Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


Large Oil and Mixed Media – more of Mungo (cont.)

 

I waited for 24 hours and gradually peeled off  glad wrap (cling wrap) in two stages, the first being moister than the second and consequently edges were less defined while the rest were drier and crisper. The image looked better in horizontal format at this stage but that could change.

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


Landscape with Ancient Rock

  • I placed a slide show on my Home Page consisting of several paintings from a series I titled Begin with Sand Silt and Water, 2012 – 2013. They were inspired by a feeling that many experience in the Australian outback. Although this continent lacks high mountain ranges and deep canyons and is in comparison quite flat it does have very ancient rocks formation, fossils and places worn to skeletal rock. Flimsy and fragile soil covering however reveals the underlying clues to the earth’s history.

The paintings produced after traveling, exploring, observing, sketching, photographing and taking frottage from rock surfaces develop as a result of these preliminaries. The locations depicted in the paintings are at Lake Mungo in New South Wales, Brachina Gorge in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia and close to home at Point Roadknight.

My overwhelming feelings are a mixture of wonder and curiosity about evolution of ancient reefs and seabeds, once in shallow seas 550 million years ago, into the Flinders Ranges. Paintings with titles termed “Golden Spike” refer to a landmark also in this area where fossils discovered as imprints on the sea floor reveal ancient jelly fish-like creatures. These Ediacaran fossils evolutionary significance as bilateral asexual organisms was their capacity to move, for example Sprigina and Dickensonia. In 2007 Dr Mary Droser discovered a coral-like creature resembling a worm that evolved the capacity to reproduce sexually.

Art landscape painting titled Golden Spike 2, 2012,  oil on canvas 60x45 cm

Painting in oil titled Golden Spike 2, 2012, oil on canvas 60×45 cm

The painting titled Remnant Lake Mungo, 2013 was created from feelings about timelessness and human insignificance in the desert, stripped bare under a huge almost overbearing sky. A long drive through dust-covered pot holes, corrugations and avoiding roadkill my fellow traveler and I approached Lake Mungo. The vista before us consisted of a dried lake bed, a clay pan and large dunes called ‘the Walls of China’. Briefly, pre-50,000 years ago the red soil of the lunettes rimming Mungo is termed the Gol Gol unit. 50,000 years ago white quartz sand blown onto the lunettes formed the Mungo Unit. As an overflow and part of the Willandra creek system water was plentiful and vegetation grew on the lunettes. 30,000 – 15,000 years ago clay pellets formed on the exposed mud flats. Sand and clay pellets blew onto the lunettes, forming the Zanci unit. 15,000 years ago to the present Mungo dried, more clay pellets built the lunettes, water erosion created deep gullies and wind-blown sand formed large mobile dunes and salt concentrated clay formed a black coating of erosion resistant algal crust.

Archaeologists discovered Mungo Woman and later Mungo Man thought at least 40,000 years old as well as stone artifacts, middens and fossilised footprints.

Art landscape painting titled Remnant Lake Mungo, 2013, oil on board. Lake Mungo is a dried lake in southern New South Wales, Australia

Landscape painting titled Remnant Lake Mungo, 2013, oil on board 45×55 cm

Point Roadknight just off the Great Ocean Road out of Anglesea is a land mark where erosion reveals aspects of geology in the form of what appears vertical fossilised tree roots that resemble columns in an ancient ruin. Have roots penetrated the above layer that may be an ancient sea bed made porous and through which seeped mineralised and calcified rainwater? The ‘columns’ appear anchored to hard rock formed by an ancient pyroclastic flow from hinterland volcanoes.

Others have various descriptions of this place such as ‘sinister’ and ‘threatening’ but for me it is a home to hooded plovers, a gray heron as well as my ‘observatory’. Colour, pattern, tonal contrast and texture in sky, rock, sand and water are sources of endless fascination.

Art, landscape painting titled Like an Entablature, 2012, 52x73 cm, gouache and pastel

Landscape titled Like an Entablature, 2012, gouache and pastel 52×73 cm


Walga Rock

Walga (Walganna) Rock, 1.8 km long and composed of post-tectonic granite, is one of the many whalebacks scattered throughout the Yilgarn Craton. Situated on the Western section of the craton which consists of rocks of every Archean era with zircons dating back to the Hadean also clastic sedimentary rock. It consists of K-feldspar porphyritic monogranite that forms the type area thought to be approx. 2.5 billion years old.

Walga Rock cave entrance before sunset.

Walga Rock cave entrance before sunset.

Above the gallery situated on the cave wall are large slabs of granite in the process of ‘peeling off’  the main rock form. This process is caused by expansion and contraction of the surface because of extreme seasonal and diurnal temperatures in this inland (300 km), arid climate. Rain water and wind erosion molded and eroded the lower recessed section of the rock.

Walga Rock wind and rain water erosion ' peeling off ' slabs of granite.

Walga Rock wind and rain water erosion ‘ peeling off ‘ slabs of granite.

Wind and water erosion

Wind and water erosion forming cave wall.

The rock overhang protected the array of paintings. The depiction of a masted boat was quoted by archaeologists  as evidence of contact with sailors of European origin, firstly Dutch and then later archaeological evidence suggested a similarity between this depiction and the nineteenth century coastal steamer SS Xantho. (Bigourdan, 2006)

I took a rubbing/frottage from rocks as well as rice paper stains from soil far from the enclosure. They are a way for me to connect with the place via a tactile experience when I return to my studio. Often I adhere them with gesso to the canvas surface.

Walga Rock frottage, 22/04/13, 7.30 am, graphite and pastel on rice paper.

Walga Rock frottage, 22/04/13, 7.30 am, graphite and pastel on rice paper.

Walga Rock paper stain 1, 24/04/13, 7.40 am, soil stain on rice paper.

Walga Rock paper stain 1, 24/04/13, 7.40 am, soil stain on rice paper.

This technique is one that includes quick sketches done on site. Below are previous examples of this mixing of different media which I meld into large oil paintings. They may be viewed on my website : desterreart.com.au and are part of a series titled An Archaeology of Landscape.

Escarpment, 2007, 98x84 cm, oil and mixed media on canvas from the series titled An Archaeology of Landscape. Courtesy of the D. Hutton collection.

Escarpment, 2007, 98×84 cm, oil and mixed media on canvas
from the series titled An Archaeology of Landscape.
Courtesy of the D. Hutton collection.

Water Etching, 2003, 140x120 cm, mixed media on board from the series titled An Archaeology of Landscape.

Water Etching, 2003, 140×120 cm, mixed media on board
from the series titled An Archaeology of Landscape.

Igneous 2, 2004, 214x108 cm, oil and mixed media on canvas from series titled An Archaeology of Landscape

Igneous 2, 2004, 214×108 cm, oil and mixed media on canvas
from series titled An Archaeology of Landscape.

P.S.  Correction: Feldspar should read K-feldspar. The “K”, refers to the Potassium content of feldspar. There are 3 K feldspars: microcline, sanidine and orthoclase (orthoclase and plagioclase, another type of feldspar, are often easily seen in volcanic rocks, they’re usually a milky to pinkish white).


Rock formation origin

Banded Iron Formation resembling a mosaic

Banded Iron Formation resembling a mosaic.

The gradual deposition of sediment and of rock layering record a time during the Archean when there was little oxygen in the atmosphere and the only life forms were bacteria and algae. Banded iron formation rich in iron and silica, while not fully understood,  is thought deposited by cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Some forms of bacteria drew their energy from the earth via thermal activity near volcanoes. Others like the ones at Hamelin Pool, 3.5 billion years old, drew theirs from  sunlight through photosynthesis.  Iron derived from volcanic activity survived in the ocean which could have been red-brown colour such as the inland sea known as the Hamersley Basin. The earth’s atmosphere was only thought to be about 1% oxygen and as more oxygen entered the earth’s atmosphere it probably hastened the rusting and sedimentation of the iron laden ocean into this basin for 350 million years. This process and the period of time involved appear to have occurred through an unusually long stable period seen by the formation of up to 100 meter deep horizontal layers of banded iron in parts of the gorges.

Banded Iron Formation seen in Dales Gorge beside the path at the bottom of the gorge.

Banded Iron Formation seen in Dales Gorge beside the path at the bottom of the gorge.

Banded Iron Formation in Dales gorge at the gorge rim

Banded Iron Formation in Dales gorge at the gorge rim.

I noticed that the presence of shale where the iron and pink alternate seemed absent from the rock layering toward the rim. However the surface of the gorge walls in the shot below seem to indicate larger alternate layering and deposition of different rock material.

Banded iron gorge walls near Fortescue Falls in Dales Gorge.

Banded iron gorge walls near Fortescue Falls in Dales Gorge.

Asbestos rock sample on the floor of Dales Gorge

Asbestos rock sample on the floor of Dales Gorge


Rock formation in Karijini National Park

Fortescue Falls made of softer rock grey and pale brown dolomite.

Fortescue Falls made of softer rock grey and pale brown dolomite.

The rocks exposed in and around the gorges we explored such as Dales, Kalamina, Weano and viewed such as Joffre and Knox are mostly banded iron formation and belong to the Brockman Iron Formation part of the Hamersley Ranges. Deposited in the Hamersley Basin over a 350 million year period this formation consists of alternating layers of fine grain quartz, iron oxides, carbonate minerals and chert. Grey or pale brown Dolomite and beds of soft purple or pink shale are also present.

The uplifted and then deeply dissected plateau is called the Hamersley Surface where the gorge erosion probably took place in the Late Cretaceous or Early Cainozoic when the Pilbara gently titled North-Westward. Rivers then cut downward eroding softer shale and Dolomite finding lines of weakness in the joints and faults aiding head-ward erosion. The formation of the Karijini gorges is estimated to have taken 20 million years.

Joffre gorge shows layers of rock formation undisturbed for 350 million years.

Joffre gorge shows layers of rock formation undisturbed for 350 million years.


Journey to the Pilbara W.A.

Leaving Perth on the way to ourImage destination near Cervantes is a well know geological site in Nambung National Park called the Pinnacles. Thought by geologist to be perhaps formed by erosion and glaciation but then revealed by further erosion they appear as a sulphur coloured desert emerging from the coastal vegetation. Continue reading