Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings

Etching with Gelatine Prints and Decoupage by Lee Powell

I would like to introduce Lee Powell to viewers. Lee, our tutor at the Anglesea Art House has introduced several contemporary printmaking techniques that include etching using a gelatine plate and experimentation with metallic leaf where she combines a decoupage approach to sculptural construction. This approach is where the application of printed papers to different objects produce a sculptural quality. The technique termed decoupage is similar to collage, that is, applying cut out pieces of paper and tissue to a surface that can also be two-dimensional.

In the first image and slide show, Lee constructed an open box that while containing a series of connected fold out images also functioned as a frame when the images retracted into a single image.


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In the second piece of artwork the opacity and shiny surface of copper leaf was visible but not over powering through the semi transparent multi layerings of thin tissue paper and Hoshu paper.


As the plate is gelatine (water and gelatine set when placed in a lined flattish baking dish or similar container) the artist does not require an etching press and simply flattens the paper receiving the print by hand. Objects such as plant material, seaweed or fine filigree textures and any shape desired adhere to the gelatine ‘plate’ over which colour is rolled.

The rich textural layers of colour give the image an abstracted appearance but at the same time suggestions of the figurative are also evident. There is a harmony between both aspects of image making that makes it read as a landscape. I think this convergence is produced by the hands on way the image. That is from disparate found images on paper fragments where the imagery “just happens” in a serendipitous way by firstly,

. the random selection of these fragments of previously printed images,

. multi layering,

. layers of tissue torn back to reveal earlier layering,

. tonal and textural nuance coalesce as layers are coated with a glue,

. the copper leaf shows up through the over layering and harmonises with the yellow and brown in this landscape.

The term analogue art perhaps describes the artwork produced by our group because as demonstrated by Lee’s influence, truth to materials, the love of handmade papers, experimentations with inks and their application as well as mark making are central to her practice.

Author: elainedesterre

I have been producing oil paintings, mixed media, prints (etching), digital prints and drawings for many years travelling to the Australian outback and overseas for inspiration and further education. My formal education consists of a PhD in painting and a BA in printmaking and my artwork is represented in public and private collections. My purpose and ongoing challenge is to create a gender-balanced and environment-focused iconography within the Western canon of European oil painting. These themes find expression within imagery about time, memory and identity as well as in geomorphology of evolutionary and environmental significance.

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