The past eight days have been a blur. So much has happened and there has been almost no time to digest it all. Finally, with my feet up and Otis the Wonder Dog snoring happily beside me, I can take a few minutes and browse the current Birds In Art (BIA) exhibit catalogue.
Of course, the first several pages are dedicated to this year’s Master Wildlife Artist, James Coe. Jim and I have been friends for a few years now and I could not have been more pleased with his selection for Master honors. Jim’s work is the definition of what true art should be. He is an artist in every sense of the word. I was also fortunate to be able to paint with Jim during a plein air workshop he conducted after the opening weekend festivities for BIA. It was my first attempt at plein air painting and I walked away with a firm foundation for my outdoor painting future. Oh… and I also ended up with a decent painting or two J
Moving past the last of the Coe paintings and into the body the catalogue, I’m reminded of the feeling I had walking into the exhibit for the first time. Right away, I was drawn to Paul Rhymer’s barred owl sculpture, then to Chris Bacon’s “Liquidity”. Each piece seemed to hold my attention for longer than it probably should have given the finite duration of my stay. I remember being awed by Matthew Hillier’s glistening brushwork in “Beach Party.” Terry Miller pulled off yet another extraordinary composition in graphite. Larry Barth’s cuckoo carving was so elegantly lifelike it seemed to move beneath the protective glass. It’s hard to imagine an exhibit of this size having such outstanding quality without seeing it in person. There are far too many highlights to mention them all and some of the art literally gave me goose bumps.
There was a buzz in the crowd Saturday morning as some of the artists demonstrated their craft for the public. Debby Kaspari flaunted (though I don’t think that’s a word she would use) her amazing drawing skills to the delight of everyone watching. I never tire of watching her work.
Then there was “the news”. Wednesday evening, Jane Weinke and Shari Schroeder pulled me aside so they could speak to me alone. Jane informed me of the Museum’s decision to purchase my painting, “Shimmer”, for the permanent collection. Then she asked if that would be okay. I nearly fell on the floor! It was the best news I’ve heard in quite some time. It was the perfect end to a perfect trip. It will be weeks before my feet touch the ground again.