Art and Alpacas at Thornhill on February 1, 2018

Susan Waldron and alpacas at her farm. Please click on image to visit

No, there will not be any actual alpacas in the historic Founder’s Room or Arbor Room of the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum in the near future, nor have there ever been, as far as we know.  The Nature Artists’ Guild, though, will be hosting a program at Thornhill on Thursday evening, February 1, 2018, from 7 until 9 pm featuring artist and alpaca farmer, Susan Waldron.

While Susan also creates wonderful paintings in the more familiar media of oils and watercolors, her fiber art made from the wool of her own alpacas is uniquely beautiful.

On her website, Susan Waldron Art,  she writes-

I use my own hand-dyed alpaca fibers in the art pieces that I create.  The alpaca fiber feels like a combination of cashmere and silk.  As a result of raising these animals from birth, there is a spiritual connection with the animals and the felted pieces.

I am able to combine my love for color, nature, and alpacas to create exquisite, felted pieces.

Susan Waldron’s Alpaca Fiber Art. Copyright Susan Waldron. Please click on image to visit

Exquisite, indeed. Please visit her website for more images and to read more about Susan’s artistic journey and these fascinating creatures she raises.

As always, programs sponsored by the Nature Artists’ Guild of The Morton Arboretum are open to all.  Guests and visitors are welcome and there will be no charge for attendance, parking, or for admission to the Arboretum for this event.

The Nature Artists’ Guild would also like to encourage potential new members to attend.  Please arrive a few minutes early if you have any questions about our group and one of our members will be happy to assist you.  There is absolutely no pressure to join and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the Guild, its members, exhibits, and activities.

Beginning the New Year

Whether your priority for the upcoming year is to make more art, to learn new techniques, or simply to view more art or make new friends, the Nature Artists’ Guild has it covered.  There is still time to join or renew, and since memberships are for the calendar year, the sooner you join, the more benefit you’ll receive from your membership.

Here are a few of the activities coming up in the next month or so –

  • The Nature Artists’ Guild is proud to present their first exhibit of the year at the Downers Grove Public Library.  This lovely collection of members’ work will be open to the public throughout the month of January during regular library hours.
  • On Thursday evening, February 1, 2018,  between 7 and 9 pm, Susan Waldron will give a presentation at the Thornhill Education Center on her techniques for creating floral and landscape paintings in oil as well as in fiber made from, if you can believe it, the wool from her own herd of alpacas!  Guests and visitors are also welcome to attend this program free-of-charge.  More details will be coming soon, but please visit Susan’s website for a preview of her work (and her alpacas).
  • The first paint-out of the year is scheduled for Tuesday morning, February 6, 2018 from 8 until 11 am at Orchids by Hausermann in Villa Park, IL.

    Copyright Jane Kellenberger.

    This popular paint-out (think tropical weather and being surrounded by thousands of orchids) has limited space and fills up quickly, so interested Guild members should contact Jane Kellenberger to save a spot.  Jane’s contact information can be found in the Yearbook.

  • New classes and workshops start soon at The Morton Arboretum.  Some upcoming nature art classes include Rocks, Minerals and Bones in Colored Pencil with Kimberly Mullarkey, Jewelry Making: Winter Berries Necklace with Karen Johnson, Linoleum Block Printing Workshop with Carrie Carlson, and Advanced Textures in Graphite and Watercolor and Nature in Graphite with Suzanne Wegener.  For those just starting out, Beginner’s Nature Art Workshops: Winter Foliage in Graphite and Begin to Draw Nature are scheduled for late February and early March.  All classes are open to the public and a discount is offered for members of The Morton Arboretum.  Please click on this link to the Arboretum’s class listings for more information or to enroll.
  • It won’t be long before we begin to post montages from those Nature Artists’ Guild members who are participating in the Fall into Winter Encounter.  It will be exciting to see the results of weeks of collecting and creating!

Please check back here soon or click on any of the highlighted links for more about these and other upcoming activities.

Birds of a Feather, We Flock Together

The work is done (for a while), the exhibit was a success, and now it’s time to celebrate a wonderful year of creating nature art.

The theme for this year’s holiday gathering is Birds of a Feather,We Flock Together.  The party planners have a festive evening planned, with decorations, music with an (optional) sing-along with Bruce Oscar of WDCB’s Swing Shift, lots of food, and the traditional raffle (which will include the generous donation of free admission to a class from The Morton Arboretum).

The best part, of course, will be the chance to celebrate with fellow members of the Nature Artists’ Guild, a special flock of friendly, sharing, and talented birds!

Sandhill Cranes screenprint, copyright Carol Cooley.

The evening begins at 6 pm on Thursday, December 7, 2017 in the historic and lovely Founders Room of Thornhill Education Center at The Morton Arboretum.  Dinner begins at 7 pm, and the after-dinner raffle will continue until 9.  Current members of the Nature Artists’ Guild should check their e-mailed invitation for details and contact Gail Diedrichsen or Susan Bartlett (whose contact information can be found in the Yearbook) with questions.

2017 Annual Autumn (Holiday) Exhibit of Natural History Art Invitation

Please share this invitation with friends and family!  Printed versions of the postcard as well as the exhibit poster will be available at the October 5, 2017 Nature Artists’ Guild meeting at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum, or at the Thornhill office afterwards. Thank you to Featured Artist Peggy McGahan for the artwork and to Evelyn Grala for the design of the poster and postcard.

The exhibition is free and open to all visitors to the Arboretum.  A printed ticket or invitation is not required for entry into the exhibit.

Welcome to Autumn

The unique pleasures of Autumn make for a busy (the busiest?) season at The Morton Arboretum and for the Nature Artists’ Guild.  Here are some reminders to keep everyone on track!

Wood duck, copyright Peggy McGahan, Featured Artist for the 2017 Exhibition of Natural History Art by the Nature Artists’ Guild of The Morton Arboretum.

  • Nature Artists’ Guild members who would like to participate in the upcoming 2017 Autumn (Holiday) Exhibition of Natural History Art need to have their completed prospectuses postmarked by Thursday, September 28, 2017.  All requirements are detailed on the prospectus which was e-mailed to eligible members approximately a month ago.  Drop-off of artwork for the exhibit will take place on the evening of Wednesday, November 1 between 6 and 8 pm at the Cudahy Auditorium in the Administration and Research Center at The Morton Arboretum.
  • Renewing members can mail their $45 membership dues for next year beginning on October 1, 2017.  Dues should be mailed to the treasurer, Nancy Wu, whose contact information can be found in the Yearbook.  New members are also welcome and can mail their dues to the address provided on the membership brochure.  New or renewing members can also pay in person at the October 5, 2017 meeting or the upcoming exhibit.
  • On October 5, 2017, the Nature Artists’ Guild will sponsor a program featuring artist Patricia Larkin Green and Sumi-e brush painting.  This program is free-of-charge and open to the public.  More details can be seen by clicking on this link.
  • There is still time to enroll in one or more of the Autumn Nature Art classes or workshops at The Morton Arboretum, many of which are taught by members of the Nature Artists’ Guild. Please click on this link to the Arboretum’s class listings for more information. All classes are open to the public.
  • The 2017 Autumn (Holiday) Exhibition of Natural History Art will open on the evening of Friday, November 3, 2017 with a reception for guests of the artists and members of The Morton Arboretum and will continue throughout the weekend, Saturday, November 4 and Sunday, November 5, 2017, for the enjoyment of all visitors to The Morton Arboretum.  E-mail postcards will be made available soon to Nature Artists’ Guild members.  The official exhibit posters and postcards featuring the work of Peggy McGahan and designed by Evelyn Grala will be available for members to pick up at the October 5, 2017 meeting or at the Thornhill office thereafter.

Patricia Larkin Green and Sumi-e Brush Painting

On Thursday, October 5, 2017, from 7 until 9 pm, the Nature Artists’ Guild of The Morton Arboretum will be hosting a program by Patricia Larkin Green on the art of sumi-e brush painting.

Patricia Larkin Green, Sumi-e Artist. Photo credit

“Experience the meditative practice of traditional Japanese ink painting, sumi-e, the art of painting using a brush (fude), ink (sumi) and thin, absorbent “rice-paper” (washi).”

Please click on one of the highlighted links to Patricia’s website to learn more about the artist, her artwork and sumi-e brush painting.

As always, guests and visitors are welcome to attend this program at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum.  Attendance, parking and admission to The Morton Arboretum are free-of-charge for this event. Visitors should let the attendant at the gate know that they are there for the Nature Artists’ Guild program and they will be directed to Thornhill.

Nature Painting on Ceramics Workshop for Nature Artists’ Guild Members

The Nature Artists’ Guild fundraising committee will be conducting a new workshop for members only on Saturday, September 23, 2017 from 9:30 until noon at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum.

Participants in this free workshop will learn how to create art on ceramics using oil-based paint markers.  The Nature Artists’ Guild will provide all the ceramic plates and some oil-based paint markers for the workshop, but attendees are asked to bring one Sharpie oil-based paint marker in a color of their choice to share. These markers are widely available in art stores or craft departments.

Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Markers. Photo credit

Attendees should also bring a simple nature art design to transfer onto a ceramic plate. Flowers, birds, feathers or leaves would be appropriate, but landscapes are discouraged.

The finished ceramic pieces (for decoration only and not dishwasher safe) will be sold for $20 each at the Autumn (Holiday) Exhibition of Natural History Art in November, with all proceeds going to the Nature Artists’ Guild. Materials and instructions can be provided for participants who would like to take their piece home to complete and return it on November 1 at the exhibit artwork drop-off.

Interested members should contact workshop leaders Jill Adzia or Catherine Stacy to enroll in this fun and easy fundraising project.  Their contact information can be found in the Guild’s Yearbook.

Nature Artists’ Guild members Catherine Stacy, Jill Adzia and Susan Bartlett with their lovely ceramic plates.