Technique and condition

The painting was executed on a single piece of medium-weight linen canvas, which has been stretched around a stretcher with wire staples. The canvas was primed with a reasonably thin acrylic emulsion primer which appears commercially applied prior to the fabrics stretching. All visible areas of white are probably just the ground layer, although an additional thin wash of white might have been applied.

The paint layers consist of six discrete monochrome brushstrokes, each approximately 185 mm wide and 265 mm long. These brushstrokes appear to have been produced by the application first of a transparent binding medium, followed by the introduction of the dry black pigment into this binder before it had dried properly and with the painting held horizontally. The excess pigment would then have fallen away once the painting had been returned to the vertical. The nature of the binding medium and the pigment are not yet known. However, the binder is a synthetic medium, identified as an acrylic-modified alkyd resin, which is possibly some kind of commercial varnish. The pigment is extremely opaque, brittle and coarse, resembling more a ground rock or mineral than a true pigment. The thickness of each brushstrokes varies from its start (very thin) to its end where the pigment has collected (reasonably thick). The work has no varnish layer and is not framed.

The painting is in an excellent condition, with the black particulate material still very strongly adhered to the canvas. There is a slight whitening to the black brushstrokes but at present this is not viewed disturbing to the overall image. Several fingerprints and handling marks have been removed from the two side tacking margins.

Tom Learner
August 1997