Posts Tagged ‘San Miguel de Allende’

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Another Successful Workshop!

03/04/2017

We’re back home, safe and sound, after another wonderful ten creative days in San Miguel de Allende. Last Tuesday was a free day. On Wednesday morning, we walked up to Plaza San Antonio with it’s striking white church.

I brought my easel along to do an on-site demonstration. We could see the mountains beyond the buildings that surrounded the square. As usual, I discussed my thoughts and decisions as I painted.

It’s always advisable to paint in the shade, especially in Mexico! Fortunately, Plaza San Antonio has plenty of shade and much to paint.

We had a great day and finished off with a critique at our studio. Sadly, we’re down to nine painters. One of the students had to cut her painting holiday short because of a business trip. Aren’t careers a nuisance?

A few of the students followed my lead and painted the same view I did with my demo. That’s not something I recommend necessarily but there are many ways to learn and absorb ideas from an instructor.

Wednesday Critique a

Wednesday Critique b

We met in our studio again for my demonstration on Thursday morning. There had been quite a demand for a figure demonstration and I bowed to the requests. My two figures were both started with pencil. Using a cool grey wash, I painted the shadows on the gent to the left. When the washes were dry, I glazed on the local colours. I started directly with local colour for the lady on the right and left a fair bit of paper white to suggest light. I let the washes dry before adding the penwork.

One of my favourite painting spots in SM de Allende is the Instituto Bellas Artes. It’s a shady and peaceful art and music school. Our students settled into the spots of their choice while listening to relaxing live guitar music. Later on, the musical program changed to piano emanating from an upper floor studio.

Another treat at Bellas Artes are the many murals painted by past instructors and students.

We thanked Bellas Artes for hosting a soothing and inspiring day of painting and sketching. It was time for critique, once again.

Thursday Critique a

Thursday Critique b

Alas, Friday was our last day of painting together. We strolled up to Parque Guadiana, a tranquil park in a pretty residential neighbourhood. I did a brief demonstration at my easel. It was really an illustrated review of some of the things we’d discussed to date. Once the students settled down to work, I painted two small works that took about 45 minutes each. I later showed them to the group and explained my thoughts and process.

Friday critique was held in our hotel studio.

Friday Critique a

Friday Critique b

Our painting time had come to an end but we had one more event to celebrate on Saturday; Final Critique. It’s a chance to summarize our time together. Each student selects three of their works and tells us a bit about them and their overall experience. Here is the SM de Allende Class of 2017 (in alphabetical order)!

Fiona

Frances

Ian

Michael

Orshy

Phil

Renate

Susan

Let’s not forget our missing painter, now attending a conference in India.

Karen

That’s all, amigos. I’m grateful to this year’s participants for their good nature and hard work. Thanks go to Jim Nikiforos of Air Transat Travel for his efforts and to those of you who have liked and commented on our adventures. Hasta luego!

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 2017

28/03/2017

 

Hola, amigos! We’re back in beautiful San Miguel de Allende. We arrived last Thursday afternoon at the Posada de la Aldea and our first group event was a delicious Welcome Dinner. On Friday morning, I led an orientation walk around town so that everyone could get their bearings. The group had the rest of the day on their own.

Our first day of sketching and painting was Saturday. We met at 9am sharp in a shady spot in the hotel courtyard for a lesson/demonstration. The plan was to work in the courtyard for the day. I discussed subject selection and simplification.

The courtyard has plenty of charm and our artists were not short of inspiration.

We wrapped up the day in our studio with a critique.

Saturday Critique a

Saturday Critique b

The lovely local park, Parque Benito Juarez, was our painting site for Sunday. We met in our studio for my demonstration prior to walking over to the park. I wanted to prepare the students for some of the creative challenges they would encounter and foliage was the first priority. I also discussed some architectural elements.

Another great day followed by an enjoyable critique.

Sunday Critique a

Sunday Critique b

We decided to throw caution to the wind on Monday and paint in the Jardin, the main square. There are lots of people but there is plenty of shade, as well. Before we went up to the Jardin, I gave a demonstration in our studio. Arches were on the menu.

It’s very pleasant to return to our studio at the end of a sunny day outdoors. Our Monday critique went extremely well. Tuesday is a free day; shopping, exploring and relaxing. We’ll be back at it on Wednesday morning. Hasta luego!

Monday Critique a

Monday Critique b

More from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico!

14/03/2016

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

We were back at our studio on Wednesday morning. Our plan was to paint at the Instituto de Bellas Artes, a beautiful and historic building with a lovely courtyard surrounded by lots of arches. As you can see, I presented a few ideas about arches to the group.

Following my demonstration, we headed up to the Instituto and settled in to work. The Instituto hosts an excellent art and music school. As well as this guitar-making workshop, there are frescoes  and studios throughout.

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Nancy at work

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NIck at work

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Kate at work

It turned into a surprisingly windy day! Not everyone finished their work but that wasn’t so much due to the wind as it was the ambitious choice of subject matter. It took quite a while to sort out the perspective of the arches for some of our painters. Still, it was another good day and we enjoyed the critique back at our studio.

Wednesday Critique a

Wednesday Critique a

Wednesday Critique b

Wednesday Critique b

I’ve been leading workshops here in the month of March for a dozen years or so. On occasion, we get a thunderstorm overnight or in the very late afternoon. This year, we experienced a meteorological rarity; rain and cool temperatures during the day. On Thursday, I had hoped to paint in the Parque Guadiana, a quiet and peaceful spot. Due to the weather, I changed the plan. I started off in the studio with some more thoughts about foliage. After that, I suggested the group stay close to home and they did. Some worked from the inside of the hotel and looked out windows at their subjects.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

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The hotel cat stayed dry and the rain didn’t last long but the plan stayed the same. Have a look at the work from Thursday.

Thursday Critique a

Thursday Critique a

Thursday Critique b

Thursday Critique b

The sun was shining Friday morning and we walked up to Parque Guadiana right away. It’s a sweet spot; a garden-like park surrounded by gorgeous villas. As it happened, we weren’t the only painters in the park.

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Stew and Frances at work

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Marike at work

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It was a very pleasant day and the last scheduled painting day of our workshop.

Friday Critique a

Friday Critique a

Friday Critique b

Friday Critique b

Saturday was another day of freedom for our participants. Shopping was on many agendas but most spent some time working on their paintings and drawings, as well. We got together in the studio for Final Critique late in the afternoon. Each artist chose three works and told us a bit about them and why they’d selected them. It was a great way to wrap up our workshop.

Thanks for following our creative adventures. I now give you, in alphabetical order, the Class of 2016!

Carolyn

Carolyn

Frances

Frances

Karen

Karen

Kate

Kate

Marike

Marike

Nancy

Nancy

Nick

Nick

Stewart

Stewart

 

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – We’re here!

08/03/2016

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We’re back for my annual painting workshop in beautiful SM de Allende! We arrived last Thursday evening and took it easy on Friday, getting to know the town after our day of travel. The painting began on Saturday morning with a demonstration. I discussed some of the visual elements that the students would encounter while here.

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

Many of the group have a keen interest in combining pen and ink with watercolour. I stuck to pen without watercolour for our first day and presented some ideas about the medium as applied to our hotel courtyard.

Pen and ink demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

The courtyard is spacious and lovely and offers no end of stimulating subject matter for our artists. We settled in for a very creative day.

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It was back to the studio at the end of the day for our constructive critique. It looks like a good start to our ten-day workshop. By the way, we have an acrylic painter in the midst of our gang of watercolourists.

Saturday Critique a

Saturday Critique a

Saturday Critique b

Saturday Critique b

As the students painted on Saturday, I made a small watercolour. The plan was to add ink to it as a demo the next morning.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

We gathered again on Sunday morning and, as promised, I discussed the use of pen with watercolour.

Pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

After the demo, we headed off for a day at the local park, Parque Benito Juarez. It’s a pleasant and peaceful place and we enjoyed a productive day. Back at the studio, we had a look at our efforts.

Sunday Critique a

Sunday Critique a

Sunday Critique b

Sunday Critique b

EMERGENCY DEMO!!! Several of our artists had trouble with the plentiful foliage in the park. Some were drawing or painting the pillars that can be found throughout the park. At the Sunday critique, I did a simplified treatment of a foliage background. The idea is to complement the pillar, which is the main subject.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

I devoted our Monday morning demonstration to the figure with pen and watercolour. Over a pencil drawing, I created the shadows with a wash of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna. This established the light and shadow on the figures.

Step One - Pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

My next step was to add ‘local colour’ to the sketch. The first wash was dry before I added the second.

Step Two - Pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

I decided to save the pen step for later in the day. We cleared out of the studio and headed up to Plaza San Antonio to find some shady painting spots.

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Once again, we convened for our critique. I started off with the final step of my figure demonstration; the pen.

Step Three - Pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

Monday Critique a

Monday Critique a

Monday Critique b

Monday Critique b

Tuesday is a free day to explore SM de Allende. Don’t touch that dial! We’ll be back with more of our creative adventures in sunny Mexico soon.

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 2016

09/12/2015

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Who wouldn’t want to sketch and  paint in the Number 1 City in the World? Our painting holiday in gorgeous SM de Allende runs from March 3 – 13, 2016. This lovely historic town is located in the heartland of old Spanish Mexico. SM de Allende is very safe, friendly and welcoming with wonderful restaurants and warm, sunny weather. The bright colours, colonial architecture and lush parks and gardens offer stimulating subject matter that attracts artists from all over the world.

Are you worried about the state of the Canadian dollar? It still goes a long way in Mexico and our package price is guaranteed as long as we have a minimum of 12 participants.

Full information about this painting holiday is just a click away  in the Painting Holidays menu or right here: https://barrycoombs.wordpress.com/san-miguel-de-allende-mexico-2016/.

Don’t be disappointed! Our deadline for enrollment is December 28. Please, contact me if you have any questions at info@barrycoombs.ca.

 

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Final Critique!

01/04/2015

Mexico - Class of 2015

Here they are; the class of 2015! Thanks go to Stewart and his tripod for our group photo. Last Saturday, we wound up a wonderful ten-day watercolour workshop with our Final Critique. Everyone made a selection of their work and spoke about their experience one at a time. The artists and their work are shown in alphabetical order.

Thanks for following our adventures and commenting and liking the posts. Planning for 2016 is already underway. Do you want to be on the ‘interested’ list?

Barb

Carolyn

Elizabeth

Eric

Evelyn

Fiona

Joan

Karen

Marie

Marlene

Nancy

Nila

Paula

Stewart

 

SM de Allende, Mexico – Thursday and Friday!

30/03/2015

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This may seem like a rather humble portal. It’s the entrance to the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes. Let’s take a look inside!

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Td  Te

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Serene, shady and beautiful; the Instituto is a wonderful place to paint. I’d made arrangements for us a few days prior and on Thursday we invaded.

Anticipating a lot of arches, I did a demonstration in our studio at the hotel before we left for the Instituto. I discussed drawing and perspective; most of my planning lines are still visible. The washes were developed with a ‘big to small’ process. My first wash covered the whole sheet. My second wash covered everything except the light exterior wall. I darkened the architecture a step at a time. Then, I painted the door and planter right over the shadows.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

Once at the Instituto, it wasn’t difficult to find comfortable painting spots and lots of attractive subjects. We settled in for the morning.

Fiona at work  Paula at work

Barb at work  Joan at work

Paula at work

Karen at work

In addition to all of the other perks of this excellent painting site, a fabulous lunch spot was steps away; just across the street in it’s own shady courtyard. We all enjoyed the delicious food, great service and ambience of Cafe Contento.

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It was a downhill walk to our hotel for our tired painters at the end of the day. As usual, we convened in the Salon Aldama for our critique.

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Friday was our last day of painting as a group. I arranged to do the demonstration in a spacious, sunny upper room at our hotel. The huge windows offer a great view of the town. I wanted to wrap up with something a bit different so I chose a flat angled brush and did very little preparatory drawing; basic shapes only. I talked about my process and decisions as I worked. This watercolour involves a degree of artistic licence and a lot of simplification.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

Our venue was a small, peaceful park, Parque Guadiana, not far from the hotel. It was a productive day. I’ll leave you with the critique and I think you’ll see that the students worked very hard and improved during our time here. One more post to come, though! Stay tuned for our Final Critique.

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SM de Allende, Mexico – Wednesday

26/03/2015

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.

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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.

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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.

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SM de Allende, Mexico – Sunday and Monday

25/03/2015

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We convened at our studio, the Salon Aldama, on Sunday morning. I did a sustained watercolour demonstration which I completed in a little under an hour. My demos aren’t always so long but I wanted to take the group through a process. Also, I talk throughout my demonstrations, sharing my thoughts and decisions. Sunday morning, I discussed everything from basic brush-handling to soft-edge technique and colour mixing.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

My subject may seem a bit unorthodox. It’s a view from our hotel parking lot. It has several elements, however, that we see from day to day in SM de Allende.

Our Sunday painting site was the park; Parque Benito Juarez. The park is a lovely green space surrounded by picturesque villas. It’s also adjacent to the outdoor public laundry where several of the students settled in for the morning.

Marie, Nancy and Elizabeth at work

Karen at work

It was back to our hotel for critique at the end of the day.

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The focus of my Tuesday morning demonstration was on several of the things we see and deal with as artists every day in our ‘en plein air’ watercolour workshop. Flowers and foliage, stones and walls.

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

Our site was Plaza San Antonio, a quiet square off the beaten track, with a church and a small park. There’s a school across from the church and the attentions of the charming and well-behaved kids are always a treat. Everyone found a shady spot and got to work.

Nancy at work

Carolyn at work

Marlene at work

Joan and Fiona at work

Another great day and another critique. Lots of nice work! Everyone has been working hard and we all looked forward to our free day on Tuesday.

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SM de Allende, Mexico – Saturday

22/03/2015

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I’m back in lovely San Miguel de Allende for my annual ten-day watercolour workshop. We arrived late Thursday night and took it easy yesterday. This morning, I took the group behind the hotel for a demonstration.

What do the following two images have in common? My watercolour study is an extreme simplification of the view on the right. SM de Allende is rich in detail but colour and light are paramount. I’ve used basic blocks of colour in this little study. Restricting the shapes to blocks prevents me from overworking it and getting distracted by ‘realism’. It also keeps my focus on my goals of establishing a pattern and colour harmony. Remember this is only a preliminary study but it can be an important step towards a successful sustained composition.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs IMG_4940

Everyone settled in to work for the day. We stayed on the hotel property and there was no shortage of spectacular subject matter.

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After a lunch break, we got back to work.

Stewart at Work  Nila at Work

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It was a brilliant day and we wound it up with a critique in our studio, Salon Aldama. The work was terrific and a great start to our workshop.

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