Wetting Lines And Soaking Ourselves

rachelle siegrist fly fishing

Daily thunderstorms have kept us from straying too far from our home here in the Smokies this past week, but we’ve managed to get out early in the mornings on most days to spend a little time outdoors.  One morning we headed into the park nearby to spend some time flyfishing.  Although we didn’t reel anything in, we had a few good bites, with a couple of them being good-sized trout.  Besides, just being out there wading in the chilly water, whilst listening to the symphony of birdsong filling the air, mixed with that of rushing water, makes it great fun whether you catch any fish or not!  At one point I had just made the perfect cast, landing my wee bumble bee lure directly under a tree limb hanging out over the water, and within seconds a fish hit it, tugging it enough to cause me to let out a wee shout in excitement!

rachelle siegrist tubing

The plus side of the daily showers is the higher water levels in our river, making tubing a much more thrilling adventure!  We traded in daily walks or bike rides for tubing most days, and boy have we been having fun!  I’m filled with excitement each time we go as if it’s the first time, and can’t wait to get my wetsuit on and head down to the water.  The louder the roar of the whitewater, the more excited I get, as I jump onto my tube and hang on.  The big dips that send you flying up into the air, causing you to leave the icy water below before coming back down are obviously some of the best sections of whitewater, and there are several like this in the section we tube.  Our rides down vary according to the speed at which the river is flowing, and the walk back follows alongside the river and is quite picturesque.  Then it’s time to go down again whilst enjoying yet another thrilling ride.  On mornings when the water levels are lower and it’s clear, we love snorkeling and watching the different species of fish found in our streams here in the Smokies.  I personally love finding deep pools with just the right water current, so it creates an endless pool in which I can swim and swim, and I love every minute of it!

praying mantis photo

Here in our gardens, flowers continue to bloom and we’ll be enjoying fresh peppers off of our pepper plants soon!  Our resident Carolina Wrens are raising their second batch of precious babies, while some of our other babies are growing, such as one of our Praying Mantises that lives on the front deck.  I’ve watched this particular one grow from a wee small baby, and it’s big enough that it acts like it can take on the world now!  Recently, I was sitting out in my favorite chair on the front deck enjoying the warm sun for a few minutes, and over walks “P.M.” the praying mantis on the nearby handrail.  It stopped and looked at me while raising both arms as if it was going to try and karate chop me, and the next thing I knew it jumped over onto my neck, missing my face by mere millimeters!  Obviously, it caught me off guard as I wasn’t expecting it to do that, so I carefully got it and placed it on the rosebush beside me.  Of course, it immediately lifted both arms as if saying “I will take you on and chop you!”  Like they say, dynamite comes in small packages and that is surely the case with P.M.!

~ In The Studio ~

I finished a miniature painting this past week inspired by our visit to the gorgeous Three Sisters Springs in Florida last fall.  We kayaked to this picturesque location and spent over an hour there while I blissfully snorkeled.  We didn’t see any manatees there during our visit, but since they frequent the area, especially in the winter months, I decided to add them to my painting.  A dream of mine is to be able to swim with a manatee, so for now, this is as close as it gets for me.

 

three sisters springs and manatee painting
Putting the final touches on it

 

Wes has spent most of his time working on office work for the SAA dealing with catalog editing and other things associated with the upcoming exhibition at the Briscoe Museum this fall. This is his most recent miniature painting featuring our very own Carolina Wren, Peedeepeeps, sitting atop the Carolina Jasmine which was full of bloom at the time, adding to the beauty of the moment and captured forever in a little gem!

 

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Wes’ “Carolina Song”

 

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~ Rachelle

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Our Adventures In Colorado

 

cute dog photo
My precious buddy Hershel

I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since Wes and I landed in Denver, CO, where friends Diane and Bob picked us up and we went back to enjoy a beautiful sunset at their home in Berthoud later that evening.  Of course, their three sweet doggies were as happy to see us as we were they, but I believe my precious buddy Hershel was the most excited!  We spent the evening sitting out on the deck petting their fur babies while watching a splendid sunset.

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The next morning the four of us started our four-hour journey over to Steamboat Springs to attend the American Women Artists Exhibition at the Steamboat Art Museum.  It was a beautiful day as we started along the winding road following the river while leading through canyons, and were met by continuous gorgeous scenery the entire time!

snow in colorado

As we climbed in elevation we began seeing more snow, some still quite deep from a recent snowstorm, and I had to get out and play in it a couple of times!  Although snow still covered the ground, the temps were in the low 70s and I decided that this was the perfect conditions for playing in the snow, and it actually felt good to my sandaled feet!  Of course, before I could even make one snowball, Wes had made one and hit me with it, and if time had allowed, I would’ve certainly built a snowman!

rachelle siegrist with snow
Now, this is my idea of a good time in the snow!

It seemed each bend in the road brought more spectacular scenery and I was glad each time we stopped, so I could just stand there and take it all in.  There were several occasions in which I longed to have my beloved kayak with me and pictured myself gliding blissfully across the surface of the beautiful lakes.

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Oh . . . If only I had my pink kayak!

Amazingly the trip got better as time went on, bringing sightings of Bald Eagles, herds of Pronghorn and much more!  The sky seemed endless whilst standing amidst the wide open vast pastures in between the mountains.

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A beautiful herd of Pronghorn

We stopped at the impressive Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge along the way, which at 8,200 feet in elevation is the highest National Wildlife Refuge in the U.S. and encompasses more than 23,000 acres!  Whilst standing there admiring the scenery, our visit was shortlived, as we suddenly realized we were being eaten alive by mosquitoes!  So we quickly headed back to the vehicle and rode with the windows down for a couple of miles to blow all the unwelcomed passengers who had tried to come along with us, out of the car!

arapaho national wildlife refuge
Wes watching the ducks and geese come in for a landing

Just when we had already had an amazing journey, it got even better when I spotted a moose standing out in the field!  Then several miles up the road I happened to look over at the right time and saw a big bull moose standing in the middle of a snow-covered meadow, against the backdrop of evergreens, with the sun streaming down illuminating the entire scene, and I thought for sure I heard angels singing!  Of course, by the time we turned around and went back to try and get photos, he had disappeared, but we had the beautiful image forever imprinted in our memories!

Moose photo

We arrived in Steamboat in time to check into the hotel before heading to the meet and greet for the AWA exhibition that evening.  After attending an AWA function at a ranch the next morning, we visited the beautiful Yampa River Botanic Park that afternoon, where we enjoyed walking amidst a stunning collection of flower gardens!  I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful park if you’re ever in Steamboat Springs!

yampa river botanic park

Each evening we spent playing ping pong on the lovely grounds of the hotel, and of course, I spent time swimming each afternoon in the heated pool which was a real treat indeed! After the AWA members meeting the next morning, we grabbed a quick lunch before enjoying a short hike to the gorgeous Fish Creek Falls.  We could hear it before we could even see it, as it was being fed by the snowmelt and crashing down with a roar!  We spent a while just admiring the spectacular falls whilst being serenaded by its thunderous symphony!

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The falls weren’t the only awesome sight as this park, as we met several friendly critters along the path, including this totally adorable Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel, who obviously had its cheeks packed to the hilt!

cute chipmunk photo
Oooooooo . . . . Can you say totally adorable!!!

Before we knew it, sadly our time in Steamboat Springs had come to an end and it was time to head back to our friend’s house in Berthoud.  The drive home was as beautiful as the way out, and I longed to join the excited rafters and kayakers enjoying the abundant whitewater from the snowmelt in the river along the way!

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Some of the gorgeous scenery along the drive

We arrived back in time to excitedly watch the installment of Diane’s sculpture “Over-worked and Under-paid” in Bensons Sculpture Park in Loveland, before joining several friends for lunch afterward. The next morning we headed over to friends Masood and Joy’s beautiful home, where we enjoyed a hike through their lovely canyon.  Having gotten hot during our walk, we were delighted when they asked us to join them for fresh cold watermelon and sparkling water on their porch!  It was a real treat and we so enjoyed getting to watch the numerous visitors to their birdfeeder nearby including a Lazuli Bunting!  Having enjoyed wonderful conversations and many laughs, we thanked them for their hospitality and headed back to our friends’ home.

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Masood, Lamar, Patrice, Joy, Diane, and Wes

That evening we were in for another delightful treat as we headed over to friends Sue and Bob’s beautiful Italian-style home.  Bob had made a delicious dinner, which we enjoyed while eating al fresco on their covered porch, offering a splendid view of Sue’s brightly colored assortment of flowers against the backdrop of the mountains.  Numerous hummingbirds entertained us with their amazing acrobatics as we ate, followed by getting to watch a mule deer nurse her baby on the nearby hillside.  It was truly a most enjoyable and relaxing evening together with dear friends!

sunset in colorado

We thanked them for a wonderful time and delicious dinner, before enjoying a nice walk back through the canyon leading to our friends home, as we watched the setting sun dip behind distant mountains, bathing the sky above in warm oranges and pinks!

larkspur

The next morning Wes and I had enough time to enjoy a hike to the top of the hill behind their house which affords a splendid 360-degree view, including a nearby lake.  It was so beautiful and the hillsides were covered with the yellow blossoms of wildflowers in areas.  Before we knew it, it was time to head to the airport, so off we went, saying our goodbyes and returning to our home here in the Smokies.  Today is Wes and my 29th Anniversary, and we’re so thankful for all of the wonderful memories that we’ve made thus far together, just like our time in Colorado, and look forward to many, many more great times and years together!

rachelle siegrist hiking in colorado
Feeling on top of the world!

~ In The Studio ~

For the first time ever and just this week, we have a Special Offer on several of our older paintings that can be seen and acquired via our Facebook Page. Thanks to everyone that added to their collection from the preview in our monthly email newsletter.  Be sure to follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our newsletter (below) to take part in future opportunities!

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle

American Women Artists Steamboat Art Museum Exhibition

 

american women artists steamboat springs museum rachelle siegrist
With my sold miniature painting

Wes and I just returned home from an exciting week of fun and adventures out in Colorado!  We flew out to attend the opening weekend festivities for the American Women Artists Exhibition at the beautiful Steamboat Art Museum located in Steamboat Springs, CO.  Arriving a day early we drove over from Berthoud with dear friends artist Diane Mason and her husband Bob and boy did I ever enjoy the spectacular scenery along the way!  It was a fabulous day, with clear blue skies above, as we watched the changing scenery unfold, seeing snow, moose, Bald Eagles and more!  Steamboat Springs is located in a stunning setting and was so green after recent snowfall and rain.  We arrived in time to attend the Meet and Greet at the museum that evening, where I enjoyed seeing numerous artist friends I had not seen in several years.

american women artists steamboat springs museum opening

Of course being told that my miniature painting had sold the minute the show opened, made it even more exciting!  The next morning we all headed out to artist John Fawcett’s gorgeous ranch where his studio is located, and the drive out rewarded us with more spectacular scenery!  Nestled against a backdrop of evergreens and a dense aspen grove, his studio and home face a jaw-dropping view of the surrounding mountains and pastures!

american women artists rachelle siegrist
With artist friends Diane and Laney at John Fawcett’s studio

They had a few models there for artists who were painting on location and I found these two four-legged models particularly beautiful!

artist john fawcett studio

Artists enjoyed painting plein air from a variety of scenic locations throughout the day, and it was very interesting to walk about and see what everyone was working on.  One couldn’t ask for a more picturesque setting in which to paint in!

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Wes and I walked about while taking in the scenery and I decided this was the greatest BBQ pit I had ever seen, imagining cooking over the fire, and then gazing out at the mountains, watching as the setting sun was replaced with vivid starry skies above!

american women artists john fawcett

Artist John and wife Elizabeth not only graciously opened their beautiful home and studio to us all, but also fed us a delicious lunch with one of the best views ever!

artist john fawcett ranch

After thanking them for such a wonderful opportunity and great time, we enjoyed another scenic drive around Steamboat Lake, before heading to the botanical gardens located in downtown Steamboat Springs.  Free time in the afternoon was filled with me enjoying a swim in the delightfully heated warm water at the hotel and evenings we spent playing ping pong outdoors with friends Diane and Bob.  The next morning Diane and I attended the members’ meeting which brought a couple of nice surprises allowing us to use colored pencils,  markers and more!

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Creative time!

After being given an assortment of art supplies, we were told to draw a map of our art journey through life which had brought us to the point where we currently were, being involved in AWA.  Mine ended up being one of the lightest ones, and I figured it was because I’m so used to using such a light touch with my wee brushes while painting my miniatures, especially when working on silk.

american women artists
A patchwork quilt of our drawings

That afternoon we had enough time to take a short hike to Fish Creek Falls, which was thundering down with the snowmelt feeding its voracious appetite!  I even managed to squeeze in some time swimming in the pool before heading to the opening at the Steamboat Art Museum that evening.  We arrived in time to enjoy a leisure walk through the Wildhorse Gallery, where I made a new friend named Timber.  He was absolutely gorgeous and I had great fun petting him and feeling his dense soft fur, and he seemed quite happy with this newfound friendship as well!

wildhorse gallery steamboat springs

The museum that evening was filled to the brim as excited patrons and museum visitors poured in while admiring the stunning collection of art comprising the AWA show this year.

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AWA is a wonderful group of women artists of which I am most honored and delighted to be a part of, and I am thrilled at the direction in which this organization is going!  If you would like more information, please visit the website at American Women Artists.  Next week I’ll be sharing photos and stories from our outdoor adventures while out in Colorado.

~ Fresh Off The Easel ~

Before leaving for Colorado I finished my miniature painting on silk of this beautiful mother flamingo tending to her baby.  This piece along with several others of both mine and Wes’ will be featured in the upcoming exhibition titled In the Tradition of Audubon Exhibition at the Cincinnati Museum Center, located in Cincinnati, OH, this September 12th through January 5, 2020.

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“Primping With Mommy”

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~ Rachelle