Featured Artist: Heeyoung Kim

At Brushwood Center, we are responding to the COVID-19 crisis by doing what we strive to do year round: build a community around nature and the arts. This crisis is heavily affecting arts organizations and artists, as major art festivals, fairs, performances, and exhibitions that provide critical support and income are canceled or postponed. To help lift up the arts community during this difficult time, we will be highlighting a different nature-inspired artist each week and sharing their story with you. We encourage you to reflect on the impact of art in your life, and look for ways to support artists in our community.

For our first spotlight, we are featuring our internationally-renowned artist in residence, Heeyoung Kim. Heeyoung has been part of the Brushwood family since 2011. She began with her first solo show, and soon after started teaching her weekly classes at Brushwood Center.

Tulip, watercolor

In the spirit of natural history artists of the past, award winning contemporary botanical artist Heeyoung Kim documents and depicts native plants of prairies and woods in Midwestern USA. Giving priority to rare and endangered species, she also paints common ones when they have high ecological value. Rare orchid species are also her favorite painting subjects. Believing that humans can only survive when plants and pollinators thrive, Kim actively engages with locals to draw public attention to plant conservation through her exhibitions, talks at garden clubs, or nature and art related activities with students. Founder of Heeyoung Kim Botanical Art Academy, Kim is an internationally renowned botanical artist and instructor. She teaches the ancient art form of scientific plant illustration at Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods.

“Everything in nature leaves me in awe, large or small, floral or faunal, living or non-living….. I am always awakened and amazed by the beauty and perfect design of every part of Mother Nature, and I strive for expressing my enlightened self in art.”

Free Tutorial for Brushwood Followers:

Heeyoung has generously provided two free monarch butterfly coloring pages for Brushwood members to print out at home!  Simply follow the link to her online store and enter the code “BRUSHWOOD” at checkout to download.  You can also follow along with her step-by-step coloring tutorial on YouTube! 

Watch Heeyoung’s Coloring Tutorial
Download Coloring Pages

Follow Heeyoung Online

You can learn more about Heeyoung’s classes, view her portfolio, and purchase her work by visiting her website.  You can also keep up with her by following her on Facebook or Instagram.


Heeyoung’s Most Recent Exhibitions

5th Annual: Enriching Life – Botanical Art Exhibition, Heeyoung Kim & Brushwood Botanical Artists. November 24, 2019 – January 12, 2020 at Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods, Riverwoods, IL.

Heeyoung Kim: New Works – Orchid Watercolor Paintings. July 25- September 7, 2019, Joel Oppenheimer Gallery, Chicago, IL.

Botanical Art Worldwide, America’s Flora: Linking People with Plants through Botanical Art. 2018 – 2019, 4 venues in the United States.

Transylvania Florilegium, The Prince of Wales’s Botanical Art Documentation of Transylvania, Romania: May 23 – July 31, 2018, Embassy of Romania, London. Kim’s three watercolor paintings are included in the royal collection.

Artists explore the rare bobolink in exhibition to open March 8 at Brushwood Center

Artists Ginny Krueger and Ann Blaas present an intimate and varied look at a declining songbird, the bobolink, and its migratory patterns at their exhibition, “The Bobolink Proposition,” which opens March 8 at Brushwood Center, 21850 Riverwoods Road, Riverwoods. The opening reception, held from 1 to 3 p.m., is free and open to the public.

The artists, who have done other shows together, wanted to work within a bird theme.  “We thought the bobolink had that exuberance and childlike rhythm that’s in both of our works,” Blaas said. “The word bobolink has a fun sound. We learned about the bird’s migratory patterns and there are some hints toward that in our paintings. “

The bobolink, one of North America’s fastest declining songbirds, breeds in grasslands including Rollins Savanna, a Lake County Forest Preserve District property near Krueger’s home. During courtship, the male flies close to the surface giving a tinkling sound and showing off its white back to attract females and deter intruders. It migrates to South America for winter. “I’m fascinated that the bobolink’s breast is dark and the back is white,” said Krueger. “It’s usually the reverse in birds.” In field guides, the bobolink has been described as wearing a reverse tuxedo.

Blaas, who teaches art at College of DuPage and Joliet Community College, is creating some of her works on Mylar, a type of drafting paper.“The transparency of the paper allows the artist to work on both front and back surfaces,” she said.

Krueger will display her encaustic paintings of melded wax, resin and pigment on wood. She’ll also showcase two colorful quilts depicting woodland birds, and several ceramic sculptures.

“Brushwood Center is a wonderful venue for artists. It has such intimate spaces,” Krueger said.

Visitors can meet Blaas and Krueger at the March 8 opening. No registration is necessary for the free event. The exhibition continues through May 5. Gallery hours: Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sundays 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.brushwoodcenter.org.