Friday, October 17, 2014

Beyond Their Wildest Dreams!  SAA Members Reflect On Their Historic Ongoing Tour of Paintings

Exquisite Miniatures by Wes & Rachelle Siegrist

Artists dream of their work being seen outside of family and aspire to participate in public shows.  Juried exhibitions and galleries are considered a step up that ladder to success.  Inclusion into anything inside museums carries an added aura of success that might culminate into the dream of one day walking into a museum and seeing one’s own work filling an exhibition hall. Few artists achieve this while they’re living and even less do it while they are young in both years and career.  It happened to us! We knew we had made history.  To our knowledge, only a few living miniature painters had ever been featured in a solo museum exhibition and none to the scale achieved for us by our tour director.  That momentous start, back in 2010, exploded into the most successful touring exhibition of miniature paintings by living artists in history and it’s still going and growing!

The Siegrists with Dr. David J. Wagner, EXQUISITE MINIATURES Tour Director

In the summer of 2008, we were asked by Dr. David J. Wagner to consider allowing him to exhibit our miniature paintings in museums.  Knowing Dave’s reputation and success with other artists we enthusiastically said yes!  We knew from the start, that it would likely be years before something was scheduled, if at all, so we set ourselves in for the long haul. We were surprised when Dave called mere weeks later.  One of the nation’s top museums with collections of historic miniature paintings had requested our show!  We were scheduled to premiere at the R. W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport, LA in July of 2010.  It had been 25 years since the Norton staged their last exhibition pertaining to miniature painting, Portrait Miniatures in Early American History, 1750-1840, and they felt it was time to do another one featuring modern American miniaturists who had been featured in a variety of group exhibitions at the Norton over the years . . . the Siegrists! 

While we were still floating on cloud nine, Dave called with more news.  The West Baton Rouge Museum was also interested in our work.  Would we be able to stage a second concurrent exhibition of 50 more paintings?  Borrowing back nearly 50 paintings from collectors to augment our available work to comprise the varied content of the exhibitions was a herculean task.  It paled only slightly in comparison to the mountain of logistics associated with 100 paintings on exhibit!  Floating in the stratosphere now with two solo museum exhibitions on the horizon, Dave pushed us into space with the news that the works in Baton Rouge, LA would be going on tour!

 Staging a museum exhibition involves a lot of paperwork!


Presentations, lectures and workshops at venues on the tour

To date, EXQUISITE MINIATURES BY WES & RACHELLE SIEGRIST includes over 200 paintings, will be displayed 5,588 days in 21 exhibitions at 19 venues and has traveled thousands of miles across the country and back to 15 States!  And more venues are pending!

 Click here to view the EXQUISITE MINIATURES Exhibition overview
(Links to more photos, installation images and paintings are at the bottom of the page)


May 4 - July 25, 2010
R.W. Norton Art Gallery
Shreveport, LA


May 16 - July 31, 2010
West Baton Rouge Museum
Port Allen, LA


September 4 - November 28, 2010
Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure
Salina, KS

December 11, 2010 - March 13, 2011
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Tucson, AZ

April 16 - May 15, 2011
Dunnegan Gallery of Art
Bolivar, MO

June 10 - August 28, 2011
Museum of the Southwest
Midland, TX

September 17 - October 16, 2011
Yadkin Cultural Arts Center
Yadkinville, NC

November 5 - December 31, 2011
Dennos Museum Center
Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, MI

January 21 - March 21, 2012
San Diego Natural History Museum
Balboa Park, San Diego, CA

May 15 - October 13, 2012
Nevada State Museum
Carson City, NV

November 15 - December 21, 2012
Yadkin Cultural Arts Center
Yadkinville, NC

January 10 - March 10, 2013
The ArtCenter Manatee
Bradenton, FL

April 7 - June 2, 2013
Museum of the Gulf Coast
Port Arthur, TX

August 10, 2013 - January 5, 2014
Kenosha Public Museum
Kenosha, WI

February 1, 2014 - April 6, 2014
The Wildlife Experience
Parker, CO

July 12, 2014 - November 7, 2014
Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History
Jamestown, NY

December 1, 2014 - April 15, 2015
Steamboat Art Museum
Steamboat Springs, CO

September 4 - October 30, 2015
Yadkin Cultural Arts Center
Yadkinville, NC

November 4 – December 4, 2016
Dane G. Hansen Memorial Museum
Logan, KS

June 4 - September 3, 2017
Stauth Memorial Museum
Montezuma, KS

September 21 - December 21, 2017
Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center
Chadron, NE

EXQUISITE MINIATURES is available for display at art, cultural, and scientific institutions.  For tour and scheduling information, contact:

David J. Wagner, Ph.D.
Curator/Tour Director
David J. Wagner, L.L.C.
Phone: (414) 221-6878

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Review of America's Parks II by Richard C. Brusca, PhD Executive Director, Emeritus, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

North America’s Wild Places in Fine Art
AMERICA’S PARKS II is an impressive array of 120 jury-selected pieces of art that celebrates the beauty and wonder of wildlife in North America’s protected places.  The primary theme of the show is parks of the Southwest (southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico), and both flatworks and sculptures are included.  The traveling component of the show is titled, “America’s Parks of the Southwest."
            Over 75 of the best nature artists in the country are represented in AMERICA’S PARKS II.  Six top awards went to John Agnew, Carel Brest van Kempen, Cheryl Price, Morton E. Solberg, Eva Stanley, and Carol Swinney, and Honorable Mentions went to 26 other artists.  But the overall quality of the entire show is phenomenal, and the jurors were surely challenged in their deliberations.  Both Agnew’s and Brest van Kempen’s top award-winning oil paintings grew out of a unique art experience arranged by David Wagner, in which 28 artists traveled from around the United States to San Carlos, Sonora (Mexico) for a week in the field.  That art expedition led to its own extraordinary show on the Sea of Cortez (the Gulf of California).  I was privileged to have been the naturalist on that expedition and daily watched as these incredibly creative people unleashed their passion and brought the local flora and fauna to life in photographs, paintings and sketches.
            This second AMERICA’S PARKS show organized by David Wagner is compelling to me for many reasons.  I happen to be a Southwest conservation ecologist, so the emphasis on the Southwest, and the Sonoran Desert in particular, is exciting and timely.  All six of the top awards were for pieces capturing the spectacular beauty of the Southwest, and 37 of the entries are from the Sonoran Desert Region itself.  There are few places in the world with such a high diversity of species and natural landscapes as the Sonoran Desert, from the stunning Sea of Cortez and Baja California Peninsula, to Sky Island mountain ranges and deep tropical canyons.  Nearly 2500 plant species have been recorded from the Sonoran Desert Region and, although there are no good estimates of animal diversity, nearly 500 bird species have been recorded from the Arizona portion of this great desert alone, suggesting that the total bird count for the Sonoran Desert Region is around 1000 species.  The high diversity of this region is due, in large part, to the fact that it is a maritime desert, receiving two rainy seasons annually, one being a summer monsoon season that brings moisture from the Sea of Cortez.  The Sea itself bisects the Sonoran Desert into two nearly perfect halves, Sonora and Arizona to the east, and the Baja California Peninsula to the west.  This great desert sea is home to well over 6000 described marine animals, including more than one-third of the world’s whale and porpoise species and five of the world’s six sea turtles (all of which are endangered).  The Sonoran Desert is also the only subtropical desert in North America, and we are blessed that it also houses more protected areas than any other similar-sized region in North America, including numerous Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites.  But, the Southwest is also under siege, with the fastest-growing population in North America and being strongly impacted by climate warming.  It seems both fitting and urgent that these special, threatened wild places be emphasized in a natural history art show such as this.
            Many of the subjects in this show are species of special conservation concern in North America, including Gila monsters (captured by Priscilla Baldwin, Kim Diment and Eva Stanley), lesser long-nosed bats (Bryce Pettit), elegant terns (Anne Peyton), bighorn sheep (Beverly Abbott and Morten Solberg), brown pelicans (John Agnew), wild turkeys (George Bumann), roseate spoonbills (Anne Peyton), ferruginous pygmy-owls (Eva Stanley), leatherback turtles (Cathy Ferrell), and mangrove trees (Mary Helsaple).  Many of these threatened species are presented as bronzes, which greatly enliven the show.
            Not only is the lesser long-nosed bat an endangered species (both in the U.S. and in Mexico), it is a keystone species that makes a spectacular annual migration from southern Mexico to the Arizona-Sonora borderlands, following the spring blooms of columnar cactus that open from south to north, feeding on the nectar and fruit and, secondarily, pollinating and dispersing the seeds of the cacti.  The primary maternity roost for this nectar bat is in the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve, just south of the border from Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (also a Biosphere Reserve), where 100,000 to 200,000 females give birth to that many young every May.  The return flight to southern Mexico, with young in tow, relies upon blooms of agaves, including the tequila agave, which also needs this bat for pollination.  Speaking as a cactus lover and tequila drinker, I thank you Mr. Pettit, for your exquisite sculpture of this very important keystone species.
            Eva Stanley’s wonderful sculpture of a ferruginous pygmy-owl is in its natural Sonoran Desert niche, a burrow in a giant Saguaro cactus.  Here, the owl pair mates and then the male brings the female her food for a month-long egg incubation, after which the two take turns feeding the hatchings for another month.  Sonoran Desert residents lucky enough to have nesting pygmy-owls in their backyard saguaros thus enjoy this lively “dance of the pygmies” for several months during the monsoon summer.
            Pokey Park’s beautiful kit fox is an oversize bronze that catches one’s eye as soon as the gallery space is entered.  These sleek, housecat-sized canids burrow year round in the Southwest, relying on cooler underground temperatures to survive the summer daytime heat.  They generally don’t need standing water, satisfying their needs with the moisture in their diet of rats, mice and rabbits.  Being strictly nocturnal, the presence of these rodent-controlling predators is usually recognized only from the many den holes that can pocket a desert valley floor.
            The leatherback is the largest living sea turtle, with shells reaching over 6 ft in length and weights exceeding 1750 lbs.  Unlike other sea turtles, these leviathans have leathery shells that are keeled on both top and bottom, enabling them to move through the water with great efficiency and speed, despite their size.  Cathy Ferrell’s unique bronze of a tiny hatchling leatherback captures the foam and sand world that this creature must traverse in its beach run to the sea.  This is the rarest sea turtle in the Sea of Cortez, and DNA (plus satellite telemetry) have shown that at least some leatherbacks in this region come from as far away as the western Pacific (e.g., Indonesia, Papua New Guinea).  Leatherbacks are in serious decline throughout their range, due to nesting beach degradation and egg poaching.
            Three artists in this show chose Gila monsters as their subject—two bronzes and one painting.  Easy to understand, given the charismatic habits and colorful sculptured skin of these giant lizards.  Gila monsters reach over 1½ ft in length, have red-orange-black beaded skin, and store water in fatty tissues in their plump tails.  They winter hibernate, but are active spring through fall when they consume large numbers of newborn rodents and rabbits, as well as the eggs of birds, snakes and other lizards.  They may consume 50 percent of their body weight in one feeding.  These magnificent neotropical lizards are one of only two venomous lizards in the world (the other is the Mexican beaded lizard).  The venom is used almost solely in defense, and only rarely in feeding.  Although generally slow and lumbering, when threatened this “monster” moves with lightening-like speed to clamp down on the aggressor (occasionally a human), grinding open a flesh wound through which the venom oozes into the victim’s body.
            Like the lesser long-nosed bat, elegant terns also undertake long-range migrations.  Every spring they fly from their winter homes in Peru, Ecuador and Chile to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.  Here, they breed mainly on a few protected islands in the Sea of Cortez.  These gorgeous seabirds are indeed elegant, in both appearance and behavior—they feed by plunge-diving for marine fishes, and males offer females their catch as part of the courtship ritual.
            This spectacular collection of art does not glamorize or idealize the threatened wildlife and wild places of North America.  Instead, it presents a broad palate of beautifully-executed portraits of some of the world’s most beguiling places and important threatened species.  And it does so with a dignity and decorum that inspires viewers and rekindles their reverence and respect for nature.
            AMERICA’S PARKS II premiered in Bolivar, Missouri, at the Ella Carothers Dunnegan Gallery of Art, and from there traveled to The Wildlife Experience in Parker (Denver), and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (Tucson).  At the time of this writing, subsequent venues had not yet been determined.

Richard C. Brusca, PhD
Executive Director, Emeritus, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Research Scientist, University of Arizona

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sketching Living Walls in Tanzania by Alison Nicholls
When I sketch in Africa, I feel I’m as close to the people and wildlife as I possibly can be. Every sketch comes alive when I look back at it, not only because it is a piece of art in its own right, but because it is also a personal memory. You may not see the chickens scrabbling around behind me or hear the muffled sound of a distant cowbell, but I remember all of this when I look at a sketch. Knowing how many sketchbooks to bring on a trip is always difficult. Some days I may only manage 1 sketch (then I wonder why I brought so many) and other days I create 6 sketches in an hour (then I wonder why I didn’t bring more).
These sketches are invaluable to me when I get back to the studio. I rarely recreate a watercolor field sketch as an acrylic on canvas back in the studio, but the gestures I capture in my sketchbook will often spark an idea for a full studio painting. Sometimes it is a question, a comment or a conservation issue that prompts my next painting idea. The African People & Wildlife Fund’s popular and highly successful Living Wall program cried out to be painted. But how exactly? I struggled with the composition for this piece and painted it 4 times before I was happy with the results!

The full explanation of the painting is shown below but to see it firsthand and to hear about more of my conservation-themed paintings, please join me at The Explorers Club in New York City on September 29 for my lecture
African Conservation through the Eyesof an Artist. Alternatively you can Live Stream the Lecture, starting at 7pm EST.

Living Walls
Acrylic 29x29” by Alison Nicholls, US$4800

Human-wildlife conflict is increasing across the globe as the human population expands and people compete with wildlife for land, food and water. People usually prevail and wildlife is squeezed into ever smaller ‘islands’ of protected land, but there are places where these trends are being reversed, where people and wildlife share natural resources for their mutual benefit. On the Maasai Steppe in northern Tanzania, the African People & Wildlife Fund consulted with local communities and created Living Wall bomas, fortified corrals, in which families keep their livestock overnight.

Traditional bomas are built of piles of thorny acacia brush which must be replenished every few months, often leading to deforestation in the area. Even then, predators can get into a poorly constructed boma, or their presence can panic livestock who break out into the bush, where they are more vulnerable to attack. In the past, people might retaliate against predators by tracking and spearing the animal responsible for killing livestock, but today livestock carcasses can be laced with lethal agricultural poisons which kill any animal, bird or insect that feeds from the carcass. For this reason, predator numbers have been plummeting (along with those of vital scavengers like vultures). If livestock can be kept safe in bomas at night, when most attacks occur, then people will have no reason to retaliate against predators and their numbers can recover. 

A Living Wall boma differs from a traditional boma in several ways. It is made of chain-link fencing held up by living fence-posts cut from native Commiphora trees. The trees are not killed by the cutting of thick branches for fence-posts, and the chain-link wire ensures that the livestock cannot break out of the boma. My Living Walls painting shows a cow, a goat, a sheep, a donkey, a spotted hyena, a leopard and a lion, linked by the crossed lines of the chain-link wire. Some of the lines are shaped into the distinctive branches of the Commiphora, with their trifoliate leaves (leaves with 3 leaflets). Vegetation of all types grows up and around a Living Wall, creating an impenetrable barrier so that the Living Wall cannot be breached and livestock and predators cannot see each other, which is why the eyes of each animal in the painting are covered with Commiphora leaves. The fact that the painting shows livestock and predators as being physically close and linked together by the Living Wall, mirrors the situation on the Maasai Steppe, where they share the same land and the future of both are interlinked.

400 Living Walls are now in operation on the Maasai Steppe, protecting 75,000 head of livestock nightly. The walls are in great demand and no livestock protected by a living wall have been killed since the program started in 2008. Living Walls are installed in areas where livestock depredation is high, so the installation of just a few Living Walls can lead to a drastic reduction in attacks on livestock. Local monitoring shows predator attacks have dropped precipitously, as have retaliatory killings of predators by livestock owners. Living Walls are changing attitudes to predators and they allow the Maasai to continue to live with lions, an animal of vital cultural importance.
The original acrylic painting of Living Walls is available for sale, priced at US$4800. If it is sold privately I will donate 40% of the sale price to APW. If it sells during an exhibition where the venue collects a commission (usually between 10-40%), APW will still receive a minimum of 10%. Limited edition giclées are also available with a 20% donation to APW from the sale of each piece.

To see more of Alison’s work please visit her website:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Into the Arctic, Cory Trépanier

The Canadian Arctic... it’s a land of extremes and one of the last wild regions on the face  of our planet.  Seldom traveled, it’s been painted even less.

But for over a decade, Canadian artist Cory Trépanier has been doing just that: painting some of the Arctic’s furthest reaches.
Now, David J. Wagner L.L.C. is pleased to present Into The Arctic, a new and rare traveling museum exhibition of over fifty of Trépanier’s powerful paintings, a visual time capsule of some of our planet’s most spectacular, yet fragile landscapes.
During three expeditions to the far corners of the Arctic, Trépanier immersed himself into the landscape, hauling heavy backpacks loaded with camping, painting and filming gear.

He traveled with Inuit.
Walked in tracks of past explorers. 
Confronting raging storms, ravenous hordes of mosquitoes, and near exhaustion.
Faced close encounters with predators.
And experienced remoteness past the edge of civilization.
All so he could experience the land first hand, and find raw inspiration for his new canvases.

Click here for video about the exhibition
And find inspiration he did. Not only for more than 50 paintings, but also for one major centrepiece: his 15 foot wide Great Glacier, one of the largest landscape paintings ever from the Canadian north.
Museums around the globe now have the opportunity to share the majesty of the Arctic with their patrons through this extraordinary exhibition.
Opening in 2017, during Canada’s 150th anniversary, a limited number of museums will share the wonder and awe of the north before paintings are returned to collectors. 

Visit and scroll down to INTO THE ARCTIC, Cory Trépanier to find out more.
. . . or play the exhibition promotional video here:

Saturday, September 13, 2014









ベイトマン、ロバート、フルフォード·ハーバー、 ブリティッシュコロンビア、カナダ
ファーガソン、ウォルター·W 、ベイト、イスラエル
ガンツ、さやか 梶田、横浜(現米国 インディアナ州
ハーヴェイ、ガイ、グランドケイマン、 イギリス領ケイマン諸島
メイラーン 、マイケル(ミック) 、ピケット、ウィスコンシン州
ロバートソン、デレク、 バルメリノ、ファイフ 、スコットランド
サントラ、キャロル、ケネバンク、 メイン州
ステュピチ 、マーティン、アルバカーキ、ニューメキシコ州
ウルベルグ 、ケント、コーパスクリスティ、テキサス州
(このリストは変更される可能性があります。 )




Saturday, August 30, 2014

America's Parks II

A special encore edition of AMERICA'S PARKS II will be displayed from December 19, 2015 - April 2, 2016 at the St. George Art Museum near the entrance to Zion National Park in Utah. 

The exhibition will complete is initial tour at The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Art Institute Ironwood Gallery, Tucson, AZ this coming Fall from September 13 - October 26, 2014, following display at The Ella Carothers Dunnegan Gallery of Art in Missouri, and The Wildlife Experience, in Denver.  The organizers of the exhibition are particularly pleased to be able to add to the itinerary, the St. George Art Museum.

Works included in the AMERICA’S PARKS II exhibition were selected from a competition open to all artists, the purpose of which is to recognize and promote excellence in original artworks depicting any park (national, state, provincial, county, city, or private) in Canada, Mexico and The United States, with an emphasis on parks in Northwestern Mexico, particularly in Sonora, and states in Southwestern U.S. including (in alphabetical order) Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah; and States in Northwestern Mexico. Selections were made by a professional jury consisting of:             Pam Dean Cable, Executive Director, Susan Kathleen Black Foundation             M. Stephen Doherty, Editor, PleinAir™ Magazine             Todd Wilkinson, Managing Editor, Wildlife Art Journal

Jurors selected an impressive array of 120 flatworks and sculpture for AMERICA'S PARKS II, an international competition and exhibition, the purpose of which is to recognize and promote excellence in original art depicting parks in North America.  New for AMERICA'S PARKS II is the eligibility of sculpture.  

Scott, Sandy
"Nesting Heron"
Grand Canyon National Park
Honorable Mention

Clayton, Pat
"Canyon Glow"
Grand Canyon National Park
Honorable Mention

Solberg, Morten E.
"Desert Bighorn Sheep"
Anza Borrego Desert State Park
The Priscilla V. and Michael C. Baldwin Foundation      Sonoran Desert Art Award

Juried artworks appear on-line at:  Artworks which appear in bold below are included in the initial AMERICA'S PARKS II traveling museum exhibition.  The exhibition tour itinerary appears below.

AMERICA'S PARKS is produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C.  The company's President proposed the very first tour of the ARTS FOR THE PARKS exhibition, served as a Juror for that exhibit, managed the ARTS FOR THE PARKS tour for its first five years (1988–93), and served on the Advisory Board of its parent organization, the National Park Art Academy.