Winter Watercolour Classes at Arts on Adrian – Week Two!

I was back at Arts on Adrian in Toronto this week for Sustained Saturday and Tuesday afternoon classes. The organic objects in the still-life are things that I have rarely or never used. Ya Li pears are the pale yellow fruits. The green vegetables are chayotes, a type of squash from Central America. I liked setting them off with the carved wooden objects and thought that the still-life had a bit of a Mexican mural look.

The ornate carving posed the greatest challenge so I addressed it with my demonstration. Do you ever try to read my notes in the top right corner of the demo sheets? This sheet shows four bullet points:
• simplification
• editing
• creative licence
• reverse values

We almost always discuss simplification and editing. Creative licence is closely related. What can we do to make the painting work best? Reversing the value is an idea that I employed with some of the decorative carving. I didn’t write down ‘negative painting’ but I used that, as well.

I reversed the values in the upper part of the vase on the left. That way, I didn’t have to painstakingly paint around all of the light ‘lines’. In the barrel in the middle, I used a negative approach and painted around the lighter areas. I know, I know! Masking fluid is available at art stores. Well, it’s not something I use and I don’t promote it in my classes. We try to solve the problems with the basic tools; brushes, paint. Add a lot of analysis and thought to that short list.

The still-life offered many opportunities. I suggested that the students zoom in and find a composition. Also, as interesting as the wooden objects were, I felt they should be used to bring out the light on the pears and squashes as much as possible.

Our usual Saturday crowd was somewhat diminished in number but we had a very pleasant day. One of our regulars, Karen, had to leave early but I photographed her lovely painting before she packed up.

Watercolour by Karen W

As for the rest on Saturday, here are the results. Click on a critique image to view a larger version.

Sustained Saturday Critique

I started the Tuesday class with a look at the Saturday demonstration. We discussed it in general and then I offered a closer study of the areas show here.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

The Tuesday students responded to the still-life with enthusiasm and did very well. Not everyone was able to finish but I was quite pleased with their work.

Tuesday Afternoon Critique

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4 Responses to “Winter Watercolour Classes at Arts on Adrian – Week Two!”

  1. weisserwatercolours Says:

    ….their results are a direct testament to the quality of your mentoring, Barry

  2. P Baines Says:

    Hi Karen and Barry,,

    Good to hear from you. I had hoped to go to Grand Manan this summer, but it seems that my son Richard is coming up to Canada with his family and will be in Toronto that week. I can’t not be there to see him and the grandkids. So I will have to miss the workshop. I am very sorry. If it had been the week before, I could have done it. I have heard from so many of the participants that it is a wonderful opportunity to paint with you Barrie. I don’t seem to have your correct account, but I hope that THIS ONE WORKS. I WOULD LOVE TO COME ON ANOTHER TRIP WITH YOU. Are you planning on Vermont again?? Please keep in touch.

    Best regards, Nancy

    • Barry Coombs Says:

      Hi Nancy, You’re on my email list. They must be going into your Junk mail. Please, take a look. I suggest you delete your contact for me and create a new one. My address is Try sending me an email to this address. These comments on blog posts are seen by everyone who looks at the blog. Cheers, Barry

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