The painting tradition is strong in Anne Packard's family from grandfather, Max Bohm, turn of the century Impressionist, to her grandmother, great aunt, uncle, mother, and daughters. Packard studied at Bard College and with Philip Malicoat of Provincetown.
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She doesn't paint sunshine but likes skies with turbulent clouds. Her paintings have tremendous power, and she portrays the strength of nature in the windswept dunes, the force of the quiet seas, the light striking through the storm clouds, the intensity of night coming across the water. There is a quality in those paintings that draws the viewer in to wonder a little, to contemplate the viewpoint. Packard says that she wants the viewer to see whatever he or she wants to see in them.
'I want to create in my dune paintings, ' she says, 'that privileged isolation. And awe. I am in awe out there. It's like being on the surface of the moon. Yet, it is not lonely in my dunes. My dunes wrap me in light, in warmth, in safety.' She sees a double nature to the dunes, viewing them on one hand as motherly woman, wrapping the lone voyager in tender shawls. Or in distinct contrast, she'll portray them as sensual. 'My dunes are very female. Women's bodies are beautiful. I love the shapes, the contours. The dunes are women's thighs and curves of hips.'
My paintings have nothing to do with nature. It's something to do with forever going.. the space behind the sky.. the space behind the shadow. It's an inner world [of] emotion and yearning. I yearn to express solitude.
The expanse of sky above Provincetown's hooked harbor is as grand as a western sky above the pains, so it is no wonder that the woman who has painted that watery horizon with a fluid skill, over and over again, no wonder she has won much attention for her work.
'It's more of an atmosphere that I like to capture,' Packard says. 'I do paintings that are alone, not lonely, that good kind of aloneness.'
'Space is so very important to me,' denying being either a philosophical or intellectual painter. 'I paint just the way I feel.'
The Cape Cod Compass, 40th Anniversary Issue.
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