Wes’ painting “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” depicting a beautiful little Spider Mite is on the far right
The opening of 52nd Society of Animal Artists Art and the Animal Exhibition took place this past weekend, and we were there to enjoy it! We left very early Friday morning, and drove to the airport in Knoxville where we boarded our plane heading to La Guardia airport in NY. Before landing I was quite excited to finally see the Statue of Liberty in person, although it was very small, and to see the skyline of NY city. We safely landed and before long Wes and I were driving for the first time In NY traffic . . . yikes! Thankfully sometime later, we arrived at the hotel where we would be staying for the weekend. Once we got into our room, I looked out our window, and was amazed at our illustrious view, one consisting of the tops of several A/C units and a dumpster with a torn up lid, with several bags of garbage lying around. I was not thrilled by it until I started noticing several cute squirrels that were dumpster diving and running off with found edible treasures! It then actually became quite an interesting view while watching them all look and search, and seeing what they found and carried off!
The illustrious view from our hotel room with the precious dumpster diving squirrels!
After getting settled in, we went down to the lobby and finally got to meet our very dear artist friend, Rich Haynes and his sweet wife Joanie in person, after having emailed back and forth with Rich almost a dozen years now. We all enjoyed a nice lunch along with artist friend Linda Rossin and her husband, Arno, at a nearby restaurant before spending the afternoon at the lovely Bergen County Zoo. It was a beautiful afternoon as the six of us walked about the zoo, photographing and just enjoying watching the furry and feathered residents that live there. It was a nice time of relaxation for both Wes and I, after having driven for the first time in NY, from the La Guardia airport to Paramus, NJ! It was also great to chat and catch up on past happenings with them all. I dare say the favorite resident of the zoo for most of us was the very chubby Prairie Dogs! They were too adorable and such fun to watch as they ate and played and interacted with us. I believe I personally could’ve contentedly watched them for hours!
L to R: Linda , Rich, Arno, me and Wes with Joanie in front, at the zoo
Rich, Linda and I taking photos of a handsome frog, which appeared to be smiling
Three precious, chubby buddies enjoying their supper at the zoo
A major turtle conference with one of them obviously on top of it all!
That evening we enjoyed attending the opening for the SAA Exhibition at the beautiful Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum in Oradell, NJ. It was a lovely show and looked quite stunning in the gorgeous museum with the main section being a restored horse stable, featuring the original, rich dark stained wood walls inside the historical building. The next morning was spent at a meeting for the SAA members, after which Wes and I left in search of lunch. With rain looming in the near future, we decided to go to the mall, where we found a Subway in the large food court area. There were more people present than we had ever seen in a mall before, and after ordering our sandwich we searched for an available table, quickly discovering there was none, other than a small, low, round child’s table. While sitting there with our knees up by our ears, eating our sandwich and occasionally looking at each other, since we couldn’t really hear one another over the intense noise in the large open space, Wes looked at me and said “Want to marry me? . . . I’ll take you to exotic places like Paramus, NY, and buy you Subway sandwiches and we can eat them at little kid’s tables?” With this we both busted out laughing, after I of course said yes! As soon as we finished our lunch, we quickly left the noisy mall and returned to the hotel where we enjoying taking with fellow artists that afternoon. Later that evening with our dear artist friend, Anne Faust and her husband Jacob in the back seat, we headed to the museum once again for the awards dinner. It was beautifully decorated, and quite warm and inviting inside as we entered. The soothing melodic music from a harp was heard as we walked throughout the museum viewing the artwork and talking with everyone. Before long it was time for dinner to start, and a delicious meal was served, ending with a delectable dessert!
Wes and I with our dear friend and solo exhibition curator, Dr. David Wagner in the background
The beautiful Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum in Oradell, NJ
Wes spent all day Sunday at the SAA board meeting, so I enjoyed eating breakfast with artist friends there at the hotel before enjoying spending the day with my friend, Deanna, artist friend David Rankin’s wife. The first interesting discovery of the day was that the malls and almost all retail stores in NJ are closed on Sundays. Hmmm . . . with a forecast of rain and cold it became more difficult to find something to do. So we checked out of the hotel and headed to Trader Joes, which was indeed open. Since I had heard about it from friends for years, but had never been to one, I thought it would be a good time to go. As soon as we walked into the store, I looked at Deanna and said “Why this is a grocery store”, to which she busted out laughing, as did I, and she replied “We really know how to have a great time don’t we!” After buying my Trader Joe souvenir of dark chocolate covered raisins, we left and started making the clover shaped U-turns trying to get back onto I 17, which I deemed “Insanity Highway”, as it had a large cement barrier in the middle, which I called “The Great Wall of Paramus” that ran the entire length of the road, making it almost impossible to get anywhere and to try and turn around for heaven’s sake! We drove down the heavily trafficed road until we reached the mall, which we understood was open itself, but none of the stores were open. So after choosing a parking spot out of the five thousand open spaces, we excitedly walked to the mall entrance and pulled on the door, which to our disappointment wouldn’t open! So there we stood, like two pitiful caged animals looking through the windows at what could’ve been.
Hmmm . . . what to do now! We started a scenic drive around the mall, and went to an open restaurant and asked to see a menu. After looking at it, we decided that we weren’t that hungry, and the waiter pointed out the brunch menu, to which Deanna replied, “Yes, it’s quite lovely”, he then gave us an inquisitive look as we graciously thanked him and declined, then quickly left. This entire scenario struck us funny once again and we roared with laughter. Further along our scenic drive, we came to a Mexican restaurant and decided that this would be perhaps more suitable. Once seated we ordered our cheese quesadillas, which tasted more like glorified cheese and crackers Mexican style, but nonetheless, we enjoyed talking and laughing. It was all fun and games until a passing waiter dropped an entire tray loaded with several glasses of ice water less than a foot from the end of our booth, sending an icy spray of water all over our legs from our knees down, totally soaking my sandaled feet! He picked up a few of the now empty glasses and quickly left the scene without even an apology. I gently kicked the glass that had landed on my left foot off into the isle, and we patiently sat there waiting for someone to clean up the lake front property that surrounded our booth! Finally our waitress slowly came with a mop in hand and began to soak up the mess. After telling her that we didn’t do it, and her still trying to blame us, she exclaimed to the girl with her, that since we had not done it, she was not cleaning it up. Amazed at the whole scenario we began to laugh even more, and after wading through the spill, the gentleman in the booth beside us exclaimed as we were leaving “My, you two really got soaked!” We agreed and quickly left.
Oh no we thought, it was time to try and figure out how to get back onto “Insanity Hwy” once again, and unfortunately we got lost the first attempt, and ended up in a kind of scary-looking neighborhood. Thankfully we finally figured out to just head north, and found the detour for the road we were searching for. Eventually we found our way back onto the highway and headed into the direction of the museum. While driving through one section, the person behind us blew their horn at us several times, and we figured that perhaps they weren’t satisfied with our driving. Well at the stoplight, the car pulled up beside us, and I quickly glanced over at it, as the person was saying something to us. It was a black gentleman in a boldly pin striped suit, with a purple velvet hat, and some type of bright red adornment on his breast pocket. Deeming this to not be the best situation with us being alone in a strange city, I kept telling Deanna “Just don’t look at him!”. I told her to leave the window up in case he was mad and was going to shoot that at least it would slow the bullet down! To this she busted out in laughter, with me following suit! Then I noticed the man was smiling and saying something about Arizona, so she shrugged her shoulders and shook her head, and thankfully the light changed, we were off and safely at the museum in a couple of minutes! But alas this was not to be the last of the saga! After mentioning my appreciation and fondness of snakes, the museum curator’s son brought his three pet snakes to visit, so I could meet and hold them. Well, the last one which was named “One-eyed Willy”, because it was born with one eye, obviously felt quite comfortable and relaxed with me, and several minutes after I had been holding him, the curator’s cute little boy shouted “Oh-No . . . stinky caca!” All of a sudden I realized what he had said, and looking down at my pants, I saw that One-eyed Willy had managed to relieve himself all over my pants, with the remainder of it landing on the floor. So laughingly I said that was the first time I had ever been christened by a snake and quickly made my way to the bathroom to try and clean it up a bit as we were leaving to catch the plane home soon. Wow, what memories I had made that day along with Deanna, while poor Wes and David sat in meetings! We spent the entire day laughing like two giddy teenaged girls!
Some of the gorgeous fall foliage in NJ
The meeting adjourned, we all said our goodbyes and we were off driving our way back through the NY traffic to the airport. Thankfully we arrived there safe and quite quickly. After supper and a couple hour wait, we boarded our plane. Unfortunately my grand visions of seeing the city of NY all lit up at night from our plane, was short lived, as it was raining when we took off, and with a minute everything had disappeared under the cloud filled sky. No matter I thought, no lights of any city can compare with the stars filling the sky on a clear night here in the mountains!
Fresh off the easel: I finished my miniature of a scene viewed through a section of an old building, at old marina in Guaymas in Mexico. It will be featured in the upcoming exhibition featuring the works of the Sea of Cortez expedition artists at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, AZ next March. Wes also finished his miniature painting of a gorgeous swan afloat in the water.
“Glimpse Into a Way of Life” by Rachelle
3½ x 2½ inches
“Bashful Beauty” by Wes
2½ x 3½ inches
Come See Our Paintings This Week:
Exquisite Miniatures by Wes & Rachelle Siegrist at the Nevada State Museum, Carson City, NV
Last chance to view our miniature paintings at this fine museum!
To view all our many exhibits: http://www.artofwildlife.com/exhibitschedule.html
Have a loved one or a beloved pet you would like captured in miniature? Contact and commission us!
Until next time ~ Rachelle