ELGIN – As an artist-in-residence for The Conservation Foundation’s Fox River Education and Outreach Initiative, Wheaton artist Joel Sheesley has painted the beauty of the Fox River in all its moods and seasons for the past three years.
Sunrise, sunset, in flood, in ice, in summer, in fall, his paintings help you to see places you know and others you want to find and experience for yourself.
Sheesley will give a presentation sharing details of how he creates his works of art and some of his experiences in the field at an artist’s talk from 7 to 8 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Gail Borden Library, 270 N. Grove Ave., Elgin.
The 73 paintings Sheesley originally created through the Art of the Fox program were first exhibited in the fall of 2018 under the name "A Fox River Testimony." But Sheesley has continued to paint the river he has become deeply connected to, returning again and again to river locations from East/West Dundee to where the Fox empties into the Illinois River in Ottawa.
Through its partnership with Sheesley, The Conservation Foundation is working to broaden the interest of local communities in the health of the Fox River.
Approximately 30 selected works of "A Fox River Testimony" are on display at the Elgin History Museum from Sept. 13 to Nov. 15. This is the last such exhibit of the 2019 season.
Sheesley, an emeritus professor of art at Wheaton College, has chronicled his field experiences along with photos of the paintings in a 160-page coffee table book entitled “A Fox River Testimony,” which is available for purchase at the exhibit. Interested buyers may also purchase paintings, and selected high-quality prints.
The Conservation Foundation, partnered with the Elgin History Museum for this exhibit, hopes that the artist’s work connects residents with the river and moves them to become more engaged with local environmental projects that help improve the quality of the river.
The Conservation Foundation is one of the region’s oldest and largest not-for-profit land and watershed conservation organizations, with more than 5,000 members. Founded in 1972, the group has helped preserve more than 35,000 acres of open space, restored and cleaned miles of rivers and streams, and educated thousands of kids by engaging them in nature and the outdoors.
More information about the group is available at its website, theconservationfoundation.org.