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.


Suzanne McDermott said...


I just love this demo landscape. It's darling, cheerful, naïve (in the best sense of the word) and full of life. I've recently discovered your blog and understand why it's so popular! However, I'm glad to hear that you're getting a "new" laptop if you've been having to prop the screen up against something!

Teaching is so rewarding - especially when you're good at it. Not everyone is, as your recent student testifies. I know what you mean about being relieved when a demo turns out well. Although there's the inevitable chagrin, it's pretty funny when they don't :-) !

I'm looking forward to your subsequent posts. Good luck with the holiday season paintings and the book. Just a suggestion.... you might want to check out I just published a book of paintings and poetry and after some trial runs with blurb and lulu, decided that the color representation was much better with lulu.

Daniel Corey said...

Great on the book! consider me camping out, to be first in line.

Marian Fortunati said...

Ohhhhh... This is gonna be so good.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Suzanne. Welcome to my blog.
I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Yeah, when the demos dont turn out well I just say.... "Do as I say , not as I do". It is hard to paint and talk trying to explain what you're doing at the same time.

Thanks for the suggestion on the book. I've checked out the LuLu site and preferred what Blurb had to offer. I'll take your opinion on the images into account and ask around a bit more. I may need to do a couple of test runs before I get what I am happy with. That is why I decided to keep it small to start out with. Just 40 pages.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Dan, thanks. I hope you have a down sleeping bag.

Hi Marian. I think it will be.

Solvay said...

So 3-D, that top painting, especially!
And, I would guess you receive many emails like that. You explain things so well, are so kind and generous, are so open-eyed - I'm sure your workshops and classes are life-changing for even the most experienced painters. And, again, I really like especially the 6x8 Landscape - the strokes have the mastery to them that inspires me so much!


(looking forward to seeing that backlog of paintings!!! makes January fun to look forward to!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Daniel Corey said...

sleeping bag, inflateable pillows, coleman portable grill,swiss-army knife,and of course my laptop. do you have an estimated release date? or will I be camping out here more then 11 days?

Anonymous said...

Wow Frank!
This was three post topics in one.
Four, maybe if you include the fan email.

And this is the busy time of year!

I know I'm not alone in thanking you for the step by step describing the process in your demo landscape. It would be the next best thing to being there.

El Puesto is a beauty. It knocks me out every time I look a bit more closely, how you achieve the essence of a scene with such a deftness of stroke and color nuance. Will I ever learn!!!!

If Dan wouldn't mind, could I get the second copy? He can sleep out and I promise not to get there TWELVE days in advance.

More paintings to post? You are a machine, Senor Gardner. Have mercy on the rest of us.

You'll be able to post faster and more efficiently with a replacement computer- that's a good thing, given your inventory.

Oh, and after this post? You'll have NO open slots in your workshops..........

Todd Bonita said...

Hi frank,

long time..I've been busy but one of the first things I did when I logged on today was to see what ol Frank Gardner was up did not dissapoint. Always nice to pop over and see what you are up to. Have a great holiday Frank.


Jack Riddle said...

Frank--if you need any endorsements for your workshop, count me as one. I have enjoyed and benefitted from two of them plus had the pleasure of jes' painting with Frank a few times. Changed everything about my approach to painting (for the good, I think). So if you're thinking of doing it--do it now!
Frank, I guess I'm #3 for the book. Good luck with it as I'll be waiting.

Solvay said...

...neglected to mention: how perfectly Frank that you are putting the new Mac in Julissa's hands, "juice-ability" or not. It's very gracious and lovely of you!
Julissa: we all love you for sharing Frank with us. YOU are very gracious and generous, too.

And, um, maybe Dan should bring his laptop with him while he camps out. I know I'll be skipping the camping part, slippering my way from the bed over to the computer first thing in the morning, as is my habit, and the morning I see your posted link to the book, I'll be clicking on it before I even make tea, while he's out camping, awaiting a different kind of virtual experience.

Daniel Corey said...

LOL its on my supply list

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Solveg. I've gotten several nice emails, but this part was special...."I think if you'd been one of my art teachers when I started college, I would have stayed with an art major!"

Dan, I'd guess it will be mid to late January, so you can stay home and enjoy the holidays and then get on line after that.

Bonnie, I know it was kind of a run on. That's why I threw an extra painting in at the end.
I'll get some more step by steps soon. They just take a little longer to write up.
I'm not a machine,LOL. Actually, I feel a bit guilty that I have been taking it easy. I just have a backlog of things to post. Not as much as it may have sounded like I have.

Hi Todd! I've noticed that you were not posting as much. Good to hear from you. I was thinking of you while reading about those ice storms.
How's Max?
Happy Holidays!

Thanks Jack. Always a pleasure painting with you. I guess you got iced too, huh?
Talk to you soon.

Solveg reply number two:
She deserves it. She is the best a guy could ask for.

And Dan... don't forget your hat. LOL

Solvay said...

...yes.....didn't want to presume that was the ringing sentence for you, but it certainly was the one that rang loudest for me.

lovely thing to say about your wife!

makes me smile, all of it!

Daniel Corey said...

I'm gettin the hat in January, so that will be just in time to stand in line for your book. I put my duct tape down to mark my spot, no cuts!!

Frank Gardner said...

Dan, Don't accept any trivia challenges my friend.

I am going to add the video to the blog soon so everyone else will know what we are talking about.

5, 4:59, 4:58, 4:57....

Jennifer Thermes said...

What a nice note from the woman in your class, Frank. It must be very satisfying to know your teaching is helping someone! :-)

Daniel Corey said...

your "Cornfields" painting is my Moon Dagger...

Frank Gardner said...

Oh, I'm dying laughing about that comment Dan.

I hope everyone sees my new post and watches all of those episodes. I know there are a few folks who will share our sense of humor.

Frank Gardner said...

Yes Jennifer. It feels good to know someone gets something out of my class once in a while

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

great post frank, and a lovely note from a student, that has to be a rewarding feeling. both paintings are very nice, i really like the grays in the street in the bottom painting. i wasn't expecting to see an umbrella, i don't know why, just surprised me, it's a nice pop of color that really compliments the crowd.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Christine. Yes, it is the best part of teaching.

I added a lot of the color variation in that street at the end. Wanted to balance the bright umbrella colors with subtle but colorful stuff in the rest of the painting.

Solvay said...

The wind is howling outside (well, maybe not quite HOWLing....almost), and this painting is really cheering me up.
I've always liked winter, but this year, only the driving with my great Blizzak snowtires is seeming fun. There's not enough sun, and your paintings are warming me up and brightening my view.
It seems you painters like painting snow - I saw your comment about it over on Dan's blog - and I've read other comments about it from other painters......but, I am not enjoying looking at snowy paintings - I'm trying to be nice about them, as I appreciate their goodness as paintings, but I don't really want to look at them.
I have this one up front on my monitor screen right now.

...just thought I'd end the day with that comment, and that thank-you.
I trust you are having a festive Christmas with your family!
: )
That makes me smile, too.
: )
: )
: )
Solveg said...

It is a great plein air study, Frank. I agree it is much easier to premix needed colors for a faster layin which is still never fast enough for me.

Merry Christmass!!!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Bill, thanks.
It was done from a photo, but I worked it pretty fast like I would have on the spot. It is probably harder to keep it simple using a photo. So much temptation to put in all the little details.
Merry Christmas.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I just love the orange! It's a nice piece. Lots of great info here as usual. How exciting about your book. Thanks for all your visits and comments on my blog. I appreciate the support. Happy New Year!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Mary. Happy New Year.