Creatures from the deep
Two more whiteboards this week, both on a marine theme. The image to the left is whiteboard number 5 (I think) and features three fish from New South Wales, after Sarah Stone, from Journal of a voyage to New South Wales, (1789). The photo is taken at night and you can see the lights of the Newspaper Reading Room below reflected on the surface. I like this effect, it looks rather aquatic and dreamy. This is still the rough sketch. I've decided to work on the drawings in stages so people can see them evolve and have the process happening in a few places at once. It also gives me more time to think about each drawing as I go.
This is a small whiteboard sitting over a cabinet in the walkway of the mezzanine over the Newspaper reading room.
The second drawing is a lot bigger and more complex, in fact it will be the largest work in the project I think. It is a composition based on three plates by Lesueur from the voyage of Nicholas Baudin, 1800 to 1804. It's 220 x 258cm and fills the whole wall of the meeting room in Learning Services on Bride Level 3. The subject is "mollusques et zoophytes".
The meeting room on bride Level 3 is quite small and I wasn't able to fit the whole drawing in one shot. Here is a slightly lumpy photo montage of several shots to show the whole thing. I was astonished when I turned the page and saw the first of Lesueur's submarine wonders. They were so different to anything else I'd seen, full of unfamiliar creatures captured with great delicacy. It was such a different impression of the sea. The diaphanous jellyfish float on the page as they might in the ocean but for the soft folding of their tentacles in deference to the boundaries of the composition. Gravity behaves strangely in this gentle void of the imagination.
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Dominique Dunstan is a reference librarian and artist. She works at the State Library of Victoria and has recently completed the Jane Nicholas Staff Fellowship.