It’s hard to believe that the Southeastern Wildlife Art Show in Charleston is over already, and that we’re back home already. Time just seems to fly anymore! We left very early last Tuesday, driving over a day early to avoid most of the ice and snow. We avoided the ice on the drive, and thankfully were able to get out of the mountains, but got into the snow soon after getting on I-40. Fortunately the roads were mostly clear the entire way, so while Wes cautiously drove, I “ooed” and “ahhed’ while looking at the beautiful scenery, and taking photos. It was simply stunning to see it all in the mountainous areas, especially near Asheville, NC. Staring out through the windshield, I quickly became mesmerized, while watching the big, white, fluffy snowflakes hitting it at a high rate of speed, making it look like I was watching an exciting 3-D movie! Suddenly I turned to Wes and said “Oh . . . you’re murdering baby Frosties . . . by the thousands!” Wes just looked at me like he does so many times, and just kept driving, while I explained that the fluffy snowflakes could’ve grown into full blown snowmen, with a little help anyway!
We drove for five hours through falling snow, which towards the end of the drive, turned into sleet, but thankfully we arrived, safe and sound in Charleston later that afternoon! We had a yummy pizza for supper, and then retired to the safety of our hotel room for the duration of the evening. I was most thrilled to be able to finally turn up the heat, since I had already paid for it, and so I did just that. I got it warm enough in our room that I was able to wear my shorts and flip-flops and even paint my toenails for the first time in a couple of months! Each time we walked into our room it felt as if we were walking out onto a sunny beach in the Caribbean, and it was most delightful! It was all fun and games, until Wes exclaimed that he was roasting, and so sadly a cold front came to the Caribbean. The world was covered in ice the next morning, so we ate our leftover pizza in our room for lunch, before heading to the Charleston Place Hotel, where we would be setting up for the art show. The Ravenel Bridge was closed, and so we had to drive an extra hour to get there. All of the trees and marsh areas were completely covered in ice, an unbelievable sight in Charleston, SC! I felt most sorry for the poor dejected palm trees, fronds drooping sadly, encased in ice. Something just didn’t seem right in that entire scenario! We got to the ballroom and set up quickly, hoping to get back across the bridges before more possible ice formed, and thankfully we did just that!
After a 45 minute commute, Thursday, we got to the show in time for a luncheon for the artists. The preview took place that afternoon, and then we enjoyed having dinner with our dear collector friend Mike, at a nice, quaint restaurant called Toast. As always, we enjoyed lots of delightful conversation and many laughs with him, before returning in time to change into formal attire for the evening’s gala reception. Each year Wes and I manage to do this in the back of our large panel van which also doubles as a portable dressing room. However, this year the private room was dreadfully cold! The opening was well attended that evening, even taking into account the awful weather conditions. Friday morning we were delighted to learn that the Ravenel Bridge had been reopened, making our journey to the show much quicker! By the end of the day, we had sold several miniature paintings, and we quite pleased with such a nice start to the show. That evening, we met our dear collector friends, Dr. Bob and Teri, along with their adorable son Sean, and Bob’s sister Bille and her husband Tom, at a restaurant called The FIG. It was a wonderful time filled with enjoyable conversation and laughter, as it always is with Bob and Teri! Our dinner was absolutely delicious and a visual treat as well as one for the taste buds! After saying goodnight to Billie, Tom and Sean, the four of us decided to have dessert, and to make it a dessert tasting “throw down”. Teri and I choose the decadent chocolate almond cake served with the most scrumptious chocolate chip mint ice cream that we both decided we’ve ever had, while Wes and Bob choose a sorghum cake with brandy raisin ice cream. They claimed theirs was better, but alas Teri and I both knew that ours was truly the champion dessert that night! If you’re ever in Charleston, I highly recommend a visit to the FIG!
Saturday brought even more people to the show and we saw and talked with many of our collectors, which we had not seen since the prior year. Sculptor Sandy Proctor was set up next to us, and entertained us quite well throughout the weekend, sharing stories of past experiences and about the many interesting people he has met and befriended through the years. He also kept me laughing much of the time, making the show even more enjoyable! That evening we were invited to collector friends, Patrick and Michelle’s beautiful home for a dinner party. Along with artist friends, Mel Fain and Cole Johnson, we all enjoyed just kicking back and playing with their two beautiful Chocolate Labs, prior to dinner. Patrick had outdone himself with a scrumptious fish dish, which seemed to just melt in your mouth! When I asked him about how he made it, he exclaimed “I just threw it in the oven!” He then confessed to adding a touch of Charleston delicacy to it, by topping the filet with a mixture of cream, leeks and crab! It was a delightful time spent with dear friends enjoying delicious food, and concluded with everyone eating and savoring a piece of rich, dark chocolate cake, while sharing personal fishing stories. Of course I mostly kept quiet about the big trout I caught last year, as I don’t like to make others feel bad . . . ha ha!
Sunday brought more sales, and visits with previous collector friends, as well as making new ones! It also brought a surprise from Wes, consisting of a personal favorite, dark chocolate covered raisins and mints, which he secretly got from Trader Joes! That evening after taking down and packing up our paintings, we met our close friends, artist Tom Brooks, his wife Pat, artist Terry Smith and his wife Vicki, at a nearby restaurant called T-Bonz. It’s always a treat for Wes and I to spend time with these four, having know them for over twenty years now, and with them feeling like family to us! The highlight of the evening was when the container of ranch dressing slid off of the platter of fried dill pickles and headed straight for Tom! The reason for this is that because last year when the four of us had dinner there, the same thing happened and sent the white, creamy dressing flying through the air and splattering all over Tom! He was wearing one of his favorite shirts at the time. It couldn’t be cleaned, and he still laments the loss of it. Needless to say, that has been a big joke with the six of us over the past year, and we couldn’t believe our eyes when it actually happened again this year! Thankfully this time it missed him, but the reaction of our group was priceless, as we laughed and clapped, making it appear as if the poor waitress had preformed the most amazing of acts! After much laughter and happy conversation, we left there, being sure to stop by the praline place for free samples, which is always a tradition! As always many wonderful and fun memories were made! So many, many thanks to you, our collectors, who helped to make SEWE a success for us this year!!!
~ Fresh off the easel ~
Wes finished his miniature painting of a Rhode Island Red rooster, and a very handsome one at that, this past week right before we left for the show in Charleston.
The next couple days are your last chance to see and purchase our remaining miniature paintings at the MacArthur Beach State Park Invitational Art Show, in North Palm Beach, FL.
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Until next time ~ Rachelle