Local Artists

Cypripedium acaule, © 2008 Kathleen Marie Garness
Cypripedium acaule © 2008 Kathleen Marie Garness

Below are some wonderful local artists who promote our regional species and ecosystems (more are forthcoming).

White Oak, Quercus alba © Beverly Behrens

Beverly Behrens

My watercolors and my love of the out-of-doors have an added dimension in recent years: botanical art.  On walks in nearby open lands, I enjoy the fields of wild flowers beyond their natural beauty as I study their scientific aspect.

More about the artist…
My background includes a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and years of watercolor painting. With recent classes at the Chicago Botanic Garden and other workshops, my interests are expanded to the scientific aspect of depicting plants—with watercolor, graphite, or pen and ink. As a member of the Reed Turner Botanical Artists’ Circle, I have been introduced to a greater appreciation of native plants. I search for subjects to paint from nature walks in the Middlefork Savanna near my home—or from roadsides, railroad tracks or farmers’ fields. I have also learned about invasive species, presently working with the Reed Turner group to provide a series of illustrations for their educational program on this topic.

Enjoy more of Beverly’s artwork here.

Orange-Fringed Orchid and Spicebush Butterfly © Lisa Culp

Lisa Culp

My idea of a perfect day is to wander around nature preserves and take pictures of the beautiful and interesting things I see. I love being challenged to find the wonder that hides in plain sight. Then, when someone asks me, “Where did you see that?”, it’s fun to be able to answer something like, “Northbrook!”

More about the artist…I live in Evanston, IL and spend much of my free time (when not working or taking pictures) volunteering to restore the natural areas around Chicago.

Enjoy more of Lisa’s artwork here.

Mighty Maple
© Emma England

Emma England

Since moving to Illinois I have been amazed by the diversity of wildlife that can be seen here.   I spend all my free time enjoying and capturing images of the beautiful nature in the forest preserves.  I would like my images to convey my passion for nature and hope that they inspire people to appreciate the beauty of the planet on which we live.

More about the artist…Since moving to Illinois I have become very active in the field of conservation and am involved in several projects and organizations in Lake County. With the Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD) I am a member of the Volunteer Stewards Network carrying out habitat restoration which involves removal of invasive species such as Buckthorn and Garlic Mustard and planting of native species. I am also one of LCFPD volunteer photographers providing them with nature photographs taken in their Forest Preserves. I am a member of the Board of the Lake County Audubon Society where my main role is to maintain their website and Facebook page. I am a bird monitor carrying out bird surveys for the Bird Conservation Network (BCN) and represent Lake County Audubon Society at BCN meetings. I am also the Lake County Representative on the BCN Survey Council. BCN Survey Council members review survey policies and protocols, maintain contact with land managers and promote conservation action. Other bird monitoring projects I am involved in are Bluebird (Conserve Lake County), Wood Duck (LCFPD) and Purple Martin (Purple Martin Conservation Association) nest monitoring. I also monitor butterflies for the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network. These conservation activities have led to some fantastic opportunities to develop my photography skills and it is wonderful to interact with nature.

I am an active member of the North Shore Camera Club where I regularly compete and have won several awards.

Enjoy more of Emma’s artwork here.

Cypripedium parviflorum © 2010 Kathleen Marie Garness
Cypripedium parviflorum © 2010 Kathleen Marie Garness

Kathleen Marie Garness

Who am I? Artist, advocate, gadfly, steward, bibliophile and book binder, at-large stewardship volunteer, and rare plants monitor working in four counties.  Mom and grandma of two.

More about the artist…
My painting ‘Cypripedium parviflorum complex’ traveled around the world as part of a Smithsonian-sponsored exhibit ‘ Losing Paradise? Endangered Plants Here and Around the World.’  The featured painting, Cypripedium acaule, is a bittersweet image for me, since I have only seen it in the wild once, in Massachusetts.  It is now listed as extirpated in Illinois, as a result of many different habitat threats, including being crowded out by invasive brush in its native sites of pine woods and bogs.

Enjoy more of Kathleen’s artwork here.

Cecropia Courtship © Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson

With a background in scientific illustration, Karen brings a focus on breathing life into her insects and plants in all her work. From butterfly portraits to beetle jewelry, Karen shares the joy she finds in the patterns, colors and behaviors of these small creatures in our world.

More about the artist…

Saturniid moths or silk moths have been a favorite of mine since I was a child.  Their huge size, furry bodies and legs, and gentle demeanor captivated me whenever I came across one.  I raised many a caterpillar to adulthood, waiting in anticipation for the spring emergence of the moth from its cocoon after a long winter.  One spring, many years ago, a female Cecropia emerged and I decided to test the power of her pheromones to attract the males.  I lived in the suburbs and wondered how quickly the males would find her as the moth only lives 7 to 10 days.  I had an old fashioned window that was separated from the screen by about 4 inches and figured that would give her plenty of room.  She quietly fluttered, then found a spot and gently vibrated her wings off and on.  I watched for a while, then left.  At 4 a.m. I returned and to my delight there were 3 males fluttering around my window!  I couldn’t believe it…I was amazed that these moths somehow emerged within that small window of life, found each other and perpetuated their race…even in the suburbs of Chicago.

This painting celebrates that moment of wonder I felt observing those beautiful moths gathered around the female.

Enjoy more of Karen’s artwork here.

Polygonatum pubescens © Nancy Klaud

Nancy Klaud

Nancy Klaud is a Certified Scientific/Botanical Illustrator for major national museums and institutions. She is the principal scientific illustrator for the Plants of Concern Project Website. POC monitors and conserves endangered species found in the midwest.

More about the artist…
Nancy has done many scientific illustrations for The Field Museum in Chicago and The Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Works were done for Curator of Vascular Plants, Smithsonian, Dr. Jun Wen, Araliaceae Family, including new genus and species, scientific illustrations for Curator of Botany, Field Museum, Dr. Michael Dillon – Nolana recheii., Magnolia bankardiorum and illustrations for Curator of Biological Anthropology, Field Museum, Dr. Robert Martin – Primate Origins.

She has been published in Nature Magazine, Fieldiana (Field Museum), Adansonia (Smithsonian), Journal of Human Evolution, Scientific American, Cathaya- Annals of the Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Magnolia Society International, The Washington Post, National Geographic OnLine and Science Magazine.

She was selected as Artist-in Residence for the National Park Service Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 2008.

Enjoy more of Nancy’s artwork here.

Gentianopsis virgata © David Schwaegler

David Schwaegler

Although my photography covers the gamut from large landscapes to birds to macro shots of insects, I particularly like to show unusual wildflowers. My goal is to show realistic images of nature at its most beautiful.

More about the artist…

My collection includes photographs of twenty species of wild North American orchids and over 1000 species of North American plants. My photos appear on several nature related web sites and have been published in Chicago WILDERNESS Magazine including the Spring 2006 and Fall 2009 covers.

Although I have had a life long interest in nature, I had two careers before devoting full time to photography. With a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in performance from Northwestern I spent twelve years as a band director in Streamwood, Illinois. I followed this with a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and became a professor of music education.

During my years at the university I gained computer programming skills and had a long career as a software engineer for the university and then for Pearson Educational Measurement. In 2005 I resigned to devote full time to photography.

If you have a primary interest in images within the Chicago Wilderness, when visiting my website I recommend two galleries in particular: Photo Galleries / The Midwest / Lake in the Hills Fen and Central States.

Enjoy more of David’s artwork here.