Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings

The Sun Descends, 2014

Artwork about Images of Change at Point Roadknight

From 2012 to 2014 

In this expanding series I always seem to return to this particular landform (apart from the others in far reaches of the continent mentioned in previous blogs). Sometimes this rocky protrusion, jutting into the ocean making a sheltered bay on its northern side, is referred to as “the petrified forest”.

I have tried to illustrate how an early morning photograph taken in 2011 titled  Erosion informed the gouache titled An Abrupt Transition, 2012 and then later quite unexpectedly last year I found layers of handmade paper made years ago at a university weekend workshop. Their textures suggested the appearance of rock. Also found were several frottaged pieces of rice paper taken from the surfaces of these rocks as preliminaries to a commissioned seascape.

The breach at Point Roadknight

The need to return at intervals gets a bit desperate as I hope that the erosion will slow. My quiet desperation comes about as I witness and find myself inadvertently recording gradual and not so gradual destruction of this beloved landform.

There is a transition in the work from the 6 shiny photographs to 5 gouache matte simulated textured images to 3 handmade textures reminiscent of rock and a collage with a piece of failed viscosity etching titled The Sun Descends.


I like to observe the way transitioning through different media, using the same or similar subject, often leads into another awareness and reinterpretation about the interaction between structures and conditions. While not a plein aire painter I alway sketch and then carefully draw a subject as a way to sharpen my memory.

It is from memory and contemplation that my imagery arises, placed in an abstracted format with reference to the material object. The texture of the objects can be simulated in paint or another type of simulation that is, either rock-like handmade paper or frottage taken from the rocks in question.

Feelings are not all gloom and doom as my romantic side loves the colour of sunrise, glow of sunrise on rock faces, rock faces reminiscent of ancient ruins and then about 20 minutes after sunrise when the winter sun is in the best position and intensity I photograph their reflections in rock pools and wet sand.

My first attempt at capturing this aspect of the place is not quite as I would like it – a bit pale and wan.

Sand Reflection, 2014

Sand Reflection, 2014

The start a another direction perhaps?

Also at Pinterest

Images of Change at Point Roadknight


Close up of a pivotal point on Point Roadknight looking toward the ocean.

At this marker on the saddle of Point Roadknight which is about half way along its spiny ridge I noticed changes.

Last year I observed traces of where high tide markers remained after the tide receded, seaweed pitched up by the tide reached the top of the saddle where small circular shapes in the sand remained as traces of small eddies of water.

The image above shows a large and distinct seaweed ‘necklace’ that washed over the saddle and around the vertical rock form from the ocean side into the bay area.

The images below however reveal distinct channels of erosion visible around this pinnacle as I stood with my back to the ocean looking toward the bay, showing in the last image from this series, the view of the ‘necklace’ and the bay.

Within the series of images below are depicted the reverse where I am facing the ocean with my back toward Point Roadknight bay.

The presence of a heavy log as a pointer could bear testament to the force of the waves as they breached the saddle.

Shut It Down

Occasionally I post photographic images of my immediate environment on the Surf Coast at Anglesea, Victoria, Australia.

Behind the town lies a coal mine (brown, wet, thermal coal) and power plant polluting the air with particulates and the highest sulphur dioxide emissions in Australia.

A campaign titled “Shut It Down” by the Surf Coast Air Action (SCAA) has be consciousness raising and has now ramped things up as a window of opportunity has presented itself due to the State election in November. They can be followed on:

Twitter: @SCAA3230

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SurfCoastAirAction

and their website is: http://www.surfcoast.airaction.org

Just from the many artists’ views that I have canvassed around this locality, apart from all the other issues including climate change and health issues, visually we always face an eyesore, one that hints at the bigger one which threatens the National Estate Listed Anglesea Heath and potentially the Otway Ranges National Park.

I hope the day comes when I walk at sunrise and the plume of toxic emissions is no longer a blight on the horizon.

Hildegard of Bingen : a Self Portrait

Self portrait by Hildegard of Bingen, detail, Scrivias f., 1r, 1142 - 1152

‘Self portrait’ by Hildegard of Bingen, detail, Scrivias f., 1r, 1142 – 1152

Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179) an influential and creative Benedictine abbess from the Rhineland lived at the time of the building of Chartres Cathedral, the evolution of the University of Paris and in the lifetimes of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Thomas a Becket, Fredrick Barbarossa and Bernard of Clairvaux has been an influence on my artwork –  the self portrait and portrait. Hildergard has been described as a poet, artist, musician, scientist, administrator and visionary. In her life time she challenged civic and religious leaders through her writing.

This self portrait could also be seen as part democratisation of an artform , the selfie of its era.

While Hildegard may not have painted this self portrait illumination herself its contents and concept were hers and she would have directed its execution. It shows flames of inspiration arising around her head as she writes watched by her secretary and monk, Volmar. A private instant of conversion “in the process of” self expression freeing her from writer’s block, doubt, subservience and illness due to cultural constrictions. Society thought that women like Hildegard exceptional but at the same time the profession they pursued was deemed masculine.

Flame imagery was associated with Pentecost (Holy Spirit) so in this way Hildegard privatised an emblem that had been reserved for imagery of the apostles. Women’s social functions were subordinated to, or defined by their sexual capacities as someones wife, mother or daughter. (Portraits let alone self portraits were generally reserved for rulers, aristocracy and church dignitaries in a feudal society where they were depicted on coinage, sculpture or etched in stone on cathedral architecture.)

Christian representations of women in the Middle Ages were focused on the opposition of Eve and Mary, seducer and saint. Images of creative women (below) from Antiquity however were acceptable as examples of exceptional persons but distinct from the experiences of everyday women.

Hildergard’s images of self expression and the depiction of the process and technique of producing the image seemed unusual in an era when “doing your own thing” was centuries away.

Self portrait "Thamar" from Boccaccio's De Claris Mulierbus  1355 - 59.

Self portrait “Thamar” from Boccaccio’s De Claris Mulierbus 1355 – 59.

Anonymous, Thamyris Painting, early 15th century manuscript.

Anonymous, Thamyris Painting, early 15th century manuscript.

These images showing women as persons aware of their self identity at that time were truly revolutionary and inspiring.


Fox, Matthew, Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen. Santa Fe, Bear & Company, 1981

Parker, Rozsika & Pollock, Griselda, Old Mistresses: Women, Art and Ideology. New York, Harper Collins, 1981

Chadwick, Whitney, Women, Art and Society. London, Thames & Hudson, 1990

Art titled Contemplating the Golden Spike 1, 2013, 55x75 cm, gouache, charcoal and pastel from Begin with Sand, Silt and Water

Artwork, preparatory sketches and photographs

These sketches and photographs were preliminaries for the body of work titled Begin with Sand, Silt and Water, 2012 – 2013,  and were a part of my process before and during painting, a part of memorising and reconnecting with original feelings on site.

There is a slideshow on my Home Page where you can see how the paintings turned out.

Photograph of seascape at dawn, Forces of Nature 3, from Point Roadknight

Seascape showing the Forces of Nature

Yesterday with both the sun and tide rising there seemed little to catch my eye. A low misty cloud drifted across the sun. No chance of a colourful image or interesting reflections on wet sand.

As I walked to the point strong contrasts appeared with

Dawn seascape, photograph, Forces of Nature 1, from Point Roadknight

Dawn seascape photograph Forces of Nature 1

Photograph of seascape at dawn, Forces of Nature 2, from Point Roadknight

Photograph of seascape at dawn

Photograph of seascape at dawn, Forces of Nature 3, from Point Roadknight

Photograph of seascape at dawn, Forces of Nature 3

back-lit clouds and rock and ocean spray silhouetted against the sky. As if a ritual site of a sacred landscape I enjoyed juxtaposing the rising sun with a specific rock.