Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


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COMMISSION – Homage to Joan Miro (first stage)

Background

This client had fallen in love with the art work of Surrealist artist Joan Miro and asked me if it was possible to come up with an image that was homage to his work but not a replica or copy but somehow retain something of my style too. It would be an interesting challenge because I tried to absorb ideas and techniques from Max Ernst, Paul Klee and Joan Miro as an art student and still traces remain.

 

We both chose Miro’s The Hunter ( Catalan Landscape ) as a guide regarding the colour and aspects of the composition with colour and line elements taking precedence. Texture as an element was the background onto which lines and flat shapes were used to depict objects and figures. The dimension of the Miro was 60×90 cm approximately but my client’s painting required to measure 90×150 cm meant that too close a resemblance to the Miro would never work. Instead of a Catalan landscape I said I’d come up with something else and bring it up to Melbourne when the painting was in early stages and see if colour, composition and subject were acceptable because changing the size may have made colour intensity too much and space elements may spread, loosing compact design and focus. I wondered whether or not the sky’s intensity would be a bit overpowering transferred to a large canvas.


Instead of a background Catalan Landscape I chose a Surf Coast scene at Fairhaven.

Underpainting

Detailed objects refer to each client’s activities and personalities, beginning the journey of homage to Miro meets the Fairhaven crew.


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Mungo 2 – Final Stage

 

Edges of Lake Mungo, 2017

Edges of Lake Mungo, 2017, mixed media and oil on canvas, 120×90 cm

 

In the slide show I photographed defined stages of the composition in an almost monochrome image.

This was a painting that came together without too much pushing and pulling around of compositional elements.  Because the textural elements influenced and constructed the form of the image I felt that colour should be minimal. I tried to depict various types of soil around the dark surface of the dried lake bed that consisted of clays hence the textured surface made from torn frottage taken from parts of the lake’s surface with compressed charcoal and oxide powder (now painted over) as well as grated earth coloured pastel mixed in gesso.

Ink in gesso formed the underpainting over which oil paint graded tones unified disparate pieces of paper (frottage) one of which contain the time and date of making the rubbed area illuminating the earth formation beneath the paper pressed over its surface.

I often find myself reversing the composition when I seem so sure that it’s the right way up and how i envisioned it in sketch form. Then somehow the oil paint medium, its capacity to flow, bleed, make random shapes as transparent and opaque edges meet. It’s at this moment that something else takes over and I have to put all pre-conceived ideas on to the side-lines but then later bring aspects of the original idea into the hopefully concise paint mark-making often with the addition of an oil paint stick. Always love line.

 

 

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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/


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.