Friday, 15 December 2017


I’ve had a wonderful connection with the South Korean art community for almost two decades. My drawing, ROCK DOVES, will be exhibited in an International Drawing Exhibition  from March 3 – 11, 2011. The show is taking place at the Hangaram Art Gallery in Seoul. Last year, I sent WINTER LANEWAY to this exhibition.

ROCK DOVES is a small (approx. 7 x 9″) pen and ink drawing. It was inspired by the strong light and shadow pattern I noticed on the birds while I waited for the bus at Dundas West subway station.

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I set up some fairly familiar objects for the classes on Tuesday. I wanted to focus on simplification of the shapes and try for a less literal and more interpretative approach. This involved the use of soft-edge techniques. I started with a preliminary wash, touching colour into water. The colour is applied quite randomly.

In the second step, I’ve started to paint a few of the objects and tried to maintain the same spirit.

Step three shows an idea that I wanted the students to consider. I painted the cookie jar in the back and the object to it’s left with a continuous wash. The wash shows a transition from dark to light. In step four, which is as far as I went with it, I’ve done a light to dark wash in the background.

We talked about a lot of things but, overall, the goal was to be more experimental and try for a different look. Everyone responded well and the results were quite exciting.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique



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I had originally offered this workshop for Saturday, the 19th of February. Due to demand, I ran it on Sunday as well. Both groups were very enthusiastic and worked hard on some challenging exercises.

Our first drawing was based on a photo taken on the island of Rhodes when I led a painting holiday there a few years ago. We tried to understand the subject in terms of basic forms and volumes, mainly cylinders in this case.

Step one is an atmospheric wash over the pencil drawing. The next step shows the gradual development of values with cross-hatching. The final step shows more attention to darks, detail and texture. The fourth image is the demonstration from Sunday.

Our second exercise was a belfry done with a sepia wash and pen. I provided photo reference. We discussed concepts such as placing an arch in the centre of a wall in perspective. I’ll let the students show you their first two drawings.

Saturday Critique

Sunday Critique

Our third and last drawing (busy day, eh?) was based on a watercolour demonstration that I often do in Mexico.

I paint the interior area of an arch with a fairly dark blue-grey wash. I add a few more values to define the space. When these washes are dry, I paint the potted plants directly over the dark wash. The colours  of the potted plants inside the arch are muted by the blue-grey wash underneath but it seems to work. They appear to be back in the shadows. Placing another plant in the sunshine really emphasizes the difference. We did a simplified version of this using pen and wash. The two steps below are from different days.


Time flew by and another hour might have been useful if we hadn’t all been exhausted. Some of the drawings will be finished at home. The real goal of the workshop was to explore concepts about drawing and painting architectural subjects; ideas that can be put into practice on your next plein air painting holiday.


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I like to present all kinds of subject matter and this one might be called the ‘Mud Room’. Gloves and mittens and boots are quasi-organic forms. I did a full demo for each class and tried a different approach with each although both were fast-paced.

The morning demo is similar to last week’s and soft-edge techniques were employed. The evening demo relies on crisp edges and a light-to-dark layering of values. Each has it’s own feel and challenges.

Almost everyone struggled with this subject. The lighting was tricky. Some of the objects were in shadow. The mix of vibrant and earth colours was unusual. Have a look at what was done. Not all are finished.

Tuesday AM Critique

Tuesday PM Critique



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March 24 – April 3, 2011

July 17 – 23, 2011

July 24 – 30, 2011

September 22 – October 7, 2011

Barry Coombs brings over twenty years of experience to his plein air workshops and painting holidays. Wonderful memories linger from our visits to Sicily, Rhodes, Provence and Tuscany. Reliability, excellent organization and a positive learning experience are all features of these creative learning experiences.

Destinations for 2011 include San Miguel de Allende (FULL), charming Charlevoix, Quebec and scenic Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick.

***Our newest exciting painting holiday will take place in the beautiful Puglia region of Italy this September.

Instruction focuses primarily on watercolour painting and pen and ink sketching with and without wash, although artists working in other media are always welcome. Demonstrations, individual attention and constructive critiques are provided throughout these workshops. Many participants come back again and again. Non-painters have enjoyed these trips, as well.

Reliability, excellent organization and a positive learning experience are all features of these creative learning experiences.

Click here to view photos of past painting holidays.

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