Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


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Collage and Texture

When I compare collage and mixed media compositions with oil painted compositions sharing the same topic, I become aware of how different media often suit particular topics.

In this case contemporary art about the environment and the forces of nature somehow is suited to the dryness of rice paper as well as handmade paper as they become simulations of the earth’s surface and landforms. The dusty terrain, desiccated rock surfaces, cracked salt-laden and powdery surfaces and dry sand depictions, although semi abstracted, seem so much easier to portray with various collages than with the lush textures and viscosity of oil paint. Impasto especially can look too lush when alluding to Australia’s ancient land.

One solution to attain the powdery delicate but ancient bleached look was when I mixed grated pastel into gesso and then applied liberally on top of gesso ground whether on canvas, paper or wood surface. I usually begin with this technique but am often not quite satisfied with the end result so I will keep on experimenting.

I feel as though this small series has ended for now and oil painting is calling once again back to psychological portraits where oil paint is a sympathetic medium in which to portray subtleties  and nuanced tonal values.


Old and New Images

At Muddy’s She Shed during the weekend Surf Coast Arts Trail event, the studio, temporarily transformed into a gallery, had a steady stream of viewers on both days. Interested participants created gelatine prints using Anglesea flora. Several items that included Maggi Jean’s ceramics, small sculptures – (a small elephant herd) and artists’ books – ( Anglesea flora and seaweeds) found good homes as well as Evie Wood’s poetry books, cards, watercolours and an acrylic still life titled Pink Lady Interior, 2016.

 

Point Addis Daisy, 2016 by Magaret Jean.

Point Addis Daisy, 2016 by Margaret Jean.

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Pink Lady Interior, 2016, acrylic, 40×40 cm by Evie Wood.

Several of my digital prints were also purchased. The oldest had been part of my PhD exegesis, titled Natalie (Demeter/Persephone) and the most recent was a reproduction of a viscosity printed collagraph that started as an experiment with the viscosity printing technique but also required additional chine-colle as a way to give the composition some space and atmosphere.

Natalie ( Demeter / Peresophone), 2016, ( original 1995, intaglio, ink and wash, 98 X 66 cm.)

Snowfields 2, 2016, viscosity print and hand made paper, 50x35cm

Snowfields 2, 2016, viscosity print and hand made paper, 50x35cm


Abstract Etching Collage

A moment when torn remnants of failed intaglio prints came together mentally. Something drew me away from my planned oil paintings and diverted me back to pieces of an old ‘jigsaw’. Unarticulated at the time, compositions that slipped away from my mind but returned and demanded unexpected attention.

The first image titled Leaving Lake Mungo, 2016 in diptych format, consists of a collagraph with an image of a dune that joins to an intaglio from which a figure is pulling away to merge into obscurity beneath layers of chine-colle and pieces of collage.

The second image titled Planning to Dive, 2016 refers to an older series of images titled The Diver, 2011,  an allegory about a type of creative process. it consists of intaglio, collage and torn intaglio, transparent paper and pianola paper with punctured holes as well as a piece of pastel paper with frottage.

The Goddess Return, 2016 consists of  a collagraph on top of which sits a small intaglio joined by transparent paper over silver leaf. The goddess image ‘joins the sky and earth’.

Leaving Lake Mungo, 2016Planning to Dive, 2016IThe Goddess Return


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


Pilbara Revision: “memento mori”

I returned to last incomplete artwork about the Pilbara in Western Australia where ancient rocks termed the Banded Iron Formation, 2-3 billion years old reminded me of memento mori  paintings. In the traditional versions of this topic a figure holds a skull contemplating life’s fleeting span. As an alternative, I get a buzz from observing geological layers in particular landforms that like a type of calendar remind me of my mortality.


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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.

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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.

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Untitled

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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.


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.