Manner Or Method

104. What can a beginner learn, by the imitation of such a sketch as the following ?—and yet, it is a fac-simile, the size of the original, of Wilkie's first sketch or idea, of his picture of the Rabbit on the Wall. To the eye and understanding of the artist, every line may have had purpose and meaning; but, beyond the interest it excites, as the germ of a finished work of art, it is, in a measure, valueless: and as an object of imitation for the student, it certainly presents but little, from which he can derive advantage. Even in sketches more defined and intelligible, where often are found, combined, a degree of grace and sentiment, rivalling more finished productions, there is still a freedom of line, and manner, belonging to an experienced hand — one well schooled and practised in design — and evidence of disregard to mere manner, or method of expression, which none but a master in art dare attempt. This very freedom, and capacity of reaching, at once, the higher attributes of art, by means so simple, yet certain, is attainable only by first learning to draw with accuracy and precision; by a perfect understanding of the use and power of lines, as well as practical ability in their direction. Many a mere beginner could produce more regular lines, and, in the common perversion of the term, a more "finished" drawing, than that of a Mother and Child, presented on the next page, from a pen-and-ink sketch by Guercino; yet, such a sketch could only be produced by one who could do more. Its excellence does not alone consist in its manner, or mechanical execution, which we might imitate for ever, without advancing one step to the ability of originating one comparable to it, in point of grace, character, and expression, unless we possessed, like Guercino, well-grounded knowledge, feeling, and capacity, far beyond the mere counterfeiting of another's hand. With an understanding of the principles of design, familiarity with nature, and a sense to appreciate the beautiful 5 with the possession of that command of hand, the importance of which has been so earnestly urged upon the pupil, and the means of its attainment placed before him 5 with careful observation and practice, he will soon acquire a facility of expressing himself, which, growing into a habit, will establish a manner for himself, far more serviceable, and better, than the imitation of that of another, however excellent or effective it may be.

105. Not that the pupil should consider the works of others unworthy his study and emulation ; but he should learn, rather, to value the higher attributes of a work of art, above the less important peculiarities of the artist's hand, which are often the result of change of purpose, or

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