A gestural portrait

Gestural drawing and painting are very creative ways to work. Briefly explained, it's allowing yourself to think and practice art in more than a mere representational way - and not just simply faithfully copying. We all copy to some degree, as in the example below. But the important thing to consider is that though I was using a photograph, of my granddaughter, it was only used as a reference, yes, to allow me to keep something of a likeness. But retaining a likeness wasn't as important as being creative with the paint, mark-making and even colour.

I find that when people take up art, they will do no more than copy whatever they are trying to depict, usually from a photographic image. This is because that's the way we see the world around us: precise, detail, instantly recognizable and so on. But, when you think about it, this is a very limiting way. It doesn't allow you to explore a more expressionistic, expressive ways to work, where you are making a 'statement' about something and using everything within yourself, and the medium or mediums you are using to convey this.

In this example, the portrait, I was trying to move away from a mere traditional portrait to one more expressive.

If exploring this exciting way to work, you should start with the drawing process, rather than just plunge straight in with paint! Otherwise you will be disappointed. Approach this way of working step-by-step. In fact, the drawing process is very exciting and I use several ways to draw, to mention just two: taping several pencils together so that you get multipul lines with one stroke. Also, using two hands simultaneously, moving my hands apart, bringing them together again. Both techniques will result in very free, loose drawings which will have movement in them rather than just be static - Once you see the results of working  this way, then you can achieve the same outcome using just one pencil, charcoal or whatever medium of your choice, or a combination of different pencils, charcoal, pastel and more...

Experimenting gestural painting, portrait


portrait study of young child, to work up drawings and paintings from, beginners art course on merseyside
Yes, working from a photo of my granddaughter, I did several drawings in the first instance.



portrait study by artist roy munday, working gestrualy, art classes on Merseyside
...Not happy with the drawing, decided to take a chance and work expressively, gesturally...
portait study of child, working gesturally with acrylics, by artist roy munday
...I simply kept, following instinct and spontaneity, to make adjustments...
head study using gestural painting technique by merseyside artist roy munday, painting, done in thick acrylics
...At this point I'm wondering just how far to take it? Should I continue layering paint on...?











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portrait study, gestural drawing and painting, in acrylics, done on Merseyside beginners art class
I started with the drawing, 2 pencils together to obtain a free, more spontaneous drawing. I had no intention at this point to go more 'gestural & expressive...
head portrait study of young girl, by artist roy munday of the sefton art group, liverpool, merseyside
...by now I was trying to work myself into the painting, following instinct, though trying to retain a likeness!
portrait of child's head, working expressively in paint, acrylics, by artist roy munday, runs art classes on merseyside, liverpool and southport
...Decided to put in a darkish background, to allow the light areas to resonate against.
..Decided not to take this further, but very happy at my effort to work more loosely, gestrually and make the mark making more prominent.
...Decided not to take this further, but very happy at my effort to work more loosely, gestrually and make the mark making more prominent.