The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter 12. Garden Composition

Learning by visiting and sketching natural scenery

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Teachers of the craft insist that, as a preliminary education for garden designing, every opportunity should be taken of visiting natural scenery for the purpose of taking notes and sketches. Such out-door sketching should not be made from a single point of view, with the object of producing a mere picture, but should be fragmentary and analytic. The best method is to copy the scenery in detail from different stations, delineating and studying separately the principal contours and features of both the foreground and the distance. It must be remembered that in a landscape garden, the various objects will be regarded from several positions, and the designer must, therefore, render himself familiar with the altered aspects which irregular contours and masses present under such varying circumstances. Notes and sketches from actual scenery are not intended to be closely followed in preparing designs, but supply suggestions and inspire originality in composition. The detailed execution is subject to constant variations, influenced chiefly by the accidental facilities of the site or surroundings; and, to a lesser extent, by the size, shape, and character of the stones, trees, lanterns, and other materials available.