An Imaginary Trip to the Swamps and Miniature Paintings in Progress

“There are no other Everglades in the world. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth, remote, never wholly known. Nothing anywhere else is like them.”
~ Marjory Stoneman Douglas

photo of highlands hammock

My beloved Cypress Trail at Highland’s Hammock

Not much has happened this past week, except quite a bit of painting intermixed with our daily walks and bike rides. A couple of evenings were spent with friends playing Mexican Train Dominoes and grilling out. We did enjoy a recent concert at our local Heritage center this past Friday evening. The bluegrass musicians were quite talented and entertaining, and towards the end of the concert they played a song which I love and haven’t heard in quite some time called “Seminole Wind”. Now most bluegrass groups performing here always play “Rocky Top” which is greeted with a reaction of the audience going totally nuts. This time however, that song was not played, and after they played “Seminole Wind”, one girl went nuts . . . me! If you’re not familiar with this song, it talks about the destruction of the everglades that were once beautiful until the white man came along and ruined the land. It was also home to the Seminole Indians when Osceola was their leader. Once they went into the chorus, especially the part which says . . . “And blow, blow from Okeechobee . . .  all the way up to Micanopy . . . Blow across the home of the Seminole . . . The alligators and the gar”, I sang aloud and was pretty much the only one joining in, this of course being compared to when “Rocky Top” is played and everyone sings so loud,  that they can be heard way over in NC. Who knows, perhaps it’s because 99% of the crowd has probably never heard of Okeechobee, let alone be able to pronounce and sing it correctly! However, having grown up in Okeechobee, I was immediately transported there in my mind as the song was sung, back with my family, the black water of the swamps filled with the alligators and the Gar! The song also reminded me of the heartbreaking devastation and destruction we have, and unfortunately continue to cause in the Everglades.

photo of an alligator

Look closely . . . there’s somebody looking back at you!

One of my all-time favorite places on earth is in the middle of a swamp, at Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring, FL. My family spent a lot of time over the years there while I was growing up, and Wes and I still visit it whenever we have a chance, along with my family. I especially loved it many years ago before the new and improved catwalks had been built, and you walked through the swamp, just a foot or so above the still, black waters of the swollen Billy Bow Legs Creek below. At times the water would be filled with more than a dozen Alligators slowly swimming about or lying out sunning, on a nearby bank. Sometimes a Cottonmouth Moccasin could be spotted curled up at the base of a Cypress tree, enjoying the warmth of the sun. Wes and I were also fortunate enough to be able to visit the Everglades a couple of times many years ago, while doing research for a book Wes illustrated on the Florida Panther. It is truly an amazing place, with a big expansive blue sky above and what appears to be a sea of grass below! It’s also a paradise for viewing water loving birds and alligators! I would love to able to visit some day again, and this time with more time to spend there and a couple of kayaks!

Fresh off the easel: I’m painting on a miniature of one of my favorite waterfalls. This is the first time that I have painted it and it almost feels as if it’s a tribute of sorts to such a beautiful place. Wes is painting on a miniature of a stunning and colorful King Vulture that we photographed during a visit to a zoo. Wes has also been working on a commission.

miniature landscape painting

Rachelle’s miniature landscape painting in progress

King Vulture in progress

Wes’ miniature of a King Vulture in progress

~ 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!)

6th Annual Miniature Fine Art Show at Artistic Designs Gallery in Brownsburg, IN

 We are also looking forward to our upcoming exhibit with the Gallery of Artists at the Irving Arts Center near Dallas, TX.  Please join us if you can and let your friends know about the show in the area.  We’ll have 25 or so of our paintings on display.

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

Until next time ~ Rachelle

 

 

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