Someone asked me recently how I might describe my artistic style and it’s left me contemplating it for quite some time. It is hard to define my style or approach as an artist because I am interested in too many subjects, styles, environments, time periods…to focus on just one thing!
Lately I have been reading about other artists, the fine art industry and so many different techniques. I have combed through some amazing online art gallery exhibitions, social media posts and YouTube videos.
An internet search might lead you to exploring 20+ art styles from different sources across the web. Some are called “movements” based on the time period in which they shaped history (i.e. Impressionism - Claude Monet; Realism - Edward Hopper; Abstract Expressionism - Franz Klein). Our modern day art scene is a product of our recent past and ancient history (Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Neo-expressionism, Pop Art…).
Contemporary artists, “living artists” can enjoy the exploration of all these different styles and movements. There is every imaginable material, tool, resource available to us. But defining one's own voice, subject/topic of interest and method can be difficult, uncomfortable or invigorating and gratifying depending on the day, the month, the year.
I’ve always been attracted to artists that use quick, energetic, whimsical strokes and patterns, as well as bold swashes of color. It has taken about a month to decide to write this particular blog post. It is my intention to connect our humanity to the purpose of showing up in the studio or in our daily lives.
Stumbling across an internet link at the world famous Tate Museum about art terms generated — GESTURAL.
“Wait, what? What is gestural art?”
I LOVE THE WORD GESTURE!
We gesture every day in every way…!
- To greet or wave…hi-five, flag down, salute
- We perform acts of peace, politeness or courtesy
- Our faces wink, giggle or nod
- We share hugs and kisses, talk with our hands…
Gestural drawing or painting is described as the application of a medium with expansive movement of the hand or arm. Figurative artists and writers master emotional expression on the page. When we pray, bow or kneel in church we gesture. Mother Nature gestures with ripples on rivers, crashing waves on beaches, delicate snowflakes or frost on mountains and meadows. With so many ways to express ourselves or find beauty in a moment…it’s a good reminder to let creativity flourish in every aspect of our lives.
I try hard to keep my inner voice from wondering if my art looks like a “study” (a sketch, a scribble, a dabble) versus a completed piece. There is satisfaction in putting down the brush, and observing the captured energy, emotion and color palette and know it is “finished”.
Does this define what style of artist I am? It definitely does not, but I’m letting the pencil, brush, water and paper be the medium and my heartfelt desire to create be my way of gesturing to the world I’m willing to see what emerges.
Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. - Joseph Addison, English essayist and poet
Be well and make your life one BIG Grand Gesture!