' . . . take any narrow space of evening sky, that you can usually see, between the boughs of a tree, or between two chimneys, or through the corner of a pane in the window you like best to sit at, and try to gradate a little space of white paper as evenly as that is gradated - as tenderly . . . '
I've done these sketches of sky, as seen through our lounge window, as one of the exercises in Ruskin's The Elements of Drawing. Reading at his instructions again I realise that Ruskin intends that his students should tackle a small, subtly gradated area of sky in pen and ink only.
'If you get impatient with your spots and lines of ink,' he explains, 'the sense that you will have gained of that beauty is something to be thankful for.'
Ruskin's suggestions for sky studies follow on from the pen and ink tones that I was tackling a week ago.
Discussing gradated spaces in Nature he says: