Adult Opportunities

Lichen and Branches in Colored Pencil

Enhance your colored pencil skills through the study of branches and the lichens that grow on them.

Content Detail

Lichens are the result of a symbiotic relationship of a fungus and an alga, often found growing on trees and rocks. There are over 3,600 known species of lichens in North America, and many more yet to be discovered. In this four-week intermediate art class at The Morton Arboretum, learn about lichens and capture the fine details of branches and lichens in colored pencil.

  • Begin with an exploration of lichen with lichenologist Dr. Gerould Wilhelm, author of Flora of the Chicago Region, who will be a guest presenter and will guide participants in observing lichen species under the microscope.
  • Examine the anatomy of branches, noticing variations among different species.
  • Use this new knowledge to inform your drawing as you create leaf scars, lenticels, buds, and the fine textures of lichen.
  • Develop the subtle grays and browns of branches and create color variation in lichen in colored pencil.

This class will include demonstrations and one-on-one guidance. Depending on the interests of the students, a visit to the woodlands to explore lichen in their natural habitat may be included in the class as well. Previous experience with colored pencil is required.

This program meets in person at the Arboretum.

Instructor: Kimberly Mullarkey, artist

Age: 16 and older

Course number: A114

Kimberly Mullarkey, artist

Kimberly Mullarkey has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of California–Santa Cruz and a master of fine arts degree from Northern Illinois University. She lived in France for six months, where she studied early Northern Renaissance painting. She teaches botanical art at The Morton Arboretum and the Chicago Botanic Garden. She also teaches drawing and design at the College of DuPage. Her work is included in the Best of Colored Pencil series. She has spoken at many local art leagues about creativity, botanical art, and her own work. To fulfill her wanderlust, she leads trips.

What to Know

Students should plan to bring the following supplies: graphite pencil, kneaded eraser or blue tack Mars Staedtler eraser, a set of professional color pencils, a sketchbook, and good-quality paper for finished color pencil drawings. A more detailed supply list will be provided upon registration.

Program Schedule

Saturday, September 9, 2023, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Sterling Morton Library, Administration and Research Center

Saturday, September 16, 2023, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Thornhill Education Center

Saturday, September 23, 2023, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Thornhill Education Center

Saturday, September 30, 2023, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Thornhill Education Center


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