Puglia – Our Final Days!

A very full two weeks of painting and sketching in the beautiful region of Puglia, Italy has come to an end. We had an early start on Friday and Luigi, our excellent driver, got us safely to Fiumicino Airport in Rome.

Wednesday was our last formal day of painting. The group collected on the hotel terrace after breakfast where I gave a demonstration of approaches to drawing and painting clothed figures.

I had drawn up the demo the night before in my room. I left all of the planning lines unerased so my process would be as clear as possible to the group. I started each study with a ‘stick figure’ before using basic shapes such as rectangular blocks for the heads, torsos and limbs.

The gentleman of the left was first drawn in pencil. Next, I applied a cool blue-gray wash of one value to establish light and shadow. Once dry, I lightly glazed colour over local areas such as the face, garments and so on. I don’t consider him to be finished and we discussed what options I had. Some penwork, for instance, could add a lot of detail and further structure to this study.

The fellow in the middle is local colour over pencil and nothing more. An option here would be a second value of each colour. Pen would also work.

Our lady in black is local colour over pencil followed by a second, darker value in each area.

After the demo, it was off for a return visit to gorgeous Trani where we worked for the rest of the day. The fishing boats are such a big part of Trani that I offered an optional on-site demo about boats before lunch.

Back to work after lunch. Everyone applied themselves to their subjects diligently.



All work and no play makes for grumpy artists, however, so gelato breaks were a very important part of the day.

As usual, we wrapped up the day with a critique on our hotel terrace. We viewed our paintings and sketches from Trani as well as some from the previous day in Minervino Murge.

We crossed the road to Il Brigantino restaurant for our Farewell Dinner that evening. A lot of toasts were made and if anyone deserved praise and a well-earned glass of wine it was our wonderful tour escort, Alessandra and our always cheerful driver, Luigi. They made my job much easier.

Thursday was a free day in Barletta. Time to pack, shop and even sketch. Many of us visited the Palazzo Della Marra to see the work of the Italian Impressionist, Giuseppe De Nittis, who was born in Barletta. It was a very impressive and stimulating collection.

I wind up my workshops with something called Final Critique. Everyone selects three pieces of their own work and presents them to the group. It’s a rewarding way to look back over our two weeks together. We held our event on Thursday evening before dinner. No-one stayed out too late. Luigi had us rolling at five in the morning.

All of our participants, painters and non-painters, contributed to the success of our plein-air painting holiday. Grazie mille!



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4 Responses to “Puglia – Our Final Days!”

  1. George H Says:

    Your photos and paintings bring back great memories of Puglia, Barry.
    George H

  2. Barry Coombs Says:

    Thanks for your comments, everyone. I’m glad you enjoyed following our adventures in Puglia. We had a great group and it was a very rewarding experience.

  3. Stephen Says:

    I have to admit that I cannot resist a twinge of envy at what you do. OK – more than a twinge. This looks like such a cool way to spend two weeks.
    I like your figures – and again your class did some wonderful work.


  4. affitti salento Says:

    affitti salento…

    […]Puglia – Our Final Days! « Barry Coombs Art Workshops[…]…

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