2019 Summer Encounter Features Nature Art in Progress

Watch the prairie grow with these images of the creation of Autumn Prairie by Nancy Kolar!

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Participating members of the Nature Artists’ Guild’s 2019 Summer Encounter will each be creating their own large piece of nature art by adding to it each week.  Member Nancy Kolar’s finished progressive artwork is being used as an example, and shows that each week’s addition could be considered a completed piece of art.  Nancy used pen and ink in her piece, but participants can choose any one medium of their choice for the project.  Finished pieces will be on display at the August 1, 2019 Nature Artists’ Guild program.

Thank you to Evelyn Grala for leading this project and encouraging members with weekly updates, and to Nancy Kolar for sharing her beautiful artwork as inspiration.  It is fascinating to note that Nancy “simply put ink pen on the page without pencil outlines first” and then incorporated any “stray ink line into one of the objects” she was drawing!

Autumn Prairie, pen and ink, copyright Nancy Kolar.

Nature in Graphite with Suzanne Wegener begins July 10, 2019

A former president of the GNSI, Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, and current vice-president of the ASBA, American Society of Botanical Artists, Suzanne Wegener is a master at capturing the nuances of nature in graphite. She will be sharing her knowledge in Nature In Graphite, a four-evening class at The Morton Arboretum, beginning on Wednesday, July 10, 2019.

This class is open to anyone interested in improving their drawing skills, but some previous drawing experience is beneficial. Participants do not need to be members of The Morton Arboretum or the Nature Artists’ Guild, but there is a discounted enrollment fee for Arboretum members.

Please click on the image or the above highlighted link for more information.  Prompt registration is encouraged as class size is limited.

Sunflower, graphite, copyright Suzanne Wegener.

Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival July 6-7, 2019

It is now officially summer, and the Chicagoland art fair season is in full swing!  For anyone interested in nature art, the Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival is probably near the top of the list of places to visit.  Admission is free to the Garden and Festival (although there may be a fee for parking, depending on membership status) which features the work of 90 artists and takes place along the picturesque Esplanade. For more information, please click on these links to the websites of the Chicago Botanic Garden and Amdur Productions.

Image credit Amdur Productions.

Fabyan Japanese Garden Tour and Paint-Out on Thursday, June 20, 2019

Fabyan Japanese Garden. Photo credit kaneforest.com.

Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley

Installed c. 1910, the Japanese Garden is a tranquil oasis where history melds with nature and design. George and Nelle Fabyan developed an intense appreciation for Japanese culture after visiting Chicago’s 1893 Columbian Exposition, which featured a Japanese Pavilion.  After moving from Chicago to their “villa” outside of Geneva, they commissioned renowned landscape designer Taro Otsuka to design a Japanese style garden on their property.  The nearby river and surrounding woods provided a perfect canvas for a Japanese-style garden, which relies on borrowed scenery for its naturalized vistas.

Members of the Nature Artists’ Guild will receive a tour of the tranquil Fabyan Japanese Garden in Geneva, IL, and an opportunity to sketch, paint, and photograph on the morning of Thursday, June 20, 2019.  The tour will begin at 10 am (although participants are asked to arrive 15 minutes early), and the paint-out will take place afterwards.  Interested Guild members should contact Linn Eldred (whose contact information can be found in their Yearbook or in an email sent to members on May 21) to RSVP and for details and instructions.  The Nature Artists’ Guild will cover all fees for its members for this event.

Please click on one of the highlighted links for more lovely photos, information, and driving directions.

Peggy Macnamara at The Morton Arboretum Tonight, June 6, 2019

Probably the liveliest treasure of Chicago’s Field Museum is their Artist-In-Residence, Peggy Macnamara, who will share some of her art and inspirations this evening with New Directions at the Thornhill Education Center of The Morton Arboretum from 7 until 9 pm.  This program, sponsored by the Nature Artists’ Guild, is open to the public, free-of-charge.   Please click here for more information. Here are some images of Peggy’s artwork, books, and previous presentations.

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Botanical Art Road Trip!

The Nature Artists’ Guild has not organized a trip to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI, (known worldwide for its annual Birds in Art exhibit) but the museum’s upcoming exhibit of botanical art may inspire nature artists to consider planning one of their own!

It is possible, with a sturdy driver or two, to get to the museum, leisurely enjoy their wonderful exhibits, have an early dinner, and make it back to Chicagoland just after dark.  If that sounds too hurried, there are some lovely hotels in the area and numerous activities to enjoy.  Please click on the image to visit the museum’s website or on this Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum Botanical Art Worldwide Events Calender for the full schedule.

Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum Botanical Art Worldwide. Please click on the image to reach the museum’s website.

New Directions with the Delightful Peggy Macnamara Next Week, June 6, 2019

She’s extremely talented, yes, but she’s also interesting and funny and kind.  The Nature Artists’ Guild would like to invite all who are interested in nature or art to attend a presentation by Peggy Macnamara on June 6, 2019, from 7 until 9 pm.  Peggy is calling this presentation New Directions, and we are intrigued!  Please take a moment to visit Peggy’s website or do an internet search to find videos, interviews, books, and photos of Peggy and her artwork.  It will be time well spent.

This program is open to the public and there is no charge to attend, no fees for parking, and no admission fee to The Morton Arboretum for the event.  Please click on this link to a previous post for more details.

Light refreshments will be available, and copies of some of Peggy’s books will be given away as door prizes.

From the March 2019 issue of The Costco Connection
peggy macnamara in her studio

“I never knew about the wildlife painting community because I came from the snobby art-history world,” says Peggy Macnamara (peggymacnamara.com). A noted nature painter for The Field Museum in Chicago, she found her vocation by serendipity: “I had too many kids at home, and I needed a studio space.”

The museum was close to her home, so she would go there to practice her craft. After about 10 years, she was asked to create paintings for the museum. She’s been there for 35 years now, and her work helps to draw attention to wildlife conservancy.

“[Nature is] much more magical than it appears at first,” she says. “We miss most of it. We miss the magic.”

Macnamara’s colorful art helps us find it. Her paintings are used in publications and museum presentations.


Peggy Macnamara is also a teacher.

“I see a lot of people afraid to jump into painting and drawing,” she says. “They think God’s gotta drop out of the sky and invite them. And there’s much more talent out there that never gets brought to the front because people don’t like to sit and do the work.”

But it goes beyond simple work. “What I would love is more people to see [creating art] as a form of meditation,” Macnamara explains. She tells her students to “slow down and observe something perfectly made. That’s a wonderful activity.” Steve Fisher