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The Painting

Kenneth A. Brown, Inventors at Work

Nat Wyeth, engineer and inventor, on his brother, artist Andrew Wyeth: Andy did a picture of Lafayette's quarters near Chadds Ford, Pa., with a sycamore tree behind the building. When I first saw the painting, he wasn't finished with it. He showed me a lot of drawings of the trunk and the sycamore's gnarled roots, and I said, "Where's all that in the picture?" "It's not in the picture, Nat," he said. "For me to get what I want in the part of the tree that's showing, I've got to know thoroughly how it is anchored in back of the house."

I find that remarkable. He could draw the tree above the house with such authenticity because he knew exactly how the thing was in the ground.