Posts Tagged ‘watercolor demonstration’

Winter Tuesday Watercolour Class – February 23!

25/02/2016

IMG_1940

The teddy bears were back on Tuesday and eager to pose for the afternoon and evening classes. My demonstration for the Sustained Saturday class last weekend seemed to hit the mark so I presented the same basic thoughts on Tuesday. I used ‘soft-edge’ techniques within the component shapes of the bears (and monkey). In each shape, I started with a light wash before touching in a darker value while still wet.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

The Tuesday students enjoyed painting our furry friends. Many would have liked a bit more time to work on their watercolours. I’m impressed with some of the colourful and effective backgrounds conceived by some of them.

My winter classes are over at the Arts on Adrian studio in Toronto. I’ll be back in April. Next week, I’m off to San Migeul de Allende, Mexico with a lucky group of watercolour painters. Stay tuned for our creative adventures in the sunshine.

Tuesday Afternoon Critique

Tuesday Afternoon Critique

Tuesday Evening Critique

Tuesday Evening Critique

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Winter Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Eight

24/02/2015

IMG_1633

Can you draw a hot bubble bath? That would be the perfect spot for these toy critters. The Tuesday students couldn’t just turn on a tap, though. They had to draw and paint these guys. Also, they had to tap into their personal wells of creativity. Everyone had three toys at their own work table so they could arrange them in any way they chose.

Last spring, we had a ‘special project’ without a traditional still life in the middle of the room. Everyone had a seashell. We did it again in the autumn; milkweed pods were our inspiration. As far as I was concerned, any treatment of the subject was allowed. Enjoy the shapes and colours. Tell a story. Create a non-traditional design.

I explored a few ideas on my demonstration sheet. Some are more interpretative and others more conventional. Brush-handling is essential to all. I’ve used the brush in different ways to create soft edges.

Watercolour demonstration sheet by Barry Coombs

Imagination can’t be taught. It can be encouraged, however. Sometimes, it helps to consider your painting as a creative exercise with certain parameters. For example, the small painting on my demonstration sheet was drawn with pencil. The shapes were painted one at a time and a darker colour or value was touched into each shape while it was still wet. No shapes were allowed to run into each other. It was a good way to practice a basic soft edge technique.

FISH By Elizabeth Jay

FISH
By Elizabeth Jay

I’m showing you this watercolour by Elizabeth Jay because she had to leave a few minutes early and I wasn’t able to include it in the critique photo. I like it, too. Elizabeth used a bit of wax. She also managed to create layers of depth with her use of cool and warm colours.

I’m not sure if the students were elated or exhausted at the end of each class. Some of the results are more playful than others but it was a positive experience overall.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Seven!

12/11/2014

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Black objects! Now, there’s a challenge for you and, if that isn’t enough, look at all of those reflections.

My demonstration dealt with two main things. First of all, how do you make black when there is no black in your palette? I showed two combinations that work very well. The first is a balance of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna. Ultramarine Blue can be substituted for Cobalt Blue. The second is a mix of Phthalo Green and Rose Madder Quinacridone (almost any cool red will work). I suggested that the students try both on a study sheet and see which they preferred. I think it’s best and more consistent to stick with one mixture of black in a painting. In addition to that, it’s important to keep the darkest values fluid and transparent. A thick buildup of paint, as in an acrylic or gouache, will be opaque and kill luminosity.

We also touched on sharp or crisp edge reflections. These can be painted as shapes and allowed to dry before adding the colour around them. Note that the lightest area of the reflection is darker than the light on the actual object. Go ahead. Read that again. Now, you’ll see that the light on the actual orange is much lighter, and thinner, than the light in the reflection.

We didn’t discuss soft edge reflections. They’re harder to control as wet must touch wet to achieve a soft edge. Undaunted, many of the students went ahead and created some successful soft edge reflections in their paintings.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

Everyone seemed to be very engaged in the challenge of mixing and applying blacks. Obtaining different values and maintaining a consistent hue was a good learning experience. Also, the presence of so much black in the still life gave the watercolours a very dramatic quality.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Spring Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Nine

03/06/2014

***NOTE You may have noticed that I published an incomplete post earlier. This is an update. Sorry about that! WordPress is a great blogging platform but the Publish button is too close to the Preview button, in my humble opinion. Also, a DO YOU REALLY WANT TO PUBLISH NOW? step in the process would be much appreciated and save the bother of an occasional incomplete post arriving in your mailbox. So, here we go with my updated post.

Still LIfe - SpringTuesWk9/2014

Smiles and frowns! You might think I’m talking about the emotional ups and downs of watercolour painting. I’m not. I’m talking about how ellipses look when we’re looking at them from different points of view.

I set up the Tuesday still life on an elegant round table on top of another small table. Most of the students, not all, sit to paint. The entire still life is usually below their eye level. Raising the still life raised a little blood pressure, initially, until the students adjusted to a still life at their eye level.

Tables - SpringTuesWk9/2014  Smiles and Frowns - SpringTuesWk9/2014

Ellipses are hard enough but what’s a smile and what’s a frown? Take a look at the eye level drawing of the vase in the diagram. All of the ellipses above eye level are highest in the middle and lower on the left and right ends. Frowns. The ellipse at the bottom of the vase, below eye level, is lowest in the middle. A smile. Note that the perplexed student can see the bottom of the vase in the upper drawing and can look into the elliptical mouth of the lower vase. There you go. Rudimentary ellipse theory.

I’ve exaggerated the smiles and frowns a touch in my demos. In addition to our discussion of ellipses, I used some wax as resist in these studies and focused on simplification.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs - SpringTuesWk9/2014

One more week to go and spring term at my studio will come to an end. In the meantime, enjoy the watercolours from the Tuesday classes and keep smiling!

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

 

 

Sustained Saturday Watercolour – Rust and Dust!

03/05/2014

Still Life - SpringSustSat2/2014

Twelve dedicated and enthusiastic watercolour painters gathered at my studio today. Actually, eleven watercolour painters and one pen and ink artist. It’s rather cold and grim outside, more like March than May, so I was a bit nervous about the response to these old metal containers. They may not be cheerful but that shortcoming, oddly enough, is what makes this a great subject. There’s nothing precious about them. They’re forgiving.

My demonstration was painted with a synthetic 3/4″ flat angled brush on Curry’s, 200 lb., cold press watercolour paper. I used three colours; a triad of Raw Sienna, Rose Madder Quinacridone and Cobalt Blue from Da Vinci. I started with a very broad pencil drawing, indicating the basic shapes but with no detail.

The first goal of my demonstration was to establish luminous lights with very thin washes and some untouched paper white. Middle values came next, throughout the image. I didn’t finish a single object and then move on to another. As washes dried, I worked into them again with darker values and tried to vary the colours. I wanted to keep the ‘look’ of the flat angled brush in the piece.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs - SpringSustSat2/2014

I didn’t insist that the students follow my lead. My demonstrations are suggestions and don’t have to be emulated during the class. However, many of the students have used the flat angled brush in the past and some prefer it to the round brush. Either way, almost everyone gave it a shot.

What a day! Quality and quantity and I particularly enjoy the variety. I’ll have to wait until September to see another wall like this as today’s class is our last for a while. I don’t schedule many Saturdays when the weather warms up, as a rule, because the focus for many folks turns to gardening and cottaging. Golf, even! I may have miscalculated this spring, if you can call it a spring. Anyway, more Tuesdays classes are on the agenda in the weeks to come. Thanks for following and stay tuned!

Sustained Saturday Critique

Sustained Saturday Critique

Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Three

21/01/2014

Still Life - WinterTuesWk3/2014

It’s very cold out. I’m not taking my group of painters to Mexico until March so I thought I’d try to bring a little bit of a Mexico feeling into the studio.

We’re continuing to discuss ways to be more spontaneous and expressive with our watercolours. Each class, I offer a few ideas with my demonstrations. I try not to take too long with the demos and these, morning and evening, took about 30 minutes each. I’d rather do them in 15 minutes but, once in a while, a longer demo is merited. They’re not very big, about 6 x 8″ or so. As I paint, I talk.

Watercolour Demonstration by Barry Coombs - WinterTuesWk3/2014

Watercolour Demonstration by Barry Coombs - WinterTuesWk3/2014

Many of the students are really challenging themselves. It takes courage to deliberately leave your comfort zone. It also takes time for the eye to adjust to new looks. I’m really pleased with their efforts. I’m also looking forward to a mango or two for breakfast. It’s as close as I’m going to get to Mexico for a few more months.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique

 

Leisure Painter – December 2013 issue

06/12/2013

LParticle-December2013

LPcover-December2013I have a watercolour instructional article in the December 2013 issue of Leisure Painter magazine. As you can see, it’s a seasonal subject.

Leisure Painter is the best-selling ‘Learn to Paint’ magazine from the United Kingdom. Last April, the magazine featured my watercolours on the cover and with a four-page article.

Leisure Painter is available in North American bookstores and can be purchased online and through Itunes.

Sustained Saturday – Gourds and Pumpkins!

21/10/2013

Still LIfe - FallSustSat1

I couldn’t deny the Saturday students the pleasure of painting a traditional autumn subject so I reorganized the still life from last Tuesday’s classes.

My demonstration was similar to those from Tuesday, as well. The core and cast shadows of the gourds were painted with grey. Paper white was left untouched for the lightest areas. Once dry, I added local colour. First, the lightest colour and then the darker stripes.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs - FallSustSat1

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs - FallSustSat1

This was the first Sustained Saturday class of the Fall term. Many of the regulars were back. Everyone was happy to see their painting pals and, as always, were very welcoming to the new folks. A nice culture has evolved at the studio over the years. We work hard, support each other and have a lot of fun. The work was terrific. Here it is!

Sustained Saturday Critique - FallSustSat1

An evening with SOYRA in Aurora

11/09/2013

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I spent an enjoyable Tuesday evening in Aurora, Ontario with the Society of York Region Artists. The venue was the Aurora Cultural Centre and it’s quite a grand building.

The first part of my presentation was an illustrated Power Point talk about the development of my approach to watercolour. Part two was a demonstration and I chose a rural theme for the painting. I wasn’t able to get very far with it in the alloted time but it allowed me to convey my process. I’ll finish this watercolour soon and post it so you can see the final result.

Watercolour demonstration (in progress) by Barry Coombs-SOYRA2013

SOYRA is a very active group and is open to artists from York region and the surrounding area. That’s me on the left in the group photo. Next to me are Dianne Hughes, Philippa Hajdu and Carol Tremayne of the Program Committee. Nancy Newman, the current President of SOYRA, is on the right.

Group-SOYRA2013

Finally, I’d like to welcome all new followers. Don’t hesitate to comment on a post. It’d be nice to hear from you. This blog reached 90,00 views recently and I’m grateful for the support.

Tuesday Watercolour Class – Week Six – Nice Buns!

07/05/2013

Still Life - SpringTuesWk6

The baked goods are relatively simple forms so I paired them with the checked basket and cloth. They add some visual interest and colour to the still life.

I discussed some basic watercolour guidelines such as ‘light to dark’ and ‘big to small’. It never hurts to have a reminder about these principles. The seeds on the bagels are a more specific challenge. I created the lightest, white seeds by using criss-cross strokes of my brush as I applied the first wash, avoiding small areas of dry paper which became light seeds. The darker seeds were the last addition. Big to small and light to dark.

Watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs - SpringTuesWk6

It may not seem obvious from the results but a lot of the students struggled with the subject. There’s nothing wrong with adversity. I’ve been struggling with watercolour for decades!

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday AM Critique