Fun Digging Through History

 

turkeyi in smoky mountain national park
Turkey crossing the road winding through the Smoky Mountains 

Wes and I took a whirlwind trip over to Durham, NC this past week, where we went to pick up historical items pertaining to the Society of Animal Artists.  One of our long-time SAA members passed away this summer, leaving behind newsletters and catalogs, among other things. With Wes as Executive Director of the organization, it was decided that we would drive over and get the material to add to the SAA archives. On the drive over we saw a couple different flocks of turkey while winding our way through the Smoky Mountains National Park, which is always a treat!

christmas at gatlinburg
A rainbow of folding chairs line the roads in Gatlinburg

Leaving the park behind and entering Gatlinburg, we began noticing what looked like folding chairs lying along part of the sidewalks lining the main road through town. On the return trip the next day, there were even more of them, creating a continuous rainbow of folding chairs along the edge of the sidewalk, stretching the entire length of Gatlinburg! We decided it must be chairs that people laid in place days early, to save their place for the upcoming Christmas parade, and I must admit we found this unusual practice most interesting. Back at home that evening, Wes started the enjoyable job of digging through everything and finding the missing links in the Society’s 60+ year history.

wes siegirst with SAA historical papers
Wes going through and organizing newly acquired SAA materials

My birds and squirrels are always very happy when we return home, even if we’ve only been gone overnight, and they all come to eat while acting like they haven’t eaten in days! The next day the sun returned for a while, which we all thoroughly enjoyed, especially my precious Bunny squirrel who hung upside down in one of her favorite yoga poses for nearly 15 minutes, obviously enjoying the sun’s warmth and a good stretch!

cute squirrel photo by rachelle siegrist

 

 

 

~  In The Studio  ~

I finished painting a commission that I’ll share with you later. Wes is painting the last painting in a collection of miniature songbirds that will be comprised of 6 paintings.  He had to postpone finishing them when his Ott-lite bulb burned out! The set will debut at the 38th Southeastern Wildlife Exposition this coming February.

miniature songbird paintings by wes siegrist

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~ See Our Miniatures In Person This Week ~

86th Annual International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature
Until January 5, 2020: The Mansion at Strathmore, Bethesda, MD

siegrist miniatures in the tradition of audubon exhibitionIn the Tradition of Audubon Exhibition
Until January 5, 2020: Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH

siegrist miniatures in the tradition of audubon exhibition

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

Rachelle and wes siegrist paintings in SAA Exhibition at Briscoe Museum

 

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle

A Floating Thanksgiving

rachelle siegrist kayaking

What are the chances that the one single pretty day out of an entire week will actually fall on a holiday? . . . Well, this past holiday was 100%! So while many gathered with family and friends for a feast on Thanksgiving, Wes and I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and enjoy it afloat in our kayaks! Armed with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for our lunch, we climbed into our kayaks and off we went happy to have the wind at our backs! Instantly I found myself amidst a flock of mixed warblers, checking, chirping and calling, as their little black silhouettes flitted from limb to limb against a brilliant sky.

photo of Loon
The loon enjoying his fish

We had paddled a short distance up the river when all of a sudden we heard a loud cry! I tried to imagine what in the world it was, and Wes even thought that I had somehow made the noise, and then we suddenly realized that it was a loon. What an amazing sound it was, funneled by the surrounding hillsides and made to sound even louder! We’ve never heard a loon cry before that close in proximity, so it was an experience we will indeed remember! Several Belted Kingfishers flew by at a high rate of speed while chattering their scolding call much of the way, and an immature Bald Eagle gracefully flew directly overhead at one point, gliding over to where it landed on a lofty perch atop a tall pine tree nearby.

beautiful stream

Our precious little friend, a Pied-billed Grebe was floating in the same vicinity we’d seen him before many times and later that afternoon, we saw three more of these adorable tiny little ducks. We found a sunny location for our Thanksgiving feast and slowly floated along, enjoying the ever-changing scenery and gentle rocking motion of the kayaks. Later we found a lovely sundrenched pebble beach where we got out and ate our holiday dessert which of course involved chocolate! While relaxing and watching the ever-changing patterns of the water’s flowing surface, I noticed something was making shadows along the sandy bottom, which were shape-shifting and at times looked like wee perfect solar eclipses! Soon I realized it was floating clumps of sand that were creating this amazing phenomenon, and found myself mesmerized for quite some time as I sat there watching the changing shadows dance across the bottom of the stream.

solar eclipse
The perfect miniature solar eclipse caused by the floating sand

Climbing back into my kayak, I paddled along until I caught up with Wes who was flyfishing, and we enjoyed a most relaxing paddle back to where our adventure started earlier and couldn’t believe it when we came upon the loon!  He had caught a fish and was enjoying his own Thanksgiving feast, graciously letting us watch him the entire time.  For what seemed like half an hour he swam all about me while I sat there in my kayak enjoying every second, most thankful for this amazing encounter!

Loon
Me watching the beautiful loon swim nearby

I took this short video of the loon, and although it’s not the best quality, it still shows how magical our special Thanksgiving Day encounter was!


~  In The Studio  ~

I’m still currently painting a commission that I’ll share with you later. Wes is painting a collection of miniature songbirds that will be comprised of 6 paintings.  This week he’s painting the Mockingbird, Mourning Dove, and Eastern Phoebe. The set will debut at the 38th Southeastern Wildlife Exposition this coming February.

WES SIEGRIST BACKYARD GEMS SET
Three of Wes’ miniature songbirds

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~ See Our Miniatures In Person This Week ~

A Tradition Of Excellence: American Women Artists
Until December 7, 2019: RS Hanna Gallery, Fredericksburg, TX

86th Annual International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature
Until January 5, 2020: The Mansion at Strathmore, Bethesda, MD

In the Tradition of Audubon Exhibition
Until January 5, 2020: Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH

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

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Visit our Website ~ artofwildlife.com

Follow us on Facebook!

Read Our Monthly Email Newsletters

Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle

What Are You Thankful For?

cute squirrel photo
My precious Bunny squirrel

So . . . What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season? I’m thankful for Wes, my health, family, and friends, including my precious critter friends like Peedeepeeps the wren, Bunny squirrel and the titmouse family, and of course sunshine! But this Thanksgiving I’m especially thankful that my dad was released from Moffitt Cancer Center this past week with a good report! He and my mom have spent the past 5 weeks living in Tampa, where Dad has been battling cancer.  This is the 2nd time Dad has had cancer, both a result of being sprayed with agent orange while in Vietnam.

You see my dad was drafted along with countless others in the late ’60s and sent to Vietnam, where many of them were sprayed with agent orange.  Now hospitals and Cancer Centers like Moffitt, are filled with men my dad’s age, all fighting their own battles against cancer because of it. During Dad’s time at Moffitt, my parents were constantly meeting and seeing men walking through the halls or sitting in waiting rooms, all wearing their Vietnam Vet caps.

rachelle siegrists family
My Mom and Dad during his time at Moffitt

Mom shared with me one particular encounter that really touched me.  She and my dad were just stepping off the elevator at Moffitt, when they saw an older gentleman sitting in a wheelchair alone in a corner, wearing a Vietnam Vet cap.  He was very pale in color and wore an extremely forlorn expression on his face while gazing at the floor. As my dad with his walker drew near him, the man obviously quite weak, very slowly raised his right arm and saluted my dad. My dad returned the respectful gesture to the gentleman, and even though not a single word was spoken during those moments, a multitude was said between them as they understood and appreciated what the other had been through in the past and was going through now. My mom obviously deeply touched by this exchange of empathy and respect, had to look away as she wiped tears from her eyes.

So this Holiday Season and throughout the year, when you see an older gentleman wearing a “Vietnam Vet” cap, please take a moment to genuinely thank them. Most likely they made many sacrifices during that war and are still making them now, and there’s a good chance that many like my dad, were drafted into it and it wasn’t something they signed up for, but are still paying the price for being part of it.


~  In The Studio  ~

I’m currently painting a commission that I’ll share with you later. Wes is painting a collection of miniature songbirds that will be comprised of 6 paintings.  This week he’s painting the Bluebird, Carolina Wren, and Downy Woodpecker. The set will debut at the 38th Southeastern Wildlife Exposition this coming February.

songbird paintings by wes siegrist
Wes’ songbird series in progress

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~ See Our Miniatures In Person This Week ~

A Tradition Of Excellence: American Women Artists
October 21 – December 7, 2019: RS Hanna Gallery, Fredericksburg, TX

86th Annual International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature
November 17, 2019 – January 5, 2020: The Mansion at Strathmore, Bethesda, MD

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