Technique and condition

The painting was executed on a single piece of medium weight, fairly open-weave linen canvas attached to a stretcher with metal staples at the rear, all of which are original. Although the stretcher has been significantly keyed out, it is still rigid, providing adequate support to the canvas and paint layers. The canvas was commercially primed with an acrylic emulsion gesso primer, probably in several layers, although the canvas weave texture is still very evident through it.

There are several areas in the painting, especially in the monochrome triangle at the bottom of the work, where there are no paint layers at all and the white seen is the ground layer. The black outlines of all the forms were first applied to the primed canvas with what appears to have been a combination of pastel stick (or some other graphic material) and a thinned black paint. The paint layers were then applied by brush over this drawing. The first areas laid down were the thin layers of solid colour with paints of rather lean consistency, and then, when these layers had dried completely, by the white and light blue paint, which would have been far more paste-like in consistency and were probably used straight from the tube. Most of this paint was applied as distinct brushstrokes but where they overlap a wet-in-wet technique was used to blend them. All the paint is predominantly opaque, although it has been thinned so much in some areas that it is possible to see the underdrawing beneath. The gloss is varied, from an extremely dry and matt surface quality in the thinned areas to a fairly high gloss in the upper white brushstrokes. The artist has signed and dated the work at the back of the painting along the top turnover edge of primed canvas.

The painting is not varnished. The stained wooden frame is original to the work and was made by Stewart Heslop Frames. The painting is currently in an excellent condition. However, the exposed black graphic material is extremely vulnerable to removal by abrasion and for this reason the painting was recently placed behind low reflecting glass to ensure that the painting is not damaged in the future.

Tom Learner
October 1997