Archive | May 2016

Guelph School of Art Workshop April 2016

Guelph Workshop 3 June 2014

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.

Guelph School 2

My first botanical art workshop of 2016 started back at the Guelph School of Art (Guelph, Ontario). This was a three-day workshop titled The Fundamentals of Botanical Drawing.

I designed the workshop for students  interested in botanical art and, in particular, for those wishing to learn a range of  botanical drawing skills. Students were given step-by-step instructions on how to progress through botanical drawing projects using graphite/pencil, coloured pencils and pen & ink. We discussed the drawing process when choosing botanical subjects, and I provided exercises on gesture, contour drawing, blending, burnishing and pen & ink techniques.

Day one was spent establishing and completing a botanical project in graphite (see student fuchsia drawing below).

April Workshop 8

April Workshop 6

April Workshop 1

Students worked on a floral project in pen & ink on day two, with demonstrations, one-on-one interaction and detailed instructional handouts. An iris and poppy were the botanical subjects for the day.

April Workshop 14

April Workshop 3

Above: Student working on an iris in pen & ink.

April Workshop 2

Above: Student working on a poppy in pen & ink.

April Workshop 9

Colonel John McCrae, who wrote the poem “In Flanders Fields” was born and raised in Guelph. I had drawn the original pen & ink illustration (used for the project above) for Oakville Today newspaper to commemorate Remembrance Day.

Students were introduced to coloured pencil on the final day of the workshop and were shown how to produce stunning effects using this versatile and very portable medium in botanical art. Techniques such as burnishing and layering, along with accurate colour matching, tonal rendering and composition were studied along with completing a step-by-step Cattleia orchid and/or apple project.

April Workshop 20

April Workshop 15

Above: Roz Stevenson working on her apple project using Prismacolor coloured pencils on hot-pressed watercolour paper.

April Workshop 21

Botanical drawings are completed using my step-by-step handout instructional system that allows students to work systematically through each phase of the project.

Below: Alison Strong shows her developing orchid project in coloured pencil.

April Workshop 16

Below: We were honoured to have participating in the workshop Karen Logan who is the current Treasurer for the Botanical Artists of Canada. Check out their website and join up! The information is shown below.

April Workshop 17

April Workshop 10

Botanical Artists of Canada

If you would like to reach our executive, require information about our organization, or to inquire about our activities, please

For more information about membership, please contact our membership coordinator

I will be teaching this three-day workshop again on June 8, 9 & 10 at Southampton Art School.

Southampton Arts Centre
Art School & Gallery
201 High Street,
Southampton, Ontario N0H 2L0
Telephone: (519) 797-5068
Toll Free: 1-800-806-8838

Hope to see you there!

Michael Spillane

Michael 2 B&W

My next workshop will be on May 23 & 24 at the Toronto Botanical Gardens featuring botanical drawing using coloured pencils.