On the second day of Gregory Packard's workshop, Greg didn't do any demo. What to do? I did have some photos, but couldn't resist the fresh irises, azaleas, and many other flowers that some local workshop participants kindly brought from their gardens. So I set out to do a still life painting of yellow and purple irises. Boy, it was a big mistake!
|My still life setup|
|"Iris Shadows" in original state|
Although the Bon Air Community Center, where the workshop was held, was a spacious, beautiful place, one thing it lacked was the spot lights. Light was defused in the interior on a rainy day. There were shadows on the table, but they were faint. There were no distinct lit/shadow variations on the flowers. I struggled for four hours, making up sunlight that didn't exist. The yellow iris on the right opened up, so I had to change it from a bud to an open flower.
In the end, both Greg and I agreed that enough was enough. The shadows were so big and dark that they competed with the flowers. I filled the canvas with the flowers to the brim, so the painting became claustrophobic. The flowers were overdone because I kept fiddling.
After I returned home, I decided to fix the painting. Why not? There was absolutely nothing to lose. I introduced the table to break up the background. I shrank and lightened the shadows. I also decreased the size of some flowers and made some bluer, or purpler, etc. so that they were not all the same. All in all, I think, the painting looks better. It feels airy.
To get frustration out of system, I decided to do a landscape during the remaining hour. I pulled out a photo of azaleas blooming in sunny woods. Using the piles of paints on my palette, I whipped out "Azalea Woods" so fast that even I, a notoriously fast painter, was surprised at my speed. Greg was impressed too.
The difference between the two painting experiences that day is that when I have a game plan, I paint decisively, assured of what I am doing. When I try to make up things as I go along because I don't have a clue, no matter how hard I work at a painting, it goes nowhere!