It was a Cape buffalo grazing in Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania in 1998 that captured Sonia Reid's attention and gained her entry into the Society of Animal Artists Inc. exhibit.
Actually, it was the buffalo's intense stare that wouldn't let Reid, who traditionally painted big cats, go.
"I didn't expect to like buffalo," she said. "They would stare at you and look at you until they left. All the other animals were used to vehicles. They were complacent.
"Buffalo exude a cocky attitude."
The bull that encumbered her with that heavy stare had a "particularly aggressive stance," she said, and that's what she worked to ensnare in her painting.
Every year since the late '90s, Reid, from Winston, Ga., has entered slides of her wildlife paintings for the society's exhibit. This year, her 12-by-16-inch buffalo oil on canvas, "Keeping Distance," will be displayed as part of the 45th annual Art and the Animal exhibit at the Nevada State Museum.
"I knew that I needed to have a trip to Africa under my belt," said Reid. "I needed to see the scenery, the lighting, the reference, the everything. I've been trying to get into the society since 1998. They're very very selective. People all over the world submit slides."
The exhibit is now open at the museum at 600 N. Carson St., and runs through Nov. 28. It is the first time the Society of Animal Artists' exhibit has opened in the state. It will continue to a museum in Colorado after November.
"This is the premiere exhibit," said Deborah Stevenson, curator of education for the Nevada State Museum. "There's going to be about 123 works of paintings and sculpture. We're the only museum in the country getting the full show."
When choosing a museum in which to open, historic context and security are top concerns, she said.
"I'm absolutely thrilled," said Stevenson. "These are the finest wildlife and animal artists throughout the world. This is realism at its best.
"To be selected shows the prestige of the Nevada State Museum - that it is a well-respected museum in the community."
Much of the artwork - 88 paintings, 32 sculptures and three wall reliefs - is available for immediate purchase, but will not be ready to take home until the 2005 tour ends.
One of the most pricey pieces is Robert Bateman's "Nebraska Dawn" acrylic on canvas of Sandhill cranes at $45,000. Reid's piece is marked at $2,000.
An artist reception, scheduled from 5:30-9 p.m. Oct. 14 at the museum, will have many of the artists in attendance. Reid, who recently returned from another trip to Africa, will not be able to make it, but said she was once again enraptured by buffalo.
"I went back to Tanzania this year," she said. "The animals in the crater seem habituated to vehicles more, and you could get just a little bit closer."
For more on her artwork, see soniareed.com. For the Society of Animal Artists, see societyofanimalartists.com.
n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at email@example.com or 881-1219.
If you go
What: Art and the Animal Exhibition Sale, the 45th annual Society of Animal Artists Inc. exhibit
Where: Nevada State Museum, 600 N. Carson St.
When: until Nov. 28. The museum is open from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. Free open reception, 5:30-9 p.m., Oct. 14 at the museum.
Museum admission: $5 adults, $3 seniors, free for children under 18. Free admission to the museum the day of the Nevada Day Parade, Oct. 29.
Information: 687-4810 ext. 237
Day-after opening reception events:
• 1-3 p.m. Oct. 15, A Passion For Detail: Acrylic Techniques add Vitality of Wildlife Painting, a demonstration by artist Carel Brest van Kempen
• 3:30-4:30 p.m. Oct. 15, The Story of American Wildlife Art, a lecture/slide presentation by David Wagner, tour director, Society of Animal Artists, Inc.
• 4:30-5:30 p.m., Oct. 15, Sculpture: Inspiration and the Creative Process, a presentation by sculptor Burt Brent
Related children's events:
• 1-3 p.m., Oct. 28: Beastly Encounters: Explore Animals and Art
• Nov. 8: More Beastly Encounters: Animal Tracking
• Nov. 15: More Beastly Encounters: Animal Facts and Fables
• Nov. 22: More Beastly Encounters: Animal Champions
• All events 3:15 p.m.-4:15 p.m. unless otherwise noted, for ages 5-10, $5 material fee
• Register early by calling Deborah Stevenson at 687-4810 ext. 237