A Few Found Feathers This Wednesday

Journal Pages with Feather Study, 2021, copyright Kathy Belletire

Found feathers from a Great Horned Owl and a few other birds will be available for interested Nature Artists’ Guild members to study or sketch at this Wednesday’s Coffee and Art gathering. (Attendees are also encouraged to bring feathers of any type from their own collections.)

Everything You Need To Know About Feathers from The Cornell Lab provides the basics in a simple but thorough summary.

Guild members are invited to stop in any Wednesday morning at the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum beginning at 9 to sketch, chat, or simply enjoy the morning quiet. Participants are always welcome to bring artwork, inspirations, or supplies they’d like to share or discuss with the group.

Nature Artists’ Guild Welcomes Autumn

The weather is already a bit brisker, there is just a hint of brilliant color in the leaves, and members of the Nature Artists’ Guild are looking forward to celebrating the wonderful displays of the season through their art.

Coming soon –

Tomorrow, September 24, 2022, the guild has a workshop scheduled for members interested in creating subtle pieces of art using color pencil on slate tiles.

Color pencil on slate, copyright Mary Ann Jimenez

On Thursday, October 6, 2022, artist and illustrator Kelley Cappell will be sharing some of her thoughts about creating artwork for a variety of viewers using pen and ink and acrylic, as well as digitally. This program, sponsored by the Nature Artists’ Guild is open to the public, free of charge.

Snow Leopard, pen and ink, copyright Kelley Cappell

October 10, 2022 is the last day for members to mail completed prospectuses for participating in the 2022 Autumn Nature Art Exhibit at The Morton Arboretum in November. More to come soon about the exhibit and Featured Artist Alice Wych.

Poster artwork by Alice Wych. Poster design by Jane Kellenberger.

Every Wednesday morning, a group of guild members meet at the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum to chat, sketch, or enjoy the morning quiet at the Coffee and Art gathering. All guild members are invited to stop by.

Previous October pages in nature journal, copyright Linn Eldred

Members who would like to participate in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Schulenberg Prairie will be able to pick up an 8 x 8 canvas, board, or paper for the project at the Thornhill Education Center on September 24 during the Color Pencil on Slate Tile workshop or on the evening of October 6 at the Kelley Cappell presentation. Some types of supplies may be limited, so interested members may wish to contact Carol Balabanow for more information.

8 x 8 pieces from the Schulenberg Prairie, copyright Marlene Vitek (first two) and Maggie Mardis.

As always, click on the highlighted links for more information.

Color Pencil on Slate Workshop Next Week

Color pencil on slate tile, copyright Mary Ann Jimenez

At a free workshop for Nature Artists’ Guild members, Mary Ann Jimenez will share techniques for creating stunning but subtle works of art on slate tiles using color pencils. The workshop will be held at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum on Saturday, September 24, 2022 from 10 am until 2 pm.

Blank slate tiles will be provided free of charge to members to complete at the workshop or take with them for further work. The completed pieces will be for sale at the 2022 Autumn Art Exhibit at The Morton Arboretum in November with all proceeds benefitting the Nature Artists’ Guild.

Interested members can contact Mary Ann Jimenez to register for the workshop. Her contact information and a supply list were emailed to members on August 3.

Note: 8 x 8 canvases, boards, or papers for the Schulenberg Prairie anniversary project will also be available at the workshop for members to pick up. Supplies of certain surfaces may be limited, so members are encouraged to contact Carol Balabanow for further information.

The Nature Artists’ Guild Welcomes Scientific Illustrator Kelley Cappell on October 6, 2022

Snow Leopard, pen and ink, copyright Kelley Cappell. Used with permission.

On Thursday, October 6, 2022 at 7 pm, the Nature Artists’ Guild will welcome scientific illustrator Kelley Cappell to the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum to share some of her inspirations and experiences creating illustrations and collaborating on exhibit design for the renowned Brookfield Zoo.

A qualified scientific illustrator with a degree in biology, Kelley creates her work in traditional methods using pen and ink, acrylic, and graphite, as well as digitally. In addition to her work at the zoo, Kelley is an instructor at the Water Street Studios School of Art in Batavia, IL.

This presentation, sponsored by the Nature Artists Guild of The Morton Arboretum, is free and open to all. There will be no fee for admission to the arboretum for this event, no fee for attendance, and no fee for parking (and no timed-entry pass necessary.) Visitors can let the gate attendant know they are there for the program to be admitted to the arboretum and directed to Thornhill.

Coming Soon for the Nature Artists’ Guild

Garden at Cantigny Park. Photo credit Jane Kellenberger.

This Wednesday, September 7, 2022, the Nature Artists’ Guild’s paint-out at the gardens of Cantigny Park will take place from 9 am until noon. While members are encouraged to let Linn Eldred know they are attending, drop-ins are also welcome. The gardens and grounds at Cantigny Park are always wonderful and this year there is the added bonus of an exhibit of colorful large-scale sculptures by artists from Mexico City. Parking and admission will be free.

(Boards, canvases, or papers for the Schulenberg Praire anniversary project will be available at this paint-out if a request is made in advance to Carol Balabanow.)

Note – The weekly Art and Coffee gathering will not take place on this date.

Also coming soon –

On September 24, 2022 from 10 to 2, members can attend a volunteer workshop at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum to learn how to create artwork using color pencils on slate tiles. The tiles will be sold at the upcoming Autumn Art Exhibit at The Morton Arboretum with proceeds benefitting the guild. Tiles will be provided, but participants are asked to bring a few other supplies (details are in the August 3rd email sent to members.)

On October 6, 2022 at 7 pm, Artist and Illustrator Kelley Cappell will share some of her experiences, inspirations, and techniques with the audience at the Thornhill Education Center. This program will be open to the public, free of charge. More about Kelley and her art coming soon.

October 10, 2022 will be the final date for members of the Nature Artists’ Guild to mail their completed prospectuses for participating in the Autumn Art Exhibit at The Morton Arboretum in November. The link to the prospectus was emailed to all members on August 31. Much more about the exhibit and the Featured Artist, Alice Wych, to come.

Nature Artists’ Guild members who would like to participate in the Schulenberg Prairie anniversary project can still pick up an 8 x 8 canvas, board, or paper at any of the in-person guild events (including by request at the Cantigny paint-out and excluding the Wednesday Coffee and Art gatherings.) Members can also use their own surface, but the final artwork must be exactly 8 x 8 inches (and less than approximately a half inch deep) to fit into the display. Questions about the project can be emailed to Carol Balabanow.

Butterflies Fluttering Away

Branch of West Indian Cherry with Achilles Morpho Butterfly, Maria Sibylla Sylvan 1702-03. Image credit Royal Collection Trust.

Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild can drop by this Wednesday, August 31, 2022 beginning at 9 am in the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum for the weekly gathering to sketch, paint, draw, chat, or simply take in the beauty of a quiet summer morning surrounded by plants, butterflies, and birds.

This will be the final week for the butterfly interpretive station staffed by arboretum volunteers. To enhance their exhibit, the volunteers have included some beautifully illustrated books featuring the artwork of Maria Sibylla Merian, a noted German artist and entomologist who set sail to South America in 1699. Next month’s interpretive exhibit will focus on bees.

Paint-Out to Celebrate the Final Bursts of Summer Color at Cantigny Park

This year there is even more color and art to enjoy at Cantigny Park as they celebrate the native flowers of Mexico along with their current display of 49 alebrije sculptures (“monumentals” and “spirit animals“) created by artists from Mexico City.

Mosquiw, by Emanuel Arturo Zarate Ortíz. Photo credit Cantigny.org.

The Park’s Many Stunning Gardens –

The gardens at Cantigny include Display Gardens, a Rose Garden, Rock and Gravel Gardens, a Logarium, a Hosta Garden and an Idea Garden. The Display Gardens alone consist of ten gardens, including a White Garden, Lower Display Garden, Pollinator Garden, Fountain Garden, and Perennial Border. Cantigny’s Natural Areas offer “native wildflowers amid grasses, small wetland areas, and maturing trees—a snapshot reminder of what Illinois used to be.” (cantigny.org)

The Perennial Border at Cantigny Park includes seventy-two varieties of plants, many of which are native to Illinois. Photo credit cantigny.org.

There will be so much to choose from to paint, sketch, or photograph for members of the Nature Artists’ Guild at Cantigny Park as they meet for a paint-out on Wednesday, September 7, 2022 between 9 am and noon. Parking will be free that day, and there is no charge for admission to the park and gardens. Interested members can contact Linn Eldred to be added to the email list for details or updates. Drop-ins are also welcome to attend. There will be plenty of color for all!

Update – 8 x 8 papers, boards, and canvases will be available at this event for participants in the Schulenberg Prairie Anniversary Project to pick up. Interested members should contact Carol Balabanow to request them.

As always, please click on the highlighted links for more information. Cantigny Park has done a wonderful job highlighting their gardens and the exhibit with numerous gorgeous photographs.

Gallery 200 Exhibit Continues Throughout August

A sample of some of the stunning artwork by members of the Nature Artists’ Guild at Gallery 200 in West Chicago throughout August 2022 –

Also coming soon –

Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild will demonstrating and talking with visitors about the guild at a table inside the Visitor Center during the Wine and Art Walk at The Morton Arboretum this weekend, August 20 and 21, 2022.

The Wednesday morning Art and Coffee gatherings continue each week at 9 am. All Nature Artists’ Guild members are invited to drop by to share ideas, inspirations, or supplies, or simply relax and enjoy the morning.

The Schulenberg Prairie Anniversary project kicks off with a paint-out at the prairie on Thursday morning, August 25, 2022.

More to come soon about a paint-out at the gardens of Cantigny Park on September 7, 2022 and a Color Pencil on Slate workshop for members on September 24, 2022.

Monarchs and More This Week

Coneflowers, copyright Alice Wych

Participants in this week’s Wednesday Morning Coffee and Art gathering can learn all about butterflies at a staffed interpretive station located just steps away in the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum. The August hands-on exhibit focuses exclusively on butterflies and their habitats. All Nature Artists’ Guild members are invited to stop by to chat, sketch, simply enjoy the quiet of the morning, or even begin gathering reference material for the Schulenberg Prairie Anniversary Project.

Also ongoing or coming up –

The Nature Artists’ Guild exhibit at Gallery 200 continues throughout the month of August. More examples of the wonderful artwork included in this exhibit will be coming soon.

Dining on Goldenrod, pastel, copyright Gary Chipman

This weekend, August 20 and 21, 2022, five members of the Nature Artists’ Guild will be demonstrating various methods of creating nature art and answering questions about the guild at a table inside the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum during the annual Wine and Art Walk.

Detail of Moth pyrography, copyright Gail Diedrichsen

A project celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Schulenberg Prairie has begun. A paint-out has been scheduled for August 25, 2022, but members who wish to participate in the special exhibit can also choose to begin work on their own at any time. Each piece must be created at or inspired by the Schulenberg Prairie and have a finished size of 8 x 8 inches.

Prairie Mosaic (Ecology is Doxology AP2), Block Print, Copyright Carrie S. Carlson

As always, please click on the highlighted links for more information.

Nature Artists’ Guild Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Schulenberg Prairie

Initially, it may be difficult to understand the lure of the prairie, as it is not known for showy flowers, majestic trees, or rushing streams. Instead, the prairie reveals its peaceful beauty to its visitors slowly and quietly, until eventually, they understand. As traveler and author Eliza Steele wrote in 1840 –

 I started with surprise and delight. I was in the midst of a prairie! A world of grass and flowers stretched around me, . . . We passed whole acres of blossoms, a carpet of every color intermixed, or narrow bands, as if a rainbow had fallen upon the verdant slopes. . .”

October sketchbook pages, copyright Karen Johnson. Karen completed these watercolor sketches at the Schulenberg Prairie in October, 2020.

This year, The Morton Arboretum celebrates the 6oth anniversary of the Schulenberg Prairie. From their website –

Begun in 1962, it now takes in more than 100 acres of restored tallgrass prairie, savanna, and wetland habitats, and has become an inspiration and model for similar restorations.

The first planting took place in 1963, and over the next few years, staff and volunteers planted not only seeds but more than 80,000 seedlings that Schulenberg and his staff had grown. With few other restorations to guide them, they devised techniques as they went along and used different ones in different areas.

Schulenberg attempted to replicate the former prairie—one of the first times such a restoration had ever been tried. He based his plans on what he could learn from the few scraps of tallgrass prairie that remained among the Chicago area’s highways and subdivisions.

Today, the prairie is regarded as a benchmark in the development of ecological restoration in Illinois.

When you wander the prairie paths in summer, you’re surrounded by swaying grasses and tall flowers alive with butterflies, bees, and birds.

The Nature Artists’ Guild is honored to participate in the anniversary celebration by creating artwork inspired by the Schulenberg Prairie for a special display at the Sterling Morton Library this November.

The project will begin with a paint-out at the Schulenberg Prairie on August 25 from 9 am until noon. Participants will be supplied with 8 x 8 artboards or paper to be used at the prairie or taken home to be used in the studio with their sketches, photos, or other sources of inspiration found at the prairie. Interested members can contact Carol Balabanow to be added to the list of participants to be notified with any paint-out updates. (Carol’s email address is in the Nature Artists’ Guild’s Yearbook.)

For members unable to attend the paint-out, the 8 x 8 boards and paper will also be available to be picked up at upcoming workshops and meetings. Members are welcome to use their own surfaces, but the final size must be 8 x 8 inches to fit into the display. No framing will be required by participants. The final works must be created at or inspired by the Schulenberg Prairie.