Sunday, May 12, 2013

"Azalea Woods" (oil on linen; 8" x 10") sold; "Iris Shadows" (oil on linen; 14" x 11") sold


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

"Iris Shadows"

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!


  1. Well, it must just be me, but I like the first Iris painting, too. I think if I had done it, I would have been pretty happy!!! I like the darker shadows and the bits of bright pink showing through. Then I like the 2nd one, too. The table edge showing is nice. Your are just a good painter, Kim!

  2. Ahh...just goes to show that one can always learn something in a class or workshop. Even if it's what NOT to do. I agree with you, Kim, the second version of your iris painting has more life and more interest. The sunny woodland painting is spectacular. Can't wait to see what the rest of the workshop brings!

  3. Thanks, Egretta and Susan, for reading my long posts. You are the best!