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I just came back from the five-day workshop with Gregory Packard in Richmond, VA. As you may remember, I took another workshop two weeks ago with Dreama Tolle Perry, which blew me away. What can I say? I got blown away for the second time in a month. It is exciting and bewildering to be esthetically challenged by two totally different approaches to painting. So it will take some time for me to digest what I have learned this past month and make it part of my own esthetics. I will share what I got out of the workshop with Greg in next several posts.
The first thing I must say is that Greg Packard is a nice guy. He is young in his late 30's and has already garnered fame and success that many artists would love to achieve but don't necessarily do. You wouldn't know this by talking to him because he is such a down-to-earth and modest person. But what about his art? He is famous for his gloriously vibrant floral still lifes. Happily for the workshop participants, he did a demo of a peony painting on the first day.
Before the demo, however, he showed us how to mix grays. Yes, grays turned out to be the secret to his art. If you can mix lovely grays, you can create lovely paintings. That is Greg Packard's bottom line.
He squeezed out loads of paint onto his large palette. Don't be stingy with paints. He actually used an entire large tube of white paint for the demo painting! We were awe-struck as he finished a dazzling 20" x 16" painting in just two hours. And he did so by starting out with mid-tone grays. He reserved the lights, darks, and bright colors until the last stage of the painting. I have never seen anybody painting like this!
After the lunch break, it was our turn to paint. I was so intimidated by the demo that I had a hard time getting started. I picked the photo of a rock garden with phlox and sedum, mixed my own grays, and came up with "Spring Rock Garden." Greg was profuse with praise. What do you think of my "gray" painting?