PAINTING: Working with Monochrome and Being More Gestural

After attending a tutorial on Monday, I was glad that the tutor gave me some direction and new ideas and techniques to work with. After looking at my work, she suggested that I work with Monochrome and use the tones of grey to enhance the feeling of loneliness and make the individual coloured figure appear even more singled out and alone.

She also felt that my work was not really gelling as a whole and that I was working with three different realities and had to express the relationship between the figures, the single figure and the architecture. She said she thought the detailed buildings that were included in my work detracted from the figures and from the message within the pieces. She suggested that I experiment with contrasting colours, monochrome and full colour as well as contrasting languages, the gestural and the more realistic. I was encouraged to make marks and shapes that represent the buildings and to make them more gestural rather than focusing on every detail, window or door etc. I have experimented with making less detailed marks to create the city landscape with both brush and palette knife.


I feel that working with a palette knife definitely helped me be less controlled and more gestural but doesn’t really gel with the figures painted with a brush and therefore is unsuccessful so I have experimented with more gestural brush work.


I think this is far more successful and the monochrome definitely heightens the feeling of loneliness and the colours of the lone figure. After producing this piece, I decided to experiment with how much of the surrounding is seen within the painting, because even though the technique is successful, I feel that the buildings still are overwhelming the figures here.


This definitely puts emphasis on the lone figure and draws the viewer to wonder why they are the only one not painted as a white silhouette and consider their loneliness rather than being distracted by the buildings in the piece.  These are highly valid experiments and have inspired me to create a final piece working with monochrome rather than the sepia alternative I have worked with previously. I feel this colour palette and deeper contrast portrays a more negative vibe and adds to the feeling of loneliness within the work.


6 Comments on “PAINTING: Working with Monochrome and Being More Gestural”

  1. Nick Small says:

    hey my names nick, I’m intrigued by your Monochrome artworks displayed in this post. Now I’m no artist, but I’m going to use the 2nd image to reference to in my HSC English exam as a related text to our area of study “belonging” if thats ok?
    I would also appreciate if you could tell me the name of the 2nd artwork with the coloured character in the centre?
    Thank you

  2. Iris Ordean says:

    hey Gemma,

    I’m running an start-up online platform called bridge kulture.

    Was wondering if it’s ok to post one of your works on the facebook page.

    I love these series.

    good vibes,


  3. Hunter says:

    I am doing a project for my English class and we need a photo to represent a theme and I would like to use your photo (the third picture) but I need a name of the art work,your full name, and the year.

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