Perivale artistic workshop schedule released

SPRING BAY—Perivale Gallery has released the schedule for its 2014 program of workshops with outstanding artists and artisans and this year promises something for just about everyone interested in developing or honing their artistic skills.

The workshop organizer, Perivale Gallery proprietor Shannon McMullan, expresses a deeply personal excitement over the success of the program that she initiated along with her mother, the redoubtable matron of art on the Manitoulin scene, the late Sheila McMullan.

“My mother was a little skeptical at first, but we embarked with one workshop with a friend in 2012,” recalled Ms. McMullan. “That was with my friend Carenie Little.” Ms. Little usually works in acrylics, explained Ms. McMullan, but for the workshop Ms. Little focussed on the basic skills of drawing. “Drawing is the basis of a great deal of art,” noted Ms. McMullan. “She was fabulous.”

As a personal bonus, Ms. McMullan had that most delightful of a child’s opportunities in life, her idea being proven right to her mother. “Mom saw how valuable and popular it was,” she said. “People were coming to Perivale, getting out of their cars and being gobsmacked by the sight of all of these artists doing plein air on the grounds.” The delightful gardens and grounds of the Perivale Gallery are indeed a wonderful source of inspiration for artists taking part in the workshops, weather permitting.

[pullquote]“One guy got out of his car and cried out ‘this is magic’,” she said. “I had to agree with him, it was.”[/pullquote]

The original workshop proved to be so well-received that Ms. McMullan expanded the program to six workshops in 2013 to what was again such a highly successful season (the workshops were full and the responses so overwhelmingly positive) that this year the series has 10 opportunities spread throughout the summer season.

The workshops operate on a number of different levels, explained Ms. McMullan. Art, much like writing, is generally a very solitary occupation. “But the workshops provide a very collegial atmosphere. Artists have the opportunity to not only learn from the experts leading the workshops, but also to partake in a cross-pollination experience with other artists and artisans—often from different genres of the artistic form.

The workshops are also beneficial for local facilities that often tend to be underutilized in the summer.

“I always rent the Spring Bay Hall,” said Ms. McMullan. “It has great windows and good light.” As Ms. McMullan noted, the weather on Manitoulin, while always delightful, is not always conducive to art classes. “It is hard to sketch and paint if the wind is blowing your paper around,” she laughed.

The courses also play a role in helping people to appreciate the works on display at the Perivale Gallery. Ms. McMullan is continuing to build on the extremely successful base established at the gallery, with a stable of some of Canada’s most appreciated artists and including the work of many local artists and artisans across all genres.

“We have to be very selective in what we bring in,” said Ms. McMullan. The gallery insists on providing each work with the space and context that allows the work to be properly appreciated by the viewer. “We don’t just stack things in a tightly packed hodge-podge.”

Ms. McMullan is very excited by one of the Perivale Gallery’s recent acquisitions. “We have come into a collection of early Jack Whytes,” she said. “They are from the early 1980s, some wonderful pieces of vintage art.”

The workshops will include: ‘Put Colour in Perspective’ with Barry Bowerman; ‘Watercolours with Zest’ with Len Harfield; ‘Backgrounds to Foregrounds’ with Carenie Little; ‘Creative Coloured Pencil Painting’ with Christie Best-Pearson; ‘Water Witching: Exploring the Well of Your Creativity in Watercolour’ with Ruth Reid; ‘Quickies: Fast and Furious, 37 Minute Paintings’ with Cathy Boyd; ‘The Artistry of Photography and Digital Darkroom’ with Guinevere Joy; ‘Window in Your World, Mixed Media’ with Linda Finn; ‘Creative Composition, Delightful Design’ with Christie Best-Pearson; and ‘Island Radience: Add life to Your Manitoulin Landscapes’ with Barry Bowerman.

The cost for each of the workshop sessions is $160 plus HST ($180.80) and all workshops are scheduled for the Spring Bay Community Centre. Cheques are to be made payable to the Perivale Gallery and registration is complete upon receipt of payment.

For details of the workshops in the series and more information contact Shannon McMullan at 705-377-4874 or by email at The gallery’s website can be accessed at and Ms. McMullan keeps the company’s Facebook page updated regularly.