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.

Coming Soon for the Nature Artists’ Guild

  • There will be a paint-out this September for members of the Nature Artists’ Guild, with the exact date and location to be announced shortly.  Update – the paint-out will be at Chicago’s Field Museum with Peggy Macnamara at 10 am on September 18, 2019. More details to come soon!
  • The prospectus for the 2019 Autumn (Holiday) Exhibition of Natural History Art at The Morton Arboretum will be sent in early September to all members of the Nature Artists’ Guild.  New members are welcome to join the Guild before then to receive a prospectus.
  • Images from the 2019 Summer Encounter are being received from the artists and will be shared here and in the next issue of the Nature Artists’ Quarterly (a members-only publication).
  • A Creative Event has been scheduled for September 5, 2019 at 7 pm at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum for Nature Artists’ Guild members.  Lots of fun and creativity will be in store as members create handmade objects to sell at the Autumn (Holiday) Exhibit.  A list of skills being shared and suggested supplies to bring was sent to members on August 12.  All proceeds from the sales will be used to support the Nature Artists’ Guild.

Nature in Graphite with Suzanne Wegener begins July 10, 2019

A former president of the GNSI, Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, and current vice-president of the ASBA, American Society of Botanical Artists, Suzanne Wegener is a master at capturing the nuances of nature in graphite. She will be sharing her knowledge in Nature In Graphite, a four-evening class at The Morton Arboretum, beginning on Wednesday, July 10, 2019.

This class is open to anyone interested in improving their drawing skills, but some previous drawing experience is beneficial. Participants do not need to be members of The Morton Arboretum or the Nature Artists’ Guild, but there is a discounted enrollment fee for Arboretum members.

Please click on the image or the above highlighted link for more information.  Prompt registration is encouraged as class size is limited.

Sunflower, graphite, copyright Suzanne Wegener.

Nature Composed Workshop with Wendy Brockman Next Month

Practice is crucial and studying is important, but possibly the best way to rapidly improve artistic skills is to work with the most accomplished artists in the field.  The Visiting Artist Series: Nature Composed workshop with Wendy Brockman coming to The Morton Arboretum for three days, May 17th through May 19th, 2019, will give nature artists the opportunity to learn from one of the best.

Beach Feathers, mixed media on bristol, copyright Wendy Brockman. Used with permission.

This workshop is open to all artists, not just members of the Nature Artists’ Guild or The Morton Arboretum.  Click on the above link to the registration page to read more or to enroll in the workshop.  Space is limited.

Please visit Wendy’s website to read about her inspirations and accomplishments and to see more of her artwork. It is stunning.

Painting Landscapes with Joel Sheesley on May 4, 2019

Artist and author Joel Sheesley presented the March, 2019 program at The Morton Arboretum for members of the Nature Artists’ Guild, their guests, and visitors.  Joel, his fascinating adventures, and his work interested and inspired so many that the Arboretum has invited him back to teach a workshop about painting landscapes.

Below Dayton Bluffs, May 9, 12 x 24, © 2017 Joel Sheesley. Used with permission.

Painting Landscapes, will take place on Saturday, May 4, 2019 from 9 am until 3 pm.  This mostly plein air workshop is available to all artists, not just members of The Morton Arboretum or the Nature Artists’ Guild, although Arboretum members will receive a discount on the registration fee.  Interested artists can read more or enroll by using this link to the workshop’s registration page, or this link to the LEARN & experience page of The Morton Arboretum.

Please click on this link to Joel’s website or on the image above to see more of Joel’s work and to read about his exciting painting experiences.

Spring Is On Its Way!

One of the earliest signs of the season is the announcement of the annual Nature Artists’ Guild’s Spring Exhibition of Natural History Art at The Morton Arboretum!  The dates of the exhibition are April 6 and 7, 2019 (with a reception for guests of the artists as well as members of the Arboretum on the evening of Friday, April 5, 2019).

There will be much more information about this exhibit and its Featured Artist, Karen Johnson, to come in the next few weeks.

Brought to Life, Leadwort, Acrylic, Copyright Karen A. Johnson.  Please click on the image to view Karen’s blog, Karen’s Nature Art.

For now, this is a reminder to participating artists that completed prospectuses should be mailed on or before Monday, March 4, 2019.  The prospectus form and instructions were e-mailed to eligible Guild members on February 4, 2019.  Members can contact Alice Wych (whose contact information can be found in the Nature Artists’ Guild Yearbook) for any questions.

Also, the fundraising workshops are back!  On Wednesday, February 27 at 1:30 pm, at the Thornhill Education Center of the Arboretum, Pat Mroczka will be hosting a member’s workshop for painting rocks or small canvases to be sold at the Spring Exhibition.  This casual workshop is a fun way to get to know other artists and possibly learn a new skill or pick up some tips.  Rocks and canvases will be provided, but participants are asked to bring their own paints and brushes (acrylic paint and synthetic brushes are recommended for painting the rocks). Those members who would prefer to just stop by and pick up a rock or canvas to work on at home are welcome to.

Easy and Enjoyable New Year’s Resolutions for Nature Artists

Why not a few resolutions for 2019 that are enjoyable and easy to keep?  Here are a few for artists at every skill level –

  • Learn new art techniques and methods from renowned artists from the local area as well as from across the country (and occasionally around the world)
  • Participate in wonderful and well-attended exhibitions at The Morton Arboretum and other venues
  • Attend paint-outs with fellow artists, often at locations only accessible as part of an artist’s group
  • Pick up tips and inspiration from artists who are also interested in nature, but whose work varies widely in style, specific subject matter, and technique
Nature Artists’ Guild at Orchids by Hausermann, an annual winter paint-out location.

2019 could be the year to increase artistic skills, learn a new technique, exhibit for the first (or 100th) time, or just have many opportunities to learn from and gain inspiration from fellow artists, all while having fun and enjoying the natural world. Becoming a member of (or renewing membership to) the Nature Artists’ Guild will make it much easier to keep those resolutions!

Please click on this link to the Membership Brochure to learn more. Membership in the Nature Artists’ Guild does not require membership at The Morton Arboretum.  A preview of some of the planned events for 2019 will be coming soon.