevertheless true. For although a large picture has 
not of necessity got to be part of an architectural 
scheme, it has to be looked at from a distance at 
which small detail could not be seen, and where such 
detail would greatly weaken its expressive power. 

183 



UNITY OF LINE 

And further, the small picture easily comes within 
the field of vision, and the whole impression can be 
readily grasped without the main lines being, as it 
were, underlined. But in a big picture one of the 
greatest difficulties is to get it to read simply, to 
strike the eye as one impression. Its size making 
it difficult for it to be got comfortably within the 
field of vision, every artifice has to be used to give 
it " breadth of treatment," as it is called, and nothing 
interferes with this like detail. 



184 



XIII 

VARIETY OF MASS 

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

As to variety of shape, many things that were 
said about lines apply equally to the spaces enclosed 
by them. It is impossible to write of the 
rhythmic possibilities that the infinite jj|* y of 
variety of shapes possessed by natural 
objects contain, except to point out how necessary 
the study of nature is for this. Variety of shape is 
one of the most difficult things to invent, and one 
of the commonest things in nature. However 
imaginative your conception, and no matter how 
far you may carry your design, working from 
imagination, there will come a time when studies 
from nature will be necessary if your work is 
to have the variety that will give life and 
interest. Try and draw from imagination a row 
of elm trees of about the same height and distance 
apart, and get the variety of nature into them; 
and you will see how difficult it is to invent. 
On examining your work you will probably 
discover two or three pet forms repeated, or there 
may be only one. Or try and draw some cumulus 
clouds from imagination, several groups of them 

185 



VARIETY OF MASS 

across a sky, and you will find how often again 
you have repeated unconsciously the same forms. 
How tired one gets of the pet cloud or tree of a 
painter who does not often consult nature in his 
pictures. Nature is the great storehouse of variety ; 
even a piece of coal will suggest more interesting 
rock-forms than you can invent. And it is fas- 
cinating to watch the infinite variety of graceful 
forms 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 is 
allowed to become excessive it will overpower 
the unity of your conception. It is in the larger 
unity of your composition that the imaginative 
faculty will be wanted, and variety in your forms 
should always be subordinated to this idea. 

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

But although nature does not readily suggest 
a design fitting the conditions of a panel her ten- 
dency is always towards unity of arrangement. 
If you take a bunch of flowers or leaves and 
haphazard stuff them into a vase of water, you 
will probably get a very chaotic arrangement. But 
if you leave it for some time and let nature have 

186 



VARIETY OF MASS 

a chance you will find that the leaves and flowers 
have arranged themselves much more harmoni- 
ously. And if you cut down one of a group of 
trees, what a harsh discordant gap is usually left; 
but in time nature will, by throwing a bough here 
and filling up a gap there, as far as possible rectify 
matters and bring all into unity again. I am 
prepared to be told this has nothing to do with 
beauty but is only the result of nature's attempts 
to seek for light and air. But whatever be the 
physical cause, the fact is the same, that nature's 
laws tend to pictorial unity of arrangement. 

It will be as well to try and explain what is 
meant by tone values. All the masses or tones 
(for the terms are often used interchange- Variety of 

ably) that go to the making of a visual Tone 

, i j i j.- Values. 

impression can be considered in relation 

to an imagined scale from white, to represent the 
lightest, to black, to represent the darkest tones. 
This scale of values does not refer to light and 
shade only, but light and shade, colour, and the whole 
visual impression are considered as one mosaic of 
masses of different degrees of darkness or lightness. 
A dark object in strong light may be lighter than 
a white object in shadow, or the reverse : it will 
depend on the amount of reflected light. Colour 
only matters in so far as it affects the position of 
the tone in this imagined scale of black and white. 
The correct observation of these tone values is a 
most important matter, and one of no little difficulty. 
The word tone is used in two senses, in the 
first place when referring to the individual masses 
as to then* relations in the scale of " tone values " ; 
and secondly when referring to the musical rela- 
tionship of these values to a oneness of tone idea, 

187 



VARIETY OF MASS 

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

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

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

188 



VARIETY OF MASS 

of a picture being improved by such a mist scrambled 
or glazed over it. 

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

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

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

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

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

Variety in quality and texture is almost too subtle 
to write about with any prospect of being 
understood. The play of different qualities 
and textures in the masses that go to 
form a picture must be appreciated at 
first hand, and little can be written about it. Oil 
paint is capable of almost unlimited variety in this 

189 



VARIETY OF MASS 

way. But it is better to leave the study of such 
qualities until you have mastered the medium in 
its more simple aspects. 

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

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

190 



VARIETY OF MASS 

of touch enters by association. The scintillation 
and glitter of light destroys this touch idea, which 
is better preserved in quieter lightings. 

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

The two things that I have noticed are that the 
thin ends of the strips of white have invariably kept 
whiter than the thick end, and that all the paints 
have become a little more transparent with time. 
The pencil lines here come in useful, as they can be 
seen through the thinner portion, and show to what 

191 



VARIETY OF MASS 

extent this transparency has occurred. But the point 
I wish to emphasise is that at the thick end the 
larger body of oil in the paint, which always conies 
to the surface as it dries, has darkened and yellowed 
the surface greatly; while the small amount of oil 
at the thin end has not darkened it to any extent. 

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

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

There is a very beautiful rhythmic quality in the 
play from softness to sharpness on the edges of 
masses. A monotonous sharpness of edge 
Edges* 7 f i hard, stern, and unsympathetic. This is a 
useful quality at times, particularly in deco- 
rative work, where the more intimate sympathetic 
qualities are not so much wanted, and where the 
harder forms go better with the architectural sur- 
roundings of which your painted decoration should 
form a part. On the other hand, a monotonous soft- 
ness of edge is very weak and feeble-looking, and 

192 



VARIETY OF MASS 

too entirely lacking in po^er to be desirable. If 
you find any successful work done with this quality 
of edge unrelieved by any sharpnesses, it will depend 
on colour, and not form, for any qualities it may 
possess. 

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

There is one rather remarkable fact to be ob- 
served in this picture and many Venetian works, and 
this is that the most accented edges are reserved for 
unessential parts, like the piece of white drapery 

193 N 



VARIETY OF MASS 

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

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

This quality is everywhere to be found in 
194 




Plate XLIV 



Photo Anderson 



PART OF THE SURRENDER OF BREDA. BY VELAZQUEZ 

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



VARIETY OF MASS 

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

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

195 



VARIETY OF MASS 

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

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

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

Giorgione added another tree to landscape art: 
the rich, full, solidly-massed forms that occur in his 
" Concert Champetre " of the Louvre, reproduced on 
page 151. In this picture you may see both types 

196 



VARIETY OF MASS 



of treatment. There are the patterns of leaves 
variety on the left and the solidly-massed treatment 
on the right. 






O A B 

Diagram XXIII 

EXAMPLES OF EARLY ITALIAN TREATMENT OF TREES 

A. From pictures in Oratorio di S. Ansano. "II trionfo dell' Amore," 

attributed to Botticelli. 

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

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

Corot in his later work developed a treatment 
that has been largely followed since. Looking at 
trees with a very wide focus, he ignored individual 
leaves, and resolved them into masses of tone, 

197 



VARIETY OF MASS 

here lost and here found more sharply against the 
sky. The subordinate masses of foliage within these 
main boundaries are treated in the same way, 
resolved into masses of infinitely varying edges. 
This play, this lost-and-foundness at his edges is 
one of the great distinguishing charms of Corot's 
trees. When they have been painted from this 
mass point of view, a suggestion of a. few leaves 
here and a bough there may be indicated, coming 
sharply against the sky, but you will find this basis 
of tone music, this crescendo and diminuendo 
throughout all his later work (see illustration, 
page 215). 

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

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

For under the freest painting, if it be good, there 
will be found a bed-rock structure of well-constructed 

198 



VARIETY OF MASS 

masses and lines. They may never be insisted on 
but their steadying influence will always be felt. So 
err in your student work on the side of hardness 
rather than looseness, if you would discipline your- 
self to design your work well. Occasionally only 
let yourself go at a looser handling. 

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



199 



XIV 
UNITY OF MASS 

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

The modifications in the relative tone values of 
objects seen under different aspects of light and 
atmosphere are infinite and ever varying; and this 
is quite a special study in itself. Nature is the 
great teacher here, her tone arrangements always 
possessing unity. How kind to the eye is her 
attempt to cover the ugliness of our great towns in 
an envelope of atmosphere, giving the most wonder- 
ful tone symphonies; thus using man's desecration 
of 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 of 
modern art. But schemes taken from nature are not 
the only harmonious ones. The older masters were 
content with one or two well-tried arrangements of 
tone in their pictures, which were often not at all 
true to natural appearances but nevertheless har- 
monious. The chief instance of this is the low- toned 
sky. The painting of flesh higher in tone than the 

200 



UNITY OF MASS 

sky was almost universal at many periods of art, 
and in portraits is still often seen. Yet it is only 
in strong sunlight that this is ever so in nature, as 
you can easily see by holding your hand up against 
a sky background. The possible exception to this 
rule is a dark storm-cloud, in which case your hand 
would have to be strongly lit by some bright light 
in another part of the sky to appear light against it. 

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

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

Such effects as twilight, moonlight, or even sun- 
light were seldom attempted by the older painters, 
at any rate in their figure subjects. All the lovely 
tone arrangements that nature presents in these 
more unusual aspects are a new study, and offer 

201 



UNITY OF MASS 

unlimited new material to the artist. Many artists 
are content to use this simply for itself, the beauty of 
a rare tone effect being sufficient with the simplest 
accessories to make a picture. But in figure com- 
position, what new and wonderful things can be 
imagined in which some rare aspect of nature's 
tone-music is combined with a fine figure design. 

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

Now, to represent this scale of tones in painting 
we have white paint as our highest and black paint 
as our lowest notes. It is never advisable to play 
either of these extremes, although you may go 
very near to them. That is to say, there should 
never be pure white or pure black masses in a 

202 



UNITY OF MASS 

\ 

picture. There is a kind of screaminess set up when 
one goes the whole gamut of tone, that gives a 
look of unrestraint and weakness; somewhat like 
the feeling experienced when a vocalist sings his 
or her very highest or very lowest note. In a 
good singer one always feels he could have gone 
still higher or still lower, as the case may be, and 
this gives an added power to the impression of 
his singing. And in art, likewise, it is always ad- 
visable to keep something of this reserve power. 
Also, the highest lights in nature are never without 
colour, and this will lower the tone; neither are 
the deepest darks colourless, and this will raise 
their tone. But perhaps this is dogmatising, and 
it may be- that beautiful work is to be done with 
all the extremes you can " clap on," though I think 
it very unlikely. 

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

In order to increase the relationship between 
some of the tones others must be sacrificed. There 
are two ways of doing this. The first, which was 
the method earliest adopted, is to begin from the 
light end of the scale, and, taking something very 
near pure white as your highest light, to get the 
relationships between this and the next most brilliant 
tone, and to proceed thus, tone by tone, from the 
lightest to the darkest. But working in this way 
you will find that you arrive at the greatest dark 
you can make in paint before you have completed 
the scale of relationships as in nature, if the subject 
happens to be brilliantly lit. 

203 



UNITY OF MASS 

Another method is to put down the highest 
light and the darkest dark, and then work your 
scale of tone relatively between them. But it will 
be found that working in this way, unless the 
subject in nature is very quietly lit, you will not 
get anything like the forceful impression of tone 
that nature gives. 

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

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

Bastien Lepage is an example of the second 
method, that of fixing upon two extremes and 
working relatively between them. And it will be 
noticed that he confined himself chiefly to quiet 
grey day effects of lighting, the rendering of which 
was well within the range of his palette. 

204 



UNITY OF MASS 

The method of beginning from the dark side, 
getting the true relations of tones on this side of 
the scale, and letting the lights take care of them- 
selves, was perhaps first used by Turner. But it is 
largely used now whenever a strong impression of 
light is desired. The light masses instead of the 
dark masses dominate the pictures, which have great 
brilliancy. 

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

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

If very strong light effects, such as sunlight, or 
a dark interior lit by one brilliant window, are at- 
tempted, the values will be found to be much simpler 
and more harsh, often resolving themselves into two 

205 



UNITY OF MASS 

masses, a brilliant light contrasted with a dark 
shadow. This tone arrangement of strong light in 
contrast with dark shadow was a favourite formula 
with many schools of the past, since Leonardo da 
Vinci first used it. Great breadth and splendour is 
given by it to design, and it is one of the most im- 
pressive of tone arrangements. Leonardo da Vinci's 
" Our Lady of the Rocks," in the National Gallery, is 
an early example of this treatment. And Correggio's 
" Venus, Mercury, and Cupid," here reproduced, is an- 
other particularly fine example. Reynolds and many 
of the eighteenth-century men used this scheme in 
their work almost entirely. This strong light and 
shade, by eliminating to a large extent the half 
tones, helps to preserve in highly complete work a 
simplicity and directness of statement that is very 
powerful. For certain impressions it probably will 
never be bettered, but it is a very well-worn conven- 
tion. Manet among the moderns has given new life 
to this formula, although he did not derive his in- 
spiration directly from Correggio but through the 
Spanish school. By working in a strong, rather 
glaring, direct light, he eliminated still further the 
half tones, and got rid to a great extent of light and 
shade. Coming at a time when the realistic and 
plain air movements were destroying simple direct- 
ness, his work was of great value, bringing back, as 
it did with its insistence on large, simple masses, a 
sense of frank design. His influence has been very 
great in recent years, as artists have felt that it 
offered a new formula for design and colour. Light 
and shade and half tone are the great enemies of 
colour, sullying, as they do, its purity ; and to some 
extent to design also, destroying, as they do, the 
flatness of the picture. But with the strong direct 

206 




Plate XLV Photo Havfitaengl 

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

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



, UNITY OF MASS 

light, the masses are cut out as simply as possible, 
and their colour is little sullied by light and shade. 
The picture of Manet's reproduced is a typical ex- 
ample of his manner. The aggressive shape of the 
pattern made by the light mass against the dark 
background is typical of his revolutionary attitude 
towards all accepted canons of beauty. But even 
here it is interesting to note that many principles 
of composition are conformed to. The design is 
united to its boundaries by the horizontal line of 
the couch and the vertical line of the screen at the 
back, while the whole swing hangs on the diagonal 
from top left-hand corner to right lower corner, 
to which the strongly marked edge of the bed- 
clothes and pillow at the bottom of the picture is 
parallel. 

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

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

Generally speaking more variety of tone and shape 
207 



UNITY OF MASS 

in the masses of your composition is permissible when 
a smaller range of values is used than when your 
subject demands strong contrasts. When strong con- 
trasts of tone or what are called black and white 
effects are desired, the masses must be very simply 
designed. Were this not so, and were the composi- 
tion patterned all over with smaller masses in 
strong contrast, the breadth and unity of the effect 
would 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 with 
by there being a large number of them. Effects 
of strong contrasts are therefore far the most 
difficult to manage, as it is not easy to reduce a 
composition of any complexity to a simple expressive 
pattern of large masses. 

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

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

And again, where you have strong contrasts of 
tone, such as Rembrandt was fond of, you cannot 
successfully have strong contrasts of colour as well. 
Reynolds, who was fond both of colour and strong 
tone contrast, had to compromise, as he tells us in 

208 





> a 






\ 




UNITY OF MASS 

his lectures, by making the shadows all tho same 
brown colour, to keep a harmony in his work. 

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

And the graceful charm of curved lines swinging 
in harmonious rhythm through a composition has 
its analogy in gradated tones. Watteau and Gains- 
borough, those masters of charm, knew this, and 
in their most alluring compositions the tone-music 
is founded on a principle of tone-gradations, swing- 
ing and interlacing with each other in harmonious 
rhythm throughout the composition. Large, flat 
tones, with their more thoughtful associations are 
out of place here, and are seldom if ever used. In 
their work we see a world where the saddening 
influences of profound thought and its expression 
are far away. No deeper notes are allowed to mar 
the gaiety of this holiday world. Watteau created 
a dream country of his own, in which a tired 
humanity has delighted ever since, in which all 
serious thoughts are far away and the mind takes 

209 o 



8 > 




210 



UNITY OF MASS 

refreshment in the contemplation of delightful things. 
And a great deal of this charm is due to the pretty 
play from a crescendo to a diminuendo in the tone 
values on which his compositions are based so far 
removed from the simple structure of flat masses to 
which more primitive and austere art owes its power. 

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

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

The following are three examples of this gradated 
tone composition (see pages 210, 213, 215) : 

Watteau: "Embarquement pour 1'lle de Cythere." 

This is a typical Watteau composition, founded 
on a rhythmic play of gradated tones and gradated 
edges. Flat tones and hard edges are avoided. 
Beginning at the centre of the top with a strongly 
accented note of contrast, the dark tone of the 
mass of trees gradates into the ground and on past 

211 



UNITY OF MASS 

the lower right-hand corner across the front of the 
picture, until, when nearing the lower left-hand 
corner, it reverses the process and from dark to light 
begins gradating light to dark, ending somewhat 
sharply against the sky in the rock form to the left. 
The rich play of tone that is introduced in the trees 
and ground, &c., blinds one at first to the perception of 
this larger tone motive, but without it the rich variety 
would not hold together. Roughly speaking the 
whole of this dark frame of tones from the accented 
point of the trees at the top to the mass of the 
rock on the left, may be said to gradate away into 
the distance; cut into by the wedge-shaped middle 
tone of the hills leading to the horizon. 

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

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

In the charcoal scribble illustrating this composi- 
tion I have tried carefully to avoid any drawing in 
the figures or trees to show how the tone-music 
depends not so much on truth to natural appear- 

212 




213 



UNITY OF MASS 

ances as on the abstract arrangement of tone values 
and their rhythmic play. 

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

Turner : " Ulysses deriding Polyphemus." 

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

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

Corot : 2470 Collection Chauchard, Louvre. 

This is a typical example of Corot's tone scheme, 
214 



UNITY OF MASS 




Diagram XXVI 

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

215 



UNITY OF MASS 

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

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

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

In concluding this chapter I must again insist 
that knowledge of these matters will not make you 
compose a good picture. A composition may be 
perfect as far as any rules or principles of composi- 
tion go, and yet be of no account whatever. The 
life-giving quality in art always defies analysis and 
refuses to be tabulated in any formula. This vital 
quality in drawing and composition must come from 
the individual artist himself, and nobody can help 
him much here. He must ever be on the look out 
for those visions his imagination stirs within him, 
and endeavour, however haltingly at first, to give 
them some sincere expression. Try always when 
your mind is filled with some pictorial idea to get 
something put down, a mere fumbled expression 
possibly, but it may contain the germ. Later on the 

216 



UNITY OF MASS 

same idea may occur to you again, only it will be 
less vague this time, and a process of development 
will have taken place. It may be years before it 
takes sufficiently definite shape to justify a picture ; 
the process of germination in the mind is a slow one. 
But try and acquire the habit of making some 
record of what pictorial ideas pass in the mind, 
and don't wait until you can draw and paint well 
to begin. Qualities of drawing and painting don't 
matter a bit here, it is the sensation, the feeling 
for the picture, that is everything. 

If knowledge of the rhythmic properties of lines 
and masses will not enable you to compose a fine 
picture, you may well ask what is their use ? There 
may be those to whom they are of no use. Their 
artistic instincts are sufficiently strong to need no 
direction. But such natures are rare, and it is 
doubtful if they ever go far, while many a painter 
might be saved a lot of worry over something in 
his picture that " won't come " did he but know 
more of the principle of pictorial design his work 
is transgressing. I feel certain that the old painters, 
like the Venetians, were far more systematic and 
had far more hard and fast principles of design than 
ourselves. They knew the science of their craft 
so well that they did not so often have to call upon 
their artistic instinct to get them out of difficulties. 
Their artistic instinct was free to attend to higher 
things, their knowledge of the science of picture- 
making keeping them from many petty mistakes 
that a modern artist falls into. The desire of so 
many artists in these days to cut loose from tradi- 
tion and start all over again puts a very severe 
strain upon their intuitive faculties, and keeps them 
occupied correcting things that more knowledge of 

217 



UNITY OF MASS 

some of the fundamental principles that don't really 
alter and that are the same in all schools would have 
saved them. Knowledge in art is like a railway- 
built behind the pioneers who have gone before; 
it offers a point of departure for those who come 
after, further on into the unknown country of 
nature's secrets a help not lightly to be discarded. 

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

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

218 



XV 

BALANCE 

THERE seems to be a strife between opposing forces 
at 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 being 
found, and so the vitalising movement is kept up. 
States are held together on the same principle, no 
State seeming able to preserve a balance for long; 
new forces arise, the balance is upset, and the 
State totters until a new equilibrium has been 
found. It would seem, however, to be the aim 
of life to strive after balance, any violent deviation 
from which is accompanied by calamity. 

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

219 



BALANCE 

Let us consider in the first place the balance 
between straight lines and curves. The richer and 
fuller the curves, the more severe should 
be the straight lines that balance them, 
curves' 1 " 1 ^ perfect repose is desired. But if the 
subject demands excess of movement and 
life, of course there will be less necessity for the 
balancing influence of straight lines. And on the 
other hand, if the subject demands an excess of 
repose and contemplation, the bias will be on the 
side of straight lines. But a picture composed 
entirely of rich, rolling curves is too disquieting 
a thing to contemplate, and would become very 
irritating. Of the two extremes, one composed 
entirely of straight lines would be preferable to 
one with no squareness to relieve the richness of 
the curves. For straight lines are significant of 
the deeper and more permanent things of life, of 
the powers that govern and restrain, and of in- 
finity ; while the rich curves (that is, curves the 
farthest removed from the straight line) seem to 
be expressive of uncontrolled energy and the more 
exuberant joys of life. Vice may be excess in 
any direction, but asceticism has generally been 
accepted as a nobler vice than voluptuousness. 
The rococo art of the eighteenth century is an 
instance of the excessive use of curved forms, and, 
like all excesses in the joys of life, it is vicious 
and is the favourite style of decoration in vulgar 
places of entertainment. The excessive use of 
straight lines and square forms may be seen in 
some ancient Egyptian architecture, but this severity 
was originally, no doubt, softened by the use of 
colour, and in any case it is nobler and finer than 
the vicious cleverness of rococo art. 

220 



BALANCE 

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

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

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

221 



BALANCE 

than work that errs on the side of flatness in tone, 
like Giotto and the Italian primitives, or Puvis de 
Chavannes among the moderns. 

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

Like all so-called laws in art, this rule is capable 
of many apparent exceptions. There is the white 
picture in which all the tones are high. But in 
some of the most successful of these you will gener- 

222 



BALANCE 

ally find spots of intensely dark pigment. Turner 
was fond of these light pictures in his later manner, 
but he usually put in some dark spot, such as the 
black gondolas in some of his Venetian pictures, 
that illustrate the law of balance we are speaking 
of, and are usually put in excessively dark in pro- 
portion as the rest of the picture is excessively 
light. 

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

One is tempted at this point to wander a little 
into the province of colour, where the principle of 
balance of which we are speaking is much 
felt, the stiale here being between warm 
and cold colours. If you divide the solar 

* Colours. 

spectrum roughly into half, you will have 
the reds, oranges, and yellows on one side, and the 
purples, blues, and greens on the other, the former 
being roughly the warm and the latter the cold 
colours. The clever manipulation of the opposition 
between these warm and cold colours is one of 
the chief means used in giving vitality to colouring. 
But the point to notice here is that the further 
your colouring goes in the direction of warmth, 
the further it will be necessary to go in the opposite 
direction, to right the balance. That is how it 
comes about that painters like Titian, who loved a 
warm, glowing, golden colouring, so often had to 
put a mass of the coldest blue in their pictures. 
Gainsborough's " Blue Boy," although done in defiance 
of Reynolds' principle, is no contradiction of our 
rule, for although the boy has a blue dress all the 
rest of the picture is warm brown and so the 
balance is kept. It is the failure to observe this 

223 



BALANCE 

balance that makes so many of the red-coated 
huntsmen and soldiers' portraits in our exhibitions 
so objectionable. They are too often painted on a 
dark, hot, burnt sienna and black background, with 
nothing but warm colours in the flesh, &c., with 
the result that the screaming heat is intolerable. 
With a hot mass of red like a huntsman's coat in 
your picture, the coolest colour should be looked 
for everywhere else. Seen in a November landscape, 
how well a huntsman's coat looks, but then, how 
cold and grey is the colouring of the landscape. The 
right thing to do is to support your red with as 
many cool and neutral tones as possible and avoid 
hot shadows. With so strong a red, blue might be 
too much of a contrast, unless your canvas was 
large enough to admit of its being introduced at 
some distance from the red. 

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

There is another form of balance that must be 
mentioned, although it is connected more with the 
Between subject matter of art, as it concerns the 
interest mental significance of objects rather than 

Mass. ^ e rhythmic qualities possessed by lines 
and masses ; I refer to the balance there is between 
interest and mass. The all-absorbing interest of 
the human figure makes it often when quite minute 
in scale balance the weight and interest of a great 

224 



BALANCE 



mass. Diagram XXVII is a rough instance of what 
is meant. Without the little figure the composition 
would be out of balance. But the weight of interest 
centred upon that lonely little person is enough 
to right the balance occasioned by the great mass 
of trees on the left. Figures are largely used by 
landscape painters in this way, and are of great use 
in restoring balance in a picture. 





Diagram XXVII 

ILLUSTRATING HOW INTEREST MAY BALANCE MASS 

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

225 p 



BALANCE 

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



226 



XVI 

RHYTHM: PROPORTION 

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

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

The idea that certain mathematical proportions 
227 



PROPORTION 

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

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

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

Proportion can be considered from our two 
points of view of unity and variety. In so far as 

228 



PROPORTION 

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

The proportion that is most easily grasped is 
the half two equal parts. This is the most devoid 
of variety, and therefore of life, and is only used 
when an effect of great repose and aloofness from 
life is wanted ; and even then, never without some 
variety in the minor parts to give vitality. The 
third and the quarter, and in fact any equal pro- 
portions, are others that are easily grasped and 
partake in a lesser degree of the same qualities as 
the half. So that equality of proportion should be 
avoided except on those rare occasions when effects 
remote from nature and life are desired. Nature 
seems to abhor equalities, never making two things 
alike or the same proportion if she can help it. 
All systems founded on equalities, as are so 
many modern systems of social reform, are man's 
work, the products of a machine-made age. For 
this is the difference between nature and the 

229 






PROPORTION 



machine : nature never produces two things alike, 
the machine never produces two things different. 
Man could solve the social problem to-morrow if 
you could produce him equal units. But if all men 
were alike and equal, where would be the life and 
fun of existence? it would depart with the variety. 
And in proportion, as in life, variety is the secret 
of vitality, only to be suppressed where a static 
effect is wanted. In architecture equality of pro- 
portion is more often met with, as the static 
qualities of repose are of more importance here 
than in painting. One meets it on all fine buildings 
in such things as rows of columns and windows of 
equal size and distances apart, or the continual 
repetition of the same forms in mouldings, &c. But 
even here, in the best work, some variety is allowed 
to keep the effect from being quite dead, the columns 
on the outside of a Greek pediment being nearer 
together and leaning slightly inwards, and the 
repeated forms of windows, columns, and mouldings 
being infinitely varied in themselves. But although 
you often find repetitions of the same forms equi- 
distant in architecture, it is seldom that equality of 
proportion is observable in the main distribution of 
the large masses. 

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

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

To see these diagrams properly it is necessary to 
cover over with some pieces of notepaper all but 

230 




XLV111 



Photo Hanfituenjl 



THE ANSIDEI MADONNA. BY RAPHAEL (NATIONAL GALLERY) 

A typical example of static balance in composition. 



PROPORTION 

the one being considered, as they affect each other 
when seen together, and the quality of their pro- 
portion is not so readily observed. 

In many pictures of the Madonna, when a hush 
and reverence are desired rather than exuberant 
life, the figure is put in the centre of the canvas, 
equality of proportion existing between the spaces 
on either side of her. But having got the repose 
this centralisation gives, everything is done to con- 
ceal this equality, and variety in the contours on 
either side, and in any figures there may be, is care- 
fully sought. Raphael's "Ansidei Madonna," in the 
National Gallery, is an instance of this (p. 230). You 
have firs.t the centralisation of the figure of the 
Madonna with the throne on which she sits, exactly 
in the middle of the picture. Not only is the throne 
in the centre of the picture, but its width is exactly 
that of the spaces on either side of it, giving us 
three equal proportions across the picture. Then 
you have the circular lines of the arches behind, 
curves possessed of the least possible amount of 
variety and therefore the calmest and most repose- 
ful; while the horizontal lines of the steps and the 
vertical lines of the throne and architecture, and 
also the rows of hanging beads give further em- 
phasis to this infinity of calm. But when we come 
to the figures this symmetry has been varied every- 
where. All the heads swing towards the right, 
while the lines of the draperies swing freely in 
many directions. The swing of the heads towards 
the right is balanced and the eye brought back to 
equilibrium by the strongly-insisted-upon staff of 
St. Nicholas on the right. The staff of St. John 
necessary to balance this line somewhat, is very 
slightly insisted on, being represented transparent 

231 



Diagram XXVIII (1) 



232 



B 



H 



238 



Diagram XXVIII (2) 



Diagram XXVIII (3) 



234 



PROPORTION 

as if made of glass, so as not to increase the swing 
to the right occasioned by the heads. It is interest- 
ing to note the fruit introduced at the last moment 
in the right-hand lower corner, dragged in, as it 
were, to restore the balance occasioned by the figure 
of the Christ being on the left. In the writer's 
humble opinion the extremely obvious artifice 
with which the lines have been balanced, and the 
severity of the convention of this composition gener- 
ally, are out of harmony with the amount of natural- 
istic detail and particularly of solidity allowed in the 
treatment of the figures and accessories. The small 
amount of truth to visual nature in the work of 
earlier men went better with the formality of such 
compositions. With so little of the variety of life 
in their treatment of natural appearances, one was 
not led to demand so much of the variety of life 
in the arrangement. It is the simplicity and re- 
moteness from the full effect of natural appearances 
in the work of the early Italian schools that made 
their painting such a ready medium for the expres- 
sion of religious subjects. This atmosphere of 
other- worldliness where the music of line and colour 
was uninterrupted by any aggressive look of real 
things is a better convention for the expression 
of such ideas and emotions. 

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

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

At G, II, I more lines and spots have been 
285 



s 



PROPORTION 

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

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

As a contrast to the infinite calm of Raphael's 
"Madonna," we have reproduced Tintoretto's "Finding 
of the Body of St. Mark," in the Brera Gallery, Milan. 
Here all is life and movement. The proportions are 
infinitely varied, nowhere does the eye grasp any 
obvious mathematical relationship. We have the 
same semi-circular arches as in the Raphael, but not 
symmetrically placed, and their lines everywhere 
varied, and their calm effect destroyed by the 
flickering lights playing about them. Note the 
great emphasis given to the outstretched hand of 
the powerful figure of the Apostle on the left by the 
lines of the architecture and the line of arm of the 
kneeling figure in the centre of the picture converg- 
ing on this hand and leading the eye immediately 
to it. There is here no static symmetry, all is energy 
and force. Starting with this arresting arm, the 
eye is led down the majestic figure of St. Mark, 
past the recumbent figure, and across the picture 
by means of the band of light on the ground, to the 

236 







Plate XLIX 



Plioto Anderson 



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

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



PROPORTION 

important 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 are 
led by the lines of the architecture to this group 
straight away, and back again by means of the 
group on the right and the band of light on the 
ground. The quantities are not placed in reposeful 
symmetry about the canvas, as was the case in 
the Raphael, but are thrown off apparently hap- 
hazard from lines leading the eye round the picture. 
Note also the dramatic intensity given by the 
strongly contrasted light and shade, and how Tintor- 
etto has enjoyed the weird effect of the two figures 
looking int<3 a tomb with a light, their shadows being 
thrown on the lid they hold open, at the far end of 
the room. This must have been an amazingly new 
piece of realism at the time, and is wonderfully used, 
to give an eerie effect to the darkened end of the 
room. With his boundless energy and full enjoyment 
of life, Tintoretto's work naturally shows a strong 
leaning towards variety, and his amazing composi- 
tions are a liberal education in the innumerable and 
unexpected ways in which a panel can be filled, 
and should be carefully studied by students. 

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

I have seen a proportional compass, imported 
from Germany, giving a relationship similar to this 

237 



PROPORTION 

and said to contain the secret of good proportion. 
There is certainly something remarkable about it, 
and in the Appendix, page 289, you will find some 
further interesting facts about this. 

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



238 



XVII 

PORTRAIT DRAWING 

THERE is something in every individual that is likely 
for a long time to defy the analysis of science. 
When you have summed up the total of atoms or 
electrons or whatever it is that goes to the making 
of the tissues and also the innumerable complex 
functions performed by the different parts, you have 
not yet got on the track of the individual that 
governs the whole performance. The effect of this 
personality 011 the outward form, and the influence 
it has in modifying the aspect of body and features, 
are the things that concern the portrait draughts- 
man: the seizing on and expressing forcefully the 
individual character of the sitter, as expressed by 
his outward appearance. 

This character expression in form has been 
thought to be somewhat antagonistic to beauty, 
and many sitters are shy of the particular char- 
acteristics of their own features. The fashionable 
photographer, knowing this, carefully stipples out 
of his negative any striking characteristics in the 
form of his sitter the negative may show. But 
judging by the result, it is doubtful whether any 
beauty has been gained, and certain that interest 
and vitality have been lost in the process. What- 
ever may be the nature of beauty, it is obvious that 
what makes one object more beautiful than another 

239 



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

is something that is characteristic of the appearance 
of the one and not of the other : so that some close 
study of individual characteristics must be the aim 
of the artist who would seek to express beauty, as 
well as the artist who seeks the expression of char- 
acter and professes no interest in beauty. 

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

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

240 












Plate L 



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

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



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

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

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

Look out first for the character of the disposition 
of the features, note the proportions down an 
imagined centre line, of the brows, the base of the 
nose, the mouth and chin, and get the character 

241 Q 



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

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

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

Although in point drawing you can, without 
sei-ious effect, begin at any part that interests you, 
in setting out a painting I think there can be no 
two opinions as to the right way to go about it. 
The character of the general disposition of the 

242 




Plato LI 



Sm CHARLES DILKE, BART. 

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



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

masses must be first constructed. And if this 
general blocking in has been well done, the character 
of the sitter will be apparent from the first even in 
this early stage ; and you will be able to judge of the 
accuracy of your blocking out by whether or not it 
does suggest the original. If it does not, correct it 
before going any further, working, as it were, from 
the general impression of the masses of the head as 
seen a long way off, adding more and more detail, and 
gradually bringing the impression nearer, until the 
completed head is arrived at, thus getting in touch 
from the very first with the likeness which should 
dominate the work all along. 

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

243 



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

disentangling what is trivial from what is im- 
portant; and who can convey this forcibly to the 
beholder on his canvas, more forcibly than a casual 
sight of the real person could do it is only this 
painter who can hope ' to paint a really fine 
portrait. 

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

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

The pose of the head is a characteristic feature 
about people that is not always given enough at- 
tention in portraits. The habitual cast of thought 
affects its carriage to a very large degree. The two 
extreme types of what we mean are the strongly 
emotional man who carries his head high, drinking 

244 



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

in impressions as he goes through the world; and 
the man of deep thought who carries his head bent 
forward, his back bent in sympathy with it. Every- 
body has some characteristic action in the way that 
should be looked out for and that is usually absent 
when a sitter first appears before a painter on the 
studio throne. A little diplomacy and conversational 
humouring is necessary to produce that unconscious- 
ness that will betray the man in his appearance. 

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

Probably the most popular point of view in 
portraiture at present is the one that can be de- 
scribed as a " striking presentment of the live person." 
This is the portrait that arrests the crowd in an 
exhibition. You cannot ignore it, vitality bursts 
from it, and everything seems sacrificed to this 
quality of striking lifelikeness. And some very 
wonderful modern portraits have been painted from 
this point of view. But have we not sacrificed too 
much to this quality of vitality? Here is a lady 

245 



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

hurriedly getting up from a couch, there a gentle- 
man stepjring out of the frame to greet you, violence 
and vitality everywhere. But what of repose, 
harmony of colour and form, and the wise ordering 
and selecting of the materials of vision that one 
has been used to in the great portraiture of the 
past ? While the craftsman in one is staggered and 
amazed at the brilliant virtuosity of the thing, the 
artist in one resents the sacrifice of so much for 
what is, after all, but a short-lived excitement. Age 
may, no doubt, improve some of the portraits of 
this class by quieting them in colour and tone. And 
those that are good in design and arrangement will 
stand this without loss of distinction, but those in 
which everything has been sacrificed to this striking 
lifelike quality will suffer considerably. This par- 
ticular quality depends so much on the freshness 
of the paint that when this is mellowed and its 
vividness is lost, nothing will remain of value, if 
the quieter qualities of design and arrangement 
have been sacrificed for it. 

Frans Hals is the only old master I can think 
of with whom this form of portrait can be compared. 
But it will be noticed that besides designing his 
canvases carefully, he usually balanced the vigour 
and vitality of his form with a great sobriety of 
colour. In fact, in some of his later work, where 
this restless vitality is most in evidence, the colour 
is little more than black and white, with a little 
yellow ochre and Venetian red. It is this extreme 
reposefulness of colour that opposes the unrest in 
the form and helps to restore the balance and neces- 
sary repose in the picture. It is interesting to note 
the restless variety of the edges in Frans Hal's 
work, how he never, if he can help it, lets an edge 

246 




Plate LII 



JOHN REDMOND, M.P. 

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



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

run smoothly, but keeps it constantly on the move, 
often leaving it quite jagged, and to compare this 
with what was said about vitality depending on 
variety. 

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

Every portrait draughtsman should make a 
pilgrimage to Windsor, armed with the necessary 
permission to view the wonderful series of portrait 
drawings by this master in the library of the 
castle. They are a liberal education in portrait 
drawing. It is necessary to see the originals, for 
it is only after having seen them that one can 
properly understand the numerous and well-known 
reproductions. A study of these drawings will, I 
think, reveal the fact that they are not so literal as 
is usually thought. Unflinchingly and unaffectedly 

247 



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

honest they are, but honest not to a cold, mechani- 
cally accurate record of the sitter's appearance, but 
honest and accurate to the vital impression of the 
live sitter made on the mind of the live artist. This 
is the difference we were trying to explain that 
exists between the academic and the vital drawing, 
and it is a very subtle and elusive quality, like all 
artistic qualities, to talk about. The record of a 
vital impression done with unflinching accuracy, 
but under the guidance of intense mental activity 
is a very different thing from a drawing done with 
the cold, mechanical accuracy of a machine. The 
one will instantly grip the attention and give one 
a vivid sensation in a way that no mechanically ac- 
curate drawing could do, and in a way that possibly 
the sight of the real person would not always do. 
We see numbers of faces during a day, but only 
a few with the vividness of which I am speaking. 
How many faces in a crowd are passed indiffer- 
ently there is no vitality in the impression they 
make on our mind ; but suddenly a face will rivet 
our attention, and although it is gone in a flash, 
the memory of the impression will remain for some 
time. 

The best of Holbein's portrait drawings give one 
the impression of having been seen in one of these 
flashes and rivet the attention in consequence. Draw- 
ings done under this mental stimulus present subtle 
differences from drawings done with cold accuracy. 
The drawing of the Lady Audley, here reproduced, 
bears evidence of some of this subtle variation on 
what are called the facts, in the left eye of the 
sitter. It will be noticed that the pupil of this eye 
is larger than the other. Now I do not suppose 
that as a matter of mechanical accuracy this was so, 

248 




Plate LIII 



Copyright photo Broun A Co. 



THE LADY AUDLEY. HOLBEIN (WINDSOR) 

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



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

but the impression of the eyes seen as part of a 
vivid impression of the head is seldom that they 
are the same size. Holbein had in the first instance 
in this very carefully wrought drawing made them 
so, but when at the last he was vitalising the im- 
pression, "pulling it together" as artists say, he 
has deliberately put a line outside the original one, 
making this pupil larger. This is not at all clearly 
seen in the reproduction, but is distinctly visible 
in the original. And to my thinking it was done 
at the dictates of the vivid mental impression he 
wished his drawing to convey. Few can fail to be 
struck in turning over this wonderful series of 
drawings by the vividness of their portraiture, and 
the vividness is due to their being severely accurate 
to the vital impression on the mind of Holbein, not 
merely to the facts coldly observed. 

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

The striking example of this class is the splendid 
series of portraits by the late G. F. Watts. Looking 
at these heads one is made conscious of the people 
in a fuller, deeper sense than if they were before 
one in the flesh. For Watts sought to discover the 
person in their appearance and to paint a picture 
that should be a living symbol of them. He took 
pains to find out all he could about the mind of 

249 



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

his sitters before he painted them, and sought in 
the appearance the expression of this inner man. 
So that whereas with Holbein it was the vivid 
presentation of the impression as One might see a 
head that struck one in a crowd, with Watts it is 
the spirit one is first conscious of. The thunders 
of war appear in the powerful head of Lord 
Lawrence, the music of poetry in the head of 
Swinburne, and the dry atmosphere of the higher 
regions of thought in the John Stuart Mill, &c. 

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

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

Another point of view is that of treating the 
sitter as part of a symphony of form and colour, 
and subordinating everything to this artistic con- 
sideration. This is very fashionable at the present 
time, and much beautiful work is being done with 
this motive. And with many ladies who would not, 
I hope, object to one's saying that their principal 
characteristic was the charm of their appearance 

250 



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

this point of view offers, perhaps, one of the best 
opportunities of a successful painting. A pose is 
selected that makes a good design of line and colour 
a good pattern and the character of the sitter 
is not allowed to obtrude or mar the symmetry of 
the whole considered as a beautiful panel. The 
portraits of J. M'Neill Whistler are examples of this 
treatment, a point of view that has very largely 
influenced modern portrait painting in England. 

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

It is not contended that this forms anything 
like a complete list of the numerous aspects from 
which a portrait can be considered, but they are 
some of the more extreme of those prevalent at 
the present time. Neither is it contended that they 
are incompatible with each other: the qualities of 
two or more of these points of view are often found 
in the same work. And it is not inconceivable that a 
single portrait might contain all and be a striking 
lifelike presentment, a faithful catalogue of all the 
features, a symbol of the person and a symphony 
of form and colour. But the chances are against 
such a composite affair being a success. One or 

251 



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

other quality will dominate in a successful work; 
and it is not advisable to try and combine too 
many different points of view as, in the confusion 
of ideas, directness of expression is lost. But no 
good portrait is without some of the qualities of 
all these points of view, whichever may dominate 
the artist's intention. 

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

The giving of lifelike expression to a painting 
is not so simple a matter as it might appear to 
be. Could one set the real person behind the frame 
and suddenly fix them for ever with one of those 
passing expressions on their faces, however natural 
it might have been at the moment, fixed for ever 
it is terrible, and most unlifelike. As we have 
already said, a few lines scribbled on a piece of 
paper by a consummate artist would give a greater 
sense of life than this fixed actuality. It is not 
ultimately by the pursuit of the actual realisation 
that expression and life are conveyed in a portrait. 
Every face has expression of a far more interest- 
ing and enduring kind than these momentary dis- 
turbances of its form occasioned by laughter or 
some passing thought, &c. And it must never be 
forgotten that a portrait is a panel painted to 
remain for centuries without movement. So that 

252 



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

a large amount of the quality of repose must 
enter into its composition. Portraits in which 
this has not been borne in mind, however enter- 
taining at a picture exhibition, where they are 
seen 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 something 
more enduring than these passing movements : one 
that belongs to the forms of a head, and the marks 
left on that form by the life and character of the 
person. This is of far more interest than those 
passing expressions, the results of the contraction 
of certain muscles under the skin, the effect of 
which is very similar in most people. It is for 
the portrait painter to find this more enduring 
expression and give it noble expression in his work. 

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

But there are qualities in dress that do not 
belong exclusively to the particular period of theii 
fashion. Qualities that are the same in all ages. 
And when these are insisted upon, and the frivolities 
of the moment in dress not troubled about so much^ 
the portrait has a permanent quality, and will 
never in consequence look old-fashioned in the 
offensive way that is usually meant. In the first 
place, the drapery and stuffs of which clothes are 
made follow laws in the manner in which they fold 

258 



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

and drape over the figure, that are the same in all 
times. If the expression of the figure through the 
draperies is sought by the painter, a permanent 
quality will be given in his work, whatever fantastic 
shapes the cut of the garments may assume. 

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

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

254 



PORTRAIT DRAWING 

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



255 



XVIII 

THE VISUAL MEMOKY 

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

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

256 






THE VISUAL MEMORY 

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

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

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

Memory has this great advantage over direct 
vision : it retains more vividly the essential things, 

257 R 



THE VISDAL MEMORY 

and has a habit of losing what is unessential to 
the pictorial impression. 

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

This initial inspiration, this initial flash in the 
mind, need not be the result of a scene in nature, 

258 



THE VISUAL MEMORY 

but may of course be purely the work of the im- 
agination ; a composition, the sense of which flashes 
across the mind. But in either case the difficulty 
is to preserve vividly the sensation of this original 
artistic impulse. And in the case of its having 
been derived from nature direct, as is so often the 
case in modern art, the system of painting continu- 
ally on the spot is apt to lose touch with it very 
soon. For in the continual observation of anything 
you have set your easel before day after day, comes 
a series of impressions, more and more commonplace, 
as the eye becomes more and more familiar with 
the details of the subject. And ere long the original 
emotion, that was the reason of the whole work 
is lost sight of, and one of those pictures or draw- 
ings giving a catalogue of tired objects more or 
less ingeniously arranged (that we all know so 
well) is the result work utterly lacking in the 
freshness and charm of true inspiration. For how- 
ever commonplace the subject seen by the artist 
in one of his "flashes," it is clothed in a newness 
and surprise that charm us, be it only an orange 
on a plate. 

Now a picture is a thing of paint upon a flat 
surface, and a drawing is a matter of certain marks 
upon a paper, and how to translate the intricacies 
of a visual or imagined impression to the prosaic 
terms of masses of coloured pigment or lines and 
tones is the business with which our technique is 
concerned. The ease, therefore, with which a painter 
will be able to remember an impression in a form 
from which he can work, will depend upon his power 
to analyse vision in this technical sense. The more 
one knows about what may be called the anatomy 
of picture-making how certain forms produce cer- 

259 



THE VISUAL MEMORY 

tain effects, certain colours or arrangements other 
effects, &c. the easier will it be for him to carry 
away a visual memory of his subject that will stand 
by him during the long hours of his labours at 
the picture. The more he knows of the expressive 
powers of lines and tones, the more easily will he 
be able to observe the vital things in nature that 
convey the impression he wishes to memorise. 

It is not enough to drink in and remember the 
emotional side of the matter, although this must 
be done fully, but if a memory of the subject is 
to be carried away that will be of service techni- 
cally, the scene must be committed to memory in 
terms of whatever medium you intend to employ 
for reproducing it in the case of a drawing, lines 
and tones. And the impression will have to be 
analysed into these terms as if you were actually 
drawing the scene on some imagined piece of paper 
in your mind. The faculty of doing this is not to 
be acquired all at once, but it is amazing of how 
much development it is capable. Just as the faculty 
of committing to memory long poems or plays can 
be developed, so can the faculty of remembering 
visual things. This subject has received little at- 
tention in art schools until just recently. But it 
is 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 of 
a nose, and going on to more complex subjects by 
easy stages, with the most surprising results. And 
there is no doubt that a great deal more can and 
should be done in this direction than is at present 
attempted. What students should do is to form 
a habit of making every day in their sketch-book 

260 



* J 

*** * 




Plate LIV 



STUDY ON BROWN PAPER IN BLACK AND WHITE CONTE CHALK 

Illustrating a simple method 01 studying drapery forms. 



THE VISUAL MEMORY 

a drawing of something they have seen that has in- 
terested them, and that they have made some at- 
tempt at memorising. Don't he discouraged if the* 
results are poor and disappointing at first you will 
find that by persevering your power of memory 
will develop and be of the greatest service to you 
in your after work. Try particularly to remember 
the spirit of the subject, and in this memory-draw- 
ing some scribbling and fumbling will necessarily 
have to be done. You cannot expect to be able to 
draw definitely and clearly from memory, at least 
at first, although your aim should always be to 
draw as frankly and clearly as you can. 

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

If only the emotional side of the matter has 
been remembered, when you come to draw it you 
will be hopelessly at sea, as it is remarkable how 

261 



THE VISUAL MEMORY 

little the memory retains of the appearance of 
things constantly seen, if no attempt has been made 
to memorise their visual appearance. 

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

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

Always work to a scheme on which you have 
decided, and do not flounder on in the hope of some- 

262 



THE VISUAL MEMORY 

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

To sum up, there are two aspects of a subject, 
the one luxuriating in the sensuous pleasure of it, 
with all of spiritual significance it may consciously 
or unconsciously convey, and the other concerned 
with the lines, tones, shapes, &c., and their 
rhythmic ordering, by means of which it is to be 
expressed the matter and manner, as they may- 
be called. And, if the artist's memory is to be of 
use to him in his work, both these aspects must 
be memorised, and of the two the second will need 
the most attention. But although there are these 
two aspects of the subject, and each must receive 
separate attention when memorising it, they are 
in reality only two aspects of the same thing, 
which in the act of painting or drawing must be 

263 



THE VISUAL MEMORY 

united if a work of art is to result. When a sub> 
ject first flashes upon an artist he delights in it 
as a painted or drawn thing, and feels instinctively 
the treatment it will require. In good draughts- 
manship the thing felt will guide and govern every- 
thing, every touch will be instinct with the thrill 
of that first impression. The craftsman mind, so 
laboriously built up, should by now have become 
an instinct, a second nature, at the direction of a 
higher consciousness. At such times the right 
strokes, the right tones come naturally and go on 
the right place, the artist being only conscious of 
a fierce joy and a feeling that things are in tune 
and going well for once. It is the thirst for this 
glorious enthusiasm, this fusing of matter and 
manner, this act of giving the spirit within out- 
ward form, that spurs the artist on at all times, 
and it is this that is the wonderful thing about 
art. 



264 



XIX 

PROCEDURE 

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

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

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

Now, nothing is being said against the practice 
of drawing guide lines and taking measurements 

265 



PROCEDURE 

and blocking in your work. This is very necessary 
in academic work, if rather fettering to expressive 
drawing; but even in the most academic drawing 
the artistic intelligence must be used, although 
that is not the kind of drawing this chapter is 
particularly referring to. 

Look well at the model first ; try and be moved 
by something in the form that you feel is fine 01 
interesting, and try and see in your mind's eye 
what 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 gives 
you, but dismiss the camera idea of truth from your 
mind. Instead of converting yourself into a me- 
chanical instrument for the copying of what is 
before you, let your drawing be an expression of 
truth perceived intelligently. 

Be extremely careful about the first few strokes 
you put on your paper : the quality of your drawing 
is often decided in these early stages. If they are 
vital and expressive, you have started along lines 
you can develop, and have some hope of doing a 
good drawing. If they are feeble and poor, the 
chances are greatly against your getting anything 
good built upon them. If your start has been bad, 
pull yourself together, turn your paper over and 
start afresh, trying to seize upon the big, significant 
lines and swings in your subject at once. Remember 
it is much easier to put down a statement correctly 
than to correct a wrong one ; so out with the whole 
part if you are convinced it is wrong. Train your- 
self to make direct, accurate statements in your 
drawings, and don't waste time trying to manoeuvre 
a bad drawing into a good one. Stop as soon as 
you feel you have gone wrong and correct the work 

266 



PROCEDURE 

in its early stages, instead of rushing on upon a 
wrong foundation in the vague hope that it will all 
come right in the end. When out walking, if you 
find you have taken a wrong road you do not, if 
you are wise, go on in the hope that the wrong way 
will lead to the right one, but you turn round and 
go back to the point at which you left the right 
road. It is very much the same hi drawing and 
painting. As soon as you become aware that you 
have got upon the wrong track, stop and rub out 
your work until an earlier stage that was right is 
reached, and start along again from this point. As 
your eye gets trained you will more quickly perceive 
when you have done a wrong stroke, and be able 
to correct it before having gone very far along the 
wrong road. 

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

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

All this will sound very trite to students of any 
mettle, but there are large numbers who waste no 
end of time working in a purely mechanical, lifeless 
way, and with their minds anywhere but concen- 
trated upon the work before them. And if the 
mind is not working, the work of the hand will 
be of no account. My own experience is that one 

267 



PROCEDURE 

has constantly to be making fresh effort during the 
procedure of the work. The mind is apt to tire and 
needs rousing continually, otherwise the work will 
lack the impulse that shall make it vital. Particu- 
larly is this so in the final stages of a drawing or 
painting, when, in adding details and small refine- 
ments, it is doubly necessary for the mind to be 
on fire with the initial impulse, or the main quali- 
ties will be obscured and the result enfeebled by 
these smaller matters. 

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

Let painstaking accuracy be your aim for a long 
time. When your eye and hand have acquired the 
power of seeing and expressing on paper with some 
degree of accuracy what you see, you will find 
facility and quickness of execution will come of 
their own accord. In drawing of any expressive 
power this quickness and facility of execution are 
absolutely essential. The waves of emotion, under 
the influence of which the eye really sees in any 
artistic sense, do not last long enough to allow of 

268 



PROCEDURE 

a slow, painstaking manner of execution. There 
must be no hitch in the machinery of expression 
when the consciousness is alive to the realisation 
of something fine. Fluency of hand and accuracy 
of eye are the things your academic studies should 
have taught you, and these powers will be needed 
if you are to catch the expression of any of the 
finer things in form that constitute good drawing. 

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

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

This is not the place to discuss questions, of 
health, but perhaps it will not be thought grand- 
motherly to mention the extreme importance of 
nervous vitality in a fine draughtsman, and how his 
life should be ordered on such healthy lines that 
he has at his command the maximum instead of the 

266 



PROCEDURE 

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



270 



XX 

MATERIALS 

THE materials in which the artist works are of the 
greatest importance in determining what qualities 
in the infinite complexity of nature he selects for 
expression. And the good draughtsman will find 
out the particular ones that belong to whatever 
medium he selects for his drawing, and be careful 
never to attempt more than it is capable of doing. 
Every material he works with possesses certain 
vita/1 qualities peculiar to itself, and it is his business 
to find out what these are and use them to the 
advantage of his drawing. When one is working 
with, say, pen and ink, the necessity for selecting 
only certain things is obvious enough. But when 
a medium with the vast capacity of oil paint is 
being used, the principle of its governing the nature 
of the work is more often lost sight of. So near 
can oil paint approach an actual illusion of natural 
appearances, that much misdirected effort has been 
wasted on this object, all enjoyment of the medium 
being subordinated to a meretricious attempt to 
deceive the eye. And I believe a popular idea of 
the art of painting is that it exists chiefly to pro- 
duce this deception. No vital expression of nature 
can be achieved without the aid of the particular 
vitality possessed by the medium with which one 
is working. If this is lost sight of and the eye is 

271 



MATERIALS 

tricked into thinking that it is looking at real 
nature, it is not a fine picture. Art is not a sub- 
stitute for nature, but an expression of feeling 
produced in the consciousness of the artist, and 
intimately associated with the material through 
which it is expressed in [his work. Inspired, it may 
be, in the first instance, by something seen, and 
expressed by him in painted symbols as true to 
nature as he can make them while keeping in 
tune to the emotional idea that prompted the work ; 
but never regarded by the fine artist as anything 
but painted symbols nevertheless. Never for one 
moment does he intend you to forget that it is a 
painted picture you are looking at, however 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 different 
mediums. With their more limited knowledge of 
the phenomena of vision, the early masters had 
not the same opportunities of going astray in this 
respect. But now that the whole field of vision 
has been discovered, and that the subtlest effects 
of light and atmosphere are capable of being 
represented, it has become necessary to decide how 
far complete accuracy of representation will help 
the particular impression you may intend your 
picture or drawing to create. The danger is that 
in producing a complete illusion of representation, 
the particular vitality of your medium, with all the 
expressive power it is capable of yielding, may be 
lost. 

Perhaps the chief difference between the great 
masters of the past and many modern painters is 
the neglect of this principle. They represented nature 
in terms of whatever medium they worked in, and 

272 



MATERIALS 

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 real 
thing. In the same way, the drawings of the great 
masters were drawings. They did not attempt any- 
thing with a point that a point was not capable 
of expressing. The drawings of many modern artists 
are full of attempts to express tone and colour 
effects, things entirely outside the true province of 
drawing. The small but infinitely important part of 
nature that pure drawing is capable of conveying 
has been neglected, and line work, until recently, 
went out of fashion in our schools. 

There is something that makes for power in the 
limitations your materials impose. Many artists 
whose work in some of the more limited mediums 
is fine, are utterly feeble when they attempt one 
with so few restrictions as oil paint. If students 
could only be induced to impose more restraint 
upon themselves when they ' attempt so difficult a 
medium as paint, it would be greatly to the ad- 
vantage of their work. Beginning first with mono- 
chrome in three tones, as explained in a former 
chapter, they might then take for figure work ivory 
black and Venetian red. It is surprising what an 
amount of colour effect can be got with this simple 
means, and how much can be learned about the 
relative positions of the warm and cold colours. 
Do not attempt the full range of tone at first, but 
keep the darks rather lighter and the ligttts darker 
than nature. Attempt the full scale of tone only 
when you have acquired sufficient experience with 
the simpler range, and gradually add more colours 
as you learn to master a few. But restraints are 

273 s 



MATERIALS 

not so fashionable just now as unbridled licence. 
Art students start in with a palette full of the 
most amazing colours, producing results that it 
were better not to discuss. It is a wise man who 
can discover his limitations and select a medium the 
capacities of which just tally with his own. To 
discover this, it is advisable to try many, and below 
is a short description of the chief ones used by the 
draughtsman. But very little can be said about 
them, and very little idea of their capacities given 
in a written description ; they must be handled by 
the student, and are no doubt capable of many more 
qualities than have yet been got out of them. 

This well-known medium is one of the most 
beautiful for pure line work, and its use is an 
excellent training to the eye and hand in 
Pencil. precision of observation. Perhaps this is 
why it has not been so popular in our art 
schools 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 unrivalled 
for sketch-book use. 

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

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

274 









Plate LV 



FROM A SILVER-POINT DRAWING 



MATERIALS 

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

Similar to lead pencil, and of even greater 
delicacy, is silver-point drawing. A more ancient 
method, it consists in drawing with a silver sllver ^4 
point on paper the surface of which has Gold 
been treated with a faint wash of Chinese 
white. Without this wash the point will not make 
a mark. 

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

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

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

Charcoal is made in many different degrees of 
hardness and softness, the harder varieties being 
capable of quite a fine point. A chisel-shaped point 
is the most convenient, as it does not wear away 
so quickly. And if the broad side of the chisel point 

275 



MATERIALS 

is used when a dark mass is wanted, the edge can 
constantly be kept sharp. With this edge a very 
fine line can be drawn. 

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

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

For drawings that are intended as things of 
beauty in themselves, and are not merely done as 
a preparatory study for a painting, charcoal is per- 

276 



MATERIALS 

haps not so refined a medium as a great many 
others. It is too much like painting to have the 
particular beauties of a drawing, and too much 
like drawing to have the qualities of a painting. 
However, some beautiful things have been done 
with it. 

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

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

Charcoal is fixed by means of a solution of white 
shellac dissolved in spirits of wine, blown on with a 
spray diff user. 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, acting 
as a varnish and preventing its rubbing off 

277 



MATERIALS 

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

A delightful medium that can be used for either 
pure line work or a mixed method of drawing, is 




Red c&aik cna ^k. This natural red earth is one 

(San- of the most ancient materials for drawing. 
It is a lovely Venetian red in colour, and 
works well in the natural state, if you get a good 
piece. It is sold by the ounce, and it is advisable to 
try the pieces as they vary very much, some being 
hard and gritty and some more soft and smooth. 
It is also made by Messrs. Conte of Paris in sticks 
artificially prepared. These work well and are never 
gritty, but are not so hard as the natural chalk, 
and consequently wear away quickly and do not 
make fine lines as well. 

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

278 



MATERIALS 

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

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

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

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

Holbein, who used this medium largely, tinted 
the paper in most of his portrait drawings, vary- 
ing the tint very much, and sometimes using 
zinc white as a wash, which enabled him to 
supplement his work with a silver-point line here 
and there, and also got over any difficulty the 
size in the paper might cause. His aim seems 
to have been to select the few essential things 

279 



MATERIALS 

in a head and draw them with great finality and 
exactness. In many of the drawings the earlier 
work has been done with red or black chalk and 
then rubbed down and the drawing redone with 
either a brush and some of the chalk rubbed up 
with water and gum or a silver-point line of great 
purity, while in others he has tinted the paper 
with water-colour and rubbed this away to the 
white paper where he wanted a light, or Chinese 
white has been used for the same purpose. 

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

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

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

For rubbed work white pastel is better than 
the ordinary white chalk sold for drawing, as it 
is not so hard. A drawing done in this method 
with white pastel and red chalk is reproduced on 

280 



MATERIALS 

page 46, and one with the hard white chalk, on 
page 260. 

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

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

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

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

281 



MATERIALS 

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

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

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

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

Pen and ink was a favourite means of making 
studies with many old masters, notably Rembrandt. 
Often heightening the effect with a wash, he con- 
veyed marvellous suggestions with the simplest 
scribbles. But it is a difficult medium for the young 

282 




Plate LVI 



Photo Giraudon 



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



MATERIALS 

student to hope to do much with in his studies, 
although for training the eye and hand to quick 
definite statement of impressions, there is 
much to be said for it. No hugging of half 
tones is possible, things must be reduced to 
a statement of clear darks which would be a useful 
corrective to the tendency so many students have 
of seeing chiefly the half tones in their work. 

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

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

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

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

283 



MATERIALS 

strong, and letting the darker ones have a longer 
exposure to the acid. 

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

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

It is sometimes advisable, when you are not 
drawing a subject that demands a clear hard line, 
but where more sympathetic qualities are wanted, 
to have a wad of several sheets of paper under the 
one you are working on, pinned on the drawing- 
board. This gives you a more sympathetic surface 
to work upon and improves the quality of your work. 
In redrawing a study with which you are not quite 
satisfied, it is a good plan to use a thin paper, 

284 



MATERIALS 

pinning it over the first study so that it can be seen 
through. One can by this means start as it were 
from the point where one left off. Good papers of 
this description are now on the market. I fancy 
they are called " bank-note " papers. 



285 



XXI 

CONCLUSION 

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

Now, although it has been necessary to insist 
strongly on the difference between phenomena 
mechanically recorded and the records of a living 
individual consciousness, I should be very sorry if 

286 



CONCLUSION 

anything said should lead students to assume that 
a loose and careless manner of study was in any 
way advocated. The training of his eye and hand 
to the most painstaking accuracy of observation and 
record must be the student's aim for many years. 
The variations on mechanical accuracy in the work 
of a fine draughtsman need not be, and seldom are, 
conscious variations. Mechanical accuracy is a much 
easier thing to accomplish than accuracy to the 
subtle perceptions of the artist. And he who cannot 
draw with great precision the ordinary cold aspect 
of things cannot hope to catch the fleeting aspect 
of his finer vision. 

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

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

Unflinching honesty must be observed in all your 
studies. It is only then that the "you" in you 
will eventually find expression in your work. And 
it is this personal quality, this recording of the 
impressions of life as felt by a conscious individual 
that i& 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 into 
running after any peculiarity in manner that the 
changing fashions of a restless age may throw up. 
One of the most original men who ever lived did 
not trouble to invent the plots of more than three 

287 



CONCLUSION 

or four of his plays, but was content to take the 
hackneyed work of his time as the vehicle through 
which to pour the rich treasures of his vision of 
life. And wrote : 

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

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



288 



APPENDIX 

IF you add a line of 5 inches to one of 8 inches you 
produce one 13 inches long, and if you proceed by 
always adding the last two you arrive at a series of 
lengths, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 inches, &c. Mr. William 
Schooling tells me that any two of these lines adjoin- 
ing one another are practically in the same propor- 
tion to each other ; that is to say, one 8 inches is 1-600 
times the size of one 5 inches, and the 13-inch line is 
1-625 the size of the 8-inch, and the 21-inch line being 
1-615 times the 13-inch line, and so on. With the 
mathematician's love of accuracy, Mr. Schooling has 
worked out the exact proportion that should exist 
between a series of quantities for them to be in the 
same proportion to their neighbours, and in which 
any two added together would produce the next. 
There is only one proportion that will do this, and 
although very formidable, stated exactly, for practical 
purposes, it is that between 5 and a fraction over 8. 
Stated accurately to eleven places of decimals it is 
(1 + V5)-f 2 = 1-61803398875 (nearly). 

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

I I 



I 

A 



O D 

THE PHI PROPORTION 
BC is 1-618033, &c., times size of AB, 
BC, 

DE CD, &c,, 

AC = CD 
BD = DE, &c. 

289 T 



APPENDIX 

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

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

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

"F6te Champetre," Giorgione, page 151. Lower 
end of flute held by seated female figure exactly 
Phi proportion with sides of picture, and lower side 
of hand holding it (a point slightly above the end 
of flute) exactly Phi proportion with top and bottom 
of canvas. This is also an important centre in the 
construction of the composition. 

"Bacchus and Ariadne," Titian, page 154. The 
proportion in this picture both with top and bottom 
and sides of canvas comes in the shadow under chin 
of Bacchus ; the most important point in the com- 
position being the placing of this head. 

"Love and Death," by Watts, page 158. Point 
from which drapery radiates on figure of Death 
exactly Phi proportion with top and bottom of 
picture. 

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

"Surrender of Breda," by Velazquez, page 161. 
First spear in upright row on the right top of 
picture, exactly Phi proportion with sides of canvas. 
Height of gun carried horizontally by man in middle 
distance above central group, exactly Phi proportion 

290 



APPENDIX 

with top and bottom of picture. This line gives 
height of group of figures on left, and is the most 
important horizontal line in the picture. 

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

"The Rape of Europa," by Paolo Veronese, 
page 168. 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 Phi 
proportion with sides of picture (unless in the 
reproduction a part of the picture on the left has 
been trimmed away, as is likely, in which case it 
would be exactly Phi proportion). 

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



INDEX 



ABSORBENT canvas, 192 
Academic drawing, 34 
Academic and conventional, 68 
Academic students, 68 
Accuracy, scientific and artistic, 30 
Anatomy, study of, its importance, 

36, 122 

' ' Ansidei Madonna," Raphael's, 231 
Apelles and his colours, 31 
Architecture, proportion in, 230 
Art, some definitions of, 18 
Artist, the, 27 
Atmosphere indicated by shading, 

102 

Atmospheric colours, 39 
Audiey, Lady, Holbein's portrait of, 

248 

"BACCHUS and Ariadne," Titian's, 

154, 193 

Backgrounds, 93, 141 
Balance, 219 
Balance between straight lines and 

curves, 220 
Balance between fial and gradated 

tones, 221 
Balance between light and dark 

tones, 222 
Balance between warm and cold 

colours, 223 
Balance between interest and mass, 

224 
Balance between variety and unity, 

225 

" Bank-note" papers, 285 
Bastien Lepage, 204 
Bath for etching, 283 
Beauty, definition of, 23 
Beauty and prettmess, 135 
Beauty and truth, 22 



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

163 

Black chalk, 179 
Black Conte, 280 

Black glass, the use of a, 120, 202 
Blake, example of parallelism, 145 
Blake's designs, 51, 169 
Blake's use of the vertical, 155 
Blocking in the drawing, 90 
Blocking out with square lines, 85, 

120 

"Blue Boy," Gainsborough's, 223 
Botany, the study of, 36 
Botticelli's work, 34, 51, 145, 163 
Boucher's heads compared with 

Watteau's, 211 
Boundaries of forms, 93 
Boundaries of masses in Nature, 

195 
Bread, use of, in charcoal drawing, 

276 

Browning, R., portraits of, 250 
Brush, manipulation of the, 114 
Brush strokes, 115 
Brushes, various kinds of, 115 
Burke on "The Sublime and the 

Beautiful," 135 
Burne-Jones, 55, 71, 125, 177 

CAMERA, use of the, 286 

Carbon pencils, 180 

Carlyle, 64 

Circle, perfect curve of, to be 

avoided, 138 
Chalks, drawing in, 125 
Charcoal drawing, 54, 111, 113, 192, 

275; fixing solution, 277 
Chavannes, Peuvis de, 55, 103 
Chiaroscuro, 53 
Chinese art, 21 



292 



INDEX 



China and Japan, the art of, 59 
Colour, contrasts of, 208 
Colours for figure work, 273 
Colours, a useful chart of, 191 
Classic architecture, 148 
Claude Monet, 62, 190 
Clothes, the treatment of, 253 
Composition of a picture, the, 216 
Constable, 149 
Conte crayon, 192, 277 
"Contrasts in Harmony," 136 
Conventional art, 74 
Conventional life, deadness of the, 

270 
Corners of the panel or canvas, the, 

160 
Corot, his masses of foliage, 197, 

214 

Correggio,, 206 
Crow-quill pen, the, 283 
Curves, how to observe the shape 

of, 90, 162, 209 
Curves and straight lines, 220 

DARWIN, anecdote of, 243 
Deadness, to avoid, 132, 193 
Decorative work, 183 
Degas, 66 
" Dither," 71 
Diagonal lines, 160 
Discord and harmony, 173 
Discordant lines, 172 
Draperies of Watteau, the, 211 
Drapery studies in chalks, 125 
Drapery in portrait-drawing, 253 
Draughtsmanship and impression- 
ism, 66 

Drawing, academic, 35 
Drawing, definition of, 31 

EAST, arts of the, 57 

Edges, variety of, 192 

Edges, the importance of the 

subject of, 198 
Egg and dart moulding, 138 
Egyptian sculpture, 135 
Egyptian wall paintings, 51 
El Greco, 169 
Elgin Marbles, the, 135 
Ellipse, the, 138 
" Embarquement pour Pile de 

Cy there," Watteau 's, 211 
Emerson on the beautiful, 214 



Emotional power of the arts, 20 

Emotional significance of objects, 31 

Erechtheum, moulding from the, 138 

Etching, 283 

Exercises in mass drawing, 110 

Exhibitions, 57 

Expression in portrait-drawing, 242 

Eye, anatomy of the, 105 

Eye, the, in portrait- drawing, 242 

Eyebrow, the, 105 

Eyelashes, the, 108 

Eyelids, the, 106 

' ' F&TE Champetre, " Giorgioni' s, 151 

Figure work, colours for, 273 

"Finding of the Body of St. Mark," 
123, 236 

Fixing positions of salient points, 
86 

Flaubert, 68 

Foliage, treatment of, 196 

Foreshortenings, 93 

Form and colour, 18 

Form, the influence of, 32 

Form, the study of, 81 

Frans Hals, 246 

French Revolution, Carlyle's, 64 

French schools, 68 

Fripp, Sir Alfred, 91 

Fromentin's definition of art, 23 

Fulness of form indicated by shad- 
ing, 102, 124 

GAINSBOROUGH, the charm of, 209, 

223 

Genius and talent, 17 
Geology, the study of, 36 
Giorgioni, 151, 196 
" Giorgioni, The School of," Walter 

Pater's, 29 
Giotto, 222 
Glass pens, 283 
Goethe, 64 
Gold point, 275 
Gold and silver paint for shading, 

125 

Gothic architecture, 148, 150 
Gradation, variety of, 199 
Greek architecture, 221 
Greek art in the Middle Ages, 130 
Greek art, variety in, 133 
Greek vivacity of moulding, 134 
Greek and Gothic sculpture, 147 



293 



INDEX 



Greek type of profile, 140 
Greuze, 221 

HAIB, the treatment of, 77, 102 

Hair, effect of style upon the face, 
180 

Half tones, 98 

" Hannibal crossing the Alps," Tur- 
ner's, 163 

Hardness indicated by shading, 102 

Harsh contrasts, effect of, 171 

Hatching, 118 

Health, questions of, 269 

Henner, the work of, 124 

High lights, 94 

Hogarth's definition, 136 

Holbein's drawings, 99, 179, 247 

Holl, Frank, 222 

Horizontal, calm and repose of the, 
150 

Horizontal and vertical, the, 149 

Hwnan Anatomy for Art Students, 91 

Human figure, the outline of the, 52 

IMPRESSIONISM, 195, 257 
Impressionist vision, Gl 
Ingres, studies of, 73, 274 
Ink used in lithography, 282 
Intellect and feeling, 19 
Intuitions, 17 

Italian Renaissance, the, 51 
Italian work in the fifteenth century, 
34 

JAPANESE art, 21 
Japanese method, a, 47 
Japanese and Chinese use of con- 
trasts of colour, 208 

KEATS' definition of beauty, 22 

LANDSCAPES of Watteau, the, 211 
Lang, Andrew, his definition of 

art, 19 

Lawrence, Lord, portrait of, 250 
Lead pencil, 192, 274 
Lecoq de Boisbaudran, M. , 260 
Lehmann, R., portraits by, 250 
Leonardo da Vinci, 51, 206, 227 
Light, 38 
Light and shade, principles of, 51, 

95 
Lighting and light effects, 202 



Likeness, catching the, 240 

Line and the circle, the, 137 

Line drawing and mass drawing, 

48, 50 
Lines expressing repose or energy, 

163 

Line, the power of the, 50, 80 
Lines, value of, in portrait -painting, 

138 

Lines of shading, different, 102, 123 
Lithographic chalk, 192 
Lithography, 281 
" Love and Death," Watts' 156 

MANET, 206 

Mass drawing, 49, 58, 80, 81, 110 

Masters, past and modern, 272 

Materials, 271 

Mathematical proportions, 228 

Measuring comparative distances, 
88 

Measurements, vertical and hori- 
zontal, 88 

Medium, the use of, 111 

Michael Angelo, the figures of, 33, 
53,56 

Michael Angelo and Degas, 66 

Millais, 196 

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

Model, the, 61, 81 

Monet, Claude, 118 

Morris's definition of art, 19 

NATURE, variety of forms in, 187 
Nature's tendency to pictorial unity 

of arrangement, 186 
Newspaper as a background, 99 
Norman architecture, 148 

OIL, surplus in paint, 191 

Originality, 76 

"Our Lady of the Rocks," L. da 

Vinci's, 206 
Outline drawing, 50 
Outline studies and models, 81 

PAINT, the vitality of, 114 
Paint, the consistency of, 117 
Paint, effect of oil in thick, 191 
"Painted Poetry," 46 
Painter's training, the object of 
the, 29 



294 



INDEX 



Painting and drawing, 110 
Panel or canvas, the, 159 
Paolo Uccello, 171 
Paolo Veronese, 145, 163 
Paper for drawing, 279, 284 
Parallel shading, 100 
Parallelism of lines, 145 
Parthenon, the, 55 
Pater, Walter, 29 
Pen-and-ink drawing, 101, 282 
Pens for pen-and-ink drawing, 283 
Perspective, the study of, 36, 195 
Philip IV, Velazquez' portrait of, 

Photograph, failure of the, 72 
Picture galleries, the influence of, 

33 
Pictures, small and large, treatment 

of, 183 
Planes of tone, painting in the, 

122 

Pre-Raphaelite paintings, 46 
Pre-Raphaelite movement, the, 257 
Preparatory drawings, disadvantage 

of, 121 

Primitive art, 55, 128 
Primitive emotions, 21 
Procedure, in commencing a draw- 
ing, 265 

Profiles, beauty of, 140 
Proportions, 228 
Poppy oil and turpentine, the use 

of, 119 

Portrait-drawing, 99, 239 
" Portrait of the Artist's Daughter," 

Sir B. Burne-Jones's, 177 
Pose, the, 251 
Peuvis de Chavannes, 55, 103 

QUALITY and tezture, variety in, 
189 

RADIATING lines, 171 

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

Raphael, 53, 231 

Red rays, 39, 192, 278 

Reed pens, 283 

Rembrandt and his colours, 31, 204, 
208 

Reproduction, advantages of up-to- 
date, 104, 269 

Retina, effect of light on the, 38 



Reynolds' contrasts of colour, 208 
Rhythm, definition of, 27, 127, 

227 

Right angle, power of the, 156 
Roman sculpture, lack of vitality 

in, 133 
Rossetti, 55 

Royal Academy Schools, 69 
Rubens, 162 
Ruskin, 17 

SCHOOLS of Art, 68 

Scientific and artistic accuracy, 36 

Scientific study, necessity for, 36 

Scumbling, 111 

Shading, 51, 93, 101, 124 

Shape, variety of, 185 

Silhouette, the, 66 

Silver-point, 275 

Silver-point work, shading in, 101 

Sitter, the, 249 

Softness indicated by shading, 102, 
123 

Solar spectrum, the, 38 

Solids as flat copy, 84 

Spanish school, the, 62 

Straight lines indicative of strength, 
148 

Straight lines and flat tones, analogy 
between, 209 

Strong light in contrast with dark 
shadow, 206 

Study of drawing, the, 80 

Stump, the, 54 

Style, 288 

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

" Surrender of Breda, The," Velaz- 
quez', 161, 194 

Sympathetic lines, 173 

TALENT and genius, 17 
Teachers in Art Schools, 69 
Technical side of an art, the, 21 
Thickness and accent, variety of, 

143 

Tintoretto, 123. 237 
Titian, 53, 154 

Tolstoy's definition of art, 19 
Tone, meaning of the word, 121 

187, 208 

Tone values, variety of, 187 
Toned paper, drawing on, 126 



295 



INDEX 



Tones, large flat, the effect of, 207 
Touch, the sense of, 40 
Trafalgar Square lions, the, 78 
Trees, the masses of, 196 
Turner, 163, 205, 214, 223 
Types, lifelessness of, 134 

"ULYSSES deriding Polyphemus," 

Turner's, 214 
Unity and variety, 132 
Unity of line, 144 

" VALE of Rest," Millais', 196 
Value, meaning of the word as 

applied to a picture, 188 
Values of tone drawing, the, 122 
Van Dyck, his use of the straight 

line, 151 

Variety in symmetry, 142 
" Variety in Unity," 136 
" Varying well," 136 
Velazquez, 53, 60, 161 
Venetian painters, and the music 

of edges, 193 
Venetians, the, their use of straight 

lines, 151 



Venetians, system and principles of 

design of the, 217 
"Venus, Mercury, and Cupid," 

Correggio's, 206 
Vertical, the, associated with the 

sublime, 149 
Vertical lines, feeling associated 

with, 182 
Vision, 38 

Visual blindness, 47 
Visual memory, the, 256 



WARD, the animal painter, 124 
Warm colours, 224 
Watteau, the charm of, 209 
Watts, Gr. F., portraits by, 249 
Watts' use of the right angle, 156 
Windsor, Holbein's portraits at. 

247 
Whistler, a master of tone, 190, 

222, 251 

White casts, drawing from, 99 
White chalk, 180 
White paint, 191 
White pastel, 280 



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