Posts Tagged ‘Atotonilco’

SM de Allende, Mexico – Wednesday


Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

We headed out of town on Wednesday to historic Atotonilco. I knew what was in store and that was lots of domes, towers and belfries. My demonstration had two main themes. First of all, I discussed the basic volumes that make up an architectural form. Can we analyze the tower in terms of spheres, cones, cylinders and cubes? Doing so gives us a greater understanding of the subject and also leads to my second theme; light and shadow.

The light changes over the course of the day and, if the sun goes behind a cloud, shadows can’t be seen at all. Understanding the forms we’re painting helps us light the forms effectively.

The cathedral and ruins at Atotonilco are quite spectacular. It’s a quiet town and only about twenty minutes away from SM de Allende. We hopped in our taxis and got there in no time.




It’s a very popular spot with my students and you can see why. As usual, we gathered back at the studio for our critique.



As we wound up our critique, thunder crashed and the skies opened up for about 30 minutes. Soon, the sun was back out and we were treated to a fabulous double rainbow. Another great day in San Miguel de Allende.




Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week One of Spring Term!


Still Life - SpringTuesWk1

Spring term is underway at my studio even though the spring weather has yet to assert itself. It was cold and windy yesterday but warm and colourful inside.

The gift bags gave me a chance to talk about some important ideas and techniques. Can you see the pencil lines? I started with broad, straight strokes of a soft 2B pencil and that really helped with the perspective of the bags. I used soft-edge techniques to gradate and add interest to the various planes and shapes.

Watercolour Demonstration by Barry Coombs - SpringTuesWk1

Next question. Do you see the white ‘lines’ between the shapes? That’s the white of the paper. Separating the shapes with these skinny slivers of white paper allows me to work more quickly as I don’t have to wait for an area to dry before starting to paint an adjacent shape. I use this approach in a lot of my demonstrations and, sometimes, in finished paintings.

Here’s an example: this is a watercolour of the cathedral in Atotonilco, the historic town near San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We were just there a few weeks ago!

Atotonilco - Watercolour on paper by Barry Coombs - SpringTuesWk1/2013

by Barry Coombs

It’s always nice to see everyone after a layoff. My Tuesday classes are full this term but not all were able to attend yesterday. Still, the energy level was high and the gift bags in watercolour looked great.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique


Atotonilco, Mexico – Watercolour Demo


A few weeks ago, in sunny Mexico, I started a watercolour demonstration based on an image from the historic town of Atotonilco.

We painted in Atotonilco the following day and most of the group shared my enthusiasm for the visual rewards of this special place.

I promised to finish the piece when I got home and was finally able to give it my attention over the past few days.

This watercolour was done on Curry’s 200 lb. cold-pressed paper. I didn’t bother stretching it but taped it to a support board with masking tape. It is 10 x 14″.

I stuck with my primaries, from DaVinci, for the whole work. These are Aureolin (Mixture), Rose Madder Quinacridone and Cobalt Blue.

Each shape in the painting has been painted once. None have been touched a second or third time. Perhaps, it could be improved with some glazing but right now it’s fresh and unfussed and I’m going to leave it the way it is. I often add shapes of pure Lamp Black in my ‘cubist’ watercolours but I’m not going to do that with this one.

P.S. It was a lot of fun to paint.