Judging the Miniature Art Society of Florida Show!

Judging the Miniature Art Society of Florida Show!

By Rachelle Siegrist

view from yacht harbor inn in dunedin
Our lovely view from the room

We landed in Clearwater, FL a week ago last Sunday evening, and were met by dear friends Kay and Mike Petryszak’s smiling faces! After a short ride, we were enjoying a late supper with their daughter and grandchildren at a Mexican restaurant. With  tummies full, we headed for our hotel to rest up before Wes would spend the next two days judging the MASF show. Early that next morning, the calls of seagulls, egrets, pelicans and herons outside our room filled the air, as they enjoyed their fishy breakfast.

rachelle siegrist at Bon Apetite
Enjoying breakfast almost as much as the view!

We enjoyed a delicious breakfast, accompanied by a gorgeous view of the bay, at the hotel’s restaurant, Bon Appetit! Seagulls and pelicans passed by, as well as the occasional kayaker, creating a wonderful breakfast show! A murder of crows also landed near, with one in particular choosing to sit atop a post a couple of feet from our table, watching us while we ate and talking to us the entire time!

wes siegrist judging the miniature art society of florida show
Wes takes a close look during the judging process (Photo courtesy of Bob Fritz)

After exchanging hugs and hellos with all of our dear friends from the MASF organization, Wes commenced the difficult process of judging. I helped carefully pack away the artwork during the exchange processes periodically taking place throughout the judging. How exciting it was, seeing hundreds of beautiful miniatures! It was like Christmas each time we would take art out of a box, lining them up to be judged.

wes siegrist judging the miniature paintings at MASF
Wes stands by the miniature filled A-frames

After a lunch break at a nearby cafe was enjoyed with friends sharing stories and laughter, it was back to work for Wes, as he continued the judging process that afternoon. I went for a nice walk taking advantage of the lovely weather, while waiting for my parents to arrive.

Wes Siegrist judging the MASF show
Wes still hard at work

Once my parents arrived, we three enjoyed relaxing on the balcony of the hotel for awhile, before meeting Wes and the others for dinner at an Italian restaurant that evening.  Before turning in for the night, we took a leisurely stroll along the water’s edge. A cool gentle night breeze, caused the ropes to lightly tap on the masts of the resting boats in the marina, creating a most serene setting, one can only experience by water.

rachelle siegrist in big beach chair
Mom, Dad and I pose with a BIG beach chair outside the Stirling Commons Building

Each morning bagan with us watching the birds gathering and eating, and the mullet jumping, and I found it quite hilarious when the seagulls kept landing on the pelicans’ backs after they caught a fish. The pelicans patiently held their prized catch underwater in their large beaks, until the pesky seagull would give up and fly off, then they quickly gulped it down. This particular morning was extra special however, as three dolphins came! The trio played and ate while swimming near by, with one swimming directly alongside the balcony! The awesome morning show was followed with another delicious breakfast accompanied by the gorgeous seascape, before heading out for the day’s adventure.

wes siegrist watching dolphins in dunedin FL
Mom and Wes watch the dolphins outside our room

While Wes spent his second day judging the show, my parents and I did a bit of exploring. Unfortunately it rained all day, so we didn’t get to do much outside, but still had a great time and did a lot of laughing! A favorite pastime of mine is feeding the birds, so with an umbrella in hand, I managed to feed the seagulls, and grackles, keeping up my tradition whilst in the coastal region! Dad managed to get some really neat photos while I did so, as the flock of birds swooped all around me, at times taking food from my hand, and I was in heaven!

rachelle siegrist feeding seagulls near clearwater
I love these B&W photos which my Dad took of me feeding the birds
rachelle siegrist feeding the seagulls near clearwater beach
Funny how it looked like I was petting them in this photo

That evening Wes enjoyed having dinner with a group of volunteers who helped with the judging both days. The next morning, the four of us had breakfast while enjoying the delightful view for the last time. Afterwards, we went for a short walk on a nearby pier to see if the fisherman were catching anything. They hadn’t so far, but it didn’t stop a handsome grackle from patiently waiting for a handout! Even though it was no easy task, Wes really enjoyed his job of judging, thankful for such an wonderful opportunity and honor, and plans to do a blog post soon on his experience!  I’ll be sharing about our adventures with my family while in Florida, on my next post.

rachelle and wes siegrist with a dolphin
Wes and I pose with one of the local dolphins

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Until next time . . .

Rachelle

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