A BIG Time Exhibiting in Texas!

 

In front of part of our display at the Irving Arts Center

The sun was just starting to illuminate the outside world, when I stepped out on the back porch to fill birdbaths and spread out a bountiful feast for my feathered friends to enjoy that day. Soon afterwards, we were off and beginning the long journey to Irving, TX, where we were showing our miniature paintings at the Irving Arts Center, along with our fellow members of the GOA, also known as the Gallery of Artists. It was a long drive, and we felt many times that we were driving as a part of a train made up of an endless line of semi-trucks. Needless to say we were quite happy to arrive where we would be spending the night, before finishing the journey the next day! We arrived in Irving at the art center after lunch, and began the process of getting things in order for the opening the next evening.

dallas world aquarium photo

Wes and I at the Dallas World Aquarium

dallas world aquarium photo

Mel and I taking photos of the Pygmy Marmosets

photo on the dallas world aquarium

A very strange critter on display there!

photo inside dallas world aquarium

Mel and I inside the shark tunnel below

The next morning fellow GOA artist and dear friend, Melanie Fain, joined us as we headed to the Dallas World Aquarium in downtown Dallas. Thanks to the help of our much appreciated GPS, we were there in no time, and enjoying the long entrance that snakes back and forth through what felt like the rainforest, leading to the entrance of the aquarium. We were impressed already by what we had seen and hadn’t even entered the official part of the aquarium yet! Upon entering, we were greeted by a several story tall waterfall surrounded by a forest of lush tropical trees and shrubs, and the sounds and calls of birds from all over the world filled the air. Right away we spotted and greatly enjoyed watching the adorable Pygmy Marmosets. They were all just way too cute, with their precious miniature faces and tiny little hands, climbing and playing, and sometimes stopping to preen each other or grab a juicy small chunk of fruit to enjoy. Then there was the Emperor Tamarin, sporting a long white, well-groomed mustache, giving him a very distinguished appearance. While watching such adorable critters such as these, I always get an overwhelming urge to want to hold and play with them! As we walked through what felt like a jungle there were surprises waiting around every corner. We saw sloths, and numerous bird species, many of which had free flight in the enclosure, so you never knew when one was going to fly or land nearby. There was a very interesting and very cute Rock Hyrax, which I was sure that if he could’ve talked, his voice would be very deep and a bit gruff as he spoke in a slow manner easygoing manner. He had a great face and the fact that his bicuspids came down over his bottom lip, added to his wonderful character! I could imagine him being the old storyteller in a quaint children’s book. Well, after admiring him for quite sometime, it was time to move on, as there was so much more to see!

photo of rock hyrax

What an adorable face on this Rock Hyrax!

photo of an antillean manatee

Another favorite of mine . . . a manatee!

photo of cactus bloom

A gorgeous cactus bloom

photo of flamingos

The brightly colored Flamingos hanging out

There were penguins, hummingbirds, lizards, a giant crocodile, several species of poison dart frogs, and even Vampire Bats, which were very exciting to see and watch, especially since I love bats and have always found them so intriguing. As we descended the walkway that snaked and curved through these wonderful indoor gardens filled with surprises, we could begin seeing the fish-filled aquariums ahead. There was a wonderful variety of both fresh and saltwater fish, some of which we had never seen before. One of the most interesting fish we saw, were called Flashlight Fish. These amazing little fish are named for their large bio luminescent organs, both of which are located beneath the eyes and contain luminous bacteria. There are two methods used by different species for controlling light emission, either the organ is turned downward into a pouch, or a shutter-like lid is raised over the organ. This light is used to attract prey, for communication, and to avoid predators. It was completely awe inspiring to stand and watch the school as they swam around sporting all of their incredible spotlights in the dark tank! Next we saw giant clams covered in beautiful pastel colors, seahorses in all shapes and sizes, and an incredible variety of saltwater fish swimming amongst Anemones and coral in various colors, sizes and shapes. After walking through the tunnel winding it’s way through the shark tank, we happened upon another tank just in time to watch the diver feeding the fish, what a great job that would be! There was so much to see, neatly and perfectly tucked in every available spot, so follow me in this virtual tour of the aquarium . . .

underwater photo of saltwater fish

underwater photo of saltwater fish

The beautiful Giant Clam with a visitor

underwater photo of saltwater fish

underwater photo of saltwater fish

underwater photo of saltwater fish

underwater photo of saltwater fish

underwater photo of saltwater fish

A colorful Scorpionfish

underwater photo of saltwater fish

A Leafy Seadragon

photo of electric eel

This Electric Eel was very neat to see, as I’ve always been enthralled by them!

photo inside dallas world aquarium

Black-footed Penguins hanging out in one of their islands

The GOA exhibition went very well at the Irving Arts Center, and a nice donation (being a portion of the sales proceeds) benefited the Irving Arts Center and the Dallas Ecological Foundation, a branch of the Dallas Safari Club. We were all delighted that everyone was so excited about us being there and that they asked our GOA group to return again for another exhibit as soon as we can!

Fresh off the easel: Wes finished a small painting of a beautiful Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly this past week.  It’s enjoying a drink from a Flame Azela, which are native to our area and quite stunning indeed.  I’m painting on a miniature of a fish camp that I photographed while down in San Carlos Mexico last year, and  it will be featured in an upcoming exhibit at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum this next spring.

tiger swallowtail painting miniature

“Tiger Swallowtail on Flame Azalea” by Wes
3½ x 2½ inches

~ Events and Exhibitions of Our Paintings This Week ~

(Fifty of our miniature paintings are on display and available for purchase!)

Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Oradell, NJ ~ the oldest and most prestigious wildlife art organization in the world!  We will be attending the formal opening festivities in October.

September 12-26, 2012, The Moscow Art College of Russian Art Academy, Moscow, Russia

National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, WY
To view all our many exhibits: http://www.artofwildlife.com/exhibitschedule.html

 

Until next time ~ Rachelle

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