Once more I was back at Southampton Art School & Gallery in August to teach a three-day workshop titled Magnificent Florals in Watercolour.
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.
Beautiful Canna Lilies were in full bloom in the school courtyard garden, thriving in the August sunshine.
Magnificent Florals in Watercolour
This three-day workshop has been designed for the botanical artist looking to be able to paint realistic and vibrant floral portraits in watercolour. A step-by-step handout system teaches students the process of botanical painting in watercolour, from setting up a suitable subject to establishing a good composition and then following through to produce the finished painting. Demonstrations, one-on-one interaction with students and detailed instructional handouts help to provide a successful model for teaching. The workshop covers the drawing process, composition, how to transfer the drawing and prepare it for painting. colour theory and various watercolour painting techniques. Studies and exercises lead up to the completion of a finished watercolour floral painting.
Above: My watercolour painting, Zinnia elegans, the botanical subject for the workshop.
The drawing was first established as a sketchbook study using a series of observational drawing techniques. The finished line drawing was then transferred onto watercolour paper and a neutral grey underpainting (or shading) served to create a monochromatic three-dimensional painting. Liquid masking fluid was applied to the brightest areas of the flowers and leaves before painting the undertone.
The neutral tone I used for the underpainting was a mix of cadmium red, cadmium yellow, burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and Payne’s grey. The three primary colours, red, yellow and blue, form a good mix for a neutral underpainting and can be modified (depending on the subject) by adding a warmer tone such as burnt sienna (or vermillion), a cooler tone such as cobalt blue or a neutral grey to the mix.
Above and below: From a line drawing to a three-dimensional tonal image.
Below: Applying the first layers of colour.
Below: The leaves are masked and painted with a neutral undertone; the masking is then removed and colour is built up in thin layers as shown on the leaf below.
Flowers are formed through layers of yellow, yellow/orange orange and orange/red.
Step-by-step instructional handouts provide an efficient system to reproduce the Zinnia floral project.
Below: Almost completed.
Below: Work in progress.
After almost two days spent in deep concentration to complete the magnificent, yet complex Zinnia floral project, I decided to change direction a little and provide the students with a serene landscape for the next project. Not a botanical subject, I admit, but a welcome change from the technical requirements of botanical painting.
Here is the finished watercolour pastoral landscape, complete with rolling hills in the distance and a foreground bursting with clusters of striking umbelliferous Queen Anne’s Lace wildflowers (see, I didn’t completely abandon the botanical theme of the workshop).
Above: Two completed landscape paintings.
Above: Establishing the horizon line and sky.
Below: Adding the green base.
Below: The hills are alive…
Trees added to the scene and the foreground masked. The wildflowers are added using white gouache and the edge of a small, bristle fan brush.
Below: Pastoral landscape.
I will be returning to Southampton Arts Centre for my next workshop, Floral Portraits with Pen & Ink and Watercolour on September 19 & 20, 2018.
Southampton Art School & Gallery
201 High Street, Southampton, Ontario
Telephone: (519) 797-5068
Toll Free: 1-800-806-8838
Hope to see you there!