Archive | July 2017

Southampton Art School Workshop — June 2017

I was thrilled to be back once more at the Southampton Art School & Gallery this June to teach another two-day botanical drawing/painting workshop. The workshop titled Floral Portraits in Pen & Ink with Watercolour, provided an interesting mix of mediums for the botanical artist looking to expand their horizons with something a little different.

One of my favourite places to sit by the lake for quiet contemplation in the picturesque town of Southampton.

Southampton Art School

Southampton Art School and Gallery is located in the heart of downtown Southampton in Bruce County and provides a wonderful teaching environment and gallery showcasing regional and local talent. The teaching facility has been around since 1957 and is an integral part of the art community of Bruce County. The gallery was established in 1999 and has grown to represent the art from over 40 local and regional artists from Grey and Bruce Counties and surrounding area in a quaint 3000 square foot facility.

Below: Enjoying the sunshine outside the school.

Below: Back entrance to the school. The school and gallery are connected by a quiet little courtyard garden.


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.

The Workshop

Below: Getting ready for the first day.

Below: Botanical drawings and cookies!

Bearded Iris and Poppy in pen & ink with watercolour wash.

Irises were in full bloom in the garden courtyard so we were able to obtain a few live specimens for reference.

Below: Colour matching the iris to the live flowers.

We started out with a line drawing then progressed to a fully rendered tonal drawing in graphite before adding the ink layers (see below).

Students working on the graphite stage of the drawing.

Once the graphite undertone is established (see above), the first layer of ink is applied over the graphite (see below). With the pen & ink layers completed, a kneaded eraser is used over the drawing to remove any excess graphite. After finishing the pen & ink layers (two to three layers), colour swatches are prepared and the watercolour washes are applied over the pen & ink drawing. Micron (or Staedtler) 005, 01 and 03 ink drawing pens were used for the project.

Below: Building up the ink layers.

Below: Almost done!

Below: Four student projects at the pen & ink stage.


With so many irises in bloom in the garden we were able to match colour directly from the petals.

Below: Mixes of Ultramarine Blue, Permanent Rose, Alizarin Crimson, Payne’s Grey, Cadmium Lemon and Cadmium Yellow Pale.


Below: Nancy showing off her finished Iris project.

Below: Finished Iris project.

On the second day of the workshop, having mostly completed the Iris project, we started on the Poppy drawing in pen & ink as shown below.

Another glorious sunset! The beauty of Lake Huron is constant. I will be back again soon…

My next workshop, Florals with Coloured Pencils, will be at the Guelph School of Art —
125 Wyndham St N, Guelph, ON — on August 12 & 13.

Check out the GSA website for all course and workshop listings.

Telephone: 519-767-1317
Toll Free: 1-800-560-1970

I will be back at Southampton Art School August 21, 22 & 23 to teach a workshop on The Fundamentals of Botanical Drawing. Check out the website for more information.

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 soon!

Michael Spillane