A Week of Painting and Fun at TexArt 2017!

Teaching…Birding…Hiking… Fun at TexArt 2017

by Rachelle Siegrist

rhea natural bridge wildlife ranch
Walk . . .  or drive . . . this way!

We landed in San Antonio last Saturday evening, arriving a day early before teaching a week long painting workshop at TexArt 2017.  Early the next morning, we along with a few friends, headed to Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch.  Being the first car in line and embarking on the safari drive, we knew a real treat was in store for us ahead! Within minutes we were watching numerous exotic animals and birds enjoying their breakfast, and were thrilled to see several babies throughout the herds and flocks!  

Getting up close and personal is awesome!!!

Being able to ride through with windows down, whilst tossing out purchased food, brought the animals up close and personal to say the least, and it was awesome!  At times the Emus and Ostriches were checking out the interior of the car and I couldn’t believe it when I got to kiss a zebra!!! 

rachelle siegrist kissing a zebra (1)
Wow . . . now that doesn’t happen every day!

Every turn in the lovely scenic drive brought more surprises showcasing interesting and beautiful residents.  Of course for me, another highlight was visiting the petting zoo, where I spent quite sometime brushing, petting and feeding several of the adorable goats.

rachelle siegrist at natural bridge wildlife ranch
“Ahhhhhh . . . that’s the spot . . . just please keep brushing!”
babies at natural bridge wildlife ranch
Everyone wants to see the new baby!

After a delicious lunch, we enjoyed another drive around the loop road, before heading to the Schreiner University, where TexArt was being held for the week in Kerrville, TX. We joined fellow artists and made new friends at the meet and greet that evening. Monday morning started our daily teaching sessions.  That evening Wes gave a presentation on the history of miniatures, which was followed by numerous questions as well as compliments on the informative lecture.

wes siegrist history of miniature art presentation at TexArt
Wes gives his presentation on the history of miniature art

I joined several artists friends for a morning of birding with Jim Coe, at a nearby state park Wednesday.  Although no new birds were added to my list, I was delighted to watch a Zone-tailed Hawk soar above for several minutes and get some great reference photos of other birds! 

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher~Lichen bloom~Zone-tailed Hawk~The happy birders

That afternoon, I joined several friends as we headed to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Excitement mounted as we drew near, and I was thrilled to have the chance to hike the beautiful pink granite dome once again after experiencing its magic last year!  

As we started hiking the summit trail, numerous large rocks scattered about, mixed with cactus and wild flowers, surrounded us before opening up and revealing the first wonderful glimpse of the enchanted dome!

hiking enchanted rock with rachelle siegrist
Stunning Enchanted Rock stands before us, with hikers dotted about, showing the massive size!

Up and up we went, the dome becoming steeper, and soon we found ourselves on top of the massive chunk of pink granite, enjoying an amazing 360 degree view!  shallow depressions scattered about the top of the dome were filled with water, amazingly cool to the touch.

pools atop enchancted rock
A few of the miniature lakes on top

Each puddle was like a wee lake with it’s own ecosystem, complete with grasses and wildflowers, and some even with blooming Yuccas.  Exploring the massive dome, we felt as if we were on top of the world, and found one pond that particularly looked inviting.

So we sat at the edge, while soaking our legs and feet in the water, and began noticing minuscule creatures swimming about.  Looking more closely, we realized that it was teeny, tiny shrimp floating about in their mountaintop lake!  Watching them while enjoying our little “hot tub”, we giggled and laughed for a short while, feeling as if cares no longer existed and we were six once again! Although we could’ve lingered there indefinitely, we decided to hike back down to where friends Diane and Bob patiently waited below.

rachelle siegrist on enchanted rock.jpg
Feeling on top of the world with friends Sue and Chris
rachelle siegrist hiking enchanted rock
Very happy feet!

We passed several huge boulders precariously perched on the return slope of the dome, before descending back to the areas where rocks became more abundant and fissures in the granite offered places for grass to grow from the cracks.  Birds serenaded us on the way down, as we constantly stopped to take photos of the abundant wildflowers and stunning scenery.  Soon we were back at the base and upon joining our friends, headed back to the campus. 

rock formations on enchanted rock
Must be a BIG piece of no-skid under the huge boulder . . . Ha Ha!

Thursday I returned back to the classroom and demonstrated painting fur on silk, while Wes showed and talked about different painting techniques for doing rocks, grass, water and more. Each evening ended with an informative presentation given by one of the attending instructors, following a leisurely dinner in the dining hall.  

wes siegrist painting workshop
Everyone happily painting

Friday evening culminated with the instructors serving as a panel to which attendees could ask questions.  Then each of us we’re asked to give a “take away statement” summing up what we wanted people to take with them from the week of learning.  Mine was “Take time for long walks in the woods . . . For stopping to smell the roses in life . . .  And eat lots of dark chocolate . . . for a happy artist creates happy art!”  Wes and I were honored to be an inspiration to those who spent time painting with us, and hope they took home business insights and new techniques … and of course, great memories!  

We were thrilled to learn that Wes won Grand Prize in the 26th International Miniature Art Show at Seaside Art Gallery on his miniature painting “Crossing The Falls”.  Although this painting has been sold, we still have several available for purchase through the gallery.

cougar painting wes siegrist Crossing The Falls
Wes’ “Crossing The Falls”  winning Grand Prize! 

commission a painting by wes siegrist, landscape painting of the virgin islands

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle


4 thoughts on “A Week of Painting and Fun at TexArt 2017!

  1. Donald Weiser

    Very nice blog today! Congrats Wes!! Don

    On Sun, May 28, 2017 at 3:03 PM, Under the Magnifying Glass wrote:

    > Wes and Rachelle Siegrist posted: “Teaching…Birding…Hiking… Fun at > TexArt 2017 by Rachelle Siegrist We landed in San Antonio last Saturday > evening, arriving a day early before teaching a week long painting workshop > at TexArt 2017. Early the next morning, we along with a few frien” >

  2. Susan HOFF

    Hi Kids,

    As usual, you look like you are having more fun than anyone!! Travel safe! Look forward to seeing your work!

    Love, Susan and Doug

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