Join or Renew Today!

The Nature Artists’ Guild welcomes renewals and new members at any time, of course.  Membership in the guild is for the calendar year, though, so by renewing (or joining) now, artists will ensure that they receive the full benefit of their membership.  Last year’s members can still renew today (if they haven’t already) for a reduced fee of $30.  After today, the renewal fee returns to $45.

Please visit the Membership page of this website to join or renew online, or mail your check to the address on the membership application or (for current members) to our treasurer, Catherine Stacy. Catherine’s address can be found in the Nature Artists’ Yearbook, or in the latest issue of the Nature Artists’ Quarterly.

Cardinal Couple, watercolor, copyright Laurie Alvear


All Aboard the Acorn Express!

Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild are invited to join their fellow artists on a ride on The Morton Arboretum’s Acorn Express the morning of Wednesday, October 30, 2019 (exact time to be determined).

Acorn Express tram. Photo credit www.

This “one-hour ride winds you through the Arboretum’s woodlands, wetlands, and prairie while listening to a narrated tour.” –  While the tour is not considered a paint-out, determined artists could certainly take photos, do a few thumbnail sketches, or jot down some color notes.  Of course, there is also the option of just sitting back and enjoying the wonderful sights, scents, and sounds of nature in autumn.

The Nature Artists’ Guild will cover the cost of the tour for any interested members.  Guests are welcome, but will be responsible for obtaining their own tickets.  Interested Guild members should contact Linn Eldred to reserve a seat on the tram.  Linn’s contact information can be found in the Nature Artists’ Guild Yearbook.  Linn will instruct participants of the exact time of the tour and the meeting spot as soon as those details are finalized, and will communicate any last minute weather-related plan changes if necessary.

A Gift of Nature and Art for 2019

A unique and wonderful gift for a beginning or experienced artist and nature lover in your life might be a membership to the Nature Artists’ Guild of The Morton Arboretum.  Membership includes the opportunity to join like-minded artists at paint-outs, exhibitions, art and nature programs, and other interesting and enjoyable events.  Membership in The Morton Arboretum is not required to become a member of the Nature Artists’ Guild.  Gift memberships or new memberships to the Guild can be purchased by clicking on the Membership Brochure and mailing a check to the address provided.


Tribute to a Treasured Tool

The New York Times Magazine recently published a short photo essay about the manufacturing process of pencils.  Don’t let the seemingly technical title, Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories, fool you – the photos and prose are a love letter to one of our oldest and most versatile tools.  At first glance, the photography will grab your attention and you might be tempted to skim through the text.  While doing so, you may come across a few phrases that convince you to go back to the beginning and savor the words.  For more tributes from artists and writers, visit the comments sections (use the “Readers Picks” option for some of the best).  You may never look at a pencil the same way again.

From The New York Times Magazine, “Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories”. Photo by Christopher Payne. Please click on photo or one of the highlighted links for full article.

An Antidote For Holiday Stress -Your Favorite Tree

Find your favorite tree.  There is one, whether you realize it or not.  It may be on a trail where you regularly walk your dog, it may be in your neighbor’s front yard, or it may be in your own.  The Morton Arboretum has plenty to choose from.  If you need to, spend a day or two thinking about it while you go about your business, until you recognize which tree you keep coming back to. This tree may be a majestic oak, a stately pine, a smooth-trunked beech or even a delicate redbud.  It doesn’t even matter if you know the species.  Just for now, or possibly for always, it is your favorite tree.

Now, take a photo or draw a sketch (from the warmth of your car or home if you’d like).  If safely possible, go up to the tree and feel the bark.  If there are any leaves, fruits or nuts left on or around the tree, pick some up to examine.  Take a dried leaf with you.  Leave the fruits, nuts or seeds for the critters or the next generation of trees.  If you’re not shy or if nobody is looking, go ahead and give the tree a quick hug, or maybe just a friendly pat.  If you have children with you, encourage them to give the tree a great big hug.  They won’t care whether anyone is watching or not.

Go back to your warm studio or kitchen table, pour yourself a hot drink and draw your tree using your memory, sketches or photos.  For an additional challenge, try drawing in ink, which will force you to really concentrate on the size, shape and direction of the branches and twigs.  The drawing doesn’t need to be a masterpiece, or even good. It is just a show of appreciation for your favorite tree.

Feel the stress melt away.  Repeat as necessary.

Tree drawing, copyright Nancy Halliday. Nancy was the Featured Artist at the Nature Artists’ Guild Spring 2015 Exhibition of Natural History Art.  Please click on the image for more about Nancy.

Nature Artists’ Guild members can read a short article in their Quarterly by Evelyn Grala  for more about drawing trees.  Thanks for reminding us about the beauty of trees in winter, Evelyn!

All Artists Welcome on Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8, 2017

Whether you are a Nature Artists’ Guild member who has been working diligently to prepare your artwork for the upcoming Spring Exhibit and need a fun and educational break, or not a member, but still an artist who wants to improve your artwork, The Morton Arboretum’s Visiting Artist Series may have just what you were looking for –

Visiting Artist Series: Value and Color in Landscapes with Laverne Bohlin

Learn why value is essential to accurately capturing a landscape in your art. In this two-day pastel workshop, visiting artist Laverne Bohlin will show you how to use the correct value and to notice the subtle shifts of value that exist in the landscape. Develop your sensitivity to a color’s value so you are better able to separate it from its hue. During the one-hour lunch break on Saturday, visit the Nature Artists’ Guild Spring Exhibit in nearby Cudahy Auditorium for some inspiration.

Copyright Laverne Bohlin

Note – Basic drawing skills and some pastel experience required.  Limit 15.

Supplies – Rembrandt Pastels, half stick of 15 colors, 3-4 sheets of Canson Mi-teintes paper, 8 1/2″ x 11″, color white, ivory or eggshell, 1″ foam brush and kneaded eraser, 11″ x 14″ foam core board, any additional pastels you may already have.

Schedule and Location – Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8, 2017, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Herbarium Conference Room of The Morton Arboretum.

Fees and Admission – Fees include admission to the Arboretum and are $138.00 for members, and $162.00 for non-members.

Registration Information – Course number A149, online – Registercall 630-719-2468, or in person at The Morton Arboretum at the Visitor Center during open hours.