So Who’s 29…Again?

 

Painting BIG and Small and Birthday Fun!

By Rachelle Siegrist

rachelle siegrist birthday at melting pot

We started the week off with friends Fred and Barb taking us out for an early celebration of my birthday.  Friends Bill and Darlene also joined us, and after enjoying a yummy pizza for supper, our tastebuds were tantalized with a delicious chocolate feast at the Melting Pot!  We quickly consumed two pots of dark chocolate, into which we dipped assorted treats.  It really didn’t matter what we were dipping anyway, as it was all about the chocolate to me!  With an unsettled weather forecast for my birthday later that week, we decided at the last minute to go on a short hike, after weather conditions changed in our favor.

rachelle siegrist hiking

We chose to walk along a trail located not too far from where we live, which follows alongside a stream most of the way.  We walked far enough this time, to revisit the remnants of an old vehicle abandoned in the woods, reminding all who see it of a bygone era, of simpler times and ways.  We laughingly joked that this was the car Wes had graciously got me for my birthday, and I decided once it was fixed up a little and painted cotton candy pink, perhaps it would be quite cute!  There are several large boulders along the trail, and many I couldn’t resist exploring.

rachelle siegrist hiking in the smokies

We walked back into a cozy, little secluded spot, where we relaxingly sat and watched a couple of small waterfalls dancing over large rocks, filling the air with a welcomed mist and the delightful sounds of roaring water. Several Bay Rhododendrons were starting to bloom, showcasing clumps of delicate white and soft pink flowers against their bright green foliage.  This one in particular was especially beautiful, with the white water of the cascade flowing behind.

Rhododendron blossom in the smokies

While I have spent much of my time this past week at the easel, and Wes has been busily working with his SAA job, we did manage to paint our basement walls and floors, and are both quite happy to have that job now marked off the to do list!

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~ Recently off the Easels ~

I just finished painting my latest pet portrait miniature of a precious girl named Lucy.  Before photographing her, I had brushed her extensively while fixing her fur, and I do believe she was feeling quite beautiful, while posing and sporting her new coiffure for me afterwards!  Currently on my easel is a miniature painting of two turkeys which I’ll be sharing with you next week.  Wes is working on a Spotted Sandpiper which we photographed on one of our recent kayaking trips.

dog painting Lucy Mason by rachelle siegrist
“Sweet Lucy” 

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

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Waterfalls…Wildflowers…and Mudpuppies

 

Having Fun In The Smoky Mountains!

By Rachelle Siegrist

rachelle siegrist by waterfall

This past week has brought a few adventures with friends!  Last Sunday afternoon we hiked with friends Sharon, Tom and Kit to a favorite waterfall, and enjoyed having it all to ourselves for quite awhile!  Tom and I being the only two brave ones in the group, waded out into the icy water, and I decided once my legs went numb, it wasn’t so bad at all . . . Ha! Recent rains had caused the falls to roar with such force, that surrounding air was filled with mist and we couldn’t hear one another talk while near them!  It was truly amazing to watch such a powerful force of nature!

rachelle siegrist hiking in the smokies

Friends, Lou and John visiting from Virginia, spent this past Tuesday with us.  We hiked  a couple of trails nearby, while looking for and photographing a variety of wildflowers.  We started off our day with a picnic by the river, and I was thrilled when I got to watch a kayaker zip by, then turn and do what I call “kayak surfing“, where you turn the kayak facing upstream and ride one section of whitewater.  It was great fun to watch, and made me want to try it!

whitewater kayaking

We saw numerous wildflowers blooming and visited a couple of waterfalls and cascades along the hike.  It was another beautiful spring day, ending with a yummy supper at our local Black Bear Cafe, and dessert on our back porch, where we fed visiting squirrels peanuts and admired the gorgeous male Red-breasted Grosbeak who kept visiting the feeder!  We said our goodbyes later that evening, and already look forward to their fun visit next spring!

jack-in-the-pulpit flower photo

Another morning this past week, friends Kit and Mike joined us for a morning of kayaking at a nearby lake.  Any day in the kayak is an awesome one for me, and this one started off even better when Wes spotted a Common Mudpuppy just as we launched our kayaks!  I couldn’t believe it, and was delighted to get several nice photos of it as we watched it swim along!  I love hellbenders mudpuppies and since spotting them is quite rare, I’m always thrilled when given a glimpse of one of these incredible large salamanders!

hellbender salamander photo

He decided to swim under my kayak . . . what a neat experience!!!

photo of hellbender salamander

We were blessed with another gorgeous morning as we paddled along the smooth surface of the lake.  The clear water afforded great views of the long, bright green tendrils of water plants stretching from the bottom below. Only a few small, wispy clouds dotted the sky, allowing the water’s surface to mostly reflect the clear azure blue skies above.  Flowering trees growing along the banks, created an overhang of flowers above, which I slowly kayaked under, while leaning back and watching the masses of purple and white pass overhead.

flowering trees

Soon, we found the perfect location for lunch, a shallow, clear lagoon with a flat, stone covered bank jutting out into it. The crystal clear water was filled with small fish and newts swimming about, especially in the deeper pool, and were such fun to watch!

kayaking

I found a comfortable seat on a log in the sun, and for a while all was well with the world, as I happily sat there soaking up the warmth and enjoying the surrounding beauty!

rachelle siegrist kayakin

Soon it was time to start paddling back, and we were happy to spot more birds along the way.  We saw several Red-winged Blackbirds hanging onto swaying reeds, and enjoyed watching a little Spotted Sandpiper, as it tip-toed along the stones, while continually bobbing it’s tail.

Red-winged Blackbird  ~   Spotted Sandpiper

All too quickly, our paddling adventure had come to an end, and it was time to head back home and get back to work, filled with gratitude for having experienced another wonderful adventure!

kayaking with rachelle siegrist


~ Fresh off the Easels ~

I finished my latest pet portraits this past week, of two gorgeous English Setters, named Marlin and Max.  It was such a joy painting these two handsome and very sweet boys!  Currently on my easel is a painting of a Black-tailed Jack Rabbit, which I watched and photographed while in Texas a couple of years ago.  While I’m getting to spend time at the easel, Wes is currently still very busy working with his new executive director job for the Society of Animal Artists.

english setter dog painting by Rachelle Siegrist
“Marlin”
english setter dog painting Max by Rachelle Siegrist
“Max”

 

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

511 Years Old And Upcoming SEWE

Wes’ Birthday and Miniature Paintings at SEWE!

By Rachelle Siegrist

rachelle siegrist lemon cream cake

Wes celebrated his 52nd Birthday this past week, with friends Fred, Barb and Kit joining us that evening for dinner and of course cake!  Since Wes loves lemon, I made a lemon cream cake combining a classic French yogurt lemon cake with British baker, Mary Berry’s, delicious lemon cream filling and icing drizzle recipes.  Can you say Scrummy! . . . as it was scrumptiously delicious, and I will certainly be making it again! The funny part about the cake, which was totally unintentional, resulted from the lack of candle choices.  Upon finding a “5” candle, I added two single candles to it, reading as “52” to us.  However, many of our friends read it as “511” bringing about much humorous commentary about Wes’ ripe old age and wondrous face cream he must be using!

wes siegrist with birthday cake
Get ready to make a wish Wes!

We’re currently preparing for upcoming shows SEWE and NatureWorks, so while we’ve both been at the easels most of the time, Wes continues with the framing process.  It’s also time to look at last year’s painting inventory, to determine which paintings have already been there, as we try to take almost all brand new paintings to the shows.

Siegrist Miniature Paintings show preparation2

Once paintings have been selected,  databases have to be updated,  title and information labels have to be printed off, and the joyous task of filling out mounds of paperwork begins.   Filling out forms is one time that having so many miniature paintings and two artists at a show is a problem!

Siegrist Miniature Paintings show preparation1

We’ve been able to enjoy walks most days, as well as playing ping-pong some evenings, but I must admit, that I’m starting to gnash at the bits to get back out on the lake in my kayak or take a nice hike in the woods.  It won’t be long now!!!


~ Fresh off the Easels ~

Since the happy recipient received their surprise portrait painting of a beautiful Black Lab named Rain this past week, I’m able to share it with you.  As you can well imagine, he was totally delighted with his precious gem!

black lab dog painting commission a dog painting
My latest dog commission “Rain”

Here’s a view of Rain with me painting on her for scale.

dog painting commission

While Wes and I both continue painting for upcoming juried shows, here’s the latest painting in my African Gems series of a Cape Buffalo.  The four paintings will debut at the upcoming Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, SC.

Rachelle Siegrist working on a miniature painting of a cape buffalo

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle