Miniature Railroads, Tiny Trees and . . .

Building model train sets, paintings and more!

by Rachelle Siegrist

rachelle siegrist rose photograph.jpg

Oh No!” I gasped, noticing on the calendar that it’s already August 13th!  I can’t believe summer is almost over, especially since I spend much of the year looking forward to it! In many ways it seems like the trees just burst forth with their bright, spring green leaves, and now already have turned that dark, late summer green, with some turning yellow, and even a few already falling to the ground.


As a child, summer seemed endless.  The long, sun drenched days stretching out before my brother and me, with hopes that it would last forever! Days were spent climbing trees, building forts and mostly in my grandparents’ swimming pool or at the beach, where we would boogie board, surf and  snorkel for countless delightful hours.  Of course summer always ended much too soon, but now it seems to end almost as soon as it starts!  Perhaps it’s because I grew up in Florida, where summer felt endless due to almost year round warm weather.  Or perhaps it’s because, as I’ve been told many times, time seems to go faster the older you get.  Regardless, too bad it doesn’t speed up in winter and slow down in the summer . . . wouldn’t that be lovely!  

Chance with his 4th Bday drawings.jpg
Chance poses with his Siegrist chalk art birthday drawings

The shortening days have brought mostly clouds and rain this past week, which is good for not only the trees and flowers, but also for encouraging me to spend much more time at the easel!  We have spent several evenings over the past couple of months building a diorama for our N-scale model train, which we got shortly after getting married.  While living in Florida, we had the train for my younger cousins to enjoy . . . us too!  It was packed away when the cousins grew up and we moved to Tennessee.  Now that our nieces and nephews are that perfect age, we decided it was time to build it anew!  Wes constructed the stand out of wood, planning the basic shape of the town, as well as figuring out where streams and mountains would be, before carefully laying down the track and securing it.

building a model N scale train set

Deciding to make it two levels, with two trains running in different directions, he began building the basic shape of the mountains, cliffs and waterfalls with bubble wrap, using tape to secure it.

Siegrists building a model train set2

Together, we carefully coated the underlying structure with layers of newspaper dipped in plaster, letting each layer dry completely in between coats.  We were delighted to see it finally starting to take shape at this point, and I’ll be sharing more of our progress on future blog posts, so watch for it!

Siegrists building a model train set3

We celebrated little Chance’s 4th Birthday one evening this past week, where his chocolate birthday cake was a big hit with us all!  One of his favorite gifts was a bag of pipe cleaners which Wes and he shaped into assorted sea creatures, while he sat in his river tube we gave him, covered with sharks on top! The next morning we to the river for a short while, and even felt the welcomed warmth of the sun on our backs for a few short blissful minutes, whilst happily floating around on the BIG yellow duck with our little buddy Chance!

rachelle siegrist on a rubber duck float
Everyone’s smiling . . . even the duck!

I joined friends Sharon and Tom a couple of times, heading to the river to take advantage of the raised water levels thanks to the recent rain!  A loud roar could be heard before we even climbed down to the water’s edge, the turbulent cascades turning much of the river white!  “Awesome . . . This is perfect!”  I said, as we jumped on our tubes and started down the whitewater adventure!

rachelle siegrist extreme tubing.jpg
Ooooooooo . . . That’s SO cold!!!!

One run in particular was really great, as the higher water level covered all rocks in our path, with big choppy waves sending me bouncing up and over each one, with many causing me to leave the water entirely!  Needless to say, this adrenaline junkie had a blast, and I couldn’t resist hooping and hollering with sheer glee as I went flying down!

rachelle siergrist extreme tubing2.jpg
Hold on . . . we’re going down!!!


Wes and I were thrilled to be recently asked if we’d like to be Artists in Residency at the beautiful Woodson Art Museum!  Not only did we both have paintings selected for the upcoming prestigious 42nd Birds in Art exhibition held there starting September 9th, but will be demonstrating, teaching and lecturing on the art of painting miniatures for a full week later this fall!  I will be sharing more info on this exciting event as it draws closer!

Siegrist Residency, Woodson Art Museum 2017

I’m honored that Trailside Galleries in Jackson Hole, WY chose my turtle painting to highlight the current show of Society of Animal Artists members!

siegirst paintings at Trailside Galleries SAA

There’s still time to see and acquire our miniature paintings now on view as part of the Society of animal Artists Exhibition, at Trailside Gallery in Jackson Hole, WY.  They will remain there through august 31st.

~ Fresh off the Easels ~

While continuing to paint on a couple of commissions that are surprise gifts, I also finished a miniature painting of a beautiful gator this past week.  Having always loved alligators since I was old enough to crawl, I really enjoy painting these amazing reptiles!

alligator painting
My “Basking Juvenile Gator”

Wes recently finished his painting of this gorgeous backlit sparrow precariously perched atop a most uncomfortable looking cactus, thus it’s appropriate title “On Pins and Needles”!

bird painting by Wes Siegrist
“On Pins and Needles” by Wes

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle


6 thoughts on “Miniature Railroads, Tiny Trees and . . .

  1. Donald Weiser

    Your blog this Sunday reminded me on one of my fav poems by one of may fav poets. and to hear him recite his poem now that you know the words ……. “Time held me green and dying though I sang in my chains like the sea”.

    On Sun, Aug 13, 2017 at 12:52 PM, Under the Magnifying Glass wrote:

    > Wes and Rachelle Siegrist posted: “Building model train sets, paintings > and more! by Rachelle Siegrist “Oh No!” I gasped, noticing on the calendar > that it’s already August 13th! I can’t believe summer is almost over, > especially since I spend much of the year looking forward to it! In man” >

  2. woooow more more more on the model train project… never thought newspaper dipped in plaster would hold up over bubble wrap, how cool, I soooo love trains, almost made a garden railroad in 1990’s but we had to move before I got started. Never had the property to try again but still have the books on it. This looks like it’ll be fantastic!!!!.. hugs Denise

    1. Thanks Denise 😄
      I will certainly be sharing more about the train’s prgress soon! It’s really looking amazing, and we’re having so much fun building it! The plaster soaked newspaper strips worked perfectly! Wes had also built a model railroad as a kid, so he’s really good at knowing how to build everything. I love the garden railroads too, that’s a shame you never got to build yours.
      Rachelle 😊

  3. Karen

    Love the train! Cade would go crazy 😜 We’re spending the week of Christmas somewhere between Gatlinberg and Pigeon Forge. I think that’s close to you. Maybe we will get the chance to visit while we’re there. 😀

    1. Thanks Karen . . . We’re having a ball with it! I bet Cade would love it 😃
      Yes, that’s very close to us, about a 30 minute drive. We may be going to Okeechobee again this year for Christmas, but if we’re here when you all come up, we’d love to get together with you!! 😊

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