Celebrating Wildlife Art & the Sporting Life


SEWE Fall Preview

Preview the highlights and new events and exhibits at SEWE 2018.


A Man and his Dogs

Bill Coburn has been training and working with Border Collies since 1996 when he got his first dog, Joy. He was advised to get a trained dog, but as Bill put it, “I was too hard-headed to do that.” So, with the help of a neighbor he trained his first dog on his own. He categorizes herding-trained Border Collies as “farm dogs” or “competition (or trial) dogs.” And many of them don’t fall into both categories. In Bill’s case, all his dogs are capable, and spend their days working sheep on his land in Laurens, South Carolina named Windy Knolls Farm.

Bill raises a crossbreed sheep of Katahdin and Dorper for meat, training Collies, and breeding stock. So, his dogs, on a daily basis, do routine livestock work such as moving the sheep from one location to another, herding them into a corral, and shedding (isolating one sheep from the flock).

Until recent years Bill also entered his Border Collies in sheepherding trials, a type of competition for herding dog owners that was established in Wales in 1873. His dogs have competed well. So well that he and his dog took overall winner in a competition in Georgia where he could not communicate by voice commands. Bill chuckles and admits that, in most cases, when mistakes were made in trials, it was his mistake, not the dog’s!

Training methods, although fairly universal, vary some with individuals. Bill’s technique includes a great deal of patience and gentle, consistent commands. Border Collies live to please and are quick to learn. He compares them to young children in their ability to learn as well as their propensity for trying to get away with something they shouldn’t be doing. Depending upon the individual animal, it might take 5-6 months to train a working farm dog, while trial dogs are in constant training to improve. Both categories need ongoing challenges by being presented with new things to stimulate them mentally. According to Bill, a trained Collie can fetch a tidy sum. For a champion competition dog, the figure can jump considerably.

One of the most challenging moves to train into a Border Collie is called a “shed.” This is when the dog is required to isolate one sheep from the flock. It has practical applications on a working farm, but simply goes against the natural instinct of the Collie to keep the flock together. Bill says, “It’s like asking a right-handed person to write with their left hand.” In Bill’s estimation 70% of a Border Collie’s ability is instinct, with the balance in training.

Pups as young as 8 weeks are ready for some basic training in Bill’s world. They learn not to leave their enclosure until given a command, and discipline around the food bowl can come in handy. Exposure to livestock begins early, but he will not “put a dog onto livestock” for hard training before 8-12 months or even more. Bill’s satisfaction comes in watching the dogs progress in their learning and the application of their training in real situations. With trial dogs, it’s seeing them compete at high levels.

The Border Collie’s intelligence is well known. They are quick to pick up new challenges and to respond to their masters. Bill tells the story of one of his trial dogs who learned to read his body language and responded accordingly. In a trial situation, when the course was complete and he would call the dog in, Bill would unconsciously lower his head. The problem came when Bill lowered his head before the course was finished . . . and the dog came in prematurely! (Bill’s mistake, remember?)

Fun Facts:

  • Bordie Collies control stock with stalking movement and an intense gaze known as “eye.”
  • The breed as we know it today has been around for more than 100 years.
  • Their intelligence has been observed as having an intuitive quality that goes well beyond basic instinct.
  • Chase, a specially trained Border Collie, in 2011 demonstrated that he could recognize over 1000 words!


Learn more about Bill and his pack here.


Busch Wildlife

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, a longtime SEWE favorite, is returning to fascinate crowds with its always entertaining and educational live animal shows. The Busch Wildlife staff will introduce the wonders of the natural ecosystems and give SEWE attendees an up-close look at alligators, bobcats, foxes, birds of prey, snakes and more. The presentations at Gaillard Center will focus on the natural history of the animals while discussing ecology, conservation, endangered species and urban wildlife.

The Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, of Jupiter Island, Florida, rehabilitates sick, injured and orphaned wild animals, and educates the public about nature, wildlife and environmental issues while promoting wildlife and habitat conservation. As one of the country’s leading environmental education and wildlife rehabilitation facilities, Busch provides care to over 5,000 wild animal patients, returning the recovered animals to their natural habitats annually. Seating is first-come, first-served.

Learn more about Busch Wildlife here.


Joseph H. Sulkowski | Artist Spotlight

SEWE is excited to announce painter Joseph H. Sulkowski as its Guest Artist for the 2018 event. Sulkowski knew from the age of five that he would be an artist. His early skills in drawing and painting enabled him to begin a path toward fulfilling his passion.

Following graduation from Canon-McMillan High School, he studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, founded in 1809 and the oldest art school in the U.S. Later he met his greatest influence and mentor, Frank Mason, the foremost authority on the principles and techniques of the Old Masters at the Art Students League of New York. Mason was the last protege of Frank Vincent DuMond whom he succeeded as teacher in Studio 7 at the League. DuMond was a close friend and disciple of James Abbott McNeil Whistler.

Sulkowski became an apprentice to Mason from 1974-1979 learning the traditional principles of painting in the 17th century Flemish, Dutch and Italian techniques. He also learned how to prepare his paints, mediums and oils using recipes developed in the studios of Rubens and Rembrandt.

Joseph Sulkowski refers to his style of painting as “poetic realism”, an interpretive form inspired by the natural world. He values his freedom to view the world as a poetic vision and then to express that vision in rich impastos and luminous transparent shadows on canvas.

The animals, figures and landscape of the sporting life are the subjects that continually draw Sulkowski’s attention. His love for sporting dogs, terriers and foxhounds inform many of his most illustrious canvases. At the same time, he is inspired by the intimacy of companionship of “man’s best friend”, the feeling of which is expressed in his privately commissioned pet portraits.

Sulkowski’s trips to places afield from the quail hunting plantations of south Georgia to the grouse moors of the Scottish Highlands continue to be sources for inspiration. The artist has also often returned to one of his favorite subjects, the horse, to capture this animal’s grace and beauty.

Joseph Sulkowski’s work is represented in public and private collections worldwide. His two murals of Saudi Arabian history reside in the King Abdul Aziz Museum in Saudi Arabia. Other collectors include Rolex, the Duke of Bedford, Marshall Field IV, GeorgeMichael and the Tennessee State Museum to name a few. He is represented by Halcyon Gallery in London, Trailside Galleries in Jackson, WY and Scottsdale,AZ and The Edgartown Art Gallery in Marthaʼs Vineyard.

He has received numerous awards including the AAPL Grand National Award, the Grumbacher Gold Medallion Award and the Best in Show award at the Art in the Mountains exhibition sponsored by Southwest Art magazine. He is a signature member of the Society of Animal Artists, the National Society of Mural Painters, the National Arts Club, the American Artists Professional League and he is a Life Member of the ArtStudents League of New York.

Sulkowski resides in Franklin, Tennessee with his artist wife, Elizabeth Brandon.





Feathers and Flocks: Waterfowling in South Carolina

Feathers and Flocks: Waterfowling in South Carolina
February 15 – May 7, 2017

“They frequent the lower parts of Rivers in Carolina” was about all Mark Catesby could say about “the little brown duck” that got away from him whilst compiling notes for his eighteenth century masterwork detailing the region’s wildlife. Of course, the bird’s speed and elusiveness came as no surprise to the countless duck hunters and birdwatchers that followed.

Numerous species of ducks and other local waterfowl are central to the Lowcountry’s historical culture, their meat and feathers filling specific desires from dining tables to fashion statements, and even indigenous sacred ceremonies. These birds today still carry a certain mystique all their own, influencing artisans and artists alike with their serene demeanor and brilliant plumage. Even hunting them has become somewhat of an art form. Handcrafted decoys and calls have themselves become prized possessions, as have the elegant shotguns used in conjunction with them.

The Charleston Museum, in cooperation with the 2017 Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, and with generous sponsorship from the Charleston Mercury, presents Feathers and Flocks: Waterfowling in South Carolina, a collective look at the historic art and artifacts associated with local waterfowling. This exhibit will draw from a number of different categories from the Museum’s vast collections as well as a few private ones, and offer an important glimpse into the South Carolina Lowcountry’s longstanding water bird traditions.

Learn more about the Charleston Museum, the nation’s oldest museum.

PLEASE NOTE: Free admission for all Charleston Museum members. Special $10 entry fee for all SEWE ticket and badge holders during SEWE weekend only. $5 for ages 3-12, and children 2 and under are free. Regular museum rate of $12 for adults resumes after SEWE weekend.


Live Presentations at SEWE 2017

SEWE is excited to offer the following live presentations throughout the weekend. All of these shows are included with your general admission ticket. And don’t forget – kids 10 and under are free!


Friday, 2/17 at 3 PM  |  Saturday, 2/18 at 1 PM  |  Gaillard Center

As a television personality, nature conservationist and author, Jeff Corwin will entertain and delight SEWE attendees at the Gaillard Center with live presentations on Friday and Saturday. Best known as host and executive producer of Ocean Mysterieson ABC, Jeff is recognized as a global leader in exploration and conservation. Seating is first-come,first-served.


Friday, 2/17 at 11 AM  |  Saturday, 2/18 at 3:30 PM  |  Sunday, 2/19 at 11 AM  |  Gaillard Center

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary will introduce the wonders of the natural ecosystems and give SEWE attendees an up-close look at animals ranging from alligators, bobcats and foxes to birds of prey, snakes and much more. Seating is first-come, first-served.



Friday, 2/17 at 11 AM and 3 PM  |  Saturday, 2/18 at 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM |  Sunday, 2/19 at 1 PM | Marion Square

Presented by BP America
One of the most entertaining and educational shows during SEWE. See amazing flight demos up-close by a variety of raptors including falcons, eagles, owls and hawks while learning about the important role they play in our ecosystem.



Friday, 2/17 at 1 PM  |  Saturday, 2/18 at 3 PM |  Sunday, 2/19 at 3 PM  |  Marion Square

Reptiles and amphibians are an integral part of our ecosystem. Learn why and how The Orianne Society promotes the conservation of these creatures and game species (such as quail, turkey and deer) in this informative presentation with the Eastern Indigo Snake, Gopher Tortoise, Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake and more.



SCWA Events

Check out these South Carolina Waterfowl Association events during SEWE weekend!

South Carolina Waterfowl Association Sportsman’s Ball    
6 pm, Friday, February 17
This SCWA wild game feast features dinner, cocktails, raffles and offers a silent and live auction. A 30th anniversary celebration with cocktail attire at the Omar Shrine Center in Mt. Pleasant.
TICKETS: $60 per person | $90 per couple. Reserve a table for your group: $360 for 8-person table | $450 for 10-person table. Available HERE or call 803.452.6001.
Omar Shrine Center, Mt. Pleasant

Annual Duck Shuck Oyster Roast
6 pm, Saturday, February 18
With live music, raffles, live and silent auctions and hot oysters, this casual party is a fun evening at the Omar Shrine Center in Mt. Pleasant.
TICKETS: $50 per person | $400 to reserve a table. Available HERE or call 803.452.6001.



2017 Live Auction Preview

From the 2017 Featured Painting to a private dinner with Jack Hanna to custom handcrafted knives, preview the line up of fabulous auction items available to bid on during the SEWE Preview Gala and Auction, being held Thursday, February 16, 2017 as part of the SEWE VIP program. Happy bidding!


SEWE 2017 Brochure

Flip through the SEWE Show Brochure to view the full lineup for SEWE 2017. Contact us if you would like one mailed to you.

Designed by Andrew Barton


SEWE Tribute Dinner

The Tribute Dinner, held Wednesday evening prior to SEWE weekend, brings together devoted event supporters and leaders from throughout the community and region to honor recipients of the Lifetime Stewardship Award. Hosted at the Charleston Gaillard Center, attendees are introduced to an array of animals, meet wildlife artists, and dine with friends as they enjoy entertainment and an inspirational award presentation unique to SEWE. Previous Lifetime Stewardship Award winners include Len Hutchison and George Bullwinkel, pillars of the community and individuals who embody the spirit of Southeastern Wildlife Exposition. Each has given countless time and support to SEWE, and to the community and region to which it has a direct economic, cultural, and educational impact.

The 2017 Tribute Dinner will celebrate The Honorable Joseph P. Riley, Jr., who served as Mayor of Charleston for over forty years. Riley is one of the most influential figures in the history of Charleston. He led the city through a revitalization resulting in it becoming one of the most sought after travel destinations in the world and one of the most desirable places to live. Riley, a winner of the National Medal of Arts, has had a direct and lasting impact on the civic design and public spaces that form much of the backdrop of Southeastern Wildlife Exposition.

For more information or to purchase a table, CLICK HERE or please call or email Maggie Howell at 843.723.1748 or mhowell@sewe.com.