A compressive acquisition technique for on-array image compression is proposed in this paper. It capitalizes on representation ability of accumulated spatial gradients of the acquired scene. The local variations inferred from strength of the accumulated gradients are used as cues to vary number of samples read through the image sensor readout. Such sampling enables the reconstruction using traditional interpolation techniques with desired quality. The proposed method is first verified using MATLAB simulations, where on an average, a compression of 87% is achieved, for a threshold of 40 intensity levels. The images are reconstructed using nearest neighbour interpolation (NNI) method which results in a mean peak signal to noise ratio (PSNR) value of 29.09 dB. The reconstructed images are further enhanced using deep convolutional neural network, which improves the PSNR to 32.46 dB. The biggest advantage of the proposed technique is low-complex hardware design. As a proof of concept, a hardware implementation of the technique is performed using discrete components. Pixel intensity values of standard images are converted into analog voltages using a data acquisition system and mapped in the input voltage range of 1.5 V -5.5 V. For a threshold of 3.8 V, the compression of 81% - 83% is observed for the considered images. The proposed technique is simple and effective, and is suitable for low-power complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors. © 1991-2012 IEEE.