A Great Weekend At SEWE 2019

Enjoying A Wonderful Weekend At The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition!

By Rachelle Siegrist

SEWE 2019 Siegrist miniature paintings

We just returned from a great show at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, SC.  While driving over last Wednesday, the check engine light came on in our van. “Nice timing” we thought, but we we’re very thankful to make it there okay. After hanging and arranging our miniatures, we joined our dear collector friend Bob, and artist friend Don, for a wonderful dinner at Husk in downtown Charleston. The food was absolutely delicious and the air filled with laughter as we swapped stories. At one point I was laughing so hard, that I was bent over with teary eyes, being sure my aching stomach couldn’t take anymore! The fun dinner concluded with a scrumptious dessert consisting of buttermilk chess pie, which Wes and I shared and thought totally amazing!

rachelle & wes siegrist at Husk in charleston
Wes, me, Dr. Bob and Don enjoying our delicious meal at Husk

Thursday morning we made a few final adjustments to our paintings before attending the artists luncheon in the Charleston Place Grill. Guest speaker Robin Salmon, VP of Collections and Curator of Sculpture at Brookgreen Gardens, gave a most interesting and insightful talk about the history of the stunning gardens and facilities and what all they do and offer. We were especially excited and interested, since our EXQUISITE MINIATURES exhibition is going to Brookgreen in January 2020 and we plan to attend the opening!

buttermilk chess pie at Husk charleston
The Buttermilk Chess Pie at Husk which was absolutely scrumptious!

That evening we attended the SEWE VIP Gala and were delighted that a few of our paintings had found new homes by the conclusion. As always it was totally packed with excited attendees, and I really enjoyed getting to see several of the critters in attendance, including a snake, alligator, Crested Caracara and owls.

rachelle & wes siegrist miniatures at SEWE 2019
Wes and I with our miniature paintings

We were thankful to have nice weather throughout the weekend, making our walking commute back and forth between the hotel and the show most enjoyable. Saturday evening, Wes and I happened upon a small hole-in-the-wall pizza place serving up NY style pizzas. After looking into the tiny room and seeing no place to sit at the two tables, we walked away, but returned minutes later after deciding to try it anyway. One end of a table had opened up, so we sat down after ordering our pizza, and within minutes were joined by six visiting New Yorkers. At one point everyone packed into the wee room was from NY except us, which we learned upon all being asked if we too were from NY by a friendly New Yorker who was leaving. Of course when we told him “No, we’re from Tennessee” in our strong southern accent, everyone busted out in laughter! In no time we were all laughing and chatting about all sorts of things, with them even showing us pictures of their adorable grandkids.  We all watched in amazement a man behind the counter that was continually tossing huge pizza crusts up into the air and catching them! It was a most enjoyable evening, and being surrounded with all of the strong NY accents made us feel like we were either in downtown NY or on a movie set!

Adorable Gala attendees . . . A Barn Owl ~ Crested Caracara ~ American Alligator

We were delighted to see and visit with numerous collector friends throughout the weekend, acquiring new ones as well! Before we knew it the show had ended with nearly a dozen paintings having found new homes. After packing up, we joined longtime friends Tom and Pat Brooks for a fun evening and delicious supper at T-Bonz, a short walk from the Charleston Place Hotel.  Early yesterday morning we took the van to a garage and over an hour and a half later, were headed home thinking the issue had been fixed. But alas the check engine light came back on half way home, so guess what we get to do this week…take the van into the garage and hopefully get it fixed for good this time.

SEWE 2019 Siegrist photo
The stunning lobby in The Belmond Charleston Place Hotel

We’re delighted to have enjoyed a successful SEWE and would like to thank our collectors who took our little gems home with them and the wonderful staff at SEWE for such a great weekend!

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle



Getting Ready For SEWE 2019

Getting ready for The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition!

By Rachelle Siegrist

wes siegrist miniature paintings SEWE
Trying to decide how we want to arrange paintings at SEWE

Its been a busy week for us here in the Smokies, while trying to get paintings finished, paperwork done and everything ready for the upcoming Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, SC this next week.  We also had the new HVAC installed this past week, which took a couple of days.  Jessie, Zach and Brandon, from Underhile Heating and Cooling did the job perfectly, and since they were such a fun group, we turned the event into a party!  They enjoyed eating homemade baked ziti and muffins with us for lunch one day, and warm apple pie the other day.

Underhile heating and air
Jessie, Brandon, Wes and Zach with our new unit

Zach even brought me some fresh eggs from their pet chickens one morning and taught me how to fold an origami bird out of paper, and you can even make its wings move!  Moreover, we now have a warm house, so what’s not to love about that!  They did a great job and filled our house with wonderful stories and lots of laughter while doing so, making it a pleasure to have them do the job!

origami bird sculptures
Yes . . . that’s mine on the left with the deformed beak . . . Ha!

We enjoyed a couple of beautiful days here this past week, so we took advantage of one to go kayaking one afternoon, and of course had a ball!  Clouds parted revealing abundant sunshine, turning the water surrounding us into liquid emerald green as we paddled along.  In sections it was so crystal clear, that the bottom over ten feet below, appeared as if you could reach down and touch it, feeling the sandy bottom in-between the huge rocks.  I just couldn’t resist getting out and wading in the icy water for a couple of minutes at one point, sitting atop a large rock in the sun to warm up afterwards.

rachelle siegrist kayaking

Fresh vitamin D is always best, and I happily got a full dose that day, as well as the day it was warm enough to ride bikes, wearing shorts no less!  I recently learned how to take long exposure photos with my phone camera, by taking them in the “live” setting, and then selecting the long exposure setting, revealed upon swiping the photo up on my phone.  The more still you can hold your phone while taking the photo, the better your outcome with the long exposure.

cascades in the smokies photo

~ Fresh Off The Easel ~

I’m putting the finishing touches on my painting of a Great Blue Heron painted on silk, which will debut at the upcoming Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, SC, this coming Thursday.  The inspiration came from a photo taken during our delightful kayaking trip along the Crystal River in Florida last October.

great blue heron painting on silk
“A Southern Fisherman”

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

Snow, Whipped Cream & A Camper


Wes’ Birthday Snow and Our Camper Van!

By Rachelle Siegrist

snow in the smokies

Well, it happened . . . it finally snowed at our house and on Wes’ birthday no less!  Sadly it wasn’t enough to go sledding, but at least it looked much prettier than rain falling.  It was one of those wet snows too, with big fluffy flakes that cling to everything, making the world appear as if it had been dusted with powdered sugar.

snow in the smoky mountains

Since we couldn’t go sledding, we went for a walk instead, and occasionally the heavy, gray cloud cover would thin just enough in spots, to allow a wee glimpse of the sun, creating an ethereal world below indeed!

snow in the smokies2

A couple of times, the clouds parted just enough to allow a sunbeam to shine through, illuminating a white mountain top below, creating a most spectacular view!

snow in the smokies1

The rainy cold weather outside inspired me to read about warm places in my spare time and Wes to convert our faithful van into a camper, something which we’ve been talking about for sometime now.  He’s been working for a couple of weeks on our van and completed it just yesterday.   It has a platform that will serve as our bed, with shelving up front, and cubby hole cabinets to the right of the bed for storage of camping gear and clothes.

camper van conversion

The great news is that our two beloved kayaks still fit in nicely, with one being stored below the bed, and the other sitting on the top.  At times when camping, we’ll be using the inflatable kayak, which will store easily underneath the bed, along with other camping gear, allowing the bed to stay made, which will be very nice.

camper van conversion2

Underneath is a large storage area, that even has a heavy duty cardboard shipping tube, which Wes had the great idea of attaching to the bottom, and will serve as the perfect fishing pole storage compartment!  He also read online about converting an old ice chest into a redneck air conditioner, using ice, a fan and a top with a hole cut into it, which will make it cooler for sleeping in the summer.  Now we’ll be able to go camping at the drop of a hat pretty much!

camper van conversion1

This past week Wes turned 53, and guess what he got for his birthday?  A new heat pump unit!  That’s right, our faithful, old heat pump decided to conk out on us during the coldest week of winter thus far!  Thankfully the EM heat still works, but the sound of the spinning dial on the electric meter outside is louder than the heater itself, so needless to say, we will be glad to have the new unit installed tomorrow!  Friends Fred and Barb also treated us to a fun supper at a Mexican restaurant, to celebrate Wes’ birthday one evening this past week.

wes and rachelle siegrist
Barb, Frank, Wes, me, Cathy, Pat and Fred

It surprised us both when a group of employees came merrily singing, placing a huge sombrero on Wes’ head, followed by a surprise . . . a BIG spoonful of whip cream in the face!  Laughs filled the air as poor Wes cleaned up his face, and the remainder of the evening was spent playing Mexican Train dominoes at friend’s house and enjoying Wes’ real birthday dessert in a normal manner, eating it one bite at a time.

wes siegrist birthday
UH OH . . . Wes got “creamed!”

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I was delighted to learn that my painting “Baryard Cottonballs” was juried into the Looking West: An Exhibition Highlighting Works by American Women ArtistsMay 24th through September 14th, 2019 at the Steamboat Art Museum, Steamboat Springs, CO!  Our Exquisite Miniatures exhibition was at this beautiful museum from December 5th, 2014 through April 15th, 2015, and I’m excited about having my work there once again!

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle