Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | November 25, 2014

A Great Weekend at Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival!

The 19th Annual Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival

By Rachelle Siegrist

wes and rachelle siegrist at plantation wildlife arts festival 2014Wes, me and John, with our miniature paintings at the show

Wes and I left early last Thursday morning, and headed south, to picturesque Thomasville, GA where we would be participating in the 19th Annual Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival this past weekend. It was a gorgeous, sunny day and I was delighted with the prospects of warmer weather awaiting us there! About half way there, I was a very happy girl, while enjoying my fresh boiled peanuts, and wearing sandals once again! We arrived safely that evening and were delighted to stay with our dear friend, Mary once again this year, who lives in a beautiful home near the Cultural Center, along with her sweet dog, Maggie. Friday morning, after an enjoyable breakfast consisting of Mary’s delicious scrambled eggs and fresh tangerines, we were ready to hang our work in preparation for the gala opening that evening.

dog portraitSweet Maggie

Once our miniature paintings were hung, we enjoyed a nice lunch at Subway with friends, artist Vicky and Donny Ferguson. Leaving there, the four of us headed to one of my favorite places to spend the day, Birdsong Nature Center! The property consisting of 565 acres which use to be a plantation, and is now enjoyed by visitors who love hiking the 12 miles of trails and birdwatching. We were blessed with another gorgeous day, as we walked the numerous trails leading through woodlands, open fields, and along wetland areas and small ponds.
beauty berries at birdsong nature centerA nice grouping of Beauty Berries along one of the paths

big bay swamp at birdsong nature centerA lovely view of the Big Bay Swamp

fall leaves at birdsong nature cener
We saw several flocks of ducks in the Big Bay Swamp area, which would take flight, circling above and then land in an adjacent area of the wetlands, each time, just close enough that we could barely catch a glimpse of them. Flocks of warblers also flew in and joined us in a couple of areas, landing in the tops of the numerous pine trees surrounding us. It was a most relaxing and enjoyable afternoon, as the four of us walked along the wooded paths, talking and simply enjoying being immersed in nature! Then we spent a half hour or so, sitting in front of the large bird viewing window, while observing and watching the numerous visitors to the peaceful setting.  However, all too soon the afternoon passed and it was time to leave.

bumble bee on indian pipe bloomA Bumblebee collects pollen from an Indian Pipe bloom

Vicky and Donny Ferguson and irachelle siegrist at birdsong nature centerDonny, me and Vicky by one of the ponds

wes siegrist at birdsong nature centerWes and Donny watching the ducks

The gala opening that evening was packed with enthusiastic patrons, and as usual we were all treated to delicious southern delicacies, a favorite being the fried grouper! We were quite happy to see and visit with several of our collector friends there that evening. Saturday brought crowds of attendees and visits with numerous collector friends, and sales! That evening we were given a royal treat, while attending a private preview reception at the stunningly beautiful Pebble Hill Plantation! They graciously opened the gorgeous plantation home to us, allowing us to walk through at our leisure. Several friendly staff members were there to answer questions and share interesting historical facts about the home. Each room brought numerous surprises being filled with an array of stunning furniture, art and collectables, all original and having belonged to the Hannah family. Visiting the upstairs gallery was most enjoyable as well! To top it off, we were offered a delicious array of hors d’oeuvres beautifully arranged on the moonlit veranda! It was certainly a delightful time, and I must say I enjoyed every minute of this walk back in time, to a period of grace and beauty! Leaving there we joined the many others who had already arrived at the Bird Dog Bash party, situated under the large spreading canopy of numerous Live Oaks with branches gracefully adorned with Spanish Moss. This lovely setting combined with the rustic barn and large tent, created a most picturesque setting for the big event! We left later that night, having enjoyed much laughter, great conversation and tasty food even with the early rains which failed to dampen the exciting atmosphere!

rachelle siegrist at the birddog bashLou and I at the Bird Dog Bash

Although Sunday brought stormy weather, the show brought more crowds and sales. That evening we were delighted to join friends John and Connie at their beautiful historic home for dinner, along with several other artists and friends. It was a delightful time and a most wonderful ending to a great weekend! We want to extend a big heart felt “Thank You” to the hard working show committee for the Plantation Wildlife Arts show, to our dear collector friends, existing and new, for making it a great show, and to our dear friend Mary, who graciously let us invade her lovely home and took care of us during our stay in Thomasville!

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Until next time . . .
~ Rachelle

Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | November 17, 2014

A Great Weekend at the Waterfowl Festival!

The 44th Annual Waterfowl Festival

By Rachelle Siegrist

image of sunset from the Bay Bridge

A Gorgeous sunset from the Bay Bridge

The dense fog covered the mountains, and a misty rain fell as we left early last Wednesday morning, heading for Easton, MD, where we would be showing at the longest running wildlife art show in the U.S., the 44th Annual Waterfowl Festival, this past weekend. Thankfully about an hour into the drive, the fog had disappeared and the rain stopped, and before long, the clouds parted revealing a beautiful, clear blue sky above! All throughout the lovely Shenandoah Valley area the trees were stunningly dressed in their finest fall foliage, setting the stage for a beautiful drive throughout much of the day! Bright and early Thursday morning, we were at the Armory in downtown Easton, once again surrounded by friendly show volunteers and artist friends, as we hung our miniature paintings, in anticipation of the thousands of people that would be viewing our paintings throughout the weekend.

photo of Bay Bridge with sunset

I thought this was a neat shot of the bridge!

Having a couple of free hours that afternoon, we enjoyed a casual lunch at Rusticana Pizza, a local favorite of ours. Then we drove a few minutes out of town, to where a herd of gorgeous Belted Galloway, or as I call them “Oreo” cows and goats, reside. They were as beautiful as ever, nestled in their peaceful pastoral setting, surrounded by golden and red fall foliage. I was delighted to get a few nice reference photos of them for future paintings.

photographing belted gallowaysOh . . . if only I could get closer!

belted galloway cows in Easton, MD

The beautiful cattle above, and one of the adorable goats below

belted galloway goat

We returned to the show early that evening, nicely dressed and ready for a wonderful time. As always we were quite happy to see many of our collector friends there! Friday was another great day, and we so enjoyed having dinner that evening, with our dear friends, artist David Lanier and his wife Cathy. After another full day Saturday, we enjoyed a most pleasant evening during the artists’ dinner party, which was held at the lovely Easton Clubhouse. As always, the food was delicious and the evening filled with much laughter and conversation. We returned rested and ready for the last day of the show. Sunday morning, I was delighted to be able to take a quick walk outside to enjoy the beautiful fall color adorning the large trees lining the city streets! The numerous, beautiful and wonderful mix of dogs being paraded up and down the streets provided great entertainment as well!

wes and rachelle siegrist at the waterfowl festivalIn front of our miniature paintings

Before we knew it, the show had concluded and the weekend came to an end. We were delighted to have had numerous sales, and want to personally thank our existing and new collectors for a wonderful show! There was also great interest in possible dog portrait commissions, and so I’m looking forward to doing numerous dog portraits and commissions throughout the next year! Although the drive home was not the beautiful, sunny day we were blessed with during the trip up, we were happy to safely return home, where we’ll be getting ready for the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival taking place this upcoming weekend November 21-23, in picturesque Thomasville, GA, these next couple of days.

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Until next time . . .

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