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the very foundation of the modern picture. For you cannot accept the ordinary or actual condition of light, as governing the light and shade of your picture, without extending the same scheme of relations over the whole canvas. Every most insignificant spot of light and shade and color, as well as the most significant, must keep its place, must hold its true relation to every other spot and to all the rest. Each value must keep its place according to the laws of fact, or it is out of touch with the whole. The whole picture must be either on a scheme of general fact, or a scheme of general arbitrary arrangement. Any one piece of arbitrary arrangement in this connection must be backed up by other pieces of arbitrary arrangement, or else there must be no arbitrary arrangement at all. The modern painter accepts the former ; and the importance of "values" is the result. Absolute and Relative Values. — We may speak of values as absolute or relative. This relates to the key or pitch of a painting. It is the contribution to the art of painting which was made by the French painter, Manet. You may paint a picture VALUES 141 in the same pitch as nature, or you may transpose it to a higher or a lower pitch. The relations of the different values of the picture will hold the same relation to each other as the values of nature do to each other. But the actual pitch of each, the relation of each to an absolute light or an absolute dark, will be higher or lower than in nature. This would be relative values. Or the pitch, relation to absolute light and dark, of each value may be the same, value for value, as in nature. This would be absolute values. The attempt at- absolute values was not made at all before Manet's time. A landscape was frankly painted down, or darker, from the pitch of nature, and an interor as frankly painted up, or lighter. In both cases the values had to be condensed, —telescoped, so to speak,— because 1 pigment would not express the highest light nor the lowest dark in nature ; and to have the same number of gradations between the highest and lowest notes in the picture, the amount of difference between each value had to be diminished — but relatively they were the same. The degree of variation from the actual was the same all through. With absolute values the painter aims at giving tine, just note, —the exact equivalent in value that he finds in nature. He tries to paint up to outdoor light or paint down to in-door light. r' /.. 142 THE PAINTER IN OIL Close Values. — This naturally calls for a fine distinction of tones — the utmost subtlety of perception of values. To paint a picture in which the highest light may not be white nor the lowest dark black, and yet give a great range and variety to the values all through the picture, the values must be close ; must be studied so closely as to take cognizance of the slightest possible distinction, and to justly express it. This sort of thing was not thought of by the older painters. It is the distinguishing characteristic of modern painting. It is a substitution of the study of relation for the study of contrast. Study of Values.—You see at once how important, how vital, the study of values is to painting. Even if you paint with arbitrary lighting, as is still done by many painters, especially in portraits, you have to consider and study them as they apply to parts of your picture. You will find no good painter of old time who did not study relations. If you look at a Velasquez, you will find that he knew values, even though he did not use the word. But if you are in touch with your century, if you would paint to express the suggestion you receive from the nature you study, or if you would convey the idea of truth to the world around vou, as that world exists, frankly accepting the conditions of it, you will have to make the study of values fundamental to your work. VALUES 1 43 " The Fourth Dimension."—You study values with your eyes only, but you cannot measure values. Length, breadth, and thickness you can measure ; but values constitute what might be called a "Fourth Dimension" and you must measure it by your eye, and without any mechanical aid. Your eye must be trained to distinguish and judge differences of value. Helps. — There are, however, several things which you can use to help you in training your eye to distinguish values. When you look for values you do not wish to see details nor things, you wish to see only masses and relations. You must unfoctis your eye. The focussed eye sees the fact, and not the relation. Anything which will help you to see outlines and details less distinctly will help you to see the values more distinctly. Half-closed Eyes.—The most common way is to half close the eyes, which shuts out details, but permits you to see the values. Some painters think this falsifies pitch, and prefer to keep the eyes wide open, but to focus them on some point beyond the values they are studying. This is not so easy to do as to half close the eyes, but becomes lesp difficult with practice. The Blur Glass.—An ordinary magnifying-glass of about 15-inch focus, which you can get at an optician's for fifteen or twenty cents, will bliir the 144 7"//£' PAINTER IN OIL details, and help you to see the values, because it makes everything vague except the masses. You can frame it for use by putting it between two pieces of cardboard with a hole in them, or you can do the same with two pieces of leather sewed around the edge. Of course the glass itself is all you need, but it will be easily broken if unprotected. Do not try to look through the glass at your subject, but at the glass and the image on it. The Claude Loraine Mirror. — This is a curved mirror with a black reflecting surface. The object is reflected on it, reduced both in size and pitch. It concentrates the masses and the color, and so helps to distinguish the relative values. You can make a mirror of this sort for yourself by painting the back of a piece of plate glass black. The real Claude Loraine mirror is expensive. The Common Mirror is also very helpful in distinguishing values. It reduces the size of things, and reverses the drawing so that you see your subject under different conditions, and a fresh eye is the result. Place the group and your painting side by side, if you are painting still life, and look at both at the same time in the mirror. Do the same with a portrait and the sitter. Diminishing Glass.— Much the same effect can be had by using a double concave lens. The picture l^ALUES 14$ is not reversed, but it is reduced, and the details eliminated. In using any of these means you must remember that it is always the relations and not the things you are studying ; and the most useful of these aids is the blur glass, because you cannot possibly see anything in it but the values and color masses, everything else being blurred. 146 THE PAINTER IN OIL CHAPTER XVIII PERSPECTIVE There are two kinds of perspective, linear and aerial. The former has to do with the manner in which horizontal lines appear to converge as they recede from the foreground, and so produce the effect of distance. The latter has to do with the effect of distance, which is due to the successive gradations of gray in color noticeable in objects farther and farther away from the observer. Aerial Perspective. — To the student, aerial is color perspective, because of the modifications which colors undergo when removed to a distance. Modifications of tone are largely due to varying distance, and so aerial perspective is largely a matter of values. That they are due to the greater or less thickness of the atmosphere is only a matter of interest, not of importance, to the artist ; the important thing to him is that the careful study of values is necessary to relief, perspective, and particularly, atmosphere and envelopment in a picture. To the student, aerial perspective should be only a matter of observation and of the study of PERSPECTIVE 1 47 relations of color and value. There are no rules. The effect depends on greater or less density of atmosphere. Near objects are seen through a thin stratum of air, and farther objects through a thicker one. All you have to do to express it is to recognize the relative tones of color. Paint the colors as they are, as you see them in nature, and you need have no trouble with aerial perspective. But though I say "this is all you have to do," don't imagine that I mean that it is always easy, or that it can be done without thought and^'study. You will have to use all your powers of perception if you wish to do good work in this direction. Especially on clear days, or in those climates where the air is so rare that objects at great distances seem near, you will find that atmospheric perspective is simply another name for close values. And close values, you remember, are the most subtle of relations of light and shade and color. The only rule for aerial perspective is to use your eyes, and do nothing without a previous careful study of nature. Linear Perspective. — For most kinds of painting, a technical knowledge of linear perspective is not necessary, although every painter should understand the general principles of it. In most cases all the exactness needed can be obtained by com148 THE PAINTER IN OIL paring all lines carefully with the pencil or brush handle held horizontally or vertically, and studying the angle any line makes with it. Appy to all objects in perspective the same observation that you do in any other kind of drawing, and you will have little trouble, as long as you are drawing from an object before you. But if you go into perspective at all, go into it thoroughly. A little perspective is a dangerous thing, and more likely to mix you up by suggesting