Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I want to extend my sincere thanks again to everyone for the significant outpouring of support that I received in my last post about the passing of my Mom. I know that she is pleased that there are so many comments.
Knowing that there is so much love, prayers and virtual hugs out there has really meant a lot to me.

Andrew Wyeth passed away last week.
His art has influenced many of us in one way or another along our paths as artists.
The Wyeths were subject of many late night discussions on our recent painting trip to Maine.
Andrew and his family have homes in the area of Maine where we were painting. It seemed that each of the artists present had their favorite Wyeth and many of them are influenced to some extent by their work.

Untitled, mixed media collage/color xerox, Frank Gardner © 1982

I dug out this old piece of mine from my RISD days. This was a freshman foundation project that I did in '82. and it is influenced by the Andrew Wyeth painting "Christina's World".
We were working with collage between layers of glass and then color xeroxing them. Each generation of xerox having a higher contrast to it. Breaking it down to the basic form. I don't have the original here, but I have this version, which is a color xerox of the original, and it has a section of it that had been xeroxed two times in the original piece and therefore it would be three times in this version. There are lots of different ways that the elements in this collage relate to each other. The breaking down of the original Wyeth painting by the xerox process. The breaking down of the structure of house on the hill with the architectural drawing of a similar building. The way Muybridge used multiple cameras to capture the movements of his subjects. The same goes for the Degas drawing that he gridded out, breaking it down to the structure of the figure. And so on. The painting being simplified by the xerox process.
This was done a long time ago, so I have a hard time remembering everything that I was thinking at the moment.
I just wanted to share it as an example of Andrew's influence dating way back in my artistic journey.


Anonymous said...

Frank- How poignant that two important influences in your life should have passed within days of each other.

It's often during reflections of decades past, we look back and observe our own journeys, sometimes blurred by the details of every day life.

It would seem your path was determined very early in your life which makes you one of the lucky few who knew with conviction where you wanted to be.

A very touching day today- a sense of renewed hope in kindness, love and determination.

Glad to see another post from you with a glance back at the early Gardners.
From whom many, many more will be birthed.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Bonnie.
You are spot on about reflecting back once in a while and seeing our journey with fresh eyes.

Andrew was not really one of my all time favorites, but I always loved this painting.

I did know pretty early on that I wanted to create art. Luckily I was encouraged to pursue it.

Today did have that renewal feeling to it. Almost like the first scent of spring in the air.

I could fill a whole blog some day with early Gardners. Since I still have most of them. LOL

Terry Krysak said...

I too was influenced by Wyeth's work at age 15, which seems lika a lifetime ago. It is sad that he passed, however he lived a long life, and gave us many beautiful works of art.

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

it's always interesting to see your older work and how much it differs from your paintings of today. i don't think there is an artist who hasn't in some way been influenced or at least spent time studying the work of the wyeths or those we hold close. :) good to see you back posting.

Jack Riddle said...

Frank--I hope you will show more of this early work of yours. As one who is relatively early into the "journey," I'd be interested in seeing from whence you and others came. As for Wyeth, I don't think of him as gone because he left us more than we will ever be able to absorb. I love how he found meaning in simple things and his ability to capture the environment of the object.
Welcome back, amigo.

Elizabeth said...

Fascinating piece of art work based on the Wyeth - such layers of meaning and ideas.
So sad to hear of your mother's death.
Warm wishes.

Solvay said...

I have been reading some of Ambera's recent posts about school projects. What an interesting set of reads: her present and your past projects... I don't have much to add - but, while here in Minnesota I'm not sensing any smell of spring, in your post, a new first in a way, I can smell the fragrance of iris, hyacinth, magnolia, tulip, tulip tree, sweet olive, jasmine, lilac, honeysuckle - every good scent that to the seasoned is not just a pretty nose moment but a sign that summer is on its way. Looking forward to it!
: )

Logan Maxwell Hagege said...

Cool student work Frank! I am sad to see him go, but so thankful for what he left behind.

Marian Fortunati said...

A beautiful post, Frank. I'm glad you feel able to think blog or post again.
My mom passed away a year ago last December and even though she lived a grand life until 91 ... even though she'd had Alsheimer's disease for 16 years and we thought in our silent hearts and minds by the time she did pass, that it was time for her..... It hurt..... She's my mommy.... She'll always be there ..encouraging me... keeping me on the path.... loving me.
I miss her still and I know you miss your mom too.
Our best gift to those people who.. "made us"... is to be ourselves.

Be well, Frank...

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Terry. Yes, he sure left us with a lot of great art.

Hi Christine, Lot's more where that come from. Now if I only had an assistant to organize it all and post it for me. LOL

Hi Jack, I agree, finding great potential for art in the simple things is a worthy goal.

Hi Elizabeth, thanks.

Hi Solveg, yeah, school projects are interesting. Funny how many of the lessons linger in my mind to this day and influence me.

Hey Logan, Happy Birthday! I bet you have a few student projects kicking around somewhere.

Hi Marian, Thanks. I'll try and keep posting pretty regularly. I can here my Mom saying, "it's time to get a new blog on your site".
I'll see you soon.

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

hmmm....sorry i'm not for hire, but i you find someone good and cheap send them my way, i could use the help lately. LOL

Frank Gardner said...

LOL, I should offer an unpaid apprentice/ internship and make them do all the organization before we move on to painting.

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

yeah...ok, let me know how that works out! LOL

Daniel Corey said...

hey Frank it's a bit late, but I think you will enjoy this, I know I did " I love to study the many things that grow below the corn stalks and bring them back to the studio to study the color. If one could only catch that true color of nature - the very thought of it drives me mad." Andrew Wyeth

Frank Gardner said...

Hey Dan, never to late to back in time on the blog and leave a comment. You know that : )
Good quote and relevant. The very thought of that drives me mad too. But keeps me striving to improve.
That really fits with the Cornstalks piece that you like so much. I know that must be why you thought of me.
Thanks for adding it here.