A Fish That Carries Rocks

Cold. . . Clear. . .Water!

By Rachelle Siegrist

wes siegrist

We’ve enjoyed a nice week here in the Smokies, with a mixture of both sunshine and showers, so we decided to celebrate our recent 28th Anniversary with a fun morning of kayaking last Monday.  Early morning clouds parted and the fog lifted, revealing beautiful blue skies, as we paddled along the glassy surface of the water, perfectly reflecting surrounding mountains like a large mirror.  The only ripples were those made by our paddles, stretching out behind us as far as the eye could see.  We explored a couple of small streams, paddling up as far as we could before carefully turning around and navigating our way back out.

wes siegrist kayaking

I felt like we were exploring areas deep in the Amazon jungle, and I kept expecting to see a large Anaconda pass by, which was a little unnerving when I later decided to wade and swim!  The one stream was flowing much stronger than usual, so we managed to paddle only part way, where we found the perfect pebble beach for a picnic.  Finding a small, flat rock, I decided to sit and enjoy the picturesque setting.  The amazingly clear water made it perfect for watching occasional fish swim by, as I sat in the cold water.  It took several minutes, but I finally worked up the courage, somehow managing to talk myself into swimming in the frigid water of a deep, blue pool upstream.  I couldn’t help but let out a wee yelp, as I plunged into the icy water, and could only stand it for a couple of minutes before I had to get out!  It certainly cooled me off for a long while though!

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That’s not the only ice water I’ve played in lately, as we replaced a couple of our hot walks around town, with tubing trips down the river again this past week.  The water level was still up the first morning, granting a fun trip down!  After our friend Sharon tried tubing with an extra small, inflatable ring in the bottom of her tube, we added boat cushions to the bottom of ours, and voila’ . . . no more polishing rocks when the water level starts dropping!  It was awesome, and made us go even faster over the cascades!  I now call our tubing set up, the Cadillac Jack version . . . Ha Ha!

rachelle siegrist tubing

While Sharon and I made one trip down while tubing, Wes and Tom snorkeled, and Wes got several great videos of fish, including one of this precious Chub Minnow.  He actually got to watch it carrying stones in its mouth, with some of them quite large, over to a bed it was making.  He was delighted to be able to see such an amazing thing, and we were delighted that he caught it all on video!  I’m currently in the process of making a snorkeling video, in which this adorable stone-carrying chub will be a star, as well as a tubing video, and will share them both with you as soon as they’re finished.

chub minnow photo1

We enjoyed a fun evening with friends last Tuesday, with them picking us up, and all riding in comfort and style in their big, black van, to a favorite Mexican Restaurant of ours, El Jimadors in nearby Maryville.  Laughter filled the air as we crunched on fresh chips and salsa.  Upon finishing our yummy dinners, we came back to our place for a game of Mexican Train, and of course chocolate dessert, and it was a fun evening for all!

wes siegrist at el jimadors
Wes, Barb, Fred, Marty, Linda, Bill and Darlene

~ Recently off the Easels ~

Even with the outdoor adventures, it’s still been a very productive week here in the studio, with both of us painting and Wes continuing to do his office work.  I just finished this small painting of two rhinos we photographed at the Knoxville Zoo recently, and absolutely love the warmth in it!  While painting them, I couldn’t help but think of the bleak outlook for these amazing and wonderful mammals, as well as many others that now face extinction, and it makes me very sad that we as a society have allowed such dreadful things to happen.

Rhino_painting_Basking-Behemoths_by_Rachelle_Siegrist
“Basking Behemoths”

We are pleased to be continuing our Special Offer for our collectors and friends the month of July. (Sold paintings have been removed)  Visit our Collector’s Corner page on our website to take advantage of this exciting opportunity that will end this month.

Siegrist 2018 Special Offer

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

 

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Splash and KA-Boom

Celebrating…Painting…tubing and fireworks!

By Rachelle Siegrist

Wes and Rachelle Siegrist wedding photo

Wow . . . 28 years ago yesterday, I married my best friend!  I can’t believe it’s been that long, as it just doesn’t seem possible!  They say time flies when you’re having fun, so I guess that’s why the years have seemingly flown by.  We’ve shared many adventures together throughout the years, as best friends and as artists, and we’re looking forward to many more together!  We feel very blessed indeed!  And speaking of adventures, we’ve enjoyed a couple this past week, while tubing with friends Tom and Sharon!  Daily showers, some which are total downpours, have raised the level of the river, making it perfect for tubing.

rachelle siegrist tubing2

That is if you don’t mind a lot of white water and getting totally drenched!  I think the water was actually a degree or two warmer this past week, meaning it’s still in the low 60s . . . Brrrr!  But you know what they say, “No pain . . . no gain!”, so if you want the thrill, there’s nothing else you can do, but grin and bear it, knowing the adventure is totally worth the pain of the icy water.  I absolutely love it when the water’s running fast enough that my tube actually goes airborne, which it did several times while tubing the rapids this past week.

rachelle siegrist tubing

The rains have also made our gardens become quite green and lush and several new things are blooming this week.  A favorite of ours is this gorgeous Turks Cap Lily, which is now up to three open blossoms and will soon be five, all on the same tall stalk.  The Trumpet Vine is also covered in blossoms, which our resident Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are enjoying.  Of course, the afternoon thunderstorms pound the blossoms off, turning the ground below orange.  Daylilies in assorted colors, as well as Cana Lillies, are also filling the landscape with splashes of bright color.

turks cap lily blossom

Morning breakfasts on the porch are great fun, as I’m usually joined by two or more squirrel friends, and of course all my bird friends.  The young squirrels, Skittles, and Snickers, which were raised in the bird box outside our studio window, are quite tame and sit on either side of my chair, enjoying their breakfast of peanut handouts, while I enjoy mine.  Even the Bluejays fly up now and wait for me to toss them a peanut.  Needless to say, all my critter friends are a little bit spoiled!

We enjoyed the 4th, with delightful tubing adventures in the morning!  That evening I walked down along with several friends, to enjoy our local firework show sponsored by The Highland Manor Inn.  As always it was a delightful treat, as bright explosions of color filled the dark night sky, right above us!  “Oooooh’s and Ahhhhhh’s” filled the air, joined by the loud KABOOM’s of the fireworks.  Our friend Kit captures these beautiful photos of a few of the colorful fireworks.

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Meanwhile back in the studio, we’re continuing to paint, so I’ll have new work to share with you soon!  Wes has also been quite busy as well with his executive director job with the SAA.   We are pleased to once again be having a Special Offer for our collectors and friends.  Visit our Collector’s Corner page on our website to take advantage of this exciting opportunity that will end this month.

Siegrist 2018 Special Offer

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

The Naked Chickens

 

Paint . . . Paddle . . . Swim!

By Rachelle Siegrist

kayaking photo

Wow . . . and the rains came down!!!  We received quite a bit of rain recently here in the Smokies!  Enough so, that they had to evacuate one campground and close several roads in nearby Smoky Mountains National Park, due to extremely high water.  Having walked down our mountain the evening after the BIG downpour, we were in awe at the level of the Little River, as it rushed along carrying big logs as if they were sticks, and looking like chocolate milk!  However, the next day, the clouds parted and the sun came out, granting us a beautiful day for kayaking!

rachelle siegrist

Friends Tom and Sharon joined us, as we paddled underneath clear azure blue skies.  The water’s surface was as smooth as glass, as we effortlessly glided along, frequently stopping to watch fish swim beneath our kayaks in the amazingly clear water!  We explored a wee lagoon area and found the perfect picnic spot.  While we ate, Tom entertained us by showing how he could walk on water . . . Ha Ha!

wes siegrist

Of course where there is lots of sun and water that is above freezing, I’m going to do my best to get in it!  Sharon joined me, as we sat down in the icy water at the same time, letting out shrieks of pain, followed by side splitting laughter, caused by the sight of the large goosebumps on our legs.  “Ha . . .Your legs look like a naked chicken!”  I said to Sharon, knowing mine looked the very same way!  What’s better than being in the water and sunshine while laughing, needless to say, we were having a great time!

rachelle siegrist swimming

On the way back, we saw several large fish before making our way across the open water.  A cool, gentle breeze filled the air as we relaxingly paddled along, taking several breaks to lie back, letting all cares drift away.  At such times I can’t help but sing softly to myself the words “Not a care have we, in my little boat“, from one of my favorite songs.  Upon returning to the boat ramp, we noticed several Cedar Waxwings flying about and landing on the tiny tips of brush in the water.  A favorite bird of my late Grandpa, it’s always a treat for me, to get to see them!  As always, our wonderful adventure was over way too soon, and we all anxiously anticipate the next one!

cedar waxwing photo

Back in our own gardens, our beautiful resident Garter Snake, has found a new favorite location where it loves lying in the warm sun.  As you can plainly see in the photo below, it obviously eats well here too!  It’s quite use to me, since I frequently sit in my favorite lounge chair on the front porch, nearby it’s happy hangout, so I enjoy getting to see it almost daily now.

garter snake photo

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~ Recently off the Easels ~

It’s been a busy week here in the studio this past week.  I finished this pet portrait of a very handsome boy named Ace,  who always crosses his front legs when sitting like this, obviously looking totally adorable and quite proper!

Dog_Painting_Ace-Mason_by_Rachelle_Siegrist1
“Ace”

Wes finished his miniature painting of a beautiful white horse in the snow, which we enjoyed watching in nearby Cades Cove.  Hmmm . . . perhaps he was trying subconsciously to cool off, painting a snow scene in winter.

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Wes’ “The Whites Of Winter”

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle