This picture was never completed, but the composition provides a fascinating glimpse of George Inness’s rapid working process during the initial stages of painting. The background was first tinted overall with a gray-brown midtone. This was followed by a linear charcoal underdrawing, especially visible in the tree branches. Inness’s expressive brushwork further defines the image with both wet and dry dragged paint, bold color, rubbing, and even the apparent use of the brush handle to define the ox’s foreleg. This looser, more freely brushed style signals the direction of his mature work under the inspiration of French Barbizon art, which celebrated unidealized representations of nature.
(Text by the Brooklyn Museum, CC BY 3.0).