My brother and I had the opportunity to visit the Corcoran Gallery this last weekend to see the John Singer Sargent exhibition. Seeing the scrapbooks and sketch books of Sargent, along with the hundreds of framed drawings, was a very humbling experience. The amount of work Sargent devoted to just the above painting (En Route pour la pêche) involved numerous sketches and then individual studies of each figure (all from life, without using photography and probably having to pull a lot of things from memory for the final painting). If I was limited to those conditions and needed to devote that amount of time for constructing a painting, the quality of my work would have never been equal to even the lesser painters of that time and I would only paint a few paintings a year. John Singer Sargent isn't just a Master because of his finished paintings, but also because of his devotion and work ethic to develop and construct the paintings that dominated the art world of that time.
Below are more works from the exhibition and their collection. If your anywhere near DC, get over to the Corcoran (it's also right next to the White House and the other national monuments, making it a perfect day for sight seeing).