Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


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Anbangbang Billabong Revisited

Early this century I joined an art tour to the Northern Territory where we spent time sketching and painting in Kakadu and Nitmiluk National Parks at sites like Ubirr Rock, Katherine Gorge and at Anbangbang Billabong near Nourlangi Rock.

I produced, among others, two images one about Anbangbang Billabong and the other about Ubirr Rock on Fabriano print paper as it readily absorbed diluted indian ink and damp grated pastel and water plus a little gesso as I depicted part of the dried billabong quickly before the moist surface dried in the heat.

A collector bought the two originals. With permission I put their files into ‘Sketchbook’ and made a few alterations digitally from which several smaller prints of the digital images were made and printed onto Hanhlemehule printmaking paper in keeping with the originals. A small problem was that although I liked the colour before printing, later I wasn’t as happy as the colour seemed too bright. So I left them for a while and returned to oil painting.

 

But the November sales of printmaking, handmade and rice papers in Fitzroy turned out to be a paper fest. – so hard to go past so many wonderful surfaces, textures, semi-transparencies and muted colours all completely filling my plan drawers. An affinity between the drawer in which these gorgeous papers lay and the drawer below in which the reproduced prints lay sparked in my mind. I imagined the strongly coloured prints placed behind the recently purchased semi-transparent papers and thought that there could be an interesting juxtaposition between not quite literal format of the printed images and the wabi sabi effect of rice paper etc.  So I got to it – the evolution of an image.

In the  last image of the first composition titled Memory at Anbangbang Billabong, 2016 little remains visible of imagery beneath, having completely covered any reference to the landform in the background top section of the composition. The black and mauve shape echoes the original but is back to front. Beneath the semi trans-parent sheet of paper with an ink stain provided a surface into which I carved out short lines with a scalpel alluding to the lines in the original that indicated the presence of a dried flood plain minus its billabong having evaporated by scorching sun in a cloudless sky so characteristic of the dry season in northern Australia.

In Preliminary Sketch at Ubirr Rock, 2016 an ink washed piece of rice paper became the first layer into which I carved different shapes again revealing glimpses of the print beneath. The simplicity provided by the textured and slightly tonally graded rice paper alluded to rocky texture with out being too literal. Once again less was more.

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Just returned from Kardinia Framers where the buyer made a good choice with a plain wooden frame.


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Original/ Digital Prints – first efforts

The latest David Hockney exhibition at the NGV has some artists and many art appreciative friends inquiring into these types of technique. A few years ago I explored different ways digital images could emerge with photographs wether drawn directly onto my iPad or iPhone or incorporating photographs of oil paintings with digital apps. as a way to completely change the image surface but retain the structure and composition.

Weathered Columns 2, 2008-09, oil on canvas, 214x108 cm.

Weathered Columns 2, 2008-09, oil on canvas, 214×108 cm.

 

 

I could print out the digital images onto small dimension printmaking paper and then rework the surface with traditional materials like pen and ink.

I still need to learn how to manage layers when constructing the digital layers but I imaging it may resemble layering oil painting techniques going from thin lean underpainting up through the layers to the thicker oilier opaque final layer depending on the painting style. Transparencies and semi opaque or semi transparent layers would make interesting texture as an element of the image. It’s also another way to try preliminary versions before launching into a large painting. The digital images could also be expanded into large images and placed photographically onto canvas. Just by using one image as a template it could be manipulated into countless versions transforming from a landscape into something else. Friends have pointed out that within the first digital rendition a head is emerging in portrait form. Turning the composition sideways into landscape horizontal form, a head appears to look out into a strange landscape too. I enjoy this type of response and interaction where different people see different things and reveal aspects of themselves in the process.