Looking at the watercolors of John Singer Sargent we encounter some areas of simple, gorgeous paint and other contradictory passages of great care and complexity, often in the same painting.
Take a look at the grass between the gassed soldiers' legs. Sargent knew that the carpet of green with just a scant specific blade was sufficient to describe lush grass. The gas mask, on the other hand, needed much greater care to identify.
A similar comparison of Winslow Homer's early and later watercolors reveals a very different attitude toward the fluidity and transparency of the paint
A comparison of Winslow Homer's early and later watercolors reveals a similar change in Homer's brush handling. In the early years the artist was more concerned with narrating various stories than he was with celebrating the fluidity and transparency of the paint.