Thursday, October 31, 2019

Society of Animal Artists Video Highlights from the 59th Annual Exhibition

I've put together for you, a short video showcasing the many exciting highlights during the Society of Animal Artists 59th Annual Exhibition opening weekend at the Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio, TX this past September. So if you weren't able to attend and join in on the fun, this is your chance to see what you missed!

This year the prestigious SAA Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to most deserving SAA Distinguished Signature Member John Seerey-Lester! The award was given to him by SAA member Matthew Hillier, who gave a most informative and entertaining introduction for this amazingly talented artist.  Here's a video of Matthew's introduction and John's touching acceptance of this prized award. 

While several SAA members demonstrated during the weekend, as well as participated in talks and helped with the community mural project, a highlight was an interview with Master Signature Member, Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen. SAA member Terry Miller did a wonderful job interviewing Carel, delighting the audience with insights from Carel's creative process, while they also kept the audience laughing much of the time.  Here's an edited video showcasing highlights from Carel's delightful interview.

There are several other videos on the SAA YouTube channel as well for you to enjoy, and more will be added in the future.
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Until next time ~ Rachelle Siegrist for the SAA


Friday, September 27, 2019

59th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists Opening Weekend

Including participating SAA artists and guests, 375 people attended the opening for the Society of Animal Artists 59th Annual Exhibition at the beautiful Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio recently! The picturesque museum sits nestled among grand cypress trees lining the historic Riverwalk, where the numerous trees and lush gardens all about give one a feeling of being in an oasis, making it a real treat to visit indeed!
While several artists, including myself, spent Thursday at the San Antonio Aquarium getting up close and personal with lemurs and other delightful critters, most SAA members and their guests arrived at the Marriott Hotel later that afternoon in time to attend the opening that evening. The reception was well attended and the museum was packed with excited attendees and patrons!  
Opening remarks were made by Michael Duchemin, Ph.D., the Briscoe’s Director, and SAA President Reneé Bemis. This year’s SAA student scholarship recipients were announced and we all enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks.  Then came the awaited time to view the exhibition which was arranged beautifully and an absolute inspiration to see in person!
The next morning a caravan consisting of dozens of wildlife artists, headed to Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch anticipating another great day! We made many animals very happy as our entourage tossed out piles of food while slowly driving along the scenic loop road. Thankfully it had cooled off some that morning and there was a delightful breeze as we went along feeding wildlife and taking numerous photos. I'm quite sure the animals thought for sure the paparazzi had invaded!
The group enjoyed a delicious and fun lunch at the restaurant located on the ranch with many of us taking another drive-through afterward.  It’s a wonderful park where you can certainly get up close and personal with their numerous resident animals while allowing great opportunities for taking perfect reference photos... a delight to wildlife artists indeed!
Most of us spent our free time visiting historic landmarks, swimming in the hotel pool, and strolling along the picturesque riverwalk nearby, and Friday evening at the hotel, we had a great time hanging out and relaxing during the pizza party and game night for the attending artists. The game "Who am I?" gave attendees a chance to guess the mystery artists, after Executive Director Wes Siegrist read aloud different artist's answers to a few unique questions, giving us a chance to get to know one another better.
The next day was abuzz with numerous activities, starting with the SAA members meeting, and after lunch, we were treated to a most insightful and entertaining interview with SAA Master Signature Member Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen.
SAA Board and Distinguished Signature Member, Terry Miller, interviews Carel.
The afternoon was filled with SAA artist demonstrations, live bird presentations and a community mural project in which SAA artists helped the kids paint. The public poured in and the Briscoe Museum had a tremendous turnout for the various activities and viewing of the SAA exhibition, and a flurry of activities kept everyone quite busy all day!
SAA Executive Director and Distinguished Signature Member, Wes Siegrist alongside SAA Signature Member Robin Huffman having fun painting with the kids!
SAA Signature Members, Cynthie Fisher, Kelly Radding and Tiffany Miller Russell demonstrated their techniques and many tried their hand at scratchboard!
That evening the air was filled with abundant conversation and laughter during the Annual Awards Banquet, and it was decided that Wes had chosen wisely with the caterer, as the food was truly delicious!
Following dinner, SAA Distinguished Signature Member John Seerey-Lester was awarded the coveted Lifetime Achievement award by the Society.  This amazingly talented artist, who has achieved so much throughout his career as an artist, even being Knighted at one point, brought tears to the eyes of many, as he graciously spoke of his love for the SAA in accepting his award. Afterward, this year's award winners were announced and can be viewed on the SAA website by clicking here.
John brought abundant laughter too in his acceptance speech (shown with his wife Suzie)
While attending board members including myself, spent the day in the SAA Board meeting, a group of artists got a chance to visit Bracken Cave located near San Antonio. With more than 15 million Mexican free-tailed bats, it's home to the world's largest bat colony, and I'm sure made for an awesome experience for those able to go!
The SAA would like to extend a HUGE thank you to the amazing Briscoe Western Art Museum for hosting the SAA’s 59th Annual Exhibition, and to the friendly staff that made it such a wonderful weekend for so many of us!
I'm currently working on producing a video featuring the exhibition at the Briscoe Museum and numerous highlights from all activities that took place during the memorable weekend and will share it on next month's blog.
Until Next Time ~ Rachelle Siegrist for the SAA

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Planning for the SAA's 59th Annual Opening Weekend

Yes . . . it may look like just an ordinary stacks of boxes and crates now, but alas very soon the staff at the Briscoe Museum in San Antonio, Texas, will work their magic transforming this collection of crates and boxes into an extraordinary exhibition to experience and behold, that being the upcoming 59th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists.

Photos courtesy of the Briscoe Musem

The exciting, opening weekend festivities will begin this month with the Artists’ Reception at the Briscoe Museum (By RSVP only via the Museum) Thursday the 19th from 6 to 8pm. Friday the 20th, our attending members and guests will be going to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch for the day.  Then, that evening, attending artists will enjoy a pizza party at Springhill Marriott, after which we'll be playing a game . . . "Who Am I?" It should be great fun getting to know each other better!

On Saturday the 21st,  Society of Animal Artists (SAA) members and guests will gather for our annual meeting followed by activities that will take place at the Briscoe Museum’s Jack Guenther Pavilion.  Afternoon activites are open to the public and are scheduled as follows . . . 

• Noon – SAA Master Artist Presentation with Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen discussing his career and inspiration as an artist.
• Noon – 4:00PM – Ongoing Community Mural Project (SAA artists will be working with the public having fun and teaching kids and adults how to paint and mix colors)

The ongoing Community Mural Project will be a 5' x 10' project that the public, assisted by SAA artists, will start on Saturday, and will be worked on again at future Briscoe Museum community events.  Our executive director, Wes Siegrist, did the idea sketches for the mural. 

• 1:00 – 4:00PM* – Demonstrations by Cynthie Fischer (Scratchboard), Kelly Leahy Radding (Painting watercolor on vellum), Tiffany Miller Russell (3D Cut Paper) and John Seerey-Lester (Pending) *Times may vary

• 1:00 – 4:00PM* – Panel Discussion “How to Achieve Inspiring Reference” with Anni Crouter, Kim Diment, and Cathy Sheeter on how they collect reference, camera/equipment, field sketching/notation, zoos/animal refuges or game parks. How to edit photos, combine different photo reference to achieve believable compositions.
 *Specific time yet to be determined

Saturday evening, SAA members and guests will gather for our awards banquet at the Plaza Marriott.  We will also be doing a “Little Gem” exchange between members again this year.  This is where participants exchange small orginal works of art between themselves which is always a treat!

A BIG congratulations goes out to Tamara Pokorny on having your piece selected for the cover of the exhibtion catalog this year!

Until next time . . .
Rachelle Siegrist for the SAA

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Society of Animal Artists Works at Benson Sculpture Gardens

Marking the holes
While recently visiting friends and fellow member of the Society of Animal Artists, Diane Mason and husband Bob in Colorado,  I  had the opportunity to see first hand the process of installing a sculpture into a public park.  When we arrived at the park, the cement pad had previously been poured and allowed to completely set up.  Then they hoisted the very heavy sculpture up with thick straps attached to a small crane and lowered it down long enough to mark the holes for the bolts on the base.  After liftling the sculpture back up, they commenced drilling holes with the BIGGEST drillbit I personally have ever seen, and I was surprised at how quickly it did the job!

Using the BIG drillbit

Once they had the holes drilled, they slowly lowered the sculpture while carefully eyeing it and making sure everything lined up properly.  Then the holes were slowly filled with a special epoxy, before carefully lowering the bronze back down and the protruding bolts into place.  

Adding the epoxy and getting everything ready for the final setting

And voilà . . . it seemed like they had finished just mere minutes after starting, and there stood Diane's sculpture "Over-worked and Under-paid" looking very statley in its new home!  Located in Loveland, CO, Benson Sculpture Park is a beautiful city park which wraps around a couple of small lakes, and takes you through grassy areas and flower gardens, as you meander along the varius paved walkways.  Close to thirty SAA artists, past and present, have work on display in this beautiful park, so if you're ever in the area, I recomend a visit to check out the numerous sculptures there representing so many of our talented SAA sculptors!

Diane proudly stands by "Over-worked and Under-paid"

Here's a list of our currently active SAA members who have work in the park  . . .

Gerald Balciar
Tim Cherry
Martin Gates
Daniel Glanz
Sandy Graves
Laurel Peterson Gregory
Tony Hochstetler
Kim Kori
Ronald W. Lowery
Cammire Lundeen
Diane Mason
Walter Matia
Parker McDonald
George McMoingle
Leo Osborne
Dan Ostermiller
Louise Peterson
Carrie Quade
Don Rambadt
Sherry Sander
David Turner
Kent Ulberg

Until next time . . .

Rachelle Siegrist for the SAA

Monday, July 1, 2019

Exhibitions of the Society of Animal Artists

Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen, Charles Allmond and Bob Kuhn at the 2001 SAA Annual Exhibition at the West Valley Art Museum, Surprise, AZ.

With the Society of Animal Artists' 59th Annual Exhibition upcoming, I thought it would be interesting to share some of the SAA exhibition history with you.  There have been nearly 1,000 artists featured in the exhibitions to date.  The first was held in 1960 at the Burr Gallery in New York, NY, and up until 1980, the exhibitions were held in various galleries located in New York City.  

Louis De Donato, Michelle Daniels, Marilyn Newmark, Guy Coheleach, Leslie Delgyer, and Pam Coheleach at the 2003 SAA Annual Exhibition at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Oradell, NJ.

In 1981 the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, PA began the SAA's expansion into various regions of the United States and Canada. The touring aspect of the Society's exhibitions started in 1988 when the SAA recruited David J. Wagner to create and manage tours of artwork selected from their annual exhibitions.  To date, this includes over 100 venues!

In the SAA's history, over 70 artists have been selected by the juries 15 times or more to have their artwork included in the exhibition, and 25 artists have been featured in 25 or more!  SAA Master Signature Artist, Guy Coheleach, holds the current record of participating in 46 Annual Exhibitions, and he will again be featured in our 2019 exhibition! Marilyn Newmark (in the photo above with Guy) participated in 41 exhibitions before passing away.

Eileen Matias, Rachelle Siegrist (My first time attending an Annual Exhibition opening), James Coe, Tucker Bailey, John Pitcher, and Sue Westin enjoy a museum-style picnic in the Bennington Center for the Arts, Bennington, VT.

Artists & Artworks in the 2019-2020 SAA Tour
(Last month's blog had the list of all artists in the exhibition)

Adair, Sue deLearie - This Way to the Eelgrass! 
Beecham, Gregory A. - Winter Survivor
Bieler, Lucrezia - Covey of Quail
Birchill, Jeff - Gulf Coast Treasures
Bradshaw, Jeremy - Splittin' Hare
Brest van Kempen, Carel - Out Of Their Depth
Chen, Dan - Take Two to Tango
Coe, James - Cool Shadows
Cohleach, Guy- Mountain Flash
Crouter, Anni - Arabesque
Diment, Kim Rae - A Pair In A Partridge Tree
Doellinger, Mick - Incoming
Donahue, Mikel - Your Moment's At Hand
Dunphy, Kathleen - Wingbeats
Faust, Anne Senechal - Another World
Frentner, Rusty - New Life
Fullingim, Sharon - Busy Body V
Geise, Ann - Goats Galore
Glanz, Daniel B. - Soulful
Graves, Sandy - Gone Fishin'
Gylling, Gemma - Treasures of the Elkhorn Slough
Hakeem, Sherif - In Focus
Hillier, Matthew Simon - Under The Curl
Ingram, Alison - Red Kite and a Mob of Crows
Kellner, Justin - An Easy View
Kiehm, David - Who's Turf?
Laird-Lagassee, Janet - Eye of the Beholder
Martin, Roger - Circumstantial Evidence
Martone, Jeanette - Waiting
Matia, Walter - The Talk of the Town
Maxwell, Sally - Fading
Maynard, Chris Maynard - Amphibian Delight
Miller, Darin - The Old Garden Gate
Murray, Robin E .T. - Wolverine in Taiga
Murtha, Sean - Golden Grace
Nimmo, Timothy - Constellation
Pepin, Patricia - Swan Flower
Plank, Millie Whipplesmith - Smith River Canyon, Double Dippers 
Plishka, John - Feeding Koi
Pokorny, Tamara - Behold but Beware 
Rankin, David - Ranthambhore Ambush 
Rhymer, Paul - The Candidate
Rigsby, Jody - Hopnotized
Rogers, Julia - Elephant in the Room 
Rosetta - Settled In
Siegrist, Rachelle - Stealthy Approach 
Siegrist, Wes - Southern Sentinel 
Solberg, Morten E. - This Is Paradise 
Soos, Heather - The Fish Hawk 
Stajcar, Pati - Rushing Home 
Stauffer, Amy - I Believe I Can Fly 
Sussino, Mark A. - Ambush Point 
Thompson, Carol Lee - Inquisitive 
Thornton, Rita - Vulturine Guineafowl 
Tryggmo, Gunnar - Shimmer
Tucker, Ezra - Splendor of the Plains 
Ullberg, Kent - Lone Wolf
Walter, Bart - The Embrace 
Yablonski, Scott - Sunspots
York, Sherrie - Chasing Daylight


February 1 – April 15, 2020, Hanceville, AL
May 22 – September 13, 2020, Stamford, CT

Until next time . . .

Rachelle Siegrist for the SAA