Archive | August 2018

Southampton Art School Workshop — July, 2018

I was back at Southampton Art School & Gallery in July to teach another botanical drawing workshop titled Brilliant Florals with Coloured Pencils.

Above and below: The beauty of Lake Huron, in all its variations.


The town of Southampton is located at the mouth of the Saugeen River on the shores of Lake Huron, in Bruce County (Ontario), and is one of my favourite places to visit during the summer months. It is a popular tourist and retirement destination and known for its magnificent sunsets.

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.

Southampton Art School and Gallery

The Workshop

Early morning and ready for class.

Brilliant Florals with Coloured Pencils

Coloured pencils can be used alone or combined with graphite. They are easy to use and convenient to store and replace. The workshop covered techniques such as burnishing, blending and layering with coloured pencils, along with accurate colour matching, tonal rendering and composition. I used detailed step-by-step instructional handouts, demonstrations and one-on-one interaction with students to complete the botanical portraits.

We spent the first day of the workshop developing a Cattleya orchid, from step-by-step instructional pages. First a grey monochromatic (one colour) tonal base was established. This base undertone was rendered with grey coloured pencils prior to adding colour.  I used Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils throughout the project, although some of the students came with Prismacolor Premier coloured  pencils which were cross-indexed to match the right colours.

Above: Monochromatic undertone.

Above and below: Completed Cattleya orchid in coloured pencil.

Alstromeria or Peruvian Lily
Alstromeria, also known as the Peruvian Lily or Lily of the Incas, produces beautiful blooms ranging in colour from white, pink and salmon to bright orange, red and purple. Although the plant is poisonous and also a skin irritant, it is commonly grown for the cut flower market. Alstromeria is a genus of flowering plants in the family Alstroemeriaceae. They are native to South America although some have become naturalized in the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Madeira and the Canary Islands.

Let’s look at the Alstromeria drawing: First an accurate line drawing is completed.

Below: Step two: Monochromatic undertone in grey coloured pencils.

Above and below: First layer of colour on the leaves.

Step-by-step handout pages provide detailed instructions on each stage of the project.

Next the flowers are developed.

Below: Completed Alstromeria project.

My next workshop titled Floral Portraits with Pen & Ink and Watercolour will be at the Guelph School of Art — 125 Wyndham St N, Guelph, ON — on August 11 & 12.

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 23, 24 & 25 to teach another botanical art workshop: Magnificent Florals in Watercolour. 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