Haystacks in Provence, 1888 by Van Gogh

This painting of a Provencal farm with two huge hayricks was painted in June 1888. The accompanying drawing is an example of a drawing made after a painting. Van Gogh had begun his artistic career primarily as a draughtsman, and drawing remained an important element of his work. Drawings were not merely preparation for painting and thus subordinate to it. They were independent exercises. This drawing demonstrates the rich vocabulary of graphic marks and designs which Van Gogh had been developing in his drawings in Arles concurrently with his explorations of colour.

A variety of strokes and marks are used to suggest and evoke the different texture and character of each object. Van Gogh has used a reed pen in parts, in imitation of the tools used by Japanese draughtsmen. Indeed, he planned to collect many of these Arlesian drawings in a kind of album, the like of which he had read about in books on Japanese artists.