Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Rewind 3 – Blogging

At post #202 I firmly refused to comment on what was before and what Gesah’s Paint & Pastel was about, but now I’m another 50 odd posts further on and don’t feel quite so speechless. 18 months ago, Torben, my brother, and I had been talking about a website… part publicity, part ‘Gesa wants to learn the internet’ project; while that was proceeding (i.e. T. was writing the script and I was editing images), I rather spontaneously thought ‘oh, why not a blog? I can do what others do’ and within minutes it was set up. I was intrigued by its immediacy, its flexibility; I also figured that – unlike a website – it would actually act as a prompt to myself to write (think, reflect) about all this art stuff I had been doing… part structured journal, part exercise book.

Before, I had posted a few of my paintings and sketches at WetCanvas and got to appreciate the interaction and feedback that was lurking beyond my keyboard.

Corn in Late summer, Detail
Corn in Late summer, Detail
Pastel on board, 50x35cm

And, looking back, I am amazed and fascinated by the extent to which the blog has been serving these two purposes to (a) get me to do more art; and (b) provide source book, journal and planning tool.

Over and above, it serves a social function along a number of axes, both online and offline. There are first and most obvious other artists who blog. Their blogs, their posts and their comments have become a source that I don’t want to miss. And while I am in parts at points mildly amused by the idiosyncracies of online communities amongst strangers, particular quirks and eccentricities, I am also fascinated by the ways in which interaction is organised at a distance.

Apart from individual bloggers, there have been most notably the Moley Exchange project which Steph asked me to get involved in May; and more recently the Watermarks group, kickstarted by Vivien, Lindsay and Katherine. In particularly with the latter I am thrilled by the focussed discussions on the group blog and a private ning networking site that are taking place and which even over the short space of less than two months have helped me articulate and develop a whole number of points around seascapes, distance and abstraction.

And then there are friends and family who read the blog; many of them do not post comments but it is nonetheless the source of rather frequent conversation; I do like the nicks my brother invents to comment once in a while with a link to a whacky website; and just on the weekend my mum ticked off her ‘have to learn to leave comment in Gesa’s blog’ item, which made me smile. I am hopeful too that she will make a go of reading the posts where I am sure she will understand far more than she thinks she would. She had picked one of my two cornfields from summer for her Christmas present (see post here), and the other one is now for sale on Etsy, here.

Cornfields #2 Final
Corn in late summer,
Pastel on board, 50x35cm

So, over time, the stuff about which I will consider blogging has widened. Whereas initially it was rather narrowly focussed on my practical painting and sketching, it soon begun to include notes from exhibitions, about artists I like – most notably the series on Joan Eardley from last winter, and more recently Cy Twombly; and while I still don’t have a tag on ‘culture politics’, I do have now tags on ‘thinkings’, ‘researching creativity’ and ‘working in the arts’ – all of which are moving my academic and research work closer to the stuff I paint and art about.

It also means – related to yesterday’s post on writing – that some of the posts are becoming less explanatory – just recently Jafabrit had written about her blog as a piece of art itself [sorry, it took me a while to find, it was in the comments on Casey's intro to the Fine Art Department, a rather neat small online art showcase adventure, see link here]; and after reading that, I’ve begun to feel more confident about not explaining my posts; about posting notes for others (in past or present); and of not minding if stuff isn’t immediately communicated to all who read it.

So, with all this having gone on over an extended length of time, I am struck by the attachment I have formed to my blog and all it encompasses. It has become important; I use it as source of reference, as ‘I want to listen to that song again’, ‘Oh, let’s check if that painting was included’ or ‘how did that poem go again?’. Quite similar to a painting, it has taken on quite a dynamic, a process, by itself, sometimes it surprises me, or angers me, but mostly it makes me rather happy.

Yet, there are couple of consequences of this: I tend to spend even far more time online than I used to; and with a day job that is rather computer/inet intensive, it is a development I am not too keen on. It also can be rather demanding of my attention and immediate response: ‘Oh, I cannot not answer within 3 hours.’ – That’s something I don’t like, there’s enough stuff I get stressed about, and this isn’t supposed to be one.

Lastly, I noticed that I started to ‘think in blog’. My mind formulates blog posts – 90% of these never see the light of day, and that’s all for the better, but nonetheless it is a rather specific way of expressing and formulating a day, an experience, a thought. And with this thinking in blog, I then begin to wonder what else is there outwith. But that may be the content of another blog post… or rather not? See what I mean? ...

Ok… that’s the scene set for rewind #4: finally, the art I did in 2008. Next post.

3 comments:

africantapestry said...

What an interesting post Gesah..echoing so many of my own thoughts! I'm not on the computer alot, specifically for the reason the I don't want to get absorbed by the internet and its attractions. I still enjoy the library for research, hear and see a friend's laughter etc. But blogging has opened many doors and introduced me to great people and art as you say...like seeing your wonderful spontaneous use of colour, which I love!
Ronell

Gesa said...

Cheers and thank you :), Ronell. Well, I AM at the comp a lot. And in part that is of course deliberately so, simply because some of the people close to me are in fact rather far away, and the inet makes proximity possible, well... as countless zeros and ones... :)

JafaBrit's Art said...

thinking in blog lol! what a great description.I hadn't thought of it that way but yes, it is true.

It is true that I think of my blog as a blank page of a sketchbook, an art form in itself. I think that is why I enjoy it and like you also use it as a resource at times.