Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | April 20, 2014

Hike To White Oak Sinks With Us!

Hiking to White Oak Sinks

By Rachelle Siegrist

wes and rachelle Siegrist at White Oak Sinks

There was a chill in the air and a crisp breeze, as we stated hiking to White Oak Sinks, with friends Kit and Pat, this past Friday. Thankfully, there were a few more wildflowers blooming along the trail, including numerous Trillium, compared to when we hiked that section last week. However some areas of the trail still appeared to be stuck in winter! We left the main trail and headed down the narrow winding path, leading to the sinks, and had to climb over several downed trees and cross a couple of streams along the way.

White Trillium

A White Trillium complete with a tiny green caterpillar

Before long, we rounded a corner and made our final descent into the meadow area leading to the falls, and saw the first clump of phlox blooming, where their beautiful lavender petals, and delightful fragrance awakened ones senses! Excitement filled me, seeing this first glimpse, knowing what lay ahead! Rounding one final curve, we were treated to a visual feast of lavender phlox blooming everywhere!

field of blue phlox at white oak sinks

Blue Phlox and Mayapples

rachelle siegrist swinging at white oak sinks

Just a swingin’ and happy as a Lark!

This is such a magical place to me when the meadow is filled with the lavender patches and I always envision a mother deer bedded down with her fawn in the middle of one of these lush areas. We were not alone on this hike, and while we sat on a moss covered log watching all of the people and eating our lunch, we figured there must’ve been about 200 people in there! Amazingly, It almost looked like natures version of Disney!

hikers at WHite Oak SInks

Can anyone say “Disney?”

rachelle siegrist and pat by blue phlox

Pat and I enjoying the beauty of it all

However, within no time the people all seemed to disappear, and we had it mostly to ourselves. After passing the bat cave, and walking up the trail some distance, we left it to walk a small path to a nearby sink hole, where there was a mass grouping of beautiful Virginia Blue Bells blooming, and passed the largest collection of Shooting Stars I had ever seen, on the way to the sink hole. Returning back to the main meadow area, we headed for the striking falls, which is comprised of a steam that descends to an opening in the ground below, before it runs back the other way underground, eventually emerging some 3 miles northwest of White Oak Sink in Tuckaleechee Caverns.

shooting star at white oak sinks

Shooting Star blossoms with Blue Phlox below

Virginia Bluebells at White Oak Sinks

Virginia Bluebells

Wild Ginger

A stunning Wild Ginger blossom

We met several wonderful and interesting people throughout the hike, including one gentleman, from Knoxville, who hikes the trail every week. Saying goodbye to the lovely falls, we started our journey back, being completely absorbed in the visually stunning phlox filled meadow along the way! By the time we returned to the trailhead that afternoon, we had enjoyed a glorious day and numerous photo opportunities, and once again made some wonderful memories!

falls at white oak sinks

The falls at White Oak Sinks

Blue Phlox in White Oak Sinks

Kit trying to decide which flower is best to photograph

stream along school house gap trail

Ruts in the rocks, made when wagons used to travel the stream bed to get into the White Oak Sink area

Rachelle and Wes Siegrist’s newest paintings

Wes finished his painting of an adorable River Otter surrounded by water that almost appears to be moving in his painting! We both painted on the first painting in our Tandem Series, featuring our friends Fred and Barb’s beautiful Marmalade cat named “Precious”. I’ve almost finished my miniature painting of a lovely cat, which we’ve shared the step by step photos of on our Facebook page. Currently Wes is putting the finishing touches on a painting of a sheep.

cat painting cat portrait

“Precious” by Rachelle and Wes

River Otter painting by Wes Siegrist

The Backstroke” by Wes

Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | April 16, 2014

How Long Does It Take To Paint A Miniature Painting?

The Step-by-Step Process of Miniature Painting

By Rachelle & Wes Siegrist

How to paint a miniature - drawing and washes

Drawing and Initial Washes

Start By Drawing and Applying Washes

Miniature painting can take us anywhere from two days to three weeks to do one painting. It all relates to how much is involved in the painting’s composition and how much detail will be in the art. For example, a one square inch painting of an animal’s head with a solid background will go much more quickly then a 2 x 3 inch of a scene at a marina or a landscape. Portraits always take the longest, with most of them taking me personally upwards to three weeks to complete. The level of drawing put into the piece before the painting process also plays a part into the entire time needed for completion. I tend to draw more of the subject before beginning to paint on the miniature, than Wes does. After drawing the subject, we lay down a few washes of watercolor to establish a tone and color harmony.

How to Paint A Miniature Painting step 2

Building up values and establishing colors with washes

Building Color and Values With Washes

To the initial washes of paint, we add secondary washes, thus beginning the process of building different values and depth of color. It is important to get your lightest and darkest values established early on, as that makes it easier to figure out the values in-between. Although we paint from photographs or a combination of photos, we always end up changing the colors to some degree, using our artistic license to create the look we want for the painting.

How to Paint A Miniature Painting step 3

Miniature paintings in progress from washes to adding detail

Having Patience to Paint A Million Marks!

Once the basic values of color have been painted in and established, the slow painstaking process of painting in the detail begins. Painting with our smallest brushes, the more teeny tiny marks we must make, the longer it takes to paint the miniature. The miniatures with more stippling technique (building values and shapes with hundreds of tiny dots of color) made with the brush end up taking the longest to paint.

How to Paint A Miniature Painting step 4

Miniature paintings in progress with details being added

When Is The Painting Done?

Once what seems like millions of marks have been made and feeling like we have painted our miniature to completion, we ask each other to look at it to see if they see anything that could be improved upon. Usually there are a couple of suggestions, which the other one almost always decides to make. Then be it three days or three weeks, we pronounce the miniature finished!

We’re planning to bi-monthly post to my blog insights into our business and painting methods. Do you have a topic or question for us? Step-by-step demonstrations of our paintings can be found on our website or weekly on our Facebook page.

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