Painting in Reserve
In 1877 the two artists treated the same subject in a markedly different fashion in several paintings. The Kitchen Garden at Pontoise is painted by Pissarro with a clear reserve around the principal features. Painting in reserve essentially means that the forms of the composition, rather than drawn outlines, become the basic building blocks as the painting develops. As the layers of paint build up within these forms the edges are held in reserve, the artist being careful not to overlap the paint from adjacent forms. Eventually this creates distinct three-dimensional edges between forms. We can see this very well by illuminating the canvas from behind with transmitted light. Just as with an x-ray, the more thinly painted areas will transmit the light, seen very dramatically in this photo. Here too Pissarro is quite meticulous in applying a consistent size and pattern of brushstroke throughout. Cézanne, chose, to paint this scene rather more loosely, his paint flowing within and across forms.