The Society of Animal Artists’ 54th Annual Members’ Exhibition
Part I of III by Rachelle Siegrist
Me with fellow artist Bev Abbott and her husband Ira, in front of the Wildlife Experience in Parker, CO
After a three-hour flight, Wes and I safely landed in Denver, CO last Tuesday evening. Upon picking up our cute little rental car, we headed towards our dear friends and fellow Artist, Diane and Bob Mason’s beautiful home in Berthoud. After an excited round of hugs upon arrival, we met the newest additions to their family, two precious little dogs named Hershel and Dottie! Having enjoyed a good nights sleep, Wes and I happily joined Diane on an early morning walk that next day, along a winding road leading through their neighborhood canyon, treating us to grand views the entire time! We then spent the day in Rocky Mountain National Park with the two of them, before returning for a delicious meal at their local favorite Thai restaurant.
Diane and I enjoying the morning walk
Allen, Diane and I eating wild plums growing alongside the road
A beautiful wild Sunflower
The next morning, fellow artist Anni Crouter, and husband Nate, joined Diane, Wes and I for another delightful walk. Returning from our walk, dear artist friend Allen Blagden and the Mason’s sweet neighbor Theresa joined us for a yummy breakfast, which we all enjoyed while sitting out on their deck and enjoying the gorgeous view! It was a wonderful time filled with lots of conversation and laughs, as well as lots of fusing from their resident hummingbirds, whose territory we had all invaded! That day Allen joined Wes and I for another awesome day spent in the Rockies, where we made lots of great memories. We returned home in time to join up with the others and drive up to Denver, where the Society of Animal Artists opening festivities would be taking place at the Wildlife Experience in nearby Parker.
We were thrilled to see a gorgeous double rainbow, which we drove through on our way to the hotel!
Enjoying breakfast on the Mason’s deck!
We all had a nice dinner at the hotel where we were staying that evening and enjoyed seeing several artist friends who had arrived for the weekend. Early the next morning, we headed to the Denver Zoo, where we spent the day, along with several other SAA artists. As always, it was a great day at the zoo, and Wes and I got bunches of great new reference photos for future paintings! Excitedly, that evening was our first glimpse at the exhibition at the beautiful Wildlife Experience, and we all could all hardly wait to see it! The show was exquisitely hung, and everyone enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres as we walked around looking at the show and talking with all those attending. The show looked amazing!
Wes and I with our paintings in the exhibition
The next morning began with a breakfast for the artists followed by our annual members’ meeting. After a quick lunch, we all made our way back to enjoy a very informative workshop by artist Aaron Blaise, who demonstrated how to do amazing things with Adobe Photoshop! I was completely mesmerized, as he hand drew animals with an electronic tablet and manipulated his drawings and photos! After a short break, we then enjoyed listening to several SAA artists, including John Banovich, Jan Martin McGuire, Renee Bemis and Daniel Smith, share their personal insights on career related topics and marketing their art. Both workshops were well received by the attending artists with all gleaning valuable information from the talks. Many thanks again to artist Terry Miller for his work in setting it up for the attending artists!
Me taking photos at the Denver Zoo
That evening we returned to The Wildlife Experience to enjoy another look at the exhibition before the awards dinner later that evening. Several wonderful artist friends joined us at our table, at which it seemed we did more laughing then any other table in the room! We were treated to a delicious dinner, which we enjoyed amidst lots of delightful conversation and laughter. Before we knew it, the awards were presented, we were done taking a SAA group photo and all were returning to the hotel.
L to R ~ Me, Chris, Kay, Tom, Allen, Steve and Rhonda
The SAA Awards dinner
Sunday, Wes spent in SAA Board meetings, so yours truly was on her own for the day. I started it with an hour of swimming in the pool, which is always a joy for a water baby! Afterwards, I took a shuttle van to the Wildlife Experience, and enjoyed a tasty lunch while sitting outside in their beautiful patio area. The resident bunnies put on a great dinner show, as they sprinted around and enjoyed munching on the yummy, tender, green grass! Then it was time to watch National Geographic’s Great White Shark movie in 3D, which was fabulous indeed!!! Having personally always been enthralled with sharks this was a real treat for me, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled than when they went down in the cage with the sharks! Being in 3D, it made me feel like I was right there with them! Unbelievably it got even more amazing when two world champion free divers dove and swam with three of these incredible giants of the ocean! The remainder of my time there was spent going through the wonderful Globology display in the museum. I then caught the shuttle back to the hotel and enjoyed the remainder of the afternoon sitting in the patio area, while reading a book and just enjoying the delightful Colorado weather. That evening I joined Wes and the other SAA Board members for dinner, which was a real treat. It was then time to say our goodbyes and drive back to Diane and Bob’s place. We left Colorado yesterday morning and are now back home in the Smokies. Many thanks again to Bob and Diane for their wonderful hospitality!
Thanks to James Gary Hines for this photo of me talking to my mom and goofing off!
If you’re in or are going to be in the Denver area, I highly recommend a visit to see the SAA Exhibition at the wildlife Experience which runs through October 22nd! For more information please visit the SAA or The Wildlife Experince websites.
Come back this Sunday to read about our exciting adventure with Elk and other critters in Rocky Mountain National Park!
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Until next time . . .