Posts Tagged ‘Hamilton’

SUMMER IN THE CITY at Gallery on the Bay!


You are invited to attend an exhibition of gallery artists at

All are welcome at the
Opening Reception this Friday, June 21 from 7-10pm
with live jazz by Nick Deutsch and Henry Strong
The exhibition runs from June 21 – July 14, 2019

“Six of my recent acrylics are featured. I hope you’ll drop by and enjoy the work. I’ll be present on Friday evening at the Opening Reception.” – Barry Coombs

(June 22 to July 14)
Thursdays, 12-4pm
Fridays, 12-4pm
Saturdays, 12-4pm
Sundays, 12-4pm

231 Bay Street North
Hamilton, Ontario
L8R 2R1

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

Art and Teaching in the Summer Heat!


We’re having a heat wave in Hamilton, Ontario. And a drought. I’m trying to stay cool as I prepare for my upcoming workshop on Grand Manan Island. Enroute to Grand Manan this year, I’ll be stopping in the beautiful Miramichi region of New Brunswick to lead a one-day ‘en plein air’ workshop. This event, combined with a two-day Plein Air Paintout, is sponsored by Miramichi Art Core and will be a part of the Irish Festival.

I dropped by ART ETC Gallery Shop at the Art Gallery of Burlington today and was pleased to find several of my paintings displayed throughout the space. Also, I was shown some promotional material which features my work. I’ve exhibited at many galleries over the years and the staff at ART ETC are second to none when it comes to supporting their artists. Thanks, ART ETC!

All work is available for purchase or rental. Rental is a great idea as it gives a prospective art patron a chance to live with a painting for a while before making a decision. Drop by when you’re in the neighbourhood.



I received a nice surprise in the mail the other day. It’s a certificate from the Dundas Valley School of Art. The school hosted a function for the faculty a few weeks ago but I was unable to attend. Otherwise, I would have been given this thoughtful acknowledgement at that time. I’ve taught at several institutions over many years and this is the first time anything like this has come my way. Thanks, DVSA.


TABERNACLE – new acrylic on canvas

TABERNACLE by Barry Coombs acrylic on canvas 24 x 18"

TABERNACLE acrylic on canvas 24 x 18″

I’ve added TABERNACLE to the Acrylics gallery on my website. This acrylic on canvas is based on a view of a local church over the neighbourhood backyards. Have a look at my other acrylics on canvas by clicking here.

AUTUMN BARN – new acrylic on canvas

AUTUMN BARN acrylic on canvas 18 x 24"

acrylic on canvas 18 x 24″

I’ve been busy in the studio this winter. I finished AUTUMN BARN recently and just added it to the Acrylics gallery on my website. Have a look at my other acrylics on canvas by clicking here.

Anatomy of an Acrylic Painting

ELGIN by Barry Coombs


Many people, including old friends and long-time students, were surprised to see large acrylic paintings on the walls of Earls Court Gallery for #Hamilton2Views, my current exhibition with Aleda O’Connor. There is good reason for their surprise; I’ve never exhibited a series of acrylics on canvas in a commercial gallery.

The ‘look’ of the paintings, however, should not be such a shock to anyone who has followed my work over the years. My interest in Cubism and modernist movements goes back to my teens. It has found it’s way into my watercolours since the late 1980s. More recently, my gouaches have become simpler and are based on flat shapes of colour. LOW TIDE is a watercolour and TRINITY HARBOUR EAST is a gouache.

LOW TIDE Private Collection

Private Collection



My Artist Statement describes many of my influences and can be found on the #Hamilton2Views page in the sidebar of this blog. With this post, let me tell you a little bit about ELGIN, one of seven acrylics on exhibit.

My general process is much the same in any medium. I start with a combination of on-site sketches, photographic reference and compositional studies. ELGIN, shown above, is an acrylic on canvas and is 36 x 48″ in dimension. I first noticed the building while running errands around Hamilton, Ontario and was quite captivated by the visual possibilities.

Photo 1 for ELGIN

Initially, I wanted to paint the building from different points of view. I tried a horizontal composition in my sketchbook as a starting point. This view is the side of the building.

Sketch 1 for ELGIN by Barry Coombs

I wasn’t satisfied with this composition. It didn’t feel focused enough and seemed to dilute the impact of the image. I took another look at my photo reference and considered a vertical format.

Photo 2 for ELGIN

I liked this balance of shapes and colours very much and explored it further in my sketchbook. This sketch got me quite close to the final composition. Simplification and editing are key elements in my work. It’s difficult to explain how I interpret the image in order to give it a Cubist feel. It’s mostly intuitive and I strive for a quality that will communicate my excitement with the planes, angles and colours of the building. With ELGIN, I incorporated a Cubist device and added stenciled letters. In terms of colour, I followed the red/green complementary relationship in my actual subject. Other colours were carefully selected and I did a lot of colour testing on separate sheets of paper.

Sketch 2 for ELGIN by Barry Coombs

Acrylic paint and it’s application aren’t new to me but I had to arrange my tools and studio to accommodate this series. I painted at an easel. It was challenging to get back from the work on a regular basis so, at the end of a painting day, I often took a photo of the work in progress. During the evening, I’d review it and sometimes mark it up with notes and ideas.

On average, I spent about five days on a large canvas. An indispensable tool was the Masterson Sta-Wet Premier Palette. It kept my paint fresh and workable for the duration of the creative process. The sharp geometric treatment demanded careful planning and brush-handling. Several viewers thought that I’d used masking tape to prepare the clean edges of the geometric shapes in the paintings. Not so! Everything was done free-hand.

Early stage of ELGIN by Barry Coombs

Obviously, much more goes into a painting on personal, technical and conceptual levels. I hope I’ve been able to anatomize ELGIN to give some idea of my basic process. #Hamilton2Views continues at Earls Court Gallery in Hamilton, Ontario until November 15.