Natural Green and Painting Leaves
With Margaret Best

June 17 & 18, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

Accurately matching the wide range of Mother Nature’s green palette is challenging for many artists. Capturing leaf shapes, edges and vein structures can be equally daunting. Margaret Best enjoys helping participants find those breakthrough ‘aha’ moments that offer real solutions. Her hands-on approach in creating natural-looking greens and practical techniques for painting leaves effectively is both fun and invaluable!

Cost: $180.00  Material list to be supplied. Bring a lunch.


Margaret Best was raised and educated in South Africa. After some years of teaching in Cape Town, she immigrated to Canada settling with her husband and daughter in Calgary. Inspired by the wildflowers of Alberta, Margaret retuned to her love of painting nature. A serendipitous connection with artists in England launched a passion for botanical art resulting in teaching and exhibiting internationally for almost 20 years. Her work is widely published in books and magazines such as Fine Arts Connoisseur, Canadian Wildlife, and Nature Conservancy of Canada The Royal Canadian Mint has commissioned her work for numerous coin releases since 2012. Her paintings are held in private and public collections around the globe. Margaret now resides in Chester, Nova Scotia.


Telling Your Story

July 3, 9 am – 4 pm   

Telling your story: autobiographical fiction and creative non-fiction as a way to turn recollections and real life experiences into literary works. In this workshop we’ll read and discuss a gamut of autobiographical fragments from twentieth century and contemporary writers. We will also discuss, work on and play with our own life inspired writing through stimulating, guided exercises, resulting in a short finished piece of writing. 

Cost: $80. Bring a lunch.


Mary Fowke has been coming to Chester since she was a child. For the past fifteen years, she's been living in Lisbon, Portugal where she works as a Psychotherapist. She's doing a PhD in memoir writing as related to displacement and childhoods spent in nature. During the past several years she's been conducting memoir and other writing workshops at the University of Lisbon and through the Lisbon Writers' Circle. She also writes short fiction. 


Painting Petals

July 5 & 6, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

Our first summer Botanical Art series with Margaret Best starts with the fundamentals of painting technique for watercolour and coloured pencil. Choose one of these colour mediums to explore ways to capture the delicacy of texture and colour of petals. A variety of local garden flowers such as roses, clematis, and poppies will be sourced. Newcomers to this popular art form will learn colour matching and basic techniques. More experienced artists may launch a small flower study based on the exercises completed.

Cost: $180. Material list will be supplied. Bring a lunch.


Still Life Painting in Watercolour

July 16 & 17, 9:30 am – 4 pm   

Susan Paterson will be teaching a 2-day watercolour workshop using still life as a subject. Students will be shown how to set up their own still life considering light, colour, rhythm and composition. The emphasis will be on accurately drawing your set-up, trying to work out any problems you might have before you start to paint. Finally you’ll learn various watercolour techniques used to create a realistic sense of form and space.  

Cost: $140. Material list will be supplied. Bring a lunch.


Nova Scotia artist Susan Paterson obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Mount Allison University in 1980 and has been a practicing artist ever since. She has exhibited extensively across Canada, is represented in private and corporate collections around the world, and has won many awards for her work, including being a finalist three times in Art Renewal Center’s Annual International Salon and a finalist in several BoldBrush online art competitions. She was awarded an Elizabeth Greenshield’s grant, as well as the first Port Bickerton Lighthouse Artist‘s Residency, a Nova Scotia Arts council grant to study at Grand Central Atelier in New Hampshire and a scholarship to study at the Academy of Realist Art in Toronto. She is a juried member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour and has been featured in various publications, including International Artist magazine.  Her work was included in ‘Terroir, a Nova Scotia Retrospective’ at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in 2016 and ‘Capture 2014, Nova Scotia Realism’ juried by Tom Smart.


Drawing a Line in the Paint

July 18 & 19, 9 am – 4 pm    August 26 & 27, 9 am – 4 pm    

This workshop will explore the use of drawing as an integral part of the finished painted image. Using photos as a departure point the class will look at the various qualities of drawn lines and how to apply line on top of the painted surface with a stick dipped in paint. Emphasis is placed on the expressive and imaginative use of materials. Staining, dripping and layering are all contingent to this method of working. The class will look at ways to reinterpret subject matter in order to move back from realism and move into expressionism. Painting always opens doors to one’s self.

Cost: $140. Material list will be supplied. Bring a lunch.  


Heather Sayeau is a graduate of NSCAD University. She taught painting and drawing in the Fine Art Department at NSCAD and in the Continuing Studies Department until retirement in the spring of 2017. Her practice focuses on nature and the beauty of everyday life and how painting can express her emotional relationship to subject matter. Her work is in private and public collections in Canada and the U.S.  


Smartphone Photography

August 7 & 8, 10 am – 4 pm   

This two day course will focus on using the smartphone to it’s full potential as a camera. On day one we will learn fundamentals of photography, how to apply that knowledge to phone cameras (manual settings, manual apps etc.), the best phones to use as cameras for different purposes, and finish with an excursion to take photos applying the day’s knowledge. Day two will focus on fundamentals of editing and Instagram. We will start with how to edit on a phone using free apps as well as discussing more in depth possibilities with Adobe Creative Cloud for smartphones. There will be time in class for editing using the photos shot the previous day and to ask questions as you edit and see each other’s different results after shooting under similar conditions. We finish the day with an Instagram crash course.

Cost: $150. Bring your Smartphone and phone charger. Bring a lunch.


Alexa Cude is a professionally trained photographer holding a BFA from NSCAD university, based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Since graduating, Alexa has developed a clean, modern aesthetic and strong online presence enabling her to work fulltime in the field she loves with an exciting mix of local and international clients. Named one of the “Top 10 Canadian Instagrammers to Follow” by EnRoute Magazine and a suggested user on Instagram, Alexa is excited to share the fundamentals of smartphone photography with you.


Plein Air Watercolour on Little Tancook

August 14 (Rain Day August 15), 10 am – 5:30 pm

This plein air watercolour course will include compositional sketches with the aid of a viewfinder, value studies for strong design and instruction in basic watercolour techniques to create fresh, on the spot vignettes of Little Tancook Island. The group will walk the short distance from the ferry to Diane’s house and barn. There’s a fridge in the house to keep lunches and drinks cold, and a bathroom. The class takes place during Chester Race Week and you may even see some spinnakers heading for the finish line. 

Cost: $85. includes ferry ticket. Material list will be supplied. Bring a lunch.

Lynda Shalahannew.jpg

Lynda Shalagan began her training in Vancouver, B.C. taking craft and fine art courses at Capilano College in North Vancouver. She subsequently transferred to the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. (BFA ’82). At present, Lynda lives in Halifax, teaches art part time at the Sacred Heart School of Halifax and continues her work in painting in her studio/Artz Gallery exhibiting locally and nationally.


Paint with Paper Up-cycling Newspapers in Works of Art

August 19, 10 am – 4 pm   

Do you have a stack of old newsprint lying about or tucked into the recycling? Pull it out and let’s learn how to recycle it into art. Participants will learn about the medium of newsprint, how to care and prepare it for use in collage, and how to use it in a way similar to chigiri-e or kiri-e, cut or torn paper collage. We will be completing a small collage of a seascape, in which we will discuss the effects cutting and tearing produces on the papers. How to finish a piece to protect the newsprint from decomposition will also be explained. 

Cost: $70. Bring a lunch.


Rhonda Barrett is a self-taught artist from Newfoundland, currently living in Nova Scotia, whose experimentation with mediums has brought her to paper collage and the joy that can be found in little bits of paper glued to canvas. The irony of using disposable sources of paper such as newspapers to create lasting artworks is not lost on the artist, but rather, is part of the statement she tries to make about society and our consumerism and lack of connection in general. She works out of her studio in Halifax, NS. Currently a member of Visual Arts Nova Scotia (VANS), The Paper Artist Collective (UK), CARFAC Maritimes, and Art 1274 Hollis, Halifax, NS. Her work has been seen in solo and group exhibitions in numerous galleries in Nova Scotia and Montreal, QC. She was also featured in Metro News Halifax and Toronto, January 2017 and Murze Magazine (UK) in December 2018 and again March 2019. Visit her at www.littlebitsofpaperbigart.com to learn more!


Exploring Cold Wax
WITH Nancy Dunaway

September 3 & 4, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm         

This workshop will explore Cold (yes COLD!) Wax (NOT encaustic) for two days in which you will play with this unique & exciting medium that allows you to paint, collage, and layer oil paint, oil pastel, graphite and more… without the toxic fumes inherent in working with hot wax. This process is perfect for beginners or experienced artists in any medium who wish to expand their expertise! We’ll create 8 new works to spur your creativity!

COST $140 plus $10 materials fee (for shared materials). Individual material list supplied. Bring a lunch.


Nancy Dunaway is an Arkansas artist whose work is eclectic and includes acrylic paintings, 2-D mixed media, mono prints, encaustic, cold wax, collage, printmaking, artist’s books and assemblage. She served as Chairperson of the Art Department at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, AR. She was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship Award in Book Arts from the Arkansas Arts Council. Nancy received her MFA from Savannah College of Art & Design in Illustration. Nancy has exhibited her work regionally and nationally in many venues and has led workshops in Book Arts, Collage & Mixed Media, and Printmaking in the US and Canada. Her work is in many private and corporate collections and also in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.


Heirloom Abundance – 5 Day Botanical Art Workshop

September 9 to 13, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm   

The timing has been carefully planned (after the intense tourism) to a focus on heirloom fruits and vegetables from local growers – from the field to the studio! This exciting program is ideal for the artist who has had some previous connection with botanical art or previous art experience in graphite, colour pencil or watercolour.

Cost: $425.  SOLD OUT. Please join the waitlist.


Painting with Light and Colour

October 19 & 20, 10 am – 4 pm   

We will be working in colour and how we perceive it and how warm and cool light infuses perception of what we are seeing. We’ll also be tackling composition and how it relates to the canvas. Colour mixing and application using brushes, knives and even our hands. We will also look at different styles and art movements. Hopefully we will be able to walk away with a finished piece at the end of the session.

Cost: $140. Material list will be supplied. Bring a lunch.

Malcolm Callaway has been painting for over 40 years and works in various media such as oil, acrylic, watercolour and fresco. His artwork is in many major collections in Canada and the U.S. Although noted primarily for his marine pieces he also tackles a variety of subject matter. To see his work go to www.malcolmcallaway.ca