Sketching and Painting

This is a hobby that can give anyone a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction-even if he has always felt that he “can’t draw a straight line’. In fact, it is often those having the greatest doubts as to their ability who eventually produce the best results. Painting and drawing are wonderful ways of increasing your powers of observation, and they can provide a far more personal record of the things you see than the camera can ever hope to achieve.

For pencil sketching a beginner needs a range of soft and hard pencils, some sticks of soft charcoal, a block or book of cartridge paper, a soft rubber and a charcoal eraser. A small bottle of charcoal fixative, together with a blower, will be needed to “fix’ charcoal drawings.

Art classes at school may have taught the chief rule of perspective; briefly, it is that distant objects appear smaller. If you stand in the middle of a railway track and look along it, the two rails appear to draw closer together in the distance. This applies to all objects; the wall of a house, viewed at an angle, appears taller at the end nearest the point at which you are standing. Easy practice in perspective can be had by
sketching open country with fields. Trees, hedges and fences will give you a challenge in perspective which will stand you in good stead when you tackle something more difficult. Light and shade in pencil sketching are achieved by depth of pencil shading. There is no need to pay too much attention to the way in which this shading is applied, or to try to put in a great many details. The best way to begin is to look for the main masses of light and dark in front of you and to try to represent their shapes, as well as their sizes and tones in relation to one another. The more outstanding details that you see can be put in later. You should, however, bear in mind that a sketch of a scene is always a simpliication of that scene.

Should you wish to sketch in pen and ink-a more limiting medium for a beginner-you will need a harder surfaced paper, a small range of nibs and a bottle of black Ink.
If you would like to try painting, you may choose to start with oil paints, water-colours, poster colours or even pastels.

lf you are beginning in oils, you will find prepared hardboard a satisfactory surface to use and inexpensive compared with canvas. It is best to equip yourself with large brushes, to use a good-sized surtace, and to treat the subject matter broadly, looking for areas of colours and tones, and for their relations to one another. Try some exercises which will help you to see how one colour affects another; place patches of different
colours, or of different shades of one colour, next to each other and study the effect. Some colours are heavier than others; some come forward while others seem to recede; some combinations of colours are harmonious while some are discordant. All of these discoveries can be applied to your
painting. Many other colour excercises can be found in the various books on painting which are in your public library.

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