Alex Warnick’s Birds in Watercolor on March 5, 2020

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Oh how we miss seeing these birds flitting from branch to branch or hopping among the leaves.  It won’t be long before they’re back, and Alex Warnick’s wonderful watercolor paintings give us a preview of what the next few months will bring.

On Thursday evening, March 5, 2020, the Nature Artists’ Guild’s program will feature guest artist Alex Warnick and her watercolor paintings and illustrations of birds at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum from 7 until 9 pm.  Alex has been drawing and painting birds since she fell in love with them as a little girl.  Her expert ability in capturing the intricacies of both the birds and their habitats in her work has earned her awards and partnerships from all over the world, and she is currently working on a field guide to the Birds of Costa Rica.  Please visit Alex’s website to enjoy much more of her work as well as some fascinating video and podcast interviews.

Alex’s workshop at the Arboretum, Visiting Artist:  Capturing Birds in Watercolor sold out quickly, but her presentation on March 5 is open to the all, free-of-charge.  Anyone with an interest in birds, art, or nature is welcome to attend.  Visitors should let the gate attendant know they are there for the program to be admitted and directed to Thornhill.  There is no charge for parking or admission to the Arboretum for this event. 

Handmade Bookbinding Workshop Begins in January 2020

What does bookbinding have to do with nature art?  Plenty!  Handmade books can be a lovely form of art, as groups of artists have shown in recent Nature Artists’ Guild exhibits.

Handmade books are a wonderful and useful place for artists to gather together some of their best sketches, drawings, and prints.  Every artist has sketches that turned out so well that they deserve to be showcased.  Putting them together into a handmade book is a great alternative to matting and framing each one.

Many accomplished artists make a habit of bringing rolled sheets of heavy watercolor paper into the field instead of a sketchbook.  This enables them to create beautiful works in their preferred medium that can later be trimmed and bound together into a book.

Handmade Bookbinding Workshop at The Morton Arboretum.  Image credit mortonarb.org.

The Morton Arboretum is offering a 5-evening Handmade Bookbinding Workshop beginning on January 21, 2020 and continuing into February.

Each student will make a total of four unique books of various styles over the course of the program and get personalized feedback from the instructors. All supplies are included.

This class is appropriate for all experience levels. Enjoy this hands-on opportunity to celebrate the gift of paper that trees and plants provide. Make something creative, beautiful, and useful, and gain the skills to continue the practice of bookmaking on your own.  – Mortonarb.org

There is no requirement to be a member of the Nature Artists’ Guild nor The Morton Arboretum to participate in this workshop, but Arboretum members will receive a discount on the registration fee.  Please click on the image or highlighted link to read more or to enroll in the workshop.  This opportunity for learning could also be a great gift for that special artist in your life.  Workshop space is limited, so early enrollment is encouraged.

A Unique Opportunity at the Sterling Morton Library on Saturday, December 7, 2019

The Sterling Morton Library at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL has a large collection of circulating books and magazines, e-books, reference materials and journals relating mostly to botany and horticulture.

The library’s Suzette Morton Davidson Special Collections include thousands of treasures, such as “an early herbal detailing the medicinal uses of plants, a planting plan of Garfield Park by Jens Jensen, a recently published limited edition book about Shakespeare’s flowers by Gerard Brender à Brandis, a hand-colored lithograph by Redouté,” and more.

The Art Collection alone “contains more than 12,000 works of art, including original paintings, pen and ink, colored pencil, scratchboard drawings, nearly 1,000 nature prints, as well as a variety of lithographs, etchings, engravings, aquatints, and commercial reproductions of plants and the insects/animals related to them.” – http://www.mortonarb.org.

Lilium centifolium, 1933 Hand-colored zincograph by Lilian Snelling.  Photo credit http://www.mortonarb.org.

Nature Artists’ Guild members will have the unique opportunity on Saturday, December 7, 2019  from 1:30 until 3 pm to learn more about the library and its amazing collections from Library Collection Manager Rita Hassert and author, speaker, and interpreter Cindy Crosby.  A number of seats for this event, being held inside the library, have been reserved for Guild members, and interested attendees should contact Linn Eldred to secure a spot.  Linn’s contact information can be found in the Nature Artists’ Guild Yearbook.

Magnolia, Mark Catesby.  Photo credit http://www.mortonarb.org.

Coming Soon – Visiting Artist Sasha Viazmensky: Mushrooms in Watercolor

The next artist in The Morton Arboretum’s Visiting Artist Series, Sasha Viazmensky, will be traveling all the way from his home in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Mr. Viazmensky is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists, and his stunning work appears in public and private collections around the world, including those of the Shirley Sherwood Collection in London, the Komarov Botanical Institute in St. Petersburg and The Morton Arboretum’s Sterling Morton Library.

To me [mushrooms] are flowers of the woods.  I wanted to save that beauty and to share it with the others.

I call my watercolors ‘Portraits of Mushrooms.’ For these portraits, I select not the most typical, but the most pleasant and happy looking individuals. And I paint them life size.

– Sasha Viazmensky

Cortinarius sp., copyright Alexander (Sasha) Viazmensky.  All rights reserved. http://www.alexandermushrooms.com.

There are still a few available openings for Mr. Viazmensky’s three-day workshop taking place at The Morton Arboretum from Friday, November 15 through Sunday, November 17, 2019.  Intermediate and advanced watercolor artists will further their skills through shared insights, their observation of the artist at work, and personal guidance in their own efforts to capture the unique beauty of mushrooms.

Registration is open to all interested watercolor artists. Members of The Morton Arboretum will receive a discount on their enrollment fee.  Nature Artists’ Guild members will receive an additional discount to this workshop, co-sponsored by the Guild, which they can receive by registering by phone and confirming their Guild membership.

Please click on any of the above highlighted links to see more of Sasha’s work, to read more about him, or to learn more about or register for the workshop.

Fall Landscapes in Pastel with Laverne Bohlin in October 2019

Autumn’s Song, pastel, copyright Laverne Bohlin, http://www.lavernebohlin.com. Used with permission.

By the time Laverne Bohlin returns to Illinois and The Morton Arboretum in the first week of October, there will be plenty of views similar to the one she has portrayed in her stunning Autumn’s Song, above.  Autumn is one of the best times of the year for artists to attempt to capture some of the beauty of nature, and Laverne will be sharing some of her techniques for doing so in soft pastel.

On Thursday, October 3, 2019, from 7 to 9 pm, Laverne will give a presentation, sponsored by the Nature Artists’ Guild, at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum.  Tips, techniques, materials, subject matter and inspirations will be touched upon in the program, and guests will be able to ask questions and get a close-up look at some of Laverne’s luminous artwork. This program is open to all, free-of-charge.  Visitors and guests should let the gate attendant at Arboretum know they are there for the Nature Artists’ Guild meeting to be directed to Thornhill.

Laverne Bohlin’s pastel supplies and pastel painting in progress.

For those who want to learn even more about painting with soft pastels, Laverne will also be teaching a weekend workshop, Fall Landscapes in Pastel, at the Arboretum on Saturday and Sunday, October 5th and 6th, 2019.  The workshop will take place indoors and out, with the changing colors of nature as inspiration.  Beginning and intermediate artists are welcome, but some experience working with pastels would be helpful.  The workshop is open to all interested, and there is no requirement for membership in the Nature Artists’ Guild or The Morton Arboretum, although Arboretum members will receive a discounted registration fee.  Please click on the above image or highlighted link for more details, to review the supply list, or to enroll in the workshop.

Creativity, Learning, and Fun on September 5, 2019

Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild are invited to attend a fun and educational gathering on Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 7 pm.  Participants will be exploring techniques for working on wood to create unique hand-made objects for fundraising at the Nature Artists’ Guild’s Holiday (Autumn) Exhibition of Natural History Art on November 9 and 10, 2019.

Fellow artists will be sharing their skills in nature printing, collage, colored pencil, pen and ink, painting, staining and much more.  Some supplies will be available, but artists are also encouraged to bring a few of their own. Wood will be provided.

All proceeds from the fundraising will be used to support the Nature Artists’ Guild.  This event is for members only, and will meet at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum.

Photo credit Nature Artists’ Guild Fundraising Committee

An Opportunity to Learn Woodblock Printing with Ben Calvert

Nature Artists’ Guild members may remember Ben Calvert from his fascinating presentation on creating woodblock prints in February, 2019.  Ben will be teaching a four-evening introductory class beginning on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 and continuing for the following three Wednesday evenings, at The Morton Arboretum, where he will share the history, supplies, and processes involved in woodblock printing.  All supplies are included.

All are welcome to join Ben in this class, which will be suitable for all skill levels.  There is no requirement to be a member of the Nature Artists’ Guild or The Morton Arboretum to register, although Arboretum members will receive a discounted enrollment fee.  Please click here to register or to read more about the course.

Fellow procrastinators should note that to prevent cancellation, The Morton Arboretum requires a minimum enrollment number well before the start date of any class.  To minimize the likelihood of any class cancellations, early enrollment is highly encouraged.

Great Migrator Rest Stop, copyright 2018, Benjamin F. Calvert III.  Please click on the image to be directed to Ben’s website.