Elaine d'Esterre

Feminist Visual Artist – Paintings, Mixed Media and Etchings


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.


1 Comment

Seascape commission part 1

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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


3 Comments

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photograph of seascape at dawn, Forces of Nature 3, from Point Roadknight


Seascape showing the Forces of Nature

Yesterday with both the sun and tide rising there seemed little to catch my eye. A low misty cloud drifted across the sun. No chance of a colourful image or interesting reflections on wet sand.

As I walked to the point strong contrasts appeared with

Dawn seascape, photograph, Forces of Nature 1, from Point Roadknight

Dawn seascape photograph Forces of Nature 1

Photograph of seascape at dawn, Forces of Nature 2, from Point Roadknight

Photograph of seascape at dawn

Photograph of seascape at dawn, Forces of Nature 3, from Point Roadknight

Photograph of seascape at dawn, Forces of Nature 3

back-lit clouds and rock and ocean spray silhouetted against the sky. As if a ritual site of a sacred landscape I enjoyed juxtaposing the rising sun with a specific rock.