I photographed these leaves to study last summer in Hyde Park, London. I tried a new experiment painting them. First I drew them as scrupulously as I could with watercolor pencils, and then I went over them with a wet brush. Eh…not my favorite technique. It worked well enough, but I would rather just paint them. I am finding the first statement in paint is so much for fun than drawing them out.

This is true of what I have seen of the work of Sargent as well. His paintings when just painted are so wonderful, but when we meticulously drew out everything, the paintings fail, witness the Boston Public Library Murals.

There is an entire book written on the working methods of the French Academic painters of the 19th century by Albert Boime. Boime spends nearly 80% of the book talking about the merits of the “Sketch” and how that fueled the Impressionist movement. I have to agree with the most commonly held assertion of the 19th century painters- there is something that happens in a sketch that is often lost in final finished works.

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