Quick Reference

Time Period:
Prior to 1906




Woods, Roads & Streets






Located in a thrift store in Omaha, NE, this watercolor may be a Woodward painted in his childhood.

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Featured Artwork: Unnamed: Through Two Trees

RSW's Diary Comments


Additional Notes

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We were contacted (2016) by the current owner of this piece seeking information as to whether or not this could be a Woodward. After considerable consideration and getting the opinion of everyone on the website staff, it is possible this may be a Woodward ink wash. He studied the technique while a student at Bradley.

Con: The biggest stumbling block for most everyone is the use of a cursive "S" in the initials. We have no example of Woodward using a cursive "S" in anything.

Pro: Simply because we have no example of Woodward using a cursive "S" does not dismiss this out of hand. We also have no examples of Woodward using the same initials in any thing prior to 1917. He experimented with numerous styles and since it is most likely an adolescent Woodward, it is possible he would try a cursive "S" in his work.

Pro: We have an example of Woodward using the same style and technique in his poetry pamphlet The Love Leaf (below).

Con: As you can see from the watercolor, to the left, even at 14 years of age Woodward was pretty good. His use of color, shading and hues was exceptional. Whereas ink wash does not hold the same values, the style is more sketch work and shading than painting.

Close up of colors
Clearest example of color from the painting

Pro: Found in Omaha, NE, just 400 miles from Peoria, IL where Woodward attended the Bradley Institute, we feel lends to the possibility he gave this as a gift to, maybe, a teacher or a friend or even a neighbor. This is pure speculation but a reasonable conjecture to the possibility it is a Woodward. There are direct routes from Peoria to Omaha with only Iowa between them.

Con: The quality, in terms of, the use of color really detracted this as being a Woodward for many of us until we realized it was an ink wash. As one can see (right), there are hues of blue for the sky and hints of green in the background bush. Ink wash is a style technique developed in Asia which RSW expressed a fasination with as a student, however, we wish we had MORE examples to compare and study. We have one definitive example which hardly makes a good sample size.

Pro: The scene itself is for all intent, is a scene he certainly was attracted to as an adult, meaning, it looks like something Woodward would have painted. In the left hand column, are examples of Woodward's later pieces involving a path, bordered by woods, bush and trees. He also had an infinity for pairings of trees, seen in Maple Guardians or even not shown here, his painting Three Friends.

To the left: Is a sketch signed and dated by Woodward in 1903 when he was still attending the Bradley Polytechnic Institute in Peoria, Illinois. It was added to an illumination "booklet" in 1907, he titled, The Love Leaf, using a section of verse from Robert Browning's poem Pauline. Difficult to see is the light wash of watercolor over the ink drawing. The drawing itself is faded over time and a bit discolored but we can see a similar skill and style used but comparable to this work of art. In it you can also see on the left-hand side another version of Woodward signing his name once again in a different format - R. Strong Woodward.

Sumation: There is a very likely possibility this is a watercolor from Woodward's adolescence. If I had to score our confidence, the website would go as high as a 75% probability Woodward painted this. However, there is more than enough unanswerables to cast serious doubt. The answers may never be known but the possibility this painting might have been a pre-cursor to what Woodward would later come to make one of his signature subjects is very exciting.