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Art of the Fox
"Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing." ~Marc ChagallThe connection between the painter’s eye, heart, head, and – ultimately – soul, and their subject is deep and unique for each artist. We have been privileged to see our Artist-In-Residence Joel Sheesley’s love of and…
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Fox River Education & Outreach Initiative
Whether you spent your childhood along its banks, enjoy fishing its currents, live near it, or just appreciate the view as you drive over it, if you love the Fox River, you have found kindred spirits in The Conservation Foundation and the Hamill Family Foundation.The siblings who make up the…
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Art of the Fox Blog
Welcome to the Art of the Fox blog! I’m Joel Sheesley, an artist who is working with The Conservation Foundation to promote awareness of the environmental importance of the Fox River through esthetic appreciation. For the next year or so I’ll be travelling up and down the Fox painting it…
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Fox River In The Spotlight: 2017 Winter Membership & Awards Luncheon
Please accept this invitation to attend our Winter Membership & Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Riverside Receptions in Geneva.Trish Beckjord has joined The Conservation Foundation as Program Manager of our new Fox River Initiative, which has been made possible by the Hamill…
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Plein Air Painting with Artist-in-Residence Joel Sheesley
Artists from all skill levels are invited to join us to paint "en plein air", or outdoors, with professional artist Joel Sheesley on Saturday, August 26th from 11am to 3:30pm at Batavia's Red Oak Nature Center. We are very grateful to be able to offer this program in partnership with…
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Elgin Plein Air Painting Event
Through the act of painting “en plein air,” or outside, Joel Sheesley, Artist-in-Residence for The Conservation Foundation, explores the landscape and gains a deeper understanding of its beauty and the challenges it faces. Joel is an Emeritus Professor of Art for Wheaton College. He is currently giving his attention and…
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Art of the Fox Exhibit & Lecture at Wheaton College
Joel Sheesley, Artist-in-Residence for The Conservation Foundation's Art of the Fox program, has just finished installing twelve Fox River paintings in the Fireside gallery in the Wheaton College Beamer Center in an exhibition entitled "Heaven and Earth" as part of a program centering on the novel Gilead. On Monday, October…
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Painting Fox River Landscapes Presentation by Joel Sheesley
The Conservation Foundation's Artist-in-Residence, Joel Sheesley, will talk about his experience painting Fox River landscapes at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles on November 15 at 7:00 p.m. Joel, Emeritus Professor of Art at Wheaton College, is partnering with The Conservation Foundation as part of the Art…
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For the Love of Landscapes: Artist-In-Residence Joel Sheesley at Kane County Audubon
Celebrate the Day of Love listening to Joel Sheesley, our Artist-In-Residence for the Art of the Fox program, as he talks about his love of Fox River landscapes and his experiences painting them. Joel will be talking to the Kane County chapter of the Illinois Audubon Society on Valentine's Day,…
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A Fox River Testimony Exhibit Opening
April 12 Skunk Cabbage, Red Oak Nature Preserve Don't miss the long-awaited exhibit opening of A Fox River Testimony, where 73 original paintings by our Art of…
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Art of the Fox Blog: A Way In
Welcome to the Art of the Fox blog! I’m Joel Sheesley, an artist who is working with The Conservation Foundation and their Fox River Initiative to promote awareness of the environmental importance of the Fox River through esthetic appreciation. For the next year or so I’ll be travelling up and…
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Art of the Fox Blog: Volo Bog
From June 2016The Fox River originates in marshland in southern Wisconsin. Flowing down into northeastern Illinois it merges with the Chain O’Lakes, a region of glacial kettles and hills in the upper reaches of the Valparaiso Morraine. On June 6 my friend Paul and I visited Volo Bog that lies…
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Art of the Fox Blog: Tekakwitha Woods
One visit to Tekakwitha Woods and I knew that I wanted to make a painting there. The woods are open under a shady canopy that allows you to see the ravines that crisscross and run down the bluff to the Fox River. Large old trees tower over all and enchant…
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Art of the Fox Blog: Imagination & Reality
“Both imagination and a competent sense of reality are necessary to our life, and they necessarily discipline one another.” – Wendell Berry, Life Is a MiracleThe very word, environmentalist, calls up a level of loathing from many of those whose livelihoods depend on forms of natural resource extraction. It also…
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Art of the Fox Blog: What Do I Want?
I look at the paintings of the Fox River that I have made and I ask myself, “What do I want? What do I want from these paintings?” As I reflect on this question it is the word want that begins to give me a sense of direction. I think…
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Art of the Fox Blog: View From Below
By mid August a red tail hawk can land and sit at the apex of our fifty foot Norway spruce and get no hassle from the robins and blue jays that would have set off a major alarm back in June. The hawk looks comfortable up there in the early…
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Art of the Fox Blog: Clarity
Yesterday I drove down to Wedron and met Brook McDonald at C&M Canoe Rentals. We spent the afternoon paddling and exploring the lower Fox River. Our plan was to stop along the way, allow me four or five hours to begin two different landscape paintings, and allow Brook time to…
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Art of the Fox Blog: Solar Eclipse
The solar eclipse that raced across the United States on August 21 had little visible impact on the Fox River. The moon covered more than 80% of the sun over the Fox River Valley but on such a cloudy day it was hard to tell whether the diminished light was…
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Art of the Fox Blog: Aurora
“The old countries were worn to the shape of human life, made into an investiture, a sort of second body, for man.” Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa CatherAurora is the only city on the Fox River whose downtown sprawls across an island in the river. Settlement of the island,…
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Art of the Fox: Residency
The Conservation Foundation has begun using the term “artist in residence” to describe my role in the Fox River Initiative. I like the term. A residence is stable and conveys a sense of habituation, of stability. Why then, once situated in this residency, am I most struck by its fleeting…
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Art of the Fox: Lost In Light
Late in the afternoon on September 20th I stood under the east end of the walking bridge that connects a path in West Dundee’s South End Park with the Fox River Trail. I was there to paint the landscape under the setting sun as it hovered over the slow moving…
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A Fox River Testimony
Have you ever experienced how something good can become even better when you know the depth of care and feeling that went into its creation? How a meal is even more savory, a garden becomes even lovelier, a blanket brings more comfort when you understand the love behind the hands…
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