Thursday, February 5, 2009

class demo step by step

This is a demo painting that I did for a small class back in September.
Colors were first pre mixed into about 9 or 10 main piles on my palette. That way I could compare the colors to each other and make some adjustments.

Then I blocked in the main shapes in Step 1 to show my students how to quickly build up the masses first with no modeling.
The goal was to just paint a flat shape of each pre mixed color.
We were all painting from the same photo and compared as we went along.

"Rooster and Hens" Step 1, Frank Gardner © 2008

Step 2. Once the canvas was pretty well covered, I started to adjust the shapes to get a more accurate drawing.
The focal point is around the rooster, so I started adding smaller shapes there first to define that area.
The hen in the back is not in the focal area, so I left that one rather vague. The silhouette is what describes to the viewer what it is.

"Rooster and Hens" Step 2, Frank Gardner © 2008

Step 3. I wanted to maintain simple shapes throughout the painting without breaking them up too much. I tried to add just enough detail to the alfalfa on the ground so you can tell that there is something there.
I was working all over the painting at once trying to unify the design without overworking any one area.

"Rooster and Hens", 10" x 8" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Finished Painting
Private Collection

One thing that I like to do often is have a few brush strokes of a light value break into a darker mass, and in the same area, put a few strokes of a darker color into a light mass. I think that helps in the transitions from one mass to another. You can see it well around the rooster's head with the green in light and shadow. Those strokes are similar in size to the blue and orange on the tail feathers. There are also two similar strokes of dark green by the rooster's front leg or behind the hen's tail. Similar sized strokes like that help move the eye from one spot to the other. adding vitality to the painting. For this painting I wanted to keep your eye popping around a bit, kind of like the action of the rooster and hens pecking around in the alfalfa.


Daniel Corey said...

Great to see Frank, thanks for sharing some knowhow. by the way are you practicing for New England??? not painting but sitting inside the freezer?

Barbara Pask said...

I like this Frank, I love how you are always teaching. I need to try a painting where I pre mix my colors. I don't know if you have time for this but I am here to give you an award, the Art Blog Award. Even if you don't I had to mention your blog because it is so special. You can check out the details on my blog. I hope you are doing well.

Frank Gardner said...

Hey Dan. Yeah, I'm sitting naked in front of the open freezer with the lights dimmed, so I can feel like I am outside painting up there.
Actually, I'm torn. I would rather have cold snow while I am there than cold rain.
See ya soon.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Barb. Yes, give pre mixing a try.
Thanks for the award.
That's two today. I'll get to it as soon as I get a chance.

Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

This is great Frank! I love this post. I am learning some good stuff here :o)

Funny you mentioned the small strokes because I was thinking how much I loved the blue ones on the rooster! Those strokes are your little signatures, I always like to "spot" them in your paintings.

And got put some clothes on.. kids read these blogs too you know? lol! ;o)

Frank Gardner said...

Hola Ali.
Thanks. Glad you like those strokes.
Ha ha... ooops! Sorry.

Marian Fortunati said...

As usual a great post Frank... And thanks... So you create these piles from those 7 colors, huh??

Well, okay... I'll keep on practicing. This and your article from Workshop Magazine should keep me pretty busy for a while!!...

Don't sit too long in front of that freezer. LOL

Pam Holnback said...

Your blog is great (I guess you would say I have been a lurker for months) it's often like a little mini-lesson. I like pre-mixing, it takes a little time, but is worth it.

Theresa Rankin said...

Wonderful see you steps in this demo, Frank...Great fresh little piece! I also want to thank you for becoming a follower on my blog...I am very honored. I hope you and your family are doing well.

Dean H. said...

Love your demos, Frank. A wealth of information in just a few words and pictures. Even my limited attention span can handle that!
I'll have to try another using the pre mixing. It's been awhile.
Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your valuable input! Much appreciated!

Marian Fortunati said...

Hi Frank... me again...
You may not have time for this but I wanted you to know that I love your blog... so
I've given you the I love your ART BLOG AWARD.

Daniel Corey said...

HAHAHA sounds like a deleted scene from Pulp Fiction.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Marian. Thanks.
Yes, just the 6 colors plus white.
I had to pack it in on the freezer gig. I think I'm ready though.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Pam, thanks, and I'm glad that you are not lurking any more. Lurking is fine, but it's nice to hear from you.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Theresa, thanks.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Dean. Ha ha. yeah, I have a limited attention span once in a while too. I purposely kept this one short for that reason.
You're welcome. Hope it was helpful.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks for the art blog award Marian. That's three I need to get to. I'll be traveling for a while, but I'll get to them.

Frank Gardner said...

Deleted from somewhere Dan.

Anonymous said...

It's so helpful to read about your process and then see it visually.
What a fine balance it is to paint with freedom, yet thoughtfulness.
That even what appears loose is a deliberate stroke.
And premixing colors- I have to try that.
Thanks for showing us what's behind the finished pieces Frank.

Hope you're all doing well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this little step by step. I've been watching your blog for awhile and love your painting style!

Solvay said...

Sorry it's taken me so long to get here, Frank - I had a friend visiting from out of town, and that took all my blog-visit time. Was fun, though.
Anyway, what a fresh, almost watercolor-esque painting. So cheery and spontaneous - and definitely it gives that hen-peck-gesture sense! I love it!
Thanks for sharing!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Bonnie. Yeah, I like to controlled chaos of this approach.
We're good. thanks.

Hi Cathy, thanks. I'm glad you checked in. Nice to know when people are watching.

Hi Solveg. I'm glad you had fun with your friend.
It is good to hear from you. said...

Very informative, thanks. It does have life to it.

Vikki North said...

Hello Sir Artist who lives in Mexico and teaches us how to paint chickens,

We have been watching you. We are artist also. At least that's what they call us. You may even know us. We'd like to invite you to a member of our very Private Club. We're very selective and only an elite few are welcome on our hallowed grounds. We pick you.

We even have a little 'chit chat' room just for the likes of you. It's rightfully called Dante's Pub. But when your enter BEWARE! You are entering the abyss of the artist mind! You may not find your way out.

You're welcome to watch from afar while drinking your brew or pull up a chair and join us for a little chat. Be sure and register and then log in. After all, this is a very private club. We don't allow just any wanderer in our midst.

Don't dilly dally now! It wont cost you a pence. Check out The Artist Challenge and Dante's Pub- that is if your daring and think yourself worthy to be amongst the souls we've claimed?

Farewell...until we hear from you,
Master Mike and the Pub Wench

Artist Challenge-
Dante‘s Pub -

Anonymous said...

Very cool demonstration. Very cool painting.


Faye Taylor said...

Love the chickens! What a fun, whimsical piece. I enjoy the looseness of your style and your brush work is so honest.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Paz and Faye!