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.

Natural History Artist Alex Warnick at The Morton Arboretum Tonight, March 5, 2020

Yellow-rumped Warbler, copyright Alex Warnick. Used with permission.

The Nature Artists’ Guild is excited to sponsor a presentation by renowned natural history artist Alex Warnick at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum tonight, March 5, 2020 from 7 until 9 pmThis event is open to all and free-of-charge for parking, admission, and entrance to the Arboretum.  Artists, birders, and nature enthusiasts are all welcome to attend!  Visitors should let the gate attendant at the Arboretum know that they are there for the Nature Artists’ Guild program to be admitted and directed to Thornhill.

Please visit AlexWarnick.com to learn more about Alex and view images of her stunning artwork.

A Busy March for Nature Artists

Please click on this link to important notices from The Morton Arboretum

 

Coming up in March for members of the Nature Artists’ Guild –

Eastern Towhee, copyright Alex Warnick. Used with permission.

Monday, March 2, 2020 is the last day for members to mail their completed prospectuses for the 2020 Spring Exhibit of Natural History Art.  The link for the prospectus was sent out to all members by e-mail last month.  New members, please don’t hesitate to participate.  The Guild is a supportive, non-competitive organization that values the contributions of nature artists at all skill levels.  Beginners to professionals, we welcome you all!

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

Thursday, March 5, 2020 is the date of a very special program sponsored by the Nature Artists’ Guild at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum from 7 until 9 pm.   Visiting Artist Alex Warnick will be sharing some thoughts about her exquisite paintings and illustrations of birds and her adventures in birding. This event is open to all and free-of-charge. Members are encouraged to invite their fellow artists, birders, and nature lovers to this presentation.  Details are in this previous post.

On Saturday, March 7, 2020 a repeat of last month’s Round Table Paint-In event will take place at Thornhill beginning at 1 pm.  Members should contact Linn Eldred if they’d like to participate.  Linn’s contact information is included in the February 19 e-mail sent to members.  All supplies will be provided, and there is no cost to attend this fun and creative event.

And that’s not all!  Plans are in the works for a paint-out at the Jurica-Suchy Nature Museum later in the month.  Details about this popular annual paint-out will be shared as soon as they are finalized.   Update – This event has been postponed until a date to be determined.

A fundraising workshop has been scheduled for Saturday, March 28, 2020 at the Thornhill Education Center.  Supplies will be provided for Nature Artists’ Guild members who wish to participate by painting canvases to be sold at the Spring Exhibit as a fundraiser.  Fundraising workshops are a great place to get to know and enjoy some time with fellow Guild members.  Update – This event has been postponed until a date to be determined.

Alex Warnick’s Birds in Watercolor on March 5, 2020

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Oh how we miss seeing these birds flitting from branch to branch or hopping among the leaves.  It won’t be long before they’re back, and Alex Warnick’s wonderful watercolor paintings give us a preview of what the next few months will bring.

On Thursday evening, March 5, 2020, the Nature Artists’ Guild’s program will feature guest artist Alex Warnick and her watercolor paintings and illustrations of birds at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum from 7 until 9 pm.  Alex has been drawing and painting birds since she fell in love with them as a little girl.  Her expert ability in capturing the intricacies of both the birds and their habitats in her work has earned her awards and partnerships from all over the world, and she is currently working on a field guide to the Birds of Costa Rica.  Please visit Alex’s website to enjoy much more of her work as well as some fascinating video and podcast interviews.

Alex’s workshop at the Arboretum, Visiting Artist:  Capturing Birds in Watercolor sold out quickly, but her presentation on March 5 is open to the all, free-of-charge.  Anyone with an interest in birds, art, or nature is welcome to attend.  Visitors should let the gate attendant know they are there for the program to be admitted and directed to Thornhill.  There is no charge for parking or admission to the Arboretum for this event. 

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.