Springtime at The Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum will be re-opening soon (with certain limitations), but unfortunately, the springtime display of redbuds, daffodils, and trilliums is nearly over.  Some members of the Nature Artists’ Guild have generously shared their artwork from previous springs at the Arboretum, reminding us of the beauty we can look forward to enjoying again in future years.

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Missing “The Morton”

Springtime is wonderful at The Morton Arboretum.  The wildflowers and daffodils in bloom, turtles climbing onto logs to soak up some sun, and the reflections of the redbuds over Lake Marmo are some of the most memorable sights of the year.

Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild of The Morton Arboretum are invited to contribute images of their artwork depicting Springtime at The Morton Arboretum to share on this website.  The artwork can be in any medium, and does not have to be new, but should be directly inspired by the sights, sounds, scents, textures, or tastes of spring at The Morton Arboretum.

All images should be e-mailed to Denise Fisk (whose contact information can be found in the Nature Artists’ Guild’s Yearbook) by next Wednesday, May 20, 2020.  Up to three images may be sent (with titles), but depending on the total number of submissions, not all may be used.

Nature Artists’ Guild members can do their part for all of those “missing The Morton.” For extra inspiration, please click on this link for the most recent short video tour of The Morton Arboretum.

Lake Marmo Redbuds, Acrylic, 14 x 18, copyright Gary Chipman.

Contributions to the 2020 Nature Artists’ Guild’s There’s No Place Like Home 

The final submissions for the Nature Artists’ Guild’s There’s No Place Like Home page have been added. Please click on this link to see the latest contributions. Thank you to all of the artists that have shared their wonderful artwork. More images from this project will be featured in the upcoming Summer issue of the Nature Artists’ Quarterly (a members-only publication).

Tulip, copyright Susan Stachovic.

2020 Nature Artists’ Guild There’s No Place Like Home

That’s a wrap!  The Nature Artists’ Guild’s 2020 Spring Encounter, There’s No Place Like Home, finished up on April 30, and Guild members did not disappoint. The variety of styles, media, and subject matter reflect the wide range of possibilities for appreciating nature through art.  Please check the gallery of images submitted by participating Nature Artists’ Guild members by clicking here. Additional images will be accepted from participants throughout the first week of May.

House-shaped collage from her Shelter In Place series.  Copyright Cheryl Holz.

New Images from There’s No Place Like Home

It’s nearly the last week of the Nature Artists’ Guild’s 2020 Spring Encounter, There’s No Place Like Home.  Some of the participating artists have shared images of their wonderful sketches, drawings, and paintings, which can be seen by clicking here.  Any other Guild members who would like to share are encouraged to e-mail their images by the first week of May.  Images of sketches, finished works, and works in progress are all welcome.

Sketch of rabbit, copyright Margaret Navolio.

Images from There’s No Place Like Home

Some members of the Nature Artists’ Guild of The Morton Arboretum have begun to share images of artwork created for the 2020 Encounter, There’s No Place Like HomePlease visit the page of images by clicking on this link or on 2020 Encounter, There’s No Place Like Home under the Member Artwork tab of this website.  The page will be updated periodically as new submissions are received, so check back often.

Participants, please check this previous post for instructions about submitting images.

Oil sketch inspired by daily walks, copyright Linda Skisak.

Who Would Like to Share?

It’s been more than two weeks since the beginning of the 2020 Spring Nature Artists’ Guild “Encounter”, There’s No Place Like Home.  So now it’s time to share!  Participants in the project are invited to submit up to three images of some of their artwork created over the last two weeks.  Depending on the total number received, one, two, or all three of each artist’s images will be shared on this website in an upcoming post.

Nancy Wu’s sketch of an orchid in watercolor at the recent Orchids by Hausermann paint-out.

Some quick tips for photographing sketches –

  • Lighting –  While entire photos can be lightened fairly easily, glare, shadows, or uneven lighting make the process much more difficult.
  • Color Casts – White or cream paper frequently acquires a blue or yellow tinge when photographed. The temperature or “white balance” setting on most smartphone cameras is fairly easy to use for corrections.
  • Cropping – Cropping is one of the simplest photo-editing processes and the background behind the artwork in the photo can easily be removed.  Making sure the artwork is not skewed is more important than trying to control the background.
  • Pixels are free (mostly) –The saying, borrowed from photographers, means that there is an advantage in taking multiple shots of the same subject.  One of the shots is likely to be better than the others, and unlike in the old film days, it doesn’t cost extra to take more, keep the best, and delete the rest.

Learning to take good photos is becoming increasingly important for today’s artists, and smartphones make the process better and easier then ever. Learning a phone’s settings for photographing and editing is well worth the time spent and photographing sketches is good practice.

The Nature Artists’ Guild is not necessarily looking for perfect photos or even finished artwork in There’s No Place Like HomeIt’s about sharing successes and works in progress, quick sketches and finished pieces, and interesting attempts at something new.

Images should be e-mailed to Denise Fisk, whose contact information can be found in the Nature Artists’ Guild’s Yearbook.  A one-sentence description of the medium, inspiration, or subject matter may be included with each image, but is not required (and may be edited for brevity). There will also be opportunities for participating members to share their work in the Nature Artists’ Quarterly (a member’s only publication) or at a future meeting of the Guild.

Spring Has Sprung and the Nature Artists’ Guild Encounter Has Begun

Instructions for the 2020 Spring Encounter for members of the Nature Artists’ Guild, There’s No Place Like Home are simple.  Participating members will sketch or create art for fifteen minutes each day for six weeks using whatever art supplies and subject matter they happen to find at home.  There is no requirement to stick to nature for subject matter this time (although we suspect many of our artists will.)

Think of the possibilities!  Some artists may choose to go with their mood and sketch whatever catches their eye each day. Other artists need a theme or structure to get them moving.  Those artists could consider something like –

  • Choosing a new subject each week.  One week could be fruits, another week could be vegetables, the following weeks could be houseplants, birds, or pets.
  • Choosing a different medium, or a different way of using a medium, each week.  There is no need to buy anything new.  Watercolors, pencils, pen and ink, and colored pencil are all versatile.  Art supplies that haven’t been used in years can be rediscovered.
  • Choosing a different style each week.  Each subject could be drawn or painted realistically, loosely, abstractly, or anything in between. An abstract interpretation of a houseplant could be fascinating, as could a photo-realistic banana, bruises and all.
  • Working in the style of some of the Masters.  A chickadee might be quite interesting in hatchmarks to resemble one of Rembrandt’s etchings or as seen from every angle in Picasso’s Cubist style.  How would Henry Moore sketch that chickadee to prepare for sculpting?  What colors would Matisse use on his?  A bonus to this approach is the time spent researching these artists and all the newly-gained knowledge.
Chickadee, copyright Alice Wych.
  • Choosing something out of a bowl.  Artists who spend more time trying to choose their subject than they do drawing it might appreciate this approach.  Slips of paper with a chosen subject, medium, or style can be prepared ahead of time and put in a bowl.  When the time comes for the daily sketching, one of these slips is chosen and the artist can get right to work.
  • Choosing different adjectives.  This approach is similar to choosing a subject, medium or style out of a bowl, but the slips of paper all have adjectives on them.  Some examples would be “calm”, “exciting”, “fresh”.  What subject or media would convey the feeling of “joyful”? A dictionary or thesaurus will make the preparation much easier.
  • Journaling the season.  At this time of year, the view outside the window will change almost daily.  A quick sketch each day of one fascinating observation would result in a wonderful record of the beauty of nature in Spring.

There are probably as many ideas as there are artists, and it will be fascinating and fun to see the results!  Guild members should let Jane Kellenberger know if they would like to participate by clicking on the RSVP link of their recent e-mail.

Natural History Artist Alex Warnick at The Morton Arboretum Tonight, March 5, 2020

Yellow-rumped Warbler, copyright Alex Warnick. Used with permission.

The Nature Artists’ Guild is excited to sponsor a presentation by renowned natural history artist Alex Warnick at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum tonight, March 5, 2020 from 7 until 9 pmThis event is open to all and free-of-charge for parking, admission, and entrance to the Arboretum.  Artists, birders, and nature enthusiasts are all welcome to attend!  Visitors should let the gate attendant at the Arboretum know that they are there for the Nature Artists’ Guild program to be admitted and directed to Thornhill.

Please visit AlexWarnick.com to learn more about Alex and view images of her stunning artwork.