Summer Fun Between Painting

Escaping From The Heat And Studio

By Rachelle Siegrist


The dry spell ended here in our section of the Smokies! Daily thunderstorms have brought much needed rain to our flowers and trees, bringing back lush forests to our area.  Most mornings have been nice however, so we headed out early one day this past week, with kayaks in tow.  Friends Kit and Mike joined us as we climbed into our kayaks and began our adventure.  The sky was clouded over and a gentle breeze brushed over us as we glided across the smooth surface, spotting several fish and a good sized turtle in the water below.  But what we saw next, took us greatly by surprise!  It was a large black bear swimming across the river,  not too far in front of us!
black bear

Needless to say we were all thrilled as we watched the big, black, furry mass move slowly across, and couldn’t believe our perfect timing!  Since it appeared merely as a large black object from where we were at first, I entertained the thought that it may have been Sasquatch enjoying an early morning swim!  We held back and watched, until it was safely across and climbing up the other side, where it instantly disappeared.

Rhododendrons bloomed in full splendor, while Wild Azaleas clung to a few remaining blossoms, creating white and light pink polkadots scattered throughout the forested shore.  It was a beautiful day, and became even more so when the clouds parted, revealing sunshine and blue skies above, making it perfect for a swim.  After pulling our kayaks up onto the bank, Wes and Mike snorkeled, while Kit and I set off wading up the stream a little ways.  A pile of big jumbled rocks created a small island, which begged to be explored, offering little moss-lined pools of water and nooks and crannies tucked here and there.  Then it was time for a swim, so while Kit took photos, I enjoyed my personal hillbilly whirlpool! (Thanks Kit for this cool photo!)

rachelle swimming 1

The water crashing over the cascades created thousands of bubbles and numerous fluctuating currents, which instantly made me relax!  I decided I could spend the afternoon there, if only it were warmer.  Eventually I floated down to where the guys were, and found a perfect seat in the sun, and sat happily perched next to Wes on a big rock, while eating lunch.

wes siegrist

And guess who, while in their state of complete bliss, forgot their dark chocolate bar was in the bag sitting in the sun.  That’s right . . .  your’s truly!  The wrapper instantly folded over my fingers as soon as I picked it up and I knew I was in for a big mess!  But not to worry, when it can’t be bitten, it can be eaten and licked off of the wrapper, so that’s exactly what I did, and when it was all gone, I was covered in chocolate.

rachelle siegrist eating chocolate

Well, there was only one thing left to do, and that was to get back in the water.  So I happily made the sacrifice and enjoyed swimming for a few minutes longer as the remaining chocolate residue washed away.

rachelle siegrist in water

As much fun as we were having, it was time to head back, knowing that the daily thunderstorms would soon be on their way.  Feeling refreshed and totally relaxed, we climbed into our kayaks and started paddling back.

rachelle siegrist kayaking

With the rains, muggy weather has returned as well, so we happily swapped a couple of our morning walks, for tubing trips down the river instead.  We enjoy taking a couple of trips tubing down the rapids, and then walk back in the shade along the path following the river.  Much more fun and a cooler exercise trade off indeed!

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~ Recently off the Easels ~

It’s been a busy week here in the studio this past week.  I finished this miniature painting of two Merriam’s Turkeys, which were recently photographed by a friend who lives in Colorado.  I instantly fell in love with the composition of it and the placement of the male and female, making it great fun to paint!


Wes finished his miniature painting of a Spotted Sandpiper, which we saw and watched skirt gracefully along the rocks and pebbles, searching for edible treats, during one of our recent kayak trips.


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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle


6 thoughts on “Summer Fun Between Painting

  1. Annie Van Es

    I have read your story over the across the river. Where you saw the bear. It seem me you live in a wonderful surrounding. And it believes there is much to paint from. I have got more interest in small paintings by the articles I have read. Here in the Netherlands I have still see a few of miniature paintings. Is it not difficult to reproduce the texture in a right way. I am still learning to paint. I am 68 years old. And I follow sometimes a course in painting. Is there much interest in miniature painting in your country>?

  2. Bill mundy

    Another really interesting blog Rachelle. That picture of you in the whirlpool would make a nice background with something (like a big iguana) crawling over it..We are now n the Lake District for a week’s holiday enjoying wall to wall sunshine every day x

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