Technique and condition

The painting was executed on a single piece of medium-weight, plain weave linen canvas, which was stretched around a seven-membered softwood expandable stretcher and attached with wire staples at the rear. The linen canvas has an appreciable number of slubs on it, i.e. thicker areas of thread that appear as lumps. A white acrylic emulsion gesso was applied as a primer by the artist over the stretched face of the canvas and around all four edges. The emulsion gesso was applied by brush, probably straight from the pot, although it may have been diluted slightly with water. The overall priming layer is reasonably thin and the canvas texture (and in particular the slubs) remain very apparent through it.

The paint is oil and was only applied over the stretched face of canvas, so the white acrylic gesso is still visible around all four edges. The paint was also applied by brush and in an extremely precise manner, without any overlap between adjacent bands of colour visible. The assistance of either a ruling pen or masking tape would have been necessary to ensure the tidiness of each edge. Each colour area has a fairly uniform thickness, colour and gloss, without any obvious brush marks being apparent. The only visible variation in surface gloss is seen in the dark blue area, which has a slightly lower overall gloss to the other three colours. To achieve this uniform surface, the oil paint would have been thinned slightly and applied in a number of thin layers. The painting is not varnished.

The painting is in excellent condition, apart from the occasional finger mark on the acrylic gesso around the edges. Providing some basic precautionary conservation measures are taken to reduce handling (such as its display behind a barrier), the painting should remain in this near pristine state.

Tom Learner
July 2000