Fun in Louisiana and New Miniature Paintings!

“The miniature is a thing to dream over, to love, and to hold next to the heart. The miniature will live when other pictorial art is forgotten.” Baldwin

"Early Summer Evening" by Rachelle, measures 3¼ x 4½ inches.

My miniature painting “Early Summer Evening” was done from a photo that we took during a visit to a horse farm in Kentucky with Wes’ family last summer. It was simply a beautiful evening with perfect lighting which I enjoyed playing up, causing the horses to almost glow. Wes’ miniature “Standing Guard” was painted from one of our many visits to a zoo. Both miniatures were finished this past week.

"Standing Guard" by Wes, measures 3 x 2 inches.

I want to share several wonderful photos from our visit to Louisiana, so I’m going to try and keep the words to a few. The first place we visited after arriving in Louisiana was the beautiful Oak Alley Plantation. It was absolutely gorgeous with the magnificent old oaks that line the front lawn that leads up to the large home. These great trees are over 300 years old and have seen many happenings and changes, and I so wish they could have talked! Of course being the tree hugger that I am, I had to give a big hug to a couple of these great beauties! It was a delightful way to start off our week long adventure!

Us in front of the magnificent Oaks at Oak Alley Plantation.
A section of the beautiful gardens at the R.W. Norton Art Gallery.

Sunday evening after our opening at the West Baton Rouge Museum, we were graciously invited to enjoy an evening at artist friend, Anne Faust, and her husband, Jacob’s, home. First we were treated to a really yummy treat of freshly cooked beignets at the Coffee Call. They were delicious and we had all of them eaten in no time and I also really enjoyed the Café au lait made with their local coffee with chicory in it. They were both quite delicious, and we actually managed to keep the mess form the powdered sugar to a minimum! Luckily I was wearing a white dress. Leaving there we headed to the Faust’s home where we were given and informal tour of their beautiful flower gardens and green house containing a wonderful collection of a variety of orchids. We then were fed a real Louisiana meal of crawfish or “mud bugs” as they call them there. It was an interesting ordeal as neither I, nor our friend Neli, had either eaten these Cajun delicacies before. After we were shown by Jacob how to eat them correctly, we dug in to our individual piles of crawfish. If you’ve never tasted them before, they taste a bit like a Florida lobster, just not as sweet. A few of us were then given fresh blueberries and vanilla ice cream while some choose to eat Texas Fruit Cake. It was a delightful and fun time filled with wonderful stories by Anne and Jacob about their many trips and of course our individual birding adventures. A big thank you to Anne and Jacob for giving us a real Louisiana treat!

Wes gets attacked by a mad mud bug. Me, Jacob, Anne, and Wes enjoying beignets.

Monday morning as we started off for New Orleans we stopped to visit the State Capital building in Baton Rouge. A beautiful, tall building it was and we so enjoyed getting to go to the top and having a 360 degree look around. We arrived in New Orleans later that day and enjoyed walking around admiring the beautiful architecture and rod iron balconies in the French Quarter. I must admit it was one of the hottest and most humid times of our lives with the temperature being about 108 with the heat index . . . yikes!! I thought I was going to melt even though I grew up and lived in south Florida for over 30 years. It sure was difficult to eat a beignet at the Café Du Monde when sweat is pouring down your face . . . .HA!

Us standing on one of the numerous steps of the magnificent State Capital Building in Baton Rouge. A great view of the grounds from the top.
Us in front of the beautiful Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans and a peek inside.

Tuesday morning we met along with Dr. Wagner, our curator, with John Bullard, the longtime director of the New Orleans Museum of Art. Since the museum was closed to the public that day, we were given a personal tour with the highlight being able to spend almost an hour in a round room featuring over a hundred historic miniature portraits. Time seemed to fly as we enjoyed intently looking at, and admiring, each miniature. The four of us then went to a favorite local restaurant of John’s, where Wes and I enjoyed being treated to a shrimp Po boy with sweet potato fries, and it was indeed a treat. After being shown much of the remaining damage from Hurricane Katrina we returned to the museum and walked through the museum’s delightful sculpture garden. We finished off the day that evening with a wonderful dinner at Irene’s, a French Italian restaurant, with a lovely interior. Wes, Dave, Neli and I were joined by our collector friends that drove up to attend the opening of both exhibitions, Reggie and Mack. After much laughter and conversation, and of course eating, we finished off our delicious meals with a dessert to celebrate my birthday that day!
Before we knew it, it was all over and we were on the plane heading back home. We had a great time and made a lot of memories!

Reggie, Wes, me, Neli, Dave and Mac at Irene's celebrating my birthday.
Me, Wes, Neli and Dave with Rodrigue's Blue Dog. (and a red dog) Rodrigue had two works in Dr. Wagner's exhibition, Paws & Reflect: Art of Canines, in which we had also had six miniatures.

We spent some time trying to locate the artist Rodrigue’s gallery so Dave could meet him but seemed to miss him at every turn! Funny thing was our discovery of one of his new galleries just outside the door of our hotel in New Orleans!

This past Friday evening we attended the opening of the Miniature Artists of America Exhibit being featured at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center here in Townsend. The opening had a great attendance, where I and fellow miniature artist, Catherine Girard, demonstrated while Wes gave his presentation on the history of miniature art. There was standing room only for much of the presentation making it a very successful evening.

The MAA demonstration and opening reception at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center.
Wes giving his presentation at the MAA opening.

Well, back to the easel, hope you all are enjoying a lovely summer thus far!

Until next time ~ Rachelle 🙂

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