Awards, New Paintings . . . and Fun Outdoors !

Awards, New Paintings . . . and Fun Outdoors !

by Rachelle Siegrist

My “Early Morning Run” and Wes’ “Sunrise At The Marina”

Wes and I are both delighted to have received awards in the 83rd Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, D.C Show.  This international Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature will be held November 20th through December 31st at the Strathmore Hall in North Bethesda, MD.  Excitedly I took 2nd in Birds and Animals on my “Early Morning Run” with Wes received 2nd in Watermedia on his “Sunrise At The Marina“.

My “A Magical Encounter” and “Uncomfortably Menacing”

Moreover, we’ve recently learned that we both have won awards in the upcoming 2016 Kentucky National Wildlife Art Exhibit to be held at the Henderson Fine Arts Center, in Henderson, KY.  The Exhibition runs October 3rd through November 30th and is a great place to see and purchase four of our miniature paintings in person!

Wes’ “Two Sheep With A View” and “No Laughing Matter”

We’re also thrilled to have been asked to be instructors for the TexArt Workshop which will be held at the Schreiner University, in Kerrville Texas, May 21st – 26th of next year!

What we’ll be teaching? We will be differentiating ourselves by specializing in opaque watercolor techniques vs. transparent. We also, while specialists in miniature, will be teaching techniques that apply at any size/scale so the appeal is more broad. Depending upon class requests we may be demonstrating wildlife, landscape, portraiture, still life or marine (boats). We’ll be more inclusive this time with general small works and conventional sizes if participants wish to work in that format. To take part in this exciting fun filled week visit the TexArt 2017 website for more information.

The Siegrists teaching at TexArt 2016.jpg
Wes and I teaching a one day session at Texart last year

Work in the studio has been plentiful this past week, as we continue to paint new works for the upcoming Waterfowl Festival, and Plantation Wildlife Art Show, and I’ll be starting a dog and cat commission soon, which I will be anxious to share with you!  We enjoyed  hiking to a waterfall nearby with friends Tom and Sharon this past week.  Lunch was enjoyed at the base of the falls, with Tom and I braving the frigid water while wading for a few minutes afterwards!  A few of the trees sported bright red and orange foliage along the way adding a touch of splendid fall color to our adventure!

Wes, Tom, Sharon and me by the falls

Another day Wes and I took our kayaks to a lake nearby and enjoyed paddling under beautiful blue skies, while peering down into the crystal clear water below!  It was a gorgeous day and we had the lake all to ourselves, as we paddled along listening to the delightful sounds of crickets chipping and birds singing, accompanied by the rustling of leaves in the gentle fall breeze!

Trying to catch up to Wes

Of course no picnic lunch is complete without a bit of dark chocolate, so while I relaxingly laid back watching clouds slowly form and pass above, savoring each and every bite of my scrumptious chocolate, sneaky Wes . . . never missing a thing . . . captured my moment of bliss in a hilarious photo!

“Mmmmmmmm . . . . simply wonderful!!!”


~ Fresh Off  the Easels ~

Somehow I overlooked sharing one of my latest dog painting of a beautiful Boykin Spaniel named Colt, which I finished recently.  This handsome boy belongs to a friend living in Southern Georgia, and I loved having the opportunity to photograph him late one evening!

boykin spaniel painting, dog painting
My latest dog painting “Portrait of a Boykin

Wes recently finished his painting of a precious little squirrel which we enjoyed watching during one of visits out West.  This miniature painting will be one of 5 of our paintings to be featured in the upcoming 10th Anniversary Exhibition at the Steamboat Art Museum 
located in Steamboat Springs, CO.  The exhibition and sale will run from December 2, 2016 – April 8, 2017, and will be yet another great venue for seeing and purchasing our miniature paintings!

“Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel” by Wes

I finished a landscape commission this past week which showcases one of my favorite walking paths!  This beautiful scene always reminds me of an entrance to an enchanted garden, and while painting it, I almost felt as if I was right there!

An Enchanted Path landscape painting.jpg
My latest commission “An Enchanted Path” 

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

Birding the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

Fun Birding the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge !

by Rachelle Siegrist

grackle at anahuac national wildlife refuge.jpg

I enjoyed a wonderful adventure filled day with artist friend Patricia Pepin and husband Pierre last Sunday, while Wes spent the day in a SAA board meeting.  Patricia and I started off our day walking through the serenely beautiful Japanese Garden located in Houston’s downtown Hermann Park. Birds serenaded us as we strolled along a path leading around a small lake, and we were delightedly surprised when a Nutria suddenly appeared a mere two feet from where we stood on a dock!  It was so cute, and we greatly enjoyed watching it’s antics.  Of all the birdsong,  one particular grackle’s song proved most interesting, with a call that sounded like a large piece of paper being crumpled, mixed with a tinge of electronic noise!  It was most impressive and we were thrilled that he did it several times for us! By noon, Pierre had returned with their rental car for the week, so off we went, bound for Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge about an hour away.anahuac national wildlife refuge rachelle siegrist.jpg

It was a splendidly gorgeous day as we began our journey around the two-mile loop road, and I was thrilled to spot a gator within seconds of being there!  A fan of alligators, I am always so excited to get to see them, especially since moving to the Smokies. Cameras in hand, Patricia and I walked part of the trail, while Pierre kindly kept up with us in the car, and excitedly exclaimed to one another “Oh . . . look at that!” each time each one spotted something, and of course stopping to take photos!  alligator at anahuac national wildlife refuge.jpg

We noticed two small gators at the start of a boardwalk trail, so I started making my baby gator call, to which both immediately responded, whilst turning and swimming directly toward us! Patricia and Pierre both delighted, asked me to do it again several more times, until the two little gators were directly below us, and I felt like the champion gator whisperer! anahuac national wildlife refuge rachelle siegrist gator.jpg

Standing at the end of the boardwalk, we were mesmerized by the sea of grass, gently swaying in the warm summer breeze, while listening to the call of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks and flocks of other birds flying nearby. We were relieved to trade in the high rises and sounds of sirens of the downtown Houston area for this sea of grass below the vast clear blue sky for the day!anahuac national wildlife refuge rachelle siegrist trail.jpg

Continuing along our journey I saw something which I, born and raised in the Florida swamps, have never seen before!  A large Cottonmouth Moccasin was literally “hoping” across the road in front of us, as if saying “Hot . . . hot . . . hot!” each time its black body would touch the pavement and then bounce up into the air! Then we came upon yet another highlight, as it appeared as if a Great Blue Heron was giving Yoga lessons to a group of Cormorants!

“Breathe in . . .  Breathe out . . .”

Birds were everywhere, and as soon as we left one flock behind, another would come into view. Deciding that this place was truly great, we looped the road again, before leaving the refuge.

A beautiful little Gallinule

Friendly staff at a nearby visitor center had told us to drive back via High Island and take the Galveston Island Ferry over to Galveston, since it was way shorter.  So we did just that, only we quickly discovered it wasn’t way shorter, and took nearly 3 hours to return to Houston, instead of the 45 minute trip to get there early that day.  Nonetheless, it proved to be a lovely drive, and I was most thrilled to be able to stop and wade out into the Gulf! high island rachelle siegrist.jpg

Oh . . . It’s warm!” I said as a big smile spread over my face, exclaiming I hadn’t been in that warm of water in eons!!!  Back in the car and on our way to the ferry, the setting sun washed the sky in an array of pinks and oranges behind the Bolivar Point Lighthouse, creating a magnificent scene!  With windows down we listened to  the sound of crickets chirping as we slowly made our way towards the ferry.sunset by Bolivar Point Lighthouse rachelle siegrist.jpgOnce loaded, Patricia and I jumped out of the car and made our way to the upper deck where we watched the lights of Galveston flickering on the surface of the jet black water below. As the cool wind blew our hair, we decided that it was indeed worth the extra travel time!  What a great day we had, and I enjoyed recounting all of our happenings to Wes during our flight back home to the Smokies that next day! Many thanks again to friends Patricia and Pierre for letting me join you on a wonderful birding adventure!

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle