Hanging With Hellbenders


I am thrilled to say that we were able to find several Hellbenders this past week at various locations in the river near our home! I’ve been waiting all summer to catch my first glimpse of one of these amazing amphibians, so I was extremely delighted to be able to see and observe several of them! My obsession with hellbenders began when I was a little girl, and got a small book about freshwater fish and amphibians, complete with photos of them. In it was a photo of a hellbender, and I was intrigued upon seeing it that first time! So each time I get to see one in the wild, I am delighted beyond belief! 

hellbender photo2

The weather was ideal for snorkeling several days this past week, so we decided to take advantage of the opportunity, spending a couple of hours snorkeling each time. I absolutely love the transition of leaving the “solid” world behind and slipping into the “liquid” world. As soon as my face mask drops beneath the water’s surface, I am instantly transported into another universe and I love it! There time seems to stand still, leaving troubles and cares behind for awhile, and for a short time, I am one of the fish swimming about enjoying their watery world. A couple of days I was even able to muster up the courage to swim in the frigid water instead of just floating face down on my tube. 

Rachelle siegrist snorkeling

My last visit into this incredible underwater universe, I saw a fish unlike any I’ve seen before! After researching freshwater fish in our area, it appears to be a Banded Sculpin, but I’ve not found one that was colored as beautifully as the one I saw. It was about 8 inches long, and was bright blue between the dark bands around the body and it’s fins were a light pinkish coral color. Needless to say, it was gorgeous and I was sick that I didn’t have my underwater camera with me! If only I had a photographic mind, I could paint it. Here’s a little video of one of the incredible hellbenders I was fortunate enough to watch.

That last trip to the river was also the first time I was able to tube my favorite section of rapids all summer! Of course I had to wait until it was overcast, 66 degrees, with the water temp a mere 65 degrees, for that section to finally be vacant of people, so I could safely tube down. But hey . . . better late than never! So here’s a video Wes took of me absolutely in heaven whilst tubing down it a couple of times!

As usual, there’s been plenty of visiors to our yard recently, including this beautiful Praying Mantis below, I named PM. She hangs out on the front deck searching for her next meal, and although she graciously let me get my camera quite close to take her photo, she let me know she was watching me! I’m amazed how these incredible insects maintain eye contact with you, while following you by turning their heads and watching you. It’s almost unnerving at times, and I’m sure glad they’re not the size of a T-Rex!

praying mantis photo

My beloved squirrel neamed Growlin’, who was featured in a video I recently shared on my blog, returned one morning this past week after being absent for a couple of months. I was horrified to see she had somehow lost part of her back left leg, which had healed up. Nonetheless, it was quite a shock and completely broke my heart! I fed her extra treats though, and she has been returning each morning and at times during the day for handouts. She appears to be doing quite well and really enjoys eating at the wooden picnic table a friend recently gave me. She still “talking” to me abundantly and we carry on extended conversations whilst trying to solve the worlds problems. Of course I’ll let you know when we have it all solved . . . Ha Ha!


Do you want to enjoy your own special miniature painting?

Then contact us via the link below! You can also visit our website, subscribe to our YouTube channel or follow us on Facebook via the links below.

Until next time ~ Rachelle

Painting A Dog Named “Mocha”

Cocker Spaniel painting


I finished my dog commission this past week of “Mocha” and got the time-lapse video made and uploaded to YouTube so you can enjoy watching her come to life! I had the fun opportunity to meet Mocha, a year and a half ago. Wes and I went out to Colorado to visit friends and attend the American Women Artists show at the Steamboat Art Museum in beautiful Steamboat Springs. Whilst staying with our friends, we were invited over to other dear friends home for dinner one evening. It was a wonderful time and I so enjoyed getting to pet and play with Mocha. 

I love the beautiful wood door and iron accents, and was delighted that it was part of the painting. I’ve always rendering wood grain and metal, so painting those parts were almost as much as painting Mocha! In case you’re wondering, she’s painted with watercolor and gouache on Crescent hot press watercolor board. So without further ado, here’s the video of Mocha’s portrait being created below.

See our touring exhibition Exquisite Miniatures now through November 4, 2020 at The Art Center, located in Quincy, IL. You can see several of the miniature paintings included in this exhibition on their website.

Siegrist Exquisite Miniatures at The Art Center

Do you want to enjoy your own special miniature painting?

Then contact us via the link below! You can also visit our website, subscribe to our YouTube channel or follow us on Facebook via the links below.

Until next time ~ Rachelle

Enjoying the Underwater Universe

cute squirrel photo

One of my squrriel friends enjoys her dining experience at the new table!

Happily, I’ve figured out how to revert back to using the classic editor for my blog, so this is a happy day indeed! It gives me hope that we don’t always have to adapt to the constant changes in our world today, although I still can’t figure out how to justify my text any longer. I know that’s not a big deal, but to a recovering perfectionist, it would be so much more pleasing if I could make my text even, Ha Ha! On that note, I’m drawing near the end of Henry David Thoreau’s wonderful book, “Walden“. I have so greatly enjoyed this book and now that I’m reading his conclusion, I can only imagine what he would think of what our society has become today.

rachelle siegrist tubing

Friend Sharon and I isolating while tubing

We got to spend some time at the river a couple of days this past week, and it was wonderful, especially the one day! The river was almost completely void of tourists and it was like we had somehow managed to slip back in time for a short while. Of course the fact that the morning started off very cloudy, I’m sure helped matters in our favor. Nonetheless, Wes and I walked to a favorite spot for snorkeling, where we enjoyed swimming and watching the fish for a couple of hours, before having our picnic lunch along the river’s edge. As we sat there, the cutest little salamander walked up out of the water right where we were, and came up beside us, where it remained in my shadow for a few minutes. It then crawled along the metal bottom of my folding lawn chair. As it went on its way, we thought our little friend was going to leave us, but it suddenly turned around and came right back to us, walking alongside my foot, where it stopped and put it’s wee little foot up on my foot. “Oh . . . that’s so special!” I exclaimed aloud to Wes, with great enthusiasm. Obviously, that encounter made my day! 

rachelle siegrist snorkeling

Enjoying time in my underwater universe!

I snorkeled for a while longer and then we joined our friends for a couple of hours of tubing. It was actually our first tubing trip of the entire summer, since up to that point there had been way too many people to safely tube, while trying to keep a social distance. Needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it! In the studio I’m currently making final adjustments to my dog commission of Mocha. Upon finishing her portrait this week, I’ll make the video of the time-lapse video segments I’ve been taking to share on YouTube. I thought you’d enjoy seeing my set up for taking these time-lapse videos of my painting progress. Wes came up with the idea of using this old piece of drain pipe, which he attached to my easel with a bolt, and it works brilliantly!

step-by-step dog painting video

Here’s a close up of Mocha with her darkened background, which I’m still making some final adjustments to with stippling marks. 

cocker spaniel dog painting commission

Mocha getting close to being completed

Do you want to enjoy your own special miniature painting?

Then contact us via the link below! You can also visit our website, subscribe to our YouTube channel or follow us on Facebook via the links below.

Until Next time ~ Rachelle