Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


Anbangbang Billabong Revisited – cont.

The collage treatment of my original artwork digitalised into an edition onto printmaking paper continues, allowing strong colour beneath to show through the finely textured rice paper. This effect is similar to an oil painting technique where a thin semi transparent veil of paint can be painted over often flat strong colour as a way to give atmospheric depth to a composition. I love the play of opaque surfaces with tonal atmospheric and nuanced texture and much overlapping adding to the sense of ‘painting with paper’.

Nuanced texture and atmospheric tonal values made from overlapping transparent, semi transparent and semi opaque layers of either paper or paint produce and effect that seem so characteristic of outback Australian landscapes – no glaringly obvious focal points, in-defined shapes, blinding sunlight and obscuring dust haze and quivering mirage obscuring clear any horizon line.

We arrived at this location in the dry season when burning off was in progress making the haze, glare, heat contribute to how I imagined these images as I sat next to the dried billabong with its remnant and dried vegetation transported by wet season floods left caught on sticks and branches scattered across the dusty surface that resembled triangular stooks of hay.

Anbangbang Billabong Flood Plain, 2017

Anbangbang Billabong Flood Plain, 2017, rice paper collage and pen and ink, 75×30 cm

img_6679

Flood Plain Across Anbangbang Billabong, 2017, rice paper collage on original digital image plus ink wash and pen, 75×30 cm


3 Comments

‘Painting’ with Paper (continued)

IMG_5496

Point Roadknight Littoral 2, 2016, collage, 30×40 cm

IMG_5495

Point Roadknight Littoral 1, 2016, collage, 30×40 cm

IMG_5492

Foreshore Sunrise, 2016, collage, 40×30 cm

IMG_5491

Rock Pool, 2016, collage, 50×30 cm

Materials used in these collage compositions consist of handmade paper, failed viscosity prints, and their ghosts and a piece of frottage in Point Roadknight Littoral 2.  Once again I have ransacked my remnant department and the images almost arranged themselves, I think because of the way I am immersed in this coastal area and its atmosphere.

At dawn and pre dawn I often wait for low tide, no wind and some cloud before I capture  the transient nature of different elements such as the juxtaposition of water and sun, sand and reflections, rock face reflected in rock pools.

The photograph informs my work (as well as taking frottage) in a round about way that seems to make a slowly developing  mental pattern that over time distills into an image/s.

 

IMG_5022IMG_5483IMG_5482IMG_4999

 


Etching collage

IMG_5274

‘Where Sun Met Rock at Point Roadknight, 2016, intaglio, handmade paper and chine-colle, 24×40 cm

IMG_5265

Toward the Rock Ledge, 2016, intaglio, drypoint, chine-colle and handmade paper, 60x40cm

IMG_5267

Between Sand and Rock, 2016, intaglio, chine-colle and handmade paper, 2016, 50×35 cm

IMG_5224

The Swell, 2016, intaglio and pastel paper, 48×54 cm

A continuation of collage consisting of intaglio and drypoint mixed together with various types of paper into compositions about local environment and human interaction.


Pilbara Revision: “memento mori”

I returned to last incomplete artwork about the Pilbara in Western Australia where ancient rocks termed the Banded Iron Formation, 2-3 billion years old reminded me of memento mori  paintings. In the traditional versions of this topic a figure holds a skull contemplating life’s fleeting span. As an alternative, I get a buzz from observing geological layers in particular landforms that like a type of calendar remind me of my mortality.


1 Comment

Mungo Collage and Sounds of Drought

Both these images, the composition and forms were arranged randomly, settled into this format as I pushed around each element then blew air onto the, at first, carefully arranged pieces of collage and then let hand made paper waft around and land anywhere. A bit more shuffling around, walking away, letting a few more elements land around central pieces of imagery, tearing more paper, overlapping to obtain transparencies and nuanced areas until the desired effect settled in my mind.

The pieces of collage consisted of torn drypoint etchings, intaglio etching, pastel and handmade papers as well as dotted pianola roll paper.


Collage with Drypoint Etchings about Mungo

I continue this Mungo series with the addition of three more collages consisting of pieces of printed collagraph, gold leaf, handmade paper and pastel paper on BFK Rives print making paper. The strange glow of sunset on the Mungo dunes has eluded me in the past as the chocolate box look was an ever present danger. But I’ve often tried to depict my sunrise and sunset feelings of excitement, anticipation and joy.


Collagraph and Collage

These two images were ‘accidents’ at the time but then developed into something else. The pink bleeding  happened accidentally when red coloured handmade paper and wet yellow tissue contacted each other. While part of the Mungo series  another direction presented itself, bring back memories of Mt Lyell in Queenstown, Tasmania.

Vegetation in this area of West coast cool rainforest in the roaring forties, denuded as a result of sulphur etc that spewed from the mine smoke stack was like being in a desert surrounded by earth colours.  Standing next to the open cut when the sun set and glowed on the bare earth’s surface was electric and it took a few days for me to get what I was on about. The dunes of Lake Mungo and the archaeological discoveries there were made possible by sheep grazing, removing grass thereby denuding and exposing  concealed dunes held together by that vegetation .

The presence of pink. gold, yellow and orange at Mungo was in my mind reminiscent of a copper mine open cut over a thousand miles south – a link between inspiration and memory.

Archaeologist at Latrobe University, Nicola Stern recently made further discoveries at what is one of Australia’s most important archaeological sites, described by Science Editor, Bridie Smith in The Age (Melbourne) on Thursday , the eighteenth of June, titled, ” Lake Mungo reveals its hidden secrets.”

To summarise, researchers established that the lake’s high water mark was 5 meters higher than realised and created an island between Lake Mungo and Lake Leaghur to the north, on which archaeologists found embedded in sediment stone tools and fireplaces. However Lake Mungo dried out 15,000 years ago as evidence to the east of the area attests.

New technology  now allows archaeologists to study a new line of beach gravel 5 meters above the main shoreline, therefore indicating that the lake held 250% more water than previously thought. The high water level lasted about 1000 years.

Dr Stern said that when the lake level dropped fine clay sediment from the exposed lake floor was wind-borne and dumped upon the coarser sand of the dune that originated from the beach at the lake’s edge when water levels were higher. ” When you’ve got sand, you know the lake was full and when you get clay you know that the lake was lower,” Dr Stern said.

These insights mean that the ancient indigenous inhabitants would have relied on watercraft in which to navigate this inland sea 24,000 years ago before the climate changed and turned this location into desert country.

This new information adds to how I reimagine this place. Although I printed and collaged several collagraphs, my new oil paintings will benefit from a more thorough understanding of how to look at traces of change left within the landscape.


1 Comment

Etchings about Lake Mungo

The images are about Lake Mungo, its environment and how I reacted to it. Once again I continue the experiments with metallic leaf, this time silver leaf combined with intaglio and collage.

The Sounds of Mungo refer to the comparative silence of this flat dry lake surface and large lunette – shaped dune. The ear is almost eye – like as it ‘sees’ into the landscape and the blinded eye ceases to register outer observation as an inner sense of the place or mental image prevails.

The mention of “red soil” in the titles about trajectories refer to how the colour of the dunes opposite the red hills became an earthy pink colour. Blown from the west across the dry lake, the red earth deposited on the dune seeps down as it rains producing a washed out pink colour which at sunset creates a stunningly beautiful glow.

Other artworks started from the same plate but developed into a variable edition.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Etchings plus Collage ( about the “golden spike”)

Technique

The slide show images, a variable edition of intaglio and chine colle, derive from the image below titled Search for the “Golden Spike”. The technique included masking out a section of the image when I inked and printed the second layer of the composition. The blank masked area received the ink from the etched surface in the second printing but was excess to requirement when printing the first etching. Later these ‘leftovers’ often combine with the first print as a way to create and develop further aspects of the composition. I did several mixing three colours and versions of the first image in different ways.

Ideas for first variable edition

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Original etched image

IMG_2742

Original oil painting

Titled Maria Located the Golden Spike, 2013, 54x72 cm, oil on gessoed paper

Maria Located the Golden Spike


A Patricia Sykes Poem “On your suicide coast”, 2013 : Allegory and Art

On my Home Page I have removed the previous images ( etchings; intaglio, chine-colle and collage) about the forces of nature from the series titled:

Return to Sand and Water

and added more images from that series which are about the artist and a process of insight. The artist like a diver plunges into the ocean of the mind and brings up ‘pieces of insight’ not the spark of an idea but the process of creativity that brings that idea to fruition. Also included is a poem titled On your suicide coast, by Patricia Sykes, 2013

Behind the process of insight theme depicted in these etchings was a tragic story.

Usually at Point Roadknight my impetus derives from the forces of nature or the sheer beauty of sunrise and back-lit cloud formations however this time was different. It was an unexpected tragic situation that I thought I’d forgotten about but which just popped up unexpectedly. On the ocean side of Point Roadknight rocky ledges reach like outstretched hands into the ocean and it was at this location that a friend called me on her mobile to hurry and meet her. What started as an early morning walk for her ended in both of us identifying a washed up body lying face down on the sand.

The very sad thing for me was that he could not be stopped from this ‘final dive’ by the beauty of this place.

We both  found an outlet in poetry and art for the topic of suicide but not as a collaboration. I had not set out to do a series of etchings informed by the poem.

Earlier I had some old prints that I tore up and collaged into new compositions. The torn image was one of the Hanged Man and was about an art student’s Performance as this persona; painted in white chalk, hanging from rafters with musician also performing on the side of the hanging figure. I turned the image around so that it could be read as a diving figure, omitted the musicians and integrated the male figure into the land/seascape and then it unexpectedly reminded me of the suicide.

The figure reaching into the watery underworld has been used in art and literature frequently as an allegory about art and poetry for example the image of Narcissus by Caravaggio, 1600 becomes an allegory of painting.

NARCIS

We had been working separately at different times with this material and I had put mine away for several years until recently when I noticed that they seemed in sympathy with each other – simpatico.

This poem by Patricia Sykes is titled:

On your suicide coast

a holiday of bodies in languid sprawl

as if death is never a stalker

a strange aliveness

       their lassitude

      disturbed by no breath of yours

       though they loll among the gone of it

some scan the horizon, the sky,

less from anxiety than the habit

of eyes as wings, the shadows

      fleeting their faces are mostly sea birds

      a streak of sooty crests

      through bright indifferent sunlight

did you admire the tenacity of terns,

how they hug the shore like guards?

my eyes your surrogates fly

      to 96° west, the SOS marker

      that hovered above your suicide like a metal angel

      it hovers still, its yellow vigilance

defies rust, its loyalty to the drowned

and the bereft told in griefs of flowers

though you were a stranger here

      though the last spume to touch you

      slid off the marker’s face

      like incidental sea spray

the wheeling terns are not crying

an absolute goodbye

death is constant burial

      I give you back to water

      the way a parent trusts an infant to a cradle

      this time the surge and thrash

is gentler; strange fish nibble my fingers,

as if you left a hunger here, the ocean

though speaks of nothing but cold

 

Patricia Sykes, 2013

 

Poetics in Imagery

One way I depict the content of a story in my imagery is through a time honoured method that can be termed poetics, metaphor or allegory; that is using one story to tell another in the case of allegory.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

From Rust to Rock 2014, 39x19 cm print, 50x35 cm paper, intaglio, frottage and collage


Abstract Landscape Etching (intaglio, chine-colle, collage) ‘Triptych’

 

The triptych has a history dating from the late Middle Ages to early Renaissance and was designed to tell a story. It consisted of a central panel with two smaller side panels placed behind the high altar. In an era before the invention of perspective this format was a device that illustrated the drama of the main protagonist, quite often a crucifixion scene, with supporting roles on the side panels .

Famous people and members of the aristocracy also found this form useful for secular story-telling, for example there is a triptych featuring a centrally placed Martin Luther accompanied by side panels that illustrated  his deeds; a type of curriculum vitae writ large. This type of portraiture was commissioned not only by aristocrats but members of the ‘middle class’.

By reading this abstracted landscape (which belongs to the series part of which is shown on my website Home Page titled And then the Ocean Rusted 2013-2014,) in a triptych format a viewer could detect an allusion to a type of geological narrative. In a way the central panel summed up the action on the ‘side panels’. It was all about rusty sediment.

The purchaser of these three prints decided to hang them together in ‘triptych’ format. I liked this arrangement. In comparison with the traditional triptych format the print on central panel is smaller than the prints on side panels. However the central panel/print although smaller attracts the eye first due to the intensity of colour and contrast in the composition, but also the larger surround of printmaking paper creates another contrast. The textures of chine-colle on rice paper and the frottage while enlarging both the panel/print images has a softening effect and gives the central image room to ‘breathe’.


2 Comments

Artwork titled “And then the Ocean Rusted”, 2013-2014

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The frottage prints from the Pilbara banded iron formation rocks done at The Gorges in Karijini National Park were applied to etchings and collage etchings. In these prints I combined  imagined geological processes with the immediate present day frottage recording process in the one composition. The frottage prints were literally like a touchstone when starting work in my studio in that they helped ‘bring back’ the gorges.

What drew to this topic was my sense of awe when touching such ancient rock and how it heralded the formation of life on this planet. In the Pilbara the landscape surface gives the traveller little clue as to the gorges’ appearance  and the intensity of their colour.

On my Home Page are larger versions of the slide show and further detail of each image can be seen at my shop at www.artfido.com/painted_by_elaine


Etching and Collage about Sea Erosion

Sea Erosion Theme

This continuing theme expressed through etching and collage will replace the gouache and mixed media artwork about the topic on my Home Page. I wonder sometimes if the medium of etching, intaglio, drypoint on rice paper, handmade and printmaking paper seems a more urgent direct, stark way to represent this subject in comparison with oil and gouache painting where the element of colour tends to dominate. With colour taking a secondary place strong tonal contrast becomes the main game.

All these images are single, unique one off pieces of artwork. They are not part of an edition of prints. I enjoy playing with one etched plate and then combine the print with different media such as collage of hand made paper, chine-colle on rice paper, ink wash, pen and pencil drawing and also staples.

These artworks are part of a series titled Return to Sand and Water. 


2 Comments

Art techniques / different media

I selected these works on paper and large oil on board completed in 2010 as different versions of the same topic as the Point Roadknight influenced commission and its companion. The selections ( horizontal) are part of a series of artworks titled Return to Sand and Water. The different media also emphasised the processes of erosion at a special place called Point Roadknight.


Photography about Dawn Clouds

I like to capture unusual almost unnatural graphic romantic effects that can occur at times like sunrise and sunset. Low red light changing quickly to orange as the sunrises can appear to visually distort parts of the landscape making it temporarily alien.  This morning as I walked onto the beach before sunrise I witnessed an unusual cloud formation. I remembered the last time I observed a similar shape as it inspired an artwork titled Dawn Cloud Trajectory, 2010 from a series of artwork titled Return to Sand and Water

Dawn Cloud photographed by Elaine on the 27th June 2013 at Point Roadknight

Dawn Cloud photographed by Elaine on the 27th June 2013 at Point Roadknight

Dawn Cloud Trajectory, 2010, 15x30 cm print, 35x50 cm paper, intaglio and collage

Dawn Cloud Trajectory, 2010, 15×30 cm print, 35×50 cm paper, intaglio and collage