Something for Everyone at the August 3, 2017 Nature Artists’ Guild Program

The annual August program of the Nature Artists’ Guild has traditionally featured three member-artists’ stations where visitors could learn about and participate in unique artistic methods. The 2017 format for this popular program will basically stay the same, but the three stations will mix it up a bit with presentations on the intriguing history and use of the Chinese chop, proper framing for original fine art, and a display of sketchbooks and journals created by members throughout last summer’s Sketchbook Encounter and this summer’s Nature Art Journal project.

At the Nature Artists’ Guild Spring Exhibit, Featured Artist Nancy Wu received numerous questions about her signature on paintings in the form of a Chinese seal (or chop).  For her presentation, Nancy will share books and traditional Chinese paintings as she explains the history and meaning of the seal in Chinese painting, as well as the different carving methods used in creating the seals.

Copyright Nancy Wu

The multi-talented Evelyn Grala, who aside from being a talented artist, publishes the Nature Artists’ Quarterly and has served on nearly every Nature Artists’ Guild committee, is a Certified Picture Framer through the Professional Picture Framers Association. Evelyn will be discussing the proper archival framing methods and materials for various types of fine art. This knowledge is important for understanding options when hiring a professional framer or performing some or all of the framing steps yourself.

Egret, Nature Art Journal pages, copyright Nancy Thyfault

The third station will be devoted to members’ artwork created during last summer’s Sketchbook Encounter or this summer’s Nature Art Journal projects.  Participating members are encouraged to bring their work to share with the group.  What fun to be able to browse through fellow artists’ sketchbooks and art journals for inspiration and a glimpse of their creative process (and sometimes personality)!

Poppies, Nature Art Journal page, copyright Laurie Freeman

Nature Art Journal page, copyright Gail Patejunas

As always, guests and visitors are welcome to attend this enjoyable and informative Nature Artists’ Guild program at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum from 7 until 9 pm. There is no charge for admission to the Arboretum, the program, or parking for the event.  Guests and visitors should let the gate attendant at the Arboretum know they are there for the Nature Artists’ Guild program to be directed to Thornhill.

Fall Schedule of Nature Art Classes at The Morton Arboretum

Yes, it does seem much too early to start thinking of fall, but The Morton Arboretum has posted its schedule of classes, and there are some new and unique ones that could fill up quickly!  You may want to register soon so you don’t miss out, and then go back to enjoying your summer. (There are still a few openings in some of the summer courses for both beginning and experienced artists as well.)

You don’t need to be a member of The Morton Arboretum or the Nature Artists’ Guild to enroll in the courses.  Please follow the link to The Morton Arboretum’s Learn and experience page for more information.

Under the Microscope – Drawing Dragonflies with Karen Johnson (photo shows previous course, Drawing Butterflies). Photo credit

Some Upcoming Events

  • This month’s Nature Artists’ Guild paint-out is scheduled for Thursday, June 22, 2017 from 9 am until noon in the Ground Cover Garden of The Morton Arboretum. Please click on the highlighted link for details.

    Ground Cover Garden at The Morton Arboretum. Photo credit

  • A Nature Artists’ Guild Special Exhibit, Impressions of Nature, at A Gallery of Nature  opens at Wasco Nursery and Garden Center in St. Charles, IL this Friday, June 23, 2017. Participating artists should drop off their work on Tuesday, June 20 between 11 am and 1 pm.  All are invited to attend a public reception on Saturday, July 22, 2017 between 3 and 5 pm to meet the artists, enjoy some light refreshments, view 30 works of nature art and observe a few of the artists engaging in the creative process.  Please click on the above highlighted link for driving directions and more information.
  • The Summer Encounter – Nature Artist’s Journal is well underway, but members can still join in. More details are available by clicking on this link.
  • The next Nature Artists’ Guild program is scheduled for Thursday, August 3, 2017. More information coming soon about what promises to be a fun and informative evening!

Inspiration For Getting Started

For Nature Artists’ Guild members participating in the Summer 2017 Encounter, Nature Artists’ Journal, these first two entries into Karen Johnson’s sketchbook show how simply and beautifully an artist can effectively illustrate a natural setting.

Ladyslippers © 2017 Karen A Johnson. Used with permission.

Notice that Karen has included the date, the weather, and a few details about the setting and plant. All of this information may be useful in future artwork. Perhaps more importantly, those details will greatly contribute to the wonderful memories of the experience (“First day of summer and one lone poppy is blooming”).

Poppy © 2017 Karen A Johnson. Used with permission.

For more information about participating, Nature Artists’ Guild members can contact Evelyn Grala.  The project began on June 1, 2017 and continues for 10 weeks, so there is still time to join in.  Evelyn’s contact information can be found in the Nature Artists’ Guild Yearbook.

Many more examples of Karen’s nature journaling can be found by clicking on one of the drawings or on this link to her blog, Karen’s Nature Art.  At the left side of the page there will be a “cloud” of common categories. Clicking on the word “sketch” will connect you to all of  the posts that include Karen’s sketches.

A Scene The Impressionists Would Have Loved

On the morning of Thursday, June 22, 2017, members of the Nature Artists’ Guild are invited to meet at the Ground Cover Garden of The Morton Arboretum between 9 am and noon for a paint-out.

A living carpet of foliage and flowers graces The Morton Arboretum’s Ground Cover Garden, linking the Visitor Center to the Research Center and the Sterling Morton Library.
The original garden was built in 1938. It is one of the more densely planted and diverse gardens in the Arboretum, with over 350 different plants amid shady, winding paths with strategically placed benches that allow visitors to enjoy a moment of seclusion and tranquility.

The Ground Cover Garden consists of perennial plants and ground covers chosen to complement trees and shrubs, blanketing the ground with a wonderful assortment of attractive flowers and foliage.

Ground Cover Garden at The Morton Arboretum. Photo Credit Jane Kellenberger.

Those members participating in the 2017 Summer Encounter can use this opportunity to add to their Nature Artist’s Journal.  All others can simply enjoy a morning of sketching, painting and photographing in a setting fit for an Impressionist.

Nature Artists’ Guild members are encouraged, but not required, to RSVP to Jane Kellenberger for this paint-out.  Jane’s contact information can be found in their Yearbook.  Artists may consider bringing a folding chair (although a few benches may be available for use) along with their art supplies, something to drink and a camera.

Gardens at Cantigny Park Paint-Out Rescheduled for Thursday, May 25, 2017

With rain expected tomorrow, the Nature Artists’ Guild paint-out at the Gardens at Cantigny Park has been rescheduled to the rain date, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Participants can meet at the Visitors Center at 9 am, or join the group in the gardens any time before noon.

Please click on the above highlighted link for more information about the paint-out.