The Opening of our Exhibition at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center

“Art touches the soul… art is communication… it reaches out from the canvas and
passes through the eyes of the viewer right into his heart where it can leave an imprint
of beauty that can make the spirit sing.”

~ Nina Baldwin

Wes and I in front of part of our exhibition at the Center

We left early last Thursday morning on our journey to Yadkinville, NC, to attend the opening of our exhibition, “Exquisite Miniatures” at the beautiful Yadkin Cultural Arts Center. The drive was lovely, as the first couple of hours was spent driving through parts of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Foothills Parkway, where we enjoyed seeing the first hint of fall color, as well as several turkeys along the way. From there we drove the winding highway through the beautiful mountainous area of Asheville, NC, as we made our way to Yadkinville. We arrived early that afternoon in time to meet Susan and Stephen, the Center’s Directors, and get things set up for Wes’ presentation that evening.

A great view of part of our exhibition and the wonderful architecture of the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center

After finishing up the final details, we had enough time left to take a short drive through the lovely country side leading to the beautiful Raffaldini Vineyards. It is in a gorgeous location with rolling hillsides covered and lined with the lush rows of vineyards which were heavy with piles of ripe grapes, awaiting harvest, all against the backdrop of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. We never made it inside the lovely building, as I couldn’t bring myself to stop smelling the numerous roses lining the walkway leading through their gardens. They were the old fashioned type in an array of colors, rich with the unique fragrant smell that only a rose of this type can bring, and they were so numerous that the air was filled with this amazingly fragrant smell, completely intoxicating one as you walked along!

The opening reception that evening, was well attended as collectors, friends, and newly made acquaintances enjoyed viewing  fifty of our miniatures there on display, while also making some purchases. The wonderful, delicious hors d’oeuvres being served, were accompanied by miniature silver forks, which were quite appropriate for the exhibition and brought a smile to everyone’s face!  A bit later on, Wes gave his PowerPoint presentation and it was well received, and he enjoyed answering the questions afterwards. Then we all went into the restaurant located there in the Center, where we  enjoyed a wonderful dinner accompanied by lots of great conversation and laughter with friends. Then came the coupe de gras, as the large platter of brownies left uneaten from earlier that evening, were then brought in where everyone graciously all but finished them off!! They were simply scrumptious!! From there we followed our dear collector friends, John and Donna, back to their beautiful home where we would be staying the next couple of days.

Wes, along some of our friends enjoying a nice meal  . . . Ooooo . .  . Here comes the brownies!

Friday morning after enjoying a nice leisurely breakfast, we began our day of adventure. Firstly we arrived at the beautiful Reynolda House Museum of American art, in Winston-Salem, where we spent a couple of wonderfully enlightening hours, as we made our way through the mansion filled with gorgeous antique furniture and a very nice collection of art. Two of my favorite paintings there on display were Albert Bierstadt’s beautiful “Sierra Nevada” and Frederick Church’s “The Andes of Ecuador”, which our radio interviewer David Ford from 88.5 had graciously compared my miniature painting “View From Yosemite Valley” to earlier that week, truly making my day! After being told that, I was thrilled to view the painting in real life, and thus even more honored! The home was amazing, rich with history as well as room after room that continued to impress and amaze as one went through them. The basement of the home contained a bowling alley, indoor shooting range, squash court, billiard room, a swanky bar, and an indoor pool! And even more amazing, the entire floor of the basement floor had a special surface perfect for roller skating on, with a room just to store skates! I imagined the children from the smallest to the eldest spending hour after hour, exploring and enjoying all these incredibly fun activities!

Standing in front of the gorgeous Reynolda House

From there we walked through part of the gorgeous, lush gardens surrounding the home until we reached our destination for lunch, The Village Tavern, housed in a building which is part of the lovely Reynolda village. It was packed with quite a waiting list, but we were very blessed as a few minutes after arriving, a couple left, making available their seats, which I quickly grabbed, after being told we could take them if they became available. After walking over and sitting down, we discovered that we had been fortunate to get the best seats in the restaurant! We sat at the long, narrow, old darkly grained wooden table which faced a large, framed window affording a most delightful view beyond! There was a small, rolling grass covered hill side, lined with a sidewalk accompanied by old lamp posts, between the restaurant and the road. There were also several large trees scattered about the peaceful scene, which were quite beautiful while sporting the onset of their magnificent burgundy fall foliage! As we sat there admiringly looking out the window, we enjoyed a delicious lunch consisting of a portabella mushroom sandwich and sweet potato fries! What a nice treat the experience was indeed! We finished in time to enjoy a leisurely walk through the remaining Reynolda gardens which were quite stunning, filled with a vast array of flowers in full bloom, offering flowers in every size as well as every color under the sun! We returned to the van just in time to sit and listen to our interview with David on the radio. It was quite exciting, especially since the station was in the adjacent building across the way.

Follow me on a lovely photo journey through the gardens . . .

Leaving there, we headed over to Old Salem where we took a step back in time, as we began our walking tour, we  walked across the wooden bridge leading to the main streets of Old Salem. One can only imagine the interesting, numerous stories which could be told by the beautiful, historic buildings lining the streets, if only they could talk. Our first stop was at the Timothy Vogler Gunsmith shop, where we saw firsthand how guns were made and repaired. Leaving there, we stopped to watch as a man in period dress described the process of loading the old rifles, and showing us a great example as he fired it several times, causing the entire group watching him to jump in unison as the loud blast of the exploding gunpowder filled the cool, fall air!

The beautiful wooden bridge where we began our journey through Old Salem

Loading and packing . . .


We then meandered down the old street making our way to the next point of interest, The Tavern Barn and Salem Tavern, where we enjoyed taking a very informative tour. One thing of great interest was how single, male guests could sometimes expect to possibly share a very small bed with another strange man or two! I can imagine how that was an interesting experience and probably a very stinky one too! From there we went along to see many other historic buildings, we stopped for a tour of the Single Brother’s House, where we enjoyed a short history lesson and example of music played on their handmade pipe organs. We also enjoyed watching a gentleman making spoons from pewter, ladies dyeing yarn, where we learned that human urine was used in the making of Indigo blue dye . . . Yuck! I told them that I believe I would’ve stuck to the warmer yellow and red shades! From there we went and relaxingly stood and watched as a potter formed a pot while using his kick wheel, spinning it at a nice steady speed, causing the wheel to go round and round while his gentle touch formed the rim of the pot. We saw furniture being built, brooms being made and so many other things that were all done in this wonderful village in the past.  Before starting our walking journey back we strolled through the C. Winkler Bakery, while inhaling as much of the wonderful scents as possible, of freshly baked bread, cakes, cookies and other delicious smelling goodies that filled the air!

Standing by the road leading through Old Salem

The rear view of The Single Brother’s House

Part of the Tavern Barn

We ended this amazingly wonderful day with a delicious and delightful dinner with our friends, John and Donna at one of their favorite local Thai restaurants, Basil Thai. It was certainly one for the memory books that I would’ve been happy for it to go on and on! Saturday morning we awoke early and were all packed, and at the Art Center by nine, at which time the people attending Yadkin’s Fall Festival began pouring through the Center. We started the morning off with a TV interview with local station YVTV7, and then began answering the many questions those attending, and mostly seeing true miniature paintings for the first time, asked us. Before we knew it, it was later that afternoon and time for us to start our journey over the mountains back home. We said our goodbyes and thank yous and headed for home.

You can enjoy listening to our interview with WFDD 88.5’s David Ford at: (Part I – MP3 @3MB/@8 minutes; Part II – MP3 9MB/@10 minutes)

Fresh off the easels: I finished my miniature painting “Admiring the Bierstadt” which shows me sitting on a bench in front of his stunningly beautiful painting, “Among the Sierra Nevada”. It was truly a challenge getting all the details of that large painting in such a very tiny space, but quite rewarding in the end!

"Admiring the Bierstadt" by Rachelle, is 2 1/8 x 2 1/8 inches

Upcoming Events and Exhibitions of Our Paintings This Week:

~ The Art of Miniature Painting Workshop – 5th Annual Miniature Fine Art Show October 22 – November 19, 2011: Artistic Designs Gallery, Brownsburg, IN. We will be attending the ticketed opening reception on October 21st from 7-9PM. On Saturday, the 22nd, Wes and I will be giving a demonstration/workshop from 10AM until 5PM. (Demo from 10-Noon with full workshop continuing until 5PM). For more information, or to sign up, please contact Laura at the gallery.

A special note of THANKS to all our collectors who came to see us at our exhibition opening at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center!! We felt so very blessed to have so many attend the lecture, make purchases and join us afterward for dinner. It was such a joy to talk with all those in attendance about miniature art. Our exhibit, as well as the Miniature Artists of America Traveling Exhibition, will remain on display at the Center thru October 15th.

If you would like to sign up to be notified of when I update my blog each week, you can do so by clicking the button in the top right hand corner.
Until next time ~ Rachelle    🙂

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