Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


Images of Change at Point Roadknight

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Close up of a pivotal point on Point Roadknight looking toward the ocean.

At this marker on the saddle of Point Roadknight which is about half way along its spiny ridge I noticed changes.

Last year I observed traces of where high tide markers remained after the tide receded, seaweed pitched up by the tide reached the top of the saddle where small circular shapes in the sand remained as traces of small eddies of water.

The image above shows a large and distinct seaweed ‘necklace’ that washed over the saddle and around the vertical rock form from the ocean side into the bay area.

The images below however reveal distinct channels of erosion visible around this pinnacle as I stood with my back to the ocean looking toward the bay, showing in the last image from this series, the view of the ‘necklace’ and the bay.

Within the series of images below are depicted the reverse where I am facing the ocean with my back toward Point Roadknight bay.

The presence of a heavy log as a pointer could bear testament to the force of the waves as they breached the saddle.


Sketch and Underpainting stage for Untitled Commission

Preliminary studies of Point Roadknight

This commissioned painting in its very early stages started out as a seascape depiction of erosion at Point Roadknight but something in me had become dissatisfied and I felt like a change of subject matter. I turned the canvas on its side into vertical position and imagined how I could retain aspects of the original subject and combine it with an emergent figurative shape that seemed to float as a ghostly indistinct form. The idea figures merging into and out of landforms such as those in Begin with Sand, Silt and Water seems suitable now only instead of those done with the Golden Spike in the Flinders Ranges I would depict aspects of Point Roadknight.

These sketches are the preliminary studies done several months ago before I began this commission where I have been given free rein.

Art titled Contemplating the Golden Spike 1, 2013, 55x75 cm, gouache, charcoal and pastel from Begin with Sand, Silt and Water


Artwork, preparatory sketches and photographs

These sketches and photographs were preliminaries for the body of work titled Begin with Sand, Silt and Water, 2012 – 2013,  and were a part of my process before and during painting, a part of memorising and reconnecting with original feelings on site.

There is a slideshow on my Home Page where you can see how the paintings turned out.


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Seascape commission part 1

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Seascape Commission, Point Roadknight

This painting has been a challenge and I have lingered in the final stage of part 1 around drawing together elements of the composition into a coherent visual language. When I focussed on specific breaches in the land form where erosion cut across the rocky promontory I imagined the future destruction of this interesting and intriguing place. With that feeling in mind I could articulate different levels of meaning and tension between the geology on one hand and the erosion that reveals its interesting features on the other.

The wet poured paint washes will require several days to dry before application of impasto strokes. Two washes of mid and light blue bled together then another indigo wash was poured over them in an area that counter balanced the larger indigo passage in the bottom right hand section. A few awkward passages of paint require more attention.

The composition has more energy and tension between light and dark passages and heightened colour but is a bit busy.

I feel that more subtle tonal variation is required on the ‘colonnade’ on the right hand area which at this stage is a flat indigo shape.

The ‘colonnade’ overpowered the composition so I thought a change in tonal value and colour where the dark indigo right hand side became lighter and the lighter left hand darker and more indigo in colour would draw together elements in the composition. The breach in the land form by the ocean seemed to divide both sides of the composition rather than be the focal point.

At this stage the painting at the end of part 1 is a little too literal and any abstracted visual elements that refer to the artist’s gaze and future imaginings lost.

In part 2 these improvements will be part of the continuing journey.

Seascape final stage of oil paint companion to Point Roadknight commission


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Seascape, stages in a painting’s development

The slide show reveals how this painting came together in many stages. It was a companion to a commission so it is at present untitled, however the subject matter is the erosion of an interesting land form on the Great Ocean Road called Point Roadknight. Although the coastline is a fragile one and weathering is part of the natural cycle I always feel upset when I notice yet another rocky feature lost to the ocean. In the painting I depict breaches in the rock where tide floods across the rock platform. I exaggerated tidal flow as I imagined a future breach at an already eroded section of the point where the next cascade of ocean on the south side will eventually pour over the rock into the bay.

The early stage consisted of  under-painting with ink and gesso in which frottage taken from the rock surface was glued into position.

Elements of composition, colour and tone came next in a loose configuration unified by strong lines drawn with an oil paint stick.

Once the shapes were blocked in, tone and colour in desired range of intensity established I stared pouring paint in a way that alluded to flowing water.

The white foam and shadow created a contrast that appeared to overwhelm the composition and made it too fussy so I put in some greys and poured light over dark in a diagonal direction.

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