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After studying calligraphy in China and Japan, Tobey developed a technique of painting with rapid brushstokes, which he called ‘white writing’. Northwest Drift is one of several works that reflect his meditative response to landscape. He wrote: ‘Seattle where I painted this picture is a place of virginal winds, air currents and intermingled seasons... Gray skies, gray water make one conscious of this color and I have used a series of gray tones which seem so indigenous to the locale.’

November 2005