The term Representation, as it is used here, is to be understood as meaning the delineation of things as they appear to the eye. The delineation may be in mass, in outline, in values, or in light and shade. Black, neutral tones, or colours may be the means by which it is expressed, and the mediums through which this expression is made possible are charcoal, chalk, crayons, ink, water-colours, and pencil. Other mediums that might be used are, for various reasons, not suitable for school purposes.
In this Manual the drawing and painting of the following things are handled under the head of Representation : plant specimens, fruit and vegetables, trees, landscapes, animals, children, and manufactured objects. In the delineation of these things, vigilant attention must be paid to Composition which, on that account, is explained in connection with Representation, although its application is by no means confined to this division of the subject.
The success of every lesson in Representation depends on the previous preparation made by the teacher and pupils and on the sincerity of the work done in the class. Careful study is necessary, and pupils must be taught, as they work, to observe, draw, and compare again and again, looking for the large truths first and adding only enough detail to make their representation of the object true to its appearance.
The first requisite for good plant drawing is a sufficient supply of good specimens. If these are picked the evening before they are to be used and kept overnight in deep water, they will then remain fresh throughout the lesson. Wilted sprays make poor studies and are most uninspiring. At first, the wise teacher gathers his own supply or arranges to have some pupils upon whom he can depend do it for him. Later, the whole class may bring specimens, and a selection may be made from these. By this method the judgment of the class will be trained. As a rule, one good specimen on each alternate desk is quite sufficient. Where the flower is large, as the iris or the tulip, eight or ten will be enough for an ordinary school-room, if they are arranged in an upright position on model stands or in jars of moist sand on boards placed across the aisles so that each pupil has a good view of one. Two should be placed somewhere in front, one at either side, for those who sit in the first row of seats. In the case of specimens which would not grow in an upright position naturally, such as certain fruit sprays and vines, another method of placing must be used. Pieces of heavy cardboard, nine inches by twelve inches, or larger, may be covered with cheesecloth and placed leaning against the jars of sand on the boards across the aisles. The specimens may be pinned in a natural position to these sheets of covered cardboard. When grasses, sedges, or sprays of small flowers are to be drawn, a specimen may be laid on each pupil’s desk on a sheet of drawing paper of the same size as that on which the drawing is to be made. This method is particularly satisfactory in Form I, as the pupil can glance readily from his drawing to the specimen to see that he is making it occupy the same space on his sheet of paper that it does on the similar sheet on which it lies, and by so doing overcome the natural tendency in beginners to make their drawings too small.
Where gardening is a feature of the school work, the teacher should have those plants cultivated which are suitable for representation and should also plan to have a succession of plants in bloom. The garden can supply crocus, scilla, hyacinth, daffodil, tulip, iris, orange lily, polyanthus, primrose, bleeding-heart, poppy, phlox, nasturtium, spiderwort, salvia, aster, sunflower, petunia, coxcomb, cosmos, ageratum, and the old-fashioned marigold, all of which make excellent studies. From early Spring to late Fall the woods, roadsides, and vacant lots are overrun with a wealth of suitable materialpussy willows and other catkins, spring beauties, hepaticas, anemones, dog-tooth violets, marsh marigolds, trilliums, clover, dandelions, meadow phlox, wild mustard, buttercups, thistles, wild mints, mulleins, teasel, harebells, pink yarrow, musk roses, toad-flax, golden-rod, wild asters, many varieties of grasses, sedges, and weeds, and a host of other flowers.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
A single specimen of fruit without stem and leaves is not, as a rule, a desirable subject for drawing; but fruits or vegetables may be studied and drawn in this way in the upper Forms, when this study is preparatory to a more finished drawing in which the specimen is to be shown with its natural complement of stem and leaves, or in a composition made up of two or three of its kind grouped with some appropriate utensil.
Among the fruits that make good studies when they are left on the twig or small branch, are cherries, currants, plums, peaches, pears, apples, and wild or uncultivated grapes. Other interesting studies are a head of corn with the husk parted so that some of the kernels are exposed to view, small or medium-sized tomatoes attached to a portion of the vine, and squashes or similar vegetables to the stalk of which a leaf or two still adheres.
Trees must be observed out-of-doors and drawn afterwards from memory. At first, they should be studied and drawn alone; later, the height in relation to the horizon should be noted, that they may be used in landscape composition. The trees selected for study should be true to type and common to the neighbourhood.
The first landscapes drawn by young pupils must necessarily be made up with the teacher’s help. Form I pupils learn to observe the appearance of earth, trees, and sky in a landscape through their drawings. Later, the process is reversed and, in the succeeding Forms, the pupils endeavour to represent what they observe in nature.
Animals and birds may be studied out of school and drawn from memory afterwards, but better results follow careful study by the class under the direction of the teacher. A pet animal, such as a dog, cat, rabbit, white rat, or squirrel; or a pet bird, such as a canary, parrot, pigeon, or bantam rooster, may be brought by the owner after school is called and posed on a table in front of the class. It is better to have only one model at a time, that the attention may be concentrated and that there may be no confusion. A cow, a pony, or a goat may be tethered in the school yard, while the pupils sit on the steps of the school with a sheet of paper fastened by rubber bands to some large book and make rapid charcoal sketches. After an exercise of this kind, each pupil should make, from memory, a drawing of the animal in some one of the positions in which the class has observed it.
Figure drawing or drawing from the pose is practically begun in the illustrative work in Form I, but not before Form II should any attempt be made to separate the figure from the story, to draw it by itself.
Care should be taken in the choice of a model. A well-shaped child whose clothing is made on simple lines is the best model. In no case should the abnormal be chosen.
The model should be placed on a bench or table in a corner of the room at the front, so that each member of the class will have a similar view; or two may be placed, one at each side, at the front. As far as possible, a different pupil should be selected for each pose, and no pupil should be allowed to pose more than five minutes at a time (seldom that long) unless in a sitting posture.
Object drawing cannot be made either interesting or profitable without a sufficient number of suitable objects that appeal to children. Fortunately it is not difficult to get things that do interest them. Little brown tea-pots, jugs, tea-kettles, jars, coffee-pots, saucepans, and other pieces of kitchenware, are hailed with the joy with which one meets old friends in new places. Just as welcome to the school-room are gardening tools and utensils, and most welcome of all perhaps to the younger pupils, are favourites from toyland.
Objects that have lost their original usefulness may be brought to the school by the pupils. A cracked tea-pot or leaky saucepan, that would otherwise come to an inglorious end in the garbage can, may be rescued from its fate to form with berry-baskets, lunch boxes, small suit-cases, and other articles already mentioned, an interesting collection that may be kept in some unused cupboard or store-room of the school ready for drawing lessons.
When money is supplied for the purchase of drawing models, it is unwise to spend it all on Art pottery. A visit to an ordinary shop where such things as utensils and toys are kept will often result in a collection of good models for a small outlay.
Whatever is selected should be chosen for its beauty of form or colour and should have little or no decoration. Simple, useful objects are best, That which is fantastic is rarely beautiful.
A single large object will suffice for a lesson if it can be so placed that every member of the class will have an interesting, natural, and unobstructed view of it. This cannot be contrived when objects are to be drawn below the level of the eye and, in that case, some means must be devised by which six or eight objects may be placed so that every member of the class will have a good view of one. For this purpose adjustable model stands like the one shown on page 29 may be used, or boards may be placed resting on opposite desks in every other aisle, one at the front of the aisle and one half-way back. These boards should have a cleat fastened under one edge, to overcome the slant of the desks and provide a level surface for the object to rest upon. Another way in which a level surface may be secured is to have a support for the boards fastened at each side of these desks, parallel to the floor and at the proper distance from it, to permit every one who is to draw from the object to see the top of it slightly below his eye level.
In the Forms above Form II, Senior Grade, the greater number of objects drawn should be placed below the level of the eye, in which case some suggestion of the supporting surface must be made in the drawing. For this purpose a line called the table line is drawn. It stands for the back edge of the supporting surface and should be made less distinct than the outlines of the object, to which it should be subordinate in the drawing. It should not be placed above the object nor in any position that would call undue attention to it, but should be represented as farther back than the base of the object or of any object in a group. The placing of it is a matter of good composition, but the classes that are to use it should experiment with an object placed on a book, raising and lowering the book to see that the back line of the supporting surface is not a fixed thing, but depends on the level of the supporting surface. They should also move the object from near the front edge of the book to near the back edge and should turn the book with its greatest length receding from them, to note the changes in the position of the back edge in relation to the object, due to the width of the supporting surface and to the position of the object on it.
Composition in Art deals with the choice and arrangement of things to be drawn, the selection of the size and proportion of the paper to .be used, and the placing of the drawing so that it will occupy suitably the space chosen. The results achieved should be pleasing and should exhibit thoughtful consideration for variety in the division of spaces.
Composition is fundamental in the development of good taste and raises what otherwise would be a mere statement of the appearance of things to the plane where individual creative power has sway and aesthetic judgment is trained.
USE OF FINDER
The selection of the shape and size of the drawing may be determined by using a finder, which can be made of cardboard or heavy paper in two pieces, as shown in the accompanying illustrations. The inner long edges of the finder should be about ten inches and carefully marked in inches and half-inches be-ginning at the angle, which should be a perfect right angle. The divisions will serve as guides for equal lengths on opposite sides of the “picture” which is seen framed by the finder.
If the sketch is to be made from nature, it will be necessary to determine what part of the view will make the most satisfactory picture and what proportions in a rectangle will best inclose it. The accompanying illustrations will show how, in a single view, a number of different pictures, each a well-balanced composition, may be found. Four of these, it will be seen, are animal subjects, and four are simple landscapes, each a study in itself.
No. 1, a hillside pasture with four sheep, shows the two white sheep at the left balanced in the composition by the two black ones at the right; they are at different levels and of different sizes, and their heads are not in the same position.
In No. 2, the two dark masses of black sheep at the left are balanced by the masses of the trees at the right. The line of the pasture does not cut the picture exactly in half ; its downward slope to the left is opposed by the downward slant to the right of the wooded distance.
In No. 3, there is a panel in which the main lines of the landscape give areas of different shapes, the light masses of the sheep in the foreground being necessary to balance the light areas of sky and lake in the upper part of the picture. The sky and earth spaces are in pleasing proportion, and the two trees and the distant hill at the left beyond the lake oppose the mass of trees to the right. Rhythm of line, mass, and value are very apparent in this picture.
In No. 4, the dark sheep at the left finds a balance in the tree group at the right, while the bright sky has a balance spot of light in the foreground. The ground lines do not cut the landscape in half horizontally.
In No. 5, there is quite a different-shaped inclosure, in which the light spaces of sky and water are about equal in area to the dark earth spaces and yet are so shaped that there is variety coupled with excellent balance. The landscape composition needs the two trees at the left to balance the dark masses of trees at the right.
In No. 6, there is an upright panel where the trees rise across the long, horizontal water-line, and the light areas above require the light boulders in the foreground to balance the composition, while two small sheep in the meadow give a little life.
In No. 7, the shape is somewhat similar to No. 3 but without the sheep, and the two small fir trees are made prominent, aiding in a new foreground to give distance in the composition.
In No. 8, the three great requisites to give depth, foreground, middle distance, and background, are very clearly defined. The masses of dark, though of varied shapes, balance each other and, as a whole, balance the areas of light occupied by lake and sky. The long shore-line on the other side of the lake is not allowed to cut the oblong exactly in half.
The principles of Composition, although here illustrated more particularly in connection with Representation, are equally applicable to Illustration and Design, as will be seen in the lessons on these subjects.