Tom Gardner/ Old Photos

Tom Gardner- Hard Times

For quite a number of years now, I’ve been fascinated with going thru old fotos, both my own collection, and those I have run intoin shops I gone into when I travel.  I was always interested in the quality of the fotos that was reached back in the old days, but it has just recently occurred to me that these were worthy subjects to paint. Sometimes I paint exactly what I see in the fotos, while at other times, I pull figures out of fotos and mix and match elements from several fotos. The invitation piece from I think it was last years show demonstrates that point exactly. 

The original foto had a crowd of people standing around this lady (my Aunt Adelia), but the way she stared down the side of the house fascinated me.The hound dog came from another foto. I added him just to add interest,…..and a rural feeling, and to reinforce the looking down the driveway, or what ever. But I had a dark porch and pillar (with morning glories growing up it ) behind her, and it just didn’t work. Well, I was walking around Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings house in Cross Creek, Florida and came to the corner of her house and felt it was the same house in the foto. Right then and there I knew what I had to do tomake this painting work.  I painted over the porch and flowers with that typical north Florida background and out building…POW ! It worked.

It suddenly had that desolate, rural, lonely, distant feeling I wanted. Instead of just looking down the driveway at the setting sun, she is daydreaming about something or someplace we can never be privy to. Anther day gone and the dream slips a little farther away.

I decided to lightly tint the colors so they wouldn’t be distracting.

Now with “Hard Times,” shown at the top here,  I didn’t change a thing. How many fotos have you ever seen like this in your life? I may change my mind sometime and put the big white Antebellum house in the background or who knows what, but for now, it stays as it is. I never know, until lightning strikes.

I have more fotos to work from and now that this show is up and hanging, I may get to work on a couple, just to see what comes of it.

Tom’s annual exhibition at the West End Gallery opens Friday, May 4th.

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