Callum Innes

Three Identified Forms 1993


Not on display

Callum Innes born 1962
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 2200 × 1900 mm
Purchased 1995

Technique and condition

The painting was executed on a single piece of medium weight cotton duck canvas which is stretched tightly over a sturdy fixed stretcher and attached with wire staples at the back of each stretcher bar. The outer members of the stretcher are made from a hardwood whereas a softwood was used for the crossbars. Although initially an expandable stretcher, the expansion keys have been cut back so that they are now flush with the inner faces of the outer members, thus rendering the stretcher essentially non-expandable. The first material to be applied to the stretched cotton fabric was a thick layer of animal glue size which was brushed on with the canvas horizontal (there are drip marks at all four tacking edges).

The paint was then applied without the application of a pigmented ground layer. The black oil paint appears to have been used straight from the tube, although it was possibly modified with the addition of some further oil medium, and was applied with a fairly wide brush in horizontal strokes probably with the painting now standing vertically. Then, before the paint had dried completely, turpentine, or possibly a mineral spirit solvent, was gently squirted onto three points of the painting in sufficient quantity to form dribbles which were allowed to run down the painting's surface so that they redissolved the oil paint on their way. Where the paint dribbles have reached the bottom edge, the unsized canvas on the tacking edge has been stained somewhat by the diluted black paint. There are three drips which did not quite make it to the bottom tacking edge, and their tips are characterised by an extremely high gloss and a slight build up in thickness.

The painting is not varnished or framed. The painting is in an extremely good condition, with the sturdy stretcher providing excellent support for the paint films. Providing the painting is not mishandled, the paint layers are likely to remain in this excellent condition for an appreciable length of time.

Tom Learner
October 1997

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