Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


Stages in Mungo Painting with oil and frottage

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Mid way through this painting titled Red Soil Trajectory 3, 2017 I felt uncertain about how to complete this image. I was partly happy with it but it seemed to lack a sense of mystery and timelessness so characteristic of this ‘moonscape’.  I think my frustration shows as I turned the composition around and upside down but ended up as usual with my original concept.

Contemporary landscape collage


Anbangbang Billabong cont.

 

 

The final rendition of Anbangbang Billabong with two more collaged digital images. In Journey, 2017, I returned to figuration referencing characteristics of Neolithic Goddess figurines where the creators combined abstracted anatomical elements with naturalism. I let random shapes suggest the presence of anatomical structure onto which I placed abstracted shapes to suggest particular anatomical features.

In Rock to Palette, 2017, I connected a palette image in the lower section of the composition with rock strata simulated and formed from different overlapped paper textures. Over time the formation of oxides complete a journey ending as pigment on a palette.


Anbangbang Billabong – cont.

Once again I overlaid two digital images with various types of paper where my aim was to play with transparencies.

In the first panel the image beneath was reversed with the pen – line outlined image of a palette becoming the site of departure for a metaphorical journey to the artists’ mental underworld of creative inspiration.

The first digital layer looked very different when a sheet of black pastel paper covered figurative elements of the composition beneath. A sheet of rice paper over black made a mottled grey texture of varying thickness within the paper’s texture. I left the bottom half remained much the same except for a piece of rust stained paper harmonious with orange sections of the composition.

 

An organic appearance of the first image transformed into a combination of abstraction plus elements of the organic.


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

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


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Anbangbang Billabong Revisited

Early this century I joined an art tour to the Northern Territory where we spent time sketching and painting in Kakadu and Nitmiluk National Parks at sites like Ubirr Rock, Katherine Gorge and at Anbangbang Billabong near Nourlangi Rock.

I produced, among others, two images one about Anbangbang Billabong and the other about Ubirr Rock on Fabriano print paper as it readily absorbed diluted indian ink and damp grated pastel and water plus a little gesso as I depicted part of the dried billabong quickly before the moist surface dried in the heat.

A collector bought the two originals. With permission I put their files into ‘Sketchbook’ and made a few alterations digitally from which several smaller prints of the digital images were made and printed onto Hanhlemehule printmaking paper in keeping with the originals. A small problem was that although I liked the colour before printing, later I wasn’t as happy as the colour seemed too bright. So I left them for a while and returned to oil painting.

 

But the November sales of printmaking, handmade and rice papers in Fitzroy turned out to be a paper fest. – so hard to go past so many wonderful surfaces, textures, semi-transparencies and muted colours all completely filling my plan drawers. An affinity between the drawer in which these gorgeous papers lay and the drawer below in which the reproduced prints lay sparked in my mind. I imagined the strongly coloured prints placed behind the recently purchased semi-transparent papers and thought that there could be an interesting juxtaposition between not quite literal format of the printed images and the wabi sabi effect of rice paper etc.  So I got to it – the evolution of an image.

In the  last image of the first composition titled Memory at Anbangbang Billabong, 2016 little remains visible of imagery beneath, having completely covered any reference to the landform in the background top section of the composition. The black and mauve shape echoes the original but is back to front. Beneath the semi trans-parent sheet of paper with an ink stain provided a surface into which I carved out short lines with a scalpel alluding to the lines in the original that indicated the presence of a dried flood plain minus its billabong having evaporated by scorching sun in a cloudless sky so characteristic of the dry season in northern Australia.

In Preliminary Sketch at Ubirr Rock, 2016 an ink washed piece of rice paper became the first layer into which I carved different shapes again revealing glimpses of the print beneath. The simplicity provided by the textured and slightly tonally graded rice paper alluded to rocky texture with out being too literal. Once again less was more.

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Just returned from Kardinia Framers where the buyer made a good choice with a plain wooden frame.


Lake Mungo Terrain

 

I continue to explore different aspects of conditions at Lake Mungo. In a sense I feel as though I am ‘Painting’ with paper  http://au.pinterest.com/elainedesterre/collage-painting-with-paper/.

After the paper sales in November, inspiration, tactility and textures of different types of papers over took my oil paintings almost complete, but the urge for paper took over.

On top of a pastel paper background sits a torn piece of collagraph over laid with bark paper and other handmade papers.

I like to combine elements in compositions that allude to a sense of the macro, erosion over millennia with the micro, a sense of present time situated in this place of archaeological significance.

 

Lake Mungo Drying Across Millennia, 2016, mixed media on BFK Rives, 40x60 cm

Lake Mungo Drying Across Millennia, 2016

Touching the Lake Bed At Mungo, 2016, mixed media, 60x40 cm

Touching the Lake Bed At Mungo, 2016


Lake Mungo Landscape (from work in progress)

 

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Final stages continue Lake Mungo Landscape (work in progress)  where I felt at completion that the textures and shapes in the composition reminded me of how this place is scorched dry by the elements; sun and wind build the sand dunes to be gouged out, then eroded by rain fall into channels.


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Exploration at Lake Mungo

Background

This painting has been through the wringer and almost landed in the bin.

Originating as an etching, gessoed, painted in a grey mixing raw umber, cobalt and white with a touch of naples yellow the image, I imagined it as an interior containing references to the painting process, vision and reflection. Then I sanded it back, employed  new colours because images from Lake Mungo kept drifting up and pulling me in a different direction.

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The first version, as an interior in soft grey-green, referred to poetics around vision that morphed into a landscape/mindscape about the light at Mungo and sunset. Still in vertical portrait format I reestablished the face and it then became about how we position ourselves within the landscape on many different levels.

One level was about trying to integrate European oil painting conventions into the Australian landscape-a popular theme by many artists. On another level, my question was about the relationship of humanity to the environment and whether or not we see ourselves as dominating it or working with it? Then there was the way in which the representation of women and nature have been depicted by the dominant culture as possessions onto which all sorts of objectification has occurred.

I’ve tried to find a way to express being in the landscape. The exaggerated depiction of ear refers symbolically to history.

I like to combine figuration, ( plastic and volume) with elements of abstraction.


Printmakers’ Exhibition (nature/culture/myth)

Exhibition Invite Background

The Anglesea Art House Printmakers have produced diverse body of artwork that consists of collographs, etchings and linocuts. We come from different backgrounds and experiences but share a fascination with printers’ inks, handmade and print papers, colour, tone, texture, shape and line and the many different materials from which our plates are made.

The most popular is the collograph plate process made from straw board sealed with shellac (or otherwise ply or masonite) perhaps allowing for more freedom of expression compared to the more constricting processes of etching in particular and linocut. Etching plates are usually metallic (copper, zinc or aluminium) or perspex or acetate.

However the collograph can produce a more painterly look compared to the often more graphic appearance of linocut and etching.

The  compositions/images depicted by our group vary from abstraction through to figurative imagery. The artists make visual commentary about their investigation, interpretation and response to different aspects of nature/culture and pre-Colombian myth.

A thank you to Nicky Perkin who designed the envelope, invitation and poster and to Lee Powell who organised this show.


Seascape Oil Painting Commission continued

Final Stages

The final stages of this commission take form as I threw paint, texture and line into the composition that now looks too busy and requires more focus on the statement.  Colour was an important factor for the person who commissioned this work as he asked me to include indigo. Very definite colour as a significant element in the composition often means that detailed shape and form take a back seat. My aim now is to simplify some of the textural areas, strengthen the composition without losing the organic animated gestural marks intended to live life to the image. The grey values also visually give intense colour space.

Oil painting Commission continued into the final stages.

Oil painting Commission continued into the final stages.

Companion Painting to the Commission

I enjoy the process of imaging several versions of an image. The untitled image measurements are 90 x 120 cm and is also an oil on canvas (linen). The painting in middle stage development is about the particular way a horizontal layer of chalky yellow rock forms an entablature-like shape that has weathered incrementally to its present position situated halfway along the length of the point (Point Roadknight).  On the sea side of the gap a remnant piece of rock  adjacent to an intact outcrop  kept in place by the soil and tree roots above it looked bare and solitary as weathering has removed above layers. Bare bones of rock washed by the tides are home to marine life on this section of the point; one side of the gap terrestrial life on the other marine.

Unfinished middle stage, Untitled 1, 2013,  oil and mixed media on canvas.

Unfinished middle stage, Untitled 1, 2013, oil and mixed media on canvas 90×120 cm

Second Oil Painting Commission

Fortunately another commission resulted from the first one described above. The subject matter taken from the same place named Point Roadknight situated along the Great Ocean Road is a fascinating, dramatic structure that changes visually due to tides and weather conditions and structurally because of relentless weathering and erosion. It’s almost as though my photographs, painting and etchings are witness to this process.

I think I’m at the late early stage where movement and gesture predominate and keep the image looking fresh within these layers. The aim is to retain this immediate fresh impression as the layers build up.

2nd Commission, unfinished early stage, Untitled 2, 2013, oil on canvas on board.

2nd Commission, unfinished early stage, Untitled 2, 2013, oil on canvas on board 90×122 cm

In the painting my focus is also on the terrestrial edge of this halfway gap along the rock formation. I will refer to last years photographic records as many of the ‘entablatures’ and ‘ columns’ washed away by rain, wind and sea show scars of their former location. We have in Australia one of if not the most fragile of coastlines in the world.

This area is a small section of the Great Ocean Road which is under consideration and part of a campaign for world heritage protection which if successful would put it on par with the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland and Kakadu in the Northern Territory.

In 2011 I completed a series of etching, chine-colle and collage titled Return to Sand and Water where I depicted images of this process of loss and change and likened it to my process of painting. The images can be viewed at desterreart.com.au as well as in my shop/gallery on Etsy named ElainedEsterre. There are also 5 images that resulted from my Kakadu trip which are part of a series of artwork titled An Archaeology of Landscape. The complete Archaeology of Landscape may be viewed at desterreart.com.au