Oil pastel sketch after John Constable, ‘Dedham lock and mill’.
Detail of the oil pastel after Constable with better visible textures.
I never was a fan of Constable’s finished paintings, but after I had seen some of his plein air oil sketches on humble pieces of cardboard at a show in Dresden I am a true fan of those.
To compare the sketch and the final oil painting of the Dedham mill see these links : Oil Sketch and finished paiting. The painting is a fine painting of course and I like it better than many others by Constable. I hope that the comparison nevertheless can illustrate the difference between the energy of the sketch and the more frozen look of the elaborated final painting.
Constable’s oil sketches have been touring the museums for a while now. This video allows a closer look in one of those exhibits and gives some explanations on those stunning works that impress by their almost impressionistic energy. In fact Constable used a kind of pochade box very similar to the later impressionist painters.
It is worth while to browse some of the online archives such as the Tate and VAM collection to get an idea how powerful and how interesting the colors in those raw sketches are.
Three examples: ‘View at Epsom’ 1809 in the Tate collection and ‘A sandbank at Hampstead Heath’ from the Victoria and Albert Museum and a terrific piece ‘Golding Constable’s house East Bergholt’ from the same collection.
It seems there is still a catalog of an exhibition dedicated to the oil sketches by Constable available on Amazon for example, I can’t say anything on the content though as I have no copy yet.