A Great time at The Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival!
By Rachelle Siegrist
Wes and I left early last Thursday morning heading south to picturesque Thomasville, Georgia, where we participated in the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival this past weekend. We arrived in time to set up and arrange our miniature paintings in our display cabinets later that afternoon. Afterwards we went to our dear friend Mary’s beautiful home, where we would be staying during our duration in Thomasville. We were so excited to see Mary, her precious Sheltie Maggie, and the triplets as she affectionately calls them! I could hardly wait to help Mary out with feeding the three rescued baby squirrels their supper, and as soon as I laid eyes on them I was totally smitten, instantly falling head over heels in love! My participation with feeding them breakfast and supper would be the highlight of my days while visiting!
The next day we were delighted to have Mary join us for an exciting tour of Pebble Hill Plantation, where tour guide Tom Hill entertained us with great insight and humor, spoken in a delightful southern drawl. Although Wes and I have toured the home many times before, we never tire of seeing it and the amazing collections it houses, and were happy to learn new interesting tidbits from Tom this past time. We were delighted that their current exhibit in the Elisabeth Ireland Poe Gallery was “Working Like a Dog”, an exhibition consisting of selected works by major artists from the 17th through the 20th centuries. Since I love painting dogs, I was especially happy to see the numerous beautiful paintings!
It was a gorgeous day, with ample sunshine and clear blue skies above as we walked about the stunning grounds surrounding the stately home. The Spanish Moss adorning long outstretched arms of numerous Live Oaks, was absolutely stunning with the sun shining through it! The many Camellias growing about were covered with blooms, and one large bush in particular had so many white petals lying on the ground below, that it appeared to be covered with snow, which I called “southern snow“. They were gorgeous and several older huge bushes looked absolutely stunning with their bright pink blossoms nestled amongst the Spanish Moss!
The three of us had a wonderful day and before we knew it, it was time to head back to Mary’s to feed the triplets and get ready for the opening reception that evening. Soon the Thomasville Cultural Center was filled to capacity with excited attendees dressed in beautiful gowns and many in black tie, and our miniatures drew lots of attention with people exclaiming “Wow!” as many peered through the magnifying glass for the first time.
Not all were dressed in suits and gowns however, such as this beautiful Pancake Tortoise, a new species I had not seen before and thought quite ravishing in its beautiful shell!
Of course the next morning began with Mary and I feeding the triplets, who are always excited and happy to eat! Each one was carefully fed several syringes of a special warmed milk mixture, before Mary would check to see if we had sufficiently bloated their bellies! Then came clean up time, so we gingerly wiped spilt milk from their tiny faces, tummies and hands. After all three were pleasantly plump, we gave them a few fresh pecans for snacks later on, and listened while they played and romped inside their warm secure home.
Saturday brought more sales and fun conversation while talking with new collectors and friends. That evening we attended the Bird Dog Bash held at the beautiful Sugar Hill Barn located on Pebble Hill Plantation. Within no time the barn and surrounding area was packed with people filling the air with laughter and conversation. We enjoyed delicious food while talking with artist friends and others in attendance.
The band played on while we ate and later enjoyed sitting by one of many fires for awhile, and a great time was had by all!
Another special treat was in store for Sunday at the show, as friend Becky brought a baby Screech Owl, appropriately named Al the Owl, for us to meet and admire. He was absolutely adorable and I so enjoyed hearing him quietly call out several times. Sadly the tree containing Al’s nest was cut down by someone, so when they realized it had inhabitants, Al was brought to Becky to be raised and cared for, and he couldn’t have a better foster mom!
Soon the show had come to an end, and we were delighted to have many of our miniatures find new homes! Back at Mary’s that evening, we enjoyed a nice dinner together and then Mary and I got to the important task of feeding the triplets once again. Later that evening we enjoyed watching the movie “The God’s Must Be Crazy”, and laughed and laughed until our sides hurt! We had such a great time while there, and hated to leave yesterday, but alas it was time to head back home and return to the studio. I must admit that meal time is quite lonesome since returning home, without helping Mary feed the triplets!
Wes and I both would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the staff of the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival, Pebble Hill Plantation, our new and existing collectors and to our dear friend Mary for making it such a wonderful weekend for us!
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Until next time . . .