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!


Amy Gethins Sullivan said...

I love the movement in this painting~
the horses & the man are connected, in that , this is their everyday life.They have made this trip many times together. I can only imagine that these horses mean the world to this farmer and they know it.
A beautiful painting Frank~Amy~

Anonymous said...

You've so captured the symbiosis of man and ( tender ) beast in this one.
The triangulation of the horses, farmer and shadows pulls it together perfectly. As does the white hat, white horse.

Every time I link to your blog, I'm always slightly gasping at yet another beautiful work.

I wondered if you worked from photos and now you've answered that.
You've done enough plein air to know how to compensate for what photos alone can't provide.

And you're lucky to have roving photographers working for you, knowing what subjects are captivating to you.

o said...

Nice painting. You seem to have a way with getting the personality of the animals in these farm scenes. Assuming you paint mostly plein-air, do you spend much time painting horses and donkeys on site, along with working from photos?

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Amy. You are right, I am sure they have made the trip many times.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Bonnie, yeah, I love how those white hats can be put to good use in a composition.

I DO work from photos quite a bit. Usually my labels at the bottom of the post will say plein air if it is done on location.
Yes, I have learned a lot by working on location about how to edit a photo.

Well, it is not like I have bands of roving photographers. We were painting together and I asked her to shoot a few of him. She probably would have anyway.
I prefer working from my own pics, but mine would have looked the same in this case anyway.
I was standing right there watching him pass by, and I think that makes all the difference. I have a memory of the scene to compliment the photo.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks DK. I do paint a lot of plein air, but with these moving animal scenes it is usually from a photo reference.

I sketch animals sometimes on location, but they are usually moving around too much to get more than a gesture. A burro will stand pretty still for a while though.

Dean H. said...

Great movement in this one, Frank. The blue sky patch and the nearby white the dashes of red in the man's face area and the white horse's bridle are like guide posts to the eye...saying "look here".

Anonymous said...

Another beauty of a slower paced time - but a time with too much hard work to do.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Dean. Yeah, little sign posts to move you throughout the painting.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Bill!
I hope you are not opposed to hard work, 'cause your "internship" on my chicken ranch is gonna involve LONG days. BTW, your legs are not too long are they, because the chickens are not very tall.

Anonymous said...

Glad your wife had her camera with her and that you were able to work from her photo. That IS pretty smart of the man to use the tire. ;-)


Frank Gardner said...

Hi Paz. Sorry if I was not clear on the camera. My wife, Julissa, had my camera at the school play that our daughter was in.
Jane, my wonderful student in my workshop, had her camera and snapped these photos.
I can't believe I had never seen that tire trick before. I wonder how many others use the same thing. I have seen plows left behind in the fields before and I just assumed they did not commute with them.

Marian Fortunati said...

Such a lovely light compelling painting.
When you have figures in your paintings do you usually make them up or do you use a photo or a series of photos as reference?
In your estimation, what is it that makes this so appealing? Is it the light/dark pattern, the subject, the shapes or just all of it?
Sorry... too many questions...
Gosh... I wish I could come CLOSE to the way you paint!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Marian.
Figures...Yes, all of the above.

This one... Well probably a combination of all of those things. The placement of the lights and darks works as a design and, as Dean said, lead your eye around.

The subject adds a bit to the narrative aspect of the whole scene. There is movement, but also a peacefulness in my opinion. Everyone might see that part of it differently.

I like the placement of the colors in this one. Play of light and dark and complimentary colors.
The light hat against dark trees, the brown horse that is orange in the bright sun... in front of the green. The white horse. The subtle colors of yellow and purples in the field... all of that type of stuff.

I was actually thinking the brushwork would come out a bit differently in this. I am thinking that a larger version would give me the room to paint it closer to what I had in mind. This was kind of a test run for that.

I think that a successful painting should work on a few different levels.

I think you paint pretty well Marian.

Anonymous said...

interesting post and set of comments...
i will look forward to the larger view to see how you change up the strokes and get it more like your vision. meanwhile, i surely love this one, as you can imagine!!!

: )

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Solveg!
I hope to get to it when I get back, but you never know what might pop up.
I like this one a lot, there were just some shapes that I wish I could have put in five or ten strokes of color instead of two.