This is a very modest working German farm from the 1800s maintained for community enjoyment and education. The buildings are original and after 10:00 am authentically dressed interpreters welcome and guide visitors through the site. A John Nash Google review by John Nash says this is “… a throw-back in time to when family farms dominated the neighborhood. Chickens are running around the grounds. Cows and horses are there to pet. Wonderful old farmhouse just as it would have looked 150 years ago.” Farm grounds and trails open at 8:00 am if you want to come early. Admission is free.

Enjoy: Painting and photography with fellow artists from any medium at any level of expertise.
Time: 9:00 am to noon, Saturday, August 12.
Internet: See their web site at http://www.parkfun.com/spring-valley/heritage-farm, and see a park district video about the farm at https://vimeo.com/28378135.
Directions: Volkening Farm is 12 miles south of Lake County, just off I-290. Go south from Lake-Cook Rd. on SR 53, which becomes I-290 as you cross over I-90. A little more than a mile south of I-90 take exit 1B toward IL-73/Higgins Rd. going west. A little more than a mile west on Higgins turn left (south) onto Plum Grove Rd., and the farm is a mile to the south shortly after you cross Schaumburg Rd. Right after you cross Schaumburg Rd. on your left there will be a strip center with a Duncan Donuts, then an entrance to a subdivision, then an unlabeled working entrance to Volkening Farm, and finally a well-labeled, stone gated public entrance to a paved farm parking area. The farm buildings are a two-minute walk on a paved path from the parking area.
GIS: 201 S. Plum Grove Rd., Schaumburg IL 60193. Be careful, though, as this address seems to be the unlabeled working entrance to the farm. The next entrance to the south is the labeled pubic entrance and parking you want.
Conclusion: At 11:45 those willing to discuss their results will collect back in the parking lot.
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. Have fun, but be careful.
Guests: Guests are certainly welcome, subject to the above cautions. No children please, as we will be far too absorbed in our art to monitor their activity.
Questions: Chris Tanner per the contact information below
Pending: The next plein air session will be September 2 back in Lake County at the Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve, Arlington Heights Rd. at Lake-Cook Rd. We had a plein air session there five years ago at this same time of year, and early fall color in the grasses made for some great images.

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