Joseph Crawhall (English, 1861-1913) was so demanding in his expectations of his artwork that he produced only two or three paintings a year.
He went back through his earlier paintings and destroyed most of them.
He was not a steady, industrious artist, but rather his art was the product of fleeting moments of inspiration, punctuated by frustrating dry spells. Another of his passions was raising horses.
Many of his works show his enduring admiration for Japanese art.
He had a prodigious visual memory. He refined his ability to recollect complex scenes, grasping essentials with elegant simplicity, and placing in the picture only the important details.
His memory was so powerful that he could watch a coach pass by, pulled by a team of four horses, and then go home and paint an accurate picture of the entire scene.
Sometimes a memory would lodge in his mind and wait days or weeks to crystallize and demand to be painted.
Though he started his career in oil, he finished in watercolor. Many of his pictures are painted on a prepared gray-brown ground.
A writer in his time described his painting Piebald Driving: "He sets down with absolute directness the effect of the walking horse, with his hind legs partly obscured by the cloud of dust he himself raises; and such is the painter's facility, his absolute control over his method and his medium, that with one touch of his brush he gives us color, contour, modeling, movement, structure, and texture.
Book: Joseph Crawhall, 1861-1913: One of the Glasgow Boys
Studio Magazine, 1904, Volume 32
Joseph Crawhall on Wikipedia.
Bio on the Tate website
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