Thursday, May 29, 2008

Review of my work by Elijah - Art and Critique

The weather here in upstate New York has been great the last two days, and I have been enjoying the visit with my family.
Coming from a semi desert life in Mexico, spring in New York and New England is a treat.
I head over to the Cape tomorrow for a week.

Elijah Shifrin has written a review of my work on his art and critique web site. Please click here. to read the first review.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ancha de San Antonio

This scene may seem familiar to you. It is based on a photo from the Day in the Life of Me post from a few weeks ago, a view heading into the center part of town.

"Ancha de San Antonio", 11" x 14" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
$950. Framed, Available at Windrush Gallery, Sedona, AZ

I'll be flying north tomorrow for a two week painting trip. I'll spend a big part of it on Cape Cod painting with some good friends Peter Kalill, Jerome Greene and Paul Schulenburg.

I can't remember the last time I painted up there in the spring. I usually go up in late summer or fall. It should be a good challenge to catch the distinct color and light of spring in New England.

The Hudson River Valley will probably pop up in a few paintings as well, you never know.
I'll be bringing "My Paint Box" with me, and hope to get at least a few posts up while I am gone. So please keep checking in.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Church View"

You may have figured out where this wall that I have been painting the figures is, if you looked at one of the first posts on My Paint Box. It is at the end of this side street in Atotonilco.

In this painting, and this one, I wanted the figures to stand out against the simple design of the street and walls, so the church is left out. In "Church View", the church is the subject, not just the figure. There is a little more detail in this painting than in the sketch. I wanted to emphasize the beautiful design of the church, however a lot of the detail is still suggested.
This painting is based on a plein air piece that I did during my last workshop.

"Church View ", 11" x 14" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

Plein air sketch, 8" x 10" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008

I was happy with most of the painting done on location, but the design was rushed, and ended up being too cramped at the top. I had to squash down the main dome of the church to make it fit. Otherwise it would have run off the top of the panel just a bit, and that would not have worked design wise either. I thought about trying to fix this plein air, but it just could not be adjusted. It was easier to re visit the idea in a new painting. The sketch will not be for sale. It is one of those that are just a learning experience, good for use in the studio. Some of the proportions I corrected with the help of a photo. The values were off in the photo, so I followed the sketch on that.

Friday, May 16, 2008


This wall in shadow is a nice setting to isolate this solitary figure against.
It's the same place as in this painting.

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

This guy is carrying thin branches from a mesquite tree. He will bend them, while they are still green and pliable, into crowns of thorns. Then dry them.

You may wonder why a lot of the figures in my paintings are walking away. I think that it ads to the movement by having them walking into the scene as opposed to out of it at me. That would be a much more static pose. Most of the time I would rather have the viewer being led into my painting.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Day in the Life, of Me

Alicia tagged me with a new meme to describe a typical day of mine. You can see her post here.

Part of what I love about my job is that each day is different. Being my own boss allows me to do whatever I want, usually. Sometimes I take a break from art and work on our house. Sometimes there are a lot of errands to run and I don't get much work done at all. Having a 5 year old is the curve ball. You never know what will happen and change all plans. This is what today looked like. I'll try and spice it up with some photos, because it is really not that exciting.

6:00 AM- Wake up.

6:15 - 7:00 - Put on water for coffee and start up the ol' Powerbook.
Fresh grind coffee beans and while coffee is slowly brewing check emails and catch up on news and a few blogs maybe.
I pour water through my cone coffee filter a little at a time so my coffee is strong enough to stand a paint brush up in it.
A coffee machine lets the water go through too fast, so I don't get the nice strong brew that I love.
This is VERY important. If the coffee is not done right, it could ruin my whole day.

The Elixir

7:00 - 7:45 - Drink the coffee. Make school lunch. Wake up Erin. Get her breakfast ready, and then try and get her to eat it.
Julissa takes Erin to school.

7:45 - 8:30 - Shower, breakfast, answer any new emails, anything else I can squeeze in.

8:30 - This is the variable part. Today I went and visited with some clients.
Usually I walk into town, about two miles, and open the gallery. Sometimes I have someone watching the gallery and I can stay home and paint, go out and paint or take care of other business.

The usual walk into town.

12:00 - Head back into town from my visit to pick Erin up from school.

12:35 - Erin gets out of school. Get hug and kiss. Today she walked to the car backwards.

12:45 - 2:00 PM - Stop in front of the gallery to drop Erin off with Julissa and go park car. Walk to gallery and hang out with the girls. Go with Erin to buy some fish for lunch, then around the corner to the little store to buy a snack.

That is the gallery on the left. The little yellow building next to the blue doors.

2:00 - 4:00 PM - We eat our big meal of the day in the afternoon. Julissa cooks most of the time, I do the meal once in a while. I play with Erin or do other stuff. Skype with my parents every day, usually during or just before our lunch. For those who do not know, Skype is a free video call through the internet.

4:00 - 7:00 PM - This is a variable time too. I either go back to work or try and play with Erin so Julissa can work. Today I download photos from this morning's visit and wrote the rest of this blog post. Erin plays while the parents work.


7:00 - 8:30 or 9:00 PM - Have a light dinner, get bath water ready for Erin. Julissa usually gives her the bath, but I try to once in a while. Maybe some books before bedtime. Kid asleep.

9:00- 11:00 -12:00 AM- Catch up on internet, blogs, watch some t.v. over the top of my laptop. rest.

12:00- 6:00 AM - Sleep. Wake up to yell at dogs for barking. Sleep.

6:00 AM - Start all over.

Now I am supposed to tag a few people to share a day in their lives. I asked Eric yesterday if he wanted to join and he beat me to the post. You can see his post here.
I also asked Elizabeth and she has agreed.
I don't want to bother anyone with more tags, but if any of you want to do it just post me a comment.

Now I'll start working on the post I was going to do for today :)

P.S. ( 5/16/08 ) Mike Rooney has also been tagged and agreed to post a day in his life.

Friday, May 9, 2008

"Hard at Work II"

You may remember this composition from Another Grab Bag Palette. This one is the same design, larger canvas, and back to my normal palette.

"Hard at Work II", 14" x 18" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

What I was really missing in that grab bag was yellow. Now I was able to paint the yellow flowers along the back and the yellow bag. The first version really helped me get the design and drawing down. Working in series is always a good way for me to stay loose. I knew I had the other, so I was able to take some chances on this one. I did not feel like I needed to get into too much detail.

Detail, "Hard at Work II" , Frank Gardner © 2008

Detail, "Hard at Work II" , Frank Gardner © 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Colin Page

And now for something completely different.

Working on some larger paintings has cut into my blogging/ posting time, so I am going to post about someone else.

Colin Page is a painter who's work I admire. He lives in Maine and paints mostly from life. Colin paints a lot of plein air landscapes and some excellent still lives and interiors as well.
I first ran into Colin's work in Maine, while up there painting with some friends, and I saw several of his paintings in a gallery.
Last fall, I found his web site and on line journal and we have become friends through the internet. I hope that we can get together this summer somewhere on the east coast and paint.
I would like to introduce some of his work to those of you who may not have seen it before.

"Lobster Boat Color Study" 10" x 12", Colin Page

One of the things that I like most about Colin's work his use of color. He does not hesitate to throw in some bright yellows, greens, purples. Like in this piece with the yellow sky.
He is also pretty prolific which is really the best way to improve painting skills. I tell him he needs a kid or two to slow him down a bit to give the rest of us a chance.
His brushwork is loose and confident, and the draftsmanship is right on the money. I have yet to watch him paint, but I can tell that he jumps right in there without a bunch of aimless poking around. He puts down a stroke of paint and just leaves it alone.

"Trawler with Gulls" , 12" x 16", Colin Page

His journal is kind of like a blog, but you can't post comments. However, you can email him by clicking on the contact information on his web site. At the bottom of each post there is a link that will take you to a previous post or you can use the archive list along the right. There have been a few good posts lately that deal with beauty in art and what makes great art different than just average art. See here here and here.

Still life , Colin Page

He shows his paintings in quite a few galleries on the east coast. Here is a link to some more of his work at the Dowling Walsh Gallery in Rockport, Maine where he will be having a show in June.

"Red and White Buoys", Colin Page