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Picture index

From 
DIBDIN's PROGRESSIVE LESSONS 
IN 
WATER COLOUR PAINTING

 

The first subject is a windmill, a sketch selected on account of its simplicity and easy treatment. Plate I. is the simple outline drawing; which, however, must not be neglected because it is merely an outline. "He who desires to paint, must first draw," is a trite remark, which cannot be too often insisted on; but by experience I have found that the simplest and most successful method of obtaining the "effect" in a watercolour drawing, without losing the detail or finish, is to draw the outline of every part of the subject, not only with care and correctness but with a firm hand, so that all the parts shall be well understood at first, leaving nothing, in this portion of the study to be done afterwards; and the greater the perseverance in following this precept, the greater will be the success, especially with beginners. The outline should be put in with a stronger or darker touch for this purpose than for pencil finishing; because each succeeding wash of colour weakens it, and would in time obliterate the fainter or lighter portions of the subject.

The second plate or stage of the drawing must then be imitated by mixing some warm sepia and burnt sienna to the tone of the colour in the original, and laying it freely on the paper with a large brush, always taking care to keep the colour in a very fluid state or wash, and producing the darker parts by the quantity of the fluid colour laid on, and not by the thickness of the pigment. By attention to this, greater transparency will be obtained, while by using the colour in a thick state, a muddy and opaque effect would be the result. This must be borne in mind throughout all the studies.

The third plate adds the blue, which in the present instance may be produced by washes of pure cobalt. It is highly probable, that at this stage the student may find his drawing in an unsatisfactory state, in consequence of the liquid colour having dried into forms which he did not intend, with harsh lines at the edges, &c.; this will be obviated by allowing the drawing to dry thoroughly, by the fire if necessary; and then with a large, flat, camelís-hair brush washing it all over with plenty of clean soft water (water which has been boiled): the harshness of the colour will then be softened down, and the tints become amalgamated and harmonized. Those parts which have become faint or weak by this process can be strengthened afterwards by retouching.

The fourth plate has the yellow, a very little of which will be sufficient; this may be produced by a general wash of yellow ochre in a very fluid state, thinly laid over the lower part of the sky and foreground, care being taken to avoid those parts which are positively white, and by a sufficiency of gamboge in the foreground where it is apparent in the original. The figure may be touched with venetian red mixed with lake or carmine, and a stronger tint of cobalt on the dress. The last and strongest touches with warm sepia and burnt sienna are assisted by adding a little dissolved gum to the colour, which prevents its absorption by the paper, and causes it to stand out better: but this should only be done in the immediate foreground.