Vincent van Gogh, A Marsh, 1881
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
In his review of the exhibition Adrian Searle traces a connection with landscape in the materials van Gogh used. 'Often the artist drew with a pen that he cut himself from the reeds that grew at the margins of Dutch waterways and roadside ditches in Province. He noted that the reeds in the south were better for drawing. For finer work, he also picked up feathers for the quills he cut to make nibs. It's more than coincidental that reeds and birds also appear in Van Gogh's drawings. I wonder if he ever used river water to dilute his inks, and for the somewhat less successful watercolours that he made. Even the charcoal he used in his early drawings have a connection to the earth itself. Those pollarded willows that appear in his work time and again also provide the charcoal that he used. Such connectedness would have suited his pantheist view of the world.'