Gesture

urban landscape, gesture study, acrylic on paper

urban landscape, gesture study, acrylic on paper

Capturing gesture is a good way to inject expression and spontaneity into your work. Gesture is not limited to figure studies, all drawings and paintings regardless of subject can incorporate gesture. I always look at the dynamics of the forms in the composition as they are defined by the dark and light values to develop gestural studies.

In the example above, the thing most interesting to me in the composition are the strong shadows that make up the perspective of the street and the buildings. So instead of trying to draw in each individual building and car, I focus on massing in the dark values first that create that strong sense of motion and space. I work from dark through the middle values and leave the white of the paper for the lightest values. My aim is to imply the action that is going on rather than to capture every detail. Studies such as this help to identify the important elements of the composition and to keep me focused on those elements and not distracted by details. My goal is always spontaneity and freshness, I always challenge myself to see how few strokes I can use to convey the subject I am painting. Gestural studies go a long way in stating the visual message in a way that quickly and efficiently gets to the point.

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