Falling Into Fall

Rachelle siegrist kayaking

There’s a crispness to the air in recent mornings, and leaves are starting to turn those brilliant colors that they do this time of year.  Although many here in the Smokies are just turning brown and falling to the hard dry ground below, while the trees are seemingly just trying to survive in the current drought conditions.  Our rivers and streams have dropped to extreme lows, with many boulders normally submerged, now dry as can be above the water.

wes siegrist kayaking

Wes and I enjoyed our last snorkeling adventure of the season last week, as water temps are now too frigid even with our wetsuits, to enjoy this favorite pastime any longer. However, with water levels so low, and no silt running into the streams, the water is unbelievably clear, and you can see the bottom whilst watching resident fish swimming about, without snorkeling.  I enjoyed these amazing views this past week when we slipped out of the studio one day to go kayaking.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day, with brilliant clear blue skies above and abundant sunshine, so as you can imagine, it was a delightful time spent on the water!

smokies stream

Most of our time this past week was spent here in the studio painting at our easels and doing office work. I’m putting the finishing touches on a red fox miniature painting, which will be one of three paintings on silk, forming a set, while Wes is painting a miniature of a baby hawk resting in a lovely Spanish moss-lined nest.

Rachelle Siegrist painting a red fox

While Wes has been working on the SAA office work, I created a few videos featuring highlights from the SAA’s 59th Annual Exhibition at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.  To enjoy the experience for yourself, click on the image below to watch the video.


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Click to watch video


~ See Our Miniatures In Person This Week ~

In the Tradition of Audubon Exhibition
September 12, 2019 – January 5, 2020: Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH

Society of Animal Artists’ 59th Annual Art & The Animal Exhibition 
September 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020: The Briscoe Western Art Museum, San Antonio, TX

EXQUISITE MINIATURES ~ September 15 – December 3, 2019: Kennedy-Douglass Center For The Arts, Florence, AL

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle


Swallows, Stars, ​And A Swimming Pig

wes siegrist

Wes and I went camping for a few days this past week, and as always it was truly relaxing and so nice to be out of touch with the world for a short time!  While we enjoyed our usual activities of kayaking, hiking, swimming, and fishing, we enjoyed a few new experiences this time which were really amazing!

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Late one evening while on the water paddling and fishing with friends, I had paddled a short distance further than the others when I heard something splashing and swimming in the water nearby.  Since it was so late in the evening and daylight was growing dim, I wanted to keep an eye on whatever it was.  At first, I couldn’t figure out what I was seeing, as it had a very long snout, much too long for a bear or a deer, and it was red.  After it drew nearer, I finally realized it was a BIG wild hog, and I couldn’t believe it, for the numerous times I have seen wild hogs in woods and pastures, I had never seen one swim! I must say it was truly amazing to watch, as this hog seemed to almost move with the speed and efficiency of a dolphin.  I was thrilled I had managed to capture it on video and am delighted to share a short clip of it with you.

Our friend in the canoe behind was intently fishing and didn’t even realize this large furry passerby was so close!  Afterward, as I relaxingly paddled back to the campsite, still reveling in my amazing encounter, the setting sun bathed the evening sky in brilliant pinks and oranges, reflecting on the surrounding water and filling my world with warmth and color!

rachelle siegrist

That evening as we sat around the campfire with several friends, we all delighted in watching the amazing hog encounter I had captured on video!  With a new moon and a very dark sky, it was decided that we should go to a clearing where we could see a nice open view of the nighttime sky.  We found the perfect spot for gazing up at the stars, and whilst laying on our backs, we were delighted to even see the milky way!  This became a nightly tradition, and the last evening we received a real treat, as several meteors zoomed across the vast, dark sky, making our nightly viewing even better!  There’s something quite peaceful and mesmerizing about laying on one’s back and gazing up into a vast nighttime sky filled with stars, and I enjoyed every second of it!

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Early each morning, we climbed into our kayaks and headed out on the water, and while each time I watched hundreds of swallows flying about catching bugs on the fly, I decided the last morning to just sit very still in the midst of them.  What a wonderful idea that was, as I found myself swallowed up in swallows, as the flying acrobats literally engulfed me at times, zooming mere feet from my head!  It was truly amazing, and indeed a magical experience, with these incredible speedsters coming right at me at times and pulling up inches from my face!  All that could be heard was their chirping and chattering and the sound of their wings on the fly, and hundreds of them at that!  Their numbers were so great in fact, that when they joined together and lifted into the air, they formed what looked like a tornado of birds!  I sat in my kayak and watched this incredible show for at least an hour before the beautiful little birds disappeared.  I hope you enjoy this little clip from once of the videos I captured of them.

After the swallows had left I decided to flyfish while also watching the clouds that were forming above and shapeshifting as they slowly moved across the vast blue sky.  I saw “fish” that turned into “bears” as well as “whales” and many other large fluffy creatures while laying back, relaxing in my kayak.

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The sky certainly wasn’t the only thing of beauty, since some of the leaves were starting to turn bright red, showing signs of impending fall weather.  We enjoyed daily hikes, followed by cooling off whilst swimming blissfully in water that was cool, but not cold enough to warrant wearing our wetsuits thankfully.

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It was a most wonderful four days, but alas soon came the time to leave and return home.  Although many great memories were made, my encounters with the swallows, stars and the swimming pig were truly amazing!

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle


Exquisite Miniatures At The Kennedy Douglass Center For The Arts

Exquisite Miniatures on Display at Kennedy Douglass4

Our touring exhibition consisting of fifty of our miniature paintings titled Exquisite Miniatures debuted at the prestigious R. W. Norton Art Gallery located in Shreveport, LA, in June of 2010.  Here we are nine years later and continuing to set records with this history-making tour that is traveling across the United States!

Exquisite Miniatures on Display at Kennedy Douglass8

Produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C., Exquisite Miniatures recently opened at its 31st venue, the Kennedy-Douglass Center For The Arts, in Florence, AL, where it will remain on exhibit through December 3rd of this year.

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This amazing tour has encompassed 20 States thus far and once it leaves the Kennedy Douglass Center, it will travel onto the beautiful Brookgreen Gardens, located in Murrells Inlet, SC, where it can be seen in person from January 25th through April 26th of 2020.  Wes and I will be at Brookgreen in person during an opening reception, as well as a gallery walk the following day.  The dates and times for these special events will be announced.

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Leaving Brookgreen Gardens, Exquisite Miniatures will travel onto at least three brand new States and possibly Canada!  Wes and I would have never imagined that this would go onto become the historical traveling exhibition of miniature paintings that it has, and we feel so very blessed!  Enjoy reading this lovely article about our exhibition currently at The Douglass Center featured in the Times Daily entitled “Exquisite Miniatures’ exhibit offers unconventional look at extreme detail.”

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On October 6th actress and storyteller, Dolores Hydock will make an appearance at 1:30 PM in connection with Exquisite Miniatures.  She will tell a story called “Its The Little Things” which will tie in the relationship between miniature art and small objects.

Many thanks to the beautiful Kennedy-Douglass Center For the Arts for taking the photos featured on today’s blog!  If you’re in the Florence area or will be visiting there during the next couple of months,  enjoy being “Wowed” by our miniature paintings up close and in person at the center.

Exquisite Miniatures on Display at Kennedy Douglass10

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle