Sunday, May 5, 2019

My Experience As An SAA Juror

 My first time as an SAA juror by Rachelle Siegrist

Max hanging out with jurors Sherrie, Roger and Kim

     Wes and I left for Chicago last Tuesday morning, to attend the Society of Animal Artists spring meeting.  Our plane took off on time and landed in Atlanta, where our connecting flight was delayed a couple of hours due to very bad storms in the Chicago area.  They finally boarded us and before landing, I was delighted the clouds parted enough to reveal Chicago below, allowing us to see the "Sears Tower" rising above the clouds!  Others flights had been delayed as well, so we all ended up at O'Hare Airport at about the same time, before heading to SAA President Reneé and husband Brian's beautiful home.  
     The next morning fellow Board members and guest jurors serving on the SAA jury joined us at  Reneé's, and it was time to get busy.  We spent eight hours that day looking through around 400 images, from which pieces were selected for the upcoming Annual Exhibition which will be at the beautiful Briscoe Western Art Museum in San Antonio, TX.  The jurying takes place in their home theater and I was delighted to get to sit in the massage chair, where I enjoyed numerous back and foot massages throughout the day!  The group views all submissions in a random order before the actual jurying process begins, and there is absolutely no conversation allowed during this initial viewing nor during the jurying process.  As each image is projected onto the screen, the jurors sit in a dark room, while a cup is passed around and each member discretely places either a white marble for "Yes" or a black marble for "No" into the cup.  Jurors cannot see into the cup, so votes are completely hidden.

The room where the jurying for the annual show takes place

When all jurors have voted and the two cups are passed back, Reneé counts the marbles, announcing aloud the number of "Yes" votes.  If a juror needs a break at any time, there is an alternate juror who temporarily takes their place.  It was quite amazing how much of the time, the 9 jurors choices were in unison or close to it.  Since signatures are removed from submitted works by the SAA executive director (Wes), decisions are based solely on each juror's perception of the work. It's a very long day, as we viewed submissions for over 8 hours!  That evening, Board members who'd arrived during the day joined us for a dinner party, and the kitchen became abuzz with activity, with many of us helping out and cooking, filling the air with delicious aromas!

Hanging out while getting ready for dinner

Afterward came the time to enjoy the fruits of our labor, whilst feasting and enjoying lots of laughter and wonderful conversation!  A highlight of the dinner conversation at our table was the stories Reneé and Brian shared about their experiences with spinner dolphins, rays and the likes while in Costa Rica!  Later that evening the group excitedly viewed for the first time, the accepted artwork that would comprise the upcoming annual show at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.

Allen, Me, Roger, Brian, Reneé, Chris, Jim, and Sherrie

The next day started early once again as we headed to the hotel where most of the members were staying and our Board meeting was to be held.  The agenda was a long one, so we got right to work discussing issues, and planning some exciting future events for the SAA. During our lunch break, we juried the new member submissions. As images by each artist are projected onto the screen, the group views them and is allowed to discuss them. Then votes are then cast, by a raising of hands for either "Signature", "Associate", "Resubmit" or "No".   Excitedly, 14 new members were accepted this time. Thankfully, even though the agenda was packed, things went fairly smooth and after another 8-hour meeting, by 5 o'clock that evening, we had accomplished everything we needed to do!

The Board Meeting

That evening, it was time to relax for a while at a restaurant nearby, where we once again enjoyed delicious food, lots of great laughter and conversation!  Afterward, we said our goodbyes and our crew headed back to Reneé's.  The next morning we thanked Reneé and Brian for their wonderful hospitality and I petted sweet Max one last time, before heading back to the airport.  Once home, Wes got busy with a mountain of SAA work, as he had to send out over 1,000 emails to the artists and Board members.  Thankfully, everything is progressing well and we're eager to join fellow artists this fall in San Antonio, TX for the opening weekend!



Until next time . . . 

Rachelle Siegrist for the SAA


Monday, April 1, 2019

Behind-the-Scenes Readying for the SAA’s Annual Exhibition Jury


     I thought it would be interesting to share insight with a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what takes place, in order to get things ready for the jurying process of the SAA Annual show.  So, the SAA Executive Director, Wes, has kindly listed out deadlines for the different tasks and processes that must happen beforehand.  


~ 6 Months Ahead ~ 

The prospectus and entry form is created after confirming any updates and special circumstances. Since last year, the SAA forms are online now. Only a handful of members still submit paper forms.

~ 4 Months Out ~

Distribute the prospectus and entry form and set all deadlines. The SAA Jury Chairman selects the jury which is an extremely daunting task.  

(The Chairman must choose jurors that accepted artists will see as brilliant, insightful and full of good taste.  At the same time, these jurors must be seen by rejected artists as blind in one eye and unable to see out of the other, lacking all discernment of quality in art.)



(And most challenging of all . . . each juror MUST be able to identify artists works when presented in random order with signatures removed!)

~ Around February 1st ~ 

Start receiving and sorting entry materials.  It starts as a trickle at first, before turning into a flood at the end!  So many to do ... with so little time remaining!



~ Deadline Time ~ 

Entries are processed with forms and artwork sorted ... double check for errors, remove signatures from artwork and assign random numbers. Prep the slide show for the jury, and then test and retest it!



~ Jury Time ~  

Nine jurors spend all day jurying the submitted artworks.  They work independently of each other without speaking and vote “yes” with a white marble or black for “no” which are placed inside a cup.  The President, who is not on the jury, counts the votes and announces the results after each work is presented.  The Executive Director is managing the slide show and recording all the votes inside a spreadsheet.  Typically, six yes votes are “in” and 5 are “maybe”. 

Results are tallied and while the jury takes a break the Executive Director determines where the numbers stand with the required works for the exhibition.  Since the SAA now only accepts one work per artist, the jury must review again the artists that they chose both entries.  The jurors are allowed to discuss the dual entries at this point to finalize their choice.  Numbers are tallied once more, and if needed the jury then returns to continue jurying the “in or maybe” votes by highest scores to reach the final show.

That evening, the jury previews the selected show for the first time in its entirety.  (Jurors are then escorted by SAA security teams back to their safe houses to live the rest of their lives in secrecy.)


Well, I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into the behind-the-scenes look at the jurying process for the annual show.  

* Please note that sentences in parenthesis and italicized are purely for a touch of humor and not for real!

Rachelle Siegrist for the SAA



Monday, March 4, 2019

Get To Know More of The SAA Board & Staff

Insights Into Current SAA Leadership ~ Part II

~ Allen Blagden ~


     Allen Blagden lives in Salisbury, Connecticut and has been an SAA Signature Member since 1987 and served as one of the SAA Vice-Presidents in the past. Born into a family of talented artists, he began his artistic training with his father, an artist and art teacher at Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT.  After graduating, Allen travelled extensively throughout Egypt and Greece whilst painting and sketching for a year.  After returning to the States he was awarded a fellowship to Yale University’s Summer Painting Program, where he studied under Bernard Chaet, and produced several large paintings based on his Egyptian sojourn.  He later graduated with a BFA from Cornell and worked as an illustrator for the National Serengeti Park in Kenya for three months, before becoming an illustrator for the Department of Ornithology at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.  After having worked there a year, he went to New Mexico to work as a cinematographer for Denny McCoy, nephew of Andrew Wyeth, for the film Billy The Kid, before returning to Connecticut to set up his own studio and paint full time.

Allen and me in Rocky Mountain National Park

Having won the Connecticut Art Foundation Annual Award in one of his first group shows, he also had his first solo show in New York City at the Janet Nessler Gallery, where he was awarded the Allied American Artist’s prize for Best First One Man Show of the Year!  That same year he took part in a two-man show with his father Thomas Blagden, at the Picture Gallery in Saint Gaudens National Site in Cornish, NH.  Then in 1971, he along with his wife and daughter, lived in the south of France for the winter, then lived in England and Ireland that spring and summer, where he produced a large body of paintings and drawings.  While in Europe, Allen took part in a group show at the Galerie de Paris, in Paris, France and had a solo show at Trafford Gallery in London, England.  Upon returning to the States, his entire exhibition of European work at the Frank Rehn Gallery sold out!  Allen has been in Birds In Art13 times now, and has had numerous solo exhibitions over the years with Kennedy Gallery in NYC, with his most recent being at the Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, NY in 2017.  Most recently, several of his paintings were part of the David Rockefeller auction at Christie's in NYC.


~ Elizabeth Nicholls ~



     Elizabeth Nicholls lives in Toronto, Canada and has been an SAA Associate Member since 2017.  She grew up in the small town of Lindsay, in southern Ontario, and had a keen interest in art, nature, and animals for as long as she can remember. Her grandparents built a cottage in the beautiful Kawartha Highlands years ago when her mother was just an infant. Her mother adored spending her childhood there, and later shared it with Elizabeth and the rest of the family. The island cottage is still a favourite place of theirs to visit to this day, and the wildlife that inhabits the region has always been one of the main attractions. Elizabeth enjoys feeding chipmunks peanuts from her hand, watching families of raccoons come out at night to eat scraps left out for them, and loves the haunting sound of a loon. Having gone on many family trips through the forests of Ontario, Algonquin Park has been a favourite destination of the Nicholls family, where they have experienced the thrill of seeing wild moose and feeding Grey Jays from their hands. She feels very at home in the presence of nature and continues to explore on camping trips with her friends every summer.

Elizabeth as a young girl, feeding a Grey Jay in Algonquin Park


Elizabeth’s artistic talent takes after her father Calvin, who is also a member of the Society of Animal Artists. She has always known that she wanted to make art her career, and after graduating high school, she studied at Sheridan College in the Bachelor of Applied Arts in Illustration program. She continued to advance her skills at the Academy of Realist Art, and in 2017, she felt honored when she was accepted to be a member of SAA. Now Elizabeth is enjoying the beginning of her journey as a professional artist and is overjoyed to be the new Instagram Administrator for the Society of Animal Artists. 

~ Wes Siegrist ~



     Wes Siegrist lives in Townsend, TN and has been an SAA Signature Member since 2001.  He’s one of our Distinguished Signature Members and has served as our webmaster since 2001 when he built the SAA’s first website to launch the Society into the digital age.  Wes served on the SAA Board as one of our Vice-Presidents from 2012 until 2017 when he stepped down to become the Executive Director.  He grew up playing outdoors in rural Southern Indiana and working summer jobs on farms.  The former Boy Scout still loves to hike, fish, kayak and camp and also enjoys tending to yardwork and his vegetable garden now mostly inside a greenhouse.

Wes with a clump of Indian Pipe during a hike

Wes grew up drawing, painting and working with modeling clay, and was also into building models and has continued his love of model railroading (it’s for the nieces and nephews he says) to this day. He was blessed to develop a close personal friendship with his high school art teacher as well as being able to take private art lessons for a year from a professional artist that guided him through “Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain”.  Majoring in both Fine Arts and Graphic Arts in college included drawing and painting from life and he enjoyed doing freelance illustration work, cartoons and an internship with a publishing house.

Moving to Florida began his love of creating wildlife art and it has been the primary focus of his work since the 80s.  He met me (Rachelle) in 1989 and stumbled into the enchanting world of miniature art back in 1997, now doing all of his work in this minute scale. He’s looking forward to doing BIG things with the SAA and anticipates years of fun with his fellow members!

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Rachelle Siegrist for the SAA




Friday, February 1, 2019

Get To Know The SAA Board & Staff

Insights Into Current SAA Leadership ~ Part I

~ Reneé Bemis ~


     Reneé Bemis lives in St. Charles, Illinois and has been an SAA Signature Member since 1991. She is the current SAA President and a Distinguished Signature Member. Reneé started working as a professional sculptor in the late 1980s.  Something important she has learned in her life is to "pivot" and that "change" is exciting. She started out with aspirations of being a professional golfer after having gone to college on a full golf scholarship, and for a few years after college stayed an amateur, but played in some professional events, including two U.S. Opens. Reneé was a member of the golf team representing the USA in Israel for the Maccabiah Games, where she won the gold medal! Her first pivot, was when she realized she wasn't going to turn professional and started playing in clay.  She began creating subjects she was extremely familiar with, and being an avid fisherman, her first sculpture was of a Marlin. Upon walking into a store that sold marine goods, she asked to speak to the owner and proceeded to sell her first piece while it was still in clay. Reneé never looked back, and over the last 30 years she has had the honor of working with some of the most amazing people, which have enriched her life and she cherishes all of those moments.  


She has proudly served on the SAA board since the mid 90s, having served as the Treasurer for a long time, until  being asked and humbly accepting to be the SAA President in 2014. She absolutely loves working with the diverse group of the most creative artists, which she has enjoyed getting to know, and for those which she has not had the pleasure of meeting, she looks forward to meeting you sometime in the near future!  Reneé’s second pivot was in 2012, when she and her husband started a distillery in Baraboo, Wisconsin in conjunction with their other occupations. They create hand crafted spirits, bourbon, rye, vodkas, gins, brandy and a few specialty barrels, having over 5000 barrels aging in their rick houses and are considered one of the top five craft distilleries outside of Kentucky. They are also very proud to be a sustainable distillery, grain to glass and back to farm, recycling 100% of the water and spent grains that go into making their spirits. Last year, their distillery was #316 on the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies in the country as well as #280 on Entrepreneur’s 360 best privately-owned businesses in America.

Reneé loves fishing with her husband Brian

~ Brent Langley ~



      Brent lives in Edwardsville, Illinois and has been an SAA Signature Member since 2008.  He currently serves as the SAA Secretary.  He grew up in Wichita, Kansas, part of the "Great American Desert" as it was called in the 19th century, when the fertile, biologically diverse prairie looked very unappealing to European and east coast migrants who were used to cooler, moist climates.  But as a young boy with interests in art and nature, the surviving prairie ecosystem, especially a nearby undeveloped flood-control canal with water for ducks and geese, grassland with meadowlarks and dickcissels, and cottonwood groves for woodpeckers and orioles, was very appealing.  

As Brent grew older, exposure to the works of Louis Fuertes and Walter Weber provided a level of excellence to strive for.  But art remained a hobby until he retired from a career with the U.S. Government and, assisted by seminars with John Seerey-Lester, Paco Young, and Robert Bateman, began a second career as a wildlife artist.  Now he and his wife/best friend/best art critic/birder par excellence Barbara Scott, travel to natural areas throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world where they gather reference material for paintings.  Brent is honored to be a member of one of the world's great art institutions, the Society of Animal Artists.  His goal is to produce works of art that remind us of the beauty and diversity of life on this planet, and that it will hopefully instill the desire to preserve it.  


Brent with his wife Barb, in Denali National Park

~ Bob Mason ~ 


     Bob Mason lives in Berthoud, Colorado and is a non-artist SAA Board Member, providing financial counsel to the Board as the SAA Chief Financial Officer. He has an MBA in Finance and worked for several corporations as a business manager, audit manager, technology manager and telecommunications director before retiring in 2001. Bob’s first exposure to the SAA was when his wife, Diane, became a signature member in 2002.  Bob went to his first annual exhibition opening weekend with Diane in 2003 at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, where he fell in love with the organization and its members. When Diane joined the board in 2004, Bob would accompany her to the board meetings at the Salmagundi Club in New York and occasionally provide support to the SAA Administrator during the meetings. 


When Diane was asked to run for the SAA President in 2008, one of her requirements was the New York office be closed and the business operations moved to Colorado. This was when Bob became immersed into the running of the SAA. He took over the duties of the Administrator and began the process of computerizing most of the operations. He also started to take on more duties previously performed by the President so, after two years, Diane was able to get back to her art. Prior to that the SAA President pretty much gave up their career during their tenure. At that time, the Administrator’s position was retitled to Executive Director to better represent the functions being performed. When Reneé Bemis agreed to take over the top job from Diane, her only stipulation was Bob continue as Executive Director so there would be a smooth transition of leadership. After 10 years of serving as Executive Director, Bob was ready to retire for the second time and turned the reins over to Wes Siegrist, who made the conversion seamless.  Bob says he has truly enjoyed all of his experiences with the SAA and as a result has made so many life-long friends all over the world, and he hopes to meet and add more friends in the coming years.  Bob now has more time to read, mostly historical fiction or just plain fiction for fun, and take afternoon naps with his furry kids Herschel, Lucy and Ace. He also enjoys wildlife photography, with plenty of subjects right around their home.


Bob hiking south of Lake Tahoe in California


~ Diane Mason ~


     Diane Mason lives in Berthoud, CO and has been an SAA Signature Member since 2003.  She has served the SAA in a variety of roles including past President.  She is currently one of the SAA’s Vice-Presidents and serves as the SAA Treasurer. Diane grew up in the country, in the Chain-of-Lakes region of northern Illinois, where her family always had animals including ducks, chickens, dogs, a lamb, etc. as pets. They raised baby birds that had fallen out of trees, baby squirrels, and even a raccoon!  Diane didn’t like dolls, and when people would give her one as a gift, she'd take off the doll clothes and put them on her chickens, that were very tolerant. Her father was an avid hunter and fisherman, and she'd sit with him while he cleaned the ducks and pheasants, and he'd hand her the heads, feet, and wings to study.  Her sister and she would also dissect things like fish and mud puppies on the picnic table in the back yard, just to see what they looked like inside.  Diane loved to draw and would draw the animals around her and the boats out on the lake. They had a stable across the road, which for a few years was owned by a little traveling circus.  When the circus wasn't on the road, they'd go across the street and watch the Asian Elephants get their baths in the afternoons. They’d also hitch up the zebras to a circus cart and drive them up and down the road. 


With no available art instruction in school, Diane never had that opportunity to improve her skills, but was certainly immersed in the world of animals from her earliest years.  She feels that’s what ignited her desire to study animal behavior (ethology) in college, and to explore the medium of scratchboard on her own, in her late 20’s, as well as seeing a lion by Sally Maxwell at an art show.  After discovering sculpture in the mid-1990’s, Diane’s life really took another dramatic turn.  She discovered Loveland, CO and once she and husband Bob moved there from Minnesota, she really immersed herself in taking workshops with sculptors she admired, with most of them being SAA members, although she didn’t know it at the time. Once Diane started casting her work and participating in art shows, her world started to expand in ways she never dreamed.  She joined the SAA in 2002, becoming a Board Member in 2004, and since then she and Bob’s lives become richer, with their ‘extended family’ expanding with each passing year.  Their home is filled with the work of many of their SAA friends, and the connection continues to bring daily inspiration. Diane LOVES her fellow members and wakes up every morning grateful for the chance to create, live in their Colorado wonderland, and to have her art connections to such a wonderful group of talented artists who are also passionate about animals.

Diane atop Mt. Evans in Colorado 
 ~ Jan Martin McGuire ~ 



     Jan Martin McGuire lives in Tanzania, Africa and has been an SAA Signature Member since 1994.  Jan has served on the SAA Board in the past and is a Distinguished Signature Member.  She currently serves on the SAA staff as the Social Media Chair for Facebook. Most everyone knows of her love affair with Africa. It captured her heart and soul immediately when she first went in 1997. She has tried to go back every year since then, however that just fueled her desire to be there, instead of quenching it. 

Jan's husband James, a nature photographer, and she finally decided that they weren't getting any younger, and if they wanted to live in Africa, it was time to make that decision. So, they put their house on the market, had an estate sale and moved to Tanzania. They chose Tanzania because they have friends there, and James speaks Swahili, not fluently but enough to get by. So they moved, and currently live on the slopes of Mount Meru, which is a close neighbor of Mount Kilimanjaro. Jan has a saying... "When writing the story of your life, don't let someone else hold the pen".


Painting in the field in Tanzania


~ Terry Miller ~


     Terry Miller lives in Takoma Park, Maryland and has been a Signature Member of the SAA since 1993.  He is also a Distinguished Signature Member and currently serves the SAA as the head of the Exhibition Committee. Terry attended art school after High School, thinking maybe he’d become the next Picasso, while splashing paint on canvas or trying his hand at clay. Neither seemed to be fulfilling, so after graduating from art school, he worked as an architectural draftsman in New York City, with no plans of becoming a professional artist.  Then one day in 1972, while standing on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater in northern Tanzania, contemplating what excitement was about to unfold during the descent into the crater, a spark ignited that took another six months to fully flare up. Six months after returning from the first of seven subsequent trips to the African continent, he picked up a pencil and made a few scratches on a sheet of drawing paper, and the rest is history.

Twenty years later, Terry returned to school, got a teaching degree and spent a decade working in Special Education, while also selling ladies shoes at Macy’s.  Then he drew a few pictures, which received a positive response at his first large-scale group, animal-themed art show, and he became a member of the SAA.  Over the nearly three decades which Terry has been a professional artist, he continues to spend time in the field, studying, learning and attempting to hone his skills with pencil and paper. When Terry's not in the studio sitting at the drawing board, he's thinking about being in the studio and sitting at the drawing board! On the ever increasingly rare occasions when he's not doing or thinking about art, he enjoys listening to good music of all kinds from a CD library of currently over 3500 discs.  He also enjoys puttering in the yard, while stopping to watch birds at the feeders, visiting museum exhibitions to study works by favorite masters, and feeling like he's making a positive contribution to decisions that will benefit the membership of the SAA by being a Board Member.

Terry in Yellowstone National Park

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 ~ Rachelle Siegrist for the SAA











Monday, January 7, 2019

Meet The New SAA Board Members

Introducing the 2019 Incoming Board Members

~ Greg Beecham ~


     Greg Beecham who resides in Dubois, Wyoming, has been an SAA Signature Member since 1992, and has been an artist for over forty years. His favorite part of the creative process is being out there in nature with the critters, letting them tell him what to paint. Spending time outdoors, while simply watching and listening, serves as inspiration for new ideas. The painting process itself for Greg is very difficult, and to call it fun would be deceptive, he says. Not being able to accomplish what he had envisioned to do, often makes the painting process discouraging for him. 
    
He believes the question, "What is your favorite subject to paint?" is really the wrong question. For Greg, a new exciting encounter while exploring in the wild, regardless of species, is often the impetus for a new painting. New experiences for him usually trump old ideas. When asked about hobbies, he states that the process, beginning with critter time, then designing and executing the paintings is his passion. He hikes, hunts, snowshoes, rides horses and photographs, but feels there is little need in his life for another hobby.  Greg enjoys teaching and has taught both art workshops and adult Sunday School for many years. He and his wife, Lu, are proud of their two grown children and love to spoil their granddaughter, Aspen.

Greg with friends Manny & Manuel in Yellowstone National Park after watching  Bison

~ Cathy Sheeter ~ 

     
     Cathy Sheeter who currently resides in Aurora, CO has been an SAA Signature Member since 2008. She was NOT one of those people who knew from an early age that they wanted to be an artist when they grew up. With no formal training in art, but rather a B.S. in animal sciences, she always thought she’d go into a scientific field. Seeing an SAA show at The Wildlife Experience in 2007, prompted her to try and join the organization and played a role in her eventually becoming a fulltime wildlife artist. Growing up in a rural area of Eastern Oregon and showing numerous animals through the 4-H program over the course of her childhood, certainly played a part in creating this animal fanatic. 

Cathy with fellow artist, Paul Rhymer, demonstrating to the public at the 50th Annual SAA Exhibition in San Diego, CA

Fortunate to have a supportive family for her artistic skills and other interests, Cathy who loved drawing since early childhood, was introduced to scratchboard in high school art classes, and her passion for the medium remains strong today, even though she has dabbled in other two-dimensional mediums. Most of her hobbies revolve around animals and being out in nature. She trains and shows her Belgian Sheepdog, Devon, in conformation, obedience, agility and scent detection. As Cathy became more serious as an artist, she wanted to collect her own wildlife reference. This created a passion for photography which remains strong today. She loves spending time out in nature, learning to appreciate the extraordinary within the ordinary. A recently added interest for her, is becoming a serious birder, with this new passion also making its way into her art.

Cathy isn't always serious!

~ Rachelle Siegrist ~


     I currently live in Townsend, TN and have been an SAA Signature Member since 2001, excitedly becoming a Distinguished Signature Member in 2018.  Being surrounded by animals while growing up in Okeechobee, FL, where cows outnumbered people by ten to one, played a big part in me being a major critter lover!  I loved drawing and coloring throughout my childhood and attended college for a year with aspirations of becoming a commercial artist.  During that time, my mom introduced me to Wes, who was an art teacher at a museum nearby, and I started taking classes from him.  After dating several months we laughingly say that he told me he’d teach me how to paint if I would marry him, and the rest was history. 

In my happy place!

My favorite part of the creative process, as well as life in general, is being immersed in nature and surrounded by critters!  I also enjoy writing a weekly blog about our outdoor adventures, and love kayaking, hiking, biking, camping, snorkeling, boogie boarding, whitewater tubing and generally anything that involves being outdoors!  Nothing is more inspirational than encounters like sitting in my kayak and watching a ten-point buck swim mere feet from me, close enough that I can hear his breath and see it forming mist in the cool air, and I create art with hopes that my paintings convey a feeling of excitement while touching the viewer, allowing them to share in my personal experiences in some way.

In my other happy place!
Be sure to follow the blog to receive the monthly updates.  The rest of the current SAA Board, the Executive Officers and the SAA staff will be featured in February and March.

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Cheers ~ Rachelle Siegrist for the SAA