Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings

New Commission

This commission happened due to an art lover viewing on line one of my small studies in pastel and charcoal drawn over a digital print taken from one of my larger paintings. The study on paper sizing up often demands some compositional arrangement and more tonal subtlety. Translating a small pastel into oil paint always interesting.

So today I begin.

Artwork with Frottage

Background for Underpainting

Stage 1

The frottage for this painting ( 98×120 cm)  is a technique which allows me to connect with the landscape. The place was Lake Mungo in NSW. Particular parts of landscape marked the paper when I either rubbed a soft piece of charcoal and/or graphite across the surface that moulded the surface beneath revealing its texture or by another method placing wet paper into soil which over a short time stains the paper. Then later back in my studio I incorporate the frottage into larger paintings.

I began with a gesso washed and soaked frottage in order to seal the paper from later oil painted layers, a method to prevent discolouration and rot.

The triptych-like frottage shows three different textures. One was taken from a rock and rubbed with a mixture of graphite, compressed charcoal and water, the middle texture was a mixture of stain and a rubbing done over the clay surface in front of the dune called The Walls of China and in the third I tried to take sand imprints. That technique required an ink surface onto which randomly scattered sand was meant to absorb the ink which when dry would blow off leaving a dotted pitted surface (not totally successful).


Revisit old sketchbook, artwork from Kakadu and Nitmiluk

I revisited my Kakadu influenced artwork when a recent TV programme investigated park ranger’s work at Kakadu and Nitmiluk National Parks during the wet season that made possible safe passage for dry season visitors.

My previous series of works involved archaeological sites and Museums in Crete so the word “archaeology ” was fresh in my mind and also suggested by a fellow painter as part of the series title which is An Archaeology of Landscape. The reason was that I metaphorically connected the forces of nature and those of the archaeologist and miner. Both pare back layers of overburden although time’s span obviously vary to reveal essential structures or objects; the earth’s structures like ancient ruins and relics like specific types of rock.

As a dry season visitor and member of a painting group my immediate sketches were produced on site in gorges, beside billabongs and outliers. Frottage technique of rubbing pencil over a surface covered with paper as well earth staining paper from wet rice or handmade paper was another way to bring back to my studio impressions from this place.