A Typical Day In The Siegrist Studio
By Wes Siegrist
A recent photo of us in our studio where we work side by side
So, what’s it like to be us for the day? As a married couple we spend the vast majority of each day sitting a mere sixteen inches from each other working. We do give new meaning to inseparable especially when we do almost everything else together too!
My day starts @6:30 each morning and involves processing emails, making breakfast, working in the garden, updating websites and Facebook and often watching Netflix – full speed multitasking until 7:30 when it’s time for Rachelle to join the new day. On nice weather days we often go for a morning walk or bike ride. Some summer days this is done in the evening and in the winter, the afternoon. Our walks are 3-4 miles or we do an 8-12 mile bike ride. Chores and errands are done at the same time since our bank, post office and stores are within a mile of the house. A plus to being miniature painters is that most “crated” paintings are still small and light enough to go on the back of a bike. Our “office” is pretty much a laptop adjacent to my painting area, some bookshelves and a couple filing cabinets – miniaturists don’t need much space! (It’s actually getting smaller each year as more and more becomes digital)
A view of our house showing the porches (2008)
Time at the easels can start as early as 9 but typically Rachelle starts after our lunch. We enjoy our leisurely meals at home on our back porches as much as possible. A top porch overlooks the backyard with mountain views in barren tree season. The bottom screen porch offers me respite from feeding my adoring horde of mosquitoes! Noon to 4:30 is concentrated painting time and if no parties are planned with friends and neighbors we often paint for a few hours in the evening too. If we’re alone, we spend a couple hours each night watching Netflix or streaming another favorite show online.
Our basement framing area
When are we most apart? Our record for being apart for the past 24 years is 9-10 hours and these were days that Rachelle was willingly kidnapped by family to go “shopping” ~ a ladies’ day thing! Crunch time preparation for upcoming shows is the other period of time that I become sequestered in our basement framing area assembling paintings for display and filling out pages of paperwork by hand. Rachelle is usually packing or trying to finish one more painting during this time.
1. Don’t rock the table and announce when you’re about to sneeze – both vitally important when painting 16 inches from a miniaturist who may have invested dozens of hours in their current painting!
2. We tease and say we arm wrestle out who gets to paint what but truthfully, Rachelle always has first choice.
3. We never consider a painting done until the other has reviewed it. This aspect of daily being “critical” of one’s spouse’s work has taught us tact! We prefer to say what’s wrong with a painting before patrons do and almost all paintings end up having positive last minute tweaks because of our interaction.
4. Making lunch or dinner is either a chore or a delight and each emotion is often tied to how well a painting is progressing.
5. We try to stop work on paintings when all feels like it’s going right. That way, we’re excited to start back to work again.
6. The modern digital age, even with us being without smart phones, is a constant distraction. We solve this by shutting down the computer and using it only periodically thru the day. We’ve found hours of being online is part of being active in our business but hours of being away from it all is better for our sanity!
7. We pretty much share everything with two exceptions: we each have our own toothbrush and paintbrushes. “Timid” Rachelle is extremely possessive of her tiniest painting brushes! (Wes is known to be rough on brushes)