Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


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Collage and Texture

When I compare collage and mixed media compositions with oil painted compositions sharing the same topic, I become aware of how different media often suit particular topics.

In this case contemporary art about the environment and the forces of nature somehow is suited to the dryness of rice paper as well as handmade paper as they become simulations of the earth’s surface and landforms. The dusty terrain, desiccated rock surfaces, cracked salt-laden and powdery surfaces and dry sand depictions, although semi abstracted, seem so much easier to portray with various collages than with the lush textures and viscosity of oil paint. Impasto especially can look too lush when alluding to Australia’s ancient land.

One solution to attain the powdery delicate but ancient bleached look was when I mixed grated pastel into gesso and then applied liberally on top of gesso ground whether on canvas, paper or wood surface. I usually begin with this technique but am often not quite satisfied with the end result so I will keep on experimenting.

I feel as though this small series has ended for now and oil painting is calling once again back to psychological portraits where oil paint is a sympathetic medium in which to portray subtleties  and nuanced tonal values.


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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.