A Thousand Art Shows

A Glimpse Down Memory Lane

By Wes Siegrist

It’s not hyperbole … we really have participated in somewhere close to 1,000 shows and exhibitions.  The number is likely higher if we count tour venues and the variety of displays of our work in galleries and museums.  I’ve been doing art shows for over 30 years and Rachelle’s at 29.  One drawback of travel and interaction with so many thousands of people annually is we can get sick.  It’s rare … even a simple cold might catch one or both of us just once a year.  This year though, Rachelle managed to fall ill after two back-to-back shows.  Fortunately, not until we were back home but sadly, at a time when we finally were free to have some down time.  She’s spent the best part of the past two weeks dealing with cough and congestion and is now under care for a mild case of bronchitis.  I’m substituting for her this week on the blog so bear with my lack of elegant prose and instead enjoy this selection of memories from our career.

Wes & Rachelle Siegrist Art Shows - 4
My first show as a professional artist in Florida   (1988)
Wes & Rachelle Siegrist Art Shows - 1
My Nana accompanied me on shows and later often joined Rachelle and I on our adventures.  We attribute her constant support with our success.  (1989)
Wes & Rachelle Siegrist Art Shows - 3
For many years most shows were either “his or hers” as we did approximately a dozen outdoor festivals annually.  (@1990)
Wes and Rachelle Siegrist at an art show
We also did shows together.  This one had his on one side, and hers on the other!  Local shows were often family affairs with everyone gathering afterwards at a restaurant.  This was a show in Sebring, FL in the early 1990s with our moms.
Wes and Rachelle Siegrist at an art show 1991
In addition to the regular shows, we also did one-day events at the Sailfish Marina on Singer Island. Tropical fish, a steel drum band and the constant hope we did well and that the show would be over and packed in the vehicle BEFORE the regular afternoon thunderstorm!
Wes and Rachelle Siegrist at an art show
We also participated in regular gallery displays of our work. Brushstrokes Gallery was always fun and profitable. (Mid 1990s)
Wes and Rachelle Siegrist at an art show 1991
The late 1990s saw us starting to regularly attend major wildlife art shows and expositions around the United States. This was the Southern Wildlife Festival in Decatur, AL
Wes Siegrist at the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival in either 1998 or 1999.
Me at the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival in either 1998 or 1999.
Nana and Rachelle Siegrist at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL attending the annual Miniature Art Society of Florida Exhibition. (2000)
Nana and Rachelle at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL attending the annual Miniature Art Society of Florida Exhibition. (2000)

You can peruse the archives of this blog to learn more of our career history, or see the highlights on our “About Us” page at the website.


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Until next time . . .

~ Wes

Back From An Amazing Week of Exploration in Mexico!

One of the check points at the border crossing.

WOW . . .  I hardly know where to start! What an amazing week we just had in Mexico! We left Townsend very early Saturday a week ago, to catch an early flight in Knoxville. We landed in Tucson, AZ after lunch and spent the afternoon taking a walk in the warm sun, catching up with artist friends as they arrived, and just plain relaxing. Spirits were high and the air was filled with the excitement and anticipation of the adventures that lay ahead during the week spent in San Carlos, Mexico. The field trip to San Carlos was organized by David J. Wagner, L.L.C. to enable participating artists to produce a body of artwork for display in an upcoming museum exhibition entitled, “The Sea of Cortez”.  Thirty-two of us, mostly artists along with a couple of naturalists and scientists loaded our bus early Sunday morning and the journey began as our very nice bus driver, Juan, took us on our way. Crossing the border was quite interesting, but we made it through and were quite a ways down in Mexico when we enjoyed our first lunch together. Ordering was quite the process with the menu being in Spanish, but we managed just fine and enjoyed delicious enchiladas and a “Coca-Cola light” (diet coke) in a glass bottle.  With full tummies, we loaded the bus and arrived in San Carlos several hours later that afternoon.

Our first view of the lovely Condominios Bahia Delfin.

The condominios Bahia Delfin were beautiful as they were surrounded by spectacular vistas in every direction. On one side was a lovely desert area, while the other side faced the gorgeous turquoise waters of the ocean. It was also within walking distance of the beautiful Estero Soldado (Estuary). We all quickly unloaded and settled in our new temporary homes, and then Wes and I headed for the beach. The view was breathtaking as it stretched along with the beautiful rugged mountains jutting up behind and the many shorebirds calling and flying about. My feet and toes were thrilled to be walking in the sand once again! After unwinding a bit and taking in some of the gorgeous scenery, we all walked along the beach over to the restaurant, Pilar’s, next door. The food was delicious and the conversation was great as we imagined what we were going to see and experience during the week to follow.

Me with our condos in the back.
Me on our patio overlooking the ocean.

Monday started early, with us loading the bus and heading to a local restaurant called Rosas Cantina. There Wes and I had some of the most delicious fresh orange juice that we’ve ever tasted! I learned later that one family provides the fresh squeezed orange juice for the entire area of San Carlos and Guaymos. They had great coffee too! Leaving there we went on a short sightseeing excursion showcasing Mirador, Nacapule Canyon and a great lookout point. Then we were taken to a Mexican grocery store. This in and of itself was an adventure. Wow . . . I have never been so utterly confused in a store in all of my life! With most everything obviously being in Spanish, and totally arranged in a different way than U.S. stores, it made it seem like a treasure hunt to find the few things we needed for our breakfasts and lunches that week. We nearly had a heart attack when we figured out that the sunscreen was $17 when converted from pesos!! Luckily, we found out quickly that our friend Dave had bought an extra bottle earlier in Tucson that was way cheaper!

Rosas Cantina, home of the amazing fresh squeezed orange juice!
Our bus parked on the way up to the beautiful Nacapule Canyon.
The first gorgeous scenic overlook we went to Monday morning.

We returned to the condos in time to enjoy a very yummy lunch consisting of a sandwich made with sliced Mantego cheese and lots of freshly sliced avocados . . . Mmmmmmm! These were some of the best avocados we’ve had and were incredibly large! As soon as we finished our lunch, we left for our first real adventure, which consisted of walking through the Estero with our naturalist leader, Rick Brusca. At first we walked through a sandy area and learned of the 4 types of Mangroves growing in the Estero, the Red, White, Black and the one that FL doesn’t have, the Sweet. We also tasted pieces of   “Salt Wart” , which were crunchy and quite salty tasting.

Wes enjoying his avocado sandwich while Susan paints, on our patio. (Susan Fischer of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum shared the condo with us)
The first of many crossings in the Estero.
Carel shows Don and I something interesting.

It was amazing and very cold as we began crossing through what quickly became thigh deep water! I instantly learned that it wasn’t warm like Florida’s water . . . brrrrr! Everywhere you looked was something new and incredible, lots of different crab species, birds, fish and other interesting critters, one of which was the Sea Hare. It has ear-like things sticking up as it slowly crawls along the sandy bottom. Another thing of great interest was the baby Bonefish, which were long, flat and clear, except for their two little tiny black eyes. Some of our fellow explores were brave enough to face the freezing water and enjoyed a bit of snorkeling. After tromping around for a few hours, Wes and I walked back along the beach leading to the condo.

One of the many baby Bonefish.
Wes exploring, and taking in, parts of the beautiful Estero.
I get a great and up close look at a flock of Dunlins.
One of the many incredible looking Sea Hares wandering about.

It was soon time to load the bus and head for dinner, which was at a restaurant called Piccollos. The food was delicious and the company was even better. Our wonderful bus driver, Juan, sat with us and we shared funny stories and did a whole lot of laughing, until several of us had tears running down our cheeks! Juan was wonderfully patient as he began what would become a weeklong task for him to teach me a few Spanish words. We later returned to the condo and enjoyed talking with Susan, until we were all quite sleepy. So we headed to bed to rest up for another day filled adventures, most of which I will share with you next time.

Waiting for dinner at Piccollos, on their lovely patio.

Until next time ~ Rachelle 🙂