Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


An introduction to Nicola Perkin and her Australian Imagery

I would like to introduce Nicola Perkin and one of her recent collagraph experiments.

Nicky and I share a love of painting and printmaking. We are members of a printmaking group in Anglesea on the Surf Coast in Victoria, Australia.

The main theme in Nicky’s artwork, paintings and prints is her response to the Australian landscape. In her words:

” I was born and bred in London  where I only saw the horizon once a year on our annual family holiday; at times I am overwhelmed by the vastness and emptiness of Australia. In an attempt to find my sense of place, I explore my response to this alien landscape.”

Nicky’s printmaking and painting both have limited palettes allowing a heavily textured surface. Within her collagraphs the surface textures and limited palette echo those of the landscape; ” others are built up layers of colour capturing the changing light”.

“There is a deliberate silence to my paintings, by presenting the viewer with a space, the work attempts to engage the viewer. It is in our nature to fill that void, bringing our own interpretation to the viewing, remembering a similar journey or view “.

The mark making visible on the collagraph plate and second image that shows the detail in the plate’s surface demonstrate how important the texture through mark making can characterise and trace Nicky’s relationship to a particular place. Elements and aspects of abstraction make me feel that her imagery is very Australian in a sophisticated and understated way. The texture, flattening of surface and random marks draw in my eye and at the same time disperse that focus into the linear texture that amplifies the sense of stillness and space.

I enjoy how the texture becomes form and atmosphere, and the work while figurative is also abstracted.

Nicky's collagraph

Collagraph techniques are many and varied and generally have a painterly quality in contrast to traditional graphic line drawn etching.

The two vertical chine colle areas began as pieces of masking that were placed on the inked plate, then run through the press, peeled back and turned around and placed onto the print as another element within the  composition.

Nicky presents a sense of void where the viewer can bring to this element their relationship, interpretation and emotions about a particular aspect of this environment. I relate to the sunburnt terrain, aridity and drought resistant vegetation. I almost hear the sound of crackling dry leaves underfoot.

Other collagraphs:


Collagraph proof: printmaking by Jill Giles

I would like to introduce Jill Giles and one of her artworks. We are fellow printmaker at the Anglesea Art House and when she experimented with plaster of paris on perspex to form a collagraph, that is the combination of relief and intaglio on a single surface, we all took notice.

Collagraph perspex plate with plaster of Paris and metal paint

An aerial view of Lake Eyre

An aerial view of Lake Eyre, first proof

The first image is one of the plate from which the print is taken and the second is the first proof that is a guide to how the image can be altered or improved. After taking this proof Jill added lines to the plate using metallic paint that may print in second proof as an embossed part of the texture. However as we were working away and Jill pulled this first proof I was excited by how well she had captured an aerial view of Lake Eyre as it dried out. We all got a buzz.

Collagraph is perhaps the most versatile of printmaking surfaces and its hard to know where to start but this technique gives an immediate, tactile way in. A perspex surface is often used for drypoint mark making with implements or by using an electric drill strong enough to gouge or scratch into the hard perspex surface.  In particular this plate on perspex is constructed using plaster of Paris which lends itself to creating geological, organic textures. Looking forward to the next stage.