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Textures In Monochrome

The Art Of Painting - Textures In Monochrome - 1, a brief series of articles on the art of painting and drawing
 
 
WHEN you have made studies in different views of the cast, or between the making of these varying effects from it, arrange a silver teapot against a piece of coloured satin or other material, and paint it exactly in the same way in monochrome. You are not to seek to convey the sense of colour, except through the just realisation of the relative tones. As I have pointed out to you, a monochrome photograph enables you to distinguish metals and the texture of other materials quite independently of colour, although you may often be able to guess their actual colours by the justness of the tone relations. In this study use more of the stiff or solid white for the silver, for you have yet to get used to managing the stiffer pigments ; and whatever you do, do not retouch the study with any colour when it is dry or tacky. It will be quite time enough to do this when you have had experience and have gained sufficient judgment to retouch your work without losing the sense of oneness; for although you may feel that a few corrections are necessary, you will do more harm than good. You are likely to lose the quality you will have realised by keeping the study all wet together, if you retouch the surface however slightly.
Now, we will imagine that you have neglected to scrape off your paint while the study was wet, and desire to continue with it although it has dried. If the work is only partly dry, and too set to be removed with the palette knife, you had best not continue with that study until it is thoroughly set. It is better to start something else meanwhile.
If, however, it is practically dry, how shall we proceed ? First of all, take your " plush mat " and erase some of the dark colour from your shadows and background, right up to and even over the outline, not forgetting to place a thick cardboard immediately behind the canvas, between it and your stretcher. This will give you a firm ground to scrape upon, and will prevent abrasions. Repeated covering of already dark paint will lead to muddiness ; but by erasing somewhat, you will be able to preserve the requisite transparent quality. If, at the same time, the light passages are over-encumbered, use your plush mat so that the scraping undulates across the modelling, from side to side of the study, pressing but slightly on the mat. Any uneven pressure may result in ugly ruts, in which eventuality you had best scrape till the immediately surrounding canvas is altogether bare.



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