One artist's journey: Trying to live a creative life with grace, grit, gratitude...and a border collie.
(or perhaps I should say: greys, grit and gratitude)

07 April 2016

The Road to Thomasville: Chapter 1

Nearly ten years ago, I attended an art show in Thomasville, Georgia for the first time.  My first year at the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival wasn’t spectacular sales-wise (typical of most first appearances at a show)…but there was something very special about the people involved.

PWAF 2008
A year later, I would be back…just a couple of weeks after my cancer diagnosis.  It was no surprise that my artist friends embraced me with support, sympathy and priceless good humor.  What was a surprise was how many of the folks in Thomasville rallied around…
Then again, after getting to know them, that is no surprise either.

A few weeks ago, I was in Yellowstone looking for wildlife when, remarkably, the phone rang.  
It was remarkable because I was passing through one small spot where reception was occasionally possible.  The caller was Gates Kirkham, the PWAF show director.  He was calling to invite me to be the Featured Artist for the 2016 Plantation Wildlife Art Festival.

Over the years, I have been the featured artist at several shows…the most recent being Natureworks (Tulsa) in 2015.  It is always an incredible honor…but even more so in the case of the Thomasville invite.

With my Encore Artist appearance at the Natureworks show coming up, I decided to hold off announcing the good news until after my trip to Tulsa.  

As I headed East after Tulsa to see my Mom, a light bulb turned on.  I decided to make an impromptu trip to Thomasville to research some paintings for the show.  A couple days would turn into nearly a week and I would fill a pile of memory cards…but more about that a little later.

First things first…I would like to thank some of the people who made my little research trip so much fun (and so inspiring).  My Mom, Betty Horton, joined the adventure and was incredibly patient with my long days, early mornings and, often, slow drives as I looked for inspiration.  Debbie and Mike Gaskins were kind enough to offer their wonderful hospitality for our stay as well as great conversation, some good connections and the opportunity to see a fabulous cellist perform at Pebble Hill.  Marty and Daphne Wood once again allowed me access to their gorgeous Live Oak Plantation and Marty hauled us around with him on the last hunt of the season.  Gates Kirkham showed me some bird dogs, dolled up his mules, offered access to his Sinkola Plantation and then tried to get me on a fire.  Warren Bicknell was kind enough to allow us to watch some burning on Warbick Farm.  Steve Parrish gave us a wonderfully inspiring and informative tour of the Merrily Plantation.  Wallace Goodman set us up with a grounds pass for the pebble Hill Plantation.  Jim and Ann Lattay invited us to dinner with some delightful guests at their lovely home (and I found some inspiration right in Ann’s gorgeous yard).  When I stopped by Kevin’s to try to shoot reference for a painting idea, Kevin Kelly invited me into the *vault*. Kathy Barnett shared a pass to visit the red Hills Horse Trial.  Louise Dunlap offered access and Ellen Shine gave us a wild ride of a tour in search of active burning on the Woodfield Springs Plantation. 
PWAF 2015

Last, but not least...
Thank you to the PWAF crew for the honor of being named the 
Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival 2016 FEATURED ARTIST!

Between now and November, I will be writing about the journey, the inspiration and the art...on the road to Thomasville.