Square Foot Exhibition at Grand Manan Art Gallery

01/07/2015
'How Not To Draw A Dory' by Barry Coombs

‘How Not To Draw A Dory’ by Barry Coombs

The second annual Square Foot Exhibition opened last weekend at the Grand Manan Art Gallery on beautiful Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick. The exhibition will continue until July 17, 2015.

I submitted a new acrylic on canvas entitled How Not To Draw A Dory. The exhibition features a wide range of work from islanders, summer visitors and artists ‘from away’.

The gallery is located at 21 Cedar Street and is wheelchair-accessible. It can be contacted at info@grandmananartgallery.com and (506) 662-3662.

GMAG Hours
11am – 6pm – Daily
1pm – 5pm – Sunday

Admission – Cash Only
Adults – $2
Children under 12 are free

 

Plein Air Toronto 2015 – Final Two Days!

29/06/2015

PA

Black Creek Pioneer Village was our venue for Thursday of our outdoor painting week in Toronto, Ontario. It’s always a popular spot.

I did a fairly sustained demonstration at my easel. Once a week, I like to take the students through the process and decision-making involved in a watercolour painting. Generally, I worked ‘light to dark’ and ‘big to small’ and with a limited palette. I didn’t do much in the way of ‘soft edge’ washes for two reasons. First of all, the steep angle of my easel doesn’t favour really wet work. Also, the washes take a while to dry and the demo was long enough already.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

Pioneer Village has it all for watercolour painters, a great variety of subject matter spread over an extensive site and even lots of overhead shelter in case of rain. Fortunately, we didn’t need it.

PA-4

Kim and Elizabeth at Work

PA-7

Peggy at Work

PA-5

PA-8

PA-10

Another pleasant day of sketching and painting wrapped up with our critique.

Thursday Critique A

Thursday Critique A

Thursday Critique B

Thursday Critique B

Thursday Critique C

Thursday Critique C

It was back to the beach for Friday. We met at the historic Sunnyside Pavilion. I brought in a few books for a ‘show and tell’ start to the day. We looked at work by Canadian artist, Toni Onley and French artist, Paul Signac. After the talk, everyone explored the Pavilion and area and found their spots.

PA-14

PA-13Ian at Work

PA-11

We had a very nice lunch on the sunny lakeside patio.

PA-15

All good things come to an end. Eventually, we gathered for one last critique. Thanks for following, liking and commenting on our efforts. Next stop, Grand Manan Island!

Friday Critique A

Friday Critique A

Friday Critique B

Friday Critique B

Plein Air Toronto 2015 – First Three Days!

23/06/2015

Last week, from Monday to Friday, I led an outdoor watercolour painting workshop in the parks, gardens and historic sites of Toronto, Ontario. I’m posting late due to some internet trouble but I hope you’ll still enjoy our adventures.

We met on Monday morning in my west-end studio. I often start an outdoor week with a general demonstration intended to cover several of the common elements encountered by artists working outdoors.

IMG_6386

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

After the demo, we headed down to the lakeshore and painted near the restored, though currently unused, Joy gas station. Everyone settled in to paint and draw. We had a large picnic shelter handy in case of rain but the weather cooperated.

IMG_6418

Karen at work

Lynn at work

Phil and Polly at work

Evelyn at work

It was a great start to the week and we wrapped up with our critique.

Monday Critique A

Monday Critique A

Monday Critique B

Monday Critique B

Thunderstorms threatened on Tuesday so we met at St. Mike’s College on the beautiful downtown University of Toronto campus. There’s a lot of overhead protection on the site but, good fortune prevailed, and we had another sunny day with no rain.

IMG_6426

You can say that again! St. Mike’s College is in the middle of urban Toronto but a pair of Red-winged Blackbirds were nesting and the male attacked artists and other passersby all day long when they got too close. No damage done, though.

This American Robin was also on her nest. She was very well behaved.

American Robin on nest

I discussed pen combined with watercolour and used a ‘show and tell’ approach. We looked at some past demonstrations and discussed the techniques before getting to work.

Evelyn at work

Katie at work

IMG_6434

Laura, Elizabeth and Barb at work

It was a productive day and we had a lot to look at when the the time came for our critique.

Tuesday Critique A

Tuesday Critique A

Tuesday Critique B

Tuesday Critique B

Tuesday Critique C

Tuesday Critique C

Spadina House was our site for Wednesday but it doesn’t open until noon. We set up for the first two hours in the parkette between Spadina House and Casa Loma. I took the opportunity to use one tower of Casa Loma as my subject. I discussed the underlying volumes in architecture and even foliage. Cubes, cones, cylinders and spheres. My proportions aren’t all accurate and I omitted the chimney but the point of the demo was well received.

Wedb  Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

At noon, we entered the gardens surrounding Spadina House. It’s a lovely spot with plenty of shade and a great variety of subject matter.

Wedf

Wedc

Wedd

Unfortunately, my camera battery died before critique. I took our photo with my iPad and it’s a bit dark. Still, the quality of the work is evident. Stay tuned for more watercolours and drawings from Toronto. I’ll be posting Thursday and Friday soon.

Wednesday Critique

Wednesday Critique

Spring Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Ten!

09/06/2015

IMG_1795

Spring term has come to an end at my studio. The focus will shift to outdoor painting over the next few months. I hadn’t included eggplants in a still life for quite a while. Whenever I do, I think of Charles Demuth, the American Precisionist artist who was a wonderful watercolourist. An internet search of his images should pull up lots of his still life watercolours and eggplants were a favourite subject.

Occasionally, a drawing lesson crashes our watercolour party and today it was because of the bowls. As you can see, they’re upright. They almost look like circles but they’re not. They’re ellipses; circles in perspective. I discussed ellipses with both the morning and evening classes.

We also talked about colour choices and mixing, particularly for the eggplants. The bumpy cucumbers were fun to demonstrate. We quickly tired of calling them cucumbers (that extra syllable was just too much) and dubbed them ‘pickles’.

Watercolour study sheet by Barry Coombs

The students responded to the still life with aplomb! It was a bright and cheerful finale to spring term. Thanks for liking, following and commenting and stay tuned. Our Plein Air Toronto watercolour workshop starts next Monday, June 15.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

AT THE TABLE exhibition at the DVSA Gallery

06/06/2015
FORMAGGIO  by Barry Coombs

FORMAGGIO
by Barry Coombs

FORMAGGIO (24 x 36″) is my latest acrylic on canvas. It’s currently on view in a curated exhibition entitled AT THE TABLE. The exhibition juxtaposes still life paintings and handmade functional vessels featuring local potters and painters from the Dundas Valley School of Art and the Carnegie Gallery plus rarely-exhibited historic works from private collections.

Meet the artists on Thursday, June 11 from 7 – 9pm! The exhibition continues until June 12, 2015.

Dundas Valley School of Art is located at 21 Ogilvie Street in Dundas, Ontario. 905-628-1087 www.dvsa.ca

Gallery Hours:
Mon to Thurs – 9am – 9pm
Fri and Sat – 9am – 4pm
Sunday – Closed

Spring Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Nine!

02/06/2015

IMG_1784

It was time for a bright and colourful still life and these peppers filled the bill. Cheerful and vibrant and…..tricky! Peppers can be an intimidating subject. Their bulky forms, including those periscope-like stems, are fairly complex. It can be difficult to read the light and shadow on their shiny surfaces.

With that in mind, I probably should have painted a pepper or two as part of my demonstration. I like painting peppers but, this Tuesday, I decided to take a different approach; I painted around a pepper. My study on the left side of the sheet is rudimentary but the shape of a pepper has appeared as I painted the areas around it. The point is that the relationships between the various objects are very important. Everything in a painting works together.

So, how much more do we have to do to convey a pepper? That, basically, was the assignment and the students were up for it.

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

When in doubt, follow your process. Most of the students did some sort of preliminary sketch/compositional study in their sketchbooks. At one point, I turned down all of the lights in the studio except the one directly over the still life. This helped everyone to see the most important areas of light on the objects and the main, overall areas of shadow. Each pepper can be simplified into two main areas; one of direct light (eliminating highlights, for now) and one of shadow. In my two studies on the right, I’ve used the paper white for the light area and a cool grey wash for the shadow. It’s simple but it works.

There were still struggles and sighs, as there are in every watercolour class, but the results speak for themselves.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Spring Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Eight!

26/05/2015

IMG_1773

We’ve had some slightly unconventional still lifes over the last few weeks. Pears are a classic. They’re not overly challenging to the intermediate student so they can be a good subject for experimentation and play.

My morning and evening demonstrations turned into a real worksheet of ideas. I talked mostly about colour. Every colour on the sheet was mixed with primaries; yellow, red and blue. Except one little swatch of Raw Sienna, for comparison. Some of the studies were painted with a round and some with a flat angled brush.

At the start, I reminded everyone of the importance of ‘wire frame’ drawing (upper left). Remember those sculptures you made in high school from wire? You could see right through them. A ‘wire frame’ approach to drawing helps us understand how the various objects relate to each other in space.

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

The morning students did nice work but didn’t all create much interest or depth with their backgrounds. That prompted me to suggest a silhouette approach to the evening students (top centre).

Did the evening students respond to the suggestion?

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

 

Spring Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Seven!

19/05/2015

IMG_1765

You never know what the reaction will be when the students walk into the studio and see a new still life. Fortunately, the response to this pile of brick and stone was quite positive.

I discussed the relationship between three-dimensional form and texture. Texture, essentially, can be suggested by small marks and shapes. These can be created by adding or lifting paint. Texture can also be shown on the edge of an object; a broken or irregular edge rather than a smooth edge. Texture is fun! However, texture should not overwhelm the basic light and shadow relationship that gives a three-dimensional quality to objects in the painting. Too many textural marks in an area of direct light can ‘kill’ the light and make the stone or brick appear flat.

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

As I mentioned, the response to the still life was positive but I may have understated it. The students really enjoyed it. The basic forms are relatively simple and they proved to be a fairly forgiving painting  subject. I’m particularly pleased with the background solutions the students came up with for these old stones and bricks.

IMG_1767

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Spring Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Six!

12/05/2015

IMG_1757

A monochromatic still life is a great way to study light and shadow. Values are easier to see and understand without any conflict from different colours. Although we are mid-term at the moment, I still thought it’d be worth spending time on a subject like these wooden objects. As you’ll see below, many of  the Tuesday students went beyond a basic value study and found ways to create some special paintings.

I concentrated on value and colour with my demonstrations. My main goal with value was to set off one or two light objects to as much advantage as possible. For example, in each painting, I’ve darkened the upper wooden bowl so it doesn’t compete with the brightly lit utensils.

My morning study uses an analogous colour relationship of yellow and green. These are landscape colours and they’re easy on the eye. My evening study is more of a complementary choice of orange and blue. Neither the orange or blue are intense but they still give the study a vibrant quality.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

Who’d know that these banal, everyday kitchen articles could become so glamorous?

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

 

Spring Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Five!

05/05/2015

IMG_1749

This is a slightly simplified version of the still life from last Saturday as the Tuesday students have only three hours and not a whole day to develop their work. The essence is the same; warm colours set off by cool.

I’ve been discussing process a lot this term. I went back a few weeks with the small study on the left. It’s an attempt to understand the colour relationships in the still life. The study on the right is somewhat more elaborate, a quick watercolour sketch that harkens back to last week’s notions about risk-taking and spontaneity.

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

Did I say three hours? I pinned up the work for the AM critique and stepped back. I was quite impressed with the volume and quality produced in just a few hours. There weren’t as many students in the evening class but they also applied themselves and came up with some lovely work.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 339 other followers