Last Saturday I spent the whole day out painting with my friend Jerome. After a morning of landscape painting in the direct sun we decided to paint in town somewhere so we could get some shade. I wanted to take him over to El Chorro because he had enjoyed driving down this steep windy street the other day. There is a lot of history to the area that I wont go into right now. There are also a lot of tall trees for shade.
We settled on a spot and set up our gear. I wanted to paint a statue of The Virgin of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego. Jerome chose to paint the tower part of the building surrounded by trees.
"The Virgin of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego"
10" x 8", oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2009
$720. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner
My painting toward the end of the session.
Frank Gardner © 2009
Jerome and his painting.
One thing about Mexico is that no matter where you go it seems there is something going on. We thought that this would be a pretty quiet spot on a Saturday afternoon. Turns out there was a big wedding reception a few doors down below us so we got to listen to music the whole time that we were painting. Then we heard some sirens and a running race came by us heading up the steep hill. Then some mariachis strolled by on their way up to play for another wedding at the church up above us. There was also a folkloric dance class on the balcony one up above us. Plus all of the families and couples out for a walk that passed by to see what we were doing. We also got to watch an old VW Bug slide down the steep cobble stoned street almost bashing into the wall and a few brave kids fly down the hill on their bikes, obviously getting a big thrill by doing so. All of this, plus some lively joking back and forth between Jerome and me, made for some good times.
Oh, and we also had fun painting!
The lead pack of runners.
Mariachis walking up the hill to another wedding at the church.
That statue painting is so impressive,Frank! Masterful color.
Your painting location was amazing as was the action. I don't see anything like it in good ol' Akron, OH. Or maybe I'm just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I would imagine that most of us in the grip of northern winters envy the lovely light that you have to work with and that you render so well.
Nice painting Frank and this seems like a perfect day.
Frank--I know the area well and painted a view looking up the winding street going up the hill. Would like to go back sometime as it is beautiful as you say, with the light and shadow. Do the women still do their wash there?
Ahhh, Mexico, land of endless surprise where anything can happen at any time! So much to see, hear, and smell that it makes for lots of memories... The painting of the Virgin is lovely, Frank. I especially like how you have framed her. Wish we had enough warmth to have to seek shade. Can't paint outside yet - since it is SNOWING! But I know you really don't sympathize - how could you? You don't remember what snow is like anymore... *sigh* I know, I know... move to Mexico. hehe
Hi Frank. I have followed you for a while now, and feel a special affinity to your work, as I too live in Mexico. I'm Joanne's daughter, and am a budding painter. (Key word is budding.) But I just love how you paint Mexico...and how you describe it because what you say is really how it is! Just wanted to say that I get inspired when I visit your blog.
I love this painting...you have conveyed a warmth that is uniquely Mexican light and the gentle gesture of San Juan in admiration. This locale looks familiar. If this is at Juarez Park, I ran down that hill from Real a Queretaro on all those wild (but beautiful)staircases then up via the roads...there's no avoiding those steep mountainside hills there. No need for a gym!
Didn't realize this lovely lady was hidden (... I think ...) up there by the B & B we stayed at. Seems like I recognize that hillside.
Anyhoo your painting is great as always. I'll bet Jerome wishes he hadn't had to return home.
I've passed on an award... (don't be mad)... It's perfect for you.... (;o>)
Thanks Dean! Maybe you'll need to visit San Miguel some day then.
Hi Mick. Yeah, the light is something special here. The warmth doesn't hurt either.
Thanks Dan. About as good as they get.
Hi Jack, there are women washing there once in a while. Guy just brought a painting by the gallery of a family doing the wash there. I'll try and get a picture of it to post or something.
You are right Joanne, see, hear, and smell.
Thanks, and yes, I do sympathize. I actually walked around in a snow storm one night this Jan. while I was up in NY. Nice for the short time I was there. Winter just lasts too long.
Hello Kim, thanks for checking in. I have heard about you through your Mom. Thanks for your kind words, that made my morning. Coming from someone else who really knows Mexico.
Thanks Paula. It is just off of Juarez Park, yes.
Hi Marian, it is not up in that same area, but you might have wandered by there. If you went south on Barranca or Recreo you would come to this spot.
Yeah, Jerome did not really want to go.
Thanks for the award, I am not mad, actually, I had seen it last night on your blog. Thanks!!!
Hi Frank, Wonderful painting, so interesting always to see how you paint a subject. Sounds like a fun day painting plein air. I enjoyed reading your story about it, thanks for sharing. :)
I love your lady and the way you captured the reverence in his body as he looks to her -- beautiful.
I returned from your workshop fully grateful for the time with you and the class. You are a masterful teacher as well as painter and you brought San Miguel to more life than it already has -- hard to do with a place that teems with energy as it does.
It is hard to be here when I see the pics you post of the street and light. Even in Santa Barbara I miss San Miguel.
I await your message about the painting.....
If statues could have a pulse and breathe, they would be these- on your canvas. They're beautifully expressed and complimented by the greens around them.
Another amazing painting Frank.
And in the midst of the cacophony you've described, it's a wonder you accomplished as much as you did.
You surely have great powers of concentration.
Very nice handling of your subjects. Like your use of light.Have never made it to Mexico but your light reminds me a lot of New Mexico and Arizona. Great paintings
A tapestry of riches. Thinking of you.
Hi Barb. Thanks.
Thanks Joy, and thanks for your kind words about the class and my teaching.
Thanks Bonnie. It was actually pretty relaxing with all that going on.
Hi Mary, Thanks.
Loved reading what you wrote about all the goings on around you. Plus, all the lush foliage and color really awakened my senses!
I can't think of words to describe my impression of the painting.....
the "clay-y-ness" of it, I guess - it looks like a wet piece of fresh clay scuplture, and in that way, it is alive. I expect both the figures to start moving - animation, claymation. But I mean that in reverence - the aliveness of it really strikes my heart.
Thanks, as always.
Thanks Solveg. I loved all of the activity of that afternoon.
It is actually a pink stone that they carve a lot here called cantera.
Well, I assumed it was stone - but, I like the aliveness of the way you painted it - it's your painting of it that makes it look "clay-y" and alive.
that is a slammin' painting, Frank. Whoa!
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