Winter Sketches Just Barely Beginning to Show Signs of Spring!

There is more than a foot of snow on the ground, temperatures have been dropping into the single digits, and icicles hang from the roofs, but Spring is nevertheless on its way.  Even though the official start of the season is weeks away, members of the Nature Artists’ Guild are seeing and noting some of the first promising signs in their sketchbooks.

Red-headed woodpecker sketchbook pages, copyright Kathy Belletire.

Kathy Belletire lives a bit farther south than many members and is seeing some of the birds that will reach us soon.  She used a field guide to fill out the details of the red-headed woodpecker that visited her oak, but was unable to confirm the identity of her mystery bird.  Jean Black continues to share her observations of the natural world, and Jill Spealman braved the cold to record a budding elm after being motivated by online nature-journaling classes by Carrie Carlson and John Muir Laws.

Thank you to all of the artists who have shared images throughout the 2021 Winter Encounter.  Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild are invited to join in any time throughout the month. Please click on any one of the images for a larger version and the artist’s name.

Winter Sketching Continues

There hasn’t been much outdoor sketching going on lately for members of the Nature Artists’ Guild, but comfortable indoor sketching continues.

Jean Black sketched the visitors to her balcony and Marlene Vitek took note of the contrasts between the scenes inside and outside of her balcony window, as well as the variations in icicles. Lisa Kanellos sketched a mink skull that she received through a monthly subscription service for prepared animal skulls (please contact Lisa for more information about this service.  Her contact information can be found in the guild’s Yearbook.)

Mink skull sketch, copyright Lisa Kanellos

The Nature Artists’ Guild’s Winter Encounter continues through the end of February.  Members can join in any time and are encouraged to send in their images.  Please click on any image for a larger version and the artists’ name.


Margaret Best Presents An Intimate Relationship with Colour on Thursday, March 4, 2021

With the snow falling and temperatures near zero, it hardly seems possible that spring blooms could be not many weeks away!

Pulsatilla patens, Prairie Crocus, copyright Margaret Best.  Used with permission.

Renowned artist and educator Margaret Best is well versed in the subtleties and surprises of nature in different climates and seasons from having grown up in South Africa, to now residing in Nova Scotia, and from traveling and teaching worldwide. Her botanical art can be found in private collections around the world, as well as at the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation of the Carnegie Mellon University and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Margaret will share some of her research into the innovative color system used by prolific illustrator of plants and animals in the nineteenth century Ferdinand Bauer in an online program for Nature Artists’ Guild members, An Intimate Relationship with Colour, on Thursday, March 4, 2021 beginning at 7 pm.

Please click on an image or on one of the highlighted links to reach Margaret’s website, where you can learn more about her life and art and enjoy images of her stunning paintings.  Nature Artists’ Guild members will receive by email, within the next few weeks, a link and instructions for attending the online program.

Crocus watercolor painting and supplies. Copyright Margaret Best. Used with permission.

From the Middle Triassic until Now, Tonight at 7 for Nature Artists’ Guild Members

Illustration of the oldest known dinosaur relative. Copyright Marlene Hill Donnelly, Field Museum. Please click on the image or this link for a news article about the discovery.

How do you accurately (as possible) illustrate the oldest known dinosaur relative and its habitat using only fossil records from 243 million years ago?  The Nature Artists’ Guild is excited to announce that the speaker at tonight’s online program is likely the only person in the world who has done just that!

This evening, February 4, 2021, beginning at 7 pm via live video, artist, educator, and scientist Marlene Hill Donnelly will share stories of some of her unique and fascinating experiences over the course of her career as a scientific illustrator for the world-renowned Field Museum.  Marlene often illustrated plants and animals that lived millions of years ago by creating her own models based only on fossil records and scientific knowledge.

Marlene has also worked as a freelance artist for the Belle Isle Aquarium, the Smithsonian Institution, HarperCollins, and the Honolulu Zoo, and has taught various botanical and scientific illustration and art classes at The Morton Arboretum and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Nature Artists’ Guild members were sent an email on January 28, 2021 with a link and instructions for joining the meeting.  Any members who did not receive the link and wish to attend should contact Jane Kellenberger as soon as possible.

More Winter Work by Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild

Nature Artists’ Guild members continue to practice their art and observation skills during the 2021 Winter Encounter.  Beata Nowak worked from a photo she had taken of some eagles at a local rookery, Dorothy Duffala worked along with an online video to paint her poppies, and Laverne Bohlin painted from her car at a trailhead in New Mexico.  Kathy Belletire sketched and painted a visiting “plague” of grackles and Jean Black sketched a pair of cardinals observed through her window. Marlene Vitek and Lisa Kanellos worked from found objects, and Marlene, who also worked from a photo, remarked that she is “so glad that I am doing this – really need a push sometimes to get to work! Once there, I am so glad I did something.”

Please click on any of the images for the artist’s name and the title or description of the work.  Members are invited to join in at any time throughout the month.  Details for participating are in the January 16th email sent to all members.

The Views are Quite Delightful

Oh, the weather outside may be frightful, but the views are quite delightful!

Nature Artists’ Guild member Laverne Bohlin’s view from her car in New Mexico may be vastly different than what we see from our windows in Chicagoland, but she shows us that a small watercolor or acrylic painting, a colored pencil, graphite, or ink sketch, or a photograph for future reference material are all quite possible from the comfortable confines of the automobile.

With the recent snow creating a winter wonderland, today may be the day to try sketching from the car, with just a few art supplies, a warm drink, and a safe and scenic place to park (including your own driveway if you’re still snowed in).

Piedra Lisa Trailhead, watercolor, copyright 2021 Laverne Bohlin

Nature Artists’ Winter Work

The first images from the Nature Artists’ Guild’s 2021 Winter Encounter are here!  Members are invited to join in any time, whether or not they choose to share images of their artwork.  The suggestions for participating are simple and the practice will lead to improvements in technique and interesting discoveries.  Members of the guild can refer to their email from January 16 for details.

Thank you to the members who have already inspired their fellow artists by sharing images of their wonderful work.  Please click on any image for a full view and the name of the artist.

The Nature Artists’ Guild “Winter Encounter” Begins

The first Nature Artists’ Guild “Encounter” of 2021 has begun, and it requires not much more than a few art supplies and an internet connection.

It’s always fun to watch someone else draw or paint!  For the next seven weeks, though, instead of just grabbing a snack and enjoying the videos, participants will actually be trying the techniques themselves.  Practicing one technique, or trying many – it doesn’t matter. Either way, each participant will improve their skills and emerge this spring as a better artist.

Members of the guild can find some links for excellent free art instruction (as well as instructions for participating) in the email they received yesterday.

Trees, watercolor, copyright Carol Jean Rogalski

Nature Artists’ Guild Welcomes Back Marlene Hill Donnelly on February 4, 2021

It’s been nearly ten years since members of the Nature Artists’ Guild have had the pleasure of attending a presentation by artist, educator, and scientist Marlene Hill Donnelly.  The guild is excited to welcome her back as their first speaker of 2021.

On Thursday evening, February 4, 2021, beginning at 7 pm, via live video, Marlene will talk about some of her unique experiences over the course of her career as a scientific illustrator for the Field Museum and as a freelance artist for the Belle Isle Aquarium, the Smithsonian Institution, HarperCollins, and the Honolulu Zoo.  Marlene has also taught various art and botanical and scientific illustration classes at The Morton Arboretum, and is currently teaching at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Detail of Landscape Reconstructed – Greenland, copyright Marlene Hill Donnelly.

Instructions for joining this program will be emailed to all Nature Artists’ Guild members later this month. Those who have not yet joined or renewed for 2021 are encouraged to do so before the end of January to ensure that they receive the participation instructions.

Happy Holidays from the Nature Artists’ Guild

Holiday card 2020, copyright Mary Sinclair

To add cheer to the season, members of the Nature Artists’ Guild created and exchanged holiday cards, and some of the artists or recipients have shared images of those cards here for us to enjoy. Thank you to Susan Bartlett for coordinating this fun exchange and to all the participating artists for contributing their time and talent!

If you are unable to view the slideshow on your device, please click here or on the title at the top of the post to be directed to the Nature Artists’ Guild website.

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