Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | October 22, 2014

We’ve Painted How Many Paintings?

We’ve Painted How Many Paintings?

By Wes Siegrist

Wes Siegrist with paintings in 1987

Me with some of my “splatter” paintings in 1987

Wes Siegrist first outdoor show in 1987

My first outdoor show in 1987. I had painted 64 paintings in two weeks for it!

People often wonder and ask how often we paint. Our answer is pretty much all the time. Times that both of us are away from our easel are exceptions versus the norm and they add up to less days than we can count on our hands each month. The only exceptions are the months where we travel to exhibitions. All that time at our easels means we produce a lot of paintings annually. We currently average between 75 to 100 paintings each year with an additional half dozen drawings done as gifts or donations.

Wes Siegrist painting in Naples, FL in 1988

Me painting in Naples, FL in 1988

Early in our career, when we were not so focused on creating highly refined work, and even used spray bottles and 3 inch brushes, we might produce two dozen paintings a day! Our business model was certainly work harder with the thought being that the more we could produce and sell, the better for paying our bills and surviving as artists. These fast paintings sold for a pittance, usually under $35, and we managed to persist as painters. Later, in part due to reproductions filling in for this lower priced market, we chose to concentrate on elaborate compositions filled with inordinate amounts of detail covering paper and canvases averaging 19 x 29 inches. It took us two to six months to finish one painting! By the mid 1990s we had already painted and sold well over a thousand works!

Wes Siegrist at FONZ Art Show in 1999

Me at the Friends of the National Zoo Art Show, Washington, D.C. in 1999

I used to laughingly remark in my classes this benefit of doing so many paintings: “Most artists only produce “x” amount of work in their career and learn from doing that amount. We’re just getting “x” amount done now to learn from our mistakes earlier!” It was true to a degree but as time went on we realized artists are always learning and constantly making mistakes!

Rachelle Siegrist with her fish paintings in 1990

Rachelle with some of her fish paintings in 1990

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist with his paintings in 1996

Us with my watercolor paintings in 1996 at Brushstrokes Gallery

Painting so much also affected the answer to the question “How long does it take to paint that?”. So much experience with mixing colors, adjusting values and knowing how to edit compositions made it more instinctive and the process faster. On the flip side, having done a fish painting 300 times before made us want to do this next one different … and better … taking more time. You might say, we’re faster painters now but we take more time refining our work. A familiar subject will go quicker than something completely new to us. Miniature paintings also tend to take far longer to do, per square inch, than any of our conventional scaled works. We’ve been known to spend 2-3 weeks on a portrait miniature measuring a mere six square inches!

Rachelle Siegrist at Lake Placid Art Show in 1999

Rachelle at the Lake Placid Art Show in 1999

Since starting with miniature paintings in the late 1990s we’ve completed over 1,400 of them! Do we tire of picking up the brushes? No way! We may tire of paperwork, framing and traveling to shows but we love the smell of the paint when we lift the lids on our palettes and anticipate that first brushstroke! We have 20+ years worth of photo reference for future paintings that is augmented constantly, so our resources and desire seem limitless. We’re so indebted to the collectors who have enhanced their collections with our paintings. More than helping to pay our bills they’re making it happen for us to keep painting more!

Rachelle Siegrist painting at MASF Exhibition 2009

Rachelle painting at the Miniature Art Society of Florida’s International Miniature Art Show in 2009 (Photo courtesy of Bill Mundy)

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Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | October 19, 2014

Enjoying a Visit With My Parents!

A Fun Week With My Parents!”

By Rachelle Siegrist

fall homcoming at the museum of appalachia

Dad, me and Mom at the Museum of Appalachia

After almost 3 weeks of blue skies and sunshine, it started raining 2 days before my parents arrived from Florida last Sunday, and rained daily until what was supposed to be their last day here, when amazingly the rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun shone down, showcasing brilliant blue skies above! With squinted eyes, one couldn’t help admiring and looking at the great ball of fire in the sky! However, the juicy weather didn’t hinder us from having fun together. Last Monday morning, we headed to the Museum of Appalachia, where we spent much of the day. Firstly we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the restaurant located inside the museum, featuring yummy Southern style food. With a tantalizing list of things to choose from, one couldn’t go wrong! We enjoyed everything we ate, especially the sweet potato casserole and shared piece of carrot cake, which was scrumptious, and the best I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant! Moreover, we enjoyed the group of people gathered and seated in a circle inside an adjacent area, playing lap and hammer dulcimers, creating a truly memorable experience!

larry davis at museum of appalachiaDad makes a new friend

rachelle siegrist by Tom Cassies cabin

Mom and me by Tom Cassie’s one room cabin

With happy tummies, we started our journey back in time, when Appalachia was void of paved roads, cell towers, and many of the other modern conveniences, which tend to ruin and clutter the natural world, and many times, our personal lives! We visited the two large, indoor museums and were delighted to enjoy bluegrass music, played by a talented family of six, while exploring the largest museum, the Appalachian Hall of Fame. Leaving the indoor museum, we walked along a curved path while stopping to visit an assortment of historical cabins, barns and small outbuildings rescued from a 200-mile radius around the museum. Walking into the old cabins, filled with the scent of old wood, offered a glimpse back to a time and place, when much of a family’s life was spent just trying to survive. I must say a highlight of our visit to the museum for me, was of course petting the resident horse and mules, as well as watching the sheep and goats, especially the adorable babies!

rachelle siegrist huggin a horseI was delighted to get several hugs from my new furry friend!

larry davis in museum of appalachia jail cellDad “serves time” in a historic, moveable  jail cell at the museum

With a morning free of rain on Wednesday, we decided to take advantage of it, with a picnic at nearby Metcalf Bottoms, where we ate accompanied by the sounds of the adjacent, rushing river! We spent the afternoon driving the narrow, winding, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The narrow paved trail, snaking its way through dense woods, invites you to slow down and take time to enjoy the forest and historic cabins located along the drive. After visiting almost every cabin along the way, we were treated to a splendid finale along our journey, that being a “Wet weather waterfall” called the Place of a Thousand Drips! We then enjoyed a relaxing drive to Cosby, TN, where we went to Carver’s Orchard. As we walked into the large, old building, the deliciously intoxicating aroma of fresh apples filled the air! Several bags of apples and squash later, we headed back to Townsend, where we feasted on a yummy pizza at Pizza Hut!

ephraim bales cabin at roaring fork

Me, Dad and Mom beside Ephraim Bale’s historic cabin located inside Roaring Fork

tub mill inside roaring fork motor trail

Dad and me beside a tub mill

rachelle siegrist with cabin in roaring fork motor trail

Mom and me beside a house for little people

stream inside roaring fork motor trail

I decided that this large rock looked like a big turtle trying to swim upstream . . . and the turbulent water made it appear as if it were blowing bubbles out of its nose!

Thursday we visited the Cades Cove Museum located inside the Thompson-Brown House in nearby Maryville. The historical cabin is filled with interesting relics and stories from people who lived inside Cades Cove, before leaving their homes, so it could become a National Park. The volunteer was most informative, and we left with a greater appreciation of the history of the beautiful cove! Thankfully, the seemingly never-ending rains, stopped Thursday night, and we awoke to a gorgeous sunshine-filled day Friday morning! With a picnic lunch packed, we headed into Cades Cove, to spend the glorious fall day! After a picnic lunch, we walked up to Gregory’s cave, where we listened to several turkeys nearby clucking to each other. When they stopped I would make clucking noise, which they would immediately answer!

rachelle siegrist by gregory's caveDad and me at the mouth of Gregory’s Cave

The remainder of the afternoon was spent enjoying visiting a few of the cabins and walking through the open sun drenched fields to a couple of small cemeteries. Of course no trip to Cades Cove is complete, unless we stop to watch and pet the resident horses and mules! Upon returning home, my poor mom decided that what we thought was a sprained muscle, was most likely a broken foot, which happened when she twisted it on a rock buried under the leaves, while hiking to the cave earlier that day. So after a memorable trip to the ER, our worst fear was confirmed, and it was indeed a broken bone in her foot, ending in a soft cast being put onto her foot! Thankfully the ER staff was extremely friendly, helpful and most entertaining as well!

picnicing at metcalf bottomsEnjoying a picnic at Metcalf Bottoms inside the Smokies

Needless to say, they had to postpone their return trip home by a day. So while my mom took a much needed nap yesterday, my dad and I hiked to Spruce Flats Falls, to enjoy both the beautiful fall foliage and the raging falls, thanks to the recent rain! It was as splendid as always, water crashing down, completely surrounded by bright yellow and orange foliage! Dad and I stayed there awhile, completely mesmerized while watching the multi-colored leaves floating along and plummeting over the smaller cascades. Then all of a sudden a strong wind came, and within seconds, the air was full of swirling, descending, bright yellow leaves, creating a stunning 3-dimensional effect to the gorgeous setting! After several stops along the hike back, to admire the view and for me to pet the moss, we found ourselves back at the trailhead once more. While eating our supper last evening, we decided that we had indeed made many memories during their visit. Thankfully all but one, were wonderful ones!

fall in cades coveDad, a barefooted me, and Kit enjoying a walk through a grassy fiend in Cades Cove

rachelle siegrist with mule in cades cove

Dad takes photos while I pet and talk to the mule

~ ————— ( ) ————— ~

~ The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels ~

Wes recently finished a miniature painting of a Mule Deer near our friends’ home in Colorado.  His other recently completed paintings from last week can be seen on the mammals page on our website

mule deer painting by Wes_SiegristLil’ Mulie ” by Wes

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Until next time . . .
~ Rachelle

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