A Charming Opening Weekend for PWAF

The 20th Annual Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival!

By Rachelle Siegrist

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Mary, Maggie and I in Mary’s beautiful yard

Wes and I arrived in picturesque Thomasville, GA late last Thursday afternoon, just in time to check in with the Plantation Wildlife Art festival committee, before heading to our gracious host, Mary’s, beautiful home. Friday morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast with Mary and her sweet Sheltie, Maggie, before heading to the cultural center where we would be hanging and exhibiting our miniature paintings over the weekend.

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A gorgeous Spanish Moss lined tree at Birdsong Nature Center

Dear friends Donny and Vicki Ferguson joined us for our yearly tradition of lunch at Subway in downtown Thomasville, followed by a relaxing afternoon spent at Birdsong Nature Center. It was a gorgeous day, complete with clear blue skies, lots of sunshine and pleasantly mild temperatures, as we started our hike around the trails that wind their way through the preserve.

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Wes and Donny walking through the pine grove

The first part of our walk led us around the large farm pond, where I anticipated seeing the resident alligator, but unfortunately he was hidden from our view, and we couldn’t find him no matter how hard we searched. After walking through a large grassy field, we wound our way around the Big Bay Swamp area, walking under the outstretched arms of Spanish moss lined oaks.

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The Big Bay Swamp
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A beautiful Garter Snake we saw along the way

Cares from the morning’s setup melted away as we walked through pine groves, talking and laughing, while sounds of gentle breezes blowing through the pines accompanied by birdsong filled the air. After a couple of hours, we returned to the the old plantation style home where we began our walk. Going inside the house, we sat in front of the large, glass picture window located in the bird viewing room, from where we watched several Tufted Titmice and and a couple of squirrels come to eat seeds and corn, and get drinks from the large stone water feature. Even though we could’ve contentedly stayed there the remainder of the afternoon, it was time to get ready for the gala opening for the show that evening.

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The lovely view from the bird watching room

The VIPs were welcomed that evening through an arched entrance lined with boxwood, leading to a spacious hallway, whose walls were covered in white silk drapes.  Tall, beautiful planters overflowing with fresh flowers were carefully placed about, greeting the crowds with a charming atmosphere of pure southern elegance! We were so delighted to see and talk with many of our collectors throughout the evening.

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Wes and I with our miniature paintings on opening night

After a successful day at the show Saturday, we were in for a real treat that evening while attending the Bird Dog Bash which took place at Pebble Hill Plantation’s newly renovated Sugar Hill Barn.

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The Sugar Hill Barn at Pebble Hill Plantation looking quite festive

Party-goers were welcomed by a festive atmosphere featuring the beautiful barn decked out in lights, filled and surrounded by multiple round tables, each one adorned with lit candles and the graceful greenery of magnolia branches.

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Surrounded by a grove of tall pines and the moon above, the setting was deliciously inviting! We enjoyed scrumptious fare, laughter and conversation, before the auction took place and the band started playing once again.

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The beautifully decorated barn just before the crowds got there!

Sunday brought more sales and visits with collectors, but I must admit the highlight of the weekend for me was being a temporary foster mom, along with good friend and fellow artist Vicki Ferguson, to three amazingly adorable baby fox squirrels! I simply cannot express the sheer delight I felt, holding those precious babies and feeding them a bottle! Their long thin arms and toes reaching up and grabbing the bottle and patting it with bits of milk dripping down. Vicki and I were completely in heaven and both so delighted to have been given that most wonderful job!  Our fellow artist, Chris Wilson also joined in the fun and thankfully took these photos for me!

I was truly in heaven while holding and feeding these adorable babies!

Upon the show’s conclusion that evening, we enjoyed a nice dinner at dear friends Mike and Debbie’s beautiful home. Hilarity and stories were enjoyed as we were all well entertained by doggies Gracie, Newt and Maggie. I loved being surrounded by dogs throughout the weekend, from those three, to my two Westie friends Albert and Radar, our neighbors at the show, and most of all sweet Maggie! I also was delighted to be able to photograph a young handsome Boykin Spaniel named Colt, who I hope to paint in miniature soon!

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to Mary, our gracious host, to the wonderful PWAF committee, and to our collectors who added our paintings to their cherished collections, for making it a truly wonderful weekend for us!


~ A Recently Painted Miniature Painting ~

Presenting my recent dog painting of Maggie, a Sheltie who is just as precious and sweet as she is beautiful!

sheltie dog painting by rachelle siegrist
“Sweet Maggie”


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Until next time . . .


Fun Weekend at the Waterfowl Festival!

The 45th Annual Waterfowl Festival!

By Rachelle Siegrist

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A beautiful sunset from the Bay Bridge

It’s hard to believe that yet another Waterfowl Festival has come and gone already! Why just this past Wednesday we were driving through the gorgeous Appalachian Mountains and seemingly endless pastureland of the Shenandoah Valley region while on our way to Easton, MD. As we crossed the Bay Bridge, the sun was sinking low, painting the sky above in an array of pinks, creating a spectacular sunset painting, compliments of God!

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Another gorgeous view of the sunset

We enjoyed a delicious pizza at Rusticana Pizza for super that evening, which has become a yearly tradition for us, while in Easton. Early the next morning we began the process of setting up in the old historical Armory building in the downtown area. Upon completing the task of hanging and arranging our paintings, we headed to Chipotle for lunch. The opening reception that evening was well attended, filling our booth with crowds of people admiring and enjoying the experience of viewing our miniature paintings through the magnifying glasses!

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Wes and I with our miniature paintings on opening night

“Wow . . . That’s totally amazing!” Was heard countless times as the evening went on, with many people viewing the miniatures for the first time! I must admit we never tire of hearing that, and it makes those challenging times of painting in all of the detail worth it!

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Onlookers admiring our miniature paintings

We were blessed with beautiful weather for the weekend festival celebrating waterfowl, and the streets and multiple venues were continuously filled with people! I managed to sneak out a couple of times throughout the weekend to see the numerous dogs, arranging from absolutely stunning to one I found irresistibly cute and adorable, but whose owner called ugly. Her name was Cookie and she looked like a very fuzzy version of Yoda, complete with a serious under-bite, in which half of her teeth were hidden behind her lip!

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Crowds fill the downtown streets

What great fun it was walking about enjoying the warmth of the sun while watching this most entertaining parade of dogs, not to mention the inspiration for myself as I love painting dogs! I’m focusing more on dog commissions, and really enjoyed talking with dozens of people this past weekend, considering having me immortalize their beloved furry friends in miniature.


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Isn’t she adorable!!!

Saturday night the artists were treated to a lovely evening featuring hors d’oeuvres in our venue, followed by a delicious buffet dinner party in the large pavilion nearby. As always lots of laughter and conversation accompanied our tasty dinner! Sunday was another beautiful day, and before we knew it the show was coming to an end. After packing up our remaining miniatures, we started our journey home. Once again it was great to see and visit with a record number of our wonderful collectors who came to the show, and our heartfelt thanks goes out to those of you who added our paintings to your collections!


Come see our miniature paintings in person this upcoming weekend, November 20-22, at the  20th Annual Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival held at the  Thomasville Cultural Arts Center, located in picturesque Thomasville, GA!  We look forward to seeing you there and helping you add more miniature gems to your collection!


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Until next time . . .