Fall into Winter Encounter Second Phase Begins

Please click on this link or the Member Artwork tab above to view the first contributions to the Fall into Winter Encounter gallery. Participating Nature Artists’ Guild members spent time each week in the autumn collecting items, photos or sketches from nature. The winter phase of this project is to create a montage each week or one final montage using some or all of these collections.  Please check back each week for more artwork.

Copyright Fran Kelly

Tribute to a Treasured Tool

The New York Times Magazine recently published a short photo essay about the manufacturing process of pencils.  Don’t let the seemingly technical title, Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories, fool you – the photos and prose are a love letter to one of our oldest and most versatile tools.  At first glance, the photography will grab your attention and you might be tempted to skim through the text.  While doing so, you may come across a few phrases that convince you to go back to the beginning and savor the words.  For more tributes from artists and writers, visit the comments sections (use the “Readers Picks” option for some of the best).  You may never look at a pencil the same way again.

From The New York Times Magazine, “Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories”. Photo by Christopher Payne. Please click on photo or one of the highlighted links for full article.

Art and Alpacas at Thornhill on February 1, 2018

Susan Waldron and alpacas at her farm. Please click on image to visit susanwaldronart.com

No, there will not be any actual alpacas in the historic Founder’s Room or Arbor Room of the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum in the near future, nor have there ever been, as far as we know.  The Nature Artists’ Guild, though, will be hosting a program at Thornhill on Thursday evening, February 1, 2018, from 7 until 9 pm featuring artist and alpaca farmer, Susan Waldron.

While Susan also creates wonderful paintings in the more familiar media of oils and watercolors, her fiber art made from the wool of her own alpacas is uniquely beautiful.

On her website, Susan Waldron Art,  she writes-

I use my own hand-dyed alpaca fibers in the art pieces that I create.  The alpaca fiber feels like a combination of cashmere and silk.  As a result of raising these animals from birth, there is a spiritual connection with the animals and the felted pieces.

I am able to combine my love for color, nature, and alpacas to create exquisite, felted pieces.

Susan Waldron’s Alpaca Fiber Art. Copyright Susan Waldron. Please click on image to visit SusanWaldronArt.com

Exquisite, indeed. Please visit her website for more images and to read more about Susan’s artistic journey and these fascinating creatures she raises.

As always, programs sponsored by the Nature Artists’ Guild of The Morton Arboretum are open to all.  Guests and visitors are welcome and there will be no charge for attendance, parking, or for admission to the Arboretum for this event.

The Nature Artists’ Guild would also like to encourage potential new members to attend.  Please arrive a few minutes early if you have any questions about our group and one of our members will be happy to assist you.  There is absolutely no pressure to join and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the Guild, its members, exhibits, and activities.

Beginning the New Year

Whether your priority for the upcoming year is to make more art, to learn new techniques, or simply to view more art or make new friends, the Nature Artists’ Guild has it covered.  There is still time to join or renew, and since memberships are for the calendar year, the sooner you join, the more benefit you’ll receive from your membership.

Here are a few of the activities coming up in the next month or so –

  • The Nature Artists’ Guild is proud to present their first exhibit of the year at the Downers Grove Public Library.  This lovely collection of members’ work will be open to the public throughout the month of January during regular library hours.
  • On Thursday evening, February 1, 2018,  between 7 and 9 pm, Susan Waldron will give a presentation at the Thornhill Education Center on her techniques for creating floral and landscape paintings in oil as well as in fiber made from, if you can believe it, the wool from her own herd of alpacas!  Guests and visitors are also welcome to attend this program free-of-charge.  More details will be coming soon, but please visit Susan’s website for a preview of her work (and her alpacas).
  • The first paint-out of the year is scheduled for Tuesday morning, February 6, 2018 from 8 until 11 am at Orchids by Hausermann in Villa Park, IL.

    Copyright Jane Kellenberger.

    This popular paint-out (think tropical weather and being surrounded by thousands of orchids) has limited space and fills up quickly, so interested Guild members should contact Jane Kellenberger to save a spot.  Jane’s contact information can be found in the Yearbook.

  • New classes and workshops start soon at The Morton Arboretum.  Some upcoming nature art classes include Rocks, Minerals and Bones in Colored Pencil with Kimberly Mullarkey, Jewelry Making: Winter Berries Necklace with Karen Johnson, Linoleum Block Printing Workshop with Carrie Carlson, and Advanced Textures in Graphite and Watercolor and Nature in Graphite with Suzanne Wegener.  For those just starting out, Beginner’s Nature Art Workshops: Winter Foliage in Graphite and Begin to Draw Nature are scheduled for late February and early March.  All classes are open to the public and a discount is offered for members of The Morton Arboretum.  Please click on this link to the Arboretum’s class listings for more information or to enroll.
  • It won’t be long before we begin to post montages from those Nature Artists’ Guild members who are participating in the Fall into Winter Encounter.  It will be exciting to see the results of weeks of collecting and creating!

Please check back here soon or click on any of the highlighted links for more about these and other upcoming activities.

An Antidote For Holiday Stress -Your Favorite Tree

Find your favorite tree.  There is one, whether you realize it or not.  It may be on a trail where you regularly walk your dog, it may be in your neighbor’s front yard, or it may be in your own.  The Morton Arboretum has plenty to choose from.  If you need to, spend a day or two thinking about it while you go about your business, until you recognize which tree you keep coming back to. This tree may be a majestic oak, a stately pine, a smooth-trunked beech or even a delicate redbud.  It doesn’t even matter if you know the species.  Just for now, or possibly for always, it is your favorite tree.

Now, take a photo or draw a sketch (from the warmth of your car or home if you’d like).  If safely possible, go up to the tree and feel the bark.  If there are any leaves, fruits or nuts left on or around the tree, pick some up to examine.  Take a dried leaf with you.  Leave the fruits, nuts or seeds for the critters or the next generation of trees.  If you’re not shy or if nobody is looking, go ahead and give the tree a quick hug, or maybe just a friendly pat.  If you have children with you, encourage them to give the tree a great big hug.  They won’t care whether anyone is watching or not.

Go back to your warm studio or kitchen table, pour yourself a hot drink and draw your tree using your memory, sketches or photos.  For an additional challenge, try drawing in ink, which will force you to really concentrate on the size, shape and direction of the branches and twigs.  The drawing doesn’t need to be a masterpiece, or even good. It is just a show of appreciation for your favorite tree.

Feel the stress melt away.  Repeat as necessary.

Tree drawing, copyright Nancy Halliday. Nancy was the Featured Artist at the Nature Artists’ Guild Spring 2015 Exhibition of Natural History Art.  Please click on the image for more about Nancy.

Nature Artists’ Guild members can read a short article in their Quarterly by Evelyn Grala  for more about drawing trees.  Thanks for reminding us about the beauty of trees in winter, Evelyn!

Hand-Painted Ornaments with Lindsay Sandbothe

Great News!  The Morton Arboretum is offering an extra discount to members of the Nature Artists’ Guild for Lindsay Sandbothe’s upcoming class.  Of course, non-members of the Guild or The Morton Arboretum are welcome to enroll for the regular fee, and Arboretum members always receive a discounted rate.  Please follow this link to The Morton Arboretum’s website  or click on the image below for more information.  Nature Artists’ Guild members must enroll by phone by 4 pm on December 1, 2017 to receive the extra discount.

Please click on image to learn more or to enroll.  Nature Artists’ Guild members must enroll by phone to receive the extra discount.

The Fall Into Winter Encounter is Underway

Participants in the Nature Artists’ Guild’s Fall into Winter Encounter have been busy outdoors this autumn collecting nuts, leaves, twigs, pine cones, berries, feathers, and other natural treasures and stashing them away in boxes or bags, as well as taking photos and making sketches.

At the start of the new year, out come the treasures, the paints, the pencils, the canvases, the paper, the sketches, and the photographs as the artists begin creating.  Participants will be creating one montage per week for the following six weeks, or if they choose, one grand montage using all their collected materials. According to Merriam-Webster“montage” can be defined as an “artistic composite of juxtaposed more or less heterogeneous elements”.

Beginning in January 2018, photos of completed montages will be posted on this website in the Member Artwork section.  There is still time for industrious members of the Guild to participate by catching up with the collecting phase before the creating phase begins.  Those interested can sign up by contacting Evelyn Grala, whose contact information can be found in the Yearbook.  Evelyn will continue to send informational and encouraging e-mails to participants throughout the project.

Montage, copyright Paulette McDermott