Familiar trees and their leaves, described and illustrated by F. Schuyler Mathews, with illus. in colors and over two hundred drawings by the author, and an introd. by L.H. Bailey. Ed. in colors
One of the most interesting things in connection with the study of nature and the pursuit of art is the study of color. It would take a massive volume profuse with illustrations to adequately describe and portray those phases of color which are conmion at any hour of the day in the field and woodland. Trees have their moods as well as men, and these are expressed in color which is influenced by, and largely dependent upon, sunlight and atmospheric conditions. To be sure, it is not quite
... s not quite possible to perfectly represent these moods in a process reproduction of a watercolor study ; but a suggestion of such character is far better than the complete absence of it, and, it must be acknowledged, modern processes are wonderfully faithful to form and the touch of the artist's brush. With the hope of more clearly expressing by illustration the life and moods of some of our common trees, the publishers have added to this new edition the likenesses, in color, of the birch, maple, red spruce, liquidambar, and other familiar charac-iv FAMILIAR TREES AND THEIR LEAVES. ters of the field and forest. My sketches in watercolor were therefore intentionally impressionistic. I avoided all those petty details which the camera could have given with minute fidelity, and aimed for color and effect, for mass and character. Whether the effort was successful or not remains for the reader to judge. At all events the reproductions deserve to be kindly received, because color invariably involves such a stupendous amount of labor in the process of duplication (a fact which few appreciate or understand), and mechanical results are so extremely uncertain even in the hands of a skilled workman. But there is one good point about process : it does not superimpose another man's hand between the artist and his reproduced picture. It does not distort his drawing, nor does it ignore his technique ; in fact, it has now proved itself a fair means of attaining both color and form with some degree of fidelity. A mere black-and-white photograph fails to tell half the truth of nature. In June, when the maple and the liquidambar are verdant green, the lifeless photograph takes no account of the fact. Nothing short of palette and brush in the hands of an artist can tell the truth about the field and forest on a rare day of June. The lilac shadows, the purple tree trunk, the emerald foliage, the cobalt sky, the warm pink tone of the atmosjihere on what is commonly called " an artist's day " -these are not to be photographed. The colored fire of PREFACE TO THE EDITION IN COLORS. y cloud and sky, the soft emerald of the meadow broken by the Hlae-blue shadow of the stately elm -what can the camera tell of these ? We have some little record of these colors in the tree pictures ; they tell how the oak differs from the maple, and the tupelo from either. We must not expect more ; it is a simple chromatic demonstration, beyond the boundary of photography. Regarding the scientiiic nomenclature which is adopted for this book, one word of explanation is necessary.