Early last Wednesday morning, we left our little house in the Smokies and headed to Tulsa, OK, to participate the NatureWorks show this past weekend. Thankfully it was a pleasant drive, void of falling rain or snow, with just a bit of strong wind gusts at times. Upon realizing that the weather wasn’t going to be bad, Wes had surprised me a few days before leaving with the prospects of stopping at Cheekwood Gardens in Nashville, to see a portrait miniature exhibition which they have on display there. So we did just that and were completely impressed! The room created an intimate setting for the collection of miniatures, and with the walls painted a lovely subdued shade a blue, with the title of the exhibition “Affectionately Yours” written in beautiful gold script on the wall as you enter the room, made it quite inviting. We spent an hour looking at all of the miniature paintings elegantly displayed hanging inside glass cases, and well lit, making it even more enjoyable to view them. We enjoyed walking through and seeing the rest of the grand home and other collections on display as well. Unfortunately our limited time schedule and cold, windy weather, didn’t allow us to walk through and see any of the gardens surrounding the stunning historical museum. After a delightful conversation with the docent lady in the museum, it was time to leave. My only regret is that photography wasn’t allowed, so alas I cannot share any images of this beautiful exhibition. So we ate a quick lunch before getting back on the interstate and continuing along our journey.
Driving the next morning to Russellville, AR, we were very excited to see a large flock of Snow Geese feeding in one of the fields near the road, which really made our day! We arrived in Russellville later that evening, where we spent the night before driving the remaining distance to Tulsa the next morning. We got to the Tulsa Renaissance Marriott Hotel for the show at about 10 AM and in no time were setting up our display of miniature paintings. We were done by lunchtime and enjoyed a delicious lunch, which the show graciously provided for the artist! Everyone sitting at our round table enjoyed lots of laughter and great conversation, as well as the yummy food! That afternoon Wes and I enjoyed walking along the greenway, off Riverside Drive, that follows alongside the Arkansas River, even though there was a bit of a cold breeze. We saw numerous birds, with many of them being different duck species. It was a refreshing walk, and it felt good to get a bit of exercise after riding in the van for a day and a half. We enjoyed supper at Chipotle’s on the way back to the hotel, before getting ready for the VIP party that evening. Imagine my delight and surprise when told by fellow artist friend, Paul Rhymer, that Wes had something to tell me, and upon arriving at our booth I was greeted by a ribbon for the show’s Miniature Award! What a great way to start the show off!
Since we didn’t have to be at the show again until Friday evening for the preview opening, we had the day free. So we enjoyed it by spending the time at the Oklahoma Aquarium, which was a treat indeed! We met up with our dear artist friends, Diane and Bob Mason, and Chris and Bill Knapp, there and enjoyed talking and relaxing while viewing the numerous fish tanks they have on display. I must admit that the highlight of the afternoon for me was when they fed the Electric Eel! There was a voltage meter above the eel’s enclosure, which measured the amount of volts it was putting out at a given time, which was accompanied by a sizzling sound that got louder and more intense as the voltage increased. It barely registered, until the lady would gently tap on the eel’s side with a piece of fish attached to a long pole, at which point the meter and sizzling noise would go nuts, and the eel would grab and swallow it. Of course each time this happened, the crowd went nuts, with yours truly leading the cheers! This went on for several minutes, until he had eaten his quota for the time being. Next on the agenda was feeding the Archer Fish, so we all patiently watched as the lady smashed little dead shrimps on the aquarium glass, at which point the Archer Fish started spitting extremely accurate streams of water hitting the shrimp and knocking them into the water, where they were quickly devoured! Next up was feeding the Iguanas and several fish species that were in the rainforest exhibit. There was one Iguana in particular that stole the show however, as one of the ladies would gently pet him and he would slowly shake his head up and down with a smile on his face, as if saying “Oh . . .yea . . . now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!” I couldn’t help but laugh at this precious interaction, which was followed by her holding his dish for him while he ate. Obviously he’s a bit spoiled! We spent a bit more time walking around while mesmerizingly watching the fish swim carefree about their aquariums. My favorites of course were all the little “Nemos” that were just way too cute and precious swimming around and nestling down in their anemone friends. Before long it was time to leave, and make our way back to the hotel to get ready for the opening that evening.
As usual the NatureWorks opening was well attended and the show set a record for sales that night! We were delighted to see several of our collector friends there and make new ones as well! After spending the day at the show on Saturday, we went to dinner at a nearby Abuleo’s Mexican restaurant with a group of artist friends. As usual with this group, we had a wonderful time while doing more laughing than anything! The food was delicious too, and after a couple of relaxing hours spent there, we found ourselves back at the hotel. Sunday morning started off with the traditional NatureWorks awards breakfast, and once again we found ourselves at a table with a delightful group of friends, where we did so much laughing that my stomach actually ached! After the conclusion of the breakfast, we had some time to walk and visit before the show opened to the public, and before we knew it, the show had ended once again and we were taking down our miniatures and starting the long drive home. We were blessed with a great show and many, many thanks you, our collector friends, who made purchases, thus making it such a good show and possible for us to return to NatureWorks next year!!
Fresh off the easel: Wes finished his still life titled “A Few Things I Found I” consisting of things we’ve found through the years. I’m hoping this week to finish a dog portrait featuring my sister Hayley’s beautiful dog, named Sugar Lily, and will share it with you next week.
Come See Our Paintings This Week:
Until March 10th
Annual Spanish Moss Miniature Art Show at the Mobile Arts Council Gallery, in Mobile, AL
Until March 29th
Annual Miniatures in Mariposa Show at the Sierra Artist Gallery, in Mariposa, CA
Until March 24th
To view all our upcoming exhibits: http://www.artofwildlife.com/exhibitschedule.html
Have a loved one or a beloved pet you would like captured in miniature? Contact and commission us!
Don’t forget to “Sign Up” to receive an email each time I update the blog, and Interact with us more often on Facebook!
Until next time ~ Rachelle