Nature Artists' Guild hosts 16th annual Holiday Exhibit

When Nancy Hart began the Nature Artists' Guild at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle 24 years ago, she faced a little bit of hesitation from arboretum officials.

The officials, she said, had reservations because they did not want to turn the arboretum into an art museum.

But Hart pushed through, and on Sunday, for the 16th straight year, members of the guild displayed their creations in the Annual Holiday Exhibit of Natural History Art. The art included work in several media but the artists limited their displays of man-made structures or items.

“We try to encourage people to do things, to understand what they are drawing,” said Hart, who had a clay sculpture of a bear's head as one of her works. “We get them to know more about their plants and their scenery.”

The show included 54 artists and about 175 works, all of which were based around nature. In fact, the show's referee process limited any depictions and artwork of man-made structures or items.

For Linn Eldred of Bolingbrook, the guild allowed her to return to her artist roots. She said many of the classes she took focused on more modern buildings and did not share the appreciation for nature that she has.

“Everything in nature is really God's artwork,” said Eldred, 72. “There is not anything that is ugly in nature.”

Eldred has been an aspiring artist since she was young and displayed several pieces made in carbon art. As part of the guild, she attends several classes at the arboretum and she said the techniques that are shown have helped her improve tremendously.

She has been a part of the holiday show for more than 10 years and said she enjoys the camaraderie that is established at the show.

“At shows, you get to mingle with artists and see their work,” she said. “It's just a wonderful time.”

Hart said artists like Eldred really make the shows unique and their focus on the natural world help it thrive.

“There is a real connection between us and nature,” Hart said. “These people are really drawn to this.”

  A close-up of a watercolor painting “Hypolimnus Dexithea” by artist Susan Vogel, of Woodridge, was among the 175 pieces on display during Morton Arboretum’s Nature Artists’ Guild Exhibit Sunday at the Thornhill Education Center in Lisle. Tanit Jarusan/
  Marsha DeBosschere, of Wheaton, checks out the Nature Artists’ Guild Exhibit featuring more than 150 works of the guild’s artists Sunday at the Thornhill Education Center in Lisle. Tanit Jarusan/