Seeing red
the art and science of infra-red analysis
17 November 2001 – 1 April 2002


Grace Cossington Smith carefully planned the composition of the modernist watercolour Eastern road, Turramurra. A preliminary drawing was made in a sketchbook and a grid structure marked over the composition. Colour notes were recorded on the page alongside. For the watercolour Cossington Smith developed the drawing in great detail in pencil. This degree of preparation is unusual, as artists usually restrict the amount of underdrawing used with the semi-transparent medium of watercolour.

In this work the artist has used pencil as a necessary guide for the precise placement of colour. Some of the pencil lines can be seen in natural light, however the infra-red reflectogram has greatly enhanced the definition of the underdrawing. In the reflectogram a faint grid can be seen along with every detail of the composition.