Magical Meadows, Rocket Stove and Eggs!

Hiking Schoolhouse Gap to White Oak Sinks!

by Rachelle Siegrist

tall phlox in smokies.jpg

It’s that time of year again, so this past Wednesday, we headed up Schoolhouse Gap Trail to see if the Tall Phlox were blooming. It was a beautiful morning, as occasional clouds passed overhead and the sound of springtime birdsong and gentle breezes filled the air!  As we started our descent into the woodland meadow area, clusters of the delicate lavender flowers started appearing, proving our timing was perfect!  Soon we found ourselves surrounded by a sea of lavender and their soft sweet fragrance filled the air! We found the perfect lunch spot, a big log with plenty of room for the four of us, and we were delighted to have this magical meadow all to ourselves!

A Swallowtail enjoys the Tall Phlox, Shooting Stars and Squaw Root

After lunch, we decided to hike up to a sinkhole where Virginia Bluebells bloom each year.  It’s tricky knowing exactly when they’re blooming, so we weren’t sure what to expect, but were thrilled to find that they were indeed at peak, and absolutely stunning! It was decided that it was a wonderfully peaceful place to just sit awhile, enjoying the beauty and quiet!

white oak sinks trailSoon it was time to start hiking back, and while winding our way through the woods, we heard what sounded like thumping on a large hollow log, growing in intensity and tempo as it went along.  Having an odd sound, it also seemed too slow for a woodpecker, so at first we thought perhaps it was a Ruffed Grouse. But after researching online, we concluded it was most likely a Pileated Woodpecker, since Grouse do the beating with their wings while standing on a log. However, I also discovered that it sounded somewhat like the tapping on a hollow tree made by Sasquatch!  Being a huge fan of Bigfoot, I decided to go with that theory in the end, thinking perhaps he was watching us from up on the surrounding hillside somewhere and was tapping out a “Howdy!” to me!  We strolled back down the path, and just before reaching the trailhead, we stopped for a short wade in the river, finding it most refreshing and a great way to end the hike!

rachelle siegrist hiking school house gap trail
Obviously Tom didn’t get the red shirt memo!

Yesterday was the perfect day for hunting Easter eggs with our little friend Chance, and so he, along with his grandparents and several others, spent time in our front gardens hiding and hunting the multi-colored eggs. Of course it all started with the guys hiding the eggs, while us girls kept him entertained with bubbles, a favorite pastime of his!

rachelle siegrist yard.jpg
Always fun playing with bubbles!

Soon the three dozen or so eggs were carefully tucked in secret hiding places and the hunt began!  Chance was having a ball locating the eggs and putting them in his red bucket, but stopped several times to watch the Swallowtail Butterflies that kept flitting above, occasionally landing to drink nectar from the abundant Azalea blossoms!  Each time he would sweetly say “Hi butterfly“, then proceed with his search for eggs.

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Looking for more eggs!

Upon finding them all, we hid them for him again, so he could enjoy the experience all over again.  Having worked up an appetite, our group headed to Pizza Hut for a tasty supper and ended the fun evening relaxing on the back porch while enjoying Sharon’s yummy chocolate cake!

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Found another one!

Wes recently discovered rocket stoves in a magazine and after doing some online research, built us one, for free no less!  Upon using it the first time, we were totally amazed, so he built another one right next to it the very next day!  Using small amounts of sticks collected from the woods, it concentrates the heat in one area, thus cooking food efficiently and for free!  A day or so later, he built a table nearby to set things on, so our outdoor kitchen is now complete and works great!

wes siegrists rocket stove
The initial rocket stove in action

Celebrate Easter . . . For He is risen!


~ Fresh off the Easels ~

Wes painted two landscape paintings this past week featuring gorgeous settings from our beloved nearby Smoky Mountain National Park.  Just a few minutes drive from our home, we love hiking in this area, and of course painting it for you to cherish and enjoy!

landscape smokies painting by_Wes_Siegrist
Wes’ “Still Waters”
lanscape waterfall painting by_Wes_Siegrist
Wes’ “Cascade Colors”

I have almost finished one of my current commissions which I will share with you soon, and started this commission “A Mule Full” featuring four precious little doggies belonging to dear collector friends!  As you can imagine, I’m having a ball painting this one!

dog commission in progress
My latest dog commission in progress

commission a painting by wes siegrist, landscape painting of the virgin islands

~ To Commission A Painting by Us Click Here!

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

Painting Fabulous Pets & The Waterfowl Festival!

 Painting a Pet Portrait!

by Rachelle Siegrist

dog painting commission, cat painting commission, cute pet portrait
“Best Buds”

Most of us have special furry and/or feathered friends, and what better way to honor the importance they play in our lives, than to have them forever immortalized like gems in a miniature painting!  Special pet portraits call for a special title . . . and there’s a special story indeed behind this title, as they really are “Best Buds”!  

These two really love each other and it’s so very sweet!! Ivy was almost a year old, when a darling kitten named Calvin, became part of their family.  One day Ivy was seen by her mom, carrying Calvin in her mouth by his scruff. She jumped up onto a chair and started washing him like he was her baby! The two special friends sleep together, Calvin washes her nose, and Ivy spends many nights spooning her special little friend. 

Even more adorable than the kinship between Ivy and Calvin, is the friendship between Ivy and her mom.  I think those of you who too have very special furry and feathered friends in your lives, will find what she shared with me about her relationship with Ivy as touching and moving as I did!!!

“You and Wes are very special folks and I’m honored that you are painting my love. Ivy and I have a closeness that I’ve never had with any other animal. She has been both child and parent to me: helping heal when I’m sick, drawing me out, teaching me that I can love even more than I could have ever imagined. She looks at me with human eyes that both mock me and love me to the very core.” 

Ivy and Calvin were such a joy to paint, especially after hearing their story and learning of their special friendship!  Is there a special someone in your family which you would love to cherish forever as miniature portrait? Well, it’s easy, just contact us at siegrist@artofwildlife.com

Would you love to marvel at our miniature paintings and experience the magic and enchantment in person? Well if you’re planning to be in the Easton, MD area this weekend, November 10th-13th, this is your chance! We will have 41 miniature paintings at the Waterfowl Festival, and something is different this year which has never happened before at one of our shows! So come find out what it is and take the challenge of looking for “gnat man”. . . you can find him with the magnifying glass!!!  For more information about the show, visit their website at the Waterfowl Festival, (Wes and I will be in the Avalon Theater this year!)
Looking for ways and ideas to display your Siegrist miniatures in your home or office?  Here are a few splendid examples from our collectors!

great home decor ideas


dog painting, commission a dog painting

~ To Commission A Painting by Us Click Here!

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle