Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | September 1, 2015

We Stood In Niagara Falls!

Visiting Niagara Falls!

By Rachelle Siegrist

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Wes and I in front of Horseshoe Falls

We flew into Buffalo, NY last Wednesday evening, to attend the opening of the Society of Animal Artists 55th Annual Exhibition at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, NY that weekend. However, I must admit that my top priority was seeing Niagara Falls! A lover of waterfalls,  I have wanted to see it since I was a little girl. So early last Thursday, Wes and I drove the short distance to Niagara Falls State Park, where we parked the rental car, and walked across the Rainbow Bridge crossing into Canada for our very first time.

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Standing on the Rainbow Bridge separating the U.S. from Canada

Immediately we were welcomed by beautiful, immaculate gardens lined with neatly trimmed boxwood hedges of all shapes, filled with a variety of flowers, including fuchsia trees! Walking past colorful, blooming hanging baskets, we quickly drew nearer to the falls, and the roar became louder.

flower gardens at niagara falls canada

A few of the gorgeous hanging baskets

rachelle siegrist at niagara falls canada

One of the many beautiful gardens on the Canadian side

Having walked a short distance, we ascended a spiral walkway leading to an observation deck, and there they were in all their glory, absolutely stunning and truly magnificent, just as I had always imagined they would be! The parting clouds allowed a ray of sun to pass through, illuminating the falls, while tremendous clouds of mist rose into the air from the base. Bright white Herring Gulls slowly drifted in and out of the clouds of mist, adding to the sheer majesty of it all, and I stood there completely mesmerized!  I was finally seeing Niagara Falls, in all of its splendid grandeur!

american falls by niagara falls

The American Falls

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American Falls with the Maid of the Mist

We walked along the garden-lined parks, stopping continually to take yet another photo of the falls in the changing light. Soon we found ourselves descending hundreds of feet on the elevator in Journey Behind the Falls, and could hear the roar as soon as the doors opened!

rachelle siegrist in journey behind the falls canada

Standing in one of the observation portals

We walked through the long, narrow, cement tunnel leading to the base of Horseshoe Falls, and after peering through the two portals allowing a view of the back of the falls, we went to the platform near the bottom. The thunderous roar was unbelievable, resulting from roughly 600,000 gallons a second thundering over the edge! I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, as I stood there in my poncho, admiring this amazing natural wonder!

wes siegrist in journey behind the falls canada

Wes is the one on the far left waving

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Absolutely stunning it was!

Leaving there, we enjoyed strolling along, sandwiched between the falls on one side and lovely flower-filled gardens on the other. We ate lunch on the old stone veranda of a restaurant named Secret Garden, offering a lovely view of the falls.  Our black bean burgers were yummy, and there was plenty of bread to share with the numerous house sparrows which soon became my friends!

house sparrow at niagara falls canada

One of my little Canadian friends

After a quick stroll through Queen Victoria Park, filled with hundreds of beautiful fragrant roses, we headed back towards Rainbow Bridge, and were quite surprised to find we had to pay fifty cents each to leave Canada, especially since we’d just spent our last quarters in Canada!  Reaching the American side, we decided to ride the Maid of the Mist. Suited up in our bright blue ponchos, we boarded the boat, anxiously awaiting our view from the bottom of the falls, up close and personal! Soon we were at the base of the American Falls, and it was a truly breathtaking experience, seeing it from that perspective!

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Aboard the Maid of the Mist with The American Falls behind me

We rode the short distance to the base of Horseshoe Falls, and while there we watched a Cormorant fishing at the bottom of these powerful falls! Occasionally it would dive down, popping back to the surface, where it would bob way up and down over the tumultuous waves and white water created by the force of the falls! I decided it, like myself, must certainly be an adrenaline junkie!

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Wes aboard the Maid of the Mist with Horseshoe Falls behind

The boat slowly turned and I found myself standing on deck in the exact center of Horseshoe Falls, as close as possible, and it was truly amazing, the mist and wind created from it blowing like crazy! All too soon the boat was pulling back up to the dock, where we disembarked. After enjoying one last view of the falls from the observation tower, we headed over to the Cave of the Winds. Having watched the poncho clad people walking about these series of steps leading right along the base of American Falls throughout the day, I was thrilled to be starting my own journey along them!

rachelle siegrist cave of the winds at niagara falls

Oh boy . . . here I go!

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Wes standing on one of the many decks along the way

Wearing our complimentary water shoes and ponchos, we started down the stairs, and within seconds were soaked with mist and spray coming from the falls. I was delighted that we were getting to walk through the water at points as we continued along the wooden stair maze. Then we came to the Hurricane Deck, and that opportunity I wasn’t about to pass up!  So I quickly walked to the farthest corner and stood in the torrential downpour of water coming from the falls, water and wind pelting me so hard, it was hard to stand up at times!

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Me on the Hurricane Deck

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Me standing in Niagara Falls, and loving every second of it!

I was in my element and It was during that moment, when I gained a full appreciation for the awesome power of this amazing set of falls! I just stood there, thinking how incredible it was that not only had I now seen the falls, but was actually standing in them! I reluctantly left the Hurricane Deck, totally sopping wet, and Wes and I laughed as we watched the faces of passerby’s looking at me and commenting to one another . . . “Oh my, we’re gonna really get wet!”

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A view of the Hurricane Deck from above

Leaving the Cave of the Winds, we walked out to the Three Sisters Islands, where an enormous flock of Herring Gulls were gathered on rocks out in the middle of the rapids. By that time I had dried out enough to eat supper out on the open air porch at the Top of the Falls restaurant, where we were afforded a lovely view of the falls once again.

gulls by three sisters islands at niagara falls state park

A group of Herring Gulls by Three Sisters Islands

Afterwards we walked out to Luna Island, and saw the falls drenched in the warm, evening light and it was absolutely spectacular! We admired the chosen location of one lone seagull, which was sitting right on the rocky ledge at the top of the American Falls, as we took several more photos. Growing later In the evening, it was time to say goodbye to this majestic setting, and I couldn’t have been more delighted and thrilled with the amazing day and experiences we had been blessed with!

american falls at niagara falls state park in the evening

Stunning Niagara Falls in the evening

We can hardly wait to start our series of Niagara Falls miniature paintings!  We just might have to make one at least a wee bit bigger!

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Until next time . . .


Posted by: Rachelle Siegrist | August 26, 2015

Displaying Miniature Paintings

Displaying Miniature Paintings

By Wes Siegrist

Siegrist Miniature Paintings on Display

End tables, desks and shelves are common places to display miniature paintings with a magnifier beside them for viewers’ delight!

This blog features a variety of displays with miniature art. Most feature our paintings but a few show our own collection of works by fellow artists. ~ Special thanks to our collectors who shared their displays with us!

Siegrist Miniature Paintings on Display

Inside lighted cabinets and in the midst of other collections … the size of miniatures affords flexible options!

How do you display miniature art? Something so small will go almost anywhere but yet, you want it to be seen. For most collectors of miniature paintings, you also want to share the excitement of examining the works under a magnifier with guests,  so being able to get really close to them is also important.  Many collectors tell us how they enjoy picking up their miniatures and examining them with their magnifiers while seated in their comfy chair!

Siegrist Miniature Paintings on Display

Small rooms and hallways make great cozy spots for spending time enjoying a collection of miniatures! Large walk-in closets are also places to proudly display a few that you wish to see each and every day!

Siegrist Miniature Paintings on Display

Groupings of paintings can also “stand alone” with larger work. (That’s one of Wes’ conventional scale watercolors on the left in this photo)

Over the years we’ve been delighted to learn where our miniature gems have taken their place of honor in homes and businesses and we enjoy seeing photos of collections that we can share with others. Do you have a unique display in your house or office?

Siegrist Miniature Paintings on Display

Alongside or underneath conventional scale artwork is another option preferred by collectors. (This photo shows our home with some of our own work on display)

Siegrist Miniature Paintings on Display

Despite their historical conflict, miniature paintings get along just fine with cherished photos today!

Miniature paintings and illuminated manuscripts

How about displaying miniature paintings with their antecedent: illuminated manuscripts?

Siegrist Miniature Paintings on Display

How about a grouping on a small table that encourages visitors to pick them up and examine them up close?

Miniature art fills a niche in the art world and it’s fun to hear tales of how our tiny artwork is hung in yachts, RVs and is often carried from one home to another with the changing seasons for those who migrate.

Siegrist Miniature Paintings on Display

How about having an entire collection inside one frame?

Siegrist Miniature Paintings on Display

Consider the charm of this room filled with smaller works and miniature paintings instead of a couple larger pieces.

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TexArt Workshop 2016

~ A Rare Opportunity ~

Have you been waiting to take a workshop from us on miniature painting?  If so, here’s a chance but don’t hesitate as the workshop is already 2/3rds full and is expected to sell out the day registration opens in October.  (Sign up via the website below to get an email notification of when registration officially opens).  Please feel free to share the PR below with friends!

The Enchantment of Painting Miniatures

A Daily Session with Wes Siegrist at TexArt 2016

Come close …get really close! Not everything’s big in Texas! Work alongside one of miniature art’s premiere painters at creating these enchanting, tiny gems of the art world, at a unique workshop to be held on the beautiful campus of Schreiner University in Kerrville Texas from May 22nd till May 27th, 2016. Learn the guidelines contemporary miniature art shows and societies follow to preserve and promote working “in little” and how to overcome the unique challenges with making them. The session includes a brief presentation by Wes on the development and important role miniature art played in history from the Renaissance to the present day. He’ll explain why miniature art is more than just working small. Siegrist will also be discussing opportunities for exhibiting miniature art as well as how artists can niche market their work successfully.

And there’s a BONUS: Wes’ wife, Rachelle, will also be demonstrating and fielding questions! While all media are acceptable, the Siegrists will be specializing in watercolor.

Wes is honored to be one of the instructors at a unique Artist Workshop in May of 2016. For the very first time the Susan Kathleen Black Foundation and the Society of Animal Artists are combining their efforts to create one of the coolest workshops ever! This unique new weeklong workshop will be held on the beautiful campus of Schreiner University in Kerrville Texas from May 22nd till May 27th… 2016. Participating artists can train in all of the traditional mediums of Oils, Acrylics & Watercolor. They can also try their hand at Sculpture as well as the very cool skills involved in Scratchboard. But in addition… there are a couple very unique specialties offered in this workshop that set it apart from all others. Artists will have the opportunity to learn how to paint very, very big paintings… as well as very, very small miniatures.

The instructors in this workshop are all award winning members of the Society of Animal Artists and include… John Banovich – Painting huge… Wes Siegrist – Painting Miniatures… Sally Maxwell – Scratchboard… James Coe – Oils… Jan Martin McGuire – Acrylics… David Rankin – Watercolors… Dan Chen – 3Dimensional Canvases… and David Turner – Sculpture.  All in all, this workshop for the professional artist will be a noteworthy evolution of Workshops for Artists in America.

Click here to see why this is going to be such a cool workshop.

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~ The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels ~

We’re delighted to finally be able to share two of our latest paintings with you now that they are happily being enjoyed in their new homes!

Miniature painting of a kayaker by Wes Siegrist

“Flint River Fun” by Wes featuring our dear friend, David Lanier

Miniature painting of a cat by Wes and Rachelle Siegrist

“The Sun King” is our latest tandem treasure featuring one of our favorite furry friends, KoKo

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