5. New Forest Trees
30 x 40.5cm. Hardboard with re-used glazed frame
board. It is a rich and confident landscape. Though an early work, his palette is already becoming lighter, as he relishes and heightens the dynamic and flowing life of the trees. The painting is unusual in that the trunks, especially of the central tree, indicate that he had observed specific trees, whereas the abundant foliage above shows every sign of later recollections of seeing the trees. It seems likely that he did make some observations, even notes, of the central tree, in particular (such old trees are tourist attractions in the New Forest), and used them as a resource, when painting his picture, on his return home. However, there is no evidence that he made substantial preparatory sketches for any of his paintings, since only a few simple records of forms and colours, made on odd pieces of notepaper, survive from the whole of his artistic life. He was not trying to imitate what he saw, so his compositions did not need that kind of support. To be able to work in this fashion, he was endowed with an excellent visual memory, which supplied sufficient nourishment for his imagination.