No. 3. No. 4. No. 5;
Take two pots ; mix some whiting only in one of them and pour it into
the other, in which has been placed some of the blue already mixed,
and you will have the lighter blue (No. 2)j. The grey tint is to be
composed of ultramarine, white, Indian or Venetian red, a little
indigo and a small quantity of light ochre. No. $ tint will be the
result. This colour is to be used in the darkest portions of the
clouds, and for mixing with all those tints which require grey in
them. For the general half-shade of the cloud colour the above grey
must be lightened, by mixing with it, in another pot, some of the light
cloud colour. The light cloud colour is mixed in the following way :
Take some damp lake, and, as it is of a pulpy nature, work it up with
the palette knife on the palette board, adding a little size, so as to
get it into a thick liquid state. Another way of preparing it is to
put some of the lake into the bottom of a pot, and then to twirl
a large sash tool rapidly round in it, adding a little size, in order to
dissolve it. Take care that there are no lumps in the mixture, as
they would float about, stick to the brush, and make red streaks in
30 SCENE PAINTING AND DISTEMPER PAINTING.
the sky while you are laying it in. Now mix, in a large pot, rather
thick, some whiting and size, adding first just enough orange chrome
to give a tinge to the mixture, and then some of the mixed lake.
Stir all three together, so that they mingle thoroughly, and neither
lake nor yellow predominates. The result is a light warm tint, suit-
able for the light edges of the clouds, and for mixing with any light
colour that may be called into service during the whole course of the
painting. (See No. 5 tint.)
These tints will, I think, be sufficient for the purpose of laying in
such a simple subject as that chosen for an example. Before using
the colours, however, see that they are of such a consistency as to
flow freely from the brush and cover well. In dipping a large brush
into a pot of colour, let only the hair of it be covered as far as about
an inch and a half from the part where it is joined to the handle,
otherwise you would incur the risk of taking up so much colour that
it would drip on to your hand, as well as over the scene. Still, the
brush should be charged with sufficient colour to keep the surface well
wetted with it, without running ; for, should the colour run at all,
you will have a series of perpendicular streaks that will be hard to
get rid of, while, on the other hand, you will never get your colours
to blend and soften if you work with too dry a brush.
All laying in colours should be mixed with size that is a little
stronger than working size, for you may have to go over the same
spot several times before your scene is finished, and the surface
would become spongy and very inconvenient to work on if you did
not observe the above precaution. And it would also be advisable to
size all over those parts which have not already been covered with
the raw sienna, using working size with just enough whiting in it to
give it the resemblance of milk and water. This will greatly facilitate
the laying in, and cause the colours to blend and soften far more
readily than would otherwise be the case — an objedt much to be
desired, especially in laying in the sky.
You will now place near you a palette set with the colours in the
order in which I have described them, and, by the side of that, a pot
SCENE PAINTING AND DISTEMPER PAINTING. 31
of size made a little stronger than working size, a pot of water to
wash your brushes in, and a clean pot or two in which to compound
intermediate and other tints from those already made up.
You can now commence colouring the scene. Laying the sky in
will be the first thing to do, and this, when once begun, must be
carried on as rapidly as possible. Take, then, your lightest sky blue,
pour a little of it into a large pot and to it add some white just tinged
with lake. This colour is for the lower and lightest portion of your
sky. Beginning at the bottom, fill in with it the streaks of light
under the clouds, making use of a sash tool. Now, with your lightest
sky colour, and using a two-knot brush, or, if you find that too large,
a flat pound one (the larger the brush, the flatter will the colour lie),
lay in the portion of the sky that is just above the lowest clouds.
Work horizontally, and afterwards cross the streaks you have made
with upward and slanting ones, working to and fro with a free and
random stroke till there is no longer any trace of the horizontal
marks. Proceed in this manner till the whole of the sky is laid in,
except the large masses of clouds, which you can leave to be done
another time ; but you must not pick in too nicely round the outline
of the clouds, as that would take too long and your sky would be
drying faster than you could get it laid in, causing the blue of it to
dry in patches. It is not advisable always to follow strictly and with
a small sized brush the outline of the clouds that was previously
sketched in, but, on the contrary, it is often better to give free play
to the large brush before alluded to, so that the form which the out-
line of the clouds will ultimately assume may depend, to a certain
extent, on chance. As you proceed upwards with your sky colour,
you must now and then pour a little of your light blue into the pot
you are using, stirring the colour occasionally with a sash tool to
keep it well mixed. Continue adding light blue until the colour itself
has become all light blue. Now add some of the dark blue to the
same and again proceed upwards, continually adding more and more
dark blue to what is now in the pot, using one and the same brush
throughout without washing it. Do not stop to pick in your sky
32 SCENE PAINTING AND DISTEMPER PAINTING.
colour round the mill-sails, but proceed right on, regardless of covering
them, as the size in your outline colour will cause them to remain still
visible after the colour has been laid over them. But should they,
from any cause, become obliterated, it would be preferable to have to
sketch them in again than to delay the work of laying the sky in.
Some of the light fleecy clouds had better be put in while the sky colour
is wet ; and, for that purpose, you may use some of the lightest grey,
with a little of the light tint for the edges of the clouds, and some of
the sky-blue colour.
You can now lay the clouds in. Have a pot for the dark grey
ground colour of the clouds, one for the light grey, and another for
colour suited for the light edges of the clouds, with a separate brush
in each of the pots. Such slight alterations of the tints as may be
found necessary in the course of the work, can be effected on the
palette. Begin at the lower part of the clouds with light grey,
putting in the light and the shadow at the same time, so that they
may be all wet together. At the upper part of the cloud at the right
hand, a little Indian red is introduced, and lower down, a little ultra-
marine is added to the dark grey.
As the success of your scene depends so much on the way the sky
is laid in, I would recommend you to practise painting skies without
having any subject at all ; executing the work rapidly and in the flat
or gradation part of the sky, not rubbing up the colour too much,
but, when once any portion is covered, leaving it to dry, which it will
be almost sure to do satisfactorily, provided it is not so wet as to
cause the colour to run. In distemper, indeed, if the sky can be laid
in and finished at one and the same time, an atmospheric effect is
produced which is rarely attained by any amount of after painting.
Having laid the sky in as well as you are able, you should now
proceed to lay in the distant hill, using, for that purpose, the middle
sky blue colour, which you must make a little lighter towards the
bottom part. Now lay in the church, houses, and trees in the dis-
tance. That being completed, your scene should present the appear-
ance shown in Ex. 14.
SCENE PAINTING AND DISTEMPER PAINTING. 33
SECOND PAINTING— GENERAL LAYING IN.
It is now time to lay in the mill, for which purpose you must use
the dark grey cloud colour, altering it from the palette, as occasion
may require, with Indian red, lake, and burnt sienna, and making
the tints sufficiently thin to enable you to see some of the first ground
colour through them. For the shadow side of the mill use ultra-
marine, which you must make greyer towards the back edge. The
base of the mill can be laid in next ; the thatch of it with raw sienna
and Dutch pink, with a touch or two of burnt sienna ; the stonework,
with the lightest sky colour, the darkest grey, and a little brown lake
with ultramarine for the darkest part of it. Then lay in the bank at
the base of the mill, using, in the lightest part, light chrome with a little
white in it, Dutch pink, and, in the darker parts, raw sienna and indigo.
The mill-sails, and the cottage to the right of the mill, may next
be laid in. Then the flat distance under the blue hill, using the lightest
cloud colour, with the addition to it of a little light ochre, and, as you
near the foreground, the further addition of a little Dutch pink.
The road may be laid in next, with the lightest grey of the cloud
colour, to which some Venetian red has been added, for the back
part, the shadow requiring the darkest grey, Indian red and a little
indigo. On leaving the shadow and approaching the foreground, the
same dark grey colour will be wanted, with the addition to it of some
Venetian red and a little white and ochre. Rub in, also, some Indian
red and burnt sienna, when you have nearly reached the foreground.
You will now take the foreground in hand. The part of it in front
of the mill you must lay in with Dutch pink, a little drop black, and
raw sienna (without white) for the warmest part, and the same colours
34 SCENE PAINTING AND DISTEMPER PAINTING.
mixed with a little green lake and a little indigo. The foliage to the
right will require Dutch pink, raw sienna, a little Vandyke brown and
a very little indigo.
The field at the left of the road will be the next thing to lay in ; the
back part of it with the dark grey added to a little lake and ultra-
marine, the extreme light part with light chrome and light ochre
colour, and the foreground with Dutch pink, leaving the raw sienna
ground colour for the rest.
Now lay in the hedge and grass at the left side of the road with
the foliage colours already mentioned, altering them according to the
example, and increasing the strength of colour as the foreground is
gained. The opposite side of the road can be next undertaken, of
which the grassy parts will require light ochre, with a little white for
the bright parts of it.
The water will now have to be attended to. Glaze over the dark
part of it with thin Vandyke brown, and, while it is wet, take some of
the darkest sky blue and soften the Vandyke colour into it. Then
take a clean brush and lay in the lighter blue, adding white with a
little light ochre as the foreground is approached. Lay the blue
colour in thin and the raw sienna ground will impart a tone to it.
Next, lay in the stone under the foliage with the grey and a little
Venetian red mixed with it ; then the shadow with the dark road
colour, which will also suit the dark stone to the left in the fore-
ground, the light stone requiring to be lighter and warmer, as shown
in the example.
You have now brought this, the second stage of the painting, to a
termination ; and, provided you have stridtly followed the instructions
just given, your scene ought to resemble Ex 15.
SCENE PAINTING AND DISTEMPER PAINTING. 35
THIRD PAINTING— THE FINISHING.
We now come to the last stage of the painting, and must proceed
to work up the scene in the same way as Ex. 16 was worked up,
beginning at the middle distance by marking up the church, houses,
windows, &c, with a purple grey, made up of the darkest sky blue, a
little lake, rather more ultramarine, and a touch of light ochre.
For the roofs, take a little lake and grey, and, for the distant trees,
the purple grey with a little Dutch pink added to it. Now, with some
dark warm grey, strengthen up the flat distance under the church,
and dot in the small trees on the horizontal line.
The field to the left of the scene must have some warmish grey
laid in behind the foliage in the foreground, and worked into the light
yellow colour previously placed there.
Next strengthen up the mill by means of glazing or solid colour, as
the case may require, after which the boards and woodwork of it may
be marked up with brown lake in the cool parts, and ultramarine,
brown lake and a little white in the warm ones. In like manner
strengthen up the sails, glazing with lake or burnt sienna, taking
care not to make the colour look too fiery. Then, with a sharp touch
or two, work up the thatch and other parts a little more, strengthen-
ing them and deepening the shadow.
Now, with a purple grey, mark up, first, the cottage, and afterwards,
but a little warmer, the shadow part of the bank, which you can
strengthen with raw sienna, a little indigo, and, here and there,
a little burnt sienna as a glaze. After that, cut up the foliage with a
glazing colour of raw sienna, indigo and Vandyke brown, using, for
the light on the right hand trees, Dutch pink, a little orange chrome
and raw sienna.
36 SCENE PAINTING AND DISTEMPER PAINTING.
The shadow part of the grass, with the foliage and grass at the
right hand side of the road, may now be strengthened by glazings of
raw sienna and indigo. The road itself can then be marked up with
some grey lines, and have thrown into it a little more colour, which
you might increase in strength in proportion as the foreground is
reached. A few loose stones can next be put in with good solid
colour, after which some greyish shadows can be added to them,
This part of the work may be followed by deepening the dark part of
the water with another glaze of Vandyke brown and a little raw
sienna, a little indigo being added as the colour of the water inclines
towards sky blue, into which, after being thinned with water, it must
be washed by means of a large brush.
As soon as the glazing is dry make a few bluish streaks of light in
the dark part of the water, and some sharp white ones in the front light
part. Then strengthen the stones under the trees, and to the right
of the scene, with colour and sharp markings.
Now put in the white dots, intended to represent sheep, at the left
hand side of the field, adding grey shadows to them ; then the flag
leaves, with glazing colour, raw sienna and indigo ; and afterwards
the stumps and twigs, with brown lake and a little ultramarine.
Strengthen the grass and flag leaves by using strong size with the
indigo and raw sienna above-mentioned, and by a sharp marking of
brown lake and Vandyke brown mixed with strong size, which last
will also serve for strengthening the stumps and twigs, being a good
colour wherever strong dark marking is required, since it is dark and
rich, and will not have a black appearance about it. You have now
only to put in the rude palings at the left side of the road, and when
that is done you may consider your scene as finished.
Having brought the painting of the scene to a conclusion, I must
beg my readers to understand that the simple example I have just
placed before them was chosen, not so much as being a work of art,
as for the purpose of illustrating the method I consider it best for
them to adopt throughout the whole course of painting a subject for
SCENE PAINTING AND DISTEMPER PAINTING. 37
The next thing that is to be done to the scene is to fit a roller to
it, after having taken out all the nails except those at the top. Place
a solid wooden roller, a little longer than the width of the cloth, at the
bottom of the scene, and roll the lowest part of the cloth round the
roller until it is covered, the circumference of the roller being supposed
not to be more than six inches, so as to take up the unpainted part of
the cloth. Tack the cloth to the roller, driving the tacks home ; and,
having ranged as many assistants as you can procure along the length
of the roller, at equal intervals, let them, all working together, roll
the cloth up on the roller, keeping it moderately tight. When you
come to a seam, see that it is parallel to the roller, and if it is not,
loosen or tighten the rolled up part of the cloth at either side, as the
case may require, otherwise you may find the cloth two or three feet
out by the time it has been rolled up as far as the top. Take
great care that no wrinkles or creases arise in the cloth while it is
being rolled up, for it would be impossible to get rid of them when
once they have been allowed to form. They generally originate from
the cloth having been lifted during the rolling, instead of being left to
bear the weight of the roller evenly throughout its length. If there is
a bight in the cloth, roll up till you come to the fold in the bight, and
then, after taking the nails out of the fold, strain the part of the
canvas that has been folded. Next, unroll the canvas till you come
to the bottom of the cloth, and let the roller rest on the sill of the
frame. Now tighten the canvas as much as you can, keeping it square,
and fasten the roller to the sill with some long nails. When you
have tacked up the sides, straining out the while from the centre, fill
up in the bight the part of the sky that is wanting ; and, all being dry,
roll up again, as before, till you come to the top nails, which you can
now take out, thus removing the piclure entirely from the frame.
38 SCENE PAINTING AND DISTEMPER PAINTING.
MIXING OF COLOURS— (Continued).
I have already given the necessary directions for mixing such
colours as would be required in executing the landscape you have
just painted, and I also described what other general tints could be
obtained by their combination. I shall now offer a few remarks on
the best manner of compounding several tints that may prove useful
in the painting of foliage.
A good, quiet, general tint may be obtained by mixing Dutch pink
with black, indigo, or blue verditer. Light ochre with green lake
gives a rich green, and this may be changed into a cool one by the
addition of indigo. Cool greens should be supported by a rich ground
colour of raw and burnt sienna and Vandyke brown. For light greens
use lemon chrome, a little Dutch pink and emerald green. Orange
chrome, Dutch pink and lemon chrome are suitable for light warm
foliage ; and flake white, with lemon chrome or orange chrome, when
an extra light green is required.
I may as well here mention that it is almost impossible to lay down
rules for the painting of foliage, inasmuch as nearly every scene
painter has a method of his own. Some at once lay in large masses
of the different greens, both light and dark, and afterwards, with
dark marking colours, which may be green, purple, or dark rich brown
(that is, brown lake with a little indigo), mark out the whole mass
into the required form, only having to put in a little extra light here
and there. Others lay in the dark greens and transparent browns,
and then, after putting in the stems and branches, paint the leaves,
making them stand out from the dark ground colours in various
degrees of light green, both cool and warm, and finishing by strength-
SCENE PAINTING AND DISTEMPER PAINTING. 3Q
ening both the light and the dark parts. Others, again, combine
these methods, or use one of them only, according to the description
of foliage they wish to represent. Should there be any flowers con-
nected with the foliage, it is sometimes advisable to lay in the foliage
first of all, and then paint the flowers in, although the colours of the
latter will, in a slight degree, become tinged with those of the foliage.
Some of the flowers may be designed to tell out as brilliantly as pos-
sible, in which case paint them first in their proper forms, with whiting
and strong size, and then, when that is dry and hard, give them their
appropriate colours and glaze them in.
Resuming my remarks on the colours, black and Venetian red make
a good standard grey, which can be altered, by the addition of other
colours, up to any tone you may desire. Rose pink, ultramarine and
whiting, form a good purple, suitable for using alone or for mixing with
other colours. A good, useful brown, may be made by mixing brown
ochre, Venetian red and black, with a little whiting.
Gold colours are made up in a variety of ways. Pure light ochre
is a good, quiet gold colour, and so are brown ochre mixed with a little
Dutch pink, Dutch pink with Vandyke brown, and the same with
burnt sienna. These are laying in golden colours. For the lights,
use either flake white added to lemon or orange chrome, pure lemon
chrome alone, or orange chrome mixed with lemon chrome or Dutch
pink. For the dark parts use Vandyke brown added to a little dark
brown ochre, burnt sienna, and a purple made of ultramarine, lake
and the least bit of whiting. Trie reflected light in the shadow parts
will require orange red with Dutch pink and burnt sienna. Wherever
there is any strong colour near the gold, the reflection will, of course,
be of that colour.
Purple, lavender and mauve are colours which will need peculiar
management, as, however well they may look by daylight, they are
apt to assume a too red or else muddy appearance when viewed at
night. To counteract this tendency, the plan I have found it best to
adopt is as follows : Suppose the subject to be a bunch of grapes,
lay them in with ultramarine and white, but shadow them with pure
40 SCENE PAINTING AND DISTEMPER PAINTING.
lake, and then put a light on them with ultramarine and whiting,
adding a dot or two of pure flake white for the highest light and a
blue reflection on the shadow side. Or, reversing this plan, lay in
with lake and whiting — or, still better, carmine paste — shade with blue,
use lake, white and a little vermilion for the reflection ; put the lights
in with blue and whiting, and the high ones as before.
Should the subject, be a piece of drapery, lay in with ultramarine
and whiting with the least touch of damp lake, hatch in the shadows
with lake and a little whiting, which you can also use for the lights,
and then glaze in the deepest shadows with carmine paste and a
little strong size. If the laying in should look too blue by night,
hatch in some horizontal lines on some of the flat parts. Lilac blos-
soms might be treated in the same way. To lay in crimson drapery,
use damp lake, a little orange red, whiting and vermilion. Glaze
in the shadows with damp lake, strengthening them with brown lake,
damp lake and a little strong size. When this is dry, cover the whole
of the canvas with a very thin glaze of carmine paste, and on this
being also dry, put in the high lights with carmine paste and whiting,
taking care not to make it too white. Should the light look too
chalky, go over it again with a very thin glaze of carmine paste. For
the reflections on the shadows use vermilion with a little orange red
added to it. Should this look raw, glaze it with carmine paste. To
enrich the shadow colour, glaze again with carmine paste and strong
size, to which a little treacle has been added.
Having already explained how to mix the colours that would be
wanted in painting an ordinary daylight sky, I shall now give directions
for mixing those that are suitable for a sunset or evening sky. For
the lightest part near the horizon have some lemon chrome and white
in a middling sized pot, orange chrome and white in a large one, the
same in another pot with damp lake added to it, care being taken that
neither the lake nor the orange chrome predominates, together with
other pots for damp lake and white only, and for ultramarine and
white. To make the next colour pour half of the lake colour and half
of the ultramarine just spoken of into a pot and mix them together.
SCENE PAINTING AND DISTEMPER PAINTING. 41
Next, have a pot for darker blue, ultramarine with a little azure blue
and white ; another of still darker blue, mixed in the same way but
with more azure blue. Each of these colours, from the lemon chrome
to the darkest blue, must be a shade darker than the one preceding it.
Always try the colours after mixing them, on some part of your can-
vas, blending them into each other in the same way as you intend to