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Various INK works - Estelle Leishman

About the Work



(copper, coffee, native indigo, iron, ocean water, watercolour paper)


Breakwall is a work made while on residency at Lighthouse Arts. It is an attempt to represent the Nobbys Breakwall, while abstracting it to the point where the main focus is just the tones, textures and colours found in the area. It utilizes ocean water that has been gathered from Horseshoe Beach, that was then used to create granulation in the particles of the natural ink pigments.



(Iron, spotted gum bark, copper, paper collage) 


Survivor talks about resilience and the ability to stay alive.  When placed in a dangerous situation, blue tongue lizards will face a threat head-on, using their tongue to frighten off predators. 

If needed, they will also drop off a part of their tail so they can escape. While they lose a piece of themselves in the process, it's something that will grow back and heal over time. 


This work is a homage to survivors, and a testament to their ability to move forwards despite perceived losses.


The pigment used in this painting is primarily derived from locally found metals that have been used to create chemical reactions resulting in deep blacks, browns and vibrant blues.



(Ironbark, red ochre, watercolour paper)


Fortitude is inspired by its primary ingredient, which is the bark from a red ironbark tree. Instead of shedding its bark annually like other species of Australian trees, it develops a thick armour made from layers of dead bark that has been pushed to the outer layers of the tree. The result is a surface full of geometric fissures, fortified with red kino (sap). 


Due to the high content of tannin found in both the kino and the bark, this ingredient makes a hardy dye that can withstand multiple washes of paint. It also acts as an effective binding medium for ochre based paints, leaving a glossy sheen when dry.

Nobbies Headland

(Yellow ochre, red ochre) 


Nobbies Headland is a landscape represented using elements found in the same landscape. The ink used was made out of ochres, sap and ocean water found in the dunes of Nobbys beach, with the physical painting being done while on residency at Lighthouse Arts.  Aluminum Sulphite was introduced to the paint to intensify yellow tones and assist the pigments to bind to the page.

Blackstone Gallery.

470 Hunter St, Newcastle NSW 2300

Exhibition open

1st - 5th November 

Opening Night

Friday, 3rd November

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM 

Time and Date

Estelle Leishman is a Visual Communications honours student working and researching on Awabakal land. Her practice involves foraging for natural ingredients which she then processes into ink, something which then inspires the paintings she makes. Works are often closely connected to the environment the inks are sourced from, and are used to demonstrate their unique properties. Variables such as the PH levels of the paper, the salinity of the water or time of year the ingredient was harvested will all impact the outcome of each painting, with these works in particular exclusively using resources found in the Greater Newcastle Area. 


Alongside her painting work she teaches art to children aged K-7, facilitates adult art workshops and assists in PHD music/art therapy research. Being able to work with a diverse range of others in a creative environment is incredibly inspiring, and allows for constant new ideas and perspectives, something very valuable in this art practice. 

Artist Bio

Chromatic Festival and The University of Newcastle acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal Nation, Darkinjung Nation, Biripai Nation, Worimi Nation, Wonnarua Nation and Eora Nation. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.


Chromatic Festival and The University of Newcastle recognise that First Nations sovereignty was never ceded. This continent always was and always will be Aboriginal Land. 


We respect their cultural heritage, beliefs, and continuing relationship with the land, and recognise that they are the proud survivors of more than two hundred years of dispossession.

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