The Never Ending Journey and New Miniature Paintings!

“Go out, go out I beg of you
And taste the beauty of the wild.
Behold the miracle of the earth
With all the wonder of a child.”

~ Edna Jaques

Sometimes the grandest of ideas can turn out to be . . . well not quite so grand! Such was the case this past week, when Wes and I decided to walk the entire loop road in Cades Cove, while it was closed to cars for one of the last times this season. It started off absolutely wonderful, as most journeys do. It was a beautiful morning with brilliant blue skies above and a nice gentle breeze blowing, enveloping us as it passed, as we began our twelve-mile walk around the cove. There were only a handful of bicyclists that passed us as we walked along, creating the feeling that the cove was completely ours most of the time, which is a most sensational feeling indeed! Void of cars and the noise created by them, it is a wonderfully quiet paradise, filled only with the soft pounding of our steps, the chirping of a cricket chorus, and the breeze rustling the leaves on the trees, accompanied by the occasional song of a bird or gobble of a turkey. “Crunch” went the leaves underfoot as we walked along looking intently into the woods for possible deer or bear. When rounding a curve in the road leading to the open field areas, we were many times greeted by turkeys, many of them Toms, fanning and prancing about, putting on a real show for the few girl turkeys eating about, and occasionally adding a “gobble . . . gobble . . . gobble” trying to increase their chance of making a nice impression on these mostly uninterested girls.

Check this out girls!

There were a few White-tailed Deer at the edge of woods, searching for any site of some nice, tender grass or other green, leafy things. We were happily walking along absorbing this amazing beauty and talking when we had finally reached what we figured to be the half way point. It was then that we realized that this journey was taking way longer than we had anticipated and by this time it was starting to really warm up. So on and on we went, walking through the open field areas, then up, down and around the many tree lined curvy sections of the road. Onward we walked . . . and walked . . . and walked some more. By this time it was getting very warm, and the earlier, lovely breeze had all but disappeared causing us both to really start perspiring. Now we all know that many times there won’t be a bug within miles, until you start to sweat, than there are more than you can count! That is exactly what happened and out of nowhere came a small swarm of deer flies landing on and stinging us, adding insult to injury! These pesky little unwanted visitors followed me into the restroom, making a not so pleasant experience even more so! I couldn’t help but laugh when I heard a lady in a nearby stall slapping herself silly, while trying to carefully relieve herself, before coming out and announcing “Man these flies around here bite!” That was my sentiment exactly, and I was hoping to leave them behind, but they chose otherwise and decided to march on right alongside us, and many times on us, while relentlessly biting! The Park had let the cars in by this time and they had caught up with us, as we walked and walked, up and down, around and around, while continually slapping at the flies biting us, and now trying to avoid being hit by the numerous cars passing us. It was then that Wes started telling me stories about different farm jobs and other memories from his childhood, as he knows how very much I always love hearing them again and again! Occasionally he stopped to answer a question of mine, or either figure out “How much further” we had to go. We did this numerous times, stating, “Man, on the bikes this section only took a minute or two, surely it isn’t that much further!”, and pressed onward. Finally we reached what we thought was about fifteen minutes from the end of the loop, only to learn as time passed that it was indeed an hour and a half on foot! At last . . . three and a half hours later, we reached the end of the loop and walked yet some more up to where we had parked in the picnic area. We decided that for us it was best, and much more enjoyable, to ride our bikes than walk around the cove! Besides, walking twelve miles on pavement is never a good idea really! Happy to sit a spell, we enjoyed the relaxing ride back into town where we devoured a yummy pizza at Pizza Hut!

Tricia and I enjoy an afternoon of painting on the porch!

We enjoyed having our dear friend, Tricia, over for lunch and an afternoon of painting one day this past week. There’s always lots of great conversation and laughter when Tricia comes to visit us!  It was a lovely day, so she and I painted on the back porch, while Wes worked on a computer project inside the studio, taking a break for banana pudding on the porch later that afternoon.  Friday evening, we enjoyed another wonderful concert at the Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, featuring our dear friends, Marti and Woody’s, son-n-law Jerry and his group, Jerry Butler and The Blu-J’s.  They were great and put on a delightful show!

The bridge where we like to take our water break.

Most of our time this past week has been spent painting on our miniatures, along with our “never ending walk about” and the daily bike rides around town. Most rides include a trip to the bridge at the end of town that is now closed to vehicles. I love going there for a rest and a sip of water, while watching the local Pigeon flock, consisting of about ten birds, and at times Kingfishers and Blue Herons visiting this scenic location. We also enjoy peering down into the river below, searching for Trout, Bass and other fish waiting there for lunch or dinner to swim by. For the past month or so, there has been this “foot” on a log toward one side of the Little River. Looking down from so far above the water below, it has been difficult to tell exactly what it was, and since the only two options were to wear water shoes and wade out to it, or either take a photo of it and then enlarge it; I went with the later. I took a photo of it and it was decided for sure that it was indeed a carving. Now Wes and I had opposing opinions on what exactly it was, and I won’t divulge who thought what, but just say that I now have a great big grin on my face!  🙂

Imagine my surprise, when our dear artist friend, Bill Mundy from England, emailed us this past week, announcing that he had finished a miniature portrait painting of me! Bill has wanted to paint my portrait for a couple of years now, and what a wonderful job he did! I am quite honored to now be part of his collection of portrait paintings, especially since I have always admired him as a miniature portrait artist!

Rachelle by Bill Mundy

Wes has been working steadily, along with David Wagner, to produce a beautiful panel and exhibition catalogue for the upcoming show “ART OF THE DIVE”, curated by Dr. Wagner. Wes and I will have six paintings that will be featured in the exhibition and tour.

Fresh off the easel: It’s been a very busy week in the studio! I finished my miniature painting of sweet Sampson. I also finished my miniature, “Admiring The Connoisseur” , and have decided that the most difficult part was trying to duplicate Norman Rockwell’s tidy signature that teeny tiny small! Wes finished his miniature of the Orchard Oriole in the midst of thickly hanging palm leaves, titled “Tropical Orange”. He also finished, just this afternoon, his miniature portrait “Nana in Her Easter Bonnet”. It is of his precious late Nana, wearing an Easter bonnet one Easter Sunday, when she and my Granny Beth both were parading around in their colorful bonnets, while we sang, “In My Easter Bonnet”. It was a wonderful day and a memory we’ll both treasure for a lifetime!

"Admiring the Connoisseur" by Rachelle, is 4¾ x 3¾ inches.
"Tropical Orange" by Wes, is 3½ x 2½ inches.
"Nana in Her Easter Bonnet" by Wes, is 1¾ x 1¾ inches.

Currently on the easel: I am very much enjoying painting a miniature of a room full of art, at one of the Smithsonian Art Museums in the D.C. area! I call it “Fine Art in Little”, and will probably finish it this week sometime.

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Until next time ~ Rachelle 🙂

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