Winter Saturday and Tuesday Watercolour Classes!

18/01/2017

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Winter term is underway at the Arts on Adrian studio in the west end of Toronto. I set up a still life of citrus and mostly blue objects and the complementary colours were quite striking. My demonstrations on Saturday and for the two Tuesday classes dealt with the same painting issues; colour and also a discussion of a few principles and techniques for painting reflections.

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

It was good to see everyone after the holiday season. Several hadn’t painted for a while but I don’t think there was too much evidence of rust. Here are three ‘exhibitions’ of their work for your enjoyment and edification.

Sustained Saturday Critique

Sustained Saturday Critique

Tuesday Afternoon Critique

Tuesday Afternoon Critique

Tuesday Evening Critique

Tuesday Evening Critique

 

Barry’s Birds for January, 2017 – Snow Bunting

15/01/2017

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.

Pen and Ink Studio at DVSA – Week One

13/01/2017

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I was back at the Dundas Valley School of Art yesterday afternoon to teach Pen and Ink Studio; the first of eight afternoons. The course is designed to allow participants the opportunity to develop their personal projects under the guidance of the instructor. For the first class, I brought in a selection from my collection of bones and we all started with the same exercise.

I used cross-hatching and a bit of stippling in my demonstration. We discussed the basic pen techniques and followed a sound process as the drawings were developed.

Pen and ink demonstration by Barry Coombs

We also discussed the personal projects and they’ll get underway next week. However, our shared experience of drawing bones was a good way to kick off the course. Would you like to join us? If so, contact DVSA. We’ve got room in the class for you.

Pen and Ink Studio Critique

Pen and Ink Studio Critique

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Seasons Greetings!

24/12/2016

Christmascartoon2016 by Barry Coombs

Barry’s Birds in the Wood Duck magazine

10/12/2016

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

Saturday and Tuesday Watercolour Classes – More Colour!

01/12/2016

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The last time we convened at the Arts on Adrian studio, the students were faced with a still-life comprised solely of cardboard objects. The entire setup was, basically, light brown. We changed that. After a discussion about colour theory, each student adopted a colour system (complementary or analagous are two examples) that appealed to them and converted the still-life into a very colourful watercolour painting.

This time, I set up a still-life of just about every colour I could find in my trove of objects. It’s colourful but that doesn’t mean that the colours are working well together. The new challenge for the students was to pick an area of the still-life and adjust the colours in order to make a more effective statement.

I looked at a small corner of the arrangement and made a simplified thumbnail sketch. You can see that I made some key changes. I wanted to draw the eye to the bowl on the plate and to create a bit of depth to the space in the painting.

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I had asked the students to plan all of their colours at the outset with a thumbnail sketch, as I had. Why not? Why wait until the painting is near completion before deciding what colour to employ in the remaining unpainted areas (almost always the background)?

The students enjoyed our colour challenge. We spend a lot of time in watercolour class discussing drawing, composition and technique. We discuss colour, as well, but I think our intensive two-class mini-workshop really struck a chord.

Sustained Saturday Critique

Sustained Saturday Critique

Tuesday Afternoon Critique

Tuesday Afternoon Critique

Tuesday Evening Critique

Tuesday Evening Critique

Pen and Watercolour at DVSA – Drawing People!

25/11/2016

I was back at the Dundas Valley School of Art yesterday for a day of pen and ink drawing. We combined the pen with watercolour and our theme was ‘drawing people’. I rarely use photographs when I teach but they’re perfect for this lesson. I brought in the photo reference for the students.

We started the day with a discussion about proportions of the figure and head. That proved to be very helpful with the two exercises that we completed. Our first drawing was of a little boy and I demonstrated in three steps. The first step was the pencil drawing. Following that, we got out the pens. The final step was the watercolour although, once the watercolour was dry it was possible to go back in with the pen, if desired.

Step one of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs  Step two of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

Step three of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

We varied the process with our second drawing. Pencil first. Watercolour second. Pen third. Be careful with that pen! You can’t erase it. I might have been too enthusiastic and unintentionally gave this poor woman a bit of a moustache. Oh well, it’s Movember, after all.

Step one of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs  Step two of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

Step three of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

As always, some of the students were faster workers than others. We didn’t have time for a third drawing but, near the end of the class, I gave one more demonstration. I started with pencil and then applied a ‘sepia’ wash mixed from Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna. I did the pen work once the wash had dried.

Step one of pen and wash demonstration by Barry Coombs  Step two of pen and wash demonstration by Barry Coombs

We wrapped up the day with a look at the student work. They did very well and should be equipped with a sound process for their own projects. Have a look at their work and, if you’re in the area, join me this winter at DVSA for eight weeks of Pen and Ink Studio on Thursday afternoons.

Drawing People Critique

Drawing People Critique

 

Saturday and Tuesday Watercolour Classes – The Colour Challenge!

09/11/2016

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Colour challenge? I’d say! I set up this monochromatic still-life for the watercolour classes this week. Eyebrows were definitely raised as the students entered the Arts on Adrian studio. No colour in the still-life and no demonstration either but I was prepared with a presentation about colour systems.

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Image courtesy of internet

We discussed some basic colour theory; primaries, secondaries, complementaries and cool/warm colours. Following that, we looked at split complementaries, triads and analogous systems. I also talked about greys and their role in painting.

The students were asked to decide upon a colour system to use in their painting. Most created a thumbnail sketch in their sketchbooks and either added colour to it or used colour swatches on the side to sort out their palettes. It was certainly a challenge but they rose to the occasion. We had a lot of fun and the lesson will be applied to all future work.

Sustained Saturday Critique

Sustained Saturday Critique

Tuesday Afternoon Critique

Tuesday Afternoon Critique

Tuesday Evening Critique

Tuesday Evening Critique

Pen, Wash and Watercolour at DVSA – Buildings and Trees!

04/11/2016

I had an enthusiastic and hard-working group of students at the Dundas Valley School of Art yesterday. Our medium was pen and ink with wash and watercolour. Our theme was buildings and trees. In other words, architectural elements and foliage. To start the class off, I presented some basic perspective elements that are very helpful when drawing buildings. I worked on a large pad at an easel and the students made notes in their sketchbooks.

It was time to draw! We did three projects over the course of the day. Each was started from a very simple diagram and then the students followed my steps. Our first drawing was of a tree and was completed in three steps. The first image shows two steps; the pencil drawing and a ‘sepia’ wash (mixed with Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna). In the second step, we used the pen. To create a sense of foliage, looping strokes were employed as if we were repeating Ws and Ms. The bark of the tree shows long zigzag strokes.

Step one of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs  Step two of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

Our goal was to ‘suggest’ the textures of foliage and bark. Ws and Ms and zigzags may not always work but can be quite effective in many cases. We tried something a bit different with our next drawing. Again, our first step was a light and basic pencil drawing but this time we did the ink before the watercolour. We more or less scribbled with our pens. However, an angular approach was used in the main tree while a looping motion was used in the background bushes. The grass was suggested with a spiky action. The ink step was completed and then watercolour was applied.

Step one of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs  Step two of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

Here’s a look at what the students achieved with our first two exercises.

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We did one more drawing in four steps: pencil, monochromatic wash, pen and watercolour. The first image shows the pencil and monochromatic wash. The wash establishes the light and shadow. This time, we did the pen next. The pen added definition and detail and it was fun to create new shapes such as the cat in the window. Lastly, we glazed some thin washes of local colour over the relevant areas.

Step one of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs  Step two of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

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It was a busy and enjoyable day. I’ll be back at DVSA on Thursday, November 24. We’ll be using pen and watercolour to draw people and it’s going to be fun. There are still a few spots left so why don’t you join us?

 

Fall Tuesday Watercolour Class – More Gourds!

19/10/2016

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***Sometime yesterday, this blog received it’s 175,000th view. Thank you all for following, commenting and liking!

I couldn’t deny the Tuesday watercolour students an opportunity to paint the gourds and the straw bale. The Saturday class had enjoyed it and created some very nice work. On Saturday, I had painted a fairly rapid watercolour sketch as my demonstration and I did the same for the Tuesday afternoon and evening groups. As I paint, I discuss various elements of the still-life and the decisions I’m making. Generally, a quick watercolour sketch is more about suggestion than depiction. Simplification, editing and creative licence are all key factors.

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

On Saturday, I’d also devoted some time to a completely different process; starting with values in grey and glazing on local colour once the grey washes are dry. Some of the less-experienced students found this to be a very useful way to develop their understanding of value and light and shadow. Yesterday, I worked with some of them one on one. My demo from Saturday (below) should give you an idea of the approach.

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

Several of the students embraced the quick sketch idea and some did more than one piece during the class. It was a good challenge. Many of these students have very good skill sets but would like to add more spontaneity to their work overall. Taking a few risks and working fast can be a positive step in that direction!

IMPORTANT NOTE!!! Many long-time followers may remember when it was possible to click on an image here and see a larger version. It was particularly useful with the images of the critiques because we all like to see the works closer up. For some mysterious reason, a while back, this feature ceased to function and I couldn’t figure out how to restore it. Recently, I’ve had some feedback from a WordPress ‘Happiness Engineer’. I think the proposed solution may work. Click on one of the critique images and let me know if you’re able to view the larger version. I hope so!

Tuesday Afternoon Critique

Tuesday Afternoon Critique

Tuesday Evening Critique

Tuesday Evening Critique