Babies . . . Babies . . . Everywhere!

“What is the purpose of the giant sequoia tree? The purpose of the giant sequoia tree is to provide shade for the tiny titmouse.”
~ Edward Abbey 

photo of cardinal

Sir Curly feeds his hungry Baby Curly outside our studio window

Speaking of Titmice, our yard has been full of them this week, as we have been enjoying a resident family with three babies! The air is filled with the delightful squeaks and squawks of three hungry babies, calling out to their frazzled parents for more and more food. The runt of this precious family, which we have named Tinymouse, seems to be the hungriest of them all. Perhaps he’s just trying to catch up to the other two. Nonetheless, it was hilarious sight to behold, while we were sitting on the back porch eating lunch today, to see Tinymouse in the nearby Mulberry tree squawking and uncontrollably flitting his wings as one of his parents approached. Suddenly he saw the size of the prized piece of food being offered, and went nuts as the parent stuffed a peanut butter treat into his open mouth. He was obviously thrilled with this delightful treat and flew to a nearby branch to sit quietly and eat bit by bit, this tasty morsel. We could almost hear the parent saying, “Here . . . maybe this will fill you up for a bit!” Not only has the yard been filled with Tinymouse and his siblings, but also with baby Cardinals, one of which belongs to Sir Curly, hence his name, Baby Curly, along with baby Robins, and House Finches as well. With many of them calling out at the same time for food, the back deck sounds like and resembles a baby bird nursery! There are also other critter babies in the yard too, and during one of my walks this past week around our nature path, I came across a beautiful little Box Turtle. So I quickly ran to the mulberry tree, and after gathering a handful of berries, returned and laid them in front of him. He ate everyone except one, so he must have enjoyed this tasty little offering!

photo of box turtle

A wonderful little Box Turtle in our woods

photo of cardinal

Baby Curly Cries for more!

The Mulberry Tree has been a delight for many this year, as not only I but so many of our feathered friends have been enjoying these juicy, sweet berries! Flocks of Cedar Waxwings land several times a day in the tree, and eat the berries, and amazingly, even though the berries are the size of their heads, they swallow them whole! The Catbirds also love them, and one afternoon while I was standing on a step stool, feverishly eating my share of berries, our resident Catbird landed a mere two feet above my head, and while looking down at me, proceeded to scold me in a series of very irritated calls, and kept it up for several minutes, even though I had told her nicely that “She can share”! Our ingenious Red-bellied Woodpecker gets his berry and cleverly places it securely into the crouch of the tree, so he can eat it without it getting away. The squirrels, Robins and Blue Jays, as well as countless others are also tremendously enjoying the fruits of this tree daily too!

photo of grandaddy long legs spider

One of Grandaddy Long Legs, found a perfect sized resting spot!

After returning from our wonderful trip to Florida last week, we are now back into painting full swing. We continue to enjoy our daily walks or bike rides, and last evening we enjoyed a delightful concert. We rode with our dear neighbor friends, Beverly and Avery, into nearby Maryville, to the lovely concert area on the Greenbelt. It was a gorgeous evening, with a nice breeze in the air, making it feel much cooler than it did earlier in the day. Beverly had made some yummy sandwiches, which we ate along with chips, and other munchies, and we finished it off with some of my homemade mint chocolate brownies. Before long it was time for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra to begin playing, and their instruments filled the evening air with the beautiful melodic sounds of Rossini and Mozart. Next came the “Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 1” by Ottorino Respighi, and as the sound of the flutes blended with other instruments, I could envision a gorgeous grand hall, complete with a marble floor filled with ladies in their beautiful Victorian dresses, seemingly floating across the floor, guided by their costumed laden partners, as they enjoyed waltzing about. We were then treated to a series of beautiful selections from West Side Story.

As the sun began to set during the intermission, a few swifts started their sporadic ballet through the air above, with the picturesque, large white clock of the courthouse serving as the backdrop. After a few energetic selections from the “Themes from 007”, and the fun and delightful tunes of a personal favorite, the “Syncopated Clock”, they began to play “Clarinet Candy”. As soon as the first few notes had left the featured duo’s clarinets, the Swifts seemed to come from everywhere, and seemingly all at once, the sky was filled with them, as they appeared to fly in perfect synchronization with the music, swirling and circling about, at times appearing to miss each other by mere inches! It was like a circus of nature as these amazing acrobats of the sky flew at fast speeds keeping time with the lively music! After a few more wonderful selections, the concert came to an end, and it was time to gather our things and return home.

photo of Knoxville Symphony on the Greenbelt in Maryville

Fresh Off the Easel: I’ve just about finished my commission of the three Lab puppies, save for a couple of touches. Currently I’m painting on another miniature that is part of our visiting the masterpiece series, which features me looking at the very large painting of the artist Madame Adelaide. With the beautiful clothing and marble surroundings, it has been great fun to paint on thus far.
Wes finished his miniature of a chipmunk from Sequoia National Park, as well as a miniature of 29 Brandt’s Cormorants from our Sea of Cortez Expedition, which is to be featured in the upcoming exhibition at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in March 2013.

miniature portrait painting of labrador puppies

Rachelle’s commission “Dreaming of Playtime” is 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches

portrait minitaure painting

Rachelle’s miniature painting in progress

miniature painting of a chipmunk

“Lil’ Bathsheba” by Wes is 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches

miniature painting of brandts cormorants at sanpedro island

“Brandts Cormorants at San Pedro Island” by Wes is 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches

~ Upcoming Events and Exhibitions of Our Paintings This Week ~

EXQUISITE MINIATURES BY WES AND RACHELLE SIEGRIST at the Nevada State Museum, Carson City, NV (Fifty of our miniature paintings are on display and available for purchase!)

21st International Miniature Show at the Seaside Art Gallery in Nags Head, NC. I was delighted to learn that I received 2nd Place Overall on my “Fine Art in Little” miniature painting!

 The Art of the Miniature XX at the SnowGoose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

  20th Annual International Juried Miniature Show at the Parklane Gallery, Kirkland, WA

Blossom II: Art of Flowers at the Greenacres Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH

30th Hilliard Annual Member’s Exhibition at the Town Hall, Wells, Somerset, England

51st Society of Animal Artists “Art & the Animal” Exhibition at the Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala, FL

Art of the Dive: Portraits of the Deep at the Wildlife Experience, Parker (Denver), CO

To view all our many exhibits: http://www.artofwildlife.com/exhibitschedule.html

“Collect the future’s history today while it is still affordable.”

Wishing you all a wonderful Memorial Day!

Until next time ~ Rachelle

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