Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


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.


Artwork with Frottage

Background for Underpainting

Stage 1

The frottage for this painting ( 98×120 cm)  is a technique which allows me to connect with the landscape. The place was Lake Mungo in NSW. Particular parts of landscape marked the paper when I either rubbed a soft piece of charcoal and/or graphite across the surface that moulded the surface beneath revealing its texture or by another method placing wet paper into soil which over a short time stains the paper. Then later back in my studio I incorporate the frottage into larger paintings.

I began with a gesso washed and soaked frottage in order to seal the paper from later oil painted layers, a method to prevent discolouration and rot.

The triptych-like frottage shows three different textures. One was taken from a rock and rubbed with a mixture of graphite, compressed charcoal and water, the middle texture was a mixture of stain and a rubbing done over the clay surface in front of the dune called The Walls of China and in the third I tried to take sand imprints. That technique required an ink surface onto which randomly scattered sand was meant to absorb the ink which when dry would blow off leaving a dotted pitted surface (not totally successful).

 


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Artwork titled “And then the Ocean Rusted”, 2013-2014

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The frottage prints from the Pilbara banded iron formation rocks done at The Gorges in Karijini National Park were applied to etchings and collage etchings. In these prints I combined  imagined geological processes with the immediate present day frottage recording process in the one composition. The frottage prints were literally like a touchstone when starting work in my studio in that they helped ‘bring back’ the gorges.

What drew to this topic was my sense of awe when touching such ancient rock and how it heralded the formation of life on this planet. In the Pilbara the landscape surface gives the traveller little clue as to the gorges’ appearance  and the intensity of their colour.

On my Home Page are larger versions of the slide show and further detail of each image can be seen at my shop at www.artfido.com/painted_by_elaine


Frottage from gorges

I took several rubbings from different sections of particular gorges. This is my was to reconnect to a place when I paint it later in my studio. Often I adhere frottage or stained paper to the canvas surface by placing it in a gesso solution as part of the under-painting. Because the materials are rice paper and graphite or charcoal there is a flexibility that enables me to alter dimensions by folding or tearing the paper to fit the theme and the composition.

Daled Gorge pathway frottage, 19/04/13, 3.00 pm., graphite and pastel on rice paper.

Dales Gorge pathway frottage, 19/04/13, 3.00 pm., graphite and pastel on rice paper.

Dales Gorge frottage, 20/04/13, 12.00 am, graphite on rice paper

Dales Gorge frottage, 20/04/13, 12.00 am, graphite on rice paper

Weano gorge frottage, 21/04/13, 10.50 am, one of the Karijini National Park gorges, graphite on rice paper.

Weano gorge frottage, 21/04/13, 10.50 am, one of the Karijini National Park gorges, graphite on rice paper.

Weano Gorge frottage, 21/04/13, 10.45 am, taken on gorge rim at the lookout, graphite on rice paper.

Weano Gorge frottage, 21/04/13, 10.45 am, taken on gorge rim at the lookout, graphite on rice paper.

The image below is a mixed media titled Stress Fold, 2004 that is one of a series of images which I titled An Archaeology of Landscape. This previous series consisted of oil, mixed media, gouache and pastel stain and was produced as a result of exploring different sites in the Kakadu and Nitmiluk National Parks in the Northern Territory. Viewers may peruse this series  at : desterreart.com.au   Stress Fold is an example of how pieces of frottage  meld into a larger composition.

Stress Fold, 2004, paper, pastel, thread, staples and canvas gessoed on to board.

Stress Fold, 2004, paper, pastel, thread, staples and canvas gessoed on to board 200×90 cm, from the series titled An Archaeology of Landscape.


Preliminary records of W.Wallabi Island

One of my activities apart from photographic documentation of different landforms was to make a couple of small frottage prints at a specific site. This quick procedure entailed placing rice paper over a specific piece of rock formation and rubbing over the surface with compressed charcoal, graphite or pastel as a way to produce a ‘ print ‘ with place-name, date and time. Because my type of contemporary landscape painting and mixed media is not painted on site but produced in my studio these ‘prints ‘ are like a touchstone that can connect me back to the original place when I insert them into a composition. For example I did two frottages or ‘prints ‘ of rocks at the Pinnacles and at W.Wallabi island.

Pinnacle frottage 1                                                 Pinnacle frottage 2

Pinnacle frottage 1 and 2, one in compressed charcoal and two with a graphite stick.

W.Wallabi frottage 1W.Wallabi frottage 2

W.Wallabi island frottage 1 and 2 both pencil rubbings

on rice paper because it is flexible and durable.

Previous examples of this technique and their application can be viewed on my website at desterreart.com.au in the Gallery under a section titled An Archaeology of Landscape. The two images below are examples of mixed media artworks from the series titled An Archaeology of Landscape produced several years ago as the result of an artist’s  tour where we worked in Katherine Gorge and at falls in Litchfield National Park.

Fold, 2003

Fold, 2003, 150×78 cm, mixed media from the series titled An Archaeology of Landscape.

Layer, 2003

Layer, 2003, 165×85 cm, mixed media from the series titled An Archaeology of Landscape