Fay Ranches Southeast Underwrites 21st Annual Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival
By George “Mac” E. McGee IV
In late November, I had the honor of representing Fay Ranches Southeast as an underwriter for the 21st Annual Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival (PWAF) in Thomasville, GA. Thomasville is widely known as the epicenter in the Red Hill Region of the traditional Southern lifestyle of owning and managing legacy plantations of pine, live oak, wiregrass, and wild bobwhite quail. The opening night black-tie event of the Fine Art Show at the Thomasville Center for the Arts was an intimate showcase of the finest wildlife art inspired by the outdoor scenes and experiences on these storied plantations. It is said this event may be the best of its kind because of its concentration of high-quality works in such a charming, profound setting. Renowned artists like C.D. Clarke, David Lanier, Gordon Allen, and many others from the South and the East Coast were on-site showing their best work. To my pleasant surprise, an old friend, Paul Puckett, was also in attendance. Paul is from Charleston, SC, and is a widely recognized and highly skilled artist within the fly-fishing community. Seeing and catching up with Paul and his wife, Sara, made the weekend even better.
Paul’s company is the Sporting Art of Paul Puckett and you can see him online at paulpuckettart.com. Paul’s art is primarily of the fly-fishing and fish world, and his medium is generally oil or watercolor. He has expanded into other areas of the outdoor world such as bird-hunting, bird dogs, and birds, to name a few. Paul’s work was greatly received during the weekend, and I am pretty sure there were many happy folks who went home with a Puckett original. I can attest personally to his work, as I am lucky to have a wonderful Tennessee smallmouth bass Paul painted years ago that is one of my cherished pieces. Paul’s art is also integrated into the clothing and apparel of the Flood Tide Company at floodtideco.com.
Another highlighted artist showing at the 2016 PWAF was Gordon Allen of Chapel Hill, NC. Gordon’s pieces, shown in Thomasville, were primarily traditional etchings and line drawings of outdoor experiences and subject matter he has experienced throughout his life since first stepping foot in Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay to hunt snipe as a young boy. Gordon also works in oils and watercolors and had several there too. It was actually his painting of an East Canadian Atlantic salmon river that caught my attention to first meet him. His company is called Gordon Allen Fine Art, and his website is gordonallenart.com. Gordon’s art is found in galleries from South Carolina to Maryland to Bozeman, Montana. I was fortunate enough to walk away from this show with an original line drawing of Gordon’s called “Busted,” which is a picturesque scene of a bird hunter flushing a ruffed grouse, of which I am quite endeared to because of my own grouse hunting experience.
The following day I spent most of the daylight looking at some land and later sharpening my shooting skills with a short bird gun at Southwinds Sporting Clays, located forty minutes outside of Thomasville. Southwinds has a great facility, “back in the woods,” with sporting clays and 5-stand skeet. I believe they outfit for quail hunting as well on their own property.
That night I was back with my friends, Paul and Sara, to attend the final main event of the Festival called the Bird Dog Bash at Pebble Hill Plantation’s Sugar Hill Barn. We were treated to an amazing meal and then enjoyed the exceptionally fun band Tallahassee’s Groove Merchants. The PWAF had been a major success, and this was one heck of a party! Festival artists, supporters, patrons, and organizers all enjoyed dancing, great libations, and fabulous food. Looking forward to next year.
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