When Tiny Is Big

Tennessee Magazine rachelle and wes siegrist article

Wes and I had the privilege this past month of being interviewed by writer Ron Bell, for an article in the January 2020 issue of The Tennessee Magazine. It was a most delightful interview and we really enjoyed the couple hours spent with him and his wife Deana at our home and studio here in the Smokies. It’s always interesting to read someone’s take on what we do as artists and who we are, and Ron did a wonderful job with the article, creating something that is both fun and informative and makes the reader feel as if they too spent the afternoon with us.  So here’s the link so you too can enjoy reading his insightful article entitled “It All Comes Down to Scale” featured in this month’s issue of The Tennessee Magazine.

~ In The Studio ~

Since it has rained most of the time this past week, Wes and I have spent most of our time here in the studio at our easels.  We just finished paintings for upcoming juried shows, so I’ll be sharing those with you later. Here’s the commission I did last month of four precious, adorable chicks, which is now being loved and enjoyed in its new home!

chicken painting by rachelle siegrist
“Thelma, Louise, Laverne, and Shirley”

Wes painted a miniature this past week of a beautiful dove nesting in a Palo Verde. We took the reference photo for this piece while visiting the Saguaro National Park region of Arizona, one of our favorite places to explore! It’s always fun to both paint warm sunny paintings during the winter!

A-Palo-Verde-Palace_by_Wes_Siegrist1
Wes’ “A Palo Verde Palace”

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle

 

Family Fun In the Swamps and Sand

rachelle siegrist at highlands hammock

Wes and I returned home last night after a fun week while visiting my family in Florida for Christmas! Each day brought new adventures, from taking boat rides in the pond while watching the gator and numerous birds hanging out by the water, walking trails, wading in the ocean, to riding dirt bikes and four-wheelers!

wes and rachelle siegrist

My dad joined Wes and I for a hike around one of my favorite walking trails near their home.  It’s a reclaimed wetlands area that the birds and gators love and always offers great photo-ops and a chance to do some awesome birdwatching! It’s hard to imagine that my dad recently finished his Car-T cancer therapy treatment and is able to do things like walk around this 5-mile trail with us, and we’re so very thankful for his amazing progress! We saw a large gator and numerous birds, getting several reference photos for future paintings. At one point dad and I quietly snuck up on what we thought was a flock of birds, taking photos of them and trying to figure out what kind they were.  As we drew closer we realized it was a flock of dried pickerel leaves blowing in the wind and enjoyed a good laugh at ourselves for being fooled! Later we were standing near Tayler Creek and a deer that had walked up beside us realized the creek was straight ahead, so all of a sudden she took off running at a high rate of speed, leaning over to one side as she rounded the corner and came within a few feet of my dad as she ran between us and the creek! “WOW . . . what an amazing experience that was!” we all exclaimed as we watched her slow to a halt and join a few other deer under oak trees nearby.

taylor creek trail

I’ve ridden four-wheelers my entire life, so I’m right at home zipping around pastures and through woods on one.  However, having never ridden a dirt bike, I was a wee bit reluctant to ride my nephew Tyler’s.  Nonetheless, since I tell them, “If there’s a chance you can get hurt, it will probably be fun!“, I had to practice what I preach and try it. As soon as I gave it gas and lifted my second foot off the ground, off I went, feeling like I had ridden one my whole life, and had an absolute blast ripping around the pasture and over small dirt hills!

rachelle siegrist riding dirt bike

Next, it was time to ride the four-wheeler, so after riding it alone for a while, it was time for Wes to ride with Haydyn driving! Wes won’t ride with me anymore after I almost decapitated him with a clothesline while forgetting to tell him to duck, but he trusts Haydyn’s abilities much more than mine obviously and off they went!

wes siegrist

Haydyn rode with me driving while we raced around the pasture along with Tyler and his friend Cody on another four-wheeler and dirt bike, then I rode with Haydyn, and was quite impressed with the awesome driver she is!  Afterward, my dad and I had a race around the pasture before I rode with Tyler driving over to a creek nearby. It seems like just yesterday Tyler and Haydyn were still in diapers and now they’re driving Wes and me around on four-wheelers . . . time sure does fly!

four wheeling

Christmas day brought beautifully warm weather which was a gift to my brother Marshall and me since we love warmer temperatures! So we enjoyed Christmas dinner on the screen porch, serenaded by birdsong and the sound of gentle breezes blowing through the trees while watching the Painted Buntings come to eat at the feeders, and it was truly delightful, to say the least! That evening we enjoyed sitting around a campfire while singing songs and retelling funny stories from the past.

rachelle siegrist

The next day my entire family spent the day at my favorite state park while walking the boardwalk trails leading through beautiful old cypress hammocks and swamps. Even though we never saw an alligator, we saw numerous birds and enjoyed watching a Red-shouldered Hawk sitting on a tree limb close by, eat a water lily, which is something we had never seen them do before! Later on, the kids had a ball playing on the playground and I just had to hang upside down for a few minutes on the monkey bars, followed by a yummy supper together that evening. It was another fun day indeed!

highlands hammock

Our last day in Florida was spent with an afternoon at the beach, and even though it’s only been a little over a year since I’ve been in saltwater, as soon as I crested the sandy hill leading down to the beach, my sandals were off in a flash and I practically ran, for I could hardly wait to step out into the salty water! My feet were instantly at home on the soft warm sand, and as I stood there, legs enveloped by the cool saltwater, looking out into the distance where the sky meets water and all else disappears, for a few moments time stood still and all was well with the world!  I love times like these which instantly recharge my batteries! We walked the beach whilst looking for shells with the kids and my brother and spotted numerous small Man-0-War scattered across the sandy beach, their beautiful translucent blue skin looking like glass sculptures lying on the sand. All of a sudden Wes and Tyler noticed a big dark thing wash up onto the beach and Tyler ran over and picked up the most amazing beautiful shell in perfect condition that I’ve seen found at any beach in all my years of going!

 

pepper park ft. pierce

Even though we didn’t get to swim, I had to wet my hair and left the beach quite content with saltwater in my hair, sand on my feet and shells in my pocket! After walking up from the beach we explored the Navy Seal Museum which was most interesting and had several boats used by the seals in the past, which we could climb into and explore. One big boat, in particular, the kids and I had fun pretending we were zipping along large waves at a high rate of speed, jumping over them and crashing down as we went!

navy seal museum

The next day after saying our sad goodbyes, Wes and I boarded a plane and I watched as my beloved Florida grew smaller and smaller until disappearing beneath clouds, as we flew back home to the Smokies.

Wes and I wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy and blessed New Year!

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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

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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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle

Thawing Out In Florida

It was 21° when we boarded the plane early this past Friday morning in Tennessee, and in the mid-70s with sunshine when we stepped out of the airport in Punta Gorda Florida a couple hours later. It was delightful and I happily stood in the sun for a few minutes just to soak up the warmth while waiting for my parents to arrive. It was a happy reunion with my mom, dad, niece Hayden and nephew Tyler. We drove a short distance to a lovely wooded park situated along beautiful winding peace river, and peaceful it was, while we spent a couple of hours wading in the water and searching for shark teeth.

Tyler found the most, being about a dozen, with Hayden close on his heels with about half a dozen and me in last place with one. But one is obviously better than none, and we certainly had fun looking for them. When a large invasive species of fish, locally known as an armored catfish, swam up into the middle of us and just stayed there as if it wanted to hang out with us for a while, Tyler carefully caught it by the tail, then Wes took it and held it up so we could see the underneath which was really cool looking, covered with intriguing patterns.

We really enjoyed feeling the amazingly hard scales covering it, making it look as if it was made out of metal or bronze perhaps. That encounter was a highlight of our visit to the picturesque park!

Afterward we walked a short trail while occasionally stopping for the kids and me to climb trees. Leaving there we headed over to Okeechobee to my parents home and enjoyed eating my sister-in-law Alicia’s delicious homemade spaghetti for supper!


Since my dad has been out of commission while dealing with his cancer treatment over the past several months, their yard became a little overgrown because of the recent rains and inability to be there to take care of it. So Wes and I spent the day Saturday working in the yard, getting it back into shape and looking like it did before dad wasn’t able to care for it. We took a break later that afternoon and I went for a boat ride in the pond with the kids where we enjoyed birdwatching, seeing little Green Heron‘s, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, Cat Birds, Black-and-white warblers and more. Afterwards I got to do something I’ve always wanted to do, and that was drive a tractor. Dad recently got an old tractor, so he showed me quickly how to work it and after a rough start off I went, happily singing “Green Acres” as I bounced along!


Sunday brought clouds and a few scattered showers, so we went to Lake Okeechobee and walked on the pier for a while, which was pretty chilly with the wind, but way warmer than the 20s back home. Sadly there were no gators out, perhaps they were tucked away in a warm spot somewhere until the sun returns. Today the sun is out and we’re enjoying the beautiful weather Florida is know for this time of year!

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle