elainedesterreart

original expressionist/surreal visual art.

Surrealist portrait titled The Walls of China are Silent, 2014, 50x75 cm, oil on canvas from the series titled Poet's process


Art and Poetry at Lake Mungo, part 2

From a series of paintings titled Inside the Poet’s Process

Painting titled The Walls of China are Silent, 2013 – 14

Surrealist portrait titled The Walls of China are Silent, 2014, 50x75 cm, oil on canvas from the series titled Poet's process

The Walls of China are Silent, 2014, oil on canvas 50×75 cm

The early stage formed quickly perhaps too quickly because as the painting progressed I felt that the initial freshness was compromised. I repainted structure into the face but in the process I lost transparencies and an ethereal type of atmosphere. It was part of my way to suggest that sense of remote insignificance and almost feeling like another grain of sand. The title referred to a row of sand dunes where humans inhale the dusty atmosphere, the dust of past silent civilisation made worse by extreme drought at the time. The image of an enlarged ear referred to a heightened state of awareness as we listened to the land.

In the following stages I simplified the lake shape and blurred it with a poured semi-transparent layer of paint as a way to depict the sand and dust enveloping the poet’s image.  In recent changes I reconfigured the head and face, reestablished part of the form and introduced a shape that referred to a direction of vision and focus. (I often felt as though I was standing in the middle of no-where.)

A dark hair-like shape hovering above the head reminded me of windy conditions prevalent at the time and it seemed to refer to how a poem may form.

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The result is not working for me yet and looks too laboured and over-stated having lost earlier transparent passages of paint and line. Fluidity and movement and a sense of vulnerability are missing.

I reintroduced a linear rectangle shape. Not happy with the colour intensity I modified it and added more body colour.

Surface sanding was required and more detail with the idea of introducing a more tonally nuanced background that would partly obscure the newly introduced elements. With the background repainted I introduced a grey sweep of hair that I changed with a white line encompassing the general shape. My depiction of the hair changed because in the earlier version the type of brush stroke suggested a state of turbulent, windswept atmosphere and an imagined process of the poet’s creativity. On recollection I don’t mind the high rise hair-do and may use it in another image.

However I wanted a reversal of my earlier intention and reconstructed the hair shape to allude instead to a sense of silence.  It mirrored a hesitation, a type of containment we felt before heading across the dry lake bed toward the distant dunes named ‘The Walls of China’ that shimmered like a mirage. The poet’s process had barely begun.

Ear to the Foreground, 2014, 62x84 cm, mixed media and oil on canvas from the series titled Poet's Process


Art and Poetry at Lake Mungo, part 1

Image from the series titled Inside the Poet’s Process

Painting titled Ear to the Foreground, 2014

Ear to the Foreground, 2014, 62x84 cm, mixed media and oil on canvas from the series titled Poet's Process

Ear to the Foreground, 2014, mixed media and oil on canvas

When my friend and I set out for Lake Mungo from a camping ground garden of tropical vegetation beside the Murray River our vehicle soon encountered the very familiar corrugated surface and bull dust-covered large pot holes of many Outback roads. The contrast between each environment could not have been more stark as the temperature soared, dust increased and vegetation became sparse. At Lake Mungo National Park having checked out the visitor’s centre I became aware of the silence, wide horizon and canopy of cloudless blue sky. This initial impression was what I tried to express as I relived the experience through a poem written by my travel companion poet Patricia Sykes. After many conversations with Patricia about identifying response to environment and what and how the word/image flows from one another into a poem’s structure; meaning, rhythm, sound, words their position, lines and their format, my aim was to imagine and internalise points in this discussion about a creative process. Instead of drawing and painting outlines of a portrait form in a background space I wanted inlines not to amplify perspective and form but to flow into the environment and coalesce into proto imagery as it formed mentally and often instantly appeared as if from nowhere in the mind’s eye. Baroque era iconography often referred to the connection between poetry and painting in the form of allegorical figures called Pictura and Poesia; one woman with brush and palette the other with pen and paper. I began by blocking in the image with thinned paint and compressed charcoal. The image started with a dune shape behind the head. I changed this because my first impression was a perceived emptiness as we both confronted the dunes from a distance. To reach them required driving across the dry lake bed of Lake Mungo.  I added an abstracted shape that alluded to the path of vision. The shape referring to the line of vision obscured the poet’s eye. I intended to make a reference to the black algae encrusted lake bed situated along this line of vision. But it didn’t work and looked too busy so simplicity was required. ( I always want to put in everything knowing most of it will be painted over.) I lightened the background colour as the previous layer looked thin and scrappy. Intense blue of the background needed some body before another application and adjustment and addition to the head image. This painting didn’t take long and the original fresh energy of the initial sketch carried into the final layers which I try to do but not always successfully. I like the underpainting to remain part of the final layer. This image can also be viewed at:  www.facebook.com/pages/Desterreart

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Art about Heads, part 1

Metaphor for the Human Condition

Portraits can tell a story without a long narrative structure because the artist tries to capture a point or in this case points in time within the space of one image. The image is still but it alluded to action and thought. I tried to capture some aspects of the mother and daughter relationship at a time when the mother’s influence waned and prominence of the peer group and the daughter’s sense of identity took the stage. The abstracted shapes like the keyhole and window referred to elements of vision about elucidation, obscurity and transition. The red column shape echoed those in ancient Minoan rituals that depicted aspects of female initiation.

Above the Window,1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint on Fabriano

Above the Window, 1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint on Fabriano 28×18 cm print, 50×35 cm paper

 

The title of the series to which these prints belong is Natalie with the Gaze and the Glance, 2009 – 2010.

Red Column, 2009, intaglio and drypoint

Red Column 1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint 25×18 cm print, 35×25 cm paper

Red Column 2, 1/1, 2009, 26x18 cm print, 37x28 cm on Fabriano paper

Red Column 2, 1/1, 2009, intaglio, 26×18 cm print, 37×28 cm paper

Imago, 1/1, 2009, 25x21 cm print, 37x28 cm paper, drypoint and intaglio

Imago, 1/1, 2009, drypoint and intaglio 25×21 cm print, 37×28 cm paper

Growing Persona, 1/1, 2009,  intaglio and drypoint.

Growing Persona, 1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint 26×18 cm print, 50×35 cm paper

In Focus, 1/1, 2009,  intaglio and drypoint

In Focus, 1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint 25×18 cm print, 50×35 cm paper

Growing Focus, 1/1, 2009,  intaglio and drypoint. Sold

Growing Focus, 1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint. Sold

Risen, 1/1, 2009,  intaglio and drypoint

Risen, 1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint 26×18 cm print, 38×28 cm paper

Enchroaching Memory 1, 1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint

Enchroaching Memory 1, 1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint 25×18 cm print, 37×25 cm paper

Enchroaching Memory 2, 1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint.

Enchroaching Memory 2, 1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint 24×20 cm print, 35×28 cm paper

The Keyhole 1, 1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint on rice paper

The Keyhole Image 1, 1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint on rice paper. Sold

The Keyhole Image 2, 1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint on rice paper

The Keyhole Image 2, 1/1, 2009, intaglio and drypoint on rice paper.

Terms “gaze and “glance” referred to modes of seeing by artists, the first produced a structured work arranged in layers where underneath paint layers were gradually obscured until attainment of the desired effect for example in European oil painting. On the other hand the glance mode was more immediate and brush work encapsulated the image in one layer as in Oriental brush painting. I integrated both ways of seeing into my compositions.

In earlier blog titled Line drawing with faces and figures I discussed styles of line work and printmaking.