Monday, October 30, 2023

Fabulous Fun at SAA's 63rd Annual Exhibition Weekend


Lots of chatting, laughing and crunching going on at the Mexican restaurant

What a fabulous time everyone had during the opening weekend festivities for the SAA's 63rd Annual Exhibition at the beautiful Stifel Fine Arts Center. Our group hotel for the weekend, sat perched atop a big hill, affording lovely views of the picturesque town of Wheeling, West Virginia. Moreover, it was surrounded by trees filled with crickets that serenaded us each time we walked through the parking lot, a most enjoyable symphony to wildlife artists. The first evening, a couple dozen SAA members enjoyed a delicious supper at a Mexican restaurant nearby, and hanging out together afterwards, during our “Meet and Greet” party at the hotel. Several of us spent part of the evening playing an easy, simple game, involving flipping cups and tick tack toe, providing an abundance of laughter for everyone.

Just having fun
After a nice breakfast the next morning, several memebers went to nearby Oglebay Park, where a wonderful surprise awaited. It was absolutely stunning, with lovely views and an abundance of profusely blooming flowers seemingly everywhere! And if that wasn’t enough, a herd of about a dozen deer walked into view, followed by a few dozen Canada Geese flying in and landing right by the deer. Another group of artists enjoyed watching lots of squirrels running about and entertaining with their funny antics.

The sign said "Do not sit on..." not "do not play with"...LOL
Our group spent quite awhile just watching and enjoying the picturesque setting, before starting out along one of the many trails there. The deer are obviously accustomed to people and let us get close enough to get some photos. Of course the flame-colored leaves on many of the deciduous trees and early morning light added to the beauty of it all! The gardens with its Mediterranean style architecture and plantings, perfectly arranged along the gentle sloping hill, gave the feeling of walking somewhere in the Italian countryside. It was a most relaxing and enjoyable morning, and everyone could’ve easily spent the day walking about the park, beneath the brilliant blue sky!

Getting some white-tail deer reference photos
That afternoon back at the hotel, a group of artists gathered for a very fun and lively game of Pictionary! As you can imagine it’s a bit tricky for an artist to play this game, since it’s all about speed and conveying the idea, not about correct anatomy and a nice composition. 

There was a little drawing, and a lot of laughing as the afternoon went on, and the winning team were given $50 by SAA artist Diane Mason. So as you can imagine, competition was fierce! We all had so much fun and did so much laughing, that even after the winning team was announced, we decided to keep on playing for another hour or more just for the fun of it!

The next day was filled with a members’ meeting that morning and after lunch, SAA artist and sculptor, Walt Matia was interviewed by SAA member Terry Miller, granting those in attendance a glimpse into his successful career over the years, as well as other interesting topics, such as what inspires him. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’m sure took away bits of wisdom. 

SAA artist Walt Matia being interviewed 
His interview was followed by a fun and enlightening trivia game, in which each artist took turns selecting a card with a question on it, only revealed when turned over. Highs and lows and funny stories of each of the lives and careers as artists were shared, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

As usual, there was a lot of laughter!

That evening was the artist dinner party, and as you can see from the photos below, lots of delicious food and fun conversation were enjoyed!

Wes made sure no one walked off with one of the entire containers...LOL!
Following the dinner, the various awards for this year’s exhibition were announced, bringing BIG smiles to several SAA artists in attendance! Everyone stayed on until later that night, while enjoying just hanging out together. Later that evening lots of hugs and goodbyes were exchanged, since most artists would be heading out early that next morning.

For those board members remaining, the first part of Sunday was spent at the SAA Board meeting, and somehow we actually managed to get done early enough to be able to spend a couple of hours at Oglebay's Good Zoo afterwards. It was Boo at the Zoo, and there were fun decorations scattered throughout adding to the excitement of just getting to go to the zoo. 

We spent time hanging out with the wallabies, lemurs, and many other adorable critters that live in this charming zoo.

This little cutie thought the papparzi was there!
The group slowly made our way around, stopping to check out each and every enclosure
These critters had to be some of the weirdest ones there!
After the board dinner that evening,  the remaining artists said our goodbyes, amazed at how quickly time had passed. It was truly a fabulous weekend and I don’t think any of us were ready to leave!

Friday, October 20, 2023

SAA 63rd Annual Exhibition at The Stifel Fine Arts Center


WOW!... That was the first word from the mouths of attending SAA Artists upon entering the Society of Animal Artists 63rd Annual Exhibition at the Stifel Fine Arts Center. Nestled in the picturesque town of Wheeling, West Virginia, it was truly a stunning venue for this year's Annual Exhibition. From the way the art was hung and arranged to the perfect lighting projected on everything, I must congratulate the friendly staff at the Stifel, for a job well done. And a big congratulations to all participating SAA members whose work was included to produce this year's outstanding show! 

Attending SAA Members

The charming, architectural elements in this stately, historic mansion, lended a feeling of elegance to the atmosphere. As we walked about viewing the exhibit, the building itself was a large piece of art. Here are several photos for you to enjoy as you take a "virtual tour" of the exhibition. 

*Many thanks to Frank Soos for taking several of these photos 

The air was lively and filled with excitement during the opening reception, which was well attended by guests and patrons, and we were delighted to see numerous red dots scattered about, denoting purchases which had been made. The food was most enjoyable as well, with several large, wooden charcuterie boards laden with delectable treats artfully arranged, and tempting all to partake and enjoy!

Those attending were given a warm welcome by the president of Oglebay Institute, Danielle McCracken, followed by a few words from the SAA Executive Director, Wes Siegrist.

A BIG congratulations our Award Winners at the 63rd Annual Exhibition!

Next week I'll be sharing photos and stories of our artists' dinner, games, adventures in Oglebay Park, and of all of the fun everyone had during the weekend in Wheeling. 
You can see the entire exhibition online HERE