New Members

Welcome to The Chestnut Group!

This page is especially for you to become acquainted with all-things-Chestnutty, including: website FAQs, when and where events typically happen, how to get involved, and more! Most people naturally feel a bit uncomfortable when joining a new group, but ours is a most welcoming and non-judgmental clan and you will feel a part of the action in no time!

Basic Website Knowledge

Login: your user name is, in most cases, your first last names (Jane Doe) Be sure to use caps and a space. Your password will have been autogenerated when you joined via the website and will have been emailed to you shortly after payment transaction completed. You are welcome to change that password at any time. (User name is not changeable) We do not store passwords, so if you forget yours, use the Contact Us at the top of the Home Page to ask for a new password to be generated. You can learn more HERE.

Familiarize: our website is a great tool for communication, information, and opportunities so look it over and get accustomed to the location of the various topics. Events page will list the Chestnut-hosted events taking place in calendar order. Members page drop-down menu>Announcements has an archive of every announcement ever published. Announcements do go out as an email to all members automatically. You can also find the current members roster under Members, as well as the link to update your profile. Resources>drop-down has the information you need for participating in shows, etc. Workshops>drop-down has lists of workshops in our community that are led by a Chestnut Group member (as a paid member you may submit through the “Submit Event/Workshop” portal two workshops you are teaching per year) You will also see our Chestnut Group sponsored Visiting Artist and Paint Your Heart Out workshops listed under Workshops and your own personal archive of the workshops you have purchased through our website (My Workshops)

Joining, Renewing, and Making Purchases: Most new members have joined through the website Join portal and are familiar with the payment process. Renewing is a similar process without the detailed information form. We accept credit cards with a secure system (Stripe). When we publish Chestnut-hosted Events, the ticket purchases also go through this system. Specific to ticket purchase: you must choose a ticket amount (i.e. 1) to make the process proceed. You can remove items from your cart before checking out if you need to.

The Chestnut Group Culture and Purpose

Our founding members began this group in 2001 with a specific directive in mind: to create and offer artwork in collaboration with community organizations that are focused on preserving and protecting natural and historic places in Middle Tennessee. You can read more HERE.

What does this mean for you? As a member, you are welcome to every open paint-out, regardless of your painting experience level. You have access to the information concerning the current year’s Partner Project and all members have the opportunity to have one or more of their paintings in the art show and sale.

What if you aren’t an experienced Plein air painter? You are still welcome and encouraged to show up! We all started out as beginners and understand the challenges. Most paint-outs have a designated “host” who is happy to be supportive and encouraging. Watch for informal get-togethers, such as “coffee talks” and “newcomer events” that happen throughout the year (they are publicized on our Facebook Members page and in Announcements) These are great opportunities to get to know other members and feel a part of the community.

Helpful Information and Links:

Plein Air Setups and Supplies

There are so many setups to choose from now and can be an overwhelming decision to make! Prices typically range from around $200 and up. It’s advisable to compare different setups based on weight, portability, what canvas sizes it can hold, and durability. “French easels” are not recommended (too heavy, not adaptable to terrain) Keep in mind that some Plein air setups are integrated with a stand and others require a tripod. When choosing a tripod, be sure it is very sturdy with adjustable legs.

Supplies: Carry small paint tubes and limit your paint palette as much as you can, both to reduce weight and to simplify your color decisions. Canvas covered panels are less bulky and fit easily in a wet panel carrier. 3-4 brushes, palette knife, metal container for odorless mineral spirits, paper towels or rag, and plastic bags for trash. Other supplies you may find useful are: view finder, value finder, carabiner clips, camping stool, Plein air umbrella, sketch book, bungee cord to hang paper towels on, sunscreen, bug spray, hat. You will quickly learn what you need and what you don’t. And don’t be afraid to ask another painter to share with you…they will be happy to! You will need to pack your supplies into some type of bag and your options are: shoulder bag, backpack, or rolling tote, depending on your personal preference.

Plein Air Painting Etiquette

We encourage “good Plein air painting manners” to facilitate a positive experience for everyone and the environment we are painting. These include: *Being certain of the location *Informing the organizer in charge that you are going to attend and when you arrive/leave *Park in designated parking area *Stay in the painting area boundary *If you’re in a distant location let the organizer know where you are *Protect the painting site *Don’t be messy *Don’t dispose of mineral spirits onto the ground *Keep used paper towels in trash bag and take it with you when you leave *Let the organizer know if you leave early *Plan to leave site as scheduled unless allowed to remain longer *Be thoughtful and considerate of fellow artists.

Taking a Workshop or Class

There are many learning opportunities for artists in the Nashville area and so much to learn! We encourage you to boldly take advantage of these as much as you can. The Chestnut Group has several single day workshops every year; you will be notified when registration opens for them. Class size is limited, so don’t wait. We all know the experience of going to a class or workshop the first few times and feeling overwhelmed, anxious, stressed. A few tips on handling the nerves: come prepared with the supply list the instructor has published, be familiar with your equipment and setup, bring a chair/stool if the class is outdoors, silence your phone, leave your ego at home. Please don’t worry about what you don’t know! Chestnut members are at all levels of proficiency and very supportive. Introduce yourself and get to know them during breaks.

Workshop Etiquette

Practice good manners at workshops, too! *Sign up and pay by the deadline *Observe cancelation policy *Arrive on time *Park in designated area *Avoid blocking someone’s view during a painting demonstration *Be courteous when taking photos *Don’t expect the instructor to assist with your equipment setup (ask a fellow student if you are struggling *Keep your questions relevant to the topic *Respect the instructor, even if you disagree *Honor the learning environment by sharing space and not chit-chatting during class *Be open to learning something new!

On-Line Resources for Artists (Fine Art Tips)

Pinterest & Google

Leave No Trace Guide

To Make Canvas Panels

Plein Air and Studio Workshop Etiquette

Tips for New Members

★Join the Chestnut Group Member Facebook and Instagram Page ★Attend regularly scheduled meetings ★Volunteer! ★Submit paintings in Chestnut affiliated art shows ★Take classes and workshops ★ Go to Paint-Outs ★Don’t get discouraged…Enjoy the learning curve

Participate and volunteer every chance you get! You will meet the most amazing people who are artists just like you!