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The Principle

The study of painting as an art is based on three considerations, form,
light and shade, and color. I will now treat of color--the form, and
light and shade being furnished for us in the photograph. Photography
as a means of art education in its influence on the public is salutary.
In spite of all its falsity it is the best teacher of the first
elements of criticism and knowledge of the facts of form and light and
shade. Photography does not produce color, so that we will add the one
link to the chain that is wanting. As we are dealing with pictures
finished in light and shade, it is well that we should have rules to
aid in choosing good ones to work on.

In selecting a photograph to color we want as perfect a print as it is
possible to procure. A light one is preferable. Notice in particular if
it is well defined, that the shadows and middle shades are clear, the
lights pure, and that it is free from defects and spots. Many think
that they can take a poor photograph, and, by coloring it, cover up the
defects, but they are wrong in this, for the transparent colors will
not conceal defects. The best rule is that the better the photograph
the better will be the picture when finished. The Soule Photograph
Company, No. 338 Washington Street, Boston, Mass., furnish photographic
reproductions, mounted and unmounted, of all the best paintings in the
world, in both public and private art galleries, and their photographs
are the best to color. Therefore, to begin with, have a perfect picture
to color. Scholars in commencing to use the brush will not be able to
produce bold effects of color, and will only acquire that power by use
and practice. By bold effects I do not mean that one part is to be more
prominently rendered than any other portion of the work, but merely the
brilliancy of coloring which distinguishes professional from amateur
work. In any kind of painting it must be borne in mind, that there are
no decided lines forming the edges of any object. The point insisted on
is that the boundaries of objects must be of that color that will
harmonize and subdue the picture, producing a soft, delicate effect.

I would advise all who begin to paint to commence with water colors, as
they are the easiest to manipulate, the liquid water colors being
easier than the body colors, and their use the simplest of all kinds of
painting. The photograph being a fac-simile of a subject as it appears
to the eye in form and light and shade, furnishes a picture perfect
except in color, while the liquids supply the color in the form best
adapted to teaching the first steps in its use. It is hoped, though,
that after the student has thoroughly mastered this course of study, he
will attempt something higher and more difficult in the study of art.

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