Southampton Art school Workshop — August, 2019

The sunsets are always spectacular in Southampton.

My next two-day workshop at Southampton Art School & Gallery was on August 26 & 27 titled Magnificent Florals in Coloured Pencils

The Mountain Ash or Rowan (Sorbus americana) belongs to the rose family and in May and June the trees are covered in glorious white flowers. The flowers are followed in late summer with bunches of bright orange-red berries that fill the trees with vibrant colour. The berries also provide a valuable food source for birds.

Below: Enjoy an exciting evening of awesome custom, classic and antique cars with classic rock to set the mood every Thursday from June to August in Southampton.

Below: Trumpet Vine (Campis radicans) is a spectacular, but invasive and aggressive, deciduous vine with showy trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in varying shades of red, orange or yellow. This plant was providing a magnificent display of scarlet/red flowers at the back of the school entrance.

Southampton

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.

Below: Globe Thistle (Echinops): Stunning blue perennials in the aster family with deep dark blue spiky flowers.

Southampton Art School & Gallery

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.

Below: Southampton Art School

Southampton Art Gallery

The Workshop

Magnificent Florals with Coloured Pencils.

Below: My completed Morning Glory (Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’) and Peruvian Lily (Alstromeria) botanical drawings in coloured pencil on hot-pressed watercolour paper.

Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’ is a fast-growing twining annual or perennial native to the rainforests of South America. Commonly called the Mexican Morning Glory, the plant belongs to the family Convolvulaceae and has mid-green, heart-shaped leaves. The large, vibrant deep sky-blue funnel-shaped flowers only last a day (hence the name) before fading and dropping but other flowers follow in quick succession. The striking blue flowers have yellow throats haloed in white. and are up to 8 to 13 cm across (3 to 5 inches). The seeds of several varieties of Ipomoea tricolor are highly toxic and contain a naturally-occurring psychedelic or hallucinogenic product, (LSA), similar in effect to LSD. Seeds of Mexican morning glory were used by the Aztecs in shamanistic rituals. Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’ has been awarded the British Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Award of Garden Merit.

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.

Day 1

We spent the first day of the workshop developing the Morning Glory drawing and working from my step-by-step instructional pages. Students produced a sketch of the plant followed by a grey monochromatic (one colour) tonal drawing. The base undertone was rendered with grey coloured pencils prior to adding colour layers. 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.

Coloured pencils are easy to use and convenient to store and replace. They can be used alone or combined with graphite.

Faber-Castell Polychromos coloured pencils
The renowned German company, Faber-Castell, is the oldest pencil manufacturer in the world and its Polychromos line of oil-based coloured pencils has been around since 1908. Polychromos (meaning many colours) pencils come in a range of 120 colours and have excellent lightfast pigments that blend well and maintain a sharp point without breaking.

Below: Monochromatic undertone.

Below: This method of instruction shows how accurate the reproductions are and how efficiently students can learn various techniques used in botanical art.

The workshop covered techniques such as burnishing, blending and layering with coloured pencils, along with accurate colour matching, tonal rendering and composition. I combined detailed step-by-step instructional handouts with demonstrations and one-on-one interaction to help students to complete the botanical projects.

Burnishing with a white coloured pencil

Burnishing involves applying heavy pressure to the drawing once several layers of colour have been applied. This breaks down and blends the underlying colours to produce a smooth, painted-like finish. Once burnished, the drawing is then usually given a light application of workable fixative and, once dry, another series of layers can be built on top. Burnishing can be done with a white pencil, the lightest colour in the mix you are using, or a colourless blender. I prefer to burnish in light areas with a white pencil and use the colourless blender or blending stump for the darker tones and shadows.

Developing layers of colour

Adding detail.

Below: shows the first layer of colour in place and the second layer being developed over the leaves.

Sharp pencils are required to add the detail to the drawing.

Below: The second day of the workshop was taken up completing the morning glory vine before moving on to the Alstromeria project.

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.

Below: Actual flower.

Developing the leaves.

Keeping a sharp point on the pencils.

Below: Developing colour layers over the grey tonal base.

Adding detail to the flowers.

Almost completed.

Alstromeria project finished.

Below: Vibrant colours are achieved by burnishing and building layers of colour.

I will be returning back to Southampton Art School for my next workshop, The Basics of Colour Theory on September 21 & 22, 2019.

Southampton Art School & Gallery

201 High Street, Southampton, Ontario
Telephone: (519) 797-5068
Toll Free: 1-800-806-8838

Hope to see you there!

Michael Spillane

http://www.spillane-arts.com

 

 

 

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