At one stage in his career Gekko went through a phase of using color washes over relatively strong 'bones'. This way of painting is similar to the shades of black washes seen in traditional sumi-e, a technique in which Gekko was very adept.
Today's painting shows the color wash technique nicely, the subject it the Kesobumi-uri, the seller of love letters. The love letters were actually a sort of fortune telling device, which the young men and women bought to see how they would fare in love over the coming year. I am uncertain as to why the seller's mouth is covered, perhaps to disguise him, perhaps because these letters were only sold on the first 3 days of the new year, a chilly time of year. He holds one letter in his hand, the others will be contained in the container on his chest, over his shoulder he carries the traditional plum blossom branch