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.

Nature Artists’ Guild To Enter Its 35th Year!

The Nature Artists’ Guild of The Morton Arboretum enters its 35th year of art and nature in 2021!

As it has for more than 34 years, membership in the Nature Artists’ Guild in 2021 brings opportunities to participate in programs, paint-outs, exhibits, workshops, and social events (in person or online, as conditions require.)  In addition, the Nature Artists’ Quarterly, featuring news, articles, and artwork by, for, or about members is delivered to every member’s mailbox each season.

Now, before the season becomes too busy, might be a good time for Nature Artists’ Guild members to renew their membership for 2021 (or for new members to join.)  Current members of the guild can renew at a reduced fee (through the end of the month) by clicking here and scrolling down to the appropriate payment button.  New members can click here to join at the regular rate.  If preferred, new members can send a check to the address on the membership form and returning members can send a check to treasurer Catherine Stacy. Use of the membership form is not required as long as the member’s contact information is included with the check or online payment.

 

 

Ink for October

The Nature Artists’ Guild is participating in Inktober®2020!  The rules are simple, and joining in is even simpler.

Inktober is a registered trademark of J.P. Creative, LLC. Used with permission.

The Nature Artists’ Guild and The Morton Arboretum are offering some upcoming opportunities for learning to use ink in interesting and enjoyable ways –

Tomorrow, October 1, 2020, Lara Call Gastinger will be giving an online presentation about nature journaling to members.  Her remarkable journal drawings in ink illustrate some of the versatility of the medium. Guild members received an e-mail on September 24 with instructions for participating.

Stippled Leaf, sketchbook, copyright Lara Gastinger. Used with permission.

Of course, Inktober®2020 would include the art of Sumi-e, a Japanese style of painting in black ink in which emphasis is placed on the beauty of each brush stroke. The Morton Arboretum will be offering a three-part online Sumi-e workshop, taught by Patricia Larkin Green beginning on October 8, 2020.  This workshop is open to all, not just members of the Nature Artists’ Guild or The Morton Arboretum.

Patricia Larkin Green Sumi-e paintings and studio.

Please click on any of the above images or links for more information. All it really takes is a pen and some paper to begin, and images of ink creations by members of the Nature Artists’ Guild will be shared on this website in the coming weeks.

Inktober is a registered trademark of J.P. Creative, LLC. Used with permission.

An Artful Autumn at the Nature Artists’ Guild

Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild of The Morton Arboretum can look forward to a full Fall of art and nature!

Autumnal Gold, copyright Patricia Mroczka

Some upcoming events include –

  • A virtual lecture this month about the symbolism of art (much of it nature) portrayed on an 18th Century Asian screen. (Postponed until further notice.)
  • A “paint-out” in September where members create art in their own environment and share their experiences through video-chat or by sending images to display on this website.
  • An online presentation about journaling in nature with Lara Call Gastinger. Lara’s workshop at the Arboretum sold out immediately, but all Nature Artists’ Guild members are invited to join her October 1 presentation.
  • A new “Art Encounter” in October that will involve working almost solely in ink.  Its a great way to quickly hone those drawing skills!
  • An online exhibit in November of images of some of the finished artwork that members had hoped to include in the cancelled 2020 Spring or Autumn (Holiday) exhibits.
  • A fun and creative holiday card project in lieu of the annual in-person celebration.

Dates, times, and all the other details about these events will be shared with members through e-mails and announcements on this website.  

Field Journaling with Lara Call Gastinger on October 1, 2020

 

“As a trained plant ecologist, my love of learning and drawing nature is exemplified in my field journals.” – Lara Call Gastinger

Botanical artist and illustrator Lara Call Gastinger will be sharing some of her inspirations, ideas, and techniques for journaling in nature at the October 1, 2020 Nature Artists’ Guild online program.  Lara has received two gold medals at Royal Horticultural Society Botanical Art Shows in London and is the Chief Illustrator for the Flora of Virginia Project.

Please click on this link for a short video that features Lara speaking about some of her travels, discoveries, and inspirations as a “documenter of nature” and her joy in combining the love of both art and science in her work.

Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild will receive an e-mail closer to the program date with specific instructions on how to participate.  

Sketchbook pages, copyright Lara Gastinger. Used with permission.

Lara will also be teaching a three-session online workshop for The Morton Arboretum beginning on October 2, 2020.  During the workshop, Lara will “teach pen illustration techniques, plant identification, page composition, and how to add basic watercolor to your pages. During each live session, students will have the chance to interact with the instructor and each other, asking questions and sharing their work”.  Registration for Visiting Artist: Field Journaling with Lara Gastinger opens on September 1, 2020 by phone or though the Arboretum website’s Learn and experience page Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild can receive a discount for the workshop by registering by phone and confirming their membership.  Update – this workshop is sold out, but Nature Artists’ Guild members will still be able to participate in the program on October 1.

A Busy March for Nature Artists

Please click on this link to important notices from The Morton Arboretum

 

Coming up in March for members of the Nature Artists’ Guild –

Eastern Towhee, copyright Alex Warnick. Used with permission.

Monday, March 2, 2020 is the last day for members to mail their completed prospectuses for the 2020 Spring Exhibit of Natural History Art.  The link for the prospectus was sent out to all members by e-mail last month.  New members, please don’t hesitate to participate.  The Guild is a supportive, non-competitive organization that values the contributions of nature artists at all skill levels.  Beginners to professionals, we welcome you all!

Update – the Spring exhibit has been postponed until a date to be determined.

Thursday, March 5, 2020 is the date of a very special program sponsored by the Nature Artists’ Guild at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum from 7 until 9 pm.   Visiting Artist Alex Warnick will be sharing some thoughts about her exquisite paintings and illustrations of birds and her adventures in birding. This event is open to all and free-of-charge. Members are encouraged to invite their fellow artists, birders, and nature lovers to this presentation.  Details are in this previous post.

On Saturday, March 7, 2020 a repeat of last month’s Round Table Paint-In event will take place at Thornhill beginning at 1 pm.  Members should contact Linn Eldred if they’d like to participate.  Linn’s contact information is included in the February 19 e-mail sent to members.  All supplies will be provided, and there is no cost to attend this fun and creative event.

And that’s not all!  Plans are in the works for a paint-out at the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum later in the month.  Details about this popular annual paint-out will be shared as soon as they are finalized.   Update – This event has been postponed until a date to be determined.

A fundraising workshop has been scheduled for Saturday, March 28, 2020 at the Thornhill Education Center.  Supplies will be provided for Nature Artists’ Guild members who wish to participate by painting canvases to be sold at the Spring Exhibit as a fundraiser.  Fundraising workshops are a great place to get to know and enjoy some time with fellow Guild members.  Update – This event has been postponed until a date to be determined.

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.