Enjoying Home Projects and New Shows Opening

buidling a stone patio

Wes and I have spent a big part of this past week playing with rocks, whilst building a stone patio in the backyard. Albeit a lot of hard back-breaking work, it’s been enjoyable nonetheless, as we try our hand at being stone masons. Its been great fun watching it turn from a mostly muddy section of the yard into something beautiful! One of the hardest parts of the job was bringing down wheelbarrow loads of stones from up in the woods. There’s a couple of piles of sandstone, which were considered “B” rocks and left when they mined a small section a long time ago. So I say we’re going to the “rock store” when we go to the main pile and look through the rocks. It’s very enjoyable, as you always find wonderful rocks and knowing they’re free, well, that’s the icing on the cake!

building a stone patio2

Now that we have the patio completed, we’re beginning to construct a pizza oven in the back corner of the patio. I’ve taken photos throughout the process and will share a time-lapse video of the construction of it once I have it made. 

With a couple days of rain, we spent some time on inside projects, one of which was recovering the dining room chairs which we purchased along with the dining room table, at a Habitat for Humanity store.  I’ve recovered many pieces of furniture in my time, and even though it had been awhile, I got back into the swing of the art very quickly. It’s quite satisfying seeing the transformation of something that looks old and worn, into something beautiful! 

recovering furniture

And voila’ . . . Here it is below, looking like new! There’s actually four chairs, the forth one was just awol during the photo 🙂 We installed the chandelier several weeks ago, which totally transformed the feel of the entire dining room! Sometime soon I will share before and after photos of the inside of our cabin with you, which I think you’ll enjoy. 


log cabin decor

The yard and woods continues to be filled with birds! It’s truly delightful peering out all the different windows and seeing flocks of Chipping Sparrows, juncos, and so many others! The rock platform seems to be one of the favorite feeding stations for my numerous feathered friends, and it’s so enjoyable sitting in a chair nearby to watch and photograph them. 

tufted titmouse

One of our Tufted Titmice taking a peanut

red-bellied woodpecker

Woody, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, trying to decide what to eat next

white-breasted nuthatch

A beautiful White-breasted Nuthatch going for a peanut

tufted titmouse2

A Tufted Titmouse springs a “fur collar” compliments of the wind

We enjoyed a lovely lakeside view during a van picnic one day this past week, after going into town. It’s been fun and interesting finding new parks and locations to have picnics and explore, and I’m looking forward to having time to start exploring more of the hiking trails and kayaking spots nearby. 

watts bar lake

See our miniatures in person this week

Society of Animal Artists 2021 Exhibition
The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, located in Oradell, NJ, until January 16th, 2022

Society of Animal Artists The Kingdom Show
The Midland Center for the Arts, located in Midland, MI, until January 16th, 2022 

The 47th International Miniature Art Show (MASF) is now open and we are delighted to announce that we each received an award in the show! I got 3rd in Birds and Animals on my painting “Among Cypress Knees and Wes got 2nd in Opaque Watercolor on “Excuse Me, It’s Empty Again!” 

Among Cypress Knees

My miniature “Among Cypress Knees”

Excuse Me, It's Empty Again!

Wes miniature “Excuse Me, It’s Empty Again!”

You can view the show online and make purchases starting January 16th at 5:05 PM EST!
The show is being held at The Dunedin Fine Art Center, located in Dunedin, FL and runs through February 6th, 2022. 

MASF miniature exhibition

The two panels displaying our miniature paintings.

Evelyn Burrow Museum exquisite miniatures exhibition

Our touring exhibition Exquisite Miniatures will open in February at The Evelyn Burrow Museum, located in Hanceville, AL. 

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our WEBSITE hereartofwildlife.com

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

The Land Where Giants Live

Bernheim forest

I loved this tree with sculpted limbs!

SO where is the land in which giants live? . . . you may wonder. Well, we discovered where at least one family of them lives, while visiting Wes’ parents in southern Indiana this past week. His parents have been to see the giants at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest located in Clermont, Kentucky, and had been wanting us to see them as well, since they’re so amazing! I must admit that I was delighted to visit them in person, after having only seen them in photos, and as we all know, things like friendly giants are so much better in real life! 

The trio of woodland giants were crafted by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, using recycled wood from the region. This “giant” task was to help Bernheim celebrate their 90th anniversary back in 2019. The giants are accessed via walking trails through the woodland. It’s great fun to round the corner and voila’ there sits a huge smiling giant, and you can’t imagine just how big they are, until you’re standing beneath one.

Thomas Dambo giant sculptures Little Elina

Jeanie and I with Little Elina 

Thomas Dambo giant sculpture Little Elina

Obviously Elina likes playing with rocks

A short distance from Little Elina, sits Mama Loumari, lounging back against the trunk of a large tree. It’s no wonder that she’s taking it easy while the other two children play, as she has a baby giant inside her belly! The tale goes on to explain that the dad is off hunting, and I say good luck to him with trying to find enough food to keep his large family fed . . . Ha Ha!

Thomas Dambo giant sculptures

Now that is what I call a BIG toe . . . HaHa!

While I think the main bodies may be constructed with slats from old wine or whiskey barrels, I can plainly tell that her luxurious hair is made from large limbs and sticks. 

Thomas Dambo giant sculpture Mama Loumari

A bit farther through the woodland sits Little Nis admiring his reflection in a small lake. Or perhaps he’s watching the fish, but whichever it may be, he’s obviously quite mesmerized with it, since he hasn’t moved at all since 2019! 🙂

Thomas Dambo giant sculptures Little Nis

Once again, you just can’t appreciate the grandeur and scale of these giant sculptures until someone is standing by them. I can only imagine what it must sound like when their stomachs growl, LOL!

Thomas Dambo giant sculptures at Bernheim forest

Berheim Forest is a beautiful place to spend a relaxing day, even on a gray day. The four of us enjoyed driving through the park a couple of times, and stopped to take a relaxing walk on the Canopy Tree Walk, rising 75′ into the air. Once you reach the end, you’re rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the forest below!

berheim forest canopy tree walk

That’s a teeny tiny Wes out at the very end of the canopy walk

wes siegrist at Bernheim forest

Jeanie, Wes and George feeling high!

There are several other wonderful sculptures along the trails at the forest, such as the one below, crafted by Artist Justin Roberts, using invasive species most threatening to whippoorwill habitat, which were harvested at the arboretum. Justin entitled the piece “Sounds of a Whippoorwill – Bernheim“, and intends to bring awareness to the birds population, and the encroachment of invasive plant species on their habitat. Being a lover of whippoorwills and their beautiful song in the night, I loved this sculpture and it’s statement. 

Bernheim forest sculptures

Another cool sculpture is part of Bernheim’s Playcosystem. Crafted by Artist Jayson Fann “Spirit Nest” is a fun tree house art installation that allows children big and small to enjoy playing on and in it.

Jayson Fann spirit nest sculpture

“Spirit Nest”

As you can see from the photos, we all enjoyed a peaceful time out in nature at Bernheim. We also enjoyed a lovely visit with his parents, spending the rest of our time there on the farm, taking walks to the pond and trying to feed the fish, which sadly weren’t hungry. Wes and I rang in the New Year back at our little cabin in the woods, and I started off the year in a most delightful way! It was warm enough that I was able to eat breakfast on the front porch, while watching the numerous birds visiting our feeders. There were so many birds as a matter of fact, that it almost seemed too good to be true, like one of those ecards you get, where the peaceful setting showcases a few birds eating, and then more and more birds keep flying in and joining them until it looks like a fairytale setting. Well, that’s exactly how it was yesterday morning, and so spectacular that I was moved to tears with feeling truly blessed to be able to share it with so many feathered friends!

As we embark upon this new year, I’m reminded of a wonderful saying “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away” ~Maya Angelou. May you experience times throughout this next year, that truly take your breath away.

bernheim forest trail

Wes and I wish you a Blessed New Year filled with peace, good health and much laughter!

See our miniatures in person this week

Society of Animal Artists 2021 Exhibition
The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, located in Oradell, NJ, until January 16th, 2022

Society of Animal Artists The Kingdom Show
The Midland Center for the Arts, located in Midland, MI, until January 16th, 2022 

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our WEBSITE hereartofwildlife.com

Contact us by EMAIL heresiegrist@artofwildlife.com

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Waterfalls and Water Droplets

wes siegrist hiking

There’s something very soothing about walking through the woods, during a light misty rain. The moisture collecting along the outstretched arms of the trees, forming thousands of droplets that fall, softly landing on a dense blanket of freshly fallen leaves covering the ground below. Whilst walking along, all you hear is the peaceful symphony composed by these droplets . . .”drip…drip…drip“. The falling droplets mixed with the sound of my steps on the moist earth, blend together creating a rhythmic pattern, lulling me into a state of complete relaxation. 

nature photography

Everywhere I look are thousands of water droplets, precariously dangling like diamonds from the tips of the pine needles, and it’s simply beautiful! The miniature droplets which created a magical woodland weren’t the only delightful surprise, as we discovered that what we thought was a dry creek bed is actually a seasonal creek, and after the recent rains, came alive with the sights and sounds of running water all along the trail! 

nature photography2

We found numerous cascades and even a couple of little waterfalls along the creek. The one below was about two foot high and filled the air with a delightful sounds of falling water as we walked along.

nature photography5

There were several more smaller cascades as well along the creek blanketed by ferns. Every twist and turn brought a new watery surprise, and I was thrilled with our latest discovery!

nature photography6

Wes and I were like two little kids again, out playing in the creek after the rain had finally stopped! I found this small waterfall shown below most interesting, as it falls inside a small cave like area, where the hollow underground alcove created a lovely sound. 

nature photography4

Sunken Creek (shown below), which emerges from the dome shaped opening and flows constantly, was up and running and quite lovely to hear. I recently transplanted some beautiful lush clumps of moss near the mouth of the little stream, and it appeared to be thriving with the abundant moisture. I’m planning to make this a lovely area to sit by the stream, using stones, ferns and moss from our property, and will share the progress of it with you, as I go along.

nature photography3

I must admit that I wishing to be the height of a Barbie doll and have a wee kayak and tube, so that I could be taking advantage of the miniature whitewater stream! It would’ve been an awesome ride indeed!…Don’t you agree?

nature photography8

Whilst “playing” in the creek, we saw several frogs, and a big crawdad, who got swept downstream by the rushing water. We’ve seen him several times in the little pool area, so he obviously craws back up when the water slows down. The funny thing is, that I no longer dread a day of rain, since I know it will bring to life my “sleeping creek”, and fill Sunken Creek with wee bits of whitewater!

See our miniatures in person this week

Society of Animal Artists 2021 Exhibition
Wes and I each have a painting in this exhibition currently at the  The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, located in Oradell, NJ, November 20, 2021 – January 16, 2022

 Exquisite Miniatures 

is currently at the beautiful Elliott Museum located in Stuart, FL, where it will be on display until December 15th. 

Society of Animal Artists The Kingdom Show
November 26, 2021 – January 16, 2022 at  The Midland Center for the Arts, located in Midland, MI. Wes and I each have a painting in this exhibition

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our WEBSITE hereartofwildlife.com

Contact us by EMAIL here: siegrist@artofwildlife.com

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle