Monday, November 30, 2020

Society of Animal Artists International Exhibition


The Gallery page featuring over 50 SAA artists

Since I've been sharing about the history of the SAA this past year, it's exciting to think we are making history with our 60+-year-old organization with our first online-only exhibition! This inaugural exhibition focuses on many of the SAA's international members (those residing outside of the United States). 

"The Society of Animal Artists, founded in 1960, is the most accomplished collection of artists who find inspiration in the birds and animals that share our planet. This worldwide membership of celebrated painters and sculptors represents the very highest level of excellence in virtually all artistic mediums. SAA’s membership includes 500 artists from around the world. This unique exhibition is the inaugural virtual presentation of artwork by many of our members who live and work outside the United States. Included are paintings and sculptures by 54 artists from 19 countries. Enjoy the exhibition!" Reneé Bemis, SAA President, Society of Animal Artists

A close up showing how the map identifies artists by country

World map showing the participating artists from all over the world

Elwin's specific gallery page (above and below)

The exhibition embeds information from Wikipedia about the specific species featured in each artwork. To enjoy viewing the exhibition click on any of the above images or on this link:

Visit the SAA website via this link for information on submitting to the SAA jury for artist membership, or to become a Patron Member of the SAA

Until next time ~ SAA artist Rachelle 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Enthusiastic Leaders of the SAA


A screenshot of Board members at our recent Zoom meeting.

For the first time in our history due to the pandemic, the SAA Board now meets online via Zoom. While it's not the same as being together in person, we are nonetheless still enjoying it, especially with the convenience and ability to meet more often. Of course, it's great fun to see each other as well as many of our furry and feathered family members who join the meeting at times! It's also nice to glimpse inside many of the member's studios and homes.

There have been at least 115 people, since the SAA began in 1960, that have volunteered their time and efforts to serve their fellow members leading this organization. Unfortunately, we are still trying to locate copies of the earliest records of the SAA from 1960 to 1963. However, from 1964 on, here are some interesting tidbits about the people that have served over the years.

There have been 52 women and 63 men over the years as Board members. While most have been artists, occasionally, non-artists served in an advisory capacity and in more recent times, have been able to serve as full Board members with the exception of not having a vote on membership and exhibition juries. Per the current by-laws, the SAA Board is comprised of no less than 13 and no more than 21 members, and the current Board is represented by 11 women and 7 men. Each Board member serves a 3-year term and is elected by the signature membership. They can choose to run again at the end of each term if they so wish.

A gift from the SAA Board to Joe Vance in 1993

Some Board members truly go above and beyond and are deeply loved by their fellow Board members, as evident in their long term service! The record holder, serving a whopping 44 years in SAA leadership, is Doug Allen. The late Marilyn Newmark served 39 years and the late Joe Vance served 37 years including 10 of which he was president of the Society. The image shown above is a collection of small original artworks from fellow Board members presented to Joe Vance towards the end of his service as SAA President, which is now part of the SAA archives. We tip our hats to these who have dedicated so many years to this wonderful organization!

Of the current Board members, David Rankin has served 29 years and President Reneé Bemis has served 25. There have been several husband and wife teams as well, that has served or is currently serving on the Board. SAA Board meetings are typically pleasant, but can sometimes be contentious. Most require 4 to 8 hours of time, but one did exceed 12 hours, and happily ended with everyone enjoying dinner together. 

I was elected to the SAA Board in 2018, and have enjoyed serving on it. Fortunately all the meeting s I've been a part of have been great fun, and it's exciting planning future events and opportunities for fellow SAA artists!

Until next time ~ SAA artist Rachelle Siegrist

Thursday, October 1, 2020

The SAA 2020 Members' Exhibition


The Society of Animal Artists' 2020 Member's Exhibition is now open at the beautiful Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum located in Oradell, New Jersey. The exhibition will be on display now through November 1st. The museum is located at 705 Kinderkamack Road.

HOURS OF OPERATION (Please confirm via phone before visiting)

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 10am–4pm

Saturday and Sunday 2–5pm


You can view the entire exhibition online here

(Please note due to shipping complications with the pandemic, some of the works featured online are not part of the physical exhibition)

Here are several photos of the 2020 Exhibition courtesy of the Museum.

Until next time ~ SAA member Rachelle Siegrist

Monday, August 31, 2020

Recalling Grand Memories From the SAA 50th Annual

The San Diego Natural History Museum

It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years already since the Society of Animal Artists 50th Annual Exhibition took place at the beautiful San Diego Natural History Museum in San Diego, CA! With most of us not being able to travel and be together in person with the current pandemic, I thought it would be fun and refreshing to revisit memories from this great weekend! It was truly an amazing time and attending SAA artists and guests stayed busy from the moment they arrived whilst enjoying the numerous activities over several days!

Helping with paperwork while enjoying conversation and laughter

The highlight of the weekend for many of us was the day spent on the whale watching excursion. It was a gorgeous southern California day, and the scenery throughout our journey was splendid, starting off with getting to watch and listen to the California Sea Lions that call the harbor home.

Heading out and anticipating an awesome day!

Nothing is sacred from a group of SAA artists armed with cameras... Ha Ha!

Of course, seeing numerous birds of varying species inhabiting the multiple islands we cruised around was exciting and I'm sure the birds felt like the paparazzi was after them whenever our boat approached.

Enjoying the sights and sounds of all the wildlife!

Watching and photographing the whales

The day continued to amaze us with stunning scenery and of course getting to see and watch the whales was absolutely thrilling! Then on the return trip, we found ourselves amid a dolphin pod, who ended up stealing the show from the whales! The large group of aquatic ballerinas swam alongside us at a high rate of speed, jumping up out of the water and generally showing off, and the hundreds of camera clicks that could be heard sounded like firecrackers going off on the Fourth of July!

There was a large foam cushion covering most of the top deck of our boat, and we piled as many of us as possible onto it, during the second half of the trip. I think that many of us did more laughing than anything while listening to a couple of our animated and comical members tell stories, and ended up holding our sore sides from all the laughing, and I can remember most of us not wanting the day to end.

The entertainment up there was superb!

The next day artists and guests went on buses to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the following day were taken to the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, where the day was spent exploring and photographing the varies animals and birds living at the zoo, and that evening were treated to a delightful buffet on the grounds of the zoo. 

The hotel where everyone stayed was very nice and we enjoyed breakfast on the beautiful grounds before our member's meeting the last morning, followed by a presentation by SAA artist Robert Bateman.

Artists enjoying breakfast and wonderful conversation

That afternoon we went to see the exhibition at the museum, which looked truly amazing and spanned over three floors of the vast building and attended the Awards Banquet later that evening.

Viewing the exhibition inside the museum

Obviously, much of the fun of these opening weekends is being able to just hang out with other artist friends, and that was done by many of us every chance we had! 

If you'd like to experience or relive some of the excitement of the 50th weekend, here's a video below which I think you will enjoy. Please forgive the less than stellar quality of the video, but that was before we had iPhones and a GoPro or the ability to upload in 4K. 

If you'd like to read about and see more photos from the SAA 50th Annual Exhibition weekend, visit the links below:

Until Next time ~ SAA artist Rachelle Siegrist 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Looking Back Into Society of Animal Artists' Past

Arthur D. Fuller with SAA VP William F. Bartlett and wife

Executive Director Wes Siegrist, recently received more SAA archive material from 1967 and 1968, from SAA member Doug Allen. It's always exciting to get newsletters, books, magazines, and other info about the Society of Animal Artists, uncovering the organization's history. It's even more interesting when photos of SAA members and past exhibitions are included, so I thought it would be interesting to share with you several of the images included in the recently received materials.

Elisabeth Rungius Fulda at 87 at the 1966 Society Members Exhibition

Elisabeth Runguis Fulda was a founding member of SAA and the organization's first president in 1960. Sadly, she passed away one year after this photo of her was taken.

Robert Lougheed and Don Eckelberry at the 1966 Society Members Exhibition

Jerome Connolly and wife with John Cameron Yizzarry at the 1966 Society Members Exhibition

Now fast forward 44 years, and here we are at the Hiram Blauvelt Museum in 2012, where this year's Members Exhibition will take place this fall. Happy faces in happy times back in 2012, while being able to attend the opening weekend festivities in person, without fear of a pandemic. Obviously, this year at the Blauvelt will be much different, but the museum will still be showcasing an amazing group of work!

Jump ahead another year, and here we are in 2013 at the Bennington Center For the Arts, in Bennington, Vermont. Since changes have taken place and the Bennington is no longer open to the public, these are now fond memories indeed.

The SAA Awards banquet in 2013

SAA Artist Kim Dimment gives a talk to the group of attending artists

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Memories From SAA Opening Weekends 2006, 2007 and 2009

I thought it would be fun to take a walk down memory lane a few times via the blog while visiting a few of the Society of Animal Artists (SAA) past Annual Exhibition opening weekends. These first four photos are from the 2006 opening weekend at The Bennington Center for the Arts in Bennington, Vermont.

A group photo of most of the attending artists

SAA dinners are always a fun time to catch up with fellow artists

SAA artists having a great time seeing the sights 

Enjoying a picnic lunch inside the Bennington Center For the Arts

The photo below is a group shot of most of the attending artists at the WIldlife Experience in Denver, Colorado in 2007.

SAA artists at the Annual Exhibition at the Wildlife Experience 2007

In 2009 the SAA Annual Exhibition was held at The Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure in Salina, Kansas. The opening weekend was great fun with SAA artists hanging out together while getting to spend lots of time inside the park, and were able to go inside the zoo in the mornings before it opened to the public, enabling us to get great reference photos of resident animals! The next seven photos are from that wonderful weekend!

SAA artists at the Annual Exhibition at Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure 2009

The opening reception at Rolling Hills

Meeting one of the critters living at Rolling Hills

Animal sightings at the Wildlife Museum

Artists enjoying lunch at Rolling Hills

There's something fishy about this informal SAA business meeting

Artists enjoying another meal together in Kansas

Until next time ~ Rachelle Siegrist for the SAA

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Jurying The SAA 2020 Members' Exhibition

     Well, it seems this year is bringing many changes in all aspects of life for many of us, including the Society of Animal Artists that has shifted to doing all our juries online. When the SAA started out, they used to jury their exhibitions from the actual works ... imagine having to do that now! Then they transitioned to jurying from works submitted via slides. Many of us, including me, remember submitting our works to numerous shows this way and having to tape the slides with a special heat resistant silver-tape, in order to block off areas showing around the actual artwork. It was a time-consuming process and your slides became cherished possessions. You always included a self-addressed, stamped envelope to be sure to have them returned to you after the jury process. 

Fast forward a couple of decades and now artists can easily submit online via the magical internet! Although the submission process was the same this year, the actual jurying process had to be changed due to the travel limitations associated with the COVID 19 virus, so instead of jurying in person whilst sitting in the comfort of SAA President Reneé Bemis' home theatre, the panel of 9 jurors juried the artworks on their own computer screens at home. Like years past, artist's names were removed from the works, and they were uploaded in random order to two dropbox folders, one for small works under 8 inches, and the other with all other regular-sized works.

The SAA 57th Annual Exhibition at the Hiram Blauvelt

The process actually worked very well, and the jurors were pleased with being able to take a little more time to look more closely at the works, instead of having to make almost a split-second choice, like has been done in the past when jurying in person. The show looks fabulous, so it's further proof that this method worked very well. On that note, the Board has also been having meetings with the online service, Zoom, which is working very well. So like I say, when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, and that's exactly what this amazing organization is doing to make the necessary changes to keep moving forward.

The SAA 57th Annual Exhibition Awards Banquet at the Hiram Blauvelt

The 2020 SAA Members Exhibition will hopefully take place at the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum August 29th thru November 1st. The show can be seen online via the SAA Website.

SAA artist Jim Coe demonstrates outside the museum

Until next time ~ Rachelle Siegrist for the SAA