Abel Kesteven is interested primarily in depicting people interacting with one another, with movement and color serving as essential elements. He captures the excitement of pastel figures and animals in action with a minimalist, semi-abstract approach that successfully gets to the essence of his subjects. Just as the preparatory drawings and sketches of many great masters often have a liveliness that surpasses the vitality in their final paintings, Kesteven found that his best work, the work that gave him the most satisfaction, was always in his sketchbooks.
“I like the idea that the marks reveal the history of how a drawing was made, so I tend not to touch my strokes. Once they’re done, they’re done,” he says, acknowledging the risk involved in such an approach. “Some days, nothing I produce satisfies me either aesthetically or technically. Then I might have a ‘golden day’ when everything goes really well.”
Pictured below are a few of his semi-abstract pastel figures that didn’t make it into the February 2017 issue. To learn more about Abel Kesteven, order your February Pastel Journal—in print or as a download!