Saturday, 6 December 2008

Introducing Gesa Helms

The sea is yellow, 70x50m Pastel on board

Since Lindsay sent me that email inviting me to join Watermarks, my mind had been providing more and more water-based facts, stories, incidences and connections. Like Laura, I've begun to write in water-related puns, and some of mine are definitely far worse than others.

Some of those facts, stories and connections by way of introduction.

I love the sea. Which more appropriately far too often in reality is: I would love to see the sea. It's love at a distance. Definitely when I grew up amidst fields, woods and more fields and woods. It's a bit less so since I've been living on an -admittedly rather large - island for the past 10 years.

Print Project 1.4 Seascape
Seascape, Monotype 25x20cm

Just yesterday, we talked about the river Clyde and its importance for the city of Glasgow. And what a small, narrow and shallow river the Clyde is. But Clydeside and Clyde Built are inextricably linked with this city, and so is the existence of the river.

There's for instance, Black is the Colour, sung here by Christy Moore

Or, the monument of La Pasionaria just down from St Enoch Square on the River banks.

International Brigades monument

I like how Katherine talks about water - the river Thames or other waterscapes - providing a sense of place. I studied geography too. But in many ways, my geography is a distinctly urban one... see above in relation to Glasgow.

And as I discovered in my recent experiments with seascapes - the sea, and my fascination with it, and in particular shorelines is much more mediated, at a distance, somewhat abstract. So, while I do have many photos of holidays spent at the sea, and sketches of the sea and shorelines, most of my sea art is from a distance.

Seabirds swim
Seabirds Swim, Ink and neo ii in Moleskine, 24x21cm

I hadn't really thought about that before but that distance is quite important. It's about 'here and elsewhere', the elsewhere being quite simply 'across the sea'. It's about being here and elsewhere and the sea, the water providing that link. It's quite a powerful link: to people, places, pasts and futures all the time while being at the seashore. Or on a ferry crossing: inbetween, neither here nor there and yet present.

Some of my seascapes in photo and fine art are in these flickr sets:

  • For Photos, this set here; and
  • For Fine art the set here

As for my art, much of it is mixed media with a lot of pastel, as in The sea is yellow; I've been doing more and more sketches in ink; and also been playing with printmaking processes. Yet, pastels seem to be the medium of choice to come back too.

  • And definitely one of my favourite artist of seascapes is Joan Eardley, see an image search here
Sanna Shores
Sanna Shores, Pastel on paper, 30x40cm


Katherine Tyrrell said...

Those are really great Flickr sets Gesa. Your words give a good sense of what you are about - but the body of work represented by those images really say it all. I enjoyed looking at 'how you see'.

I have great hopes that you're going to give me inspiration to become more abstracted with my use of pastel!

Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed reading about your relatyionship to water here Gesa and I love your abstract interpretion of it! I can clearly see "distance" in your work, which adds to making your paintings so atmospheric....inspiring and I'm excited about seeing more!

Laura F. said...

I'm new to your work, Gesa, and I'm enjoying seeing what you're up to. I lived in Edinburgh and often visited Glasgow---I look forward to your future explorations of the River Clyde, that watery urban motif! Your ink and wash sketch of the sea is so charming.

Jeanette said...

Gesa, your pastel work is inspired. I am interested in seeing more and your thought processes behind them.

Island coastlines have many similarities don't they? The rugged feel of rocks and water spell out a bit of home to all of us, no matter the size of the island.

Lindsay said...

Gesa, what a rich post and I love
"The Sea Is Yellow". Your work has such energy and I'm really looking forward to seeing all that you are up to. After seeing your work in our Mole project up close, I have first hand appreciation for your rich surfaces and bold use of color.
Thanks you for introducing me to Christy Moore's singing. His "Only The Rivers Run Free" song brought me to tears.

From one River Lover to another,may the current always carry you downstream.

Robyn said...

Sanna Shores is so beautiful in its simplicity. I do look forward to getting to know you art , Gesa.

Gesa said...

Hi and thanks everyone for their comments. Thanks, Katherine,... I hadn't quite thought about how these things go together and once I'd written it down it seemed much more cohesive thank I previously experienced it. I'll keep thinking about that distance a bit more, as I've recently done more with abstraction too. I can see a lot of creative synergies between the different ways we are all working.
Thank you, too Ronell. That's such a good comment on atmosheric because of the distance... I'll ponder about that :)
Laura F - I don't think I've got a single sketch of the Clyde, I realised when I was writing this post. But, yes... something to be done. Thanks!
Jeannette: I think there's something truly intriguing about coastlines... the boundaries that get broken so frequently, and can have such different characters.
Lindsay: you're very welcome to CM: I came across him first in Germany, and then again with my Irish flatmates in Gla. Yes: I am looking forward to plenty of water adventures and a myriad of puns along the way ;)
Thank you, too, Robyn: that was in fact my very first plein air pastel. I didnt think much of it back then, but now I'm rather fond of it for similar reasons as you say. Yes, I'm looking forward too to meeting some new fellow art bloggers... that should be very good!

annie said...

I looked up your blog, Gesa, and am pleased to meet you and hope to learn from you about abstract forms. But mostly I am just looking forward to enjoying your atmospheric seascapes. I do like ACROSS TO MAYDART and SENNA BAY and SEASCAPE 1.1

vivien said...

lovely work - and music too - I enjoyed that.

It's going to be really interesting following your work - and a new river series too.

vivien said...

lovely work - and music too - I enjoyed that.

It's going to be really interesting following your work - and a new river series too.

Gesa said...

Hello Anni and thanks for commenting! And thank you for your comments too, Vivien.
Yes - I think something on the River Clyde is definitely in order. I will throw a few stones into the river over the new year and see what marks it'll make ;)

Laura... LOL... I only now realise that laurelines, Laura F and Laura are one and the same... I hadn't cottoned on to it with your comment and I located you in the US, so the Ed/Gla connection seemed to imply someone else... sorry about that!

Laureline said...

Gesa, I've been operating under lots of pen names recently, I agree! I started using my full name instead of Laureline in my Blogger profile, but then I didn't want all of my zillions of blog comments to be google-able, so I'm switching back to the original name. 'Laura' and 'Laura F.' didn't seem to identify me as accurately!