Who Would Like to Share?

It’s been more than two weeks since the beginning of the 2020 Spring Nature Artists’ Guild “Encounter”, There’s No Place Like Home.  So now it’s time to share!  Participants in the project are invited to submit up to three images of some of their artwork created over the last two weeks.  Depending on the total number received, one, two, or all three of each artist’s images will be shared on this website in an upcoming post.

Nancy Wu’s sketch of an orchid in watercolor at the recent Orchids by Hausermann paint-out.

Some quick tips for photographing sketches –

  • Lighting –  While entire photos can be lightened fairly easily, glare, shadows, or uneven lighting make the process much more difficult.
  • Color Casts – White or cream paper frequently acquires a blue or yellow tinge when photographed. The temperature or “white balance” setting on most smartphone cameras is fairly easy to use for corrections.
  • Cropping – Cropping is one of the simplest photo-editing processes and the background behind the artwork in the photo can easily be removed.  Making sure the artwork is not skewed is more important than trying to control the background.
  • Pixels are free (mostly) –The saying, borrowed from photographers, means that there is an advantage in taking multiple shots of the same subject.  One of the shots is likely to be better than the others, and unlike in the old film days, it doesn’t cost extra to take more, keep the best, and delete the rest.

Learning to take good photos is becoming increasingly important for today’s artists, and smartphones make the process better and easier then ever. Learning a phone’s settings for photographing and editing is well worth the time spent and photographing sketches is good practice.

The Nature Artists’ Guild is not necessarily looking for perfect photos or even finished artwork in There’s No Place Like HomeIt’s about sharing successes and works in progress, quick sketches and finished pieces, and interesting attempts at something new.

Images should be e-mailed to Denise Fisk, whose contact information can be found in the Nature Artists’ Guild’s Yearbook.  A one-sentence description of the medium, inspiration, or subject matter may be included with each image, but is not required (and may be edited for brevity). There will also be opportunities for participating members to share their work in the Nature Artists’ Quarterly (a member’s only publication) or at a future meeting of the Guild.

Spring Has Sprung and the Nature Artists’ Guild Encounter Has Begun

Instructions for the 2020 Spring Encounter for members of the Nature Artists’ Guild, There’s No Place Like Home are simple.  Participating members will sketch or create art for fifteen minutes each day for six weeks using whatever art supplies and subject matter they happen to find at home.  There is no requirement to stick to nature for subject matter this time (although we suspect many of our artists will.)

Think of the possibilities!  Some artists may choose to go with their mood and sketch whatever catches their eye each day. Other artists need a theme or structure to get them moving.  Those artists could consider something like –

  • Choosing a new subject each week.  One week could be fruits, another week could be vegetables, the following weeks could be houseplants, birds, or pets.
  • Choosing a different medium, or a different way of using a medium, each week.  There is no need to buy anything new.  Watercolors, pencils, pen and ink, and colored pencil are all versatile.  Art supplies that haven’t been used in years can be rediscovered.
  • Choosing a different style each week.  Each subject could be drawn or painted realistically, loosely, abstractly, or anything in between. An abstract interpretation of a houseplant could be fascinating, as could a photo-realistic banana, bruises and all.
  • Working in the style of some of the Masters.  A chickadee might be quite interesting in hatchmarks to resemble one of Rembrandt’s etchings or as seen from every angle in Picasso’s Cubist style.  How would Henry Moore sketch that chickadee to prepare for sculpting?  What colors would Matisse use on his?  A bonus to this approach is the time spent researching these artists and all the newly-gained knowledge.
Chickadee, copyright Alice Wych.
  • Choosing something out of a bowl.  Artists who spend more time trying to choose their subject than they do drawing it might appreciate this approach.  Slips of paper with a chosen subject, medium, or style can be prepared ahead of time and put in a bowl.  When the time comes for the daily sketching, one of these slips is chosen and the artist can get right to work.
  • Choosing different adjectives.  This approach is similar to choosing a subject, medium or style out of a bowl, but the slips of paper all have adjectives on them.  Some examples would be “calm”, “exciting”, “fresh”.  What subject or media would convey the feeling of “joyful”? A dictionary or thesaurus will make the preparation much easier.
  • Journaling the season.  At this time of year, the view outside the window will change almost daily.  A quick sketch each day of one fascinating observation would result in a wonderful record of the beauty of nature in Spring.

There are probably as many ideas as there are artists, and it will be fascinating and fun to see the results!  Guild members should let Jane Kellenberger know if they would like to participate by clicking on the RSVP link of their recent e-mail.

Nature Artists’ Guild Spring 2020 Exhibit of Natural History Art at The Morton Arboretum April 4 and 5, 2020

The Spring 2020 Exhibit of Natural History Art will showcase more than 150 pieces of artwork by members of the Nature Artists’ Guild.

The exhibit will be held at the Cudahy Room adjacent to the Sterling Morton Library in the Administration & Research Center of The Morton Arboretum on Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5, 2020 between 10 am and 4 pm.   The exhibit will be open to all visitors to The Morton Arboretum for no additional fee.   A reception for friends of the artists and members of the Arboretum will be held at the same location on the evening of Friday, April 3, 2020.

For questions about group accommodations, please use the contact form on the About page of this website.  There will be much more to come about this exhibit in coming weeks, including the official exhibit poster featuring the artwork of Jill Adzia.  Check back soon!

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

Lady slippers, copyright Jill Adzia.

2020 Nature Artists’ Guild Spring Prospectus Has Been Sent!

The link to the prospectus for the 2020 Spring Exhibit of Natural History Art was e-mailed to all current Nature Artists’ Guild members on January 24, 2020.  Since the e-mail service used by the Nature Artists’ Guild has changed recently, some members’ e-mails could automatically be going to a different folder in their inbox.  Members who haven’t received the prospectus should check their “social”, “promotions”, and “spam” folders for the message.

There is still time to join the Nature Artists’ Guild for 2020 and receive a copy of the Spring prospectus.  Prospective members can join online or by mail.  More information is available on the Membership page of this website.  New members who join during January or February will be e-mailed a link to the prospectus.  All completed prospectuses must be returned by March 2, 2020. 

Pileated Woodpecker, copyright Jill Adzia, Featured Artist of the Spring 2020 Exhibit of Natural History Art.

Pollinators in Action: Flowering Journeys Call for Art

“You might not stop to admire a beetle on the sidewalk, but a stunning painting of a beetle might catch your eye,” says heritage interpreter Kendra Strubhart, curator of the upcoming Pollinators in Action:  Flowering Journeys exhibit at the historic Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, IL.  “Animals are not the only means of pollination,” Strubhart adds. “If someone is inspired by how the wind carries pollen, we want to see what a work of art by that person looks like.”

The exhibit is sponsored by the DuPage Monarch Project and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and will be part of the district’s “effort to highlight pollinators through programs, hikes, lectures and performances” this spring and early summer.  Exhibit applications will be accepted online beginning on February 1, 2020.  Please click here for the application and more information.
Hexagons and Honeybees 2, acrylic and polymer, © 2017 Karen A Johnson

Hexagons and Honeybees 2  by Nature Artists’ Guild member Karen Johnson is a great example of the type of work the exhibit will feature.  Nature Artists’ Guild members are a natural fit for this exhibit opportunity!

Nature Artists of the Round Table on Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Nature Artists’ Guild has planned a fun event to start the new year!  It involves nature (flora, but no fauna) and it involves art (acrylic painting), but one of the best features of this event is that members don’t have to bring sketches, find photographs, search for subject matter, haul out their supplies, or clear off a spot in their studio or on their kitchen table.

Members of the Nature Artists Guild only need to do three things to participate –

  • Notify Linn Eldred that they plan to attend
  • Show up at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum on Saturday, January 18, 2010 before 1 pm
  • Find a chair and pick up a brush

This “round table” event will revolve (yes, pun intended) around a still life set up in the middle of each table.  Each artist will be given a canvas, some paint, and a brush and will begin to paint from their spot at the table.  After 15 minutes, each person will pass their painting to their neighbor at the table, who will add their own touch for 15 minutes.  This continues until each painting goes all around the table and returns to (and goes home with) the artist who began it.

Nature Artists’ Guild members admiring some of the completed paintings of a previous “round table” event.

For new and returning members alike, this event is sure to be an enjoyable, stress-free way to get to know fellow nature artists, possibly learn and practice some new skills in acrylic, and go home with a unique painting.  Space is limited to 25 artists, all supplies will be provided free-of-charge, and this event is for Nature Artists’ Guild members only.  No previous experience in acrylic painting is required.

Linn Eldred’s contact information can be found in the January 5th e-mail sent to all current members.  Members, please note that the e-mail provider for the Guild has changed and your e-mail may have incorrectly gone to your “social”, “promotions” or even “spam” folder.  Finding that e-mail and changing its folder to “primary” should direct future e-mails to the correct folder.