Sunday, October 12, 2008

Painting of Eric Merrell

This is the piece that I was painting If you happened to notice the two seconds that I was in Jeremy's video.
The light on Eric and his set up that afternoon was great.
I adjusted a few things even though I did not have a very good reference shot to work from. I thought the color was a little cold, and after seeing the video, I realized that I should warm it up a bit, and get some of the warm grass that the sun was hitting in the foreground.
Here are the two together so you can compare the two and see what I changed.

"Eric Merrell Painting", 8" x 6" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

"Eric Merrell Painting" unfinished version, Frank Gardner © 2008

I also adjusted his face so it looked a little more like Eric.
His gesture is pretty much right on and that was not really altered.
The two areas of sky were confusing, so I lessened one of them.

Below is a detail of his face and arms. I was after the way he holds the brush and that roll of paper towels under his arm.

"Eric Merrell Painting", detail, Frank Gardner © 2008

Eric has a great umbrella that he works under. It is white with a black layer on the underside. It sticks in the ground, so it is independent of the easel and It can be tethered down with ropes if it is windy.

Eric's cool umbrella set up.


Anonymous said...

...interesting that the finished piece seems so much more economical in stroke and so much fresher than the unfinished one! i love the grass and trees in the completed version!!!, and how even in their increased vibrancy, they don't diminish the punch of details in Eric - like the piece of paper towel in his left hand!
what a great spontaneous snapshot of a painting!
i also liked seeing the close-up - particularly seeing how you made his face have so much focus, but with life not stiffness - his focused face moves in unison with the rest of his poised but fluid stance.

i'd take your painting over the photo ANY day!!!
: )

FCP said...

Thanks for showing the before and after, Frank. It is wonderful lesson on how to make changes without losing the bold brushstrokes and freshness of plein air. You captured the warmth of light and feeling of the day exceptionally well - How great that all of you could get together and paint for a few days. I suspect that experience and insight would inform your work for weeks to come.As always, thanks for sharing.

Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

Well... I'm leaving you a comment because Jeremy said so... you know?, to increase your blog traffic.. That cracked me up! :o)

What a beautiful video! How lucky you guys to be able to share an experience like that one in such a beautiful place too. Amazing really. Now I'm even more desperate than before in renting a little house over there.

About your painting of Eric, I think it is wonderful! I love the warm tones and I like how you decide to find a balancing point between telling something just enough and leaving the rest for the eye and mind to complete the picture. This painting is a perfect example of that. :o)

jeff said...

Nice painting Eric.
The interesting thing about shade umbrellas if you look at the ones used by Monet, and Sargent they are white without any lining.

There is a bit about this on James Gurney's blog.

A white umbrella will defuse the light without altering the values at least this is the theory.

I have not compared the two types of umbrellas I have a white one which does defuse the light without casting to much shadow.

Anonymous said...

Very cool! I do like the finished product, after you worked on it some more. I'm glad you let us see the difference between the paintings.


Anonymous said...

Nice video, but I didn't see you. Hmmm... I looked twice. I'll look again. ;-)


Anonymous said...

Yes, I laughed too at Jeremys' comment, Frank- ye of double digits on the comment page.

Once again, with some kind of magic wand or paintbrush, you've made the warm wash of the sun coat everything it faces and the things behind just cool enough.
You've mastered understatement and get so much of the essence.

I can stare for minutes at a time and still not understand how you make it all work so beautifully.

It's apparent that we all like to see the photos and whatever stages of your process you'd like to share with us.

Great post.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Solveg. I'm glad that it comes across fresh and not overworked, which is the risk with working these later in the studio.
And glad you liked the paper towel in his hand :)

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Faye. It is always risky to show the before and afters. I hate it when I lose the fresh strokes by trying to just make it a little better. Glad this one works for you.

Frank Gardner said...

Ha ha , thanks Ali! I thought that was pretty funny too. He has a great sense of humor, as do all of the guys on the trip. It was a regular joke, pun, and prank fest.

It is a nice place, you would love it. There should be more video out soon.

Thanks for the kind words on the painting too!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Jeff, I remember reading the post by James Gurney about the umbrellas, but I think the dark inside works well. I just got one that is silver on the outside and black on the inside and I like it a lot. The sun is so strong here that I think a pure white one would let too much white through. Guess it depends on the fabric etc... I'd have to try one to compare.
Thanks for the input.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Paz! I don't dare show the before and after all of the time, because sometimes I wish that I had left them alone.
Ahh.... I am the one far away behind Peter ( the one in the red cap) you have to look fast.
Blue jacket, looking cold, with the water behind me.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Bonnie, Look who's talking, you get pretty good traffic yourself.
It is the magic wand. Want one?
Thanks for the visit.

Jennifer McChristian said...

Hi Frank,

This is a delightful study.
Love the posture, colors and brush strokes. Bravo!

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

I love this piece. I find that artists really like paintings of artists painting! My husband finds that odd, but really, you've got a figure who kind of stands still, is intent, and generally in the light, at least partially! It looks like you guys are having a great painting trip. Good for you!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Jennifer, thanks a lot!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Kelly. I have painted a lot of artist friends painting.
They are hard to market though. I have a grouping of them hanging in my house.
Yeah, we had a great trip. I am looking forward to planning another one.

Eric Merrell said...

Hi Frank,

I'm honored to be featured in a post - looks great! You got the shadow from my cap that was just covering my eyes enough so that I could see. I'm thinking about putting together a post at some point discussing the importance of artists umbrellas, too.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Eric. Glad you like it.
The brim of the cap was something that I had left out when I stopped working on this one. The shadow was there, just no hat.
It really helped when I added it and raised your nose a bit to direct your focus. Getting the beard right with minimal fussiness was the hard part.

Jennifer Thermes said...

And talk about another winner! ;-)

I really like it when you show the details, too. said...

It really has a good feel of the light.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Jennifer T.

Thanks OnPainting. Bill?

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

interesting the changes you made, really like how you warmed it up and added to the foreground. his face is great, simple but really looks like him. i'm terrible at simplicity....and yeah...very cool umbrella set up!!

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Frank...Sounds like you had way too much fun up there! Great paintings, love them all. But Gull Rock and the nocturnes are high on the list.
Umbrellas...I'm in the 'darker' is better category. Those white fabric types seem to focus a 'hot' spot on the paintings if the light is very bright. Although the dark can be too dark if painting into a backlit situation too. It needs to be up high and large so that it doesn't create too dark a shadow in your work area. A larger one lets some 'fill' light into the work area.
I do have one of those large Yarka's like Eric has and don't use it often enough. They made mine blue inside. ??? Go figure, they must have run out of black a the time. The only trouble I had with that one is in any sort of moisture, being canvas, it gets heavy fast.
Anyway...Great trip, great paintings.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Christine. Yeah, it needed to be warmed up to show that light better. It is so easy to over do it while touching them up later.
Glad you think it looks like Eric.

Frank Gardner said...

Well Marc, we did have a lot of fun and laughed a lot.
Laughed so hard it brought tears to my eyes a few times.
I am glad that you like the nocturnes. You do such nice ones yourself. I need to try one with some artificial light now. These were just moonlight and my book light.
I feel the same way about darker umbrellas. The sun is too strong here in Mexico to use a white one.
I just got a silver one with a black inside that I really love.
It raises up pretty high.
Thanks for stopping by.

Logan Maxwell Hagege said...

Good touch ups on your painting of Eric! Yeah Eric's umbrella is rad, those things are impossible to find!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Logan.
I like those umbrellas because they are so big, but I am not sure how much taller it can go or if it would work where there are a lot of rocks.
It is also good because it does not attach to the easel.

I see you started a blog. I look forward to keeping up with your latest work.

Don Gray said...

Great before and afters and explanations of process, Frank! You're not only a fine painter but a natural-born teacher, I believe. The ability to intuit changes needed in a work (dead-on correct, I think) and then explain the rationale behind them is a rare thing.

Frank Gardner said...

Well thanks Don. That is nice of you to say.
I should quote that for my workshop promotion.

Anonymous said...

That's our boy! You have captured him beautifully. I've enjoyed looking at your work.

Carrie Merrell (Eric's mom)

Frank Gardner said...

Hello Carrie. Thanks! I can't think of a better compliment on a sketch like that than to have someone's Mom say I captured him beautifully.

Marian Fortunati said...

That last comment was the BEST!!!
I too enjoyed seeing the original and how you changed it after reflecting and seeing the video. You and all the commenters are right... it is so much nicer. I think that is one of the things that makes a painter "good"... being able to evaluate the work and see what needs to be changed, understanding WHY it needs to be changed and THEN... DOING IT.
Great work... as always... I'm looking forward to trying to watching you and hearing you and HOPEFULLY learning from you in February!! :)
PS.. A long time ago I watched a video that Karl Dempwolf made of a terrific bunch of artists (also all men... hmmmm...) who went to paint in Canyon de'Chelly. I painted one of the painters. I think I'll drag it out and then look at the video again to see if I can figure out who it was... maybe I'll post it for laughs.

Marian Fortunati said...

PS... It's a darn good think that Jeremy is sending you all of that traffic... I can see the numbers have just JUMPED .....
(It made me laugh too, Bonnie.)

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Marian. Yeah, wasn't it?
I think being "Good" is what you said, but also knowing if those changes are going to make the painting any better.
My downfall is sometimes "Thinking" that I can make it better, but really just making it worse and not adding a darn thing to the piece of art.

I am looking forward to working with you in MARCH.
That Feb. thing was just a typo right? March 9-13.

Yes, I owe a lot to Jeremy promoting my blog. Now maybe he can get me in some of those magazines.

Frank Gardner said...

Oh, and Marian, thanks for posting two comments!!! That really helps get those numbers up :-)

Marian Fortunati said...

Anything to help you out Frank..
See you in MARCH!! :)

Joan Breckwoldt said...

Your painting is gorgeous.

Marian Fortunati said...

Hello my friend... when's your workshop?