Wonderful Mothers and Music!

Happy Mother’s Day!

baby rachelle siegrist and her motherI love this beautiful photo of my mom feeding me . . . looking so young and as if she’s saying . . .

“Is this what I do with this thing?”

Mothers . . . we all have, or have had one in our lives. They play such a special and important role, and I myself have been truly blessed with a wonderful mom . . . the best one ever! I have a wonderful mother-n-law as well, so I’m doubly blessed! I share so many happy memories with my mom, and Wes’ mom too! I’m sure a big reason I grew up to be an artist, was my mom’s willingness to spend countless hours, patiently sitting at the table, coloring and drawing with me. Moreover, she graciously put up with me telling her countless times “To stay in the lines”. I guess I had an eye for detail beginning at an early age, and it must be a big reason why I enjoy painting miniatures so much. My mom being very creative, also painted ceramics when I was young, and I was always thrilled when I too got to choose a piece to paint and have fired! Through the years, she and I have enjoyed doing crafts together and she taught me how to sew, which grew into my love for designing and making many of my own clothes as a teenager. So obviously I owe much of my creative talent as an artist to her . . . Thanks Mom!!!

rachelle siegrist and mom in winterMom and I bundled up!

rachelle siegrist at wesner baldAtop the world!

Rachelle Siegrist on the foothills parkwayAlong the Foothills Parkway

rachelle siegrist with sister and motherAt Highlands Hammock with mom and sister Hayley

We have mostly stayed in the studio this past week, while also enjoying daily bike rides. The weather has been beautiful and our blossoming gardens are thriving with the recent rain. We enjoyed attending a concert Friday evening, featuring Acoustic Eidolon.  Joe plays numerous guitars, including a double-necked guitar he had specially built, while his wife Hannah plays a cello. Loving the cello, my love grew even more, upon seeing it played up front and center! The audience sat mesmerized, treated to one melodious song after another, then as the sun set, with an American Robin cheerily singing nearby, the bow gently caressed the strings, and the beautiful sounds of Ave Maria poured from the cello, filling the heavy night air.  As it slowly drifted off into the surrounding mountains, Hannah said “These beautiful mountains deserve music like that!”  I couldn’t agree more!  The duo concluded with the beautiful  “Ashokan Farewell” made popular by Ken Burns Civil War documentary.

wes and rachelle siegrist at art showOur Moms with us at an art show

wes siegrist artistEnjoying the snow!

wes siegrist with little brothersWes and Greg look on in disbelief at new brother!

young wes siegrist in the smokiesWes with his brother and mom here in the Smokies

 The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels

Wes finished his miniature of a waterfall while I was painting on my bigger Bison painting.  I’ve almost completed my Long Horn Steer painting as well.

 Longhorn painting

waterfall painting

We’re thrilled that our two paintings have been accepted into the SAA Exhibition!!

Siegrist miniature paintings in the SAA 54th Exhibition

Feverishly Painting To Stay Warm!

Tyler and Sissy with icicles
It’s even cold enough for icicles in Florida! My precious niece Haydyn and nephew Tyler, pose by their pretty “sprinkler formed” icicles.

Well, here’s the latest news from the frozen home front, here in the Smokies! It has been . . . well frozen . . . just like it has been for most of you this past week as well! However, today the temps actually got up around 50 degrees, so things finally defrosted a bit. I took advantage of the greatly appreciated milder temps, and filled the small birdbath with fresh water. Boy oh boy . . . have the birds ever enjoyed being able to get a bath once again! Some even just sit in it, like it’s a small hot tub perhaps, and then send water flying in all directions with their zealous bathing habits, leaving the surrounding area totally drenched and dripping wet! With the almost constant sub-freezing temps, our backyard and deck has been invaded by lots of beautiful Slate Colored Juncos, and at times I almost think we have the entire population, which usually inhabit Mt. LeConte, hanging out on our deck! They, like many of my other regular feathered customers, have developed a true taste and appreciation for my peanut crunchies and peanut butter sandwiches, as my neighbor Paul calls them. They must sit in the surrounding treetops and watch for me to come out and restock the buffet table! Why within seconds, they swoop down from everywhere, quickly lining the entire handrail and small feeding stations, while gobbling up the tasty delicacies, and of course fighting over them!

Wes and I believe in sharing, so he was kind enough to share his cough, which he had last week, with me so I had to remain inside most of this past week, with the intense cold hanging around outside. Needless to say, I convinced him to take over feeding duties for me. He did a great job, and each time I sent him out with a little bag full of peanut butter sandwiches and other goodies, in no time his efforts were being greatly appreciated by a flock of hungry little birds and occasional squirrel! My Carolina Wren, Peedeepeeps, was most happy though, when I felt well enough to brave the great outdoors yesterday and feed him his favorite . . . mealworms! What I have deemed the “Bionic winds” have become the norm around here lately.  At one point yesterday afternoon, my precious little Tufted Titmouse, Stubbs, was on his little pile of nut crunchies, trying to eat, and the bionic winds were displaying their intensely great power once again. They sent his feathers lifting and blowing in all directions, while sending bits of seeds flying off of the handrails behind him! The towering trees nearby were swirling and swooshing in figure eights as it whipped them about, and occasionally it sounded like limbs were slamming into the house. Meanwhile little Stubbs patiently sat there eating his gourmet nut goodies, while occasionally casting a cautious glance about, looking as if he felt like he were eating in the middle of a vortex!

Needless to say, we have passed much of our time spent this past week, indoors, while painting on our miniatures. I also went snorkeling in Hawaii a couple of times. “How so?” you may ask . . . “Quite simply I say”. When the bright sunlight is streaming in through our living room windows in late morning, I lie there in a sunny spot on the carpet, enveloped by it’s warmth, while listening to my CD of Hawaiian music accompanied by sounds of the surf, and birds singing in the background. Then I watch the fish happily swim around in the fish tank, and I must say that I never realized that there were so many guppies in Hawaii . . . ha ha! I’ve also decided recently that there is indeed one benefit of the cold weather,  that being with the heater running almost non-stop at times, the basement finally feels warm and inviting! So several times I took advantage of the situation and enjoyed shooting some pool, a favorite past time of mine! I play the “solids” against the “stripes”, and during the last tournament the stripes won hands down, winning one game while hitting the last striped ball into one pocket followed by the eight ball into another, all in one shot no less! Okay, so it was trash pool, where one doesn’t call the shots, but hey . . . they don’t call me the queen of trash pool for nothin’!

~ Fresh off the easel ~

This past week, I finished painting my two adorable Highland Cows or “Healin’ Coos” as our dear friend Mike of Scottish decent calls them.  They are numbers V and VI in my Beautiful Bovine series which I am greatly enjoying creating works for!  Wes finished his miniature painting of a beautiful elephant enjoying a mud bath! I’m not sure who was having more fun, the elephant or us watching it!

miniature cow painting
“Beautiful Bovine V” by Rachelle
miniature cow painting
“Beautiful Bovine VI” by Rachelle
elephant painting miniature
“The Massive Mud Monster” by Wes

~ Currently on the easel ~

I’m currently painting the next miniature for our Admiring the Masterpiece Series.  This one is a real beauty by artist, Alfred Emile Leopold Joseph Victor Stevens, entitled “A Portrait Group of Parisian Celebrities”. I absolutely love painting these little jewels!  I’ve shown the first two steps below, and you can see three different color samples painted on the right hand side, where I was trying to decide which color to paint the wall, rather than that gray color.  In the 2nd photo, you can see I choose the nice warm mauve color, as I think it compliments the color scheme quite nicely!

Rachelles painting in progess 1

Rachelle's painting in progress 2

Come see the artwork in person at our exhibitions!

Cherish your loved one or a beloved pet in miniature!

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Until next time ~ Rachelle

A Hike to Andrew’s Bald and New Paintings!

view from Clingman's Dome parking lot
The gorgeous view from Clingman’s Dome parking lot

It’s been a busy week! Lots of fun and painting! We enjoyed a delightful hike this past week along with friends Fred and Pat, to Andrew’s Bald, here in the Smokies! It was a lovely, cool morning as we began our hour-long drive along the winding road leading us through the Smoky Mountain National Park. When we reached the Clingman’s Dome parking lot, we were afforded a beautiful view with a blanket of clouds nestled down amidst the mountains, making it almost look like a vast ocean existed between the mountain ranges. The air was quite brisk as we mounted our waist-packs and backpacks and with walking sticks in hand began our day-long journey! A few steps onto the trail and we realized that we had chosen a wise time to hike this delightful trail, as the assorted native berry bushes were covered with ripe berries! As you can imagine, we stopped right away to enjoy eating these little edible treats, which were quite tasty! Blueberries, Blackberries, and Red Raspberries were our favorites! Each time that Fred and Pat wanted to stop for a couple minutes rest, I was perfectly content to pick and eat my way around them. We went along the beautiful trail, which in many sections, consists of huge rocks carefully and painstakingly moved into place, creating what appears to be an amazing ancient stone path.

hiking the Forney Ridge Trail
It’s berry picking time!
hiking in the smokies
Picking some tasty Black Berries nestled amidst beautiful fall foliage
hiking the smokies
My berry stained tongue actually matched my shirt! Ha Ha!

We stopped for numerous photos and to occasionally pet the lush green moss lining the path, but mostly to eat berries! I decided that I must’ve consumed close to a few quarts, by the time we left the trail later that afternoon! In a couple of hours, we left the seclusion of the rhododendron-lined tunnel, and walked out onto the beautiful bald, just in time for lunch. So we spread out our blanket and there on what felt like the top of the world, enjoyed our lunch and soaking up the sun! While sitting there, part of the view became completely obscured from on top, as a huge cloud had swept down from the sky and consumed a large section of some of the distant mountain ranges. Before long it looked as if this massive cloud was moving our way and was about to engulf us as well! I told everyone that it reminded me of what could’ve been a great Alfred Hitchcock movie called “The Cloud”, as it was a little eerie. After topping off our lunch with more delicious fresh berries, we started our journey back along the shaded lush trail, with a few spots along the way, appearing as if the clouds were slowly moving through.

hiking andrews bald
Lunch time on top of Andrew’s Bald!
wes and rachelle siegrist on the forney creek trail
Wes and I take a photo break along the trail
trail sign on andre'ws bald
The trail sign before you walk out onto the bald
red squirrel on andrew's bald
A precious little Red Squirrel, or what we call a Boomer was watching to make sure we didn’t eat all of its berries!

We were serenaded by the beautiful melodious tunes of numerous birds as we went along, taking a break every now and then to have just a few more berries. Later that afternoon, we found ourselves back at the trailhead were we started earlier that morning, only it was a bit warmer by then. Back in the truck, we enjoyed the relaxing drive back through the park to Townsend.

Wes and I have also been able to enjoy daily bike rides around town, while taking advantage of the cooler morning air. We also had friends Fred, Barb, Darlene and Bill over to play Mexican Train Dominoes this past Friday evening, and guess what . . . yours truly won! Last evening we had artist friend, Kit Gentry, over for supper on the back porch, consisting of my homemade Salmon patties, mac-n-cheese and cole slaw. Later while watching one of our favorite hilarious movies “Baby’s Day Out”, we all enjoyed a piece of chocolate cake topped with Carmel glaze. As well as getting a lot of painting done this coming week, we’re also hoping to enjoy another hike with friends, while taking advantage of our nice weather!

bee balm blossom on andrew's bald
A stunning Bee Balm blossom
fungi on andrews bald trail
I decided this is where hamburger buns are obviously born!
indian pipe blossoms on andrew's bald
A nice cluster of Indian Pipes
pale jewel weed on andrew's bald
An insect enjoys a Pale Jewel Weed flower
 mushroom on anderw's bald
I call this a “Ruffle Mushroom”, since it looks like it’s ruffled
wildflowers of the Smokies
A swallowtail feeds on Wild Mustard blossoms
 mushroom on andrew's bald
I call this an “Umbrella” mushroom, since it looks like a colorful little umbrella

Fresh off the easel ~ I’m currently still working on a secret commission as well as a floral still life while Wes finished his painting of a Glossy Ibis this past week.

fine art painting in miniature
“The Glossy Ibis “ by Wes

~ Western Visions is the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s largest and longest running fundraiser featuring works

by over 150 of the country’s leading artists.

Rachelle Siegrist Western Visions 2013

My miniature painting and drawing available for sale at the show in the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, WY
This Friday, September 13, 2013, Doors Open 3:30PM, Bidding Closes 6:30PM, Presentation begins 7:00PM – This is the final opportunity to place your bid prior to the drawing that determines who is going home with a beautiful new work of art.

To view all our upcoming exhibits: http://www.artofwildlife.com/exhibitschedule.html

Have a loved one or a beloved pet you would like captured in miniature? Contact and commission us!
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Until next time ~ Rachelle