More Progress On The Train Set, Parties and Paintings!
by Rachelle Siegrist
While Wes and I have spent most of our time at the easels this past week, we’ve also enjoyed some fun times with friends! We met dear friends, Tom and Paula visiting from Florida, in Cades Cove for lunch one day this past week. Slightly overcast, the air was a bit on the chilly side for me, feeling more like a fall day rather than summer! It was a lovely one though, and we all enjoyed catching up, while doing a lot of laughing as well! Afterwards we took a relaxing drive with Fred and Barb, around part of the Cades Cove loop road, crossing at Sparks Lane. The expansive fields were full of purple and yellow blossoms creating a beautiful scene which surrounded us as we drove along the dirt road, cutting through the middle of the cove.
Last evening after meeting for supper, several friends came over for a game of Mexican Train Dominoes and dessert. We managed to really surprise friend Barb, with a birthday cake, while celebrating her birthday a wee bit early, since we will be leaving to attend the upcoming Birds in Art opening weekend festivities in Wausau, WI, this week! Since we all love chocolate, I made a chocolate cake with caramel buttercream frosting, and topped it with dark chocolate sculptures, which I call my Jackson Pollock chocolates.
It turned out wonderfully, and upon Barb blowing out the candles, the air was filled with “Mmmmmmm’s” as we tantalized our taste buds with the scrumptious cake. It was a delightful evening enjoyed by all, and happily Barb was very surprised indeed!
A very dear friend recently bought me a bunch of roasted unsalted peanuts for my critter friends, and I don’t know who is enjoying them more . . . them or me! Friendly, a young squirrel which I’m quite sure grew up in a nest located close to the back porch, has been pretty tame from the onset of our friendship. She sits mere inches from my feet during breakfast each morning, eating her little pile of peanuts whilst I enjoy my breakfast. I talk to her and she looks up at me, appearing to be listening intently to everything I say, but of course deep down I know she’s just there for the peanuts! When mid-afternoon rolls around, I love sitting on the back porch in the sun, while shelling peanuts and feeding them to visiting friends, and myself! Funny thing is, many times the birds and Blue-tailed Skink lizards join me in my basking in the sun ritual for a few minutes, so I’m hardly ever alone in my warming ritual, especially as long as I’m tossing out edible treats!
Friendly enjoying her peanut snack ~ Tinymouse basks in the sun with me
~ Our Model Railroad update ~
We’re continuing to make more progress on the model train set. In this next step you can see we pretty much finished the water including the cascading falls and the ocean below. Layers of glue and Modge Podge were added, letting each layer completely dry before another was added. Wes used a acrylic paint with it, to make the water more opaque in spots, creating the whitewater effect and waves. As you can see in the photo below, there is an old sunken boat and a Hammerhead Shark which Wes sculpted out of clay for me. They were placed underneath the Plexiglas creating a wonderful illusion of depth.
In other areas we continued to add in more trees, both those made of wire and others created from small twigs with the colored sawdust added for leaves. The lake was created by painting the bottom of it, starting with dark blue in the deepest spot, and lightening to a nice pale turquoise in the more shallow areas. After placing a fallen tree and large rock in the lake, the top was covered with a piece of Plexiglas, which Wes carefully drilled a small hole in, to accommodate the standing dead tree. The end result was fantastic and quite real looking! If only it were life-sized and in our back woods, that would be awesome!
Gravel colored sawdust used for roads and parking lots in the city was added, as well as the grass and gravel near the train tracks. More trees, shrubs and pieces of dried lichen helped create the forest and woodland areas . . . More to come soon!
~ Fresh off the Easels ~
While I finished my two latest commissions, which are both surprises, Wes finished a couple of miniature paintings this past week. The first features my precious little Carolina Wren, named Peedeepeeps. He loves sitting on this moss covered flower pot during the winter months in direct sunlight on our front porch, as is quite warm and toasty!
The other is a miniature of a little Red-eared Slider, which while being perched atop the clump, looks like it’s waiting for the water to raise and unstick him. In reality he is just enjoying the delightful warmth of the sun as much as I do!
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Until next time . . .