Friday, August 15, 2008

"Taking it Slow"

Trying to stay simple here with a focus on the guy on the donkey and a few of the cows nearest to him. I think that if a few details are given, the eye fills in the blanks on the rest.


"Taking it Slow", 8" x 16" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

44 comments:

E. Floyd said...

This painting really pops! I think you are correct, that the eye does fill in the blanks in regard to detail. I also love the richness of the sky!

Anonymous said...

how is it that blue can look so hot!
it's almost like a mirage, that sky...
and, as always, i love the way you paint animals - not just horses....and capture the movement, pace, energy-level, attitude, and gait in animals and in people.
really like the way you laid down the land, too.
solveg

christine mercer-vernon said...

wow, this reminds me of those split viewfinders where it makes the picture look 3D...keeping the background imagery simple and neutral really brings the man and the cows forward, even in a photo, feels like they are coming right at me.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Elizabeth. Thanks.
I'm glad you like the sky. I tried hard to give it a little life even though it is just one tone.

E. Floyd said...

Frank, your effort is evident, and I think the solutions you thought about while painting is what also makes it such a successful painting!

Frank Gardner said...

Solveg, I guess it is the warm gray toned linen showing through, combined with the harsh light affect of the stark creamy ground. There is a touch of yellow mixed in with my blue to make it warm, but not quite green.

Glad the pace/ energy level of the animals comes through in my little gestures.

I'll offer you work with Bonnie and some of my other regulars in describing my paintings. I know that M.H. also said this, but I appreciate all of the time that you put into commenting and you would make a great publicist!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Christine. I am glad that you get that feeling of depth from this since most of it it painted with large flat areas. That is what I was hoping would happen. I never know how others will see it until I get some feedback though.

I tried to get lots of suggested detail from just cutting a silhouette with the sky and foreground colors.
1. toned canvas
2. one sky color
3. one ground color

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks again Elizabeth!

Eric Orchard said...

This one does pop! E's right. Just amazing, add this one to my favorites.

singleforareason said...

Hi, Frank,

Bonnie sent me. I'm a photographer but love to know how a painter's hands move over a painting with strokes, with space. I so enjoy your enlargements so I can really peek over your shoulder. This one makes me look at my shoes to see if they are dusty. Something mournful about the composition, too. You must love animals. The painting before this, the wagon pulled by the horse and driver? The brush strokes remind me of fireworks.

Lovely. Thanks.

Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

Amigo this is one of my favorites of yours!!

I like all your paintings and I like them all for different reasons..

Sometimes is the subject that speaks to me more. Other times is just the way your render with just single strokes that pops and grabs me. Other times is the passion within a painting that just involves me like the violinist one. And then there are painting like this one.. I just don't know what it is about it. I find it so calm and soothing.. I feel identified with it. Love it Frank! Wonderful work. :o)

Dean H. said...

I really like the concept of a defined focal point + loosely painted surrounding elements for the viewers' eye to complete.
I have aimed for the same principle- sometimes more successfully than others.
Your painting is a real winner in meeting your goals.
I also love how you used the blue sky to paint negatively to achieve the background trees. Congratulations.

Karen Cole said...

Your paintings are really beautiful Frank.

You are a master with those brush strokes. The violin and the man on the donkey ,the brush just went wild, I love it. In this piece you were certainly going for quieter look. I love all of them.

FCP said...

Really nice, Frank. I like how the undertone shoes through, and the gestures of the animals. You captured the feeling of the day.
Faye

bonnieluria said...

Some excellent comments here- so descriptive of what your work conveys.
In the simplicity of your strokes and thoughtful placement of color, you show the skill, the joy, the academics and originality of a painters' visual voice.

You portray so much with the essence of editing used just right.

I'm mad ( ooops, didn't mean an inference to the cows ) about that blue sky against the neutral foreground and how even in its' brightness, it takes nothing away from those animals.

Just amazing work Frank.....
You might have to consider coming to St. Croix to teach a workshop.
And not paint my house.

christine mercer-vernon said...

until you pointed it out i didn't realize that the sky was all one color, wow, it doesn't appear that way at first, i guess that's because you let your ground show through. very masterful! it's a very cool effect, i hope you take it forward and play with it more in future paintings.

Colin Page said...

the sky color does a great job of setting the tone for this painting, but it's the orange cow on the right and his sienna friend in the middle that really make this painting work for me. Also, good self control on the left side to let it stay loose like that.

Nice work Frank. Another lovely painting.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Eric. I'll add it to the list :-)

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Pat. Thanks! I like that about looking to see if your shoes are dusty. That road was about three inches of white fluffy dust.
I'm glad that you visited.

Frank Gardner said...

Hola Ali! That is so nice that it is one of your favorites and Eric's too. I was saved it for a few days before I posted it. I thought that maybe it was a little "slow" compared to those last two that everyone liked so much for their energy.
Thanks for all of the insightful words. They mean a lot.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Dean. I am trying to push that idea a bit with my current work.
Thanks for the comment on the sky.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Karen. Yeah, I let loose on those other two.

I have not been surfing around that much this summer either. Just "Taking it Slow" so to speak.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Faye.

Frank Gardner said...

You are right Bonnie. There have been some great comments here. I need some of you to re write my bio on my web site for me. You all say it much better than I do. LOL.
Mad cow sky.

I'd do a workshop in St Croix some time. We have been to Virgin Gorda and it is a great area. Would probably need to take about 4 planes to get there from here though.

As a side note to everyone on that sky. I had the dry toned canvas ready and laid out a rough design with vine charcoal. Real light just noting where the main things should line up.
Then the first thing I did was mix up a large pile of that sky color and cut in that silhouette.
The only other thing I did that day was a few dark noted on the gestures of the animals and then stepped away.
I started working on a different piece and just looked at how that one was coming along, thinking about the design and how much more I really needed.
After that was dry the next day I went in with some detail on the animals around the center of interest and then blocked in the ground as a value pattern in the same manner as the sky. One large shape to cut a silhouette on the legs of the animals and balance the large mass of the sky.

phew! I should have put all that in the post, but I was lazy :)

Frank Gardner said...

I have used this idea before in other paintings Christine. I really cut it to the basics here though.
I might try a few that go even further.
Thanks.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Colin, thanks.
I'm glad you picked up on the color centering my focal point. Also that it is the compliment of the blue sky.

Edgar said...

Super! It is true, that without the details of the back or foreground, the eye must dwell on the interesting shapes and colors in the center. I see the same thing sometimes in theatrical set design -- simplicity that keeps the eye on the drama.

Bill Guffey said...

Wonderful Frank! Thanks for the explanation on the sky and ground. Simplicity at its finest. I started painting just about 6 months ago, and it is lessons like this that are invaluable to me at this point.

christine mercer-vernon said...

hey frank, i can't find the comment on karens blog about the books, where's it at? did she make or buy them?

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Edgar, glad to see you back again.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Bill. Thanks for the visit and commenting.

Frank Gardner said...

Sorry for the mixup Christine. It was an email, not a blog comment. I have forwarded the info on that sketch book to you.
ooops.

David Lobenberg said...

One day I will do as well as you have in this lovely painting in allowing the under painting to show through. Check out Jennifer McChritian's latest work. She too is a master at this technique.

Jack Riddle said...

Frank--thanks for the detailed explanations. I like that you don't "overdo" the painting in the first day--that day or two of relflection helps a lot I find. Love the 8X16 format, too and you use it beautifully.

ale balanzario said...

Hola Frank, como tu ya sabes me encanta tu blog, y sobre todo el trabajo que en el presents, por lo que tengo un premio Arte y Pico Award en mi blog para ti.
Gracias por compartir con todos nosotros tu trabajo. Ale.

bonnieluria said...

Could be a record breaking number of comments Frank and with good reason.
That was a great explanation of your process that you added and helps the rest of us who wonder how you did it, wonder less.
Hence: you are wonder-full!

Seriously, if you think you'd consider taking the space shuttle, the Concord, AND a helium balloon to get here, ( only slightly kidding..), I think I could find some eager artists that would be so appreciative to have you teach a workshop.
We did the same, in March with an artist from the states, and it was a hit!
Food for thought- Spring is lovely here.
Seriously.

Theresa Rankin said...

Marvelous simplicity...less is more...I am still learning that one!!Love the brushwork...I will definitely be watching!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi David. Just takes a little planning. The tone has to work with the desired look of the finished piece.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Jack. Well you know that I don't always take it so slow as I did in this one.
I found it helpful here because I was trying to see in each step how little I could get away with.

Frank Gardner said...

Hola Ale. Muchas gracias por el premio. Que buena onda.
Me da mucho gusto que piensas tanto de mi trabajo.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Bonnie, it is not the most that I have gotten. It is the quality that matters anyway, and these are great.
You have about this many on your latest! and like you said there, about half of them are mine.LOL

Well, I have a space shuttle and a hot air balloon, so if you can hook me up with a concord we're all set.

I looked into flights from here (BJX) to there and they are pretty expensive.
I'd be interested some day though, it is very tempting.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Theresa! I appreciate your comments.

Anthony VanArsdale said...

Frank, this is beautifully done! I really love the last three posts!

-anthony

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Anthony. It is good to hear from you.
Your comments are appreciated.