Beautiful Breakfast Encounters

nature photography fall decor

Well, it’s October, and I must say it certainly feels like it here! To be honest, I’m not ready for fall, I’m never ready for fall, but go forward with heels dug deep into the sand, being dragged by the changing of the seasons. Chilly weather is not an exciting change for a sun-loving water baby. I suited up in my wetsuit over the past couple of weeks, to extend my swimming as long as I possibly could, but alas I had to cry “uncle“. As I type the pool is being drained and used to water the garden and flower beds, which are extremely dry, since we haven’t gotten rain in over a month now. So I remind myself that the end of the pool is sustaining life for the plants… It doesn’t really help, but I still try 🙂

The mornings this past week have been “two robe” mornings. That’s how I judge the temperature, by how many robes I have to put on to stay warm whilst eating breakfast on the porch … Ha! During one of my breakfasts, I was joined by the white-tail deer, a mom and her triplets. It was thrilling to say the least, and two of the fawns spent half an hour right off the porch munching on small trees, grass, and acorns, before heading off into the woods. Then the mother and other fawn walked over and stood looking at me, as if we were carrying on a wordless conversation. They spent some time eating acorns and bits of green grass, as I sat very still, relishing in the magical morning! A little while later, they slowly made their way into the woods as well. Wes managed to get this photo of me through the window without spooking them.

white-tailed deer

Another morning, I began hearing leaves rustling and crunching in the woods, and at first thought it was squirrels chasing one another. Then I could hear faint clucking noises off on the distance, and within a few minutes here came the flock of turkeys. There are still at least a dozen of them and all of the babies are now fully grown, beautiful birds! They slowly walked through the woods near me, scratching about the ground occasionally finding treats, flapping wings, and chatting before disappearing into the back woods some time later. Yet another morning, as I sat in my lounge chair mere feet from the mountain, one of the hummingbirds decided it was a good morning for a bath. It flew down to the fountain and landed on the rock and began dipping its wings down on to the wet rock, then it walked directly under the spout, as if it was taking a wee shower! It was truly amazing to watch as it flapped it’s tiny wings and dipped its head, until it was obviously sufficiently soaked, then it flew over to a nearby limb and began preening. As you can imagine, I love eating breakfast in the front yard, as you just never know what you’re going to see!

nature photography stone fountain

I didn’t have my camera with me, but this is the hummingbird shower facility

When we were sitting on the porch eating lunch, I noticed a small green thing hop onto a rock by the fire pit, so Immediately I went out to see what it was. It was the cutest wee green frog and was quite gracious and let me get this photo of it.

frog photo

Wes spotted this beautiful resident in the garden one day, so I quickly grabbed the camera and got this photo of it on its’ web.

nature photography spider

Our neighbor told us we just had to come see her cactus that was blooming, so we walked over and were totally impressed with the large, beautiful flower! If anyone knows what kind it is, please let me know in a comment, as we are interested in knowing and she couldn’t remember the name.

nature photography cactus bloom

One day this past week, we spent an afternoon kayaking on nearby Watts Bar lake to take advantage of the absolutely gorgeous weather! It was a splendid day and we managed to stay out of the strong wind most of the time, whilst paddling along in a new area. 

rachelle siegrist kayaking

Wes spotted this dragonfly on top of the water flapping its wings and unable to lift from the surface. So he carefully paddled over to it, reached down and gently picked it up and sat it on his leg so it could dry out and warm up. We noticed that it had absolutely gorgeous green eyes! It sat there for quite awhile and then once it was ready flitted off back to the skies. 

nature photography dragonfly

Although we saw several interesting sights, I thought this old fishing marina and resort was quite charming, making us feel as if we had slipped back in time many years. Even though parts of it were falling into disrepair, other parts remained as charming as ever and we could tell that at one point many years ago, it must have really been a great vacation destination. It still sells gas to boaters and appeared to have a little convince store, with an old Coca-Cola sign, and I must admit I thought it would be fun sometime to just walk in and see what it is like inside. 

nature photography kayaking

IN THE STUDIO

It’s been a very busy time for me in the studio this week, especially since I can no longer swim 🙂 I finished this miniature portrait the I had started earlier, and it’s headed to a miniature art show in Florida. While exploring the catwalk area above the theater in an art museum with my artist friend who has a great eye for dramatic lighting, Anni Crouter, she said let me get a photo of you in this incredible lighting. As soon as I saw the photo she took, I knew I had to paint it some day, and that day came. Although it’s not easy capturing light, I actually really enjoyed the challenge of it.

portrait miniature by rachelle siergist

“Light”

I also started painting my latest pet portrait commission of a gorgeous Doberman named Bella, and will be sharing her progress with you next week.

dog painting of doberman

 “Bella” in progress 

Wes is delighted to have won an Honorable Mention in Watermedia at the 89th Annual International Exhibition of Fine Art Miniatures, Washington, DC . 

SEE OUR PAINTINGS IN PERSON THIS WEEK

2022 Kentucky National Wildlife Art Exhibit
October 1 to November 29, 2022: Preston Arts Center, Henderson, KY

We were delighted to learn that I won the John Stanley Hoffman Award and Wes won the John Triplett Award!

EXQUISITE MINIATURES is open at the  Gadsden Arts Center & Museum, located in Quincy, FL, and it will be on display there until December 17, 2022.

exquisite miniatures at gadsden arts center

An Evening with Ape Action Africa Auction
October 7th, 2022: London, UK

100% of the proceeds from the sale of our gorillas goes to this amazing organization to help fund the work they do! 

Sketch for Survival with Explorers Against Extinction
October 6, 2022: The Explorers Club, New York City, NY (Online Auction begins September 16th and ends on October 8, 2022) You can now bid online and 100% of the proceeds from the sell of our paintings goes to this incredible Organization and their important work!

 Francesca Anderson Fine Art, MA

Society of Animal Artists 62nd Annual Exhibition
September 24, 2022 – January 1, 2023: Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, CA

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows,

visit our WEBSITE  artofwildlife.com     Email us

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

The Beauty of Light

nature photography sunrise

Wes and I stepped away from the computers and easel this past week to enjoy a few days camping, kayaking, and hiking, and what an awesome tradeoff it was indeed! The weather was absolutely perfect the entire time, so much better than our last 3 camping trips where it rained much of the time and there were terrible winds at times. This time instead of having to leave early because of inclement weather, we were very sad to leave and wished we could just keep camping!

nature photography caterpillar

We had several birds and critters such as this adorable caterpillar visit our campsite. A highlight was the Yellow-billed Cuckoo that landed in a tree above our picnic table and hung around for a bit. We tried to get a photo of it, but alas it didn’t happen. We did get a lovely picture of the leaves though…ha ha! It’s always fun to see a chipmunk and I thought this one was so cute with a mouthful of nut.

nature photography chipmunk Our friend Mike camped along with us and we had great fun hanging out with him whilst hiking, kayaking, swimming, fishing and paddle boarding. Even though the nights were chilly, the brilliant sunshine warmed it up enough during the day to make it pleasant to swim.

rachelle siegrist

Mike graciously let me borrow his paddle board several times, to enjoy this mesmerizing activity and enjoy a different perspective of the water below. Once I started feeling sure-footed, it was very relaxing!

rachelle siegrist paddle boarding

We went on several hikes and saw lots of beautiful scenery, such as this gorgeous field of yellow wildflowers! Looking upon it, I could almost hear “the hills are alive with the sound of music” being sung in the background, and I just wanted to run out into the middle of the bright yellow field and start spinning in circles! But alas the fear of getting chiggers kept me from doing it.

nature photography wildflowers

Wes and I have had a few close calls with lightning whilst hiking and getting caught in a storm, and this poor tree served as a visual reminder of just how dangerous that can be! 

nature photography wes siegrist

There were an abundance of the bright, orange delicate blossoms of jewelweed scattered about and alongside the trails. I was surprised we didn’t see hardly any hummingbirds, as I know they love this little gorgeous nectar source.

nature photography jewel weed

There was a variety of yellow blossoms blooming, adding bright splashes to the landscape in so many places.

nature photography daisies

If you follow my blog, you’ll remember that Wes has been sun-drying tomatoes, lots of them recently. Since we had an abundance, we decided to take a couple bags of them with us and mixed with our fresh peppers, herbs, and ramen noodles, they made a delicious and easy meal!

nature photography food

We were delighted that the wind was absent much of our time kayaking, making it pretty ideal paddling weather. You can see Mike on far left in his big yellow canoe, in the photo below. 

nature photography rachelle siegrist kayaking

Because of the abundant sunshine, the day played out in a stunning array of lights and shadows, and I had such fun photographing so many things and settings, that showcased the beauty of light. 

nature photography kayaking

For instance, take this old root with dried weeds on it, which ordinarily wouldn’t be photo worthy, but add light and voila’ . . . it’s absolutely gorgeous!

nature photography water

Although Wes and I have seen many ducks while kayaking over the years, usually we can never get close enough to get a decent photo. Well, I finally managed to do just that with these beautiful wood ducks, who didn’t seem to mind me at all.

nature photography ducks

I just couldn’t resist taking photos of the lovely effect of light, which became particularly nice in the late evening.

nature photography fall leaves

Early one morning, I found myself in the midst of swallows, lots of them, darting and swooping all around me, while catching bugs and occasionally dipping down to get a drink off the surface of the water on the fly. It was truly amazing to watch as these  aeronautical acrobats filled the sky, coming within mere feet of my face at times. 

nature photography of swallows

The soft mist slowly lifting off the water’s surface added to the scenery, making it absolutely breathtaking!

nature photography swallows

It wasn’t just the swallows that took my breath away, but also the stunning sunset we were treated to one evening in particular. It was so beautiful that it seemed surreal. 

nature photography sunset

SEE OUR PAINTINGS IN PERSON THIS WEEK

EXQUISITE MINIATURES is open at the  Gadsden Arts Center & Museum, located in Quincy, FL, and it will be on display there until December 17, 2022.

 Francesca Anderson Fine Art, MA

Society of Animal Artists 62nd Annual Exhibition
September 24, 2022 – January 1, 2023: Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, CA

rachelle & wes siegrist paintings in the SAA exhibitionWes’ “Rock Patrol” and my “Patterns”

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows, please

visit our WEBSITE  artofwildlife.com     Email us

 

 

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Has it Been a Year Already?

remodeling a log cabin9

We can’t believe it’s already been one full year since we moved to our beloved log cabin in the woods! It doesn’t seem possible, but alas here we find ourselves having already lived here a year this past Thursday. Through hard work, we’ve gotten a lot accomplished here and finished all of our main projects and remodeling that we wanted, or needed, to do. We still have a few things that we’re planning to do this winter, a couple of of which are adding a new rock flower bed at the back of the cabin and extending the patio just a wee bit out back. I confess, we can’t resist playing and building things with rocks, and we still have plenty left on the property to use. 

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love “before and after” photos, so since at times a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought it would be fun to see the difference that has transpired during our first year here. While trying to stand in the exact same spot, I’ll admit it wasn’t easy, so I got as close as possible. So I hope you enjoy seeing the difference as much as we did!

The photos show before at the top and present day below.

remodeling a log cabin6

We’re happy to have created some differentiation between the driveway and the yard.

remodeling a log cabin7

We tried to save and reuse the wagon wheels, but they were rotten and fell apart when we took them off the deck to build the porch

remodeling a log cabin11

We moved the grapevines to the backyard inside the fence, so we could eat the grapes instead of the deer

remodeling a log cabin

The backyard obviously has the biggest transformation of all! Part of the vast backyard we let be a seasonal meadow and have enjoyed seeing turkey, butterflies, and deer in it regularly.

remodeling a log cabin10

I was thrilled to discover there was a level spot already made for an above ground pool!

remodeling a log cabin13

Wow… what a difference the back porch and sandstone patio made

remodeling a log cabin2

We’ve enjoyed eating on our porch from day one, but it is much nicer now and we love looking out at the gardens

remodeling a log cabin8

We have spent days moving gravel with shovels and a wheelbarrow to work on the steep section of our driveway, and while it’s not perfect, it’s so much better now!

remodeling a log cabin4

The birds and critters love the front yard now, with a fountain, feeding stations and flowers for the insects and hummingbirds.

remodeling a log cabin3

We turned his old 4-wheeler paths into walking trails and added several new sections to what existed.

remodeling a log cabin5

And last but not least, the wonderful pile of “B” rocks that were left, when they mined rocks off the property sometime long ago. This is where we get all of our sandstone to build our patios, fountains, pizza oven, and other rock structures. We call it the rock store and love it because it’s free!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this before and after journey and sometime in the near future I’ll be making a time-lapse video of our back patio and pizza oven build, and will share it with you once it’s finished.

SEE OUR PAINTINGS IN PERSON THIS WEEK

EXQUISITE MINIATURES will be opening soon at the  Gadsden Arts Center & Museum, located in Quincy, FL, and it will be on display there from September 23 – December 17, 2022.

 Francesca Anderson Fine Art, MA

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows, please

visit our WEBSITE  artofwildlife.com     Email us

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle