After the Rain, Murky Waters Where Platypuses Roam

Living in West Hobart I am fortunate to be able to walk along the rivulet several times a week. Sometimes the water is calm and clear, other times murky water rages over the creek bed. Here a most unusual creature lives: the semi aquatic, duck billed, egg laying platypus.

This work goes beyond the visual, using processes to create a sensory image of the waters that the platypuses live in where they do not use sight or smell to feed but use their electroreceptors.

On my walks I often collect vegetation, this combined with mordants is used the extract dyes for my work. Several sheets of paper are submerged into the dye baths until I get a richness of tones and movement and the plants leave traces of their shapes. After drying the paper pastel and acrylics are added.

Finally, I collage the fragments revealing sensory aspects of the rivulet, my walks and maybe something of the platypus’ habitat. This work pays homage to the platypus. While not immediately threatened by extinction, habitat destruction through land clearing, climate change and dam building could easily put them on the vulnerable list.

Chantale Delrue


Collage, natural dyes, pastel acrylic on paper