Monday, June 30, 2008

Meet Camino

Recently I was asked to paint a commission.
The first thing that I usually say when someone asks if I paint commissions is, "hmmmm, well... sometimes... It depends on what it is."
The second thing I say is, "It might take a while."
After exchanging a few emails and speaking with the clients at my gallery, we decided to meet at their place so we could further discuss what they were interested in having me paint.

I have been working on several paintings since our meeting and full time since I returned from my painting trip. I wanted to wait before posting any of them here until I had met with my clients to view the progress.
One painting was to be of their horse, Camino. He is a beautiful horse. I got to know him and we had a long photo shoot. Deciding how to portray him in one painting was hard. I decided to start with a few small paintings to get the hang of painting him.
I went for a simple design on these two with three main values. Light, mid tone and dark.

"Camino", 6" x 8" oil on board, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

"Camino and Thomas", 6" x 8" oil on board, Frank Gardner © 2008
Not For Sale

Today was the first time they had seen what I had been painting. I need to have everything finished and signed before I leave for vacation next week, so I shared the paintings with them today to see if I was on the right track and to get their feedback. They really liked what I had done.

My client spoke of how much she enjoys her rides on Camino. One of the workers where she boards her horse and the ranch dogs always join her. I wanted to capture that companionship in a painting.
It is not so much a portrait of Camino like the top two. It's more of the overall feeling of the ride, the company, and the location.

"Good Company", 14" x 18" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

These three were among the paintings I brought out to show them today. They kept "Camino" and "Good Company".
"Camino and Thomas" has made its way into my daughter's growing art collection.

I have more to share with you. I'll try and get another post up tomorrow. Thanks for looking.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I've been waiting for these horse paintings!!! Thank you - and your client - for sharing!!! Now I can go to sleep smiling!

Alicia Padrón said...

I love them all Frank!!

Although my favorite is the one now in Erin's room, Camino and Thomas. Beautiful painting... both of their poses are so perfect.

Camino's expression on this one in particular is wonderful. Horses do that, he is not looking directly at his friend but I can tell he knows he is there making him company. I find the interaction between them so appealing and interesting. The way you rendered Thomas with just a few strokes is amazing! And the lovely shade of light blue that you chose to use for shadow just grabs my eye. I also love the hint of light on Camino's backside.

I don't know why they didn't choose this one, but I'm glad Erin does have a good eye for spotting amazing pieces and that she gets to keep it ;o)

Todd Bonita said...

The Good Company painting is a great success Frank. It was nice to read your thoughts on the development of it and how it differed from the Camino going for the overall feel. I definitely get that when I look at it. Well done.


Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Berto.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Solveg. I thought you would enjoy them. That's why I posted these first.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Alicia! I appreciate your observations.

Earlier in the day Erin had told me what a beautiful painting that one was, so it was destined for her room.
She says that about all of my paintings though :o)

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Todd! I'm glad that feeling comes across.

Frank Gardner said...

Oh, another thing Alicia.
Erin takes riding lessons at the ranch where they keep Camino, so she knows him and really likes him. I know this one is extra special to her.

Unknown said...

Really lovely, all of them. I get a deep sense of personality through your paintings of Camino, a sort of gentleness. And I love the palette's on the top 2 portraits, the richness of the blues and the wonderful contrasts.

Alicia Padrón said...

I want to be Erin!!
I used to dream I had my own horse and ride him all day, but I think all little girls dream that.

She is one lucky girl! :o)

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Eric!
Like I said in the post, I was trying to keep the values simple in those two.
I had this post by James Gurney in mind.

Sometimes it is hard for me to stop with just the basic pattern. I think the small size and having two of them helped.

Frank Gardner said...

Ali, LOL!
Well, I'm one lucky Dad, so we are even.

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

these are wonderful paintings frank....really captured the personality and relationship so well. like alicia, i am surprised they did not choose the camino & thomas painting, but i'd say erin won out!! as i was scrolling down my reader i was not expecting the finished painting to be as it was based on the first two studies...but wow, what a wonderful surprise..I'm sure your clients were thrilled.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Christine. The first two were not really studies for the "Good Company" piece. They were more like options as far as design goes.
I think that "Camino" has a bit stronger definition in the values and I like the light on him better in that one.
Besides, Thomas is in the other painting as well.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Oh, Oh, I love how different the paintings are (that same-thing-same-way peeve of mine, you know)!!! And, the lush cameraderie that comes out in the ride - all the animals, horses, the peaceable kingdom, in the midst of thriving trees. Of course, the regal almost Napoleonesque (in the good sense of that word) quality to Camino in his singular portrait. And, of course, the loving relationship of noble humble dog to noble humble horse in Camino and Thomas. That's what I see, at least. And, I just love them - hope more are coming! Such different characteristics reflected in each painting..............LOVE THEM!!!

Frank Gardner said...

No more horse paintings in this set Solveg, but I have a few others to post. Probably tonight when I am not distracted.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Frank these are beautiful, as are all the ones here on your very interesting blog!

I like your account of what you tell people when they ask if you do commissions; good answers.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Diana, Thanks. I'm glad you liked my commission answer. I almost left that out, but is honestly what I say almost every time. I know, it's not the big confident sales pitch, but usually I'd rather just paint what I want to paint. I have one I have been putting off for three or four years now. Maybe I should get on that one.
Thanks for the visit.

Jack Riddle said...

Frank--I like the "strength" of the first Camino piece, but the scene at the ranch is my personal fav. Again, I'm taken by the scale--the huge tree--and you captured the dogs, they are so casual, but always want to know where their people are. The big stone posts take away from the people and animals a bit, but I suppose your clients want not respond well if you were to change what they are so familiar with. I have had three commissions in my short "career." I tell people that OK, I'll paint the way I see it and you don't have to buy it if you don't like it. I'm two out of three so far! Anxious to see more...

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Jack, Thanks for weighing in on these.
I loved the huge tree and was glad to be able to include it in a painting. It reaches out so far to the sides and really frames the whole scene.
I kind of like the way the posts help frame the scene and they are pretty much a signature of the ranch. Thanks for your the different eye on that though.
I'll take you out there when you are down in the fall.

I ALWAYS include in my commission deal that the client does not have to but anything they are not happy with. If possible, I offer more than one so they can chose. Takes the pressure off me and them I think.

Anonymous said...

I like the posts in the painting and I like the way you painted them - lots of reasons.

Anonymous said...

Funny, the one your daughter got is my favorite of the three!

I learned quite a bit from this post. What an excellent idea to do a few color sketches to show clients, before committing to the finished piece. That takes a lot of pressure off, because then they know more closely what to expect and the artists isn't wondering if the work will be accepted.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks again Solveg, I tried to keep them simple as to not draw too much attention.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Silvina. Actually, I did the studies as an alternate to the other design that I had already committed to.
You are right though. It did take the pressure off because I could show them the "Good Company" painting and at the same time offer a different idea to go with if they did not like what I had done. As it turns out, they wanted one of those as well.

It is easier for me to offer ideas visually. If you say, "Another option is to do a close up of the horse mostly in shadow but with a simple value plan" that can be taken several ways. If you SHOW what you mean color wise and design wise there is less room for misunderstanding. Even if you say blue shadows, each person has a different idea of what that blue shadow will be.

I'll post another piece later tonight that talks about using a toned canvas like we had discussed a few months ago.
Thanks for checking in.

Anonymous said...

I love the horse and dog painting. All the painting here are lovely.


Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Paz, That one got a lot of thumbs up.

Bill Sharp said...

You've really been busy. It's amazing how natural the figures look with such a light touch.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Bill.

Anonymous said...

camino and thomas looks great - love the realism

julissa said...

Thanks Simon.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

The dogs. Oh my! Such a fabulous gestural shape on "Thomas"
Wonderful rhythm to the animals in "Good Company".
You just get better and better.
Again, I like the lesson too!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks for checking in on all of these Mary.