The Persistent “Quacker”

maryville greenbelt

Wes and I were delighted to finally get our beloved 1998 Ford Econoline van, named Titanic (because of its size), fixed this past week! We were under the impression from our normal engine repair place, that it was a very difficult fix requiring welding and thus most likely being a costly fix. So we had just been babying it for the past year, but Wes decided to call a different garage and inquire about it. Well, we took it in early one morning this past week, and they were able to fix it with no welding needed, and did so for a very reasonable price! 

Since they worked on it for about 4 hours, we took along a backpack with sandwiches in it, and walked to the nearby Maryville-Alcoa Greenway, for a “hike”. We ended up walking over 10 miles, and thoroughly enjoyed it, as there was lovely scenery and a big portion of it was lined by restored woodlands.

Rachelle siegrist

We found a lovely, sunny spot to eat our lunch overlooking a field. While sitting there, I happened to notice something out of the corner of my eye, and looked in time to watch a beautiful male Bluebird hovering over a worm, which it grabbed with its beak, before flying off! Further along the trail, we spotted a nice big rock in the sun, situated directly by a stream. So we sat down and within a minute here came this lovely male Mallard Duck swimming along while quaking. Once he got past the bend, he kept quacking and turned around and swam back across in front of us. 

mallard duck photo

We then noticed why he was doing this, for there was the female being shy and peaking at us occasionally from behind a bush. The male duck quacking the entire time, tried to show her it was indeed safe to pass by us and kept swimming back and forth in front of us. He did this 3 times, before finally convincing her to go for it. Reluctantly she finally started creeping forward, and suddenly decided she wasn’t sure about us after all, and flew by, landing most ungracefully, with what appeared to be a duck’s form of a cannonball . . . HaHa! After that, she shook the water from her ruffled feathers, composed herself and continued to follow the male. We enjoyed watching the pair after that for quite sometime. So I put together this video of them for you to enjoy.

 

Exciting News!

Wes and I were thrilled to find out this past week that each of our paintings were accepted into the prestigious Society of Animal Artists exhibition Art That Matters to the Planet, which will be at the beautiful Roger Tory Peterson Institute, located in Jamestown, NY. This moving and inspiring exhibition will run August 22 – October 25, 2021. Both paintings will also be included in the tour, which will go to the following venues: 

November 20, 2021 – January 16, 2022: The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Oradell, NJ
February 5 – May 5, 2022: The Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, KS

My painting “Cool, Clean Water” features one of the amazing hellbenders that live in our area here in the Smokies. I’m bringing awareness through this miniature, to the importance and necessity of clean streams, to continue to allow these incredible giant salamanders to live. As you can see in the painting, the rock to the left of the hellbender’s head, has been sheared in half by some one throwing it into the stream. Moving and throwing rocks in the streams is a BIG problem in our area and causes great damage to the inhabitants that call these rivers home. 

I have created a time-lapse painting video of it and uploaded it HERE to our YouTube Channel, for you to enjoy! We now have over 30 videos you can watch, including a great video on Hellbenders. You can SUBSCRIBE to receive notifications.

hellbender painting by Rachelle Siegrist

“Cool, Clean, Water”

Wes’ painting “The Tragic Death of a King” represents a major issue near and dear to our hearts! That is the amount of fishing line strung across tree limbs and hanging from power lines. Too many times now, we have seen beautiful birds needlessly killed by being caught in fishing line! That is why every time we kayak or hike near streams, we’re always collecting and removing as much fishing line as possible, to hopefully help prevent more happenings like in Wes’ painting. So I encourage you starting today, to help the wildlife and do your part as well, by removing fishing line whenever you can.

The Tragic Death of a King

“The Tragic Death of a King”

See our miniatures in person this week

See the show online here: Masterpieces in Miniature
 May 2021: Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada

See the show online now here: 30th International Miniature Art Show
May 1-31, 2021: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC (We are the judges for the show this year!)

See the show online here: The Art of the Miniature XXIX
May 2 – June 13, 2021: The Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our website, artofwildlife.com

Would you like to commission us? If so, contact us by Email

Follow us!

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Color, Fish and Shapeshifting

pink azaleas

Color has finally filled our yard, and it’s a beautiful sight indeed! Most of the leaves on shorter trees and lower branches have now been covered with bright spring green leaves. Of course most of the leaves atop the taller trees are still brown and dead, looking like Autumn above. We had unbelievable winds one day this past week, which blew down a lot of the freeze-dried leaves, covering our porches and yard with so many leaves in fact, that it looked like fall already! Thankfully several of our beloved azaleas weren’t blooming yet during the last freeze, so they’re now covered with color . . . pinks, lavenders, and coral colored blossoms!

azaleas

One of our columbines has more beautiful, pink bell-shaped flowers on it, than ever before, and the bees and hummingbirds couldn’t be more delighted about it! It’s always “abuzz” with activity every time we walk beside it.

pink columbince flowers

The Clematis is now covered with BIG bold flowers, and is looking quite spectacular to say the least!

clematis flower

Thankfully, the weather cooperated and we were able to go kayaking one day this past week! It was right before the last cold front came through, so it was a great time to do some fishing. It was a gorgeous day as well, and the wisteria and dogwoods were covered in white blossoms, appearing like snow tipped branches dotting the hillsides. At first that morning, we were only getting a bite or a tug here or there, before taking a break for a kayak picnic, which is always nice! 

wild wisteria blossoms

After lunch we fished some more, and had much better luck that time! Wes caught one right after another, and I even caught a couple, but lost the big ones. Wes got so tickled at me at one point, as he said I was leaning over at a 45 degree angle, with my rod tip bent clean down to the water, when I told him that I must be snagged on a submerged stump or something along the bottom. Then all of a sudden the “stump” started pulling out my line at a high rate of speed, and after trying to reel it in, it came off. “Yay for the fish” I said, and besides I didn’t want to show Wes up and make him feel like an inferior fisher-person . . . Haha!

wes siegrist fishing

Isn’t there something mesmerizing and calming about sitting by a fire at night? I love it, and can happily sit there for a long time just watching the fire, whilst listening to it crackle and pop! I enjoy watching the flames shape-shift, seeing different things like in this photo below. I see a Trumpeter Swan taking off in flight, with its head raised to the sky and left wing rising, in the back right flame. The front lower left flame, looks like a standing snake with a mohawk, HaHa! . . . So, what do you see?

campfire photo

I’m still working on the next YouTube video for you to enjoy and hope to get it done this week. Before I finished it, I decided to learn how to make an end screen for our videos, to help make it easier for you and other viewers, to be able to navigate to and find more of our videos to enjoy. I’m also updating our YouTube home page to bring it up-to-date, and all I can say with trying to learn how to do all this stuff, is thank goodness for YouTube how-to videos!

This Week’s Tip From the 1892 Cook Book

Okay, so here’s part II of Dr. Hall’s “Rules to eating” from the late 1800’s. It’s quite obvious that they worked harder physically back then than most of us do today, as this seemed a big problem for them at meal times, as well as trying to fix all their ailments with liquor… HaHa! I personally can’t imagine one cracker doing the trick for me when I’m hungry, how about you? However, Wes and I do drink a lot of tea and believe in the health benefits of it, so I love the way he describes how beneficial it is for the body! I don’t know about you, but I’d try to get done with my hard labor in plenty of time, to be able to eat supper at least 2 hours before sundown!

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See our miniatures in person this week

Rhino painting Basking Behemoths by Rachelle Siegrist

Basking Behemoths” Currently available through Masterpieces in Miniature

Now open! See the show online here: Masterpieces in Miniature
 May 2021: Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada

Boykin Spaniel painting by Rachelle Siegrist

Portrait of a Boykin Spaniel” Currently available through Seaside Art Gallery

Now open! See the show online now here: 30th International Miniature Art Show
May 1-31, 2021: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC (We are the judges for the show this year!)

Hummingbird painting A Wee Shower by Wes Siegrist

“A Wee Shower” Currently available through The Snow Goose Gallery

Now open! See the show online here: The Art of the Miniature XXIX
May 2 – June 13, 2021: The Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our website, artofwildlife.com

Would you like to commission us? If so, contact us by Email

Follow us!

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

The Day My World Turned Pink

wild azaleas pink

Our weather here has been like a yoyo this past month. It gets warmer than normal, and then a cold front comes and kills back much of the flowering shrubs, trees and more. Well, the past few days brought the most recent cold snap which killed a big part of the baby leaves on the trees this time! It’s another “limbo-spring” here in the Smokies to say the least. However, before the last cold front, Wes and I loaded up the kayaks, packed a lunch and headed to the water for the day. It was a gorgeous day too, with clear blue skies above and the bright pink blossoms of wild azaleas dotting the hillsides. 

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Unbelievably the water’s surface was smooth that morning, with a gentle wind at our backs, just enough to help push us along, which was very nice! After paddling for awhile, we climbed out of the kayaks and ate our lunch, while perched on a large rock in the sunshine. While Wes walked along the shore fishing for Rainbow Trout, which he caught a couple of, I sat on the big rock whilst dipping me feet into the icy water. After they went numb, it actually felt good . . . Ha! The air was filled with the symphony of cascades and springtime birdsong, it was heavenly to say the least, and I could literally feel myself melting with relaxation. 

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We’ve learned with kayaking, to enjoy and appreciate good paddling conditions when we have them. Paddling along after lunch, all was going pretty smoothly, until I came to a certain section in the river, when all of a sudden I was hit with what seemed like near hurricane force winds, so strong that it caught my BIG pink sun hat, and pulled it down over my face, completely covering it whilst turning the world pink and blocking my vision entirely! At that point the wind blew my kayak sideways, making it parallel with the waves that were now white capping. I could feel the intense wind and waves about to roll me over, while I was still trying to get my strapped on hat off of my face, so I could see where I was going. Finally I got it off and quickly realigned myself, facing my kayak into the wind and oncoming waves. I realized that as hard as I was paddling, the wind was strong enough, that it was actually blowing me backwards, so I just kept myself facing that direction until I was able to slowly make headway once the wind died down some. 

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Thankfully once I paddled through that section, the wind subsided for quite sometime. So I happily went back to photographing and videoing the beautiful wildflowers scattered about. Delicate bright red flowers of the Fire Pinks covered the banks in areas, and white flowering trees canopied above, adding to the beauty!

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There were several large clumps of beautiful Dwarf Crested Iris blooming as well, and this one in particular looked so lovely perched upon this moss covered rock near the water’s edge, appearing almost jungle like! 

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We enjoyed relaxingly paddling along until rounding another sharp bend, at which point we faced directly into the mouth of what felt like a “hurricane” once more! As I paddled, the waves were actually breaking over the front of my kayak at times, sending a spray of icy water clean over my head! I was so thankful that the sun was out and that the air temp was warmer that day. I have to admit though, that I had a blast riding over the waves and was sad when we reached our take out point. It was another great day and adventure indeed!

This Week’s Tip From The 1892 Cookbook

Okay, so this is what “Dr. Hall” said about good eating practices, and I’ll share the rest next week. I don’t know about you, but it seems that anxious thoughts have become more prevalent during the past year, so I’m thinking if everyone followed that rule, there’d be starving people all around! But who knows, he could be right. I do have to wonder though, why one shouldn’t eat after intense mental effort, such as spending time on the phone with let’s say . . . insurance companies’ computer, etc! Perhaps he was concerned that after such taxing mental conditions, one might miss their mouth and poke out an eye with a fork… HaHa!

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See our miniatures in person this week

See the show online now here: 30th International Miniature Art Show
May 1-31, 2021: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC (We are the judges for the show this year!)

See the show online here: The Art of the Miniature XXIX
May 2 – June 13, 2021: The Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our website, artofwildlife.com

Would you like to commission us? If so, contact us by Email

Follow us!

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle