Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings

“Passage of Time at Lake Mungo”


The painting below happened quickly, almost too quickly because I didn’t record its early stages. They began as a torn up ghost print from my failed attempts at viscosity printing. However I retained this piece of pink and blue texture on BFK Rives.

The first layer consisted of the torn shred placed in the bottom left of the composition. Months later I had left over greenish turps and in an absent minded moment I poured it onto the canvas surrounding the BFK Rives ghost viscosity texture. Later I purposely applied a few dark areas and lines, an orange strip and I enlarged the pink texture into a dune shape which I felt alluded to Mungo-ish colour of this arid region.

I recalled that Lake Mungo originally until 24,000 years ago had been a thriving water-filled habitat that supported Indigenous civilisation. So I mixed together several types and consistencies of blue and let the paint flow randomly across the canvas.

White lines indicate direction of water flow and time line. I partly obscured the blue shape with misty blues, re-established the blue but in an atmospheric haze of ‘distant time’.  I dribbled a white wash over the white line and dripped blue washy blobs into it. The idea was to represent a transition through time from the blue water of abundant life to pinks and orange representing gradual desertification.

Time's Passage at Lake Mungo


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.

7 thoughts on ““Passage of Time at Lake Mungo”

  1. I’ve always loved your process of working as well as the art you create. This image grabs me right away First, simply due to the pairing of the gorgeous blue and orange. The tonal structure, textures, and marks are lovely. I like that you allow the work to evolve at its own pace. You don’t ‘hurry it UP!’ This is a lovely painting Elaine. cheers, Debi

    • Thank you Debi I was surprised at a resurgence of blue and orange but the combo. just popped up after 25 years. Colour combination for me seems to go in cycles. Wonder if its the same for other artists? Cheers, Elaine

  2. Elaine I love seeing the evolution of your work. This one in particular, the subtle layering gives it such depth. The colors and textures sing.

  3. Time is a wonderful thing, it can add layers of meaning as well as layers in a practical sense. A beautiful piece, with resonance of Mungo, then and now.