Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


Stages in Mungo Painting with oil and frottage

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Mid way through this painting titled Red Soil Trajectory 3, 2017 I felt uncertain about how to complete this image. I was partly happy with it but it seemed to lack a sense of mystery and timelessness so characteristic of this ‘moonscape’.  I think my frustration shows as I turned the composition around and upside down but ended up as usual with my original concept.

Contemporary landscape collage


Anbangbang Billabong cont.

 

 

The final rendition of Anbangbang Billabong with two more collaged digital images. In Journey, 2017, I returned to figuration referencing characteristics of Neolithic Goddess figurines where the creators combined abstracted anatomical elements with naturalism. I let random shapes suggest the presence of anatomical structure onto which I placed abstracted shapes to suggest particular anatomical features.

In Rock to Palette, 2017, I connected a palette image in the lower section of the composition with rock strata simulated and formed from different overlapped paper textures. Over time the formation of oxides complete a journey ending as pigment on a palette.


Anbangbang Billabong – cont.

Once again I overlaid two digital images with various types of paper where my aim was to play with transparencies.

In the first panel the image beneath was reversed with the pen – line outlined image of a palette becoming the site of departure for a metaphorical journey to the artists’ mental underworld of creative inspiration.

The first digital layer looked very different when a sheet of black pastel paper covered figurative elements of the composition beneath. A sheet of rice paper over black made a mottled grey texture of varying thickness within the paper’s texture. I left the bottom half remained much the same except for a piece of rust stained paper harmonious with orange sections of the composition.

 

An organic appearance of the first image transformed into a combination of abstraction plus elements of the organic.


Anbangbang Billabong Revisited – cont.

The collage treatment of my original artwork digitalised into an edition onto printmaking paper continues, allowing strong colour beneath to show through the finely textured rice paper. This effect is similar to an oil painting technique where a thin semi transparent veil of paint can be painted over often flat strong colour as a way to give atmospheric depth to a composition. I love the play of opaque surfaces with tonal atmospheric and nuanced texture and much overlapping adding to the sense of ‘painting with paper’.

Nuanced texture and atmospheric tonal values made from overlapping transparent, semi transparent and semi opaque layers of either paper or paint produce and effect that seem so characteristic of outback Australian landscapes – no glaringly obvious focal points, in-defined shapes, blinding sunlight and obscuring dust haze and quivering mirage obscuring clear any horizon line.

We arrived at this location in the dry season when burning off was in progress making the haze, glare, heat contribute to how I imagined these images as I sat next to the dried billabong with its remnant and dried vegetation transported by wet season floods left caught on sticks and branches scattered across the dusty surface that resembled triangular stooks of hay.

Anbangbang Billabong Flood Plain, 2017

Anbangbang Billabong Flood Plain, 2017, rice paper collage and pen and ink, 75×30 cm

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Flood Plain Across Anbangbang Billabong, 2017, rice paper collage on original digital image plus ink wash and pen, 75×30 cm


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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.


Lake Mungo Terrain

 

I continue to explore different aspects of conditions at Lake Mungo. In a sense I feel as though I am ‘Painting’ with paper  http://au.pinterest.com/elainedesterre/collage-painting-with-paper/.

After the paper sales in November, inspiration, tactility and textures of different types of papers over took my oil paintings almost complete, but the urge for paper took over.

On top of a pastel paper background sits a torn piece of collagraph over laid with bark paper and other handmade papers.

I like to combine elements in compositions that allude to a sense of the macro, erosion over millennia with the micro, a sense of present time situated in this place of archaeological significance.

 

Lake Mungo Drying Across Millennia, 2016, mixed media on BFK Rives, 40x60 cm

Lake Mungo Drying Across Millennia, 2016

Touching the Lake Bed At Mungo, 2016, mixed media, 60x40 cm

Touching the Lake Bed At Mungo, 2016


Lake Mungo Landscape (from work in progress)

 

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Final stages continue Lake Mungo Landscape (work in progress)  where I felt at completion that the textures and shapes in the composition reminded me of how this place is scorched dry by the elements; sun and wind build the sand dunes to be gouged out, then eroded by rain fall into channels.