Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


Three Studies about Memory

Return to Drawing

After several years of printmaking then painting I changed course unexpectedly and picked up dry media and applied it to printmaking paper.

My half-done large paintings and then a series of small head in landscape images demanded a more thorough exploration about how I could develop and create iconography where my ‘landscapes’ /memoryscapes showed more succinctly a connection between mind, geology, geography and biology. How we inscribe ourselves on to landscape and landmarks and how in turn they change how we see ourselves. I sometimes feel as though searching for special places for example fossils in the Flinders Ranges, I am ‘shaped’ by aspects of the land and passage of time.

Anyway these three studies began unexpectedly as I pondered the feeling and memory of homesickness and the longing for colour, form and texture in particular places. When I lived in Western Queensland driving for kilometres through brigalow forest and experienced the flat endlessly stretching landscape and blue dome overhead I longed of orange, purple and grey tones of cliffs on the Great Ocean Road. So in Studies 1,2 and 3 for a Coastal Memory I have exaggerated the intensity of orange and made gestural marks that simplify form as a way to express a sense of loss.

I drew with compressed charcoal pencil as well as pen and ink and pastels over photographs of incomplete large oils that I had digitally printed onto printmaking paper.

This method provides me with a starting point where I turn the old incomplete images upside down or sideways into which elicits old memories. Then I build up another image that vaguely alludes to a place by drawing with pen and pastel more facets and traces of its erosion on one hand and monumentality on the other.