Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


Artwork on Paper at Shopify

I’m trying a new approach to selling artwork. I still have exhibitions at galleries, certainly with large oil paintings, but moving with the times why not try an approach augmenting the gallery exhibition? The main point about websites and blogs is that viewers get a detailed description about how a particular work came about, they can pursue an image and ponder its pros and cons in their own space without being rushed or pressurised and can contact the artist with any pertinent questions.

Works on paper are a convenient medium owing to size and weight which can be shipped, cost effectively, to any destination quite easily.

The works chosen are from a series of etching, chine-colle and collage titled And then the Ocean Rusted, 2014. The title refers to when, 2-3 billion years ago, the World’s  iron laden oceans began rusting, laying down sediment, as oxygen from cyanobacteria entered the atmosphere causing the rusting process. I visited this location, taking rubbings/frottage from these metamorphosed sedimentary deposits from different gorges in Karijini National Park in West Australia which I combined with intaglio, an aspect of etching technique and printed in my studio. The whole series can be viewed at http://pinterest.com/elainedesterre/etching-and-chine-colle-titled-and-then-the-ocean/ 

 

The largest dimensions of the handmade prints can be viewed at

https://elainedesterreart.com/artwork-on-paper-at-shopify


Collagraph and Collage

These two images were ‘accidents’ at the time but then developed into something else. The pink bleeding  happened accidentally when red coloured handmade paper and wet yellow tissue contacted each other. While part of the Mungo series  another direction presented itself, bring back memories of Mt Lyell in Queenstown, Tasmania.

Vegetation in this area of West coast cool rainforest in the roaring forties, denuded as a result of sulphur etc that spewed from the mine smoke stack was like being in a desert surrounded by earth colours.  Standing next to the open cut when the sun set and glowed on the bare earth’s surface was electric and it took a few days for me to get what I was on about. The dunes of Lake Mungo and the archaeological discoveries there were made possible by sheep grazing, removing grass thereby denuding and exposing  concealed dunes held together by that vegetation .

The presence of pink. gold, yellow and orange at Mungo was in my mind reminiscent of a copper mine open cut over a thousand miles south – a link between inspiration and memory.

Archaeologist at Latrobe University, Nicola Stern recently made further discoveries at what is one of Australia’s most important archaeological sites, described by Science Editor, Bridie Smith in The Age (Melbourne) on Thursday , the eighteenth of June, titled, ” Lake Mungo reveals its hidden secrets.”

To summarise, researchers established that the lake’s high water mark was 5 meters higher than realised and created an island between Lake Mungo and Lake Leaghur to the north, on which archaeologists found embedded in sediment stone tools and fireplaces. However Lake Mungo dried out 15,000 years ago as evidence to the east of the area attests.

New technology  now allows archaeologists to study a new line of beach gravel 5 meters above the main shoreline, therefore indicating that the lake held 250% more water than previously thought. The high water level lasted about 1000 years.

Dr Stern said that when the lake level dropped fine clay sediment from the exposed lake floor was wind-borne and dumped upon the coarser sand of the dune that originated from the beach at the lake’s edge when water levels were higher. ” When you’ve got sand, you know the lake was full and when you get clay you know that the lake was lower,” Dr Stern said.

These insights mean that the ancient indigenous inhabitants would have relied on watercraft in which to navigate this inland sea 24,000 years ago before the climate changed and turned this location into desert country.

This new information adds to how I reimagine this place. Although I printed and collaged several collagraphs, my new oil paintings will benefit from a more thorough understanding of how to look at traces of change left within the landscape.


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Mungo continued

These two images began with collagraph prints. The barely visible print in the first is concealed beneath two collaged rectangles consisting of silver leaf on red and black backgrounds. Shreds of print on semi transparent handmade paper then overlay parts of the leaf and allow part of the image beneath to ghost through.

I used a similar method with the second plate. The red collagraph print covers printed metal leaf placed on the first print that just shows through, visible in the lower section of the composition in the centre of which is a rectangular element of the imagery consisting of a silver leaf rectangle placed on a red surface.

I was trying to capture an idea of weathering process that shape the dunes and am ambivalent about the first image that may look better as a horizontal image. It began in horizontal format so… looks a bit too regular and structured maybe?

IMG_3462


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Mungo continued

I used the same zinc plate with a collagraph glued to its surface to begin a variable edition by arranging the plate, chine colle and metal leaf into different compositions where I explored different aspect of Lake Mungo.

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Etching and silver leaf continued

First Stages 

In these small contemporary landscapes based on Lake Mungo I am still experimenting with silver leaf and chine colle layering.

Second Stage

Gold leaf in the first image required toning down with layer of semi transparent white. Silver leaf in the other two almost invisible.

In the second version of the second image I wet the chine colle and scrunched it into a folded shape reminiscent of folds in the landscape. The second version of the third image looked better in vertical format also with changed chine colle.

I aimed to capture particular elements of this eroded and parched long lunette shaped dune weathered by rain and wind then shaped into small pyramid shaped hills.


Experiments with Etching Proofs

Background

I  scraped off an earlier image  from the copper plate which was a variable edition titled A Search for the “Golden Spike”, 2014A Search for 'The Golden Spike', 2014 The changed plate, now destroyed finished that edition. However it lay in my studio for a few months as I intended using the back of the plate for another etching. Then, as frequently happens, another image popped up –  pre-conscious imagery where a seemingly complete mental picture in my mind’s eye seems so real and demanded attention.

The dark areas in the earlier image were made using the aquatint and acid process.I wanted to try out a new tool that creates darkened areas and is called a rocker which doesn’t require an acid bath. Basically its a drypoint method called mezzotint.

Small rocker

Small rocker with fine grooves

Large rocker

Large rocker

Using rockerUsing rockerUsing rocker

The rocking motion and pressure applied both make dotted ridges that imprint into the copper so that when ink is applied it is forced into these depressions as a way to produce a dark section.

In this next stage where I destroyed the image on the plate my main tool was a scraper whereby I removed much of the mezzotint and then burnished the scraped area so that ink could not adhere to the surface before printing.

ScraperBurnisher

The horizontal formatted image above changed into a vertical composition. The head and landscape seemed to dissolve into each other within my mind’s eye – less head, less structure all over and a more atmospheric look.The mind’s eye image seemed to be about facial features that mimic aspects of the landscape.  I scraped and burnished the central area and then reestablished small areas around the head with roulettes and etching needle as well as strengthen the linear highlights.

 Results

Several proofs depicted in the vertical formatted image.

The second print shown here was proofed first and the first was the ‘improved’ version which was too fussy. I liked the more ethereal first effort. So I scraped off the top and part of the central ‘horizon’ , simplified the busy bits and added a chine colle.

Proofs 1 and 2

Results

The first image with off-white coloured chine colle is quite atmospheric and in the second version the chine colle didn’t take and peeled back, away from the surface making a line gap dividing the top from bottom.  I used orange pastel to join the gap. Still not happy with the sky area, I turned it upside down which gave me another idea that may be suitable for an oil painting. More proofs are required to resolve the image.


An introduction to Nicola Perkin and her Australian Imagery

I would like to introduce Nicola Perkin and one of her recent collagraph experiments.

Nicky and I share a love of painting and printmaking. We are members of a printmaking group in Anglesea on the Surf Coast in Victoria, Australia.

The main theme in Nicky’s artwork, paintings and prints is her response to the Australian landscape. In her words:

” I was born and bred in London  where I only saw the horizon once a year on our annual family holiday; at times I am overwhelmed by the vastness and emptiness of Australia. In an attempt to find my sense of place, I explore my response to this alien landscape.”

Nicky’s printmaking and painting both have limited palettes allowing a heavily textured surface. Within her collagraphs the surface textures and limited palette echo those of the landscape; ” others are built up layers of colour capturing the changing light”.

“There is a deliberate silence to my paintings, by presenting the viewer with a space, the work attempts to engage the viewer. It is in our nature to fill that void, bringing our own interpretation to the viewing, remembering a similar journey or view “.

The mark making visible on the collagraph plate and second image that shows the detail in the plate’s surface demonstrate how important the texture through mark making can characterise and trace Nicky’s relationship to a particular place. Elements and aspects of abstraction make me feel that her imagery is very Australian in a sophisticated and understated way. The texture, flattening of surface and random marks draw in my eye and at the same time disperse that focus into the linear texture that amplifies the sense of stillness and space.

I enjoy how the texture becomes form and atmosphere, and the work while figurative is also abstracted.

Nicky's collagraph

Collagraph techniques are many and varied and generally have a painterly quality in contrast to traditional graphic line drawn etching.

The two vertical chine colle areas began as pieces of masking that were placed on the inked plate, then run through the press, peeled back and turned around and placed onto the print as another element within the  composition.

Nicky presents a sense of void where the viewer can bring to this element their relationship, interpretation and emotions about a particular aspect of this environment. I relate to the sunburnt terrain, aridity and drought resistant vegetation. I almost hear the sound of crackling dry leaves underfoot.

Other collagraphs: