Drawing Into Painting in Thunder Bay

I’m in beautiful Thunder Bay, Ontario this week to teach a four-day workshop in pen, wash and watercolour. I call this indoor workshop ‘Drawing Into Painting’. The group here is organized by Biljana Baker and everything has been great except for a temper tantrum thrown by Mother Nature.

Apparently, we endured a ‘land hurricane’ on Monday. Gale force winds, driving rain and nine metre waves on Lake Superior. We were quite cosy in our brightly lit, penthouse studio until the power went out. Still, we managed to draw for most of the day and got lots of work done. The candle-lit lunch was a first in my workshop-leading experience.

I offered two pen and ink exercises. The first one (below left) uses a ‘parquet’ approach to cross-hatching. Initially, the drawing looks very mechanical but, bit by bit, achieves a sense of three dimensionality. The second image (below right) shows more progress but is not quite finished.

Our second exercise was based on an actual seashell. Everyone had a shell in front of them but I asked them to simplify as much as possible and to follow my model with light and shadow.

We reviewed some more fundamental drawing concepts on Tuesday morning before tackling the first of two new exercises. The drawing below was based on small still-life objects. Again, I suggested a basic process and discussed light and shadow. I started with pencil, added a sepia wash of a single value and then worked in with pen.

After lunch, we created a mailbox from a basic cubic form. The same steps of pencil, wash and pen were used. The lights stayed on all day and so we wrapped up with a critique of all four drawings. You can see some of the finished mailboxes in the image below. Two days of drawing to go.


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4 Responses to “Drawing Into Painting in Thunder Bay”

  1. irene sottile Says:

    Hi Barry,

    Wow, my first “blog” experience. We are learning something totally new here in Thunder Bay – and enjoying your wealth of information about art and comments about the masters! Your blog carries amazing help – especially for someone like me who is totally new to art…inspiring me to carry on…so much to learn …so little time!


  2. irene sottile Says:

    Thank you again Barry – your classes are so enjoyable – and I love all of your stories! The sunshine came out for you today in Thunder Bay! Perfect.

    Enjoy Korea.


  3. Sue Wilson Says:

    Thanks, Barry, for the wonderful drawing and painting lessons this week in beautiful Thunder Bay. I was challenged to draw things that seemed daunting to me but with your superb instruction I was able to accomplish the drawings with some success, i.e. my drawings did manage to resemble the item I was looking at!! The pen and ink information was most helpful as were the painting techniques. You have a relaxed manner which lends itself to making the students feel very comfortable. I enjoyed the art history information you shared with us. I look forward to taking part in future workshops with you in Thunder Bay and perhaps elsewhere.

    • Barry Coombs Says:

      I appreciate the comments from Irene and yourself. I’m glad that you enjoyed the workshop and learned something. I look forward to returning to Thunder Bay and, of course, I’d love to have you join us in Mexico or Charlevoix or Grand Manan or……..

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