Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An Inspiration for "Peregrinos"

"Peregrinos" is a painting featured in my one man show at M Gallery in Charleston, SC on Nov. 4th and 5th.

Peregrinos translates as pilgrims. The women in this painting are arriving at the Sanctuary of Atotonilco and are making their way over to the church. People come from different parts of México all throughout the year to spend a week in this well known sanctuary. I lived in this town for a few years so this is a very familiar scene to me. One of the ladies is ringing a brass bell and the rest are singing. The town was also celebrating it's yearly festival on this day and that is why they are setting up the large fireworks tower to the right. It fit in with my design and feeling of México, so I used it.

This design in particular painting was influenced by an "Orientalist" painting titled "Pilgrims Going to Mecca" by Léon Belly. The obvious similarity is that both paintings feature a pilgrimage. The design I used is very similar to the way Belly grouped the procession of pilgrims into one large mass. In his painting, several of the pilgrims were on camels, which gave the design some height. The banners that these ladies were carrying reminded me of that design shape. The setting is different, but the overall feeling of this composition and subject is rooted in what I loved about the Belly painting of 1861.

"Perigrinos" 30x40" oil on linen. Frank Gardner © 2010
Private Collection

"Pilgrims Going to Mecca" 1861 oil on canvas 63 1/2 x 95 1/4" by L éon Belly ( French, 1827-1877) Musée D'Orsay. Paris, France.

A few years ago I bought a book called "The Orientalists, Western artists in Arabia, The Sahara, Persia and India". It is a wonderful book that I highly recommend. I believe it's out of print, looked it up on Amazon and they are starting at around $740. Ouch.

Below is a 6x8 painting "Peregrinos" that I used as a color study and composition sketch when I was planning out the larger version. I've also included two details from the larger painting.

"Peregrinos", 6x8" oil, Frank Gardner © 2009
Private Collection

Detail of "Peregrinos" 30x40, Frank Gardner © 2010

Detail of "Peregrinos" 30x40, Frank Gardner © 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Painting Trip and Fresh Paint at Addison Art Gallery

I'm just back from a two week painting trip with a group of good friends. You may remember our travels to Port Clyde, Maine two years ago and here in Mexico last year. This time we converged on Provincetown, MA.
This year there were a few guys that I had not painted with before. Always nice to make new friends.
The cast of characters, besides myself, was: Paul Schulenberg, Jerome Greene, Ignat Ignatov, Peter Kalill, Colin Page, Logan Hagege, Jeremy Lipking, Eric Merrell, Ernesto Nemesio, Jeff Bonasia, Marc Hanson, Dan Corey, Rick Casali, Stapleton Kearns, Ian Factor, James Coe, and Michael Klein. Some were there for the full two weeks, others could only stay for part of the trip.

We had a blast. Lots of painting, laughing and talking shop. On the rainy days ( and there were a few) we had access to a great empty space for painting the nude model. That is something I had not done since my RISD days. Some of these guys paint the figure all the time, so I was at the bottom of the ladder on this one. It was a good chance to practice though and I picked up a few pointers. I won't be showing those here and most of them were wiped off and painted over.

I think one of my favorite parts of the trip this year though was hanging out at night in a private secret location. It was dark and funky and looked like a pirate ship in there and often full of pirate type guys. We prepared many of our nightly meals in there and continued into the night with revelry, some guitar and banjo playing, usually accompanied by portrait painting sessions with some local pirate types or between ourselves, taking turns posing. I'm more of a landscape painter than head and shoulder portrait painter, but I kept at it and by the end of the trip I could see a big improvement. I got some real helpful tips from Ignat Ignatov and some of the other guys.

One of the late night portrait sessions on the Pirate Ship around the end of the first week.
Yes, that was the only lighting we had to work with, and sometimes we had to settle for a dark corner to paint in.

On the last night of the trip, with just a few of us left we decided to do a marathon Pirate portrait session with each of the willing taking turns posing for a timed 40 minutes while the others painted him. Then we switched fast and painted the next guy for 40.
We started at 10:30 pm with 7 painters and ended around 2:30 with 5 left standing. I painted 4 and sat for my turn. Here is my effort from the night. A 20x16" panel divided into 4 parts. Not bad for me and with a time limit of 40 min. I think this will be one of my pieces for the Cape Cod Museum of Art show in Feb.
To me, it represents a lot of what we had going on this year.

40 minute marathon poses
20x16" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2010
$1,800. Framed. Available through Addison Art Gallery
Clockwise from top left: Ian Factor, Colin Page, Logan Hagege, Stapleton Kearns.

There will be a big show of our paintings from this trip at Addison Art Gallery and at the Cape Cod Museum of Art this Feb.
This year we also had a fresh paint show at Addison, with a few pieces from most of us. Below are the 4 paintings that I framed up for the show.

"Provincetown Street" 10x8" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2010
$780. Framed. Available at Addison Art Gallery

"Eastern-rig" 6x8" oil on board, Frank Gardner © 2010

"Bradford Street" 8x10" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2010
$780. Framed. Available at Addison Art Gallery

"First House" 8x10" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2010
$780. Framed. Available at Addison Art Gallery