Southampton Art School Workshop — September 2019

The September sun sets in violet and orange brilliance over Lake Huron in Southampton.

My next two-day workshop at Southampton Art School & Gallery on September 21 & 22 teaches the fundamentals of colour theory and how students can appy the principles of this theory to art and design.

Southampton

The town of Southampton is located at the mouth of the Saugeen River on the shores of Lake Huron, in Bruce County (Ontario), and is one of my favourite places to visit during the summer months. It is a popular tourist and retirement destination and known for its magnificent sunsets.

Above: Striking orange with a subtle hint of blue, blue grey: Altered complimentary colour scheme.

Above: Southampton Art School

Southampton Art School & Gallery

Southampton Art School and Gallery can be found in the heart of downtown Southampton and a short walk to pristine, sandy beaches. The facility provides a wonderful teaching environment and also a gallery showcasing regional and local talent. The building has been around since 1957 and is an integral part of the art community of Bruce County. The original community was known as Saugeen by the early settlers but was later named Southampton after the English seaport, when the town was incorporated as a village in 1858. It was later incorporated as a town in 1904. Southampton was also  one of the last communities in Ontario to use the Gaelic language in everyday speech; the language could still be heard by local fishermen as late as the 1930s. Just off the Southampton shore, the Chantry Island Lighthouse is a popular visiting spot for tourists. Boat tours to the island run throughout the summer months. As well as Chantry island, the town is close to Sauble Beach, Port Elgin and Saugeen First Nation.

Below: Southampton Art School back entrance.

The Workshop

The Basics of Colour Theory

I designed the workshop to help students understand the basics of colour theory. Through a series of exercises and written notes, students develop a study book to serve as a future reference source for use in colour mixing, colour application and painting. Topics covered in the workshop included the following: wavelengths and the illusion of colour, tints, tones and shades, hue and value, colour schemes and how colour can often represent emotion or have symbolic meaning.

INTRODUCTION

Colour theory as a subject can be very complex, but there are some basics that with a little bit of study and understanding will greatly benefit the artist. Firstly, colour is a property of light wavelengths; white light passed through a prism splits into the colours of the rainbow. As light changes, so does colour. Painting is the science of “seeing.” To think in terms of colour – for example, Impressionism – you have to learn to see the world as a mosaic of colour changes.

This property of light was illustrated by Sir Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century when he put white light through a prism. The prism broke up white light into the familiar colours of the rainbow.

Objects have no colour of their own but merely the ability to reflect certain rays of white light, which contain all the colours.

Above: An abstract painting by Wassily Kandinsky in black and white.
The exercise involved using the above design to translate the values from light to dark into colour. Black can be added to the darkest value or white to the lightest value to increase contrast in the design.

The colour scheme is based on the colour wheel:
Primary colours first, then secondary colours, then tertiary colours.

Translating values into colour.

VALUE
Lightness or darkness of the colour or hue.
It is important to know how to translate colour into value, and value into colour. Learn to see and analyze colour in terms of value, whether what is seen is lighter or darker in terms of what colours are next to it, not just a different colour.
Although individual perception varies, most people can distinguish at least forty tints and shades of any colour. Value can be altered by adding white or black paint to the colour.

HUE
Hue refers to the colour name e.g. red, blue etc. Spectrum intensity refers to the hue on the colour wheel in its purest, brightest form. Even though there are relatively few hues, there can be an almost unlimited number of colours.
Ex: The hue can be red – pink, rose, scarlet, crimson etc are all colours.
The same hue or colour can have many different commercial names.
The most common arrangement of basic colours is called a Colour Wheel. The wheel system dates back to the early 18th century and uses 12 hues, which are divided into three categories.

Two other colour systems are: the Munsell Colour Organization & Ostwald Colour Wheel System

Exercise completed: Colour scheme based on the colour wheel:
Primary, secondary and tertiary colours.

Kandinsky painting translated to colour.

Below: Exercises to create value scales: Tint / Shade

Value can be altered by adding white or black paint to the colour.
Adding white lightens the colour and produces a tint, or high-value colour.
Adding black darkens the colour and produces a shade, or low-value colour.

Intensity / Complimentary Colours: Red /green; blue/orange.

Below: Exercise to explore and understand pure & altered complimentary colours systems.

Exercise:

1) Image transferred onto watercolour paper.

2) Paint one version in pure hue complimentary colours – yellow/violet.

Or: use two sets of complimentary colours Ex: yellow/violet
blue/orange.

3) Paint another version in dulled, altered complimentary colours – yellow/violet – mixed.

Or: use two sets of dulled, altered complimentary colours.

Ex: yellow/violet; blue/orange.

Complimentary colour schemes

Below: Colour temperature and emphasis

Areas of emphasis in a drawing or painting create visual interest. Colour is very often the means chosen to provide this emphasis.

Colour is so strong a visual element that it will dominate other devices to establish emphasis (such as larger sizes, changing a shape or isolating one element).

Cool colours recede; warm colours advance.
A sense of depth can be created by a progression of warm to cool colours.

Below: Colour Schemes:

Monochromatic
Analogous
Complimentary
Triadic (3)
Split Complimentary
Tetradic (4)

Above: Analogous colour scheme
An analogous colour scheme combines several hues that are next to each other on the colour wheel. Again, the hues may vary in value.
3-hue analogous scheme e.g. orange, yellow/orange and red/orange.
The range can be extended from 2 to 6 colours.
The visual effect is peacful and harmonious.

Above: Complimentary and monochromatic (one) colour schemes.

Complimentary: As the term implies, this colour scheme joins colours opposite each other on the colour wheel. This combination will produce a lively, exciting colour scheme, especially with the colours at full intensity.

Below: Four colour schemes perfectly understood and painted in gouache.

In painting colour is often used intuitively, and not so much by formula. But knowing these colour schemes and harmonies can help artists/designers to consciously plan the visual effects they want a finished painting to have. Also, colour can easily provide a visual unity that might not be obvious in the initial pattern of shapes or composition.

Abstraction in Design

Based on Georges Seurat’s painting – A Sunday Afternoon
on the Grande Fatte – 1884-1886.

Symbolic meaning: Cooler blues and greens are associated with less outgoing feelings and can express melancholy or depression. These are generalities, of course, and reactions can be influenced in many ways, including colour combinations, systems and value changes.

Below: Frantisek Kupka – Planes by Colour
Large Nude 1909 –1910. Oil on canvas
The colours in Kupka’s painting were chosen for their spatial and decorative qualities, not for any objective reference to the natural colours of a nude woman (Arbitrary Colour).

Below: Colours widely separated on the colour wheel (but not compliments) are generally seen as discordant combinations. For example: Red and blue-purple; orange and yellow-green; blue green and blue-purple; pink and orange.

With all the exercises completed, students gained a deep understanding on colour theory, colour systems and how to apply this knowledge to their painting.

My next workshop, titled Abstracting Fall Leaves in Watercolour will be on October 26 & 27, at the Toronto Botanical Garden

(777 Lawrence Ave. E. North York, Toronto).

To register contact Michael Spillane at 905-891-8422

Email: michael@spillane-arts.com

Or: contact the Toronto Botanical Garden at 416-397-1340

Hope to see you all soon!

Michael Spillane

http://www.spillane-arts.com

 

 

 

Southampton Art school Workshop — August, 2019

The sunsets are always spectacular in Southampton.

My next two-day workshop at Southampton Art School & Gallery was on August 26 & 27 titled Magnificent Florals in Coloured Pencils

The Mountain Ash or Rowan (Sorbus americana) belongs to the rose family and in May and June the trees are covered in glorious white flowers. The flowers are followed in late summer with bunches of bright orange-red berries that fill the trees with vibrant colour. The berries also provide a valuable food source for birds.

Below: Enjoy an exciting evening of awesome custom, classic and antique cars with classic rock to set the mood every Thursday from June to August in Southampton.

Below: Trumpet Vine (Campis radicans) is a spectacular, but invasive and aggressive, deciduous vine with showy trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in varying shades of red, orange or yellow. This plant was providing a magnificent display of scarlet/red flowers at the back of the school entrance.

Southampton

The town of Southampton is located at the mouth of the Saugeen River on the shores of Lake Huron, in Bruce County (Ontario), and is one of my favourite places to visit during the summer months. It is a popular tourist and retirement destination and known for its magnificent sunsets.

Below: Globe Thistle (Echinops): Stunning blue perennials in the aster family with deep dark blue spiky flowers.

Southampton Art School & Gallery

Southampton Art School and Gallery can be found in the heart of downtown Southampton and a short walk to pristine, sandy beaches. The facility provides a wonderful teaching environment and also a gallery showcasing regional and local talent. The building has been around since 1957 and is an integral part of the art community of Bruce County. The original community was known as Saugeen by the early settlers but was later named Southampton after the English seaport, when the town was incorporated as a village in 1858. It was later incorporated as a town in 1904. Southampton was also  one of the last communities in Ontario to use the Gaelic language in everyday speech; the language could still be heard by local fishermen as late as the 1930s. Just off the Southampton shore, the Chantry Island Lighthouse is a popular visiting spot for tourists. Boat tours to the island run throughout the summer months. As well as Chantry island, the town is close to Sauble Beach, Port Elgin and Saugeen First Nation.

Below: Southampton Art School

Southampton Art Gallery

The Workshop

Magnificent Florals with Coloured Pencils.

Below: My completed Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’) and Peruvian Lily (Alstromeria) botanical drawings in coloured pencil on hot-pressed watercolour paper.

Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’ is a fast-growing twining annual or perennial native to the rainforests of South America. Commonly called the Mexican Morning Glory, the plant belongs to the family Convolvulaceae and has mid-green, heart-shaped leaves. The large, vibrant deep sky-blue funnel-shaped flowers only last a day (hence the name) before fading and dropping but other flowers follow in quick succession. The striking blue flowers have yellow throats haloed in white. and are up to 8 to 13 cm across (3 to 5 inches). The seeds of several varieties of Ipomoea tricolor are highly toxic and contain a naturally-occurring psychedelic or hallucinogenic product, (LSA), similar in effect to LSD. Seeds of Mexican morning glory were used by the Aztecs in shamanistic rituals. Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’ has been awarded the British Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Award of Garden Merit.

Alstromeria or Peruvian Lily
Alstromeria, also known as the Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas, produces beautiful blooms ranging in colour from white, pink and salmon to bright orange, red and purple. Although the plant is poisonous and also a skin irritant, it is commonly grown for the cut flower market. Alstromeria is a genus of flowering plants in the family Alstroemeriaceae. They are native to South America although some have become naturalized in the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Madeira and the Canary Islands.

Day 1

We spent the first day of the workshop developing the Morning Glory drawing and working from my step-by-step instructional pages. Students produced a sketch of the plant followed by a grey monochromatic (one colour) tonal drawing. The base undertone was rendered with grey coloured pencils prior to adding colour layers. I used Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils throughout the project, although some of the students came with Prismacolor Premier coloured pencils which were cross-indexed to match the right colours.

Coloured pencils are easy to use and convenient to store and replace. They can be used alone or combined with graphite.

Faber-Castell Polychromos coloured pencils
The renowned German company, Faber-Castell, is the oldest pencil manufacturer in the world and its Polychromos line of oil-based coloured pencils has been around since 1908. Polychromos (meaning many colours) pencils come in a range of 120 colours and have excellent lightfast pigments that blend well and maintain a sharp point without breaking.

Below: Monochromatic undertone.

Below: This method of instruction shows how accurate the reproductions are and how efficiently students can learn various techniques used in botanical art.

The workshop covered techniques such as burnishing, blending and layering with coloured pencils, along with accurate colour matching, tonal rendering and composition. I combined detailed step-by-step instructional handouts with demonstrations and one-on-one interaction to help students to complete the botanical projects.

Burnishing with a white coloured pencil

Burnishing involves applying heavy pressure to the drawing once several layers of colour have been applied. This breaks down and blends the underlying colours to produce a smooth, painted-like finish. Once burnished, the drawing is then usually given a light application of workable fixative and, once dry, another series of layers can be built on top. Burnishing can be done with a white pencil, the lightest colour in the mix you are using, or a colourless blender. I prefer to burnish in light areas with a white pencil and use the colourless blender or blending stump for the darker tones and shadows.

Developing layers of colour

Adding detail.

Below: shows the first layer of colour in place and the second layer being developed over the leaves.

Sharp pencils are required to add the detail to the drawing.

Below: The second day of the workshop was taken up completing the morning glory vine before moving on to the Alstromeria project.

Alstromeria or Peruvian Lily
Alstromeria, also known as the Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas, produces beautiful blooms ranging in colour from white, pink and salmon to bright orange, red and purple. Although the plant is poisonous and also a skin irritant, it is commonly grown for the cut flower market. Alstromeria is a genus of flowering plants in the family Alstroemeriaceae. They are native to South America although some have become naturalized in the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Madeira and the Canary Islands.

Below: Actual flower.

Developing the leaves.

Keeping a sharp point on the pencils.

Below: Developing colour layers over the grey tonal base.

Adding detail to the flowers.

Almost completed.

Alstromeria project finished.

Below: Vibrant colours are achieved by burnishing and building layers of colour.

I will be returning back to Southampton Art School for my next workshop, The Basics of Colour Theory on September 21 & 22, 2019.

Southampton Art School & Gallery

201 High Street, Southampton, Ontario
Telephone: (519) 797-5068
Toll Free: 1-800-806-8838

Hope to see you there!

Michael Spillane

http://www.spillane-arts.com

 

 

 

Toronto Botanical Garden Workshop — June 2019

I was back at the Toronto Botanical Garden on June 15 & 16 for another two-day botanical drawing workshop titled The Fundamentals of Botanical Drawing. The workshop featured graphite as a drawing medium in botanical art. Students were given step-by-step instructions along with exercises on gesture, contour drawing and blending techniques to produce realistic botanical drawings. The projects for the workshop included a Fuchsia and Daffodils .

Above: The classrooms and lecture rooms at the Toronto Botanical Garden.

About the Toronto Botanical Garden

The Toronto Botanical Garden is located in Toronto’s Edwards Gardens and is a gardening education and information centre. Termed “The little garden with big ideas,” the TBG opened in 1958 and features a superb collection of themed “city-sized gardens.”

Above: Krinkled White Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) features large slightly fragrant blossoms with white paper-like, crinkled petals and and a central burst of golden stamens.

Edwards Gardens is a public park, owned and administered by the City of Toronto, whereas the Toronto Botanical Garden is a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to disseminating horticultural and gardening information to the public. Alexander Milne, a Scottish miller, settled his family and built his business on the site that we now know as Edwards Gardens in 1817. The land stayed in the Milne family for over a hundred years. Subsequent owners made some improvements to the property, but the area eventually became over-grown and weed-ridden. In 1944, a Toronto businessman, Rupert Edwards, bought the property to fulfill his dream of creating a magnificent country garden with wide open spaces and plenty of room to move and breath.

Above: Perhaps the tallest of the ornamental onions, Allium giganteum has a striking globe of tiny star-shaped lilac-purple flowers. 

Edwards transformed the property into a glorious garden, boasting one of the largest rockeries in Canada, a private 9-hole golf course and a safe haven for wildlife. Ten years later, when the city began to encroach upon the property, Edwards decided to sell. Wanting to preserve the estate as a public park, he sold it to the then Metro (Toronto) Council.

In 1956, Edwards Gardens was opened to the public and the Garden Club of Toronto shared Milne House facilities with The Federation of Ontario Naturalists. The Garden Club wanted to establish a facility which would provide horticultural information to the public and to that end, the Toronto Botanical Garden was established.

The Toronto Botanical Garden is located at 777 Lawrence Avenue East at Leslie Street, in Toronto, Ontario.

Phone: 416-397-1340

The gardens are open year-round from dawn until dusk and admission is free of charge. Check out their website to see what is happening!

www.torontobotanicalgarden.ca

Allium giganteum

Above: Golden yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus)

The Workshop

The Fundamentals of Botanical Drawing

The drawing process  starts with a series of gesture sketches and exercises to establish a good composition. Once the basic composition of the subject has been decided, the next step is to produce a simple geometric framework of the plant as a base for developing the drawing. When the sketch is completed over the geometric lines, a final contour drawing completes the process prior to applying graphite tonal values.

Many layers in graphite create a high contrast drawing.

Light H (hard) graphite pencils form the initial tonal base.

Below: First the basic geometry of the subject is established, then the contour or line drawing, followed by tonal rendering in graphite.

With step-by-step instructional pages, demonstrations and individual attention given to each student, developing drawing skills necessary for botanical art becomes relatively easy.

Student project shown next to a copy of my completed fuchsia drawing.

Below: Completed student drawing.

Below: Blending stumps and/or tortillons and a kneaded eraser work hand in hand with the H and B graphite pencils.

Below: Completed fuchsia drawing.

The next project on the second day of the workshop featured Daffodils, completed using a hatching technique in graphite.

Hatching
Hatching is a technique often used in graphite or pen and ink drawings to produce tone and texture in a range of values by applying small hatch lines or strokes sloping in the same direction. Darker values are built up by closing the gaps between the hatch lines to produce more density in the hatching. Cross-hatching is also used where the lines are crisscrossed over each other to create a different range of darker values.

The sketch is transferred onto illustration board and the first layers of hatched lines are established.

Below: Shows the development of the drawing.

Step-by-step project pages help to create an accurate drawing.

Below: Daffodils and Fuchsia on a 20 x 15 inch #79 Peterboro Illustration board.

Working on detail.

Below: The layers of hatch lines are starting to show contrasting values and three-dimensional form.

Below: Daffodils and fuchsia drawings.

Below: Starting my Kordana Rose drawing.

Detail of the rose flower in graphite.

My completed rose project in graphite.

My next workshop, Flowers & Landscapes in Watercolour is on July 22 & 23 at Southampton Art School & Gallery.

201 High Street, Southampton, Ontario

Telephone: (519) 797-5068
Toll Free: 1-800-806-8838

Hope to see you there!

Michael Spillane

http://www.spillane-arts.com

Aurora Cultural Centre — Botanical Art Workshop — May 2019

I was back at the Aurora Cultural Centre in May, 2019, to teach a one day workshop titled Magnificent Florals in Coloured Pencils.  It was a mild spring day, the trees were bursting with new growth although the sky was a little overcast.

The Town of Aurora

The town of Aurora is located approximately 40 minutes north of Toronto and is consistently ranked as one of the top places to live in Canada. With its picturesque rolling hills and heavily treed woodlots, Aurora has managed to blend its small-town charm and historic downtown core with a thriving urban and suburban centre. Aurora is the childhood home of Lester B. Pearson, Prime Minister of Canada from 1963 to 1968. In 1851 the population of Aurora, then known as Machell’s Corners (after a local merchant), was 100 residents. In 1854 the name of the settlement was changed by postmaster Charles Doan to Aurora – meaning goddess of the dawn in Roman mythology. The settlement was incorporated as a village in 1863 with a growing business community, several factories and mills, five churches and a school house. By 1869 the population had grown to 1200 and in 1888 Aurora became a town. On April 8, 2010, the town re-opened the historic and fully renovated Church Street School as the Aurora Cultural Centre.

Below: Horse Chestnut bursting with new spring foliage.

Aurora Cultural Centre

It is the vision of the Aurora Cultural Centre to provide a facility that enhances cultural life in the area through the fostering of art practice and presentation, production and reception. Since 2010, the centre has welcomed the community to participate in diverse creative experiences for all ages. Located in a beautifully-restored 1886 schoolhouse, the Aurora Cultural Centre is a charming historical treasure featuring four gallery exhibition spaces, a range of instructional classes for children, teens and adults, an eclectic live music series, special family events, summer arts camps, and stunning rental spaces for community activities and partnership participation. The centre is a registered charity, funded in part by the town of Aurora. The professional staff is supported by a dedicated volunteer board of directors and enthusiastic team of volunteers. The facility is wheelchair accessible, air-conditioned with parking surrounding the building.

The Aurora Cultural Centre is located at 22 Church Street, Aurora, Ontario.

Phone: (905) 713-1818
info@auroraculturalcentre.ca
Check out the website to see what is happening!

http://auroraculturalcentre.ca

The Workshop

Magnificent Florals with Coloured Pencils.

Coloured pencils are easy to use and convenient to store and replace. They can be used alone or combined with graphite.

Below: My completed Alstromeria (Peruvian Lily) botanical drawing in coloured pencil on hot-pressed watercolour paper.

Alstromeria or Peruvian Lily
Alstromeria, also known as the Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas, produces beautiful blooms ranging in colour from white, pink and salmon to bright orange, red and purple. Although the plant is poisonous and also a skin irritant, it is commonly grown for the cut flower market. Alstromeria is a genus of flowering plants in the family Alstroemeriaceae. They are native to South America although some have become naturalized in the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Madeira and the Canary Islands.

Below: Actual Alstromeria flower.

We spent the first day of the workshop developing the drawing and working from step-by-step instructional pages. Students produced a sketch of the plant followed by a grey monochromatic (one colour) tonal drawing. The base undertone was rendered with grey coloured pencils prior to adding colour layers. I used Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils throughout the project, although some of the students came with Prismacolor Premier coloured pencils which were cross-indexed to match the right colours.

Above: Line drawing.

Below: Grey monochromatic tonal drawing.

The workshop covered techniques such as burnishing, blending and layering, along with accurate colour matching, tonal rendering and composition. I used detailed step-by-step instructional handouts, demonstrations and one-on-one interaction with students to complete the Alstromeria project.

Below: Work in progress.

Below: Developing colour layers over the grey tonal base.

Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils were used throughout the project.

Above and below: Burnished colours are vibrant!

Coming along!

Below: Burnishing with coloured pencils produces deep colour tones, giving an almost painterly effect.

Below: Completed project.

A well as the Alstromeria, some of the students worked on my step-by-step ornamental gourd project (see below).

Below: Grey tone is established before developing the layers of colour.

Below: Andrea shows off her gourd project. The colours are developed in layers.

Below: Ann even found time to practice some equestrian drawing!

My next workshop, titled Fundamentals of Botanical Drawing will be on June 15 & 16, at the Toronto Botanical Garden (777 Lawrence Ave. E. North York, Toronto).

To register contact Michael Spillane at 905-891-8422

Email: michael@spillane-arts.com

Or: contact the Toronto Botanical Garden at 416-397-1340

Hope to see you all soon!

Michael Spillane

http://www.spillane-arts.com

Elora Centre for the Arts — Botanical Art Workshop May 2019

 

My next botanical art workshop was at The Elora Centre for the Arts in beautiful Elora, Ontario. It was early May and the town was beginning to green up with spring growth.

The Town of Elora

Elora is a quaint little town in Wellington County (Ontario) with many of its original limestone buildings dating from the 1800′s. The town was settled mainly by Scottish pioneers who left their mark on many of the finely crafted limestone buildings. Captain William Gilkison, a sailor and land speculator from Ayrshire, Scotland, founded the town in 1832. Originally named Irvine Settlement, the town was renamed Elora in 1839.  It has maintained its old world charm, suitably contrasting with the natural beauty of the surrounding area – in particular the spectacular Elora Gorge and its 80 foot limestone cliffs descending into the Grand and Irvine Rivers. The town is a dream destination for artisans and tourists alike, with an abundance of galleries, live music venues, arts and crafts boutiques and restaurants.

Drew House

During my visit to Elora I stayed at Drew House bed & breakfast (see below). If you ever get the chance to visit this quaint little town do not miss the opportunity to stay at this enchanting local treasure. It was a joy to catch up with an old friend from many years ago, noted resteurateur, chef and author Roger Dufau, who, with his wife Kathleen, operate Drew House – a popular facility known for hosting spiritual retreats, seminars, cooking classes and community events. Drew House is literally around the corner from the Elora Centre for the Arts so after one of Roger’s famous and never-to-be-forgotten breakfasts, I was able to walk the short distance to get prepared for the day ahead.

Above and below: Drew House

Elora Centre for the Arts

The Elora Centre for the Arts is a dedicated heritage building and charming, historical treasure. The building has been serving the community for more than 160 years and is located in a restored, three-story limestone school house consisting of 10 large classrooms converted to provide over 10,000 square feet of dedicated studio, gallery, and performance space. It is the vision of the ECFTA to “provide a facility that enhances cultural life in the region through the fostering of art practice and presentation, production and reception.”

Elora Centre for the Arts is located at 75 Melville St, Elora.

Phone: 519-846-9698
Check out their website to see what is happening!

eloracentreforthearts.ca

The Workshop

Botanical Drawing – Apple in Coloured Pencil

We had one day to complete a project from start to finish in coloured pencil, so I chose a multi-toned Honeycrisp apple.

A few students also chose to work on my ornamental gourd project.

Below: My apple project completed with Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils. Malus domestica ‘Honeycrisp’.

Below: Ornamental gourd completed using Faber-Castell Polychromos Coloured Pencils.

Prismacolor Premier Coloured Pencils

These are professional-quality, wax-based coloured pencils originated by Berol in 1938 and later manufactured by a company called Sandford in Illinois. They have been around for a long time and are still one of my preferences for botanical work. They come in a range of 132 colours and can be purchased individually or in boxed sets. There is a good general starter set available with twelve pencils. Wax-based pencils tend to be softer than oil-based ones which make them ideal for blending gradations to a smooth finish. Due to their softness, however, they often break easily and it is difficult to maintain a sharp point. Wax-based pencils can be used individually or in combination with oil-based brands such as Faber-Castell Polychromos, which do maintain a sharp point.

Faber-Castell Polychromos Coloured Pencils
The renowned German company, Faber-Castell, is the oldest pencil manufacturer in the world and its Polychromos line of oil-based coloured pencils has been around since 1908. Polychromos (meaning many colours) pencils come in a range of 120 colours and have excellent lightfast pigments that blend well and maintain a sharp point without breaking.

Above: First a light graphite base is established over the apple, followed by a light spray with workable fixative to prevent the graphite from smudging. A light base of Deco Yellow (Prismacolor 1011) was applied over the graphite and burnished with a white pencil.

What is Burnishing?

Burnishing involves applying heavy pressure to the drawing once several layers of colour have been applied. This breaks down and blends the underlying colours to produce a smooth, painted-like finish. Once burnished, the drawing is then usually given a light application of workable fixative and, once dry, another series of layers can be built on top. Burnishing can be done with a white pencil, the lightest colour in the mix you are using, or a colourless blender. I prefer to burnish in light areas with a white pencil and use the colourless blender or blending stump for the darker tones and shadows.

Above: My demo step-by-step apple project for the day.

Above: Orange, vermillion and red colours are added to develop the apple. (Note: A step-by-step project package of the apple is available for purchase on my website – www.spillane-arts.com)

Below: Step-by-step page handouts from start to finish help students to work through each stage of the project. Here Marina is working on the ornamental gourd project using Faber-Castell Polychromos Coloured Pencils.

You could hear a pin drop in the class!

Work in progress.

An apple a day…

Above: Burnishing with a white pencil helps to break down the colour layers and give a more “painterly” look to the subject, rather than it being immediately identified as a colour pencil drawing.

Amazing reproductions.

Above and below: The developing glorious gourd. The vibrant colours and patterns and bumpy surface on many of the gourd types make them pleasing choices for botanical drawings.

Below: Some of the finished projects.

My next workshop titled, Magnificent Florals with Coloured Pencils, is on May 25 at the Aurora Cultural Centre in Aurora, Ontario

22 Church St, Aurora, ON.

To register contact Michael Spillane at 905-891-8422

Email: michael@spillane-arts.com

Or call the Aurora Cultural Centre at 905-713-1818

Hope to see you all soon!

Michael Spillane

http://www.spillane-arts.com

 

 

 

Guelph School of Art Workshop — April 2019

I was back at the Guelph School of Art (Guelph, Ontario) on April 13 & 14 for another botanical drawing workshop titled Brilliant Floral Portraits in Coloured Pencils. The first workshop in Guelph for 2019, the weather was still a little inclement but we brought a little summer into the weekend with my botanical project for the workshop, a Morning Glory vine (Ipomoea tricolor). We also worked on Alstromeria (Peruvian Lily) and Honeycrisp apple projects.

The Town of Guelph

Known as “The Royal City,” (named after British Royal Family monarch, King George the IV), Guelph was founded on April 23, 1827, and officially became a town on January 1, 1856. Guelph was chosen as the name for the town because it was one of the family names of British royalty and had, apparently, never been used as a place name before. Guelph is located in southwestern Ontario, roughly 28 kilometres (17 miles) east of Waterloo and 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Toronto. The town is consistently rated as one of Canada’s best places to live and it plays a very important role in the history of Remembrance Day as Canadian physician, soldier, teacher and poet, John McCrae who wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields” was born in Guelph, Ontario, on November 30, 1872.

Above: Guelph School of Art

Below: Wyndham Art Supplies

The Workshop

Brilliant Floral Portraits with Coloured Pencils.

Below: My completed Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’) botanical drawing in coloured pencil on hot-pressed watercolour paper.

Coloured pencils are easy to use and convenient to store and replace. They can be used alone or combined with graphite.

About the subject:

Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’ is a fast-growing twining annual or perennial native to the rainforests of South America. Commonly called the Mexican Morning Glory, the plant belongs to the family Convolvulaceae and has mid-green, heart-shaped leaves. The large, vibrant deep sky-blue funnel-shaped flowers only last a day (hence the name) before fading and dropping but other flowers follow in quick succession. The striking blue flowers have yellow throats haloed in white. and are up to 8 to 13 cm across (3 to 5 inches). The seeds of several varieties of Ipomoea tricolor are highly toxic and contain a naturally-occurring psychedelic or hallucinogenic product, (LSA), similar in effect to LSD. Seeds of Mexican morning glory were used by the Aztecs in shamanistic rituals. Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’ has been awarded the British Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Award of Garden Merit.

Day 1

We spent the first day of the workshop developing the drawing and working from my step-by-step instructional pages. Students produced a sketch of the plant followed by a grey monochromatic (one colour) tonal drawing. The base undertone was rendered with grey coloured pencils prior to adding colour layers. I used Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils throughout the project, although some of the students came with Prismacolor Premier coloured pencils which were cross-indexed to match the right colours.

Below: Monochromatic undertone.

The workshop covered techniques such as burnishing, blending and layering with coloured pencils along with accurate colour matching, tonal rendering and composition. I used detailed step-by-step instructional handouts, demonstrations and one-on-one interaction with students to complete the botanical projects.

Below: Work in progress.

Below: Detailed step-by-step handouts take students through each phase of the project, from beginning to completion.

Below: This method of instruction shows how accurate the reproductions are and how efficiently students can learn various techniques used in botanical art.

Almost done!

Below: Completed morning glory on the left; drawing in progress on the right.

Below: The second day of the workshop was taken up completing the morning glory vine before moving on to the Alstromeria and/or apple projects.

Above: Completed Alstromeria (Peruvian Lily) in coloured pencil.

Above: Completed ‘Honeycrisp’ apple in coloured pencil.

Above: Student Alstromeria projects in progress.

Below: Apple in progress.

My next workshop titled Botanical Drawing — Apple in Coloured Pencil  — is on May 11 at the Elora Centre for the Arts.

75 Melville St. Elora

To register contact Michael Spillane at 905-891-8422

Email: michael@spillane-arts.com

Or: contact the Elora Centre for the Arts at (519) 846-9698

Hope to see you all soon!

Michael Spillane

http://www.spillane-arts.com