Art, Identity & Place

How wild places, deep time and archaeology inform my contemporary art process

Advancing Tide at Sunrise

Seascape oil painting commission continued

Final Stages

Seascape oil painting commission now in the final stages continued as I poured another semi-transparent glaze over indigo. The idea was to give the blue water an illusion of depth. The indigo colour has been part of the under-painting as well as over-painting that consisted of the definition of columnar rock-shapes visible in the detail image and shadows to be further developed in the next stage.

Seascape oil painting commission continued, final stages based on Point Roadknight

Seascape, oil Painting commission continued, final stages based on Point Roadknight

Oil painting commission continued, detail, final stages based on Point roadknight

Seascape oil painting commission continued, detail, final stages based on Point Roadknight

At the same time I introduced visual elements into the composition that related to vision, that is, the artist’s gaze was also implicated in what was seen and how the subject was organised in space.

The suggestion of divisions like those in a triptych was my way to explain how erosion over millennia  has left standing portals or sentinels of the hardest rocks that appear to divide this land-form into three broad shapes punctuated by distinct gaps.

This winter erosion further under-cut large rocks with one in particular falling on its side and others broken, snapping off like teeth. I often feel sad at the loss of these unusual pillar-like shapes that looked so permanent.

Rock erosion, broken columns at Point Roadknight

Rock erosion, broken columns at Point Roadknight

Final Stages of untitled companion painting

Seascape oil painting, untitled companion, final stage, based on Point Roadknight

Seascape, oil painting untitled companion, final stage, based on Point Roadknight

The companion painting required more depth in the foreground layers. A thin glaze under the opaque over-painting looked too thin and a bit scrappy. The opaque quality allows for effective colour richness and transparency when the under layer dries. The transparent layer should glow but not too much.

My paintings often take months to complete owing to the introduction of glazes throughout the build up of layers. Sounds like a layer cake. When I was teaching my students and I would laugh at this so-called “Sara Lee” effect. It’s often regarded as a traditional painting technique practiced by the Old Masters. I love all the qualities of the oil medium which range from transparent, semi-transparent, semi-opaque through to opaque. When I’m asked  do a commission I usually do other versions while paint dries but also I see a single topic in different ways.

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.

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