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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Painting Trip Update

I am in New York now, on my way back to Mexico.
The painting trip was great. It was so much fun to get together with so many painters and hang out for more than a week. We did a lot of painting and had a lot of laughs.
There are a lot of things to post, but I only have a photo of this painting so far.
I painted this from the cemetery on Monhegan Island. I really liked the way the buildings were arranged and the light. Great light out there on Monhegan.

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

Here is a photo of most of the painting group getting ready to boat ride back from Monhegan Island.
Back row standing left to right: Jeff Bonasia, Paul Schulenburg, Eric Merrell, Casey Baugh, Jeremy Lipking, Logan Hagege, Ernesto Nemesio, Glenn Dean,
front row left to right: Frank Gardner, Eric ?
Missing from photo: Peter Kalill, Colin Page, Jerome Greene.

I'll have another post about the trip soon.
If you are interested in reading more, Colin Page has posted a little about the trip on his Journal.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Tapetes are woven grass mats that they sell here. This guy is ALWAYS sitting on this corner waiting to sell one of his Tapetes.
This one was finished up in the June, but I did not get around to posting it.

"Tapetes", 24" x 30" oil on canvas, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Taking Out the Goats II"

This one was finished up a few months ago, but I never got around to posting it.
I did a 14" x 18" version of this, but in that one, the guy has a blue shirt. I wondered how it would look if I changed it to red.
I'll post the blue shirt one below too, in case you don't want to click over to compare them.

"Taking Out the Goats II", 24" x 30" oil on canvas, Frank Gardner © 2008
$3,400. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner

Below is a detail of how I massed the most of the goats into one big shape. The silhouette tells the story along with a few single goats along the edges.

Detail of "Taking Out the Goats II" Frank Gardner © 2008

The first one.

"Taking out the Goats" , 14" x 18" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2007

Monday, September 15, 2008

"January Morning", Plein air and photo

A few posts back there was a photo of this red church across a field.
In the comments, Jennifer Thermes mentioned that she liked to compare my paintings to the photos, so here is a plein air painting that I did the day I took the picture, and the photo of the scene again.

"January Morning", 8" x 16" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

View while painting "January Morning", Frank Gardner © 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

Painting Trip

I am going on a painting trip to Maine with a group of friends.
Starting Thursday, I'll be away from the blog for about two weeks.
This is a painting that I did on my last trip to Port Clyde in Oct. 2006 with Peter, Paul, and Jerome.

"Fishing Pier, Port Clyde", 11" x 14" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2006
Private Collection

There are a few blog posts cued up to appear while I am gone, as I will be without an internet connection for most of the trip.
I'll be sure to respond to any comments when I can.

This ought to be fun. It is a great group of painters.

Check out these links to some of their work.
Peter Kalill
Paul Schulenburg
Jerome Greene
Colin Page
Jeremy Lipking
Ernesto Nemesio
Glenn Dean
Logan Hagege
Casey Baugh
Eric Merrell
and Jeffrey Bonasia

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"Heading Home"

After a long day of plowing his fields, this guy and his team of horses is heading home.
He puts the plow up on an old tire and it drags along behind the team. I thought that was pretty clever.

"Heading Home", 8" x 10" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
$720. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner

I always have my camera with me when I go out painting but on this day I was caught without it. My daughter was in a school play that day and my wife had the camera. I was teaching a class and luckily Jane had her camera and took a few shots for me. I don't often paint from someone else's photos but I loved this shot and she was nice enough to let me borrow it for a painting.
Thanks Jane!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Plein Air oil Painting Workshop in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

I am now ready to register participants in my March '09 Workshop.
March 9th through 13th, will be the dates for the five day plein air landscape painting workshop in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Photo Frank Gardner © 2008

There will probably be one other 5 day workshop scheduled for Feb or March, but I am not ready to set dates for that just yet.
I want to go ahead and start registering participants for this first class, since I know that a lot of you like to plan a trip of this sort well in advance, and there are already some people that are ready to sign up. I will announce dates for a possible second week toward the beginning of October.

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, September 2, 2008

Contrast of Seasons

We have been getting a lot of rain this summer, so I wanted to share a few photos of how this place looks in the summer.
Just in case anyone thinks that it is always dry here.
This top one is the same location as the recent painting "Quiet Passing".
The tree in the painting is the tree you see on the left.
Same road.
Now look at the trees behind the corn and scroll down to the next image of the same view in January.

Photo: Frank Gardner © 2008

Those trees are the trees to the left of the church.

Photo: Frank Gardner © 2008

Now, this is the church from the other side.
In Feb.
Different angle, but this field is where the man and burro are walking in "Day's End".
Below is that field this afternoon.

Photo: Frank Gardner © 2008

Erin has found a horse shoe track in the mud that she wants me to see.

Photo: Frank Gardner © 2008