Art, Identity & Place

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


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Mungo 1 & 2 continued

Both canvasses have been turned up side down. While I previously started the underpaintings differently, the paint texture and imagery that developed through pouring paint and drawing into it with an oil paint stick demanded re appraisal. Frottage beneath looked too much and unfocused but additional paint and colour made me re think aspects of the intended topic. Both were in the direction of listing soil types but too general and a bit waffly all over the place.

The first image became about the journey of red soil through the dunes and the second became about the desiccated remnant Lake edge sand and clay from which constituted part of the dunes and Lunette.http://www.facebook.com/elainedesterreart/


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Lake Mungo – continued

When I reviewed the previous stage I felt that the composition required more focus, energy and contrast before I added more colour. The direction of an elliptical line referring to the remnant Lake, drawn with an oil stick, gives the composition a dynamic element and energy. More tonal contrast also became an area of focus – focal point.

I wanted to suggest path of water through this Lunette landform. However the white gash at the top of the image is a little too overpowering so in the next paint layer I think pouring colour and tone paint consistencies over this area will bleed and coalesce into random texture. But first the layer beneath needs to dry.


Mungo Landscape – another stage

Top section of the composition was top heavy and needed some reduction and veiling. I mixed a grey with added red green and ultramarine in very small quantities making an earth -grey that I overpainted sides and top third of the composition obscuring shapes beneath.

Later when paint dries thoroughly I plan to swipe paint on a rag across raised areas exposing faintly raised parts of shapes beneath.

At this stage too the circular shape seemed to fight for attention so I painted it over with the grey shape that leaves exposed the main part of the painting and then with a soft rag whipped back some paint leaving part of the circle showing through faintly. Also left exposed is a triangle shape reminiscent of a Mungo dune beneath which is my handwriting left uncovered through masking out noting time and place of making this frottage remnant. A few more layers needed yet. Do I see a strange creature emerging?


Open Day at Anglesea Art Studios

The studios are open next weekend – Melbourne Cup weekend – 4 – 6 November. I exhibit in a shared studio called Muddy’s She-shed at 5 River Reserve Road, Anglesea. 

All welcome to chat about the work and browse. Maggi Jean is exhibiting drawing, collagraph, gelatine prints, ceramic sculpture and artist books. www.facebook.com/muddys-she-shed/

I am exhibiting small drawings derived from my Lake Mungo series.


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Third Stage – Untitled Mungo Mixed Media

Background first stages (underpainting)

Layers beneath were thoroughly dry – frottage on art and printmaking paper glued with gesso containing some Indian ink for soft tone in areas then over painted with greys containing a little raw umber for cooler tones and warmed with the addition of Sanguine highlights.


In the overpainting I darkened the left side of the composition with a semi-transparent cool dark wash consisting of lamp black, raw sienna and raw umber. Then on the right opaque multi toned warm greys were moved around the canvas with a rag.


The next paint application consisted of pouring light pink grey brown pigment into a central circular shape as a way to unify the composition. Then with a black oil stick I drew a couple of line to hint at Lunette shapes of the Mungo landform. However the top of the painting isn’t working yet so time to down tools and let this layer dry.


Thinking about Painting

 

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‘Thinking about Painting’ and its process is a topic that I try to depict every now and then. I like to imagine different moments when between viewing the subject and then turning away, retaining aspects of the image before the hand conveys it to paint and canvas.

The black light globe indicates the moment when the artist looks from the subject and is momentarily ‘blinded’ as thoughts turn inward to the imagination where the mind delivers aspects of the remembered image to another mental place. One eye is obscured as thoughts about paint and how its qualities and manipulations are organised before the hand moves to depict some of the image. At the same time the warm colours situated on the artist’s head indicate the ‘ah ha’ moment when the remembered image and paint manipulation coalesce.

The composition became clearer as I moved through layers going from more detailed and complex to simplified. I often  put too much into the composition but usually cut away unnecessary detail eventually. Colour as an elements receded as I used a tonal less busy paint combination.


Mungo Lunette oil & mixed media – first stage

I placed frottage application of BFK Rives with compressed charcoal and graphite onto the canvas with gesso and then brushed some diluted gesso over the frottage.

The first two images are details showing different paint viscosities blending and forming different wet in wet texture.

The third image is the complete composition and the last is the first stage before paint viscosities form different textures.


Grated oxide pastel combined with gesso also made earthy texture. Powdered red oxide also has a similar effect but more intense so I use it sparingly.

I want to avoid over-working this one and keep the dry parched effect.