Tree with Ivy in the Asylum Garden - by Vincent van Gogh

In this painting, the tops of the trees and the passage in the foreground are emphasized with pencil. The view between the trees and the large open sky create a feeling of space and there are hardly any open spaces. When a drawing is worked in this way the composition can easily become too dense, but Van Gogh was able to avoid this danger. The compositions are overloaded but nevertheless pure and transparent.

The same is true of a group of seven brush drawings from this period, executed in (very diluted) oil paint, using colors that can also be found in the earliest canvases he painted at Saint-Remy. Presumably Van Gogh did these drawings with leftover paint that would have been insufficient for a whole painting (he was waiting for a new batch of painting materials at the time). The drawings are so novel in their technique and style that it is surprising there is no mention of them in the letters. Van Gogh was not interested in creating depth in these compositions but was concentrating instead on rhythm, with swirling patterns of leaves and self-assured brushstrokes. The slightly abstract result almost resembles the character of a mosaic and looks extremely modern.