Disappearing Days of Summer


The Last Days of Summer!

by Rachelle Siegrist

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Our resident Hummingbirds are enjoying the lovely Salvia blossoms

After a whirlwind of excitement and fun, whilst enjoying the opening festivities of Birds In Art at the beautiful Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum last weekend, this past week has seemed somewhat uneventful back here at the home front.  Nonetheless, we have managed to catch up on business matters, spending quite a bit of time at our easels as well. This past week also brought several chilly days, with a few mornings being just plain cold, especially for September here in the Smokies!

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A few Dogwood leaves and a clump of mushrooms

Cooler weather has inspired some leaves to begin their stunning fall process of turning brilliant reds and golds.  The cooler weather has also dropped the temperature of our river immensely, but alas, with my fondness for the water and being the brave and crazy soul that I am, I actually went tubing a couple of times this past week with friends Tom and Sharon.

oak leaf hydrangea in fall
The stunning red of an Oak-leaf Hydrangea

Of course I had to talk Sharon into it, trying to convince her that once your backside goes numb, you can no longer feel intense pain of the icy cold water, while reminding her that our tubing days are growing very short indeed.  One thing is for sure, it certainly leaves one feeling refreshed, that is if you survive it . . . Ha Ha!

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Begonia leaves backlit by early morning sun

Change is certainly in the air, and no matter how tightly I cling to the balmy, long lazy days of summer, I know all too soon they will be ending.  While sitting on the back porch feeding my squirrels and birds, I savor the sound of the hummingbirds buzzing above my head, as they zoom back and forth to their feeders and abundant Salvia blossoms, which they love!  I know they will be leaving me soon, these precious flying gems, and I will greatly miss them!  I also notice the Goldfinches plumage has begun losing their bright yellow color, trading it for a drab olive instead.

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Dogwood leaves begin turning delicate shades of salmon

While signs of fall are approaching, flowers still fill our gardens with pinks, reds, yellows and white, many of which the hummingbirds continue to enjoy while others offer seeds for the birds and chipmunks to munch on.

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Late summer blooms of our Obedient Plant

With passing seasons come change, and every season has it’s strengths and beauty.  So for now I keep my eyes wide open, watching and searching for remaining flowers, a lingering firefly at dusk, hummingbirds buzzing about and other things that scream summer, knowing that time waits for no one . . . not even summer!

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Dew-formed water droplets

I’m so thankful to be able share with you that all of my family is fine and their homes survived the brutal onslaught of Hurricane Irma, and as of last evening, they all have power once again! My heartfelt thanks goes to all of you who remembered them in your prayers during the past couple of weeks, and expressed your concern for them!  After having evacuated to my cousin’s home in Panama City, FL, my poor parents celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary and my Dad’s birthday last Sunday, while Irma pounded their home in Okeechobee. But I guess when you get married on September 10th . . . the peak of hurricane season and live in Florida . . . there’s always a possibility of it happening!

Wes and I are extremely delighted that both of our paintings have been acquired from Birds In Art and have also been selected for the tour which will be traveling to:

December 16, 2017 ­– February 4, 2018: The Chicago Academy of Sciences, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago, IL
February 24 – May 28, 2018: Stamford Museum & Nature Center, Stamford, CT
June 16 – August 13, 2018: Cumming Nature Center, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Naples, NY
September 4 – October 26, 2018: Newington-Cropsey Foundation, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
November 20, 2018 – January 14, 2019: Las Cruces Museum of Art, Las Cruces, NM

birds in art ostrich painting The_Usual_Suspects_by_Rachelle_Siegrist
My “The Usual Suspects”
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Wes’ “Lakeside Perch”

~ Fresh off the Easels ~

I recently finished this miniature painting of an adorable Armadillo, which was photographed in my beloved Highlands Hammock State Park.  This painting is now even more special to me, since this gorgeous park, that is very near and dear to my heart, has sadly sustained immense damage from hurricane Irma, and will never be the same in our lifetime.

My “Southern Pest Control”

Wes recently finished his miniature landscape painting of a peaceful and serene setting near our home here in the Smokies.

Wes’ “Reflections In A Mountain Stream”

~ To Commission A Painting by Us Click Here!

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle


Flying High During Birds In Art!

Birds In Art at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum!

by Rachelle Siegrist

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Wes and me in front of the beautiful Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum

Wes and I boarded a plane early last Thursday morning headed for Wausau, Wisconsin to attend the Birds In Art opening weekend, at the gorgeous Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. Minutes after landing, we were greeted by the smiling face of a friendly volunteer, holding a Birds In Art sign.  Instantly  we attracted attention from onlookers in the airport, asking if it was the BIA opening weekend, stating they were planning to attend.  With several onlookers, the volunteer gave us all a sneak preview of our paintings in the catalogue!

Beside our paintings in Birds In Art

After a quick shuttle ride, we arrived at the hotel where we were greeted by more smiling faces of volunteers from the museum. That evening, along with numerous fellow artists, we boarded one of the big buses heading over to the museum. Even though it’s been several years since Wes and I had been there, we felt like we were returning home catching the first glimpse of the beautiful Woodson Museum, and the many familiar friendly faces inside!  We enjoyed our first view of the exhibition, totally impressed as always, with the amazing quality of the art!  In no time the museum was filled to the brim and overflowing with excited attendees viewing the artwork and meeting the artists.  

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A very packed museum during the opening reception

The bustling evening passed very quickly and seemed to end as soon as it had begun. Friday morning we enjoyed a couple of informative presentations by Walt Matia and Karen Bondarchuk, before boarding the buses, where we were taken to the gorgeous Wausau Country Club for the artist luncheon.  As always it was truly delightful, complete with delicious food, wonderful conversation and much laughter! 

Birds in Art Luncheon
Shari, Wes and me enjoying the artist luncheon

After lunch we were taken back to the museum, where we had time to leisurely walk around and view the entire show.  Blessed with a lovely sunny day, I also enjoyed meandering through the sculpture garden, whilst enjoying the numerous sculptures and flowers, and fell in love with “The Dance” completed in June 2016 by The Myth Makers, featuring two HUGE Sandhill Cranes!

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“The Dance” by The Myth Makers

That evening we attended the official opening reception at the museum, which was once again filled to the brim!  People were delighted to see the show, and I was thrilled to have so many tell me how my painting “The Usual Suspects” made them smile and laugh, while others told Wes how amazed they were with the detail of the tiny spider web in his “Lake Side Perch“!  Soon we were boarding buses and heading to our celebratory dinner party at the Jefferson Street Inn, where table hosts Don and Linda Haney made us feel so welcome and provided great entertainment through the evening!  Don and Wes were excited to learn of their shared interest in model railroads, and it seemed the stories and interactions became funnier as the evening progressed, leaving us all laughing so hard much of the time, that our stomachs were hurting!  We enjoyed delicious food with the best being the vanilla cheesecake with fresh berries for dessert!

Our host table during the Birds In Art celebratory dinner

Saturday morning we headed back to the museum for the public opening.  It’s always very exciting as artists to see masses of excited people attending art exhibitions, and it was wonderful to see the museum packed out once again!  This year’s master artist, Don Rambadt, gave a most enjoyable talk and afterwards it was my turn to experience a bit of nerves during our TV interview with WSAW TV 7‘s Kevin Carr, talking with us about our paintings in the exhibition.  I must say he did a great job and actually made us feel very relaxed!

wes and rachelle siegrist TV 7 birds in art interview
Click here to watch the interview with us and others about Birds In Art

Wes and I have had paintings in Birds In Art numerous times before and are honored that they have paintings from each of us in their permanent collection!  I was even more delighted to discover that my miniature painting “The Pigeon Hole” is currently on display in an exhibition showcasing art depicting birds in our landscapes entitled “Passionate Pursuits“!

My painting “The Pigeon Hole” featured in the Passionate Pursuits exhibition

Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to the stunning museum and friendly volunteers, board the bus, and head to Hazelhurst where we would spend the remainder of the day.  Upon arriving, I was thrilled when Alice, who’s family graciously opens their beautiful lake side estate to the artist each year, told me they had kayaks since she knew of my love for the sport!  So after group photos were taken, Wes and I immediately took them out for a relaxing paddle around part of Lake Katherine.

Rachelle Siegrist kayaking at birds in art
Great fun kayaking on Lake Katherine

We were blessed with a glorious picture perfect day, with clear blue skies and mild temps making it perfect for enjoying the lake!  After returning we decided to join a few artists on a relaxing pontoon boat ride.  Several Bald Eagles graciously posed for us while we got several splendid photos that will become miniature paintings very soon!

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Enjoying a pontoon boat ride on Lake Katherine

One sitting atop a tree on a small island watched as we slowly and quietly approached, looking down at us as if to say “Well hello there . . . can I help you with something?” Another was perched atop a grand, old growth White Pine, looking very stately indeed! We also enjoyed learning some of the history of how the Woodson family’s estate started in the area, from Captain Ron during our blissful boat ride.

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One of the lake’s gorgeous resident Bald Eagles

Every visit to Hazelhurst requires a visit to Gale Fisher’s stunning flower gardens, which is always such a treat!  Numerous flowers were still at peak this year, surrounding us with bold splashes of color in every direction!  Here are a few photos of her gardens for you to enjoy . . .

gale fishers garden

birds in art weekend

flowers on lake katherine

The afternoon flew by, and it was time for our delicious supper.  I was delighted to find out that it was Gale sitting across from me, and so enjoyed talking with her about the various flowers in her picturesque gardens, even learning that she too lived in South Florida for awhile.  I must admit I wasn’t surprised when she said her favorite smelling southern flower of all time is a Gardenia too!

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The beautiful Croquet lawn at Hazelhurst

As with all things fun and exciting . . . time flies and thus the sun had soon set and we were aboard the bus, heading back to Wausau.  It was a wonderful weekend and our heartfelt thanks goes out to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson staff and family for making it so memorable!  Now safely back at home, Wes and I are greatly anticipating our Artists Residency coming up at the museum October 28 – November 3rd.  For more information on this exciting opportunity visit their website at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. To read more about our two paintings featured in this years show, see this enlightening article in the Wausau Daily Herald . . . “6 Artists to look for at Woodson Art Museum’s 2017 ‘Birds in Art’ exhibition

~ Fresh off the Easels ~

Here’s our two fun pieces for Project Postcard. The past several years Birds in Art artists are asked to consider donating postcard-sized artworks which then are sold to members and guests during the Friday evening exhibition preview to raise funds for Woodson Art Museum acquisitions, and it has met with overwhelming success every year!

Our Project Postcards for Birds In Art this year

~ To Commission A Painting by Us Click Here!

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle