21st Annual Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival!
by Rachelle Siegrist
We left our home in the Smokies headed for the picturesque southern town of Thomasville, GA early last Thursday morning. After driving the first couple of hours through smoke, caused from surrounding wildfires and quite thick in areas, the air finally cleared, revealing blue skies and abundant fall color! Arriving at the Thomasville Cultural Center later that afternoon, we set up our display of miniature paintings in preparation for the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival that weekend.
That evening we were delighted to enjoy a private artists reception at beautiful Pebble Hill Plantation, where we were allowed to wander throughout the 30,000 sq. ft. grand home built in 1936, at our leisure, with friendly docents happy to answer questions and share interesting historical information about the home.
On the large front porch we enjoyed a variety of scrumptious things to eat, with the highlight being a wine tasting of locally made wines graciously offered by Susina Plantation owners Randy and Marilynn. Their “vine to wine”is made in small batches locally at Susina Plantation Winery, and I must say Randy does an excellent job with it!
Later that evening we were happy to see our dear friend Mary, and her adorable Sheltie Maggie, with whom we stayed with for the weekend. After enjoying a lovely breakfast, mixed with delightful conversation and much laughter, while watching her numerous feathered visitors in the garden, we decided to spend the day visiting Pebble Hill once again. It was a gorgeous day, creating perfect conditions for photographing the home and gardens!
A Yellow-rumped Warbler enjoying the “popcorn” ~ A view of the home from inside the family cemetery ~ the serene lake
The tour started with a short informative film about the Plantation’s history and owners, while the remainder of the day was spent strolling about the rolling hills surrounding the massive home, visiting the fancy brick cow barn and numerous other historical buildings, stables and gardens.
Many trees were sporting bright red foliage, with a variety of birds finding the “popcorn” on the Popcorn Trees most enticing, allowing us several great photo-ops! Of course a walk along part of the winding driveway lined with massive ancient live oaks, their graceful limbs outstretched and adorned with long tendrils of Spanish Moss gently swaying in the breeze, joining above, was a sheer delight!
We enjoyed another delightful tour of the home, as well as a picnic by a lake, and a visit to Noah’s ark. A building originally located at former owner, Miss Pansy’s Honey Lake property and used as a changing room, now filled with paintings of Noah and his animals. The Underwriters Preview took place that evening, and the Cultural Center came to life, filled to the brim with people, dressed in black tie and gowns, the air piping with excited conversation and admiration of for our art!
Noah’s Ark and the murals featuring Noah and his animals inside
Saturday evening we headed to the Bird Dog Bash, staged at Pebble Hill’s Sugar Hill Barn. It’s always such a treat to attend this amazing party overflowing with southern charm and class! In no time the beautifully decorated barn was filled to capacity with excited party goers all enjoying the scrumptious fare, including sauteed greens with balsamic drizzle, white bean cassoulet and the some of the best fried shrimp I’ve ever eaten, ending with fresh hot fried apple pies, whose delicate crust melted in your mouth! Needless to say, it was another delightful evening!
The show ended Sunday evening, and after getting our remaining paintings packed up we returned to Mary’s home, where she and I made dinner including fresh baked salmon with dill and lemon, and ended the relaxing night with dessert and a cute movie. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to our gracious and sweet host Mary, to the delightful PWAF group and to Pebble Hill for another fun and successful PWAF weekend! And most importantly to our collectors, who came to admire our paintings in person and add new gems to their collection! Now safely back at the studio, we’re looking forward to starting commissions from these last two shows.
~ Fresh Off the Easels ~
I finished this drawing of a handsome Boykin Spaniel named Colt this past week, and was so delighted that his owners graciously brought him to visit me again at the show this past weekend, so I could get take reference photos of. . . and of course pet and love on this gorgeous boy! Heartfelt thanks to our friends for kindly doing that for me!
Until next time . . .