Holiday Party Tonight for the Nature Artists’ Guild

The Morton Arboretum Thornhill Education Center. Photo credit http://www.mortonarb.org

Who isn’t awed by The Morton Arboretum in the evening, especially during the holiday season when the festive lights of the buildings and their surroundings contrast with the dark, silent woods and meadows? It can truly be an experience of wonder.

Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild are invited to experience this wonder along with the joys of sharing food and laughter with friends and fellow artists at the annual Holiday Party tonight, December 1, 2022.

Festivities begin at 6 pm in the Founder’s Room (originally the library of the country estate of Joy Morton) at the lovely and historic Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum.

All the details were emailed to members on November 26. No RSVP is necessary and each member is invited to bring a guest.

Invitation by Mary Ann Jimenez

A Few Found Feathers This Wednesday

Journal Pages with Feather Study, 2021, copyright Kathy Belletire

Found feathers from a Great Horned Owl and a few other birds will be available for interested Nature Artists’ Guild members to study or sketch at this Wednesday’s Coffee and Art gathering. (Attendees are also encouraged to bring feathers of any type from their own collections.)

Everything You Need To Know About Feathers from The Cornell Lab provides the basics in a simple but thorough summary.

Guild members are invited to stop in any Wednesday morning at the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum beginning at 9 to sketch, chat, or simply enjoy the morning quiet. Participants are always welcome to bring artwork, inspirations, or supplies they’d like to share or discuss with the group.

Nature Artists’ Guild Welcomes Autumn

The weather is already a bit brisker, there is just a hint of brilliant color in the leaves, and members of the Nature Artists’ Guild are looking forward to celebrating the wonderful displays of the season through their art.

Coming soon –

Tomorrow, September 24, 2022, the guild has a workshop scheduled for members interested in creating subtle pieces of art using color pencil on slate tiles.

Color pencil on slate, copyright Mary Ann Jimenez

On Thursday, October 6, 2022, artist and illustrator Kelley Cappell will be sharing some of her thoughts about creating artwork for a variety of viewers using pen and ink and acrylic, as well as digitally. This program, sponsored by the Nature Artists’ Guild is open to the public, free of charge.

Snow Leopard, pen and ink, copyright Kelley Cappell

October 10, 2022 is the last day for members to mail completed prospectuses for participating in the 2022 Autumn Nature Art Exhibit at The Morton Arboretum in November. More to come soon about the exhibit and Featured Artist Alice Wych.

Poster artwork by Alice Wych. Poster design by Jane Kellenberger.

Every Wednesday morning, a group of guild members meet at the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum to chat, sketch, or enjoy the morning quiet at the Coffee and Art gathering. All guild members are invited to stop by.

Previous October pages in nature journal, copyright Linn Eldred

Members who would like to participate in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Schulenberg Prairie will be able to pick up an 8 x 8 canvas, board, or paper for the project at the Thornhill Education Center on September 24 during the Color Pencil on Slate Tile workshop or on the evening of October 6 at the Kelley Cappell presentation. Some types of supplies may be limited, so interested members may wish to contact Carol Balabanow for more information.

8 x 8 pieces from the Schulenberg Prairie, copyright Marlene Vitek (first two) and Maggie Mardis.

As always, click on the highlighted links for more information.

The Nature Artists’ Guild Welcomes Scientific Illustrator Kelley Cappell on October 6, 2022

Snow Leopard, pen and ink, copyright Kelley Cappell. Used with permission.

On Thursday, October 6, 2022 at 7 pm, the Nature Artists’ Guild will welcome scientific illustrator Kelley Cappell to the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum to share some of her inspirations and experiences creating illustrations and collaborating on exhibit design for the renowned Brookfield Zoo.

A qualified scientific illustrator with a degree in biology, Kelley creates her work in traditional methods using pen and ink, acrylic, and graphite, as well as digitally. In addition to her work at the zoo, Kelley is an instructor at the Water Street Studios School of Art in Batavia, IL.

This presentation, sponsored by the Nature Artists Guild of The Morton Arboretum, is free and open to all. There will be no fee for admission to the arboretum for this event, no fee for attendance, and no fee for parking (and no timed-entry pass necessary.) Visitors can let the gate attendant know they are there for the program to be admitted to the arboretum and directed to Thornhill.

Coming Soon for the Nature Artists’ Guild

Garden at Cantigny Park. Photo credit Jane Kellenberger.

This Wednesday, September 7, 2022, the Nature Artists’ Guild’s paint-out at the gardens of Cantigny Park will take place from 9 am until noon. While members are encouraged to let Linn Eldred know they are attending, drop-ins are also welcome. The gardens and grounds at Cantigny Park are always wonderful and this year there is the added bonus of an exhibit of colorful large-scale sculptures by artists from Mexico City. Parking and admission will be free.

(Boards, canvases, or papers for the Schulenberg Praire anniversary project will be available at this paint-out if a request is made in advance to Carol Balabanow.)

Note – The weekly Art and Coffee gathering will not take place on this date.

Also coming soon –

On September 24, 2022 from 10 to 2, members can attend a volunteer workshop at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum to learn how to create artwork using color pencils on slate tiles. The tiles will be sold at the upcoming Autumn Art Exhibit at The Morton Arboretum with proceeds benefitting the guild. Tiles will be provided, but participants are asked to bring a few other supplies (details are in the August 3rd email sent to members.)

On October 6, 2022 at 7 pm, Artist and Illustrator Kelley Cappell will share some of her experiences, inspirations, and techniques with the audience at the Thornhill Education Center. This program will be open to the public, free of charge. More about Kelley and her art coming soon.

October 10, 2022 will be the final date for members of the Nature Artists’ Guild to mail their completed prospectuses for participating in the Autumn Art Exhibit at The Morton Arboretum in November. The link to the prospectus was emailed to all members on August 31. Much more about the exhibit and the Featured Artist, Alice Wych, to come.

Nature Artists’ Guild members who would like to participate in the Schulenberg Prairie anniversary project can still pick up an 8 x 8 canvas, board, or paper at any of the in-person guild events (including by request at the Cantigny paint-out and excluding the Wednesday Coffee and Art gatherings.) Members can also use their own surface, but the final artwork must be exactly 8 x 8 inches (and less than approximately a half inch deep) to fit into the display. Questions about the project can be emailed to Carol Balabanow.

Butterflies Fluttering Away

Branch of West Indian Cherry with Achilles Morpho Butterfly, Maria Sibylla Sylvan 1702-03. Image credit Royal Collection Trust.

Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild can drop by this Wednesday, August 31, 2022 beginning at 9 am in the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum for the weekly gathering to sketch, paint, draw, chat, or simply take in the beauty of a quiet summer morning surrounded by plants, butterflies, and birds.

This will be the final week for the butterfly interpretive station staffed by arboretum volunteers. To enhance their exhibit, the volunteers have included some beautifully illustrated books featuring the artwork of Maria Sibylla Merian, a noted German artist and entomologist who set sail to South America in 1699. Next month’s interpretive exhibit will focus on bees.

Monarchs and More This Week

Coneflowers, copyright Alice Wych

Participants in this week’s Wednesday Morning Coffee and Art gathering can learn all about butterflies at a staffed interpretive station located just steps away in the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum. The August hands-on exhibit focuses exclusively on butterflies and their habitats. All Nature Artists’ Guild members are invited to stop by to chat, sketch, simply enjoy the quiet of the morning, or even begin gathering reference material for the Schulenberg Prairie Anniversary Project.

Also ongoing or coming up –

The Nature Artists’ Guild exhibit at Gallery 200 continues throughout the month of August. More examples of the wonderful artwork included in this exhibit will be coming soon.

Dining on Goldenrod, pastel, copyright Gary Chipman

This weekend, August 20 and 21, 2022, five members of the Nature Artists’ Guild will be demonstrating various methods of creating nature art and answering questions about the guild at a table inside the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum during the annual Wine and Art Walk.

Detail of Moth pyrography, copyright Gail Diedrichsen

A project celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Schulenberg Prairie has begun. A paint-out has been scheduled for August 25, 2022, but members who wish to participate in the special exhibit can also choose to begin work on their own at any time. Each piece must be created at or inspired by the Schulenberg Prairie and have a finished size of 8 x 8 inches.

Prairie Mosaic (Ecology is Doxology AP2), Block Print, Copyright Carrie S. Carlson

As always, please click on the highlighted links for more information.

Pinks and Purples of Summer this Week

Zinnia, color pencil, copyright Alice Wych

As the nights become a little cooler and the earliest signs of autumn begin to appear, we know that, although there will be plenty of yellows and golds in the months ahead, many of the pinks and purples of summer will begin to fade.

To celebrate the pink and purple blossoms before they disappear, we are inviting participants in this week’s Wednesday Morning Coffee and Art gathering to try to find a flower from their garden to bring along for themselves or other attendees to sketch. A few members will bring some different types of color pencils for others to try as well.

All Nature Artists’ Guild members are invited to drop in at the seating area of the cafe in the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum any Wednesday morning beginning at 9 to spend a little time sketching, chatting, or enjoying the morning quiet. (Timed-entry passes are required and are usually available the same morning.)

Copyright Lisa Kanellos, from the 2021 ‘Seeds of Inspiration‘ project.

Just this Week for the Nature Artists’ Guild

Shady Lakes, pastel, copyright Laverne Bohlin. Used with permission.

This week the members of the Nature Artists’ Guild –

  • Can still contribute to the upcoming Quarterly by sending images of their autumn-focused artwork to Jane Kellenberger. Images must be sent by today, August 1, 2022.
  • Can try out pastels at this week’s Coffee and Art Club on Wednesday, August 3, 2022 beginning at 9 am. A few basic supplies will be shared by fellow artists so that interested members can give the medium a try. There is hope that our program presenter for Thursday (and fellow member) Laverne Bohlin will join us for coffee and a chat. Timed-entry passes will be required (usually available the same morning.)
  • Can attend a program by renowned pastel artist Laverne Bohlin on Thursday, August 4, 2022. Laverne will share some of her techniques and inspirations beginning at 7 pm at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum. Visitors and guests are welcome to attend this program free of charge and can let the gate attendant at the Arboretum know they are there for the program to be admitted and directed to Thornhill. Timed-entry passes are not required for this event.
  • Will open a new exhibit at Gallery 200 in West Chicago. A reception, complete with refreshments and open to all, will be held at the gallery on Friday, August 5, 2022 from 6 to 8 pm.
  • Will learn more about a project to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Schulenberg Prairie at The Morton Arboretum. Details are still being worked out and will be shared with members as soon as they are finalized. The Schulenberg Prairie is “one of the nation’s oldest and most successful prairie and savanna restorations.” – mortonarb.org

As always, please click on the highlighted links for more information.

Nature Artists’ Guild’s Late Summer Events

Coleus, copyright Ann Lamoureux will be one of the lovely pieces exhibited at Gallery 200 during August 2022.

The Nature Artists’ Guild is returning to Gallery 200 in West Chicago this August. This spacious and vibrant gallery regularly showcases the work of thirty artists but has plenty of room for special exhibits as well. The artwork of participating Nature Artists’ Guild members will be featured from Thursday, August 4 until Friday, August 26, 2022. (Artwork drop-off will be from 11 am until 1 pm on Saturday, July 30, 2022.)

A reception will be held at the gallery on Friday, August 5 from 6 until 8 pm. All are welcome to drop in to meet some of the artists and enjoy the exhibit.


Red-tailed Hawk, copyright Alice Wych is one of more than fifty pieces of artwork in Visions of Nature at the Hidden Oaks Nature Center during July 2022.

Visions of Nature at Hidden Oaks Nature Center ends on Saturday, July 30, 2022. This wonderful exhibit includes more than fifty works of art by Nature Artists’ Guild members. (Artwork pick-up will be on Sunday, July 31, 2022 between noon and 2 pm.)


Wetland Tangle, copyright Laverne Bohlin

August also begins with a program sponsored by the Nature Artists’ Guild featuring Laverne Bohlin and her serene pastels. This program will be open to all, free-of-charge, on Thursday, August 4, 2022 beginning at 7 pm.

More details about these events can be found by clicking on the highlighted links.