ViewPoint by Michelle Rodes
A gesture is a small action that makes a meaningful impact. When we feel strongly about another person, we might say with a card or flowers what we are embarrassed to say outright. The less we say, the more impact we make. Give a piece of chocolate and you are on your way.
Gestures in art works the same way. In gesture drawing we find a mental and physical state that is relaxed and loose. We use the medium to make simple, quick, fluid marks that “capture” the subject. A few simple lines can tell the whole story.
As a musician practices scales, an artist does gesture sketches before embarking on a longer painting. We go after the essence of the form and sometimes the gesture in and of it self can be extremely beautiful. Like a memorable moment a gift is received, versus a lifetime of shared days. The gift giving marks a moment when we recognize our life together and what it means.
Some artists find gestures challenging perhaps because not every drawing turns out. We fear, “how can I capture the feeling?” If it doesn’t look “good” it could have the opposite effect than we intend. I think we are sure to fail if we judge our selves too much in the process of art making, for we might quit before we even start. We have to open our heart, mind and intentions, and just give it our best shot!
We don't know how the gesture will turn out, and we really can't control it very much. What we can control is our actions, with each try, one at a time, with genuine thoughtfulness and practice seeking the essence. If we can express our impressions and feelings with a lasting mark, then we can call it art.
St Andrews Church was the venue for the East Bay Artist Guild Group Show from September 5- November 1. Located on Mary Drive in Pleasant Hill, CA the wall space is in a large contemporary building adjacent to the Church where gatherings of the congregation occur.
It is fitting therefore, that our group gathered with our many varied styles and medium of art to show together in this venue. The amazing experience I had was in the hanging of the show. I had intended to go, drop off my 2 plein air oil paintings and duck out in time to avoid being roped into helping hang. Of course, in a church venue, guilt becomes the prominent emotion, so I did not get far. In fact I stayed to offer my services and support to hang the show so we all could get out in a timely manner.
Well, what was so fun about this process, was that as we looked at the work, it all seemed rather disparate. Nothing seemed to mesh, or match, we started placing work around the floors of the walls to try to create some sense. It was not until all of the work was out, that we started to reorder things, re organize and start to compose the walls with the unique works. The more we pushed and pulled at the art of hanging, we arranged things according to subject, color drama, and visual weight. Soon order began to unfold and the spaces- there were 3 rooms- began to take on a new glow.
It was a rather divine experience seeing all of these paintings, drawings and photographs come together in a kind of harmonic convergence. There was no rhyme or reason to the show in the beginning, no intent to make a theme or an underlying idea of symmetry. Instead it was just a free for all. Bring whatever you want to show in a church. No prices, or lists. Just art for the congregation.
So when we finished, and it really did not take long, we all felt refreshed, awakened, enlightened by it even. We had created a work of art out of the decorating of the art! We had created order out of chaos, inspired by no plan other than the divine ability we have to make patterns, associations and relationships where there were once none. It was a moment of artistic truth, when we all came together and made something bigger than just our one contribution did alone. You can't really tell from the photo, but I'm pretty sure God was there, and it turned out Divine!
What I love about illustration is the marriage of pictures with words. A blog puts the two together so well! Which one makes the point come across better?