Welcome to the website of the New England Chapter of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators! Please explore the site using the links above to learn who we are, check out some of our past workshops and meetings, explore member work in the gallery, or contact us for more information.

Joint Meeting of the GNSI–New England Chapter and the New England Society of Botanical Artists (NESBA)

Saturday, Feburary 4, 2017 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Massachusetts Audubon Society Museum of American Bird Art (MABA)
963 Washington Street, Canton, MA

An informal gathering to provide an opportunity to view portfolios by artists from GNSI-NE and NESBA and to talk to each artist about their work. In addition to the portfolio sharing, we plan to have several artists make short presentations about projects they have worked on. RSVP to Joan Pierce by January 25, 2017 if you would like to be included in the headcount for lunch or have a table space saved for your portfolio. Download invite for contact details.


Member News

Leslie Watkins is offering a Winter Journaling Workshop at Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield, MA on Sunday, January 22 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Download details, including sign up information.

Frances Topping is exhibiting her botanical paintings at The Cooked Goose Restaurant, 92 Watch Hill Road in Westerly, RI, through February 25.

Emily Dustman has co-founded a new art and science magazine, E-Squared, that sets out to present new and innovative ideas.  Emily says, “Issue #1 is set to come out this Fall and features Greg Dunn (the neuroscientist & artist: www.gregadunn.com) and we have a group of selected features that have very inspiring works.” Check it out at: www.esquaredmagazine.com

Many congrats to Susan Stranz, whose painting “Rush” was accepted into the Rhode Island Watercolor Society’s Watermedia Competition!

Chapter President Tricia Cassady is offering private drawing lessons for adults and children.

Laurie Bebick is teaching at Audubon Art and Nature Camp.

great blue heron with catfishErica Beade is offering outdoor sketching workshops in Cambridge, MA during the summer. They are open to all skill levels. Please contact Erica  if interested in learning more or signing up, at: sketchclass (at) verizon.net (please substitute an “@” sign for the “(at)”) Or check out her classes  at: www.observationaldrawing.com



Other Upcoming Events

The joint GNSI/NESBA exhibit will be on display at Massasoit Community College  from November 2 to December 2, 2016

Sunday, March 12 at 11:00am: Sketching at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center,1000 Elmwood Ave, Providence, RI (Note that there is a small admission fee for entry)

Sunday, April 23: still in the planning stages: we will either have a speaker to discuss migratory birds or a sketching trip to the Roger Williams Park Zoo.

Sunday, June 11: Sketching and potluck lunch at Wendy C’s property (exit 4 or 5 off 495) – subjects include 3 acres of plant life and Wendy’s horse. Then we will relocate to Lakeville’s Betty’s Neck and will try and get a local naturalist to join us on a botany walk.

The Mass Migration exhibit at the Lakeville Library is in the planning stages, and will take place in spring 2018 at the Lakeville Great Ponds Gallery – details forthcoming.

Other events are in the works!



Saturday, January 14 at RISD Nature Lab – Chapter Business Meeting and sketching at the Nature Lab. Planning for upcoming exhibits, workshops and sketching events and the group enjoyed sketching in the Nature Lab. Wendy C. shared a fun and interesting project she is working on. Her project consisted of placing a dead fisher cat in a decomposition box for 2 years in her back yard. The decomp box allowed for drainage and for insects to enter. After 2 years, the fisher cat was reduced to a skeleton. Wendy then carefully organized the bones and will soon reassemble them using wire and using technical manuals for guidance. Her comments on the project:

“This little side project is a hobby of mine, studying and articulating skeletons for anatomical studies and to include in future animal anatomy classes. This particular skeleton is from an adult male fisher cat, and it is in the process of being cleaned and prepped for articulation. I will be posting blog entries as this project progresses on my website www.inkymousestudios.com. “

Download meeting minutes here.

wendy chadobourne demo2 nature lab chapter group photo risd nature lab january 2017 chapter group sketching at risd nature labdeer mounts risd nature lab

Saturday, December 10 at RISD: Annual Holiday Gathering/Yankee Swap:  Members got together for a potluck brunch and yankee swap to socialize and celebrate the season.

Saturday, November 12: Marla Greenfield Watercolor Workshop at the RISD Nature Lab, Providence

In this workshop, we  explored the wonderful and unique qualities of watercolor,
reinforcing techniques that let the paint do what it does best. We  experimented with
allowing the paints to blend on the paper, under painting and glazing/layering
to achieve luminous results. In addition, we  examined issues such as composition, the importance of value, breaking the process down into manageable steps and generating rich darks.

demo_workshoppainting_workshopdemo2_workshopwendy_workshopWatercolor paletteparticipants_workshop

September 10, 2016: Chapter Business Meeting – Members met to discuss/plan upcoming exhibits, workshops and events. Wendy Chadbourne reported on her experience attending the 2016 GNSI Conference in Santa Cruz She reports that she: “had a blast, and there were many interesting presenters in particular John Laws speaking about how your artwork is interpreted by your audience/client. This led to a discussion about journaling and giving yourself permission to have fun sketching (as opposed to something that has to be really good) and practice. Many have found the app “Value Viewer” to be helpful.

We discussed ways of creating more activity within the chapter. Susan suggested we try to have
someone speak to some of the Natural Science Illustration classes at RISD. If there is wi-fi
available in the building, maybe we could have members attend the meeting virtually since many are too far away to come. Wendy would like to get together with Erica and rework the website to get more member interactivity and use the Facebook page to inform members and friends aboutwhat we are all doing. Download the meeting minutes here.

July 3 to 9, 2016 – Annual GNSI Meeting in Santa Cruz, CA.

Sunday, June 12, 2016 – Sketching at Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Westport, MA.

May 21, 2016 at 10:00amChapter Business Meeting • Members gathered at RISD to plan upcoming events, including our next exhibit, and discuss member news.

Saturday, March 12, 2016: Sketching at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Garden in Providence, RI – Details forthcoming!

Nancy sketching at Roger Williams ParkWendy Chadbourne at Roger Williams Park sketching event

Frances sketchingFlower by Wendy C.

greenhouses_chadbourneSeedpods by Wendy C.


Saturday, February 6, 2016Joint Meeting with the New England Society of Botanical Artists (NESBA) at the Massachusetts Audubon Society Museum of American Bird Art (MABA) in Canton, MA. Members enjoyed a wonderful joint meeting with members of NESBA. Each group began individually with a short business meeting – our chapter used that time to plan upcoming events, discuss member news and succession planning for our Board. Our meeting was followed by a portfolio sharing with the NESBA members – a terrific opportunity to see work by wider range of artists and share our work as well. Our hosts provided a delicious lunch, and we had some great conversations. We were joined by a teacher and student from Canton High School who also shared their – very lovely – work, and by a professor from Massassoit Community College who brought some excellent student work from the College. We look forward to future opportunities to bring the groups together, and to create a venue for others to see what these fields are all about! Learn more about NESBA on their blog.



Saturday, December 12, 2015 at RISD:  We had a great time celebrating the holidays together with a good ‘ol Yankee Swap, refreshments and goodies, and sharing portfolios, sketchbooks and other current projects.

Saturday Nov. 14, 2015: Opening Reception for our Annual Chapter Exhibit at Bridgewater State University – more info to come.

Saturday, October 10, 2015 at RISD: Drawing and Painting Birds Workshop with Artist Barry van Dusen: This was an exciting opportunity to learn from an internationally recognized wildlife artist. This one day workshop  focused on the methods artists use to depict birds with drawing and painting tools. Barry  discussed field methods, optics, drawing and color basics and watercolor technique. He also talked about his approaches to studio painting and book illustration of bird subjects.

vandusen3vandusen1Barry Van Dusen's WorkshopParticipants at Barry Van Dusen's Workshop

September 12, 2015 Chapter Business Meeting at RISD’s Waterman Building, We caught up with fellow members, discussed plans for our upcoming exhibit at Bridgewater State University in November, and shared ideas for future field sketching events, workshops and talks.

GNSI Conference at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA July 5-12, 2015 – more info to come!

Saturday, May 9, 2015: Chapter Business Meeting; Members discussed recent projects, exhibitions and other news, and planned the slate of Chapter activities for the coming months, including our Chapter exhibit to be held at Bridgewater State Univeristy in November, 2015. Download the meeting minutes here, and a prospectus for the exhibit here.

Sunday, April 12, 2015: Joint Meeting with the GNSI New York Chapter – Peabody Museum, New Haven, CT: Five members of our group met at the Environmental Science Center on the campus of Yale University , including Frances Topping, Laurie Bebick, Wendy Amaral, Insil Choi, and Nancy Minnigerode. We enjoyed coffee and refreshments and conversation, and a  brief business meeting.  We then had the pleasure of viewing many wonderful portfolios of amazing artwork by both groups. It was so inspiring! So much talent and enthusiasm in one room!

The highlight of the day was a tour of the Exhibit sponsored by the GNSI-NY called  “Echoes: Homage to Plants and Animals” led by Dick Rauh. All the work was imaginative and inspiring.  Frances and Nancy had pieces included.

This is a very friendly and active group and I hope many of you will consider joining them for future activities. Their next event is a Picnic on the High Line on June 14.  Sounds like fun!  Their 2015 exhibit is called “Microcosm”.

photo of gnsi-ne member laurie bebick sharing her portfolio photo of gnsi-ne member wendy chadbourne sharing her portfoliophoto of gnsi-ne member dick rauh sharing his portfolio  photo of gnsi-ny member dorie petrochko sharing her portfolio photo of gnsi-ne member nancy minnigerode in front of her piece at the new haven exhibit photo of gnsi-ne member insil choi sharing her portfolio

Saturday, January 10 at 10:00am: Members met to plan upcoming field sketching events,  workshops and our next Chapter exhibit, and shared portfolios, sketchbooks and recent projects. Download the meeting minutes here.



Saturday, December 13 at 11:00am: Annual Holiday Party with Portfolio Sharing and Yankee Swap at RISD’s Waterman Building in Providence. Members got together for a potluck,  portfolio sharing, and yankee swap, and also brought books or art supplies to swap or sell. This was a fun networking event, and a chance to get some inspiration for the New Year!

Wednesday, October 8 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Annual Exhibit Opening: Members and exhibitors were joined by a good crowd of visitors to enjoy the exhibit and refreshments at this lovely spot in Belmont.  Member Mathilde Duffy gave a colored pencil demonstration with examples of her beautiful botanical and shell drawings, and Erica Beade explained her technique for digital painting with examples. The exhibit is open through October 30, 2014.

duffy_presentation3beade_presentation2 exhibit_goers2bebick_cassidy2

Saturday, September 20 at 10:00am, RISD Waterman Building, Room 11: Members met to discuss plans for the exhibit, plan upcoming sketching events and workshops, drop off work for our October exhibit, and catch up with other members.

Saturday, May 3, 2014 • 3:15pm to 5:00pm • Members gathered to discuss upcoming events, our exhibit in the fall, and member news. The meeting was followed by a talk by Gretchen Halpert, Founder of the New England Chapter, about her adventures with exhibiting and teaching overseas in Taipei and Bangkok. Gretchen’s description: “How do you get your life’s work across the ocean safely and frugally? What is it like to teach in another culture? Where might you find financial assistance to make this experience come true? This presentation is my experience mounting a solo exhibition and teaching in Taiwan, with a side trip exhibiting and drawing with the Sci-Art Network in Thailand. This power point presentation and discussion is meant to save you many months of research, hopefully containing more do’s than don’ts. Slides of presenter and student artwork, sketches and the local landscape will keep this presentation lively.”

Sunday, April 13: Sketching at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic, CT • 10:00am to 12:00pm • Details TBA • The Nature Center has live birds of prey outdoors, live reptiles and taxidermied specimens indoors, and walking trails.Field Sketching at Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic, CT

February 8, 2014 at 10:00amSketching at the RISD Nature Lab • Members enjoyed a chance to draw from the huge range of specimens at the RISD Nature Lab.

January 11, 2014 at 10:00amChapter Business Meeting • Members gathered at RISD to plan upcoming events, discuss member news, and pick up work from the Pomfret exhibit. Download the minutes.

December 14, 2013 – Annual Holiday Party – We had a good crowd for the holiday party, with a yankee swap, some great eats, and an inspiring portfolio sharing.

Dick Rauh WorkshopNovember 16, 2013: Plant Morphology, Flower Dissection and Conifer Study Workshop by Botanical Artist and Botanist Extraordinaire Dick Rauh: Dick discussed the basics of plant morphology, and attendees had the opportunity to dissect some flowers using microscopes, and look at conifers to see their special characters and how they differ from flowers. Dick presented his work and students had an opportunity to sketch.

Report from Frances Topping: “He did a great job for all levels. The microscope projected on to a screen was very useful. He shared his knowledge and his art. We looked at 3 or 4 families of flowers and some conifers. For his paintings he described how he goes about doing his enlargements by looking at many aspects of the plant, measuring, drawing, scaling up, photographing, and transferring to watercolor paper and then with washes and drybrush does the botanical painting. Some of the current students and a few old guard were at the workshop.”

Dick Rauh Workshop Dick Rauh Workshop rauh_wkshp6Participants at Dick Rauh's Workshop Using Microscopes

pomfret_tricia_demo_2013October 13, 2013: Opening of our annual exhibit at the Connecticut Audubon Center in Pomfret, CT. The exhibit looks terrific (many thanks to Amy Bartlett-Wright, Kathy Kelly and the folks at the Center for their work in putting it together.) The opening was a lot of fun: a chance not only to see the beautiful work of our fellow Chapter members, but also to see techniques demonstrated by Tricia Cassidy and Laurie Bebick, to explore the gorgeous surroundings of the Center, catch up with friends, and have some good food.

pomfret_2013_bebickWatercolor by Frances Topping


September 14, 2013: General Business Meeting at RISD. We met to discuss our upcoming exhibit, ideas for the new website, and to plan future activities. It was also an opportunity to drop off work for the Pomfret, CT exhibit, as well as to catch up, share ideas and network.


barharbor_2013July 7-13, 2013: GNSI National Conference at College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME. Quite a few NE Chapter members attended this year’s national conference in Bar Harbor. As always, it was a fabulous opportunity to get together with other illustrators for a workshops, field trips, talks and more – to learn, share and be inspired. Check out the conference website for more information and photos of some of the events.


Saturday, May 11th 10:00: Business meeting at RISD. We discussed the next 6 months for the group including our next exhibit, which will be at the Connecticut Audubon Center in Pomfret, CT from October 1st, 2013 to November 1st, 2013 and the National GNSI Conference in Bar Harbor Maine from July 7th to July 12th :); also, we discussed the website and the possibility of using Facebook and Twitter. Our guest speaker was Amos Trout Paine, a local artist and former art teacher who will be sharing the experience he has had with the artist selling site ETSY. Download the meeting minutes.

Sunday, April 21 from 10:00am to 12:00pm – Sketching Outing at the Botanical Gardens at Roger Williams Park. This event is $3.00 per person. Please meet at the entrance and then we can pay and get right to sketching : ) The gardens are indoors in a large greenhouse. There are lots of different exotic plants to draw from plus some local favorites. Here is their website if you would like to check it out: http://www.providenceri.com/botanical-center

Sunday, April 7 from 10:00am to 12:00pm – Sketching from the Archives at Roger Williams Natural History Museum. Dawn Temple is the Educator who runs the program. The program is $15.00 and she likes to know at least a week in advance if people are planning to attend so that the curators can prepare the specimens. You can request specimens that you may want to draw too. Dawn can be contacted directly (as I won’t be able to make this event) at dtemple@musnathist.com or by phone at 401-785-9457 x247 <tel:401-785-9457%20×247> . The Museum is located at Roger Williams Park 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence RI 02907.

Saturday, February 2 at 10:00am – RISD Waterman Building, Room 11. Our usual January Business meeting was held in February this year due to some scheduling conflicts.

Check out some of our past events.