Now arrange a still-life group (similar to the one to be done in the monochrome) of silver and china on a white cloth, with any other objects that may help to compose the group, and, by way of getting accustomed to the different mediums, put some amber or mastic varnish in your oil-pot, adding to it a little linseed oil.<< Previous page
This makes a very fat medium, and may render your silver objects more effective.
In such a group the delicately contrasted whites should make a good study. Be careful to compare the varying qualities of the white and other delicate tints. Note the effect which the high lights on the silver have upon all other tones ; and although the reflections in the shadows on the metal may appear very high in colour, let there be no mistake about their being reflections, both in the quality of their colour and their general tone. You must also look for the alternating warm and the cool tones that may occur throughout the group.
Keep your colour pure. Lay in the whole as before directed, and think less at the outset of the nature of the textures than of the patches of varying light and dark tones. If these are carefully followed, and a tone coloured map, as it were, of the whole mechanically reproduced, the textures will be at least partly realised. Having looked into the glass at your canvas, which is now, completely covered and placed by the side of your group, seek to elaborate each object, and if by chance there is any sense of monotony in the work, you will find that by laying on the light of the silver very cleanly and very solidly, you may get greater contrast of tone. Leave your work at intervals, for ten minutes at a time, coming back to it with a fresh eye. It is important at all times, when you are working in colour, to interrupt the work with this object in view. You will more readily appreciate the delicate variations, and become aware of any false sense of colour that may permeate the study.
Try and make this group as finished as you can, even though it may look over-laboured. You are not likely to preserve a desirable freshness with completeness in your early practice, but you must learn to concentrate, and stick at it. You will get into messes often enough, and you must learn how to get out of them. You may be sure that without great determination nothing is achieved that is worth achieving.
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