Events from 2011 and Earlier


Sunday, December 4, 2011 – ANNUAL GNSI HOLIDAY GET-TOGETHER!
12:00pm at RISD, Waterman Building Room 11
Join us for a get together, including Yankee Swap (MC’d by Tom Colantonio)
Bring a wrapped gift (value $10 to $15). For those who don’t know how to play we pick numbers and then pick gifts. After opening the gift you can decided to keep it or swap for a gift someone has already opened. 

Bring a treat to share, non-alcoholic drinks, dips and chips, fruit, crackers and cheese, sweets – just a few hints at what we have had in the past.

Sunday, September 11, 2011 – RISD – 12:00-2:00pm – Business Meeting
Come share your ideas for upcoming field sketching, workshops and other chapter events!

Saturday and Sunday, September 17-18, 2011 – RISD – 9:30am-3:30pm 

Watercolor Workshop with Peggy Macnamara at RISD
2 days of exploring the wonderful world of watercolor! We’ll work with specimens from the nature lab. See Peggy’s wonderful work at her website:

Peggy Macnamara’s Website
Download the registration form here (pdf).

Saturday, October 8 – Dennison/Pequot Nature Center in Mystic, CT
GNSI-NE Exhibit Opening!
Check out the venue: Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center

Sunday, May 15, 2011 – 12:00pm – EXHIBIT PLANNING AND BUSINESS MEETING at RISD

Saturday, April 16, 2011 – 8:45am 

Sketching at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Brewster, MA: 
Join us for sketching at the museum, where there are an abundance of bird mounts, a tide pool with many live creatures such as horseshoe crabs, flounder, skate and other crabs. They have moon jellies, turtles, frogs (all live) and some mammal mounts. Also an observation beehive. The observation room has a great view of the marsh and bird feeders, and a live cam on an osprey nest if they are back by then!
Arrive 8:45am for special museum opening at 9am – $8 admission fee (cash) Take advantage of this opportunity to be on the Cape in April!

Cape Cod Museum of Natural History Website

Member’s exhibit “From Observation to Illustration” Connecticut Natural Hisory Museum. Venue website >>
Saturday, October 23,
from 11 AM to 1 PM. Workshop at the Biodiversity Research Collections: “Working with natural history collections and their caretakers: what you need to know” presented by Jane O’Donnell, Invertebrate Collections Manager, CT Natural History Museum.
Interactive map for campus

Saturday, November 13, 11:00am, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole. Ant Talk and Sketching. Adam Lazarus will discuss ant ecology and his experiences in the field. Meeting room will depend on number of people. RSVP
Adam’s passion is ants, and he follows their trails through the nooks and crannies of our country and beyond. His fieldwork is a labor of politics as much as love—often the most exciting ants live on private land, our border with Mexico, or in vast federal tracts inhabited by some of the most interesting members (or nonmembers) of our society. This situation has brought Adam some hard-won ant discoveries, some lifelong friends, and a lot of stories.
After the casual talk, we will venture out into the local forest and Adam will locate some hibernating ant colonies in stumps and logs for us to draw. He’ll be providing the chainsaw! It promises to be a fascinating day.

BYO lunch or there are several great local sandwich shops.


Sunday, December 12, 12:00, RISD Nature Lab, Waterman Building, room 11, 
Annual Holiday Party
, potluck, portfolio share and yankee swap.
Tom Colantonio, back by popular demand, will coordinate this typically ruthless gift exchange. The key is not to get attached and be willing to come home with anything from a set of fine paints to a can of sauerkraut (it’s good luck!). Bring a dish to share and recent work to display. More details to come.

January 8, 10:00 am, RISD Nature Lab, Waterman Building, room 11: Business meeting. Snow date: January 15.


September 19, Opening of Fall Member’s Exhibit: “From Observation to Illustration”
Opening Reception, 4-6pm. Related activities, 12-4.
Venue website >>
Lobby phone number at the Museum:  860-486-8119

Related Activities, Sept. 19
Electron Microscope tours (small groups) from 2-4pm

Greenhouses open for visiting and sketching from 12-4pm; staff will be on hand and can do ‘pick up’ tours driven by interest and the nature of questions asked. (

Budney Collection of large mammal mounts is open for visiting and sketching from 12-4pm; Sketch from an array of specimens, including mammal mounts, extensive insect and bird (many Raptors) collections as well as fossils and bones. There will also be some tables available if we want to take something out of the cases or drawers.

Opening reception from 4-6pm in the Museum of Natural History.

FALL BUSINESS MEETING, Saturday, September 11, 10:00: Joan Pelletier’s house, studio and lake.10:00: Business meeting topics:
~ Fall Exhibit at CT Museum of Natural History, Storrs, CT. “From Observation to Illustration”, wrapping up the details
~ Nominations and volunteers for board positions (President, Secretary, Treasurer, Exhibits Coordinator, WebPerson)
~ Upcoming Events

August 15, Sunday: Sketching at Roger Williams Park Zoo or Museum
July 11-17: GNSI National Meeting, NC State U., Raleigh NC, 2010.
Conference website (

June 26 (rain date June 27th):
Joan Pelletier’s house, studio and lake. Sketching, cookout and kayaking at Joan’s inspiring abode.

May 22, Saturday: BUSINESS MEETING: RISD Nature Lab, 10:00am
RISD, Waterman Building, Room 12, 13 Waterman St. Providence, RI
Discussions of past events and future plans, particularly the fall show in Storrs, CT. Meeting was followed by an informative discussion with Susan Fader of Ditto Editions, Salem, MA

Guest speaker : Susan Fader of Ditto Editions, Salem, MA
“Creating and Marketing Fine Art “Giclée” Prints”
Fine artists looking to reproduce their artwork didn’t want to miss this informative lecture by Susan Fader, co-owner of Ditto Editions in Salem, MA. Susan has a keen understanding of the art world with 30 years of combined experience in commercial and fine art. She unraveled the mysteries surrounding Digital Printmaking “Giclée” and how this often misunderstood technology allows artists to accurately and affordably create limited editions of their work accurately and affordably. Digital printmaking is much more than scanning an image, color correcting it and printing it out on a digital printer. We learned what it takes to bring our best work to more buyers. Also included was information about selecting an edition’s size, how to sign your prints, and most important, how to market them and grow your art career at the same time.

~NEW from Ditto Editions A line of products printed with your art called ARTifacts. For more visit

April 24: Budney Natural History Collection (~ 150 full body mounts of a variety of mammals) at the University of Connecticut drawing from the collection which also includes insects, birds, fossils and more! Available until ~2:00. Thank you Virge for organizing a great event!
Photo 1 2 3

March 20 & 21 (Saturday & Sunday), 10am – 4pm: Two day scratchboard workshop with renowned scratchboard artist and GNSI member Trudy Nicholson, Hosted by RISD Continuing Education and Amy Bartlett Wright.

February 6 & 7 (Saturday & Sunday): Botanical Illustration with Artist & Illustrator Gretchen Halpert
In the Greenhouses & Gardens of Roger Williams Park Botanical Center

January Business Meeting
Sunday, January 10, 10:00 am
RISD, Waterman, room 12, 13 Waterman Street, Providence, RI.
NEWSLETTER with Report from Business Meeting. PDF >>> 


December Holiday Party: Portfolio (and cookie) share & Yankee Swap
Sunday, December 13, 11:00 am
RISD, Waterman, room 11, 13 Waterman Street, Providence, RI.

Sunday, November 15, 11:00 am
David Delay’s studio: 545 Pawtucket Avenue in Pawtucket, RI, Room A203.
We had a wonderful tour of David’s studio which is amazing. Many collections of different types of art including collage and, figure drawings and caricatures. Truly inspiring! We covered some business such as ideas for next year’s member’s exhibit. Then drew from a live model for the rest of the afternoon. Thank you David for a great day!

1:00: David offers open figure drawing ($10) every Sunday at 1:00. Email him for more information.

2009 Members’ Exhibit, “Natural Science Illustration: Darwin to Digital”
September 21- October 31, 2009
The show was a great success! Thanks to all of our talented members, Highfield Hall and to everyone who helped make it possible.
Listed as a “Best Bet” in the Cape Cod Times, discussed in many media outlets and widely applauded by the local and scientific community for the range of talent, historical viewpoints and information on the field of scientific illustration.
View webpage for an overview of the exhibit >>

September 27, Sunday 12:00- 4:00: Nature journaling with Tricia Cassady, Highfield Hall, Falmouth. This will be open to the local public in conjuction with the fall members exhibit. Come an hour early if you wish to tour the Hall and view the exhibit.

Tricia Cassady will be leading the Nature Journaling/Sketching workshop. This workshop will allow people to take a closer look at the nature around Highfield Hall and be able to sketch in the moment. We will discuss different types of journaling, different materials that can be used and then everyone will be able to sketch where they want on the property. At the end everyone will meet up at the main building and we will share our journals. No need for prior drawing experience. Come and join us for a relaxing afternoon of art on your own terms! A materials list will be supplied once people have registered.
Tricia Cassady is currently employed as the Conservation Agent for the Town of Middleborough, holds a degree in Biology and has received a certificate from the Rhode Island School of Design in Natural Science Illustration. She is also the Treasurer of the New England Chapter of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.

OCTOBER TALKS at HIGHFIELD HALL in conjunction with members exhibit.
Talks are on Thursdays at 7:00pm

October 8: Cathy Norton, Director of the Marine Biological Laboratory/ Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Library
Rare Scientific Illustrations inside the MBL/WHOI Library
Cathy Norton, the dynamic director of the MBLWHOI Library, will present an overview of the vast treasure trove of historic science illustrations housed in the Rare Books collection of the Library. Ms. Norton will also explain the importance of the role of the Library in preserving pioneering works of art and science for future generations. Her talk will expand your vision of what preservation means in the new digital world we live in today, describing the work being done in the Biodiversity Heritage Libraries of the World.

October 15: Steve Buchanan, GNSI-NE member & computer artist
Painting Science: Purposes and Audiences
Steve Buchanan, creator of the well known biological series of postage stamps (insects, pollinators, spiders) will share tales from the world of a working science illustrator. In theory it is the business of communicating scientific subjects in graphics to a broad public. In practice it also includes educating scientists about the public, understanding the aims and working with the politics of organizations of every size, advising clients about production processes, the possibilities and limits of computers, legal questions and a host of other interesting subjects.  In many cases the artist is the advocate for the interests of the ultimate audience. It helps to have a large wardrobe of hats.

October 22: Julia Child, Illustrator and Instructor of Biological Illustration
The Art of Nature: An Illustrated History of Natural Science Illustration, from Cave Art to the 21st Century
Ms. Child, early member of the GNSI and founder of MBL Science School’s Scientific Illustration course will give an Illustrated History of the Field of Biological Illustration, from Cave Art through the present, including images from the MBL’s rare book room. Works by Julia and her biological illustration students will also be on display in the Highfield’s Ter Heun room during the span of the exhibit.

General Planning Meeting: Sunday, September 13, 10:00 am
RISD, Waterman Building, Room 12, 13 Waterman Street, Providence, RI

August sketching trip Saturday, August 15, 10:00. Hosted by M.J. Brush in Mystic, CT. Lunch, stories and sketching with M.J. from her wonderful specimen collection.

July 5-11, GNSI National Conference, Fort Kent, ME
A wonderful meeting with fantastic workshops, exhibtis, events and field trips held in beautiful Northern Maine.

The keynote speaker, Stephen Hanson gave a very interesting talk about moose and wolves of Isle Royal, the cycles of predation and the various issues affecting the different species. Winter ticks have become a major problem for moose and seem to be getting worse due to warming temperatures.

The talks and workshops were great. We drew from live and mounted animals during Linda Feltner’s class, learned about illustrating insects from Sara Taliaferro and Taina Litwak, heard about copyright issues from Britt Griswold and discovered the techniques behind creating medieval manuscripts from Karen Ackoff.

The auction was great fun and brought in a record amount for the number of participants. Highlights were original art by Gerry Hodge, a moose antler, full size anatomical charts and a call from John Norton who sang his traditional periodic table song over the phone!

“Mini workshops were fun:  Jane Neroni’s “Drawing with Colored Pencils” workshop and Marjorie Leggitt’s “Crushing a Landscape into 2” x 3”” workshop tried to distill their techniques into a few essentials that we could learn and practice within a 2-hour period.  John Cody gave an absolutely fascinating talk on the Fayum Portraits of Egypt. The Silverpoint workshop by Gerry Hodge was wonderful, very small with much individualized attention.  It was scheduled to be a half-day, but Gerry and Melinda generously agreed to stay into the afternoon for those of us who wanted to learn more and practice the techniques.

The annual exhibit this year was held in the UMFK Library and included a wonderful display of books illustrated by GNSI members that we could look over at our leisure and admire the beautiful illustrations” – Toni Ross

June 7, Sunday, 11:00: Falmouth, MA: We visited Highfield Hall, viewed the lovely space where our fall members show will be held, had a picnic lunch, followed by a wonderful guided tour of Highfield estate grounds. We also walked in the wooded conservation land behind the hall and found patches of delicate Lady Slippers. A great place to come back and sketch!

May 17, Sunday, 10:00 am: General Planning Meeting. We reviewed past and upcoming events, discussed possibilities for a guest artist next spring (Peggy Macnamara), and continued planning for the fall show at Highfield Hall in Falmouth. See upcoming events (above) and exhibit information (below) for updates. >>
~ Submission deadline for entries is July 1!

After lunch we were treated to a fascinating talk by member and GNSI-NE treasurer Tricia Cassady about the transient world of vernal pools. We learned that they are considered a threatened habitat but must be registered in order to be protected. They appear for only a couple of months in the spring and act as nurseries and habitat to dozens of interesting (many rare) species, including wood frogs, fingernail clams, various salamanders and turtles, fairy shrimp, dragonfly and other larvae. Tricia is closely involved with the protection of these systems and it was interesting to learn what goes into that process as well. Thank you Tricia!

April 26, Sunday: 10-4. Plein Air Acrylic Painting Techniques workshop with member Amy Bartlett Wright.

Member Amy Bartlett Wright’s acrylic painting technique workshop turned into a wonderful plein air painting course.  Due to the spectacular weather that day, she suggested we move the class out of the studio and she would discuss and demonstrate the challenges and highlights of painting outside. The morning was spent by the river, where Amy spoke about capturing shadow, reflections and atmosphere. Tips like using green to show the darkest dark; using a big brush with enough paint; and applying few strokes to keep things simple and cohesive for the background. Amy is an excellent teacher with a great combination of patience, encouragement and skill. In the afternoon, we set up in a tree-lined park near RISD where she described her techniques for showing how a landscape moves, applying color in light layers and not focusing on painting ‘piece by piece’. She also discussed the benefits of acrylic, such as its flexibility as a medium and the freedom it provides to paint over backgrounds and subjects. It was a lovely, fun day with lots of great information and examples and it was wonderful to spend it outside with fellow Guild members. Thank you Amy for so generously sharing your experience, talents, enthusiasm and support!!

March 14, Saturday, 10:00: Joint meeting with the Greater New York Chapter of the GNSI.
Yale Peabody Musem, New Haven, CT, Environmental Science Center (ESC), Classroom 110

This was a wonderful day of connecting with our neighboring chapter, viewing work and sharing food and experiences. We brought snacks, portfolios and works in progress and enjoyed viewing each others’ images in a fun and supportive atmosphere typical of the GNSI. There were a range of projects on view, from Dick Rauh’s gorgeous, large watercolors of seedpods, to Linda Thomas’ forest and seashore murals, to Graziella Desolodow’s inspiring images she’s been creating since an illness that seriously affected her motor skills, to Steve Buchanan’s beautiful wildflower posters (all incredibly rendered in Photoshop of course!) and Gretchen Halpert, Louise Russell’s and others’ exquisite sketchbooks. Time flew just admiring the talent in the room and we had to stop chatting to visit the exhibits- including the GNSI-GNY chapter’s Amphibians show (wonderful!) and “Endless Forms: Charles Darwin, Natural Sciences, and the Visual Arts” on view at the Yale Center for British Art (an amazing collection of illustrations, landscapes, books and specimens documenting Darwin’s thoughts, experiences and influences). Both shows are definitely worth a visit, as are the numerous other collections at Yale we didn’t all manage to see. Thanks again to the GNSI-NY chapter for organizing such a great day!

In case you couldn’t make it and want to see the shows:
Museum website and map to the ESC building:
There’s a link there to the Yale map that might also be helpful.
The Peabody building is right next door to the ESC on Sachem St. in New Haven.

February 7, Saturday, 11:00: New Bedford Whaling Museum. Tour and talk, lunch and sketching.
Science Programs Manager, Bob Rocha gave an excellent and interactive talk, we had a fun lunch at local sandwich shops and sketched the Sperm Whale skeleton in the afternoon. We learned about the makings of skeletons; that the Blue Whale skull still drips oil occasionally onto the lobby floor; we passed around baleen, teeth and jawbones- and sniffed a bottle of pilot whale oil (that one lingers in your nostrils for a while!); the highly desired ambergris for making perfumes is made in the Sperm Whale’s stomach (one of three) from the digestive interactions with beaks from injested squid; we saw the newly displayed North Atlantic Right Whale and fetus and heard about the process of moving a skeleton from one place to another (takes special movers!); there are only about 350 of the species left in the world- this one died from a boat’s propellor hitting her fin. It’s a wonderful museum doing great work to educate the public about the history of whaling and whale conservation.

January 18, 2009, 10:00 am: General Planning Meeting:
RISD, Waterman Building, Room 12, 13 Waterman Street, Providence, RI. Map >>General meeting and discussion of future events including fall 2009 GNSI-NE exhibit at Highfield Hall in Falmouth, March joint meeting with the Greater New York Chapter of the GNSI and future field trips and workshops. See events and exhibits for updates.


December 7, 2008: Annual Holiday Party, portfolio sharing and Yankee Swap. RISD, Waterman Building, Room 11, 13 Waterman Street, Providence, RI. Wonderful goodies, interesting items swapped, lots of laughs- a great time was had by all! November 22: Sketching at the Buttonwood Park Zoo, New Bedford We met at the Bear’s Den cafe and admired Amy Bartlett Wright’s impressive and beautiful mural, then had a fascinating talk/ Q & A with Jason Theuman, Assistant Education Director at the zoo before proceeding outside to view the exhibits and see the animals. It was really cold (!) so many of us opted to observe and photograph on site then did our sketching at home. Zoo website: 

October 25: Sketching at the Robbins Museum of the Mass. Archeological Society in Middleboro, MA. An interesting sketching day drawing from the museum’s collections. Musuem website:

September 13: New England Chapter Exhibit, “From Observation to Illustration” opening reception at the University of New England Art Gallery in Portland, ME. Show ran through November 9th. Curated by Gretchen Halpert and Anne Zill.
~Demonstrations by Catherine Hamilton, Frances Topping and Lori Messenger.
~Panel discussion with Gretchen Halpert, Steve Buchanan, Catherine Hamilton and Tamara Clark.

July 20- 26, 2008: GNSI National Conference and Annual Meeting, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York. Conference website >>