Paul Sawyier
American, 1865 – 1917
Riverbank Scene, about 1890 – 1910
Watercolor on paper mounted on board
From the Noe Collection, Gift of Bob and Norma Noe, Lancaster, Kentucky 2011.9.25

An Artist’s Technique
Notice the different techniques Sawyier used to paint this river scene. Dabs of saturated color define the leaves on trees in the foreground, while watercolor washes suggest the soft-focused foliage on the distant shore. With the fine point of his brush and a delicate touch, he defines the youthful branches of the underbrush. Sometimes he applies paint to dry paper, which gives him better control of the watercolor and creates marks with defined edges. Other times he works wet on wet,  permitting his pigments to flow freely and blend with surrounding colors. This combination of techniques not only helps Sawyier define the forms of the landscape, but it also contributes to a visually dynamic painting.