Bear Star Studios - stephanie miksis @ work

Frank Gardner Workshop: Cape Cod, June 2011

My summer started with a plein air painting workshop
lead by Frank Gardner with Jerome Greene assisting.

Artists Frank Gardner and Jani Lori

It was a wonderful experience – Frank is a good and attentive teacher.
He started each day with a demo, building on the previous day
and paying attention to the students’ needs,
not just following a one-size-fits-all script.
Jerome pitched in, took good care of us, and added his own style.
And I truly enjoyed meeting my fellow students
and hope some day to do it all over again!
(June 2012 isn’t looking good right now – how’s 2013?
can anyone even plan that far ahead?)

So here’s a week in the life of a Frank Gardner student…

Monday we met at the National Seashore Visitor’s Center in Eastham.

Frank began the day with a demo and then we all tried.
As we worked, Frank came to each of us get to know us individually
and to share tips and give pointers as needed.
I liked the boat houses (note to self: get better photo)
so here’s my 8×10 attempt
Frank Gardner Workshop: Day1 am Natl Seashore

After lunch, we changed to a beach on the other side.
I learned my first lesson about planning for tides!
I had fun with the houses in the distance.
Frank Gardner Workshop: Day1 pm Eastham

Tuesday was as painfully hot as Monday;
in the am we were already melting.
I managed to squeeze myself against a parked truck for shade
so even this small work was a challenge.
Looks a little tortured – is that what makes me think of Hopper?
Frank Gardner Workshop: Day2 am Wellfleet

By Tuesday afternoon I was exhausted
so another lesson learned: when tired
selecting a larger (9×12) panel is *not* a good choice.
I was not able to take this one as far as I would have liked.
OK two lessons: get an umbrella! (dear santa: white avoids color distortion)
Frank Gardner Workshop: Day2 pm Wellfleet

So on Wednesday we met in Provincetown
and several of us huddled in the cool under a pier.
This is a bit stylized, less literal, but I like it that way.
Refreshing on several levels!
Frank Gardner Workshop: Day3 am Ptown pier

Then after lunch, we went to Suzanne’s Garden, a wonderful memorial oasis.
I tried to put too much into the painting.
But another lesson learned – and isn’t that why we were there? -
I like painting buildings/structures… they are engaging elements for design.
Frank Gardner Workshop: Day3 pm Ptown Suzanne's Garden

Thursday Frank noted that we all needed to work on our values
(values meaning the range from light to dark – our morals are ok!)
so he did a demo in black and white and then we did the same.
Frank Gardner Workshop: Day4 am Exercise1
Then we were off to scenes of our own choosing.
I wanted to try out my new markers so here are my two drawings.



We went to Addison Gallery where Frank was prepping for his coming show.
Then we finished the day at the Penniman House at Fort Hill in Eastham –
we were fortunate to find it open and get a tour too.
Frank Gardner Workshop: Day4 pm Pem House

Fifth and last – Friday
We went to Truro, another demo, and again we painted on our own.
as yes, Frank, i did shorten the chimney when i got home! isn’t oil wonderful?
Frank Gardner Workshop: Day5 Truro Four Winds

Sadly the summer did not live up to my expectations after such a glorious start.
But here you find me
trying to reconnect to the enthusiasm and excitement
ready to start over
again.

2 Responses to Frank Gardner Workshop: Cape Cod, June 2011

  1. Jan Nelson says:

    Great work Stephanie – I didn’t get one good painting this summer – too many guests and other craziness. Did get some Sept stuff dine and will try harder in Oct. I am very impressed with these -did you work from photos later? I don’t remember seeing some of these. Very good!

    • snmiksis says:

      Thanks Jan – i didn’t touch these when i got home – wanted to preserve the wonderful memories: mistakes and missed proportions and all!