Peggy Macnamara has served as the Artist-in-Residence at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History since 1990, and as an Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


Macnamara has traveled with Field Museum scientists all over the world to paint nature and illustrate conservation efforts. She has published 5 books in collaboration with museum scientists through University of Chicago Press. In addition Macnamara has created 2 children books(one with Northwestern University Press) and a coloring book. Her 6th book about Underwater Sea life and conservation efforts is due in 2021, 

Having been associated with the Field Museum for more than thirty years and a regular visiting painter at museums across across North America and Europe for fifteen years, Macnamara has also produced a series of classical drawings as well as paintings that bring together museum architecture, natural scenes, and cultural artifacts. 


A large collection of Macnamara's Original Watercolor Paintings are on permanent display at the Field Museum.







MA, Art History, University of Chicago, 1970

BA, Art History, Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY,. 1969


Artist-in-Residence, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL 1990-present


Associate of the Zoology Department, Field Museum, Chicago, IL 1996-present. Instructor (1990-2000),


Adjunct Associate Professor (2001-present), School of the Art Institute of Chicago Art Instructor at the Field Museum, Chicago


Public Libraries Nature Connection, Art Institute Family Programs, and Morton Arboretum,


1994-present. Illustrator for selected publications,

1998-present Reviewer, “The New Art Examiner,” Chicago IL,

1982-85 Art Instructor, Barat College, Lake Forest, IL.

1980-82. Member and Director of West Hubbard Gallery, Chicago IL,  

Artist Mission

My work is about the study of nature. I hesitate putting myself in such a grand tradition, but there it is.  I admire those that have gone before and find myself studying old techniques while pushing in new directions. Unlike science where those that follow build on the knowledge discovered before them, artists seem to emulate and eventually grow into the concerns of their time. I believe that by looking carefully at the entirety of nature I will learn to see better and gather an understanding of form and color that will make me a better artist. 




2021 OTR Virtual Art Show "Abstraction Inherent in Reality"


2019   Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts  "Nature in Watercolor " 


2019   Des Plaines History Center Art Gallery Art Exhibition  

2019   Glenview Public Library Art Show "Flora & Fauna" 

2018   Fermilab Art Gallery in Batavia Illinois   "Seeing the Prairie" Art Show

2017   Brooker Gallery of the Chicago Field Museum, "Peregrine Returns Exhibit",

ART         June  23, 2017 through June 2018


2017    Ryerson Woods  Brushwood Center , Solo Exhibit, "The Choreography of Birds", March 5-April 17

2016   Evanston Art Center  Museum Perspectives Solo Exhibit September 11 - October 31

2016    Ding Darling Solo Exhibit   August 1 -October 23

2016    Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Audubon -April-May


2016    Heller Nature Museum - Nature Exhibit January -February


2014    "Migration", Mississippi State University Art Center, Starkville, Miss.


2014    "Birds/Museum Studies" , Heller Nature Center, Highland Park Il


2013    "The Art of Migration", Ryerson, Deerfield IL Macnamara-Della

Studio, Los Angeles, California Behind the Scenes, Packer Schopf gallery


2012 Peggy Macnamara, Elmhurst Museum, Il


2011 Nests by Peggy Macnamara, Peggy Notebart Museum, Chicago Il Ruskin/ Bird formations, Packer Schopf gallery, Chicago Il


2010 Peggy Macnamra. The White Gallery, Sharon, Connecticut


2009 The Natual Art of Nests, Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe Il, 2008 Nests, Packer Schopf Gallery, Chicago Il 

         Macnamara: Wildlife Watercolors, Fermi Lab, Batavia, Il 

         Insects and Birds, The Discovery Museum, Lake County Il 


2007 Migration, Packer Schopf Gallery, Chicago Il 

         Watercolors, Southwestern Michigan College, Dowagiac, Michigan 

         Illinois Birds, Illinois State Museum, Lockport Illinois 


2006 Nature studies, Aron Packer Gallery Three Oaks, Michigan 


2005 Nests, Aron Packer Gallery Chicago, Il 

         Aron Packer Galley,Three Oaks, Michigan 

         Ryerson Conservation Center, Riverwoods, Illinois 


2002 Aron Packer Gallery, Chicago Il 


1999 Insect Exhibit, Field Museum, Chicago, IL 


1998 Union League Club, Chicago, IL 


1996 The Vedanta Gallery, Chicago, IL 


1993 Triangle Gallery, Chicago, IL 


1989 Union League Club, Chicago, IL 


1987 Roger Ramsay Gallery, Chicago, IL


1984 Roger Ramsay Gallery, Chicago, IL 


1983 Sonnenschein Gallery, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL



2021 Watercolor Artist Magazine "Creatures Great and Small"  February 2021 issue 

2019 Costco Connections "What a Wonderful World"


2019 Gizmodo  " The Watercolor Artist Whose Paintings Help Save the Rainforest"

2019  My Modern Met "Museum Artist In Residence Promotes Conservation with Wildlife Watercolors"

2013 Chicago Tribune, “The Art Of Migration” 


2011 Chicago Tribune, Macnamara at Aron Packer Gallery 


2010 Chicago Magazine, Macnamara at the Botanic Garden 


2006 Chicago Sun Times, Macnamara’s Nest Book, by Gary Wisby 


2005 Time Out Chicago, Wild Style by Ruth Lopez 


Chicago Reader, Nature Girls by Fred Camper 


Chicago Sun Times, Artist’s biggest challenge.., by Gary Wisby 


Pioneer Press, Bugs pose for mug shots, by Sheryl De Vore 


2004 Watercolor Magazine, Summer Issue, Painting Wildlife in Watercolor 


2002 Chicago Reader, March 2002, Backyard Beauties by Holly Greenhagen 


2000 Chicago Sun Times, April 2000, Artist brings the Field Alive by Nancy Moffet (feature article) 


1997 Chicago Sun Times, January 10, Peggy Macnamara by Margaret Hawkins 


1996 Chicago Sun Times, January 5, Nature Roars-and Purrs-in Winter Shows by Margaret Hawkins