Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


Unfinished Paintings from ‘Eye and Site’

Behind several stacked paintings placed in a category titled Eye and Site, a topic of vision I found two images that I had been unsure about for a few years. They began as an experiment where I tried combining etching with oil paint on a finely woven canvas. The printing ink adhered quite well so I stretched the image over a frame and then had a go at trying the oil combo.  Even though I gessoed around the etching somehow the oil bled into it but not enough to obscure the highlights. The random bleeding gave the face, traditionally rendered,  a surreal appearance and my depiction of a light fitting and its shaft of light then merged with the distorted image of the face. I like playing with form and light and how they both distort, in a graphic way, figurative imagery.

Well these distortions seemed to tell me that on one level light could also look  form-like and then form merge into light. On another level, light was meant to elucidate form but here it obscured it. So I was partly happy put them aside to ponder, ponder. Much later however apart from looking raw I began to see them differently.

I wanted them to say something about how in darkness we see back light years and in day light our vision is limited to immediate objects. Then I thought of how, by including the image of my head torch like a miner’s lamp fastened to my forehead, it might improve the composition and what it was that I was trying to say. So I blurred the original light source leaving a faint shape indicating a transition from light shining onto a form to light coming from it.

Now I am resisting the urge to dribble pink paint onto the image or should I leave it? Is this another ‘light is in the blood’ or is  ‘light in the blood’ the same as light in the universe? Yes looks like another pink ear coming up.

A clearer head this morning so I’ve let things be.

 

 

 


4 Comments

“Landforms” 2015, Reflection

Three artworks from my series titled And then the Ocean Rusted were the first to be sold on opening night. What was very heartening was the ‘return’ of “Karijini” to Perth in Western Australia by the purchaser, artist Susan Griffiths who works in similar media using frottage, but pushing it further than I do, and is exhibiting in Perth as I write.

The second image was about Weano gorge. The purchaser had embarked on an extensive bush walk in Karijini National Park in an area referred to as the Pilbara, at this particular location, descending into to this very deep gorge where to viewers from above, situated at the lookout, a person below was barely visible. My frottage was taken from the rim of the gorge.

Rust 1 taken home by an artist, ceramacist and scientist who also walks in out of the way wild places. I heard on Radio National a very apt description by Andrew Denton who referred to this exploration in the Outback as, quoting from memory off the top of my head,  ” the search for wild places that imprint on the heart”. Loved it.

The other wild place, Lake Mungo, while not 3 billion years old like the Pilbara, is known for its 40,000-60,000 (circa.) archaeological Indigenous history and its haunting landscape.

Occasionally a viewer would ask what V.E. stands for – Variable Edition. This type of edition stands in contrast to the traditional Edition where multiples of the one image are reproduced, for example 1/100 up to 100/100.  A large edition is possible with a zinc plate and a larger number of images may be reproduced from a copper plate which is harder than zinc. However a collagraph plate is often not as robust and degrades quickly, cardboard especially and even on masonite – like material the surface texture may be fragile.

My reason for variable editions has nothing to do with these technical factors but is about boredom which descends when I just reproduce one image after another. My brain demands continual push and pull of the pictorial, textural and formal elements in various compositions and formats to feel satisfied. Then I often see things in different ways taking me off in other directions or a further development of the one I’m working in.

The purchasers of these three images love the environment and are engaged in various activities both employment, activism and hobbies that nurture out habitat.

Tidal Surge, 2010, intaglio and collage 26x16 cm print, 48x35 cm paper

Tidal Surge, 2010, intaglio and collage 26×16 cm print, 48×35 cm paper

Closer to home Tidal Surge is from my series Return to Sand and Water about erosion at Point Roadknight along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria areas and tracks of which are frequently walked by the purchaser. As years roll on more and more of this intriguing landform gradually being lost to the sea diminishes in size and texture. For instance the often termed Petrified Forest that is a part of this small promontory, consisting of mineralised root systems that resonate with images of ancient ruins, has eroded into rubble with very few ‘columns’ remaining. I feel as though I am recording one effect of Climate Change as seas rise.


1 Comment

Etching Collage about Brachina Gorge

I returned to a couple of unfinished prints from last year to see if renovation was possible and as they were left overs from a variable edition, maybe with the passing of time, a different aspect of the Brachina Gorge subject matter may come up.

The original print titled “In Search of the Golden Spike”, 2014 was the springboard from which the new etching collage developed. This image had lost its freshness and looked tight and laboured so I placed gold leaf over part of the image and cut away a small section to reveal the part of the underneath image. Gold leaf looked too much so I glued over it a layer of handmade paper also tearing away a small section revealing the gold leaf as well as the original intaglio. Now I feel that in the central area I need more underlying nuanced tone and line to connect both sections of the composition. Definitely needs work.

IMG_3535

The second image began also with the same plate but printed onto a chine colle that consisted of beige hand-made paper. At this stage however it was in vertical format and looked very pale and wan so I added gold leaf and then a layer of thin rice paper to reduce the glare and make a base and space for a second intaglio. I was bored with the image on this plate so decided to print another from a different series and see how they combined together. But by using only half of the image overcrowding may have been avoided so I elected to use the image of the head on the right side of the plate but which printed left in this artwork.

IMG_3522

Untitled

untitled

The two heads turning toward each other are separated by the image depicting the golden spike as though having searched for its location in Brachina Gorge they now ‘become’ part of the landscape. I like the idea of how over time we do become soil and are eventually part of earth’s stratified terrain.


1 Comment

Mungo Collage and Sounds of Drought

Both these images, the composition and forms were arranged randomly, settled into this format as I pushed around each element then blew air onto the, at first, carefully arranged pieces of collage and then let hand made paper waft around and land anywhere. A bit more shuffling around, walking away, letting a few more elements land around central pieces of imagery, tearing more paper, overlapping to obtain transparencies and nuanced areas until the desired effect settled in my mind.

The pieces of collage consisted of torn drypoint etchings, intaglio etching, pastel and handmade papers as well as dotted pianola roll paper.


Etching Collage about Lake Mungo

Two more images about Lake Mungo that refer to the landscape and how it may be understood in relation to its geology.

I have continued combining metallic leaf, handmade papers and intaglio with some intaglio as collage.


1 Comment

Etchings about Lake Mungo

The images are about Lake Mungo, its environment and how I reacted to it. Once again I continue the experiments with metallic leaf, this time silver leaf combined with intaglio and collage.

The Sounds of Mungo refer to the comparative silence of this flat dry lake surface and large lunette – shaped dune. The ear is almost eye – like as it ‘sees’ into the landscape and the blinded eye ceases to register outer observation as an inner sense of the place or mental image prevails.

The mention of “red soil” in the titles about trajectories refer to how the colour of the dunes opposite the red hills became an earthy pink colour. Blown from the west across the dry lake, the red earth deposited on the dune seeps down as it rains producing a washed out pink colour which at sunset creates a stunningly beautiful glow.

Other artworks started from the same plate but developed into a variable edition.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


5 Comments

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.