Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | July 1, 2015

I’ll Teach You To Paint If You Marry Me!

The Start Of Our Life’s Journey Together

By Wes Siegrist

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist back in September 1989

We’re often asked how we met and if we were both artists at that time.  We thought, since we’ll be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this week, that this is an opportune time to share more of the story than we’re typically able to say in a few seconds at a show or encounter.

We were actually introduced to each other by Rachelle’s mother, Sally, in August of 1989.  I was working at the time doing t-shirt designs, logos and billboards for a group named Youth Arise.  [A coming together of local churches and organizations to promote activities for the youth of the area and I was part of the group as a representative from two different church youth groups]   Sally had known me for several months prior but was unaware of my artistic side until I started volunteering work with Youth Arise.  Knowing I was also active as an art teacher to adults and kids in the surrounding area, she had asked if I would be willing to speak to her daughter about art to which I answered “yes”.

My life quickly changed for the better later that week when Sally surprisingly introduced me to not the little child I was expecting, but a very cute young lady!  Rachelle loves recounting how at that initial introduction I was holding a heaping plate of brownies! (Those who know her FONDNESS for chocolate understand!) [I was taking them back to share with my youth group …really!]  Funny, but neither of us recall really talking about art at that meeting other than perhaps noting I had designed the t-shirt I was wearing!

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist back in 1989 datingOur first date took place at the Okeechobee Pizza Hut where I nervously asked Rachelle for a pen and proceeded to draw and doodle all over the placement with the excuse that I couldn’t talk without a pen in my hand!  Afterwards, Rachelle went back home with me to meet my Nana, whom I was living with, and to see my studio and college portfolio.  She was getting ready to start college herself for commercial art and I had just graduated from college the year prior with a BA in Fine Art and a BA in Graphic Art.  Later, we went back to her house where I played guitar for the family.

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist in 1989 at Highlands HammockI was teaching watercolors at the time at the Highlands Museum of the Arts in Sebring, FL and offered for Rachelle to join my class.  The hourly commute, to and fro each week, was a great opportunity to get to know each other and we often visited Highlands Hammock State Park, near the museum, to walk in the woods and share a picnic.  To answer the other question: No, Rachelle wasn’t an artist when we met.  She had interest in the field and had done a little oil painting with her Granny Beth, but my class was her first attempt at serious painting.  I additionally helped tutor her in her classes at college once she started her semester.  It was during a discussion about her career path that the now legendary phrase was spoken … “I’ll teach you to paint if you’ll marry me?”  Yes, that’s a cute paraphrase of my superfluous discussion but suffice it to say, she agreed.  At least, she kept dating me!  We made it all formal a bit later when I airbrushed a t-shirt with the phrase “Larry, May I Ask You A Question?” and wore it the night of my birthday.  I figured surely her father couldn’t say no at my birthday party!

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist in January 1990While Rachelle attended community college, she also continued to sit in on my various classes as scheduling allowed and managed to join my Nana and I at some art shows. (Pictured above is us at the Beaux Arts Festival in Coral Gables, FL in January of 1990)  I also sat in the back of some of Rachelle’s college classes and much preferred helping her with art homework over science, English and her dreaded Engineering Drafting class!

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist in February 1989I “surprised” my family in February by introducing Rachelle as my fiancee when she flew home with Nana and I for a several day visit! I’m still not sure how I convinced such a lovely princess to spend the rest of her life with me but I’m fairly certain teaching her to paint wasn’t what swayed her … it must have been the CHOCOLATE!!!!

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist with Kima

Rachelle will be sharing memory highlights and photos from our wedding on the upcoming Sunday blog.

Special thanks for indulging our overt sentimentality this week ~ The Lovebirds, Wes & Rachelle

Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | June 28, 2015

Visiting Wes’ Family

A Visit With Wes’ Family

By Rachelle Siegrist

rachelle siegrist indiana state parksMe, George, Jeanie, Tony and Karen

We enjoyed a wonderful visit with Wes’ parents in Southern Indiana last weekend, and arrived there Friday a week ago, in time to go to Rural King to try and get peanuts for my critters. Unfortunately they were out of them, and I was crushed,  however, thankfully George had a small bag left and graciously gave it to me! Saturday, Wes’ brother Tony and wife Karen, joined us for the day, and we enjoyed spending the afternoon at a couple different woodland parks. The first park had a lovely small lake, and we were delighted to find several baby tree frogs jumping about!

baby toad

After watching the preening ducks, looking for more baby frogs, and gathering a handful of discarded fishing line scattered about the lake’s edge, we headed for our next destination. We spent the remainder of the afternoon exploring the Park Lands of Floyds Fork. It’s a new park, which is still being constructed, and offers a variety of things to do and see. We particularly enjoyed walking through a wildflower filled meadow near the wetlands area.

wes rachelle siegrist at the park lands of floyds park

After a yummy supper later at Chipotles, it was a perfect evening for a walk across the recently finished Big Four Bridge connecting Louisville, KY to Jeffersonville, IN. It was a pleasant, casual walk up the gradually rising ramp and across the bridge watching as barges slowly passed underneath. One brave kayaker was even out enjoying a paddle in the high water of the Ohio River! Once across, we sat for awhile and watched the bridge lights changing colors, thus casting a soft colored glow on the water’s surface below, creating a most enchanting scene.

the BIg Four Bridge in Louisville KY

The next afternoon I finally got to go see Jurassic World, which I had greatly been anticipating! Being a huge fan of the earlier Jurassic Park movies, I too enjoyed this one. I must say however, I was greatly saddened by how many dinosaurs died in this one! Even all but one of the poor Veleciraptors were killed, that was just too much for me. So even though I thought it was good, in my opinion the first two in the series are still the best! That evening we were joined by Wes’ brother Greg and his family at his parents’ house for a pizza supper.

rachelle and wes siegrist at the louisvilel zoo

Monday morning, we headed to the Louisville Zoo which is always a fun adventure! Even with the warmer weather animals were out and about, as we walked around stopping to admire and watch them. While watching the Lemurs, a family with a small boy walked up and when asked “Who is that?” by his parents, he quickly replied . . . “It’s King Julian!” I found this most adorable, and wondered how many times the lemur had been called King Julian in his lifetime there at the zoo!

rachelle siegrist watching lemers Louisville zoo 6.15 - 6

Soon we arrived at another favorite of mine, the Meerkat enclosure! I never tire of watching these most adorable and busy little cuties, as they take turns playing and being the scout while watching the sky for danger. However, the heat had caused the one in charge that day to become very sleepy, and as the poor thing stood there trying to keep watch, his little head kept bobbing forward and at times he even fell sideways! The others paid this tireless scout no attention, but happily kept playing while rolling around and chewing on one another! I could’ve stood there all day watching them,  while dreaming of the chance of being able to sit in there and my lap be filled with them!

cute meerkat photo

After lunch we visited the Polar Bear and watched as it swam almost continually trying to keep cool!

polar bear at the louisvilee zoo

Wes and his parents watch the huge Polar Bear swimming, and I must admit that he made the water look very inviting!

wes siegrist at Louisville zoo

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the different aviaries and checking out the inhabitants of the HerpAquarium. All along our meandering walk throughout the zoo, we were treated to 23 wonderful Lego sculptures featuring different birds and critters by artist Sean Kenney. From a large spider to a beautiful life-like peacock, they were simply delightful, and were a nice bonus on top of seeing the real critters that day! Here are a few of Sean’s wonderful sculptures created with thousands of Legos for you to enjoy . . .

sean kenney's lego butterfly

sean kenney's lego peacock

rachelle siegrist with sean kenney's dragin fly lego sculpture

Rachelle with lego deer at louisvilel zoo

sean kenney's lego spider

Of course no visit to the zoo is ever complete with myself visiting the petting zoo, with each precious animal having to be petted and loved on!

rachelle siegrist at the petting zoo

It was a great day at the zoo indeed! Later that evening, George and I enjoyed a most relaxing bike ride all around their neighborhood. Afterwards, back at the house, Greg joined us for dessert, where we all sat around for a couple of hours telling stories and laughing!

We returned to our home here in the Smokies, last Tuesday afternoon, and it was time to get back to work again. However, with temps in the low 90s, we took advantage of the warm weather for a bit of “Hillbilly tubing” one afternoon. What’s that you ask . . . well, it’s where you lay belly down on an inner tube, wearing a mask and snorkel, and float along the river with your face down in the water. With the frigid water temps, that’s the only “mostly” painless way to snorkel here! It’s truly amazing to watch as the trout, bass, Red Horse and other fish swim amidst the rock lined river bottom below, and time always seems to stand still when I’m enjoying this favorite past time!

rachelle siegrist hillbilly snorkeling in tremont

~ ————— Ω ————— ~

~ The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels ~

Wes finished his miniature landscape painting of a peaceful scene here in the Smokies, as well as one of a beautiful goat we visited in one of the petting zoos.

smoky mountain landscape paintingby_Wes_Siegrist

                                                           “An Inspired Setting” by Wes

miniature goat painting_by_Wes_Siegrist

                                                   “Barnyard Beauty Queen” by Wes

I finished my painting of one of my precious furry friends, a Golden retriever named J.T., enjoying one of the numerous tummy rubs I use to give him!

golden retriever dog painting by Rachelle_Siegrist

                                                        “Tummy Rub Time” by Rachelle

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Until next time . . .


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