Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays

This could be the last painting that I have time to post before Christmas.
Maybe not.
I thought the Red and Green colors of this recent landscape were about as close to a Christmasy theme as I could get.

I wish all of you, and your families, a wonderful Holiday.
May Santa bring lots of gifts for all, and a little peace and prosperity for the whole world.

The excitement is growing around here by the hour.
I mean by the minute.
Christmas is a very exciting time of year for a certain five year old.

"Grazing Cows by the Church", 18" x 24" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
$2,300. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Wish It Was Christmas Today

Well, it is the Holidays Season.
Here is our absolute favorite Christmas song around our house.

I left this at a smaller size so you could be sure to see Tracey dancing. If you click on that little yellow box on the bottom right it will go full screen.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Line Starts Here.

I guess there is a line forming for the book. If all goes well it will be available in a few weeks.
Dan Corey seems to be first in line. Thanks Dan.

I was going to post a different video for Friday Fun this week, but this one seems appropriate.
Here are the first two episodes of this seven part short film, "The Line".
I like to imagine that the line for my book will look something like this....

Episode 2

If you'd like to keep watching you can find the other episodes easily on YouTube.
Just type in "The Line" in the search box.

I should give credit to . That is where this film originally came from.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

6x8 Landscape and a Street Scene

This is a 6" x 8" demo that I did in September as part of a private class that I was teaching. I am real happy with how it came out. I am always so relieved when a demo turns out well. It makes me look like I know what I'm talking about.
I was explaining to my students how to pre mix some colors first and then start blocking in all of the main shapes.

"Mountains Near San Miguel", 6" x 8" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

There were less than ten colors that I mixed up to represent the big shapes. I mixed those and adjusted them on my palette before I did any painting.
The main colors that I mixed up were:
1. Darkest color - Trees and a few triangular stacks in the distant field.
2. Lightest color - Clouds.
3. Brightest / strongest color - Flowers
4. Next brightest - Foreground grasses and plants.
5. Light source / sky - The sky would be the lightest value if there were not any clouds. I judged how dark in value to make everything else compared to this value.
6. Background mountain.
7. Mid distance hills.

There were a few slight variations on these, but basically that was it.
I adjusted these a bit on my palette until the relationships between them were accurate.
Once I had all of the relationships between those colors worked out it was just a matter of putting the right shape in the right spot.
The linen panel was not toned first and I laid in the yellow and orange flower colors first to keep them nice and clean. Notice how I massed them into groups and did not think about painting individual flowers and details. I massed together all of the other main shapes and values as best I could too. This is the basis for a strong design.
Once the shapes were all blocked in on the panel I made a few final adjustments. You may be able to see where I laid in a lighter color on the background mountains to adjust the color that I had mixed a bit too dark.

I got the kindest email from one of the women from this private class and I'd like to share part of it.

"Frank, painting with you on our terrace in San Miguel was just an incredible experience for me! Your art instruction was the best I ever received and I think if you'd been one of my art teachers when I started college, I would have stayed with an art major! You have a natural, easy style of delivering information combined with the ability to tailor it to not only the masses, but the needs of the individual, as well."

It makes me feel great when someone gets that much out of my teaching.
Giving art lessons, and trying to make sure that everyone gets what they need out of it, is one of the hardest things that I do, so it is nice to know when it works. Thanks for letting me know "R".

Here is one more new painting from last week.

"El Puesto de la Esquina", 8" x 10" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
$780. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner

Edit note: I've removed some of this post to make it more compact for a repost of it Dec. 2010. Therefor a few of the comments below might be confusing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Landscape Painting Workshop. Feb 23-27, 2009

I still have room for two or maybe three participants in my February '09 Workshop.
February 23rd through 27th, will be the dates for the five day plein air landscape painting workshop in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

There is also one spot that has opened up for the March 9-13 class due to an illness.

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, December 9, 2008

"Mid Day Light in Atotonilco"

This is a recent painting that I did of Atotonilco.
The rich blue sky really shows off the light yellow bell tower that is to the side of the main part of the church. The sky is dark, because I am looking away from the sun, but it is not darker than anything that is in a shadow area.
The tree adds a nice dark accent, and an organic shape to balance all of the architecture.
There is a lot of light reflecting back up into the shadows, making all of the shadow values pretty light. Therefore, all of the light areas had to be almost white. That helps to show just how strong the sunlight is.

"Mid Day Light in Atotonilco", 18" x 14" oil, Frank Gardner © 2008
$1,300. Framed. Available at Windrush Gallery, Sedona, AZ