Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays

This could be the last painting that I have time to post before Christmas.
Maybe not.
I thought the Red and Green colors of this recent landscape were about as close to a Christmasy theme as I could get.

I wish all of you, and your families, a wonderful Holiday.
May Santa bring lots of gifts for all, and a little peace and prosperity for the whole world.

The excitement is growing around here by the hour.
I mean by the minute.
Christmas is a very exciting time of year for a certain five year old.

"Grazing Cows by the Church", 18" x 24" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
$2,300. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Wish It Was Christmas Today

Well, it is the Holidays Season.
Here is our absolute favorite Christmas song around our house.

I left this at a smaller size so you could be sure to see Tracey dancing. If you click on that little yellow box on the bottom right it will go full screen.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Line Starts Here.

I guess there is a line forming for the book. If all goes well it will be available in a few weeks.
Dan Corey seems to be first in line. Thanks Dan.

I was going to post a different video for Friday Fun this week, but this one seems appropriate.
Here are the first two episodes of this seven part short film, "The Line".
I like to imagine that the line for my book will look something like this....

Episode 2

If you'd like to keep watching you can find the other episodes easily on YouTube.
Just type in "The Line" in the search box.

I should give credit to . That is where this film originally came from.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

6x8 Landscape and a Street Scene

This is a 6" x 8" demo that I did in September as part of a private class that I was teaching. I am real happy with how it came out. I am always so relieved when a demo turns out well. It makes me look like I know what I'm talking about.
I was explaining to my students how to pre mix some colors first and then start blocking in all of the main shapes.

"Mountains Near San Miguel", 6" x 8" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

There were less than ten colors that I mixed up to represent the big shapes. I mixed those and adjusted them on my palette before I did any painting.
The main colors that I mixed up were:
1. Darkest color - Trees and a few triangular stacks in the distant field.
2. Lightest color - Clouds.
3. Brightest / strongest color - Flowers
4. Next brightest - Foreground grasses and plants.
5. Light source / sky - The sky would be the lightest value if there were not any clouds. I judged how dark in value to make everything else compared to this value.
6. Background mountain.
7. Mid distance hills.

There were a few slight variations on these, but basically that was it.
I adjusted these a bit on my palette until the relationships between them were accurate.
Once I had all of the relationships between those colors worked out it was just a matter of putting the right shape in the right spot.
The linen panel was not toned first and I laid in the yellow and orange flower colors first to keep them nice and clean. Notice how I massed them into groups and did not think about painting individual flowers and details. I massed together all of the other main shapes and values as best I could too. This is the basis for a strong design.
Once the shapes were all blocked in on the panel I made a few final adjustments. You may be able to see where I laid in a lighter color on the background mountains to adjust the color that I had mixed a bit too dark.

I got the kindest email from one of the women from this private class and I'd like to share part of it.

"Frank, painting with you on our terrace in San Miguel was just an incredible experience for me! Your art instruction was the best I ever received and I think if you'd been one of my art teachers when I started college, I would have stayed with an art major! You have a natural, easy style of delivering information combined with the ability to tailor it to not only the masses, but the needs of the individual, as well."

It makes me feel great when someone gets that much out of my teaching.
Giving art lessons, and trying to make sure that everyone gets what they need out of it, is one of the hardest things that I do, so it is nice to know when it works. Thanks for letting me know "R".

Here is one more new painting from last week.

"El Puesto de la Esquina", 8" x 10" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
$780. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner

Edit note: I've removed some of this post to make it more compact for a repost of it Dec. 2010. Therefor a few of the comments below might be confusing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Landscape Painting Workshop. Feb 23-27, 2009

I still have room for two or maybe three participants in my February '09 Workshop.
February 23rd through 27th, will be the dates for the five day plein air landscape painting workshop in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

There is also one spot that has opened up for the March 9-13 class due to an illness.

Photo Frank Gardner © 2008

In the workshop my emphasis is on trying to help everyone advance to their next level.

A strong and simple value pattern is key to a successful painting, we will work on getting values correct from the start and keeping them clear throughout the painting process.
We will work on seeing color and value then mixing color using a limited palette.
Premixing colors on your palette, and choosing the best design for your composition are a few of the things that we will focus on in this workshop.
An emphasis will be on getting a strong start to your painting so you don't need to waste time reworking the design later. Accurate color mixing is key to capturing the mood of a location.
I will do several demos, but the majority of the time will be for painting and individual guidance. There will be some quick painting exercises as well as time for longer painting sessions.
I feel that a strong start is the key a successful plein air painting and we will focus a lot on "starts" as well as how to bring a good start to the desired finish.

Photo Frank Gardner © 2008

The cost of the 2009 workshop will be $530.USD.
Included in cost:
DAILY TRANSPORTATION to and from the painting sites.
Any FEES needed for entrance to locations.

Each day we will be treated to a delicious meal prepared just for us by the owners of the beautiful properties where we will be painting. Past participants have always been very satisfied with what our hosts prepare for us.
The painting locations are on private property and there are always bathroom facilities available.

The painting day generally works out like this:
Pick up is around 9:30 A.M. for transportation to that days painting location.
There is either a quick demonstration or talk about the days goals and then everyone gets painting while I give one on one attention.
Break for lunch is usually around 1:30 or 2:00 P.M. depending on our painting progress.
The break for lunch lasts about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Then everyone gets back to painting for the rest of the afternoon until around 5:00 P.M. when we will be transported back to town.

Photo Frank Gardner © 2008

This workshop focuses on landscape painting. However there are lots of painting opportunities in town as well, and you might want to consider spending a few extra days in San Miguel to explore what the town has to offer.
San Miguel has many lodging possibilities. There are many fine hotels, B&B's, apartments or houses to rent. Everyone will be responsible for their own lodging and transportation to and from San Miguel de Allende. The closest airport is in Leon, (airport code BJX), about and hour and a half ride from town. I can recommend a transportation service to shuttle you to and from the airport. Mexico City is about four hours from San Miguel by bus.

This workshop is for oil painters only. All levels are welcome, but you SHOULD HAVE SOME EXPERIENCE PAINTING ON LOCATION.
If you are interested, email me at with any questions or to receive the materials list.
The class size is limited to 9 or 10 participants for lots of personal attention.
For info on San Miguel and lodging visit
If you would like other lodging options or have any questions, email me at

Please do not finalize any travel plans or lodging until you have confirmed with me that there is space available in the class.
A $200. USD deposit is required to hold your spot in the class. I will give you information on how to send a check to me once availability for your participation is confirmed. The deposit is fully refundable up to one month before the start of the workshop.

Photo Frank Gardner © 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Mid Day Light in Atotonilco"

This is a recent painting that I did of Atotonilco.
The rich blue sky really shows off the light yellow bell tower that is to the side of the main part of the church. The sky is dark, because I am looking away from the sun, but it is not darker than anything that is in a shadow area.
The tree adds a nice dark accent, and an organic shape to balance all of the architecture.
There is a lot of light reflecting back up into the shadows, making all of the shadow values pretty light. Therefore, all of the light areas had to be almost white. That helps to show just how strong the sunlight is.

"Mid Day Light in Atotonilco", 18" x 14" oil, Frank Gardner © 2008
$1,300. Framed. Available at Windrush Gallery, Sedona, AZ

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"A View of San Miguel de Allende"

This piece was painted right after "Afternoon Light on San Miguel".
It is a companion piece, since the view is to the immediate left of the Afternoon Light painting.
Same time of day, but because I am looking a little to the left, the sun is not casting that orange light on everything quite as much.
Think of it like this. I am standing in the center of a clock face. The sun is at the 8 and the view in the Afternoon Light painting is as if I am looking toward the 1, so it is getting pretty direct light from the orange late afternoon sun.
This view is as if I turned and looked toward the 11, so it receives a bit more of a glancing light and is not reflecting that orange sun so much.

"A View of San MIguel de Allende", 18" x 24" oil on linen
Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

I wanted to stick to the same color scheme of orange, purple and green as the dominant colors, but these colors are now in different proportions. It has a different tone, but they look good hanging next to each other.
The foreground is not in shadow in this painting, so there is more of the orange up front and in the middle ground with the churches. The greens, purples and blues dominate the distance.
If you open the other painting up in a different window you can just about line them up. Line up the "Afternoon Light on San Miguel" piece just a bit lower than "A View of San MIguel de Allende".

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all. I had a little time to kill between basting of the turkey so I thought I would put up a little painting that I did a few months ago.
The sun is shining strong, so we will probably have our feast outside today.
Just thought that I would mention that.
I am thinking of all of you, and am thankful to have you all as friends.

"Horse and Reflections", 6" x 8" oil on board, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tagged once... twice... no, three times

This post is about the tag, but, just so you have something to look at, here is a little piece I did the other day while out painting with Jack. There were two guys out cutting cornstalks in this field. They were cutting rows into the field with machetes, making little piles of the stalks which they then pile into larger stacks.

"Cornfield", 6" x 8" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
$500. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner

I plan on going back again to keep studying the colors in the drying cornstalks. It is a beautiful color buffet down there. I want to get some good info for a few larger paintings. They said it will take them about a week to cut this whole field.
I loved the green grass that was showing in the row that they had cut into the field.
Below is a picture of the painting and scene. The painting in progress is in focus and the corn is pretty blurry. It is a useful photo because it really shows the importance of squinting down to look for the big shapes first. If you can't tell, where I was looking is directly above the panel.

O.K., on to business.
I've been tagged by not just one, but three fellow bloggers. Thanks to Marc Hanson , Stacey Peterson ,and Paula Villanova.

Here are the rules:
1. Put a link in your posting to the person who tagged you.
2. List 7 unusual things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 other bloggers at the end of your post and comment on their blogs to let them know.

I am just going to do this once for all three tags. I can't come up with 21 people to tag who have not been tagged with this one already. Unusual things there are plenty of.

Seven unusual things.
Hmmm. well... I can't give up the good stuff and I dont want to dig so deep that I need therapy.

1.We collect all of our gray water and it is pretty much all we need to water our garden and yard.

2. I hate to throw anything out. I'll save all kinds of stuff thinking that one day I might be able to use it. Thanks Dad.

3.I hate to ask for help to do things. I built a lot of our home by myself. Electric, plumbing, putting up walls, painting, tiling, kitchen cabinets ( with some help) and on and on. And... am still working on it. Which leads to number 4.

4. I procrastinate. For example, I have been tiling our bathrooms for 12 years. I finished most of our upstairs bath pretty quickly, but there are little details that still have to be done. I have been doing the downstairs bathroom for about 3 years. Have about 3 square feet of the shower floor left and I am done. Julissa is about ready to kill me. Really. I think she lets me go on painting trips so she can have people come in and do projects without me stopping her and saying I can do it myself.

5. We live in a straw bale home. Three friends bought property together and we each built houses with straw, helping each other out.
A weird twist on the three little pigs I guess.

6. I collect and repair antique trucks.

7. I was kidnapped once in Mexico City. By four men dressed as police and in a police suburban, must have been police. No finger cutting or ransom or anything, but it was a real drag. That was 14 years ago or so.

8. I like weird movies and laugh when I think about them. A few favorites are: Nacho Libre, Napoleon Dynamite, The Party, Blazing Saddles, This is Spinal Tap and Repo Man. There are others, these are just the ones that came to mind quickly.

I decided to throw my own little twist into this one. One of those 8 things is complete baloney, malarkey, bull poop.
Can you tell me which one it is?

This tag seems to be going around faster than a San Miguel cough, so it was hard to find bloggers who had not been tagged with this one yet.
Here are 7 Blogs that I enjoy. Some are new friends and some I have known for a while. These are interesting blogs that you might want to check out if you don't know them.

Eric Merrell

Mike Rooney

Dan Corey

Matt Innis

Bonnie Luria

Don Gray

Silvina Day

Am I too late for Friday Fun?

I have never added a video link on the blog before.
Lots of my friends do it.
That's good enough for me.
That's how it all starts right?
I got a kick out of this.

It's called "The Job".

I'll probably get another post up this weekend, so check back.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Afternoon Light on San Miguel"

There are several new paintings that I want to post, but I have not had much time to get them together for the blog.
Here is a new one that I am pretty happy with. This is a late afternoon view of San Miguel. I really like this vantage point of town. There is a small hill and then a dip. The mid distance trees in light are hiding part of San Miguel and then the part that you see here rises up. The setting sun was casting a nice orange glow to everything and the foreground was in shadow. I like the green, purple, orange color scheme of this piece.

"Afternoon Light on San Miguel", 18" x 24" oil on linen
Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

I'll work on getting a few other posts up soon. Thanks for checking in.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A New Project - Thoughts on Giclee Reproductions

Recently, I had an offer to work with a great interior designer who really admires my work. I won't go into all of those details right now, but working with him has gotten me started producing a few giclee reproductions of my art.

We are really starting to get some great results, so I feel comfortable writing about it here.
There is a lot of time and effort that goes into getting these to look good. I have been spending many hours with the printer trying to match color and learning about what a reproduction of my paintings can look like compared to the original.

Now, getting blogger to post accurate color on these images is another story.

"Little Dancer", Frank Gardner ©
Giclee Reproduction 10" x 8" image size
Introductory Price: $60. USD
plus shipping

My feelings on producing digital prints, or giclees, of my art have been mixed for a while.

The idea of offering high quality digital reproductions of my paintings at a moderate price is appealing.
It would allow many more people to enjoy my art that maybe could not afford an original.
There are also many paintings that I am proud of, that are in private collections. The ability to offer giclees of those pieces to others that may have missed out on buying the original is another plus.

My fear had been that somehow this would "cheapen" the original art in some way.
After thinking about it for years I am getting over that.
Heck, Monet, Van Gogh, and renoir have been reproduced on posters, bags, cards , magnets, umbrellas, and probably underwear for years, and their originals are still highly valued.
In the art world, name recognition is important, and I think that getting reproductions of my work out can only help the name recognition for my "brand".

I have decided to go with high quality art paper instead of printing on canvas. Printing oil paintings on canvas seems to me like there is some sort of effort to mislead the buyer/ viewer that it is a piece of original art. It is not. They are high quality reproductions made with archival inks, but it is in no way supposed to pretend that it is an original painting. That may be one thing that had turned me off to the whole idea before. When I see "enhanced" giclee prints on canvas for sale I feel like someone is trying to say that a few dabs of clear gel or paint on top of a reproduction makes it a piece of "original" art or something.

I also feel that limited editions should be saved for the real hand pulled stuff that those numbers were intended for.
I am offering these as open editions, no numbers. The signature is on the painting already, so no signature in pencil on the reproduction either.

I will be offering these for sale on my web site once I get the shipping from Mexico and ordering issues worked out.
For now, You can contact me directly if you are interested.
The reproductions are on high quality art paper and un framed.
I'm sticking to making the reproductions the size of the original painting. I feel that the brushwork looks best like that.

I would really love to hear some feedback and opinions on giclee reproductions from both artists and collectors of art.

Anybody have any thoughts to share on reproducing artwork?
Buying or selling?
Below are the other giclees that I am offering so far.
Scroll down below them to post a comment.

"Burro Bonito", Frank Gardner ©
Giclee Reproduction, 14" x 18" image size
Introductory Price: $160. USD
plus shipping

"Woman and Doves", Frank Gardner ©
Giclee Reproduction, 14" x 18" image size
Introductory Price: $160. USD
plus shipping

"Working Hard II", Frank Gardner ©
Giclee Reproduction, 14" x 18" image size
Introductory Price: $160. USD
plus shipping

"Rastrojo", Frank Gardner ©
Giclee Reproduction, 14" x 18" image size
Introductory Price: $160. USD
plus shipping

"Fiesta of Flowers", Frank Gardner ©
Giclee Reproduction, 7" x 5" image size
Introductory Price: $40. USD
plus shipping

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Sol Dorado"

I have not had much time to work on the blog lately. The screen on my Powerbook has finally broken and is dangling like a loose tooth ready to fall out. I can only work on it when it is propped up against something.
Here is a recent painting done on location.

"Sol Dorado", 8" x 10" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Artist Umbrellas

Eric Merrell has written a great post on his blog about artist umbrellas.

I mentioned my new EasyL umbrella in a post last month, but Eric really goes into a bit of the history behind artist umbrellas and reasons for using them.

In his post, Eric shares a lot of good thoughts.
Among other things he mentions "color relationships". That is something that I always try and get across in my workshops. The way that one color looks COMPARED to the other colors around it.
Eric has a lot of good ideas on color and painting. It is worth a scan through the other posts on his blog if you are not familiar with it.

So go there now.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A plein air video by Jeremy Lipking and Tony Pro

I recently posted about painting in the rain while we were up in Maine.
My friend Jeremy Lipking and his buddy Tony Pro have a video they have done about a recent plein air painting adventure.
You can check it out here.
Then go to Jeremy's blog and tell him it's time to put up a new post on his blog.

Thanks everyone for asking Jeremy to post something new. He posted today, so you don't need to ask him any more.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day - FINALLY

Today is election day In the US and I have been following for too long.
I am like a moth to a flame with the whole thing. I try and read or watch as much of it as I can.
More than is good for my blood pressure I'm sure.

I hate to mix politics and my blog, so I will spare you and not go into any of that.
We all need to live together after the results are tallied, so whatever the outcome, here's to a better future for ALL of us.

Today is a beautiful day here, sunny and warm, so I decided to head out to paint just to try and take my mind off the whole election thing for a few hours.

So I'm driving along looking for something to paint, and this guy caught my eye.
You know I love painting donkeys, but this one said something special to me.
I hustled my gear out of the car and he stayed still long enough for me to get this quick sketch.

"True Blue", 8" x 10" oil on board, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

Glad I could relax and take my mind off the politics thing.
I needed that!
Now back to tracking the progress of the day.

Funny how these guys are getting around. Have a peek at Christine's blog to see more.
Jennifer also has a donkey posted.
and Paula has a donkey on her blog.
Elizabeth likes donkeys too.
Paula Villanova has added an independent donkey.

if you decide to join in and post your own donkey of a different color.
( or an elephant I suppose)
Drop me an email and i'll gladly add a link to your post.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

One Year of My Paint Box

Today is the one year anniversary of My Paint Box.
I didn't know what to expect when I started this blog on Oct. 30th, 2007.
Now, one year later, blogging seems to come naturally to me.

I want to thank everyone who visits. Especially those who take the time to leave a comment. That way I know you are out there. Knowing that there are readers makes the whole blogging experience much more rewarding.

I'd like to share this new painting with you as a special thanks. I really like how it came out.
This one is hot off the easel. Well, actually, it is still on the easel.
I may change the title one I have time to think about it a bit.

"The Family Business", 18" x 24" oil on canvas, Frank Gardner © 2008
$2,300. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner

One of the reasons that I started writing the blog was a line from the Kevin Macpherson book "Landscape Painting Inside and Out" where he suggested writing about your art as a way to take it one step further.
Blogging seemed like a good way to write about my art and share what I wrote instead of having it on scraps of paper strewn around my studio. It gives a sort of accountability for what I paint and write knowing that someone is looking and reading. The feedback and discussion can be real insightful sometimes.

I did not fathom the scope of the blogging community when I started My Paint Box.
My Paint Box has expanded beyond just writing about my art, and has become a group of friends.
I have "met" a lot of great artists and great people over the past year through my blog and by reading and commenting on other's blogs. People that I probably would never have met otherwise. Not just painters, but illustrators, writers, photographers, and just plain old bloggers and blog readers. My world has certainly expanded a bit because of all of you.
My virtual friends.
I joke sometimes that you all probably don't exist and your comments are just computer generated responses to my ramblings. Like a bizarre version of "The Truman Show" or something.

Luckily, I have met some of you, own some of your art, received signed and doodled copies of latest books from others, and have plans to meet a few others before long. Hmmm. didn't they insert characters into "The Truman Show" to keep him believing?

Well, either way it has been fun.
"Good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!"
Jim Carey from "The Truman Show".

Monday, October 27, 2008

Recent Work

Here are two recent paintings from here in Mexico lest anyone think that I have moved to Maine or anything.
Both of these were done on location this month.
The color in the landscape is starting to turn, but there are still pockets of flowers hanging on here and there.

"Tree and Flowers", 11" x 14" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
$950. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner

"October Morning", 11" x 14" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

A friend of mine, Jack Riddle, is in town and we have gone painting together a few times. Some of you know Jack from his blog and may have been wondering if he actually made it down. Here is a picture of him painting the other day at a friend's ranch.

Jack Riddle Painting

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A few more from Maine

Here are three more paintings from the trip to Maine.
These were painted mostly on location with a few adjustments back in the studio.

I don't have a lot of time to write much about these right now, but I wanted to get some more of these paintings on the blog.

"Morning Light in Port Clyde", 11" x 14" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

"The Lindsey Lou", 11" x 14" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
$950. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner

"At the Pier", 11" x 14" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

Workshop Full

The Landscape Workshop for March 9th through 13th, 2009 has been full for a few weeks now.
I thought that I should mention that here as I am still getting emails about it.

I am planning one other 5 day workshop for either Feb. or Mar. 2009, and I will be sure to post about it as soon as the dates are set.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Painting in the rain

You don't always get beautiful weather for painting.
However, if you travel this far to paint, YOU PAINT!

Our first day of painting was the only rainy day we had. Luckily I had just gotten an new Umbrella set up from Artwork Essentials.

Peter and I found Colin painting in the parking lot for the ferry to Monhegan and decided to set up next to him in the rain.
We were getting some blowing rain on our palettes, but it was not too bad that we could not go on.

"The Laura B", 8" x 10" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

The Laura B is one of the ferries that run from Port Clyde to Monhegan Island.
The misty fog on this rainy morning made for a real nice effect. I painted on this one until the fog lifted quickly and the scene changed so drastically that we could not go on. There were boats moored and an Island behind the boat and pier.
I put a few finishing touches on this one here in the studio, but it is pretty much the same as I came home with.
One thing I notice is that I make the cabins on my boats too tall. I adjusted this one down with the aid of a photo reference.

I was painting right along the water's edge and it was cold.
I know.
FYI, the EasyL umbrella comes with a little chord that you tie to the umbrella part and the extension arm part. The umbrella part is made so it can blow off in a gust and not knock over your whole set up.
That is a REALLY good idea.
Trouble is, I did not think that I needed to do that and this being my first day using the umbrella, it blew up and off, did a couple of rolls, and landed in the water. I quickly stepped in before it had a chance to drift too far away. Then I tied it on like it is supposed to be.

Since I was talking about umbrella set ups the other day. Here are some shots of umbrellas that some of the other painters had.

Peter Kalill painting the same scene.

Colin Page painting a house in the rain with his umbrella set up and his nifty landing vehicle that he uses to go plein air painting along the coast.

Eric Merrell, Peter Kalill and Colin Page under the tent

After abandoning our first location we took shelter in a tent left over from a party the night before. It was on a dock at the co op pier and had a few good views. I think there were 8 of us painting under there at one point.
The wind was whipping the rain around and I don't think it really kept any of us very dry.

I may post my painting from under the tent another day. I am still thinking about a few things.

That evening many of us had not had enough frustration, so we set up on the front porch of the house we rented and painted off into the woods. That piece is almost a complete failure, but you never know what might happen to it. I wish I had taken a photo of the scene I was painting, it would have improved my options on that one.

Jerome Greene sitting, Paul Schulenburg with the red cap, and my new EasyL Lite paint box and my EasyL umbrella.

I like this umbrella a lot. It is tall, so I can get it up and away from my face when I need to. I like the silver on the outside and black on the underside. That is a real plus in the strong Mexican sun because it helps cut down on the glare. It is the only umbrella I have ever used. So I can't really judge for sure.
Several of the other painters said they liked it better than the ones they had.
I had never used an umbrella before, but it really helped out a lot. I was always twisting my set up around trying to get the palette and painting in the same light. Now I can just set up where I want.

I added these new shots of the umbrella broken down and the clamp. The strong clamp really sets it apart from some of the other umbrellas I've seen.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Painting of Eric Merrell

This is the piece that I was painting If you happened to notice the two seconds that I was in Jeremy's video.
The light on Eric and his set up that afternoon was great.
I adjusted a few things even though I did not have a very good reference shot to work from. I thought the color was a little cold, and after seeing the video, I realized that I should warm it up a bit, and get some of the warm grass that the sun was hitting in the foreground.
Here are the two together so you can compare the two and see what I changed.

"Eric Merrell Painting", 8" x 6" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

"Eric Merrell Painting" unfinished version, Frank Gardner © 2008

I also adjusted his face so it looked a little more like Eric.
His gesture is pretty much right on and that was not really altered.
The two areas of sky were confusing, so I lessened one of them.

Below is a detail of his face and arms. I was after the way he holds the brush and that roll of paper towels under his arm.

"Eric Merrell Painting", detail, Frank Gardner © 2008

Eric has a great umbrella that he works under. It is white with a black layer on the underside. It sticks in the ground, so it is independent of the easel and It can be tethered down with ropes if it is windy.

Eric's cool umbrella set up.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Gull Rock"

One of the places that we painted on Monhegan was Gull Rock. After arriving on the ferry we hiked across the island and perched ourselves on some pretty high cliffs to paint.
Colin was up for climbing down the cliffs to paint at the bottom ( see photo below ).
The water is pretty cold here and the current strong. They say that you should not fall in, because there won't be time for anyone to rescue you if you do. Besides freezing to death.

Here is one of my paintings from this location followed by a photo of the view.

"Gull Rock", 8" x 10" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

View of Gull Rock, Frank Gardner © 2008

Colin Page painting at Gull Rock

Peter Kalill painting at Gull Rock

Paul Schulenburg painting at Gull Rock

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"Port Clyde Boat House"

One of my favorite things about getting together and painting with a group of artists is when a bunch of us paint the same subject. This boat house was painted by at least six of us on a couple of different days. Below is my version.
I really like the sky in this one and how it describes the light on that particular day.

"Port Clyde Boat House", 14" x 18" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
$1,300. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner

Monday, September 29, 2008

"On the Rocks"

One of my goals for this trip was to paint some larger paintings on location. I typically stick to smaller panels that I can slip in my wet panel boxes or Open Box.

This painting is a 16" x 20" canvas.
That is as big as I have painted plein air in a long time.

There are some great rocks along the Maine coast. This one was done late one afternoon.
One benefit that I can see to painting larger is that there is more room to play with the brushwork, and to get a greater variety of color into my masses.

"On the Rocks", 16" x 20" oil on canvas, Frank Gardner © 2008
$1,650. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner

Saturday, September 27, 2008

plein air nocturnes

A bunch of us on the Maine trip went back out at night and painted some nocturnes.
Down by the Marshall Point Lighthouse seemed to be the place where most of that went on. It was pretty dark and not many street lights, but well lit by moonlight. That made the light pretty nice.
I have been wanting to try a nocturne painting for a long time, so I was psyched that the others were up for it too.
I had a clip on book light that I attached to my Open Box. Eric Merrell had a great idea where he taped some wax paper over his book light to diffuse the light a bit. I just put a piece of paper towel on mine and it did the same thing.
I was surprised how well I could judge the colors with just that little light that was shining on both the painting and palette.
I pre mixed all of my colors on my palette first to compare and adjust them to each other. Then I put them on the panel pretty quickly.

"Nocturne Shoreline", 6" x 8" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008

This one was along the shoreline with a two lone lights at a house in the trees. This was my first nocturne ever.

"Nocturne Shed", 8" x 6" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008

From the same spot I painted this little shed near the lighthouse.

"Nocturne Rocks", 6"x 8" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008

This last one was of some waves crashing on the rocks. This one is pretty simple, but I like how it came out.
The pre mixing really helped me to keep my values in check. I also tried to remember that you don't really see to much detail at night and resisted the temptation to throw in too much.