In My Little Boat!

Experiencing the Repose of Nature!

by Rachelle Siegrist

lake in the mountains

There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.”  Thoreau’s words could not be more true! After an exciting, but somewhat hectic fall season, Wes and I experienced the calm he talked of, while immersing ourselves in nature this past Friday!  We decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and headed over to a nearby lake with our kayaks in tow.

rachelle siegrist kayaking

With expansive clear azure skies above, we climbed into our kayaks and as soon as my paddle dipped into the crystal clear icy water below, I breathed a sigh, and instantly melted!  There’s something truly wonderful about being on the water, watching the sunlight dance on the surface, creating a hypnotic effect of what appears to be thousands of shimmering diamonds.  The sound of the wind blowing across the lake’s surface and through trees on surrounding hillsides, as well as birdsong filled the air!

canada geese in fall

I was indeed in my happy place again, and couldn’t resist singing the line out of an old song . . . “Not a care have I, in my little boat.”  Slowly making our way through thick grasses and crispy, dried weeds, we quietly sat while watching a flock of geese preen and bathe. Several ducks and coots joined the flock, all enjoying the glorious late fall weather!

coot photo

Warblers nearby checked and sang occasionally, as well as wrens, titmice, juncos and goldfinches, as we slowly paddled along.  Finding the perfect lunch spot, we tucked our kayaks into a thicket of grasses, and commenced eating, while watching and listening to all that nature had to offer.  The peace and quiet was priceless, as the only sounds to be heard were that of birdsong, wind in the trees and the water lapping against our kayaks as it gently rocked us back and forth.


Jokingly, I felt my pulse to make sure my blood pressure had not dropped too much in my state of complete bliss, while surveying our personal outdoor restaurant, deciding there was none finer anywhere!  Paddling along later, I began noticing how each time I slipped over the water plants lying on the water’s surface, the trapped air formed bubbles, which would slowly rise to the top of the water and burst, creating living, fluid, abstract works of art filled with luminescent colors!

water droplets photo

I couldn’t get enough of this delightful show of nature, mesmerized by the brilliant ever changing bubbles!  Then Wes pointed out where a Beaver had been gnawing on a young sapling recently!  “How very exciting!”  I said, glad to know he was still there!  Later I found the perfect place to practice my “kayaking Limbo”, proving to be even more fun than doing it on roller skates!

kayaking woth rachelle siegrist

Soon it was time to head back across the  lake, and by that time the wind had shifted against us and picked up.  The water became very choppy with occasional whitecaps forming, and although it created challenging paddling, it made for a fun ride!  The flexibility of the kayak made it to where I could feel the movement of each and every wave against the bottom of my legs, making it feel as if I was just sitting atop the water!  I didn’t realize how much I had let the waves caress and rock my kayak until returning and finding my dry storage with a fair amount of water in it!

mountain lakes

Soon we had returned to the boat ramp, loaded the kayaks and were heading back, but after such a blissful day, I couldn’t help but wear a smile on my face the entire way home! We’re looking forward to a visit from Wes’ parents this week!

The 84th Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, D.C. International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature opens today, November 19th and runs through January 6, 2018,  The miniature exhibition is held at the beautiful Mansion At Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD.  If you’re in the area, this is a wonderful opportunity to see six of our miniature paintings in person!Wes and Rachelle Siegrists 2017 MPSGS Paintings


yellow lab painting, yellow Labrador Retriever painting, dog commission by rachelle siegrist

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle


The Waterfowl Festival and Tiny Trees!

The 47th Annual Waterfowl Festival and “Tiny Trees”

by Rachelle Siegrist

wes and rachelle siegrist 47th annual waterfowl festival
Wes and me with our miniature paintings

We just returned home from Easton, MD, where we spent the past several days participating in the 47th Annual Waterfowl Festival. We were delighted to have so many collector friends come see our work during the weekend and wish to especially thank those who added more of our paintings to their collections!

rachelle and wes siegrist at the 47th annual waterfowl festival
Our paintings on display at the 47th Annual Waterfowl Festival

As usual we enjoyed spending time with artist friends and especially loved getting to know Russian artist Vladimir and his wife, Tatiana, better. During the artists’ party Saturday evening we laughed uncontrollably, while trying to teach them to speak hillbilly, with them attempting to teach us a few Russian phrases! As you can well imagine with our respective accents, it sounded totally hilarious!

miniature painting exhibition 47th waterfowl festival
A new addition to the excitement of looking at our miniatures

Before we knew it, the weekend had flown by, and we were saying our goodbyes and heading back to our home in the Smokies. There was still quite a bit of fall color on the return trip, while driving through the Shenandoah Valley region, thus making it a beautiful drive once again.

47th Annual Waterfowl Festival
Very appropriate waterfowl and crab cookies served during the opening

I’m delighted to share with you several photos of the “Tiny Trees” instillation at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI. The collection of almost 300 miniature trees painted by students during classes throughout our week-long residency at the museum, will be on display throughout most of this month. It’s great fun to see all of the little trees, each and everyone of them totally unique! So if you’re in the Wausau area, I highly recommend you visit the Woodson Museum and walk amongst the the miniature forest!  (Thanks to Catie at the museum for sharing these photos with us!)

miniature painting workshop with rachelle and wes siegrist

class exhibit wes and rachelle siegrist residency leigh yawkey woodson art museum.


exhibit from rachelle and wes siegrist residency leigh yawkey woodson art museum.



~ Fresh off the Easels ~

I finished my painting of a Zebra this past week titled “Zebra Kisses“.  I photographed this adorable Zebra while visiting a drive-through animal park last May and was delighted to be able to get a velvety soft kiss from him as well as this great photo for reference for my painting!  Of course he enjoyed eating the food I gave him as a thank you in return too!

“Zebra Kisses”
“Zebra Kisses” with hands for scale

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

An Artist Residency To Remember!

Enjoying Our Residency at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum!

by Rachelle Siegrist

childrens classes Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
A group of happy miniature tree painters!

Arriving for the first time at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum during the Bird’s in Art opening weekend in 1999, we would’ve never imagined that years later, we’d be enjoying a residency at this amazing museum! What a delightful experience it has been, while teaching around 300 students and workshop participants, as well as lecturing and demonstrating this past week!  Hopefully, we’ve inspired a few to paint miniatures in the future.

rachelle siegrist at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
Enjoying a walk through the museum’s snow covered sculpture garden

Not only did we greatly enjoy teaching numerous students and workshop participants, but also our daily interactions with the wonderful museum staff!  Spending time with them during lunch breaks and getting to have dinner with a few, was a highlight of our residency!  We also enjoyed the glimpse behind-the-scenes of how the museum operates!

wes siegrist a Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
Wes and Andy grilling lunch . . .  Brrrrrrrr!
wes siegrist at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum staff
Enjoying one of our fun lunch breaks with the LYWAM gang!

Monday morning started off with the first of many children’s classes, where we taught them how to paint a miniature tree. We were delighted with how well the students did throughout the week, and after painting trees along with them, we joked staff members that we’ll be painting trees in our sleep for weeks to come . . . Ha Ha! Time spent teaching kids, often brings laughter through things they say and do, so I wanted to share some of our hilarious encounters with them from this past week, sure to put a smile on your face and bring you a chuckle as well!

A sampling of the students’ tree paintings to be displayed in the museum through the month

While I was demonstrating in the gallery, an adorable little girl confidently approached me, and upon stating her name in entirety, proceeded to tell me that she loved making art and doing geometry. When I asked about her favorite subject, she said she loved birds, especially chickens, so I asked if she had any pet birds at home, to which she replied “No . . . My daddy won’t let me, cause he says they’ll go potty all over the house!”

rachelle siegrist painting at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
An excited little artist tells me about her art studio! (Photos compliments of the museum)

After Wes helped one boy paint part of his tree in class, he overheard him telling his friends “That man messed up my painting, because he’s right handed instead of left handed and that’s why these limbs are going the wrong way!”. Not remembering” Wes’ name, the boys friends referred to him as Mr. Guy thereafter, which they and I found quite funny!


A very proud little artist ~ Wes demonstrates techniques on the big screen

After painting for awhile, one boy asked if it was toxic. Thinking he was referring to the paint, I said no, that is was not. He replied “Awesome! . . . Can I drink the green paint water?”

In another class a little girl excitedly told me that her daddy too was a painter! I said “That’s wonderful! . . . what does he paint?” She sat up even straighter and said very proudly . . . “Houses!”

wes and rachelle siegrist teaching workshop at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
A group of miniature tree painters!

A little boy held his miniature tree painting at arm’s length and looking at it admiringly, he said “I believe I have a real talent for this!”  Another proudly announced that “His was for sale for a million dollars!”

After students completed each task in class, Catie asked them to put down their brushes and look up so we would know they’re ready for the next step. In one class upon finishing the task at hand, several cute little boys laid down their brushes and looked up staring at the ceiling!

wes and rachelle siegrist teaching at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
College students from South Korea, China, Japan, Honduras and Columbia really got into it! 

Since we don’t get a lot of snow here in the Smokies, I was very excited to wake up to snow covered ground one morning!  Staff member Shari joined me in building wee snowmen that morning, and afterwards I couldn’t resist building a “Snowy” Owl in honor of the current Birds In Art exhibition!

sculptures at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum
My “Snowy” Owl in honor of the current Birds In Art exhibition

We had a couple of free hours one afternoon, so we headed to the gorgeous Dells of the Eau Claire!  A short drive from Wausau through farmlands, we were delighted to see several beautiful old historic barns, a couple of which we hope to paint in miniature.  Arriving at the park, we hiked for a couple of hours alongside the river flowing through the interesting rock formations.  Snow still lay on the ground in most areas affording a lovely and peaceful stroll through the surrounding woodlands.

rachelle siegrist visiting the dells of the eau claire
Standing by the neat rocks along the Eau Claire



Wes is obviously very hardheaded . . . ha ha!

Another evening we had a chance to walk along riverside park for a while in downtown Wausau.  Afterwards we enjoyed walking through some of the lovely stores downtown before eating dinner at a restaurant called Jalapeños.  We were invited to friends Linda and Don’s beautiful home for dinner one evening, where we enjoyed Raclette, a dish indigenous to parts of Switzerland. In the middle of the table was an electric table-top grill with small pans, known as coupelles, in which we melted slices of cheese, while cooking shrimp on the grill on top.  Once melted, the cheese is poured over cooked red potatoes and broccoli rabe.  Not only was it super delicious, but great fun to partake in as well!  The evening was filled with cooking, entertaining stories and lots of laughter and ended with a delicious chocolate lava cake!

umbrella display in downtown Wasau
A colorful installation in downtown Wausau consisting of numerous brightly colored umbrellas

Wednesday evening we were invited to Catie and Dave’s home for a scrumptious gourmet dinner consisting a Mediterranean style salad,  eggplant involtini which seemed to melt in our mouth, topped off with delicious key lime pie for dessert!  It was a great evening, sharing stories and lots of laughs!  Thursday evening Wes gave a lecture, followed by a hands-on painting class, where attendees got to try painting a miniature tree.  Steven Bjella, Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra concertmaster, filled the air with beautiful and relaxing tunes as we all happily painted.  Countless times throughout the week, participants both young and older alike, stated again and again how very relaxing painting in miniature was, many times not wanting to stop!  Friday marked the end of our weeklong classes during our residency, and we said goodbye to our dear friends at the Woodson.  That evening, Andy and wife Jeana took us to Thrive for dinner, which was another treat indeed!  We shared birding stories and those of past art shows and many more, while treating our tastebuds and of course doing a lot of laughing!

We want to extend a BIG thank you to the Woodson and all of the delightful staff members for extending this amazing opportunity to us, a wonderful memory and highlight of our career that we will always cherish!

Come see us and our miniature paintings in person this coming weekend at the 47th Waterfowl Festival located in Easton, MD!  The show opens to the public Friday November 10th and runs through Sunday the 12th.  We’re looking forward to seeing many of you there and finding new homes for several of our miniature paintings!

~ To Commission A Painting by Us Click Here!

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle