Painting In Colour From Life 4

The main difficulty in painting direct is just to " hit" the general colour which may tend to yellow or pink, or look chalky where the lights are not sufficiently warmed. Then, too, the greys, except in the ablest hands, cannot equal the transparent quality of prepared work. They are frequently either too violet or too green ; and, when much insisted on, too leaden. The grey tones are by far the severest test of a colourist's capacity. The one great advantage of monochrome is, that one may play with the warm glazes over the dry preparation until the desired general hue is obtained ; and in case of failure the glazes can be removed, whilst the preparation is left intact for a more favourable opportunity.
Moreover, should it be found necessary to paint solidly over it, the drawing and tone values are already found, and the body of white and light greys will help to keep the overpainting fresh and luminous. In such a case, varnish slightly diluted with linseed oil is effective as a medium.
Beautiful qualities are, of course, obtained by the direct method in capable hands. But these hands must be very capable, for any retouching will mar the essential characteristics of this method ; and it is given to few to achieve a result which implies swiftness, dexterity, sureness, and just observation of colour, tone, and character in every touch. For this reason, among others, the student Will be well advised to prepare for his final effort by stages, and to overcome by degrees the intricacies of his art.
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