Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Flowers in Landscape

These are two studio paintings that I did around Christmas. I left them hanging when my Mom passed away in early January and never got around to getting photos and posting them.

It's fun sometimes to try several approaches on a theme. To play with different ideas without trying to cram it all into one piece.
Here I was playing with a similar subject and colors but with different approaches and designs. For example, the top one has a big mass of the tree on the left and the bottom piece has the large mass of the tree on the right. The road painting has some visible sky and the field painting does not.
The road leads the viewer into the painting on the top, which is a pretty standard way to lead the viewer into a painting. In the bottom one, I tried to lead the viewer in with just color and brushwork. I am hoping that the eye is attracted to the area of the branches on the right and beyond into the field. Then, over to the far tree on the left and into the foreground again by the light pink flowers on the left. I am curious to hear if that is the path that others eyes are drawn to in that piece.

"Road with Flowers", 14" x 18" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
$1,300. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner

"Field of Flowers", 14" x 18" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
$1,300. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner


Billy Guffey said...

Beautiful work Frank. My eye was lead exactly as you wished. I really like experimenting with similar subjects attacked in different ways.

Alicia PadrĂ³n said...


Lets me say you are not leading my eye, but my whole being. I want to step right in both paintings and be there and experience it with every sense possible.

In the first one, the shaded area near the viewer is so beautiful and inviting. On my walk I would surely stop there and sit for a while. Take it all in. :o)

On the second one just would see me running like crazy opened armed across those flower fields.. omg, beautiful!

And those flowers are the absolute perfect color..

Daniel Corey said...

yeah thats how I see the read of these, beautiful paintings Frank.

Anonymous said...

Hey Frank,

These are really nice paintings. I like the top one pretty well, especially the color of the flowers, but I love the bottom one. I like the less conventional composition... the variation in the purples in the flowers... the dark greens in the grass make the flowers look like they glow. The little tree in the back pulls my eye back there, but the hanging branches on the left pull me back to the foreground. I really like how they are painted. The warm green on the cool blue background is really nice. The other part I love is the low-hanging branches on the tree on the right... it's good to break up all of that foliage with the lyrical line. Really nice painting. I hope I can see it in person someday.

Margaret Gosden said...

I am an arm chair admirer of your work, so far. Look forward to seeing more.

Laurie said...

Frank, your work brings me daily inspiration. Yes, my eye was led just as you said on the second painting, before I even read your description.

Barbara Pask said...

Both are equally beautiful Frank. I especially like the first, the trail leading you back. I hope you are doing well.

Marian Fortunati said...

I actually liked the first one... the more standard approach.
Far be it from me to critique your work, but I thought the way the field and the sky were divided fairly equally in the second one sort of made it seem less pleasing... although I do like the way the eyes dance among the flowers.
This was so interesting to think about.... I can not WAIT to learn from you!!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Bill. Me too, experimenting is always a good thing. Even if it is a total disaster.

Ali, muchas gracias.
What a nice thing to say.
Those fields were waist to chest high. It would be fun to run through.

Thanks Dan!

Hey Colin, thanks. I'm happy with those branches on the left too. They seem to hold their place, but dont ask for too much attention.

Hi Margaret. Armchair admirers are just as welcome here as anyone else. Thanks for checking in.

Hi Laurie. Thanks, that is good to hear.

Thanks Barb. Doing great! Thanks.

Hi Marian, thanks. You critique all you want my friend. I know you it is frowned upon to divide equally like that, but I don't like "rules" much. It is a mountainside not sky if that helps any. I suppose not since it is still divided in half.
I am really looking forward to working with everyone. See you soon.

Jack Riddle said...

Frank--both of these are successful. You taught me a few things about painting fields of flowers. You may recall that I did a small sketch of one of the fields you and on walked on when I was down there in Oct., but when it came to doing a larger one in the studio--well, it's on hold because I haven't thought of way to bring vertical elements and a "subject" into it. Now you have me thinking again...

Logan Maxwell Hagege said...

nice ones frank! i like the pattern in the second one.

Jennifer Thermes said...

Wonderful, Frank. I like reading about your intentions-- it worked perfectly for me.

Solvay said...


I am particularly drawn into the second one. I am reminded of a sun setting on the mountains painting from last summer or early autumn...not sure why - the shadow on the far-away mountain and the foliaged foreground. But, regardless, I love love love the second one even more than the first one.
My eye is usually drawn by color and texture and shadow more than roads, anyway.
It's SO good seeing your paintings, again.
Thank you!

Mike said...

Gorgeous, Frank! I am amazed at how your work is changing . . .and in such a terrific way!

One thing I notice is that you don't blast the darks and keep your values in middle range . . that sure makes color speak, doesn't it!

Shirley Peters said...

Beautiful painting. I can feel the dimensions. Love to see the real thing, but I'm a bit far away.

Paula Villanova said...

The appeal for me in each of these paintings is that they each have a strong sense of place. I agree with Alicia Padron's remarks in that I am transported instantly into each scene which is a quality that is pleasing and beyond technical.

Anonymous said...

I really like what you've done with the bottom painting Frank. There's an element of brush work that's almost created a depth of field that's achieved in photography.
The branch on the left is in sharper focus and the tree on the right which is set back further is painted with less definition.

Your descriptions of what your intentions were when you painted them, is a very helpful means of showing us how to look.

They're both glorious, light filled, and so well interpreted with color.

Welcome back.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Prabha. Thank you.

Hi Jack, I hope that these inspire you to try that field of flowers again. That one has a lot of potential if you introduce a few more elements somehow.

Thanks Logan! Glad you like the second one.

Thanks Jennifer. I don't usually like to write about the intentions like that, but I was curious to see if it was reading like I'd hoped.

Hi Solveg, I am trying to remember which painting that was. Thanks!

Thanks Mike! I appreciate your input.
Your new blog template looks great.

Thank you Shirley.

Thanks Paula, "strong sense of place", a nice thing to hear. I always aim for that, but especially in these I suppose. The locations in the two are real close, but I think each has it's own sense of place.

Hi Bonnie, thanks. I was going for that look of a controlled chaos in the second one especially, with things in and out of focus.

Unknown said...

Beautiful Frank! These are feel more meditative or something. Love the rich colours, unbelievable what you do with purples.

Leslie Saeta said...

I am so glad I found your blog! Wow - these are amazing. The colors are fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Eric, good to hear from you. Yeah, there is a calm to them I guess. I wanted to give a sense of a peaceful place.

Hi Leslie, thanks!
I'm glad that you stopped by.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Both are lovely paintings. Although the top one is my favorite of the two (love those shadows on the road and tree shapes!), the second one is quite fetching. The lead-in is not nearly so obvious as the road, but it works, nevertheless.

It's been awhile since I stopped in, Frank. I'm very sorry to hear of your mother's passing. I know you must miss her terribly.

Dean H. said...

Thought I had posted on this days ago, Frank...must have spun out into cyberspace.
Just had to say I love 'em both. Those candy color flowers are brilliant! As usual I really like those separated brushstrokes you use to give the fresh devil-may-care appearance.

Anonymous said...

Hi Frank: Sorry to read about your mom. May she rest in peace. I love flowers, so I love your floral landscape paintings. They're all beautiful.

Paz said...

Both beautiful. I like the bottom painting best with the strong foreground trees.

I'm never conscious of where my eyes are going in a painting. I just look and admire. If the painting has interested as yours always do, my eyes eventually end up visiting all areas.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Diana. Thank you.

Dean, that happens once in a while.
Thanks, I like your description of my approach.

Hi Paz, thank you.

Hi Bill, you're right, the eye should just wander without thinking about it. I was just trying to point out some of the difference between the two.

Anonymous said...

They are both so brilliantly lit with that air of Spring. A feeling of rebirth. I personally love the second one. Seems like I could take flight off of the ledge that is in bloom. And yes, the tree to the right got my attention first, then I travelled to the ledge. Hope you are doing well Frank.

David Lobenberg said...

Both of these beauties rock my boat...well done!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Silvina, thanks. It would seem like spring, but that is actually how fall looks here. Spring is pretty hot and very dry. The summer rains green everything up and the flowers bloom in the late summer and fall.

Frank Gardner said...

Hey David, thanks.
I didn't mean to rock the boat. : )

Solvay said...

"October Morning", from your 10/27/08 post.
That's the painting the second one in this post brought up in my memory.

Frank Gardner said...

ah, ok, thanks for posting that Solveg. I was wondering which painting it was.

Honor Bradley said...

I am so happy I was led to your site. I am a relatively new painter striving to improve and have read and studied voraciously. Your explanation of the path for viewing the two paintings was enlightening. I could follow the first path easily but my eyed kept leading me back to front and center on the second. the flowers seem to form an M. For the first time I was aware of the way my eyes traveled through a painting. Thank you for not only allowing me to view these wonderful paintings but also to learn and improve my knowledge. Honor

Karl Marxhausen said...

I agree with Colin. The lower flow piece pulled me right in.

Frank Gardner said...

Hello Honor, I am sorry about not answering your comment sooner. Thank you for dropping by.

Hi Karl, thanks for adding that.

Alvin Richard said...

You have an amazing talent! Beautiful color palette and light!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Alvin!

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

These two paintings are LUSH!
Great composition and color harmony.
If they look this good in photos, their impact in the 'flesh' so to speak, would take my breath away!
I like the 'blow by blow' posts. We're artists talking 'shop' here ;)

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Mary, sorry it took a while to catch up with a reply to your comment.