Flying High During Birds In Art!

Birds In Art at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum!

by Rachelle Siegrist

rachelle and wes siegrist at leigh yawkey woodson art museum
Wes and me in front of the beautiful Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum

Wes and I boarded a plane early last Thursday morning headed for Wausau, Wisconsin to attend the Birds In Art opening weekend, at the gorgeous Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. Minutes after landing, we were greeted by the smiling face of a friendly volunteer, holding a Birds In Art sign.  Instantly  we attracted attention from onlookers in the airport, asking if it was the BIA opening weekend, stating they were planning to attend.  With several onlookers, the volunteer gave us all a sneak preview of our paintings in the catalogue!

Beside our paintings in Birds In Art

After a quick shuttle ride, we arrived at the hotel where we were greeted by more smiling faces of volunteers from the museum. That evening, along with numerous fellow artists, we boarded one of the big buses heading over to the museum. Even though it’s been several years since Wes and I had been there, we felt like we were returning home catching the first glimpse of the beautiful Woodson Museum, and the many familiar friendly faces inside!  We enjoyed our first view of the exhibition, totally impressed as always, with the amazing quality of the art!  In no time the museum was filled to the brim and overflowing with excited attendees viewing the artwork and meeting the artists.  

birds in art leigh yawkey woodson art museum
A very packed museum during the opening reception

The bustling evening passed very quickly and seemed to end as soon as it had begun. Friday morning we enjoyed a couple of informative presentations by Walt Matia and Karen Bondarchuk, before boarding the buses, where we were taken to the gorgeous Wausau Country Club for the artist luncheon.  As always it was truly delightful, complete with delicious food, wonderful conversation and much laughter! 

Birds in Art Luncheon
Shari, Wes and me enjoying the artist luncheon

After lunch we were taken back to the museum, where we had time to leisurely walk around and view the entire show.  Blessed with a lovely sunny day, I also enjoyed meandering through the sculpture garden, whilst enjoying the numerous sculptures and flowers, and fell in love with “The Dance” completed in June 2016 by The Myth Makers, featuring two HUGE Sandhill Cranes!

the dance by the myth makers at leigh yawkey woodson art museum
“The Dance” by The Myth Makers

That evening we attended the official opening reception at the museum, which was once again filled to the brim!  People were delighted to see the show, and I was thrilled to have so many tell me how my painting “The Usual Suspects” made them smile and laugh, while others told Wes how amazed they were with the detail of the tiny spider web in his “Lake Side Perch“!  Soon we were boarding buses and heading to our celebratory dinner party at the Jefferson Street Inn, where table hosts Don and Linda Haney made us feel so welcome and provided great entertainment through the evening!  Don and Wes were excited to learn of their shared interest in model railroads, and it seemed the stories and interactions became funnier as the evening progressed, leaving us all laughing so hard much of the time, that our stomachs were hurting!  We enjoyed delicious food with the best being the vanilla cheesecake with fresh berries for dessert!

Our host table during the Birds In Art celebratory dinner

Saturday morning we headed back to the museum for the public opening.  It’s always very exciting as artists to see masses of excited people attending art exhibitions, and it was wonderful to see the museum packed out once again!  This year’s master artist, Don Rambadt, gave a most enjoyable talk and afterwards it was my turn to experience a bit of nerves during our TV interview with WSAW TV 7‘s Kevin Carr, talking with us about our paintings in the exhibition.  I must say he did a great job and actually made us feel very relaxed!

wes and rachelle siegrist TV 7 birds in art interview
Click here to watch the interview with us and others about Birds In Art

Wes and I have had paintings in Birds In Art numerous times before and are honored that they have paintings from each of us in their permanent collection!  I was even more delighted to discover that my miniature painting “The Pigeon Hole” is currently on display in an exhibition showcasing art depicting birds in our landscapes entitled “Passionate Pursuits“!

My painting “The Pigeon Hole” featured in the Passionate Pursuits exhibition

Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to the stunning museum and friendly volunteers, board the bus, and head to Hazelhurst where we would spend the remainder of the day.  Upon arriving, I was thrilled when Alice, who’s family graciously opens their beautiful lake side estate to the artist each year, told me they had kayaks since she knew of my love for the sport!  So after group photos were taken, Wes and I immediately took them out for a relaxing paddle around part of Lake Katherine.

Rachelle Siegrist kayaking at birds in art
Great fun kayaking on Lake Katherine

We were blessed with a glorious picture perfect day, with clear blue skies and mild temps making it perfect for enjoying the lake!  After returning we decided to join a few artists on a relaxing pontoon boat ride.  Several Bald Eagles graciously posed for us while we got several splendid photos that will become miniature paintings very soon!

rachelle and wes siegrist at hazelhurst
Enjoying a pontoon boat ride on Lake Katherine

One sitting atop a tree on a small island watched as we slowly and quietly approached, looking down at us as if to say “Well hello there . . . can I help you with something?” Another was perched atop a grand, old growth White Pine, looking very stately indeed! We also enjoyed learning some of the history of how the Woodson family’s estate started in the area, from Captain Ron during our blissful boat ride.

bald eagle on lake katherine
One of the lake’s gorgeous resident Bald Eagles

Every visit to Hazelhurst requires a visit to Gale Fisher’s stunning flower gardens, which is always such a treat!  Numerous flowers were still at peak this year, surrounding us with bold splashes of color in every direction!  Here are a few photos of her gardens for you to enjoy . . .

gale fishers garden

birds in art weekend

flowers on lake katherine

The afternoon flew by, and it was time for our delicious supper.  I was delighted to find out that it was Gale sitting across from me, and so enjoyed talking with her about the various flowers in her picturesque gardens, even learning that she too lived in South Florida for awhile.  I must admit I wasn’t surprised when she said her favorite smelling southern flower of all time is a Gardenia too!

hazelhurst at lake katherine
The beautiful Croquet lawn at Hazelhurst

As with all things fun and exciting . . . time flies and thus the sun had soon set and we were aboard the bus, heading back to Wausau.  It was a wonderful weekend and our heartfelt thanks goes out to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson staff and family for making it so memorable!  Now safely back at home, Wes and I are greatly anticipating our Artists Residency coming up at the museum October 28 – November 3rd.  For more information on this exciting opportunity visit their website at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. To read more about our two paintings featured in this years show, see this enlightening article in the Wausau Daily Herald . . . “6 Artists to look for at Woodson Art Museum’s 2017 ‘Birds in Art’ exhibition


~ Fresh off the Easels ~

Here’s our two fun pieces for Project Postcard. The past several years Birds in Art artists are asked to consider donating postcard-sized artworks which then are sold to members and guests during the Friday evening exhibition preview to raise funds for Woodson Art Museum acquisitions, and it has met with overwhelming success every year!

Our Project Postcards for Birds In Art this year


~ To Commission A Painting by Us Click Here!

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

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6 thoughts on “Flying High During Birds In Art!

  1. Thank you, Rachelle, for the fabulously detailed and wildly enthusiastic recap of the 2017 Birds in Art opening festivities. I loved reading your blog post and “seeing” the weekend through your eyes and experiences. We look forward to welcoming you and Wes back to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in November for your residency. Kathy

    1. Thank you Kathy! It was a wonderful weekend and I enjoyed very much sharing with my readers stories and photos of our fun and exciting experiences throughout the weekend! Many thanks again to all of you at LYWAM for making another awesome memory for all of us artists! Wes and I are very much looking forward to our residency coming up November there!!
      Rachelle 😊

  2. evelyn schneider

    I enjoyed meeting you Friday evening. Thanks for sharing your weekend experience on your blog. As a docent, I will look for you in November and hopefully again next Birds In Art.

  3. Rachelle — I loved reading your blog post which Kathy forwarded to me. It brought back all kinds of smiles and memories of a wonderful weekend. I’m also thrilled you sat with the Haneys on Friday. They are some two of my favorite people! It was wonderful to see both of you again and I hope your trip back to Wausau for your residency exceeds all your expectations. Cheers! Alice

    1. Thank you Alice . . . it was great to be back!! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading about all the wonderful memories we made during the BIA weekend! We so enjoyed our time with the Haneys Friday evening, and I laughed until I had tears! What delightful and fun people they are!! Wes and I both are so looking forward to our residency there, and just know it’s going to be a wonderful experience!!
      Hugs 😊
      Rachelle

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