As I sit here with my coffee this cool September morning, Otis the Wonder Dog is happily snoozing with his head on my leg. He stays very close after I've been gone for a few days hoping not to get left behind again any time soon.
As for myself, I find my mind wandering as I try to process the happenings of the past 4 days. The Birds In Art exhibit at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin is the pinnacle of wildlife and nature art and being included in this event is both humbling and uplifting. There are always highlights and this year was no different. Carl Brenders and I shared a table at breakfast and talked about painting styles and some light art philosophy. I made some new friends and got to know some old friends a little better. And I finally got to meet Bob Bateman and discuss my painting with him... a life-long dream.
I also noticed a trend this year I had not been aware of before. A class of "young guns" is emerging. There have always been (at least in my experience) a group of established older artists, many of which have received the Master Artist Award, that are always the core of the exhibit... as it should be. But this year, more than any other, I noticed a quiet confident energy in the exhibit's underclassmen... and I'm happy to be a part of it.
One thing that never changes is the attention to detail by the museum staff and the warm-hearted generosity of Alice Smith and her family. As the foundation upon which this event is constructed, these are the people that make it so special... all the while making sure the spotlight is firmly focused on the artists. They treat us like beloved members of their family and it does not go unnoticed.
So as the last of my coffee grows cold and Otis continues to blissfully snore, my thoughts turn to next year's exhibit... and just how on earth will I managed to get back there again!