A 5 day workshop with Margaret Best

Announcing a first for Chester Art Centre! Heirloom Abundance is a unique opportunity to participate in a 5-day botanical art workshop with Margaret Best, internationally renowned instructor and artist.  

Join Margaret in Chester, a charming coastal village located on Nova Scotia’s spectacular south shore simply picture perfect for quality art study, perusing galleries and connecting with nature. Less than an hour from Halifax airport, Chester is situated close to Mahone Bay and the Unesco World Heritage site of Lunenburg for further quaint stores and historical interest when not in the studio with Margaret. 

Margaret offers the choice of three mediums in her teaching portfolio – graphite, coloured pencils or watercolour. 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 the mediums mentioned. Space will be limited to 12 participants. To book your spot a non-refundable deposit of 25%, $106.25 is required. Balance due July 25th, 45 days before the workshop.

Upon request, additional information will be provided to out-of-town artists and non-participating partners about accommodation and points of interest to fully enjoy the renowned Nova Scotia beauty, culture and hospitality.

Heirloom Abundance
September 9th – 13th
Cost: $425.00

SOLD OUT. Please join the waitlist. 



Painting in Colour and Light
With Malcolm Callaway

April 4, 11, 18, 25, May 2       1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

This painting class will cover style, colour mixing, applications and finding your subject matter. We will also look at composition, design and various artists’ work and how they achieved it. I will help with your own projects with hands on demos. Instruction is appropriate for all skill levels working in oil and/or acrylic.

Cost: $140. Material list to be supplied.

Malcolm Callaway has been painting for over 40 years and works in many mediums such as oil, acrylic, watercolours 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


Waterscapes and Reflective Surfaces
With Lynda Shalagan

April 13 & 14   10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Painting waterscapes and other reflective surfaces requires a looseness and ability to use surface qualities of the paint through scraping, smearing and dripping – often employing ‘happy accidents’! This workshop will explore and demonstrate some ways to achieve interesting results and add depth to water or other reflective image through experimentation with layering and texture. 

Oil and/or acrylic paints will both be used to address the subject matter.

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

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, Halifax, N.S. (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.

The Art of Repair – Shibori and Sashiko
With Kate Ward

May 25 & 26 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Japanese textiles that have been pieced, patched, repaired and passed down from generation to generation are known as boro. The embroidered and repaired cloths embrace the concept of 'wabi sabi', beauty in an object's impermanence and imperfection.

This workshop focuses on natural indigo dye, hand-stitching, and mending. Over the weekend participants will discover the magic of indigo, shibori and sashiko. On the first day we immerse ourselves in the art of shibori, where cloth is bound, wrapped, stitched and clamped to create patterns on fabric dipped in a natural indigo dye vat; and on the second day we learn Sashiko embroidery, a Japanese textile mending and reinforcing technique involving a simple running stitch that creates beautiful yet practical embellishments used to mend clothes while also adding meaning and mindfulness to our work. Please click this link for more information.

Cost: $150 with $50 for materials. Bring a lunch.


Kate Ward is an interdisciplinary artist and educator whose research driven practice investigates the relationship between art, ritual spaces and cultural meaning. Kate is the recipient of numerous international scholarships, residencies and exchange programs. Her work has been selected for national and international exhibitions and awards and she is represented in national and international collections in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and America.


As we move into Spring 2019, Chester Art Centre is offering two more Botanical Art workshops with Margaret Best. The topic involves Leaves (yes, how we long to see them again!!)

Understanding & Drawing Leaves
With Margaret Best

May 10 & 11    9:30 am – 3:30 pm

This two-day workshop focuses on the structure of leaves and how to draw a variety of different leaf details and postures including curling leaves. This is an excellent opportunity for newcomers to Botanical Art as well as those who may have missed Margaret’s well-received Drawing with Dimension series over the winter. 

This May workshop is also a terrific preparation opportunity for those coming to Margaret’s next workshop in June.

Cost: $180 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.


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.