The Joy of Looking – Shapes and Shadows!

Happy New Year, everyone and thank you for your comments and greetings on my Christmas cartoon.

What do artists do when they’re not making art? I, for one, look. I never stop looking. Yesterday, I was out birding (my hobby) with a friend in the southern Ontario countryside. By the way, you’ll notice the very unusual lack of snow on the ground.

I am not much of a photographer but I carry my camera with me on these excursions. Late in the afternoon, the low light was spectacular and I noticed some interesting cast shadow shapes on silos and barns. My friend (the driver) was kind enough to stop so I could take a few shots.

Chatham-Kent County, Ontario

Silo Shadow #1

Other than the light, I was attracted to Silo Shadow #1 by the shape of the cast shadow on the barn roof. Wait a minute! There’s no visible crenelation in the silo itself. I think of this as a sort of ‘found’ visual pun. These things attract my eye and amuse me.


Silo Shadow #2

Silo Shadow #2

You can probably figure out what I like about Silo Shadow #2. It’s the way the curving shadow on the silo runs onto the barn roof. The joy of looking! I never know what visual treats I’ll see next.

If you’ve read to this point, you deserve a treat. Here’s a photo of a Snowy Owl. This beautiful bird flew up from the roadside, over our vehicle, and into the next field. These owls descend from the far north every winter. They’re not used to vehicles and can be quite prone to car strikes. We saw five Snowy Owls yesterday and they sure stand out against the snowless fields.

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl


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11 Responses to “The Joy of Looking – Shapes and Shadows!”

  1. Heather F. Clarke PhD (Nursing) Says:

    love the images Barry – any explanation for the strange cast shadow in #1? Off to Israel on Thursday – I’ll be looking and clicking!

  2. Joanne Ross Says:

    Great visual treats, Barry, especially the owl! Thanks for reminding us of the way these sights are all joyful to those of us who are “lookists”.

  3. Mary Gurr Says:

    Thanks Barry, I always enjoy your posts and yes those shadows were interesting. 5 snowy owls must be a record!
    Happy New Year to you and Aleda

  4. Jacques Descoteaux Says:

    Great pictures. I love the colours on the barns.

  5. George Hume Says:

    Almost all concrete silos have a continuous slot on the barn side to allow access and pitching the silage out. The bottom of the crenellation is actually the shadow of the near side of the silo.

    • Ruth Bailey Says:

      Thanks for the explanation, George! This is a great example of the advice one of my instructors gave: walk around your subject, if possible, so that you understand what you are really seeing.

      • Barry Coombs Says:

        George is a wealth of knowledge, Ruth. He’s an architect and also grew up on a farm. His most recent watercolour is on the bottom right of the Sustained Saturday Critique from January 9.

  6. Joan Wolfe Says:

    Happy New Year to you Barry. Always enjoy your posts. Great pictures and thank you for the great reminder of the joys to be found when we take time to really look. I now understand why the Sifton Bog was of interest to you when you did the workshop for us in London. Knew you were interested in birds but hadn’t realized you were a serious birder. Wonderful photo of the owl. Thank you for your wonderful posts throughout the year, your generous sharing of your knowledge, and the virtual painting trips you take us on through your photos and posts. Greatly appreciated. With gratitude, Joan Wolfe.

  7. Marie Natanson Says:

    Thank you Barry and all the very best to you for 2016 warmest regards Marie

  8. Ruth Bailey Says:

    Thanks for the pictures, Barry! In addition to the cast shadows, these are great examples of the color shift from sunlight to form shadows. Best wishes to you and your students in 2016!

  9. Chiquita Phillips Says:

    Great barns & also the owl. Thanks, Barry

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