Autumn Art Exhibit of the Nature Artists’ Guild November 11 – 13, 2022

Poster artwork by Featured Artist Alice Wych. Poster design by Jane Kellenberger. Exhibit posters and postcards are available to pick up between 9 and 4 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at the Thornhill Education Center. Members are encouraged to share with local businesses, family and friends.

The 2022 Autumn Art Exhibit of the Nature Artists’ Guild at The Morton Arboretum will showcase more than 150 pieces by approximately 50 members, including numerous works by Featured Artist Alice Wych.

Nature Artists’ Guild members’ small works celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Schulenberg Prairie will be also be displayed at the adjacent Sterling Morton Library during exhibit hours.

In addition to viewing the exhibit artwork, visitors will be able to purchase original artwork on slate, buy tickets for raffle items, and interact with artists who will be demonstrating their techniques. More details to come about the 2022 Autumn Art exhibit.

Also coming up –

A paint-out next Wednesday, October 19, 2022 at Lake Marmo of The Morton Arboretum will take place between 9 am and noon. Interested members can contact Linn Eldred for details and to be added to her email list for updates.

Sterling Pond, Autumn, copyright Dale Olsen

No pre-registration is necessary to participate in the exhibit celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Schulenberg Prairie. Details for participating were recently emailed to Nature Artists’ Guild members.

Prairie artwork, copyright Marlene Vitek (first two) and Maggie Mardis.

Even though the October 19th Coffee and Art will be cancelled so that members can attend the Lake Marmo paint-out, the gatherings will return the following Wednesday. Recent weeks have focused on fantastic feathers, but the next few will feature, of course, lovely leaves.

Colors of Fall, copyright Mary Ann Jimenez

The Morton Arboretum Photographic Society is also celebrating the Schulenberg Prairie’s anniversary with Seasons of the Schulenberg. The exhibit at the Sterling Morton Library ends on October 16, but the stunning images will soon be available for viewing on their website.

Even more –

  • The last day for members to submit photos or articles for the Winter Quarterly is November 1, 2022. Images of winter-related artwork can be sent to Jane Kellenberger.
  • The Nature Artists’ Guild’s Holiday Party with raffles, food, and fun will be on the evening of Thursday, December 1, 2022 at the Thornhill Education Center. Members will receive an invitation by email with all the details.
  • Next January’s special exhibit at the Downers Grove Library will have an earlier drop-off date of December 17, 2022 this year. A prospectus and all the details will be emailed to members.

We See You Autumn! Paint-Out at Lake Marmo on October 19, 2022

Autumn, Sterling Pond, copyright Dale Olsen

Nature Artists’ Guild members have been so busy preparing for exhibits, attending programs and workshops, and focusing on the prairie that they may not have noticed the annual changing-of-the-colors sneaking in! Well, the trees are now doing their best to capture everyone’s attention and the Nature Artists’ Guild has taken note.

A paint-out has been scheduled for the morning of Wednesday, October 19, 2022 from 9 until noon at Lake Marmo, located in The Morton Arboretum for all members of the Nature Artists’ Guild. Lake Marmo is known for it’s springtime reflections of the redbuds lining its shores, but autumn brings it’s own warmer colors to the scene with reflections of yellow, gold, and red contrasting with and accentuating the vivid blue of the lake.

Members can participate in this paint-out by contacting Linn Eldred (by email or by clicking here) to be added to the email list for details about the meeting spot and weather related updates.

Colors of Fall, copyright Mary Ann Jimenez

Note that the Wednesday morning Coffee and Art gathering will not take place on October 19th.

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.

Paint-Out to Celebrate the Final Bursts of Summer Color at Cantigny Park

This year there is even more color and art to enjoy at Cantigny Park as they celebrate the native flowers of Mexico along with their current display of 49 alebrije sculptures (“monumentals” and “spirit animals“) created by artists from Mexico City.

Mosquiw, by Emanuel Arturo Zarate Ortíz. Photo credit Cantigny.org.

The Park’s Many Stunning Gardens –

The gardens at Cantigny include Display Gardens, a Rose Garden, Rock and Gravel Gardens, a Logarium, a Hosta Garden and an Idea Garden. The Display Gardens alone consist of ten gardens, including a White Garden, Lower Display Garden, Pollinator Garden, Fountain Garden, and Perennial Border. Cantigny’s Natural Areas offer “native wildflowers amid grasses, small wetland areas, and maturing trees—a snapshot reminder of what Illinois used to be.” (cantigny.org)

The Perennial Border at Cantigny Park includes seventy-two varieties of plants, many of which are native to Illinois. Photo credit cantigny.org.

There will be so much to choose from to paint, sketch, or photograph for members of the Nature Artists’ Guild at Cantigny Park as they meet for a paint-out on Wednesday, September 7, 2022 between 9 am and noon. Parking will be free that day, and there is no charge for admission to the park and gardens. Interested members can contact Linn Eldred to be added to the email list for details or updates. Drop-ins are also welcome to attend. There will be plenty of color for all!

Update – 8 x 8 papers, boards, and canvases will be available at this event for participants in the Schulenberg Prairie Anniversary Project to pick up. Interested members should contact Carol Balabanow to request them.

As always, please click on the highlighted links for more information. Cantigny Park has done a wonderful job highlighting their gardens and the exhibit with numerous gorgeous photographs.

Gallery 200 Exhibit Continues Throughout August

A sample of some of the stunning artwork by members of the Nature Artists’ Guild at Gallery 200 in West Chicago throughout August 2022 –

Also coming soon –

Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild will demonstrating and talking with visitors about the guild at a table inside the Visitor Center during the Wine and Art Walk at The Morton Arboretum this weekend, August 20 and 21, 2022.

The Wednesday morning Art and Coffee gatherings continue each week at 9 am. All Nature Artists’ Guild members are invited to drop by to share ideas, inspirations, or supplies, or simply relax and enjoy the morning.

The Schulenberg Prairie Anniversary project kicks off with a paint-out at the prairie on Thursday morning, August 25, 2022.

More to come soon about a paint-out at the gardens of Cantigny Park on September 7, 2022 and a Color Pencil on Slate workshop for members on September 24, 2022.

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.

Nature Artists’ Guild Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Schulenberg Prairie

Initially, it may be difficult to understand the lure of the prairie, as it is not known for showy flowers, majestic trees, or rushing streams. Instead, the prairie reveals its peaceful beauty to its visitors slowly and quietly, until eventually, they understand. As traveler and author Eliza Steele wrote in 1840 –

 I started with surprise and delight. I was in the midst of a prairie! A world of grass and flowers stretched around me, . . . We passed whole acres of blossoms, a carpet of every color intermixed, or narrow bands, as if a rainbow had fallen upon the verdant slopes. . .”

October sketchbook pages, copyright Karen Johnson. Karen completed these watercolor sketches at the Schulenberg Prairie in October, 2020.

This year, The Morton Arboretum celebrates the 6oth anniversary of the Schulenberg Prairie. From their website –

Begun in 1962, it now takes in more than 100 acres of restored tallgrass prairie, savanna, and wetland habitats, and has become an inspiration and model for similar restorations.

The first planting took place in 1963, and over the next few years, staff and volunteers planted not only seeds but more than 80,000 seedlings that Schulenberg and his staff had grown. With few other restorations to guide them, they devised techniques as they went along and used different ones in different areas.

Schulenberg attempted to replicate the former prairie—one of the first times such a restoration had ever been tried. He based his plans on what he could learn from the few scraps of tallgrass prairie that remained among the Chicago area’s highways and subdivisions.

Today, the prairie is regarded as a benchmark in the development of ecological restoration in Illinois.

When you wander the prairie paths in summer, you’re surrounded by swaying grasses and tall flowers alive with butterflies, bees, and birds.

The Nature Artists’ Guild is honored to participate in the anniversary celebration by creating artwork inspired by the Schulenberg Prairie for a special display at the Sterling Morton Library this November.

The project will begin with a paint-out at the Schulenberg Prairie on August 25 from 9 am until noon. Participants will be supplied with 8 x 8 artboards or paper to be used at the prairie or taken home to be used in the studio with their sketches, photos, or other sources of inspiration found at the prairie. Interested members can contact Carol Balabanow to be added to the list of participants to be notified with any paint-out updates. (Carol’s email address is in the Nature Artists’ Guild’s Yearbook.)

For members unable to attend the paint-out, the 8 x 8 boards and paper will also be available to be picked up at upcoming workshops and meetings. Members are welcome to use their own surfaces, but the final size must be 8 x 8 inches to fit into the display. No framing will be required by participants. The final works must be created at or inspired by the Schulenberg Prairie.

Little Red Schoolhouse Paint-Out Update

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center has educated and delighted generations of families with live animals, exhibits and self-guided trails.

Forest Preserve District of Cook County
How it might have looked long ago – digitally-aged detail of a current photo from the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

On Monday, July 25, 2022, members of the Nature Artists’ Guild will meet for a paint-out at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center from 9 am until noon. This beloved no-longer-little and no-longer-red nature center has grown and now includes a large visitor center with live animals, three unpaved walking trails, and a new paved trail through its expansive accessible garden.

Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center visitor center. Photo credit Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

The little red schoolhouse is still there, of course, along with its history and charm. Here is how it actually looks in its current restored and well-maintained state.

Little Red Schoolhouse. Image credit Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

Nature Artists’ Guild members who would like to attend the paint-out should email Linn Eldred to be put on the contact list for any updates. There is room for all at the Little Red Schoolhouse!

Notice – this event has been canceled due to insufficient enrollment.

Reminder to all Nature Artists’ Guild members – completed registrations for the Gallery 200 exhibit must be returned (online or postmarked) by tomorrow, Saturday, July 16, 2022. Links to the mail and online registration forms were emailed to all members last Monday.

Welcoming New Members, a Television Appearance, Paint-Out, Exhibits, Program, and More

Porcini and Pinecones, copyright Jane Kellenberger. One of more than fifty works of art featured at the Visions of Nature exhibit at the Hidden Oaks Nature Center.

For those who have long been considering joining the Nature Artists’ Guild or those who have just discovered it and don’t want to wait until the new year to join, there is now a half-year (July through December) membership plan available for new members only. Please click on this link to the Membership page to read more.


Some current and upcoming events –

Suzy Lyttle of the Will County Forest Preserve District was interviewed recently by Naperville Community TV about the upcoming Nature Artists’ Guild exhibit and the reopening of the Hidden Oaks Nature Center. Please click on this link to view the short interview (and some of the artwork.) A reception and open house with light refreshments will take place at Hidden Oaks this evening from 4 until 7.

A Nature Artists’ Guild exhibit at Gallery 200 in West Chicago has been scheduled for the month of August 2022. The prospectus was emailed to members on June 24 and completed prospectuses for participating artists must be returned (postmarked) by Saturday, July 16, 2022.

Members will meet for a paint-out at the Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center on Monday, July 25, 2022 from 9 am until noon. More about the paint-out coming soon.

A program featuring Laverne Bohlin and her lovely pastels will be open to all, free-of-charge at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum on Thursday, August 4, 2022 at 7 pm.

The Nature Artists’ Guild will have an information table and artist demonstrations inside the Visitor Center of The Morton Arboretum during the Wine and Art Walk the weekend of August 20 and 21, 2022.

Finally, there’s an opportunity every Wednesday at 9 am to enjoy a few hours of chatting, sketching, snacking on delicious muffins, or just relaxing and watching the chipmunks scurry through the flowers at the Coffee and Art Club.