Studies are great. The same object or scene drawn from angle after angle, coloured, shaded, changing medium and composition, but all leading towards a final piece - though not one it knows beforehand.
They are journeys - sometimes slapdash, sometimes as minutely detailed as the finished piece. They make you wonder how much the artist worried and reconsidered before deciding on a final composition - and also, how much time did they have to look, to think, to really look again and to paint the final piece?
Studies may be painted, sketched modelled, coloured or black and white. They are trials and explorations for the final work, and Works themselves. They are what goes under and into the finished display - beautiful and ugly, but hidden through embarrassment or a sense of impropriety. I think this is why I love them so much - the idea that these are ideas in the raw, and that they are in the process of growing.
I was in the depths of the Old City in Edinburgh, the hidden rooms and lodgings that held the hideous living conditions from the past, recently; following the tour guide through the literal layers of history that lie under the Royal Mile. There, too, were studies of a kind, the mistakes and solutions of a city from past times, shown in their gory and fascinating detail, evoking a sense of process a city has made to its modern form. Here was a city that took to modern planning in an attempt to solve the chaotic knot that had become so twisted and wet that it was impossible to unpick, so needed to be cut. The restrictions of the past needed to be loosened, and the idea of civic direction was established, and naturally bent and changed as individuals raised their heads through money, politics or need. Thus the study became one thing, then another until it arrived in its modern form.
So the city is complete? Hardly, as a work of art grows and changes with where it hangs and the reception of society, so the city builds, refreshes, preserves and destroys - a series of animation cells, art in their own right, but all the more compelling by their place in the play of light and shadow.