Archives

Guelph Workshop — November, 2019 with Michael Spillane

Above: Wyndham Art Supplies and Guelph School of Art.

Below: Wyndham Street, Guelph.

I was back at the Guelph School of Art (Guelph, Ontario) on November 9 & 10 – just as winter was beginning to set in – to teach  a two-day workshop titled Abstracting Fall Leaves in Watercolour. This workshop is perfect for the autumn season (so a little late, unfortunately) and different from what I usually teach, most certainly  more looser and leaning towards abstract expression rather than scientific botanical illustration. My approach to the workshop was to combine detailed realistic painting of fall leaves with an abstract compositional or impressionistic approach to the layout.

The workshop was held at Necessary Arts a few minutes walk from Wyndham Art Supplies and the school.

Necessary Arts: Founded on December 1, 2012, Necessary Arts Company is a space dedicated to teaching arts and crafts and supporting local artists.

The Town of Guelph

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.

The Workshop

This particular workshop provides a unique opportunity to combine detailed watercolour botanical painting with expressive abstract work. The workshop covers basic watercolour techniques – such as wet-on-wet painting and drybrushing – as well as focusing on composition and colour theory. Students are given step-by-step instructions on how to use glazing, splatter and other special effects to complete a magnificent, impressionistic-style painting themed on the glorious colours and textures of autumn foliage.

 

Above and below: Abstracting fall leaves into pleasing arrangements. My own projects.

Below: To get started, first the watercolour paper is taped down to a masonite board and sprayed with water until the paper is moist. A mix of Cadmium Lemon, Yellow Ochre and a touch of Payne’s Grey was applied as a uniform wash over the paper.

The main and lateral veins on the leaves are masked to preserve the light areas. I used a Daniel Smith Fine Line Artist Masking Fluid Applicator to mask off the intricate leaf vein lines.

With the leaf outlines drawn or transferred onto the paper, changes are made by adding or removing leaf shapes to increase contrast and/or interest in the overall design.

Once the paper is toned and the leaves are drawn, the base colours are painted by first analyzing the true colours of the leaves (that are available). Because most of the fall leaves had already given way to winter, we worked from a selection of photos taken when autumn leaves were abundant.

Every project is different and unique in its colour scheme and compositional layout.

During fall there are so many leaves on the streets, parks and gardens to choose from. This is a great project to take advantage of the season by creating a collage of interesting fall leaves and preserving them in a painting.

Above: The leaves are so realistic they seem to overlap each other on the page and jump out from the background.

The leaf outlines are positioned on the surface of the paper in an interesting pattern. The idea is to create pleasing shapes, negative spaces and overlapping outlines. Once the leaves are in place, a piece of masking tape holds down each leaf whilst the outline is transferred onto the paper with transfer paper. The leaves can also be drawn in freehand.

High contrast is achieved by developing the layers in the painting and maintaining a range of values and highlights.

A cluster of magnificent fall colours!

Below: Wow! These leaves are just so realistic!

Below: Another project with subtle analogous autumn hues.

Autumn brilliance! Realism meets abstract!

Almost completed.

This is my last workshop of 2019… and my last of the decade! I will be up and running again in 2020, starting on April 4 & 5 back at the Guelph School of Art. The workshop is titled Florals on a Black Background in Coloured Pencils & Acrylic and you will not want to miss it!

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

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

All the best,

Michael Spillane

Toronto Botanical Garden Workshop — October 2019

I was back at the Toronto Botanical Garden on October 26 & 27 for another two-day workshop titled Abstracting Fall Leaves in Watercolour. This project is perfect for the autumn season and a little different from what I usually teach, most certainly  more looser and leaning towards abstract expression rather than scientific illustration. My approach to this workshop was to combine detailed realistic painting of fall leaves with an abstract compositional or impressionistic approach to the layout.

The light and colours are wonderful at the garden this time of year!

Below: Glorious fall daisies.

Roses still in full bloom at the TBG.

About the Toronto Botanical Garden

The Toronto Botanical Garden is located in Toronto’s Edwards Gardens and is a gardening education and information centre. Termed “The little garden with big ideas,” the TBG opened in 1958 and features a superb collection of themed “city-sized gardens.”

Edwards Gardens is a public park, owned and administered by the City of Toronto, whereas the Toronto Botanical Garden is a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to disseminating horticultural and gardening information to the public. Alexander Milne, a Scottish miller, settled his family and built his business on the site that we now know as Edwards Gardens in 1817. The land stayed in the Milne family for over a hundred years. Subsequent owners made some improvements to the property, but the area eventually became over-grown and weed-ridden. In 1944, a Toronto businessman, Rupert Edwards, bought the property to fulfill his dream of creating a magnificent country garden with wide open spaces and plenty of room to move and breath.

Edwards transformed the property into a glorious garden, boasting one of the largest rockeries in Canada, a private 9-hole golf course and a safe haven for wildlife. Ten years later, when the city began to encroach upon the property, Edwards decided to sell. Wanting to preserve the estate as a public park, he sold it to the then Metro (Toronto) Council.

In 1956, Edwards Gardens was opened to the public and the Garden Club of Toronto shared Milne House facilities with The Federation of Ontario Naturalists. The Garden Club wanted to establish a facility which would provide horticultural information to the public and to that end, the Toronto Botanical Garden was established.

The Toronto Botanical Garden is located at 777 Lawrence Avenue East at Leslie Street, in Toronto, Ontario.

Phone: 416-397-1340

The gardens are open year-round from dawn until dusk and admission is free of charge. Check out their website to see what is happening!

www.torontobotanicalgarden.ca

The Workshop

The workshop provides a unique opportunity to combine detailed watercolour botanical painting with expressive abstract work. The workshop covers basic watercolour techniques – such as wet-on-wet painting and drybrushing – as well as focusing on composition and colour theory. Students are given step-by-step instructions on how to use glazing, splatter and other special effects to complete a magnificent, impressionistic-style painting themed on the glorious colours and textures of autumn foliage.

Above: Perfect time to paint the magnificent colours and textures of the changing autumn foliage.

My project example.

Above and below: More examples of abstracting fall leaves into pleasing arrangements.

Below: To start the project, the watercolour paper is taped down to a masonite board and sprayed with water until the paper is moist. A mix of Cadmium Lemon, Yellow Ochre and a touch of Payne’s Grey is applied as a uniform wash over the paper.

Once the paper is toned and the leaves are drawn in, the base colours are painted by first analyzing the true colours of the leaves.

With all the leaf outlines transferred onto the paper, changes can be made to the drawing by adding or removing leaf shapes to increase interest in the composition.

The leaves are placed to create an interesting composition.

The leaf outlines are positioned on the surface of the paper in an interesting pattern. The idea is to create pleasing shapes, negative spaces and overlapping outlines. Once the leaves are in place, a piece of masking tape holds down each leaf whilst the outline is transferred onto the paper with transfer paper. The leaves can also be drawn in freehand.

Deep, vibrant autumn colours.

There are so many leaves out in the gardens to choose from. This is a great project to take advantage of the season by creating a collage of interesting fall leaves and preserving them in a painting.

A bunch of autumn leaves ready to be arranged on the paper.

Deep contrast is achieved in the painting by developing the layers and maintaining highlights as you go.

Below: The main and lateral veins on the leaves are masked to preserve the light areas. I used a Daniel Smith Fine Line Artist Masking Fluid Applicator to mask off the intricate vein lines.

Completed projects.

Autumn brilliance! Realism meets abstract!

What a way to fully be in the moment and embrace the fall season!

I will be teaching this same workshop at the Guelph School of Art — 125 Wyndham St N, Guelph, ON — on November 9 & 10.

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

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

 

 

Southampton Art School Workshop — September 2019

The September sun sets in violet and orange brilliance over Lake Huron in Southampton.

My next two-day workshop at Southampton Art School & Gallery on September 21 & 22 teaches the fundamentals of colour theory and how students can appy the principles of this theory to art and design.

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.

Above: Striking orange with a subtle hint of blue, blue grey: Altered complimentary colour scheme.

Above: Southampton Art School

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 back entrance.

The Workshop

The Basics of Colour Theory

I designed the workshop to help students understand the basics of colour theory. Through a series of exercises and written notes, students develop a study book to serve as a future reference source for use in colour mixing, colour application and painting. Topics covered in the workshop included the following: wavelengths and the illusion of colour, tints, tones and shades, hue and value, colour schemes and how colour can often represent emotion or have symbolic meaning.

INTRODUCTION

Colour theory as a subject can be very complex, but there are some basics that with a little bit of study and understanding will greatly benefit the artist. Firstly, colour is a property of light wavelengths; white light passed through a prism splits into the colours of the rainbow. As light changes, so does colour. Painting is the science of “seeing.” To think in terms of colour – for example, Impressionism – you have to learn to see the world as a mosaic of colour changes.

This property of light was illustrated by Sir Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century when he put white light through a prism. The prism broke up white light into the familiar colours of the rainbow.

Objects have no colour of their own but merely the ability to reflect certain rays of white light, which contain all the colours.

Above: An abstract painting by Wassily Kandinsky in black and white.
The exercise involved using the above design to translate the values from light to dark into colour. Black can be added to the darkest value or white to the lightest value to increase contrast in the design.

The colour scheme is based on the colour wheel:
Primary colours first, then secondary colours, then tertiary colours.

Translating values into colour.

VALUE
Lightness or darkness of the colour or hue.
It is important to know how to translate colour into value, and value into colour. Learn to see and analyze colour in terms of value, whether what is seen is lighter or darker in terms of what colours are next to it, not just a different colour.
Although individual perception varies, most people can distinguish at least forty tints and shades of any colour. Value can be altered by adding white or black paint to the colour.

HUE
Hue refers to the colour name e.g. red, blue etc. Spectrum intensity refers to the hue on the colour wheel in its purest, brightest form. Even though there are relatively few hues, there can be an almost unlimited number of colours.
Ex: The hue can be red – pink, rose, scarlet, crimson etc are all colours.
The same hue or colour can have many different commercial names.
The most common arrangement of basic colours is called a Colour Wheel. The wheel system dates back to the early 18th century and uses 12 hues, which are divided into three categories.

Two other colour systems are: the Munsell Colour Organization & Ostwald Colour Wheel System

Exercise completed: Colour scheme based on the colour wheel:
Primary, secondary and tertiary colours.

Kandinsky painting translated to colour.

Below: Exercises to create value scales: Tint / Shade

Value can be altered by adding white or black paint to the colour.
Adding white lightens the colour and produces a tint, or high-value colour.
Adding black darkens the colour and produces a shade, or low-value colour.

Intensity / Complimentary Colours: Red /green; blue/orange.

Below: Exercise to explore and understand pure & altered complimentary colours systems.

Exercise:

1) Image transferred onto watercolour paper.

2) Paint one version in pure hue complimentary colours – yellow/violet.

Or: use two sets of complimentary colours Ex: yellow/violet
blue/orange.

3) Paint another version in dulled, altered complimentary colours – yellow/violet – mixed.

Or: use two sets of dulled, altered complimentary colours.

Ex: yellow/violet; blue/orange.

Complimentary colour schemes

Below: Colour temperature and emphasis

Areas of emphasis in a drawing or painting create visual interest. Colour is very often the means chosen to provide this emphasis.

Colour is so strong a visual element that it will dominate other devices to establish emphasis (such as larger sizes, changing a shape or isolating one element).

Cool colours recede; warm colours advance.
A sense of depth can be created by a progression of warm to cool colours.

Below: Colour Schemes:

Monochromatic
Analogous
Complimentary
Triadic (3)
Split Complimentary
Tetradic (4)

Above: Analogous colour scheme
An analogous colour scheme combines several hues that are next to each other on the colour wheel. Again, the hues may vary in value.
3-hue analogous scheme e.g. orange, yellow/orange and red/orange.
The range can be extended from 2 to 6 colours.
The visual effect is peacful and harmonious.

Above: Complimentary and monochromatic (one) colour schemes.

Complimentary: As the term implies, this colour scheme joins colours opposite each other on the colour wheel. This combination will produce a lively, exciting colour scheme, especially with the colours at full intensity.

Below: Four colour schemes perfectly understood and painted in gouache.

In painting colour is often used intuitively, and not so much by formula. But knowing these colour schemes and harmonies can help artists/designers to consciously plan the visual effects they want a finished painting to have. Also, colour can easily provide a visual unity that might not be obvious in the initial pattern of shapes or composition.

Abstraction in Design

Based on Georges Seurat’s painting – A Sunday Afternoon
on the Grande Fatte – 1884-1886.

Symbolic meaning: Cooler blues and greens are associated with less outgoing feelings and can express melancholy or depression. These are generalities, of course, and reactions can be influenced in many ways, including colour combinations, systems and value changes.

Below: Frantisek Kupka – Planes by Colour
Large Nude 1909 –1910. Oil on canvas
The colours in Kupka’s painting were chosen for their spatial and decorative qualities, not for any objective reference to the natural colours of a nude woman (Arbitrary Colour).

Below: Colours widely separated on the colour wheel (but not compliments) are generally seen as discordant combinations. For example: Red and blue-purple; orange and yellow-green; blue green and blue-purple; pink and orange.

With all the exercises completed, students gained a deep understanding on colour theory, colour systems and how to apply this knowledge to their painting.

My next workshop, titled Abstracting Fall Leaves in Watercolour will be on October 26 & 27, at the Toronto Botanical Garden

(777 Lawrence Ave. E. North York, Toronto).

To register contact Michael Spillane at 905-891-8422

Email: michael@spillane-arts.com

Or: contact the Toronto Botanical Garden at 416-397-1340

Hope to see you all soon!

Michael Spillane

http://www.spillane-arts.com

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Toronto Botanical Garden Workshop — June 2019

I was back at the Toronto Botanical Garden on June 15 & 16 for another two-day botanical drawing workshop titled The Fundamentals of Botanical Drawing. The workshop featured graphite as a drawing medium in botanical art. Students were given step-by-step instructions along with exercises on gesture, contour drawing and blending techniques to produce realistic botanical drawings. The projects for the workshop included a Fuchsia and Daffodils .

Above: The classrooms and lecture rooms at the Toronto Botanical Garden.

About the Toronto Botanical Garden

The Toronto Botanical Garden is located in Toronto’s Edwards Gardens and is a gardening education and information centre. Termed “The little garden with big ideas,” the TBG opened in 1958 and features a superb collection of themed “city-sized gardens.”

Above: Krinkled White Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) features large slightly fragrant blossoms with white paper-like, crinkled petals and and a central burst of golden stamens.

Edwards Gardens is a public park, owned and administered by the City of Toronto, whereas the Toronto Botanical Garden is a volunteer-driven charity dedicated to disseminating horticultural and gardening information to the public. Alexander Milne, a Scottish miller, settled his family and built his business on the site that we now know as Edwards Gardens in 1817. The land stayed in the Milne family for over a hundred years. Subsequent owners made some improvements to the property, but the area eventually became over-grown and weed-ridden. In 1944, a Toronto businessman, Rupert Edwards, bought the property to fulfill his dream of creating a magnificent country garden with wide open spaces and plenty of room to move and breath.

Above: Perhaps the tallest of the ornamental onions, Allium giganteum has a striking globe of tiny star-shaped lilac-purple flowers. 

Edwards transformed the property into a glorious garden, boasting one of the largest rockeries in Canada, a private 9-hole golf course and a safe haven for wildlife. Ten years later, when the city began to encroach upon the property, Edwards decided to sell. Wanting to preserve the estate as a public park, he sold it to the then Metro (Toronto) Council.

In 1956, Edwards Gardens was opened to the public and the Garden Club of Toronto shared Milne House facilities with The Federation of Ontario Naturalists. The Garden Club wanted to establish a facility which would provide horticultural information to the public and to that end, the Toronto Botanical Garden was established.

The Toronto Botanical Garden is located at 777 Lawrence Avenue East at Leslie Street, in Toronto, Ontario.

Phone: 416-397-1340

The gardens are open year-round from dawn until dusk and admission is free of charge. Check out their website to see what is happening!

www.torontobotanicalgarden.ca

Allium giganteum

Above: Golden yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus)

The Workshop

The Fundamentals of Botanical Drawing

The drawing process  starts with a series of gesture sketches and exercises to establish a good composition. Once the basic composition of the subject has been decided, the next step is to produce a simple geometric framework of the plant as a base for developing the drawing. When the sketch is completed over the geometric lines, a final contour drawing completes the process prior to applying graphite tonal values.

Many layers in graphite create a high contrast drawing.

Light H (hard) graphite pencils form the initial tonal base.

Below: First the basic geometry of the subject is established, then the contour or line drawing, followed by tonal rendering in graphite.

With step-by-step instructional pages, demonstrations and individual attention given to each student, developing drawing skills necessary for botanical art becomes relatively easy.

Student project shown next to a copy of my completed fuchsia drawing.

Below: Completed student drawing.

Below: Blending stumps and/or tortillons and a kneaded eraser work hand in hand with the H and B graphite pencils.

Below: Completed fuchsia drawing.

The next project on the second day of the workshop featured Daffodils, completed using a hatching technique in graphite.

Hatching
Hatching is a technique often used in graphite or pen and ink drawings to produce tone and texture in a range of values by applying small hatch lines or strokes sloping in the same direction. Darker values are built up by closing the gaps between the hatch lines to produce more density in the hatching. Cross-hatching is also used where the lines are crisscrossed over each other to create a different range of darker values.

The sketch is transferred onto illustration board and the first layers of hatched lines are established.

Below: Shows the development of the drawing.

Step-by-step project pages help to create an accurate drawing.

Below: Daffodils and Fuchsia on a 20 x 15 inch #79 Peterboro Illustration board.

Working on detail.

Below: The layers of hatch lines are starting to show contrasting values and three-dimensional form.

Below: Daffodils and fuchsia drawings.

Below: Starting my Kordana Rose drawing.

Detail of the rose flower in graphite.

My completed rose project in graphite.

My next workshop, Flowers & Landscapes in Watercolour is on July 22 & 23 at 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

Aurora Cultural Centre — Botanical Art Workshop — May 2019

I was back at the Aurora Cultural Centre in May, 2019, to teach a one day workshop titled Magnificent Florals in Coloured Pencils.  It was a mild spring day, the trees were bursting with new growth although the sky was a little overcast.

The Town of Aurora

The town of Aurora is located approximately 40 minutes north of Toronto and is consistently ranked as one of the top places to live in Canada. With its picturesque rolling hills and heavily treed woodlots, Aurora has managed to blend its small-town charm and historic downtown core with a thriving urban and suburban centre. Aurora is the childhood home of Lester B. Pearson, Prime Minister of Canada from 1963 to 1968. In 1851 the population of Aurora, then known as Machell’s Corners (after a local merchant), was 100 residents. In 1854 the name of the settlement was changed by postmaster Charles Doan to Aurora – meaning goddess of the dawn in Roman mythology. The settlement was incorporated as a village in 1863 with a growing business community, several factories and mills, five churches and a school house. By 1869 the population had grown to 1200 and in 1888 Aurora became a town. On April 8, 2010, the town re-opened the historic and fully renovated Church Street School as the Aurora Cultural Centre.

Below: Horse Chestnut bursting with new spring foliage.

Aurora Cultural Centre

It is the vision of the Aurora Cultural Centre to provide a facility that enhances cultural life in the area through the fostering of art practice and presentation, production and reception. Since 2010, the centre has welcomed the community to participate in diverse creative experiences for all ages. Located in a beautifully-restored 1886 schoolhouse, the Aurora Cultural Centre is a charming historical treasure featuring four gallery exhibition spaces, a range of instructional classes for children, teens and adults, an eclectic live music series, special family events, summer arts camps, and stunning rental spaces for community activities and partnership participation. The centre is a registered charity, funded in part by the town of Aurora. The professional staff is supported by a dedicated volunteer board of directors and enthusiastic team of volunteers. The facility is wheelchair accessible, air-conditioned with parking surrounding the building.

The Aurora Cultural Centre is located at 22 Church Street, Aurora, Ontario.

Phone: (905) 713-1818
info@auroraculturalcentre.ca
Check out the website to see what is happening!

http://auroraculturalcentre.ca

The Workshop

Magnificent Florals with Coloured Pencils.

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

Below: My completed Alstromeria (Peruvian Lily) botanical drawing in coloured pencil on hot-pressed watercolour paper.

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 Alstromeria flower.

We spent the first day of the workshop developing the drawing and working from 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.

Above: Line drawing.

Below: Grey monochromatic tonal drawing.

The workshop covered techniques such as burnishing, blending and layering, 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 Alstromeria project.

Below: Work in progress.

Below: Developing colour layers over the grey tonal base.

Faber Castell Polychromos coloured pencils were used throughout the project.

Above and below: Burnished colours are vibrant!

Coming along!

Below: Burnishing with coloured pencils produces deep colour tones, giving an almost painterly effect.

Below: Completed project.

A well as the Alstromeria, some of the students worked on my step-by-step ornamental gourd project (see below).

Below: Grey tone is established before developing the layers of colour.

Below: Andrea shows off her gourd project. The colours are developed in layers.

Below: Ann even found time to practice some equestrian drawing!

My next workshop, titled Fundamentals of Botanical Drawing will be on June 15 & 16, at the Toronto Botanical Garden (777 Lawrence Ave. E. North York, Toronto).

To register contact Michael Spillane at 905-891-8422

Email: michael@spillane-arts.com

Or: contact the Toronto Botanical Garden at 416-397-1340

Hope to see you all soon!

Michael Spillane

http://www.spillane-arts.com