A Charming Opening Weekend for PWAF

The 20th Annual Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival!

By Rachelle Siegrist

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Mary, Maggie and I in Mary’s beautiful yard

Wes and I arrived in picturesque Thomasville, GA late last Thursday afternoon, just in time to check in with the Plantation Wildlife Art festival committee, before heading to our gracious host, Mary’s, beautiful home. Friday morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast with Mary and her sweet Sheltie, Maggie, before heading to the cultural center where we would be hanging and exhibiting our miniature paintings over the weekend.

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A gorgeous Spanish Moss lined tree at Birdsong Nature Center

Dear friends Donny and Vicki Ferguson joined us for our yearly tradition of lunch at Subway in downtown Thomasville, followed by a relaxing afternoon spent at Birdsong Nature Center. It was a gorgeous day, complete with clear blue skies, lots of sunshine and pleasantly mild temperatures, as we started our hike around the trails that wind their way through the preserve.

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Wes and Donny walking through the pine grove

The first part of our walk led us around the large farm pond, where I anticipated seeing the resident alligator, but unfortunately he was hidden from our view, and we couldn’t find him no matter how hard we searched. After walking through a large grassy field, we wound our way around the Big Bay Swamp area, walking under the outstretched arms of Spanish moss lined oaks.

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The Big Bay Swamp
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A beautiful Garter Snake we saw along the way

Cares from the morning’s setup melted away as we walked through pine groves, talking and laughing, while sounds of gentle breezes blowing through the pines accompanied by birdsong filled the air. After a couple of hours, we returned to the the old plantation style home where we began our walk. Going inside the house, we sat in front of the large, glass picture window located in the bird viewing room, from where we watched several Tufted Titmice and and a couple of squirrels come to eat seeds and corn, and get drinks from the large stone water feature. Even though we could’ve contentedly stayed there the remainder of the afternoon, it was time to get ready for the gala opening for the show that evening.

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The lovely view from the bird watching room

The VIPs were welcomed that evening through an arched entrance lined with boxwood, leading to a spacious hallway, whose walls were covered in white silk drapes.  Tall, beautiful planters overflowing with fresh flowers were carefully placed about, greeting the crowds with a charming atmosphere of pure southern elegance! We were so delighted to see and talk with many of our collectors throughout the evening.

wes and rachelle siegrist at 20th PWAF 15 - 1
Wes and I with our miniature paintings on opening night

After a successful day at the show Saturday, we were in for a real treat that evening while attending the Bird Dog Bash which took place at Pebble Hill Plantation’s newly renovated Sugar Hill Barn.

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The Sugar Hill Barn at Pebble Hill Plantation looking quite festive

Party-goers were welcomed by a festive atmosphere featuring the beautiful barn decked out in lights, filled and surrounded by multiple round tables, each one adorned with lit candles and the graceful greenery of magnolia branches.

2015 bird dog bash at pebble hill plantation - 1

Surrounded by a grove of tall pines and the moon above, the setting was deliciously inviting! We enjoyed scrumptious fare, laughter and conversation, before the auction took place and the band started playing once again.

20th PWAF bird dog bash at pebble hill plantation - 1
The beautifully decorated barn just before the crowds got there!

Sunday brought more sales and visits with collectors, but I must admit the highlight of the weekend for me was being a temporary foster mom, along with good friend and fellow artist Vicki Ferguson, to three amazingly adorable baby fox squirrels! I simply cannot express the sheer delight I felt, holding those precious babies and feeding them a bottle! Their long thin arms and toes reaching up and grabbing the bottle and patting it with bits of milk dripping down. Vicki and I were completely in heaven and both so delighted to have been given that most wonderful job!  Our fellow artist, Chris Wilson also joined in the fun and thankfully took these photos for me!

I was truly in heaven while holding and feeding these adorable babies!

Upon the show’s conclusion that evening, we enjoyed a nice dinner at dear friends Mike and Debbie’s beautiful home. Hilarity and stories were enjoyed as we were all well entertained by doggies Gracie, Newt and Maggie. I loved being surrounded by dogs throughout the weekend, from those three, to my two Westie friends Albert and Radar, our neighbors at the show, and most of all sweet Maggie! I also was delighted to be able to photograph a young handsome Boykin Spaniel named Colt, who I hope to paint in miniature soon!

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to Mary, our gracious host, to the wonderful PWAF committee, and to our collectors who added our paintings to their cherished collections, for making it a truly wonderful weekend for us!


~ A Recently Painted Miniature Painting ~

Presenting my recent dog painting of Maggie, a Sheltie who is just as precious and sweet as she is beautiful!

sheltie dog painting by rachelle siegrist
“Sweet Maggie”


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Until next time . . .



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