I was invited to put on a two-day, coloured pencil botanical drawing workshop at Southampton Art School, in Bruce County, Ontario. It was a warm, idyllic July morning and the sun shone bright in a deep blue sky. I was taking a break outside the art school building with a group of students when the bird appeared.
With a wingspan of just over six feet, a conspicuous white head, neck and tail, dark brown body and a large, bright yellow beak, there is no mistaking a bald eagle when you see one. The majestic bird of prey dipped and dived frantically trying to escape the onslaught of a mob of angry seagulls eager to see the predator off. Two bald eagles have been regularly seen around Chantry Island which overlooks Southampton, so they are becoming a big draw for local tourists and birdwatchers. What a treat to get to see one of these rare birds of prey up so close.
Southampton Art school
Southampton is located at the mouth of the Saugeen River on the shores of Lake Huron, in Bruce County, Ontario. It is a popular tourist and retirement destination and known for its magnificent sunsets. 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.
Sunset over Lake Huron.
Southampton Art School and Gallery is located in the heart of downtown Southampton and provides a wonderful teaching environment and a gallery showcasing regional and local talent. The facility has been around since 1957 and is an integral part of the art community of Bruce County.
Comfortable sitting area in the apartment above the school for visiting instructors.
Students from Ottawa, Elmira, Kincardine, Guelph and locally around Southampton attended the workshop. The first day students completed a floral work in coloured pencil. Demonstrations, step-by-step page instructions and individual interaction helped students finish the project in one session. It was an enjoyable experience and a great way to spend a hot summer’s day.
Vanessa Phillips, a talented young artist working on the Fuchsia floral project.
The second day of the workshop students worked on an apple in coloured pencil and, again, everyone finished the project before the end of the day. Prismacolor coloured pencils were used for both projects (floral and fruit) on Arches hot pressed watercolour paper. After the workshop ended, I took a short drive to nearby Port Elgin for dinner and then back to Southampton to watch the local piper play the bagpipes on the beach as the sun set over Lake Huron (a popular tradition for tourists during the months of July and August). A hot, relaxing mineral bath before bed provided a fitting end to a productive day.
Barbara Moss working on her apple.
Student apple project in coloured pencil.
Emily Pedrosa showing off her finished apple project.
Bagpipes on the beach at sunset.
For more information on the Southampton Art School and Gallery, visit www.southamptonart.com or call 519-97-5068; toll free: 1-800-806-8838.
I am also teaching the following workshops in Botanical Drawing & Painting:
September 19, 20 & 21 at Hardy’s Hobbies & Crafts in Madoc, Ontario.
November 19 at St. Aiden’s Church in London, Ontario.
November 30 & December 7 at Guelph School of Art in Guelph, Ontario. Check out my website under workshops for further details: www.spillane-arts.com.