Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


Abstract Etching Collage

A moment when torn remnants of failed intaglio prints came together mentally. Something drew me away from my planned oil paintings and diverted me back to pieces of an old ‘jigsaw’. Unarticulated at the time, compositions that slipped away from my mind but returned and demanded unexpected attention.

The first image titled Leaving Lake Mungo, 2016 in diptych format, consists of a collagraph with an image of a dune that joins to an intaglio from which a figure is pulling away to merge into obscurity beneath layers of chine-colle and pieces of collage.

The second image titled Planning to Dive, 2016 refers to an older series of images titled The Diver, 2011,  an allegory about a type of creative process. it consists of intaglio, collage and torn intaglio, transparent paper and pianola paper with punctured holes as well as a piece of pastel paper with frottage.

The Goddess Return, 2016 consists of  a collagraph on top of which sits a small intaglio joined by transparent paper over silver leaf. The goddess image ‘joins the sky and earth’.

Leaving Lake Mungo, 2016Planning to Dive, 2016IThe Goddess Return


LANDforms Preview (Mungo cont.)

The oil painting titled Red Earth Trajectory at Mungo 2 refers to Mungo’s pink sand, the deposition of red soil from nearby hills and erosion by wind and water. Bed of Lake Mungo and Evening at Lake Mungo are collagraphs from the same plate but with part of the displaced print moved to the left in Bed of  Lake Mungo and chine-colle and collage combined with metal leaf in Evening at Lake Mungo. Ive just noticed how Evening at Lake Mungo, 2015 resembles Igneous 1, 2004 on the invite. Basic shapes are there but slightly rearranged even though one is a large oil and the other a small collagraph. Gone around in a circle!!


Collagraphs about Mungo

Collage from previous etchings are mixed into the second collagraph, whereas, in the first, I combined a torn collagraph element with another piece of collagraph. This grey piece of rectangular shaped BFK Rives printmaking paper, obtained from a ghost washy print that picked up some ink remnant left on the plate, resembled part of Mungo’s terrain between the red dust bearing hills and the pink dunes.

In the second image the soft grey area was printed from another washy (drop of gum turps. and a little oil ) ghost print which being very liquid spread across to the edge of page as it passed under the roller. Then I combined two pieces of torn image, one consisting of an intaglio and the other a drypoint on perspex from past leftovers, into ‘seeing heads’. The beige surround alludes to viewing as tho through a frame.

I was trying to depict two types of vision into a single image. One head is sightless and ‘sees’ as if from below the landscape and ‘becomes’ the landscape, and the other sighted head and torso view the landscape through and with perspectival visual construction.


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.


1 Comment

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


3 Comments

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


2 Comments

Mungo

Mungo, 2015, collagraph and chine colle

Mungo, 2015, collagraph and chine colle on BFK Rives, 28×14 cm

Another version of landscape elements at Lake Mungo in printmaking media that consists of a roll up, chine colle and collagraph.

I returned to collagraph but thought I’d try it on metal plates instead of the more malleable wood or cardboard. However metal leaf as a part chine colle was not compatible as both attracted each other except in this case where the metal leaf had already been placed onto paper.

The process started unexpectedly when I had been working on a viscosity method of printing and had a ghost print left on my roller that looked more interesting than the viscosity print so I rolled it onto a sheet of BFK Rives 300 gsm and let it dry.

I noticed a square sample of gold leaf on red paper that I’d put away for later that matched the ghost roll.  So the bright yellow of the roll left over from a viscosity print had picked up a red layer from the viscosity print and melded into the yellow layer.

I made a collagraph with scrunched tissue paper and carborundum in the shape of a dune glued and sealed onto a metal plate.

I inked the plate with blue black and raw umber with plenty of extender (maybe more would have lightened it a little). The plan  for the darker layer was to tone down the layers beneath and tie together the gold leaf on the chine colle and the rather cool almost acid background yellow.

I love the art of the East and its textural nuance with which this prints seems to have an unexpected affinity but I’m not sure whether it quite captures the moonscape of Mungo. It does something else I think perhaps pointing me in another direction?