Archive | August 2015

Southampton Art School Workshop 2015 — Botanical Drawing Workshops with Michael Spillane


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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. 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.

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Sunset over Lake Huron.

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Southampton Art School (above)

Gallery (below)

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I was invited back to Southampton Art School & Gallery this July to instruct botanical drawing workshops in graphite, pen & ink and coloured pencil. These drawing workshops are ideal for the botanical artist looking to further develop their skills in botanical drawing and also  to do something a little different. I used step-by-step floral projects in graphite, pen & ink and coloured pencils with demonstrations, one-on-one interaction with students and detailed instructional handouts. The workshops were very successful and everyone finished all the projects.

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Michael Spillane outside the Southampton Art Gallery — Retro black and white photo and very Indiana Jones!

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Side view of the Southampton Art School

Below: Students working on a step-by-step Fuchsia project in graphite and coloured pencil.

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Below: Students working on a step-by-step Cattleya Orchid project in coloured pencil.

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Students with their finished Fuchsia Projects.

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Below: Iris project in pen & ink
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Below: Student Iris project at the graphite stage of the drawing.

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Below: Finished botanical drawing project in pen & ink

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Below: Next botanical drawing project: Poppies in pen & ink.

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Below: Completed botanical drawing project: Poppies in pen & ink.

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Here are a few comments from students who took part in the botanical drawing workshops:
Many thanks to all who attended. It was a wonderful experience!
Thanks also to the staff at the Southampton Art School and Gallery!


Graphite and Pen & Ink
“Michael Spillane is a kind, affirming instructor who leads at a gentle pace. I think a three-day class would have allowed more time to help us grow as botanical artists. Most of us in the class and the instructor himself would have liked more time to include watercolour washes added to the pen and ink projects.”

“I loved the class. Michael is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. I can’t believe what I was able to produce in two days.”

Coloured Pencils
“I really appreciate that the class ran even though it was only a small group. Michael was a good instructor and a fun and interesting person. I would consider taking a class with him next year if he is teaching at the school.  I learned a new technique and am looking forward to using coloured pencils to do more botanical art. Michael was a patient and helpful instructor. I only wish that it would have been a day or two longer.”

“Great class and knowledgeable instructor.”