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The Painting

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.

Kenneth A. Brown, Inventors at Work

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