Archive for the ‘Barry’s Artwork’ Category

Recent Paintings at Propeller Gallery – It’s a Wrap!


My exhibition of recent paintings at Propeller Gallery in Toronto ended yesterday. Thanks go to Nathan and everyone else at Propeller who made things easy. An artist feels support in many ways. Not everyone, of course, is able to make a purchase. Artists understand that but really appreciate a good turnout. My thanks go to all of you who attended the opening reception or visited the show at another time. It was Canada Day weekend and I know it took a special effort from many of you.

I received compliments from many of you and every word is valued. I was particularly pleased to receive the very positive feedback from my creative peers. Those words are priceless.

I’ve added a few installation shots to this post. If you’d like to read my artist statement and view all of the work from the exhibition, click here or on the Propeller page under the Pages menu in the sidebar on the right.


Plein Air Toronto 2017 – Last Two Days!


Click on our First Three Days if you somehow missed the last post. Day four of Plein Air Toronto 2017 was Thursday of last week and the weather, which had been tricky all week, took a turn for the worst. I made arrangements for us to sketch in pen and ink all day long and without any concerns about rain. The catch was that our plein air artists were going indoors for the day. We met in the morning at the Gardiner Museum, which is dedicated to historic and contemporary ceramic art.

It’s a beautiful museum but it’s difficult to gather the entire group at once for a demonstration or critique. I handed out a prepared sheet showing basic pen techniques in the morning. Later, I gathered a small group of pen and ink novices and sketched a Pre-Columbian figure as I discussed my thoughts.

It was a great day and don’t forget the excellent restaurant when you visit the Gardiner. Friday was yet another challenging weather day. However, I don’t have almost thirty years of experience for nothing. We met at University College on the lovely downtown campus of the University of Toronto.

The College has a large interior courtyard surrounded, on two sides, by wide colonnades. We were high and dry and had plenty of subject matter through the arches. Even the arches themselves attracted the eye of our artists.

I brought in some examples of pen and watercolour studies, done on the U of T campus, to get the morning started. As the group worked, I began a watercolour of my own for a change. Several of the new students expressed interest in my approach and process. I began with a sketch to resolve a composition and then drew it up on a sheet of watercolour paper.


I wasn’t able to finish the piece by the end of the day as I had teaching responsibilities. I pulled it together later in my studio.

Enough about me! Let’s have a look at our day at University College.

Eventually, it was time for our last critique of the week. The skies cleared just enough and we gathered one more time. What a great group! I thank them all for their cheerful participation and also thank you for following, commenting and liking the posts. Plein Air Toronto will be back next year. Now, for a look at the work from Friday.

University College
Critique a

University College
Critique b

RECENT PAINTINGS by Barry Coombs at Propeller Gallery


You are cordially invited to a solo exhibition of recent paintings by BARRY COOMBS in the North Gallery of PROPELLER GALLERY. The exhibition will run from June 28 – July 2, 2017.

The Opening Reception will take place on Thursday, June 29 from 6:30 – 9pm.

The exhibition will be open from Wednesday to Saturday from 12 – 6pm and on Sunday from 12 – 5pm.

30 Abell Street (near Queen West and Gladstone) in Toronto, Ontario M6J 0A9
416-504-7142 /

Barry’s Birds for Wood Duck magazine – April and May


These pen and ink drawings were my submissions for the April and May issues of the Wood Duck, the magazine of the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club. The monthly feature is called Barry’s Birds.


Sharp-shinned Hawk-

Barry’s Birds for Wood Duck magazine – February and March


These pen and ink drawings were my submissions for the February and March issues of the Wood Duck, the magazine of the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club. The monthly feature is called Barry’s Birds.

Eastern Screech-Owl –

Red-bellied Woodpecker –

Barry’s Birds for January, 2017 – Snow Bunting


Pen and ink drawing by Barry Coombs

This pen and ink drawing of a Snow Bunting is my submission for the January issue of the Wood Duck, the magazine of the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club. The monthly feature is called Barry’s Birds.

Snow Buntings visit windswept and snowbound rural fields in our region every winter. This individual had a kernel of corn in it’s beak.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Seasons Greetings!


Christmascartoon2016 by Barry Coombs

Barry’s Birds in the Wood Duck magazine


My hobby is birding. As such, I’m a member in a few clubs and organizations. One of these is the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club. The club produces the Wood Duck magazine nine times a year, from September to May. I recently submitted a pen and ink drawing of an American Kestrel for the December issue. The editor liked it and suggested we make it a regular feature. Barry’s Birds has hatched and taken flight!

American Kestrel by Barry Coombs

American Kestrel
by Barry Coombs

Wood Duck, December 2016, Cover  Wood Duck, December 2016, P. 94

Faculty for Art 1 at DVSA

TREE SHADOW by Barry Coombs

by Barry Coombs

ORANGE HOUSE by Barry Coombs

by Barry Coombs

The Dundas Valley School of Art is currently hosting a faculty exhibition called Faculty for Art 1. The exhibition runs until October 30. I have two pieces in the exhibition, TREE SHADOW and ORANGE HOUSE. Both are acrylics on canvas and are 24 x 18″. Contact DVSA at 905-628-6357 or for information.




Zippity Zoo Daze!!!


Lioness study by Barry Coombs

I took on many jobs to pay the rent and earn tuition as an art student. Not all were ‘art-related’, such as my two summers making office furniture on an assembly line. As a picture framer, I felt some contact with the broader world of art. Skills learned at school got me a job as a commercial screen printer and it was much the same that qualified me as a T-shirt designer and very occasional free-lance illustrator.

I took one short-term job with a specific goal in mind. Way back then, teaching had worked it’s way into my mind as a possible future source of income. I would have to be comfortable painting and drawing in front of people in order to teach and demonstrate. So, I responded to an ad for Zippity Zoo Daze. It’s no less embarrassing now than it was decades ago.

Zippity Zoo Daze was a joint promotion shared by Simpsons, a large Canadian department store, and the Metropolitan Toronto Zoo. I spent several Saturday afternoons painting mostly African wildlife in one of the Simpsons Toronto branches. I worked from a book of photographs. Children and adults would crowd around to watch. The job ended with a final weekend of doing the same at the zoo. Still, working from photos.

Llama study by Barry Coombs  Elephant study by Barry Coombs

I used inexpensive pads of Strathmore watercolour paper. As a particular challenge, I did not do any preliminary drawing in pencil. I ‘drew’ with my brush and mapped in the shapes with light washes.

Camel study by Barry Coombs

I hadn’t had any specific training during my art school classes for this assignment. Demonstrations of anything were rare, particularly in watercolour. I worked from light to dark, observed values and shapes carefully and used the brush to mimic textures. Basically, I rendered.

Rhinoceroses study by Barry Coombs

Looking back, I can see things I like in these studies such as the use of ‘lost edge’. I can also see that I was timid with the darkest values in several of them. Overall, it was an excellent experience. I wasn’t paid much and didn’t benefit a lot from all of the amazing publicity I was told I’d receive but I forced myself to work in front of an audience. Years later, it paid off when I commenced my teaching career.

Ape studies by Barry Coombs