Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | April 22, 2015

An Explosion of Miniature Paintings

Behind-the-Scenes with the EXQUISITE MINIATURES Tour

By Wes Siegrist

Siegrist Exhibition crates being readied for shipment

Crates being readied for shipment to the Albany Museum of Art in Albany, GA  (There’s dozens of paintings hiding under the checkered tablecloth)

We normally have a lot of paintings in the studio and framing area but this week it looks like a hurricane hit a miniature painting factory! They’re everywhere with only our trusty computer keeping track of them as I diligently inventory back into the studio works returning from the Steamboat Art Museum and ready a new batch to head out to the Albany Museum of Art on Monday. Our tour is unique in many ways including that we try our best to have all the current paintings available for acquisition. Since happy collectors have been taking them away we’ve been busy staying ahead.  And painting is, after all, the best part of being artists to us!

Hundreds of labels and paintings to be framed for the Siegrist Exhibition

Hundreds of labels and paintings to be framed for EXQUISITE MINIATURES

After the Albany Museum of Art, Exquisite Miniatures will be returning to the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center. We promised them at least 50 new paintings from the previous two exhibitions there, which gave us the rare chance to redo and repair the content of the exhibition. Knowing this in advance, I started a month ago doing the paperwork, making labels and a myriad of other tasks, so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed this week. Still, it’s daunting juggling 130 paintings, nearly 700 forms of paper and making sure all is in order.  At least I had all the framing done ahead of time.  That is other than the six paintings in the photo above that still need assembly.

Siegrist miniature paintings and panels being inspected

Paintings and panels being inspected and readied for new shows!

Each painting is tracked from venue to venue via a condition report binder that carefully details the status of each work. As a final step on their journey, I make sure they’re home in one piece. Delighted to say thanks to the attentive care of the museums, particularly the Steamboat Art Museum’s staff, all of them were good. Only the usual minor frame corner touch-ups and backing paper replacements to be made for some!

Redoing the backs on framed paintings with the Siegrist Exhibition

Redoing the backs on framed paintings is typical maintenance after any show since they end up with a smattering of labels and holes from all the handling and shipments.

After traveling back and forth across the country and logging thousands of miles, the crates also needed some repair. A new bottom here, and longer screws there, will easily get them ready to hit the road again. They have many miles ahead of them scheduled to go to GA, NC, KS, FL, NE before more pending venues are added for 2018.

Paintings from Exquisite Miniatures by Wes and Rachelle Siegrist

Paintings from Exquisite Miniatures, back home and ready for their next adventure in exhibiting around the world or going to live with happy collectors.

We use our old display panels to “stage” paintings now and arrange them in preparation for various shows. It’s so much easier to view the art with frames and be movable vs. staring at a computer screen. You’ll notice the addition of blue tape everywhere … we try to reuse and recycle everything we can in our business especially with packing material. Damaged frames are used to display photos or some of our “permanent collection” in our home so even they are rarely tossed.

In addition to the above, I’ve packed dozens of books for the museum gift shops, magnifying glasses and assorted signage.  The website has been updated as well as all the databases so we should be set for awhile. I hope to be back to my easel by Tuesday.  Rachelle’s happily still doing dog portrait commissions.

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Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | April 19, 2015

Hiking In The Smokies With The Virginia Native Plant Society

Hiking With Friends to See Wildflowers!

By Rachelle Siegrist

Rachelle siegrist with Canada Goose at townsend wye

We left early this past Friday morning, and headed for the Townsend Wye, located just inside the Smoky Mountain National Park, along the Little River. We had a few minutes before the Virginia Native Plant Society group arrived, so I went down to enjoy the company of the river for awhile. I found the perfect large rock, where I comfortably sat adjacent to the rivers edge. The surround sound of rushing water quickly mesmerized me with it’s symphony of splashes, and I became completely relaxed sitting there enjoying having this gorgeous spot all to myself! A Canada Goose quickly came into view and curiously swam right up to where I was sitting, stopping a few feet away. I said “Good morning . . . How are you?” To this he of course didn’t answer, but obviously was fine, as he commenced to taking a bath and preen, while I sat watching. Occasionally he would stop and look at me, then return to his morning bathing ritual. It felt as if we were the only two beings in the world for a short time, while we enjoyed each others company. The group soon arrived and I told my feathered friend goodbye, thanking him for making my morning with his visit!

viewing wildflowers on chestnut tops trail

We greeted the group, reuniting with several friends we had not seen in quite awhile, and making a few new ones as well. Then we started up Chestnut Tops Trail, one of the best trails in the Smokies for viewing wildflowers. It was a very slow hike, with everyone stopping to photograph and study the numerous wildflowers along the way. Seeing large snails at several locations along the way, I realized sometime later that it was actually the same snail that was passing the slow moving, inquisitive group by . . . Ha! We passed Dwarf Crested Irises, Trilliums, Chickweed, Stonecrop and so much more as we slowly made our way up the trail.

dwarf crested iris blooming along chestnut tops trail

I had so hoped to see the beautiful, bright red blossoms of the Fire Pinks blooming along the trail, and thankfully there were several beautiful specimens at the precise location where we turned around on the trail and headed back down.

fire pinks along chestnut tops trail

After a picnic lunch, the group headed for the Middle Prong Trail. Recent rains had the water rushing along with great force creating a spectacular show as we hiked along the curving trail. The large lush green leaves of wild Ginger lined the paths, and offered beautiful blooms, when one stopped to lift the leaves and peak beneath.

blooming ginger in the smoky mountains

Decaying logs lying beside the trail provided the perfect growing conditions for a lovely and interesting variety of fungi and mushrooms, and as always provided great photo-ops!

funji in the smokies

shelf mushroom in the smoky mountains

No hike in the Smokies is complete without a Salamander hunt, and having someone in the group who desperately wanted to see one, made the hunt even more exciting! Within a few minutes, Wes had found a good sized one, so we carefully placed it into a friend’s small container just long enough for those who wanted to see it closer and photograph it. It was then gently returned to the stream where it happily and quickly disappeared!

salamanders in the smokies

salamander along middle prong trail

Keeping an eye out and looking in just the right locations, where the water was more tranquil and still, Wes soon found another one . . . an adorable little baby one at that!

baby salamander in the smoky mountains

Beaked Violets, as well as lavender and yellow violets, bloomed in thick patches along the way, but I was most intrigued when I saw a purple and white variegated one. Friend Butch informed us that they were known as Confederate Violets, so I was happy to have learned something new and seen a beautiful little flower as well!

confederate violte smoky mountains

After a couple of hours we turned around and started back down the trail, continuing to admire the numerous wildflowers and cascades along the way. One of the group members found a gorgeous Jack-in-the-Pulpit, obviously at its peak, which I just had to photograph.

Jack-in-the-Pulpit smoky mountains

We soon found ourselves getting close to the trailhead once more, and just as we were crossing the bridge, someone spotted a beautiful Luna Moth on a nearby tree. Leaving the trial we scurried down the hill to get a closer look at it. We soon discovered that it had obviously had just filled its wings and were letting them dry while it clung to the tree.

Luna Moth in the smoky mountains

Needless to say, I was thrilled with getting to see and photograph this favorite moth of mine! Growing closer to where we had parked, we noticed a large Sweet Shrub profusely blooming and stepped closer to admire it. I figured with the name “sweet” in it, that it should smell nice, so I found a couple of newly opened blossoms and bent to inhale its fragrance. Alas, I was not disappointed, as it offered a delightful fragrance, not too strong, just nice and sweet! That evening we ended our wonderful day in the Park, with dinner at a local restaurant, Miss Lily’s.

smoky mountain sweet shrub~ ————— Ω ————— ~

~ The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels ~

I have spent my time this past week painting on a surprise dog commission, so I will have to wait until it is okay, to share it with you, but am very excited about being able to do so. Wes finished his miniature painting of a Kangaroo, trying to get to an itching  spot, which with his short little arms, was obviously quite hard to reach!

kangaroo painting miniature_by_Wes_Siegrist1

                                                           “Just Can’t Get No Satisfaction” by Wes

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Until next time . . .


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