On the afternoon of Saturday June 24 we will be painting live models within a variety of antique autos at the Fifth Annual Lake Bluff History Museum Antique Auto Show on the Village Green. The models, which will be provided by a local figurative art group, will be in period costume doing long and short poses among the cars. You will be able to take reference photos. 

Half the fun will be the people. Many will come to see the autos and will be quite surprised and curious to see artists and models at work. If our experience with antique farm equipment is any guide, the owners of the autos will become keenly interested in the art we produce and commissions may result. Expect to be painting with experienced figurative artists, which is especially rewarding.

The auto show will be 3-7:00 pm. Our plein air event will be 3-6:00 pm so that antique auto fans can witness the collective sharing that concludes our events. Artists are certainly free to stay and paint, of course. 

The event is only 500 feet from the Lake Bluff Metra station, so Chicago artists will find this wonderfully convenient. They can catch the 12:35 train at Ogilvie Transportation Center and arrive in Lake Bluff at 1:36. That’s a little early, but they can grab a late lunch at Bluffington’s Café a couple of blocks away. The return trip is the 7:21 train to Chicago, which just leaves time for dinner at the Inovasi restaurant next to the event. This is “an innovative, modern American bistro and bar.” Anyone driving instead might consider dinner at the new "Grille No. 43" just north of IL 176 on Waukegan Rd. (IL 43). It describes itself as contemporary and casual, “serving globally inspired New American fare.” All of these restaurants are excellent in their own way.

·       Enjoy: Painting, drawing and photography with fellow artists from any medium at any level of expertise.

·       Time: 3:00 am to 6:00 pm, Saturday, June 24.

·       Directions: The Village Green is located where IL 176 terminates at Sheridan Rd. The I-94 ramp for IL 176 is Exit 16 off I-94 for Rockland Rd., and it reaches Sheridan Rd. 3 miles to the east after crossing Waukegan Rd., US 41 and Green Bay Rd., and reaches the Village Green immediately after passing under the Metra line.

·        If the Village Green had a GPS address it would be probably be 589 Sheridan Rd., Lake Bluff IL

·       Conclusion: At 5:45 those willing to discuss their results will gather at the gazebo.

·       Cautions: The host, organizers and sponsors that make this session possible cannot guarantee your safety or be responsible for personal injury, property damage and trespass resulting from your actions. Don't let your easel or tripod be a trip hazard for others. Have fun, but be careful. 

·       Guests: Guests are certainly welcome, subject to the above cautions. No children please, as we will all be too absorbed in our work to watch them.

Plein Air

​​Schedule for 2017 Plein Air Events

The Lake County Art League organizes plein air events as part of its charter to “create more interest in art in Lake County and … to develop a higher appreciation of visual art.” Participation in these events, in the experience of making art, is by no means restricted to art league members or residents of Lake County.

Last year’s plein air initiative was to paint (or draw or photograph) wildflowers following explanations by botanical experts, which proved popular and will be continued. This year we will begin to distribute plein air notices using a commercial subscription service. These will include occasional notices that let you sample more specialized groups in the region: Plein Air Painters of Chicago, Brushwood Sketchers at Ryerson Woods, the Reed Turner botanical artists group, and the Chicago chapters of both the Oil Painters of America and the Urban Sketchers. Urban Sketchers is an international organization that happens to be holding their eighth annual symposium this July in Chicago, and more will be said about that.

We always kick off the year painting large interior spaces, and on January 21 we again visit Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory. Those of us interested in figurative art will be able to paint a tattoo artist in action when we paint at the Chicago Field Museum on February 11. On March 4 we will be at the Chicago Botanic Garden orchid show. As has been our habit, late in March we will paint a village center somewhere in Lake County.

This spring we will return to wildflowers on April 22 (Bowen Park in Waukegan) and May 13 (Reed-Turner preserve in Longview), always beginning with a local botanist explaining the natural context. June 3 we will promote the practice of plein air art with a tent at the 17th annual Ray Bradbury Dandelion Wine Fine Art Festival in the preserved woods of Waukegan’s Bowen Park, and all are encouraged to come and paint the park, the event activities, the performers or the artists and art lovers who attend the festival.

Summer events cannot yet be scheduled, but we will pursue several opportunities that have been suggested by our plein air artists: the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, the Potawatomi Trails Pow Wow in Zion, the Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg, and the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. Harley-Davidson wants us at one of their Bike Night gatherings of cyclists that would start at 5 pm. We will also return to Gurnee’s classic Hunt Club, designed by David Adler in the 1930’s.

This fall we have targeted the peak color date as October 21, and will gather at a forest preserve among the southern Des Plains River maple trees on that date. Much earlier we will start picking up fall color in the grasses and shrubs in the restored prairie of Almond Marsh. On either side of the peak fall color we will play it by ear, but will certainly paint again at the Antioch farm of Vivian Morrison.

Looking ahead to 2018, we hope to paint the Union Station Great Hall once restoration is complete, and we will host a half-day regional plein air gathering at the Fox River Forest Preserve.


This year’s schedule is dedicated to the memory of Mary Lou Diebold, who often shared with us the honest beauty of her family's farm in Fremont Center, one of the last still being worked in the area. If we were bringing art to Lake County, she was helping us witness its long forgotten dairy heritage