Monday, May 13, 2013

"Primroses by Window" (oil on linen; 12" x 12")


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On the third day of Gregory Packard's workshop, at our vigorous request, he did another demo, this time, from life.  As it turns out, he often paints from his photos.  We were all surprised to learn this.  As I have become "addicted" to painting from photos myself, I actually felt relieved.  There is no right way.  A beautiful painting is beautiful whether it was painted from life or from a photo.

For his second demo, Greg picked a still life setup someone had used the day before--wilting azaleas in a pretty striped ceramic vase.  It was another washout day.  Rain, rain, rain.  Virginia was becoming the Washington state.  The weak light from outside and the artificial light from above produced an unpromising lighting condition.  It was a test.  Could Greg Packard paint a vibrant still life in this challenging condition?

We sat there, mesmerized by how Greg brought life to wilting flowers and light to a still life.  As the light source was not strong, the painting was overall muted, quite different from his first demo painting.  Having struggled with the iris painting the day before, I was humbled and awed to see how he transformed what he saw into what he envisioned--fresh azaleas bathed in soft light.

After the demo, I painted "Primroses by Window," based on a photo I took at Petworth House in West Sussex, England in March.  My grays have become less garish; my greens, softer.  Just like in Greg's second demo painting, the lighting is muted here.  So I painted a gentle still life.  I was pleased.  I think Greg was pleased too.

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