Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


Artwork on Paper at Shopify

I’m trying a new approach to selling artwork. I still have exhibitions at galleries, certainly with large oil paintings, but moving with the times why not try an approach augmenting the gallery exhibition? The main point about websites and blogs is that viewers get a detailed description about how a particular work came about, they can pursue an image and ponder its pros and cons in their own space without being rushed or pressurised and can contact the artist with any pertinent questions.

Works on paper are a convenient medium owing to size and weight which can be shipped, cost effectively, to any destination quite easily.

The works chosen are from a series of etching, chine-colle and collage titled And then the Ocean Rusted, 2014. The title refers to when, 2-3 billion years ago, the World’s  iron laden oceans began rusting, laying down sediment, as oxygen from cyanobacteria entered the atmosphere causing the rusting process. I visited this location, taking rubbings/frottage from these metamorphosed sedimentary deposits from different gorges in Karijini National Park in West Australia which I combined with intaglio, an aspect of etching technique and printed in my studio. The whole series can be viewed at http://pinterest.com/elainedesterre/etching-and-chine-colle-titled-and-then-the-ocean/ 

 

The largest dimensions of the handmade prints can be viewed at

https://elainedesterreart.com/artwork-on-paper-at-shopify


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Drought Imagery on my Homepage

I completed these eight etching collages last year when I sensed that atmospheric conditions could herald another drought, hopefully without the severity of the last unforgettable one.

The mind/scape iconography of floating heads and ears especially are meant to indicate the way in which some sounds set off an unexpected stream of images – an underworld where fears and insecurities reside.

The existence of the images was almost like an omen, as I took them from my plan draws after a year, that jolted me now that an El Nino weather event is now controlling our weather system in 2015. And as I re-photographed them on my verandah, large spots of rain spattered them but very, very briefly, as true to form, the rain fall abruptly ceased.

Hardly projecting a sense of joy, they resemble a drought ravaged landscape – a bit withered and colourless.

Sounds of Drought 3, 2014, etching collage

Sounds of Drought 3, 2014, intaglio, drypoint, chine-colle and collage  


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“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.


‘Painting’ a Sand Dune at Lake Mungo

This painting began in 2003 when I explored Lake Mungo for the second time doing small sketches and taking frottage on hand made paper from hardened clay of the now arid lake surface. I wanted to understand the hidden structure of this area that sat upon the Gol Gol formation.

I lost my way half way through the painting and started with a horizontal format as I tried to capture the expanse of the area. So the title changed from Lake Mungo Memory to ‘Painting’ a Sand Dune at Lake Mungo. This idea conflicted with how I imagined a depiction of the way colour, red from nearby hills, deposited on the lunette producing and earthy pink tinge into the sand that was then ‘sculpted’ by rain into small pyramid shapes.

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The Sun Descends, 2014


Artwork about Images of Change at Point Roadknight

From 2012 to 2014 

In this expanding series I always seem to return to this particular landform (apart from the others in far reaches of the continent mentioned in previous blogs). Sometimes this rocky protrusion, jutting into the ocean making a sheltered bay on its northern side, is referred to as “the petrified forest”.

I have tried to illustrate how an early morning photograph taken in 2011 titled  Erosion informed the gouache titled An Abrupt Transition, 2012 and then later quite unexpectedly last year I found layers of handmade paper made years ago at a university weekend workshop. Their textures suggested the appearance of rock. Also found were several frottaged pieces of rice paper taken from the surfaces of these rocks as preliminaries to a commissioned seascape.

The breach at Point Roadknight

The need to return at intervals gets a bit desperate as I hope that the erosion will slow. My quiet desperation comes about as I witness and find myself inadvertently recording gradual and not so gradual destruction of this beloved landform.

There is a transition in the work from the 6 shiny photographs to 5 gouache matte simulated textured images to 3 handmade textures reminiscent of rock and a collage with a piece of failed viscosity etching titled The Sun Descends.

From

I like to observe the way transitioning through different media, using the same or similar subject, often leads into another awareness and reinterpretation about the interaction between structures and conditions. While not a plein aire painter I alway sketch and then carefully draw a subject as a way to sharpen my memory.

It is from memory and contemplation that my imagery arises, placed in an abstracted format with reference to the material object. The texture of the objects can be simulated in paint or another type of simulation that is, either rock-like handmade paper or frottage taken from the rocks in question.

Feelings are not all gloom and doom as my romantic side loves the colour of sunrise, glow of sunrise on rock faces, rock faces reminiscent of ancient ruins and then about 20 minutes after sunrise when the winter sun is in the best position and intensity I photograph their reflections in rock pools and wet sand.

My first attempt at capturing this aspect of the place is not quite as I would like it – a bit pale and wan.

Sand Reflection, 2014

Sand Reflection, 2014

The start a another direction perhaps?

Also at Pinterest


Frottage connection as the first stage of a new painting

This frottage taken at Mungo consists of graphite and red chalk is the first layer for a painting. In this underpainting the red chalk is similar to part of the geology known as the Gol gol formation above which the clay and sand of the dune formed. The red oxide-like pigment of the soil blown onto the dune by Westerlies gives the dune its pink colour as it gradually seeped into the porous sand.

I try to mimic aspects of the way the landscape formed by incorporating dry pigment and stained and frottage traces on paper into layers of paint.


Frottage Beginnings

Background

This mixed media painting began with frottage on suitable paper when I placed it over indentations at Lake Mungo and rubbed the surface with charcoal and graphite. Early days but this image developed very quickly when I obscured most of the frottage with too much gesso laden with graphite and pastel. I rotated the image to a landscape format  in keeping with a long sand dune. With the changed compositional format I blocked in the basic shape of the frottage and placed it into an abstracted landscape, tore away pieces of paper leaving en etched look that could allude to the eroded condition of the dunes known as The Walls of China. After pouring thin layers of opaque paint over parts of the composition I faded parts of it and then emphasised other small areas with highlights and red chalk.

 

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