Technique and condition

The painting was executed on a single piece of medium weight plain weave cotton duck canvas that is stretched over a sturdy expandable stretcher and attached with wire staples at the rear. A white acrylic gesso primer was then applied to the stretched face of the canvas and around all the tacking margins to the rear turnover point. The primer would have been applied in a fairly dilute form and the canvas weave texture is still very visible through the resulting thin layer.

All the paint is thought to be acrylic emulsion and only opaque colours were used. The first application would have been the matt black paint that creates the black and white pattern covering the entire stretched face of the canvas and the left and right edges (i.e. the two edges that can be seen when the painting is on display). The white areas of this pattern appear to be the uncovered acrylic gesso primer and the black pattern was probably created using a scrunched up rag that was dipped in black emulsion paint and then dabbed all over the stretched canvas. Once this had dried the circles were applied in an extremely precise manner (using masking techniques). The smaller circles appear brushed, but some of the larger ones have a texture that is more typical of application by roller. The various areas of flat grey colour would have been next, just prior to the final applications of thicker (and relatively glossy) acrylic paint. Much of this thicker paint is also black and/or white, although there was occasional use of pinks, purples and greens. It was applied to produce a range of texture, including areas of dabbed-on paint with quite sharp but low impasto, areas of thickly blended colour, dribbles and extremely thin scumbles.

The painting is in excellent condition. Providing some basic precautionary conservation measures are taken to reduce handling (such as its display behind a barrier etc), the painting should remain in this near pristine state.

Tom Learner
August 2000