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Adult Opportunities

Nature in Sepia: Pen, Ink Wash, and Gouache (in person)

Use pen and ink on toned paper to create drawings inspired by the look and feel of nineteenth-century nature artists.

Content Detail

Ink on toned paper is reminiscent of the work of early western naturalists. In this four-week intermediate class, you will 

  • create drawings that are both modern and classic, using natural tones of, ink and paper,
  • learn rendering techniques, such as hatching and ink wash, 
  • use white gouache to add vibrancy and dimension to your artwork. 

Each week will include demonstrations from your instructor and time to work on your pieces, with one-on-one feedback. Class members will work from plant specimens in the classroom as well as from photographs to create three to four pieces of work over the course of the class. See What to Know for details about supplies. 

This program meets in person at The Morton Arboretum. 

Instructor: John Fleck, artist

Health and Safety: Program participants must abide by the Arboretum’s health and safety guidelines. Guidelines are subject to change, so please check back frequently. 

Age: 16 and older

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John Fleck, artist and teacher

John Fleck is an artist and teacher based in Skokie, Illinois. His past career was as an illustrator for children’s educational publishing. Now he focuses on fine art through drawing, painting, and teaching. He received his BFA from Columbia College in Chicago in 2001.

Fleck is primarily inspired by the natural world in his artwork and enjoys wandering in the woods, fields, or along the lakeshore, looking for a weathered tree full of character, a unique view, or a light effect that fascinates him. He works in oils, acrylics, gouache, pen and ink, and various drawing media.

He can often be found at The Art Institute of Chicago or The Field Museum of Natural History, sketchbook in hand. His travels around the Midwest, and to places like Oregon and Maine, which have inspired many of his works. He exhibits in the Chicago area.

What to Know

  • This is an intermediate course, foundational drawing skills are required.
  • Held indoors.
  • Required: Please purchase the following supplies before the first class:
    Speedball Sketching Project Set (available at Dick Blick, Michaels, or online); 60 ml bottle of Tom Norton; Walnut Drawing Ink (available at Dick Blick or online).
  • Optional: If you have the following supplies already, bring them as well (loaners will be available, so no need to purchase them): Two synthetic round watercolor brushes, one large and one small, and one medium flat brush, Graphite pencils, erasers, rags,
  • Gouache, paper, water and ink containers, and drawing boards will be provided.

Program Schedule

Wednesdays, February 1 through 22, 2023

9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Classroom E, Thornhill Education Center

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