Peter Carson

A New Painting Technique

In 2007 or 2008, when I was visiting my parents from Australia, my father showed me some of his latest work, and described to me a painting technique that he had independently developed. 

He would paint on the coarse fabric hessian, but would not glue the hessian to a board or even frame it. Rather he would pin the hessian to a flat surface such as a desk, and after applying paint to the fabric, would allow it to be absorbed overnight. The next day he would apply a further layer of paint, and allow that to be absorbed…and so on until he was satisfied that the painting was maximally impactful. The effect, he told me, was a greater combination of clarity and richness than he had been able to produce by painting on canvas, hardboard, or hessian glued to hardboard.  

There was, he suggested, an organic quality to these paintings that was missing in his previous oils. He painted over 200 of these “hessian scrolls” (as I call them) before his death, and was of the opinion that they constituted some of his best work as a painter. With the possible the exception of the painting depicted above, none are titled, None are framed. All are more than a little rough around the edges… But although my father produced over 4000 paintings, drawings, and pastels, nopotential collection of Peter Carson’ s work better exemplifies his use of, and his mastery of,  chiaroscuro lighting.