Have not finished any new paintings since my last post. I am doing a little renovation at Galeria Gardner, so I have been down there most mornings plus some afternoons. My painting space at the gallery is occupied by a big pile of sand and gravel and some bags of cement.
Here is a painting I did in March during one of the workshops. Some of the painters were having trouble with their paintings and asked about how to tackle such a complex scene in a short period of time.
My feeling is that you need to remain focused on what attracted you to paint the scene. Simplify, and avoid trying to paint every single detail that is not important to your reason for painting that particular piece. In a different painting of the same scene you may find that a different set of details are needed.
"The Corral", 11 x 14" oil, Frank Gardner © 2009
$950. Framed. Available at Galeria Gardner
I was drawn to the groupings of tall straight cactus and their relationship to the more organic shapes of the tree, the yellow bundle of rope hanging from the tree, and the hose. The upper branches of the tree and the stable were not my focus of this piece, so I painted those with a looser approach.
You can really get into trouble if you lose track of what your focal point is when painting a scene where there is so much going on and so many little pieces of light and shadow. I worked the whole painting at once, but I kept coming back to the area roughly between the hose and the yellow rope. I wanted to make sure I got those relationships accurate. Little details here and there in other areas of the painting keep the eye moving around and add secondary interest.
There were too many cactus for me to try and paint each one exactly as it was on a painting this size, so I tried to simplify the design into a pleasing pattern of light and shadow. I moved things around slightly to get the design to work on my canvas.
This painting required a session of about 2 hours on location and then I cleaned it up a bit later in the studio.