The Not-So-Lazy Days of Summer Begin

Summer Memories, pastel, copyright Laverne Bohlin. Click on image for link to Laverne’s website.

The Nature Artists’ Guild has a lot in store, from programs and paint-outs to special exhibits and projects, for the upcoming “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer (Nat King Cole, 1963.)

Members are invited to stop by Ginkgo Restaurant and Café in the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum at 9 am for informal weekly gatherings beginning tomorrow, June 1, 2022. These will continue throughout the season. (Timed-entry passes will be required.) Note – time has been updated to 9 am from previously announced 11 am.

The following evening, Thursday, June 2, 2022, the Nature Artists’ Guild will be sponsoring a program (open to all, free of charge) at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum at 7 pm. This annual program will feature three talented members of the guild sharing some of their artistic inspirations, tools, and techniques. (Timed-entry passes are not required.)

Paint-outs will be scheduled as the summer progresses, and special projects and exhibits are being planned for July and August. Award-winning pastel artist (and guild member) Laverne Bohlin will be giving a presentation at the August 4th program and teaching a workshop for the arboretum the following weekend. Many more details coming soon!

Please click on any of the highlighted links for more information.

In the Works at the Nature Artists’ Guild

The June 2, 2022 meeting of the Nature Artists’ Guild (open to all, free-of-charge) at 7 pm at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum will feature three guild members sharing their techniques, materials, and talents. This popular annual “Artist Trio” presentation usually takes place in August, but has been moved to June this year so that we can welcome a special guest in August. Much more about the 2022 presenters coming soon!

From former years –


Laverne Bohlin, an award-winning pastel artist (and Nature Artists’ Guild member) who recently moved to New Mexico from the Chicago area will be back in August to teach a workshop at The Morton Arboretum focusing on painting water with pastels. Laverne has generously agreed to share some of her techniques and inspirations at the guild’s August 4, 2022 meeting at 7 pm at the Thornhill Education Center. The August 4 program will be open to all, free-of-charge.

Wetland Sunset II, Pastel, Copyright Laverne Bohlin

There were reports of balmy and beautiful weather at the recent daffodil paint-out and the daffodils responded in a spectacular manner! Paint-outs will be offered throughout the summer, and members are encouraged to keep some of their most portable art supplies and a folding chair ready to go. (Paint-outs will normally be announced at least two weeks ahead of the date, but occasionally a last-minute opportunity comes along.)

From recent paint-out locations –

Looking Back at 2021 with the Nature Artists’ Guild

Copyright Cheryl Holz

Before moving ahead to 2022, we’d like to share a few reminders of some of the Nature Artists’ Guild’s projects, paint-outs, exhibits, and programs of 2021. Here is a sample of nature art shared throughout the year by guild members and program presenters as well as some photos from paint-out locations.

To view more of the wonderful artwork of 2021, scroll through the Home page or visit the Member Artwork or Featured Artist pages of the website.

Please click here to join or renew membership in the Nature Artists’ Guild of The Morton Arboretum for 2022.

Add a Splash of Color this Winter

Winter Warms Me, watercolor, copyright Dan Danielson

The colors of winter may not seem as varied or vibrant as those of the other seasons, but they can be found, and are just as captivating in their slightly more subtle way.

Renowned artist Dan Danielson will be offering a class this winter at The Morton Arboretum featuring techniques for capturing the colors and wonders of nature using the “fresh, transparent, and fluid qualities of watercolor.”

Loose Watercolor Techniques will include four online sessions in February, 2022. The class is open to all artists with basic watercolor experience and is filling fast, so early enrollment is encouraged!

Winters’ Sentinel, watercolor, copyright Dan Danielson

One More Thing Before the Holiday Season Begins

Become a new member or renew your membership to the Nature Artists’ Guild before the busy holiday season and start the new year enjoying all that membership offers.

Selection of member and presenter artwork and paint-out settings. Each piece of artwork is copyrighted by the artist and may not be used without written permission.

Wonderful Marge Hall and her Wonderful Flowers, October 18, 2021

Many art-fair visitors in Chicagoland will recognize Marge Hall and her wonderful large-scale close-up portraits of flowers. Marge can be seen throughout the summer in front of her booth painting and talking with visitors, engaging with and inspiring collectors and artists alike.

Marge Hall is also a popular instructor at the Dupage Art League where she teaches painting to artists at all levels. Many of Marge’s tips and techniques for painting flower portraits in oil can be adapted for use in acrylic, pastel, or even watercolor.

The Wheaton Public Library and the Dupage Art League have announced a joint presentation of Oils Start to Finish, an online program with Marge Hall, on Monday, October 18, 2021 from 6:30 until 8:30 pm. There will be a chance to ask questions, follow along at home, or just sit back and enjoy. Please click on one of the highlighted links to register for this free program, open to all.

Please click on photos for titles. All rights reserved by Marge Hall. Photos used with permission (previously posted.)

Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild who participate in the event are encouraged to create their own floral portrait (in any medium) and submit an image to Denise Fisk by for display on this website.

Before Autumn Begins

Summer may be coming to an end soon, but nature artists still have time to enjoy the beautiful weather while beginning to prepare for the colder months. (As always, please click on the highlighted links for more information and important details.)

Links to the prospectus for the Autumn 2021 Exhibit have been emailed to all members. This long-awaited in-person exhibit at The Morton Arboretum in November 2021 will have extended hours to better accommodate artists and visitors. Much more about this exhibit and Featured Artist Jill Adzia will be coming soon.

2021 Nature Artists’ Guild Exhibit poster. Artwork by Jill Adzia, poster design by Jane Kellenberger.

A paint-out at the Peck Farm Park is scheduled for Friday, September 10, 2021. The park’s Butterfly House closes soon, so it may be one of the last chances to capture an image of these beauties this year!

Jeanne’s Garden, copyright Linda C. Fairbanks

Tuesday Morning Coffee Club gatherings continue at the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum every week beginning at 9 am. All members are welcome to stop by but will need a timed-entry ticket to enter the arboretum.

Exterior of Ginkgo Restaurant and Cafe facing Meadow Lake at The Morton Arboretum. Photo credit mortonarb.org.

Online workshops by Visiting Artist Betsy Rogers-Knox and one of the guild’s own talented members, Carrie Carlson, are open for registration at The Morton Arboretum. Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild will receive an additional discount for the Visiting Artist class if they register by phone and mention their guild membership.

Holiday card in watercolor, copyright Carrie Carlson

Plein Air in June with Karen Johnson at The Morton Arboretum

Whether or not tomorrow’s Nature Artists’ Guild paint-out goes forward (it’s all up to the weather), there will be many more opportunities for guild members to paint outdoors in the coming months.

For those members who are new to painting outdoors as well as for those who love to but want to learn some new tips for making the best of the experience, the Morton Arboretum is offering an in-person class on painting ‘en plein air‘ with talented and experienced artist and educator (and recent Nature Artists’ Guild Featured Artist) Karen Johnson. Karen has been painting outdoors for years all over the world and one of her latest projects has been sharing the beauty of all the seasons (yes, even winter) in the prairie through her sketchbooks.

Karen Johnson sketching in Sweden

Many artists assume that painting en plein air involves traipsing through the woods lugging large easels and solvents and later trying to get back to the car without smearing or dropping their fresh (and wet) oil paintings. Karen will show that there can be an easier way.

Sketchbook page, copyright Karen A Johnson

From The Morton Arboretum’s listing for Art in Plein Air

Enjoy a creative morning outside with this art class “en plein air” at The Morton Arboretum. Under the guidance of your instructor, capture the landscape, the form of a tree, or the tiny detail of a flower bud. Bring your graphite pencils, colored pencils, pen and ink, watercolors, or other medium of choice, and get tips for building a field kit of art supplies you can easily carry with you on any trip outdoors. Enjoy plenty of time to work independently with the support of your instructor. 

The class is offered on either Saturday, June 12 or Friday, June 18, 2021 from 9:30 am until 12:30 pm. Class size is limited. Enrollment is not limited to members of The Morton Arboretum or the Nature Artists’ Guild, but arboretum members will receive a discounted registration fee.

Dan Danielson’s Fresh, Fluid, and Fun Watercolor Techniques

Fellow Nature Artists’ Guild members may know Dan Danielson as one of the presenters in last August’s online program or from some of the artwork he has shared on this website. (Please click on any image for the title and a full version.)

But Dan has been painting and teaching art since first studying at Chicago’s American Academy of Art. His award-winning artwork and techniques are so vibrant and lively that The Morton Arboretum has asked him to share his talents by teaching an online class this spring, Fresh, Fluid, and Fun Watercolor Techniques.  

Registration is open to all for the four-part online class that begins April 15, 2021. There is no requirement to be a member of the arboretum or the Nature Artists’ Guild to register, but space is limited, so early enrollment is recommended. Please click on one of the highlighted links to the class or Dan’s website to read more.

Ant, copyright Dan Danielson

Who Has a Houseplant Handy?

Nature Artists’ Guild members recently received an e-mail with links to various free online instructional art videos.  Some of the videos are presented by Strathmore Artists Papers, and one of their contributing artists, Cathy Johnson, has created a series called “Watercolor Sketching”.

In her short video, Watercolor Sketching, Part 1, Cathy uses nothing more than a potted plant and a few watercolor supplies to create a wonderful journal page. Beginning watercolor students will gain valuable skills in less than ten minutes, and even experienced watercolorists may add to their knowledge just by watching.  Please click on the highlighted link or the image to view.

Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild are encouraged to share an image of their results as part of the 2021 Winter Encounter.

From Watercolor Sketching Part 1, Watercolor Journal Page with Cathy Johnson.  Please click on image to be directed to the video.