River Adventures And Exhibition News!


Whitewater adventures in the Smokies!

by Rachelle Siegrist

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Ready or not Wes . . . Here I come!

We’ve been having a ball this past week, continuing to replace some of our daily walks with tubing adventures!  The video camera is still our cherished new toy and we’re having a grand time using it!  If only I could manage to learn how to operate it while wearing it atop my head, all would be well! Thrilled that I had captured some great video while tubing recently, I was crushed when reaching the bottom of the large cascade to discover the battery had died right as I started, and that the camera had not been filming at all. Oh well . . . I’ll get it right eventually and I’m certainly having great fun learning!

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Oh Yea!!!!

I have figured out that wearing my hair up in pigtails works best with wearing the head strap with the camera on my head.  What a hilarious sight I am, crashing down the cascades with that camera mounted on my head, pigtails sticking out through the top two sections of the strap and my black ribbon tied under my chin.  I’ll have to let Wes get a photo of the hilarious get-up sometime to give you a good laugh!

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Going down!

We finally got some rain, so the water was up and flowing nicely for a couple of our trips down, keeping the rock polishing to a minimum . . . Ha Ha!  When the water level is lower, at times it seems that our main job is polishing rocks with our backsides! Needless to say the moss-covered rocks or what I call “carpet rocks“, and friend Sharon calls “hairy rocks” are indeed our favorite, as they are the most comfortable and painless to polish when the necessity arises. We have jokingly started calling our gang the official Little River Rock Polishers!

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Sharon’s turn . . . Weeeeeee!

Even though we’ve been down this section of the river numerous times already this summer, and think we know it’s character, along with every little twist and turn, it still surprises us now and then whilst going down, but then that keeps the adventure fresh and new!  

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Having a blast!

Much needed rainy weather kept us from our usual Friday night date with Chance and his grandparents at the river this past week, so instead, we spent a creative evening at their house while coloring and cutting things out with him.  He loved it when he and I started making our own little crayons, which I cut out of appropriate colored paper in the shape of a crayon,  writing the name Crayola and the name of color on each one. He was most delighted when I folded him a box out of paper to keep his “crayons” in, loving it so much that he wanted three more paper boxes. Who knows, we may have the makings of another little artist here!

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The brave camera man with his common . . . I’m up to something . . . look on his face!


Wes and I currently have three paintings featured in the Society of Animal Artists’ Wildlife Treasures Show.  Located at the Nature in Art Gallery and Museum in Wallsworth Hall, Sandhurst, Gloucester, UK.  The exhibition runs now through September 3rd, so if you live in or are planning to be in the area, I recommend a visit to this beautiful museum!

Siegrist paintings on display at the Nature In Art Gallery and Museum
Ours are featured on the mantel
Siegrist paintings on display at the Nature In Art Gallery and Museum
Mine is the smallest painting in the group!

Wes and I are thrilled that our two paintings have been selected for the SAA tour! The image below lists the museums at which you can see them in person.

Siegrist paintings in SAA 57th Annual and Tour

~ Fresh off the Easels ~

I finished another dog commission this past week of an adorable little baby named Tito. He has been gone for a few years now, and his family thought this a wonderful way to remember him!  As you can imagine, I had a delightful time painting him with those big, beautiful and expressive brown eyes!

Dog painting - Tito by Rachelle Siegrist
My latest commission of “Tito”

I also finished my landscape painting this past week, featuring the Dan Lawson place from our beloved Cades Cove.  This painting is inspired from a visit to Cades Cove earlier this summer with Wes’ parents one evening.  I just love the late spring/early summer bright green of the trees in our area, as evident in my miniature painting!

Cades Cove painting by Rachelle Siegrist
My “Summer At The Lawson Place”

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle


Paddles…Miniature Paintings…And Rhinos

Smokies summertime fun!

by Rachelle Siegrist

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Wes, Tom and Sharon heading out

Wes and I headed back over to the lake this past week for another kayaking adventure, this time taking friends Tom and Sharon along with us. It was a stunningly gorgeous day, and we couldn’t wait to hit the water! Soon we arrived at the boat ramp, where Sharon christened her boat with a handful of lake water before we loaded up, paddling on our merry way. The lake’s surface was nice and smooth making it flawless for her maiden voyage in the new kayak!

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A beautiful Prothonotary Warbler Wes spotted along the way

Within minutes Wes had spotted a beautiful Prothonotary Warbler, and while he watched and photographed the gorgeous little yellow-headed bird, the rest of us watched a pair of ospreys flying over and fishing in tandem. The birds circling in the sky above while peering into the clear water below, spotted fish, each time swopping down out of the sky, plunging into the water and sending splashes up into the air, while coming out with a prized catch in their talons! A few minutes later a pair of Bald Eagles flew overhead delighting us all, and the day had only just begun!

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Sharon says . . . “No fair, your legs are longer!”

Sharon instantly fell in love with her new kayak, and I’m pretty sure she and Tom enjoyed the sport as much as the Wes and I do. Soon we were paddling back up into a creek and the recent rains made the current much more intense and stronger than normal. Upon seeing the crystal clear water, I suggested to Sharon that we get out and wade while enjoying the cool water, with our beloved kayaks in tow.

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Kids just can’t resist playing in the water . . . even us big ones!

It felt delightful walking on the sandy creek bottom, while watching schools of small fish swim past as we made our way up the creek to the wee pebble beach. Once there, we beached the kayaks, once again enjoyed one of our favorite picnicking locations. Of course I couldn’t wait to get back into the water to wade and found the perfect rock to sit on out in the middle of the stream. Try as I may, I couldn’t convince Sharon or Wes to sit out in the stream with me.  However Tom decided it was a perfect place to enjoy snorkeling for a while.

Tom snorkels for awhile
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Bok . . . Bok . . . Bok . . . Sharon’s a chicken, cause she won’t sit down in the water!

Even though I could’ve easily stayed there all day long, eventually it was time to start back so we loaded up into our kayaks and we’re on our way.  The trip back was like being on a guided tour, since all we had to do was sit back and relax while letting the current slowly take us along.  Once back out into the lake, Sharon and I found a spot where the water was actually warm.  We tried hard to find a spot where we could easily get out and back into our kayaks, so we could take advantage of the blissfully warm water, but alas were unsuccessful, so we happily soaked our arms and feet in it instead.

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The colorful crew relaxingly paddles along
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Just chillin” in the warm spot

The lake’s glassy surface, perfectly showcased reflections of the surrounding mountains as we paddled back across.  Arriving back at the boat ramp, we loaded up the kayaks and started the journey home, relishing yet another wonderful memory made!

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Heading back

Our Exquisite Miniatures tour is currently at The Stauth Memorial Museum, located in Montezuma, KS.  It will be on display there until September 3rd, so if you are in the area it’s a great time and a wonderful venue in which to enjoy being “Wowed” by our miniature paintings!

Exquisite Miniatures on display at the Stauth Memorial Museum (photos courtesy of the museum)

Rhino Images - Art and the Rhinoceros with Wes Siegrist ArtworkWes is delighted to have six paintings featured in this newly published book with proceeds benefitting Rhinos: Rhino Images – Art and the Rhinoceros, First Edition, 2017. This book shows the rhino in art – masterpieces from the ancient past to the present. There are over 300 rhino images in this book. The rhino images include drawings, paintings, etchings, rock carvings and sculptures done in a variety of materials. These images of the rhino range from early civilizations such as in China, Roman Empire, Indus civilization in Pakistan/India area and from Southern Africa down to current day images of paintings and sculptures produced by modern day artists. Whether in the ancient past or in the present the rhinos are always represented as huge, powerful and solitary animals. Drawings, woodcuts, etchings, paintings and sculptures of the rhino all depict the power of the animal. The text indicates where you may find these rhino images. For the artists of our time their websites have been given. There are very few of these magnificent wild animals left in the world, so unless they are protected and managed, artistic images will soon be the only viewing option. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to saving the rhino from extinction. The book is now up and running, being available via https://www.amazon.com as a Kindle eBook download at a cost of $US20.00. Just type in rhino images in the search and the book will be available for purchase.

~ Fresh off the Easels ~

I finished one of my pet commissions this past week, of two adorable friends named Riley and Boris!  It was such a joy painting these two adorable babies, and seeing their obvious love for each other as well as the precious expression on Riley’s face, brought a continual smile to my own face!  I’m currently painting on another dog commission of a precious baby named Tito, as well as working on a Smokies landscape.

King Charles Cavalier painting by rachelle siegrist
My recent pet portrait “Riley and Boris”

Wes finished his painting this past week of boats which we photographed in a marina while in Easton last year during the Waterfowl Festival.  Having an extra day to spend at Blackwater Wildlife Refuge and see some of the surrounding area, we really enjoyed photographing the boats.  We plan to have a couple of these delightful boat paintings at the Waterfowl Festival this year, including this one featuring the Wendy Lee, and upon close inspection, you can see three people working aboard it!

“Prepping the Wendy Lee” by Wes

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

Family and Water . . . A Great Mix!


A fun visit with family here in the Smokies!

by Rachelle Siegrist

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S’mores time!!!

My family arrived here in the Smokies a week ago last Thursday, after dropping Wes and I off at the airport in Sanford, FL on the way up Wednesday.  My niece Haydyn and nephew Tyler were thrilled to be back in the mountains again, and were ready for a week full of adventure! We started it off with tubing in the Little River here in Townsend Friday afternoon, and although recent rain in the mountains caused swift moving and higher water levels, we still had fun and enjoyed tubing a couple of short trips down. That evening we had supper on the screen porch and made s’mores for dessert over the fire in the backyard.  A great way to spend a summer day indeed!

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Wes’ clay sculpture “Surf’s up Dude!”

Rainy weather Saturday made it perfect weather for hanging out here at the house and sculpting with clay. Of course we had to sculpt a surfer catching some waves complete with the a shark fin, as well as me in my kayak paddling with all sorts of critters including a gator. The kids had a ball creating a variety of interesting things out of the clay.

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The best way to see the cove . . . in the back of a truck!

I made homemade baked ziti for Father’s Day lunch which my Dad, along with the rest of us enjoyed eating! That afternoon the weather cleared up, so we, along with friends Tom and Sharon, headed into Cades Cove for a nice picnic supper by the stream before loading up into the back of my parents truck and heading around the loop road. Our first stop was along Sparks Lane, where we had a blast wading in the stream and perfecting our rock skipping techniques.

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Ready . . . set . . . skip!

While playing in the water, we were thrilled when a white-tailed deer walked over to where we were, coming down to the stream to get a drink. As we stood very still and quietly watched her, she decided to go upstream, gracefully and effortlessly jumping right over a log blocking her watery path! Needless to say, we felt tremendously blessed to have witnessed such a beautiful site so near to where we were standing!

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Mmmmmm . . .  refreshing cold mountain water!

Loaded back into the truck, we continued our drive around the loop, seeing several more deer out in the fields, as well as quite a few turkeys. Riding in the back of the truck, with the tree canopy passing above, is a great way to experience the cove! We laughed, talked and sang as we rode along, a light misty rain falling on us at first, and before long we started seeing hundreds of fireflies in the grassy fields.  It was truly magical watching hundreds of  twinkling lights throughout the fields, and we couldn’t believe it when a black bear walked over towards the truck from a nearby tree, crossing the road behind us! We were absolutely delighted thinking it a most magical and enchanting evening!  Finishing the drive around the loop, we parked the truck and walked up into the cove a ways, enjoying the immense serenity and beauty, along with the twinkling display of light, complements of the fireflies.  It was a beautiful evening and a great way to spend Father’s Day with my dad!

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Me and my precious little buddy Haydyn

Tuesday came bringing nice weather for playing in the water, and so we did just that. We spent the day kayaking, swimming and hanging out on our floats and tubes,  with the new pink flamingo float from my parents stealing the show, proving to be a perfect complement to my pink kayak! 


I even got Wes to get on the pink flamingo with me ~ Hold on Sharon! . . . Ha Ha

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Haydyn goes for a little kayak ride with Grandpa (Thanks Kit for this neat photo!)

We took time for a relaxing picnic supper, which gave us more energy for playing in the water. Afterwards my Dad, Tyler and I went kayaking and I was totally amazed at how fast Tyler took to the kayak and learned the art of paddling! He’s decided he now knows what he wants for Christmas this year . . . a kayak, and I’m thrilled to have another kayaking buddy in the family!

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Food always tastes better in the woods!

Haydyn is definitely a water baby like me, perfectly happy and content to spend countless hours swimming and playing in the water, and although I forgot to check, I’m sure our toes looked like raisins by the time we left the water that night!

Kit, Dad and Tyler having a great time!
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Tyler was an instant pro!

I have totally loved the countless hours we have spent with my family in and around water these past two weeks while making many more wonderful memories!!  Moreover, while blissfully boogie boarding at the beach last week, I decided that from now on when asked . . . “As a kid, what did you always want to be when you grew up?” I’m going to be completely honest now and say . . . “A beach bum!”  And who knows, I just may get to be one someday yet . . . Ha Ha!

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A beautiful sunset enjoyed this past week after a day of adventure


~ Fresh off the Easels ~

I finished another pet commission this past week, of an adorable Yorkie named Benji!  I had an absolute ball painting this precious little boy and am happy I get to pet and play with him occasionally as well!

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My latest dog commission “Benji”


I’m currently painting on two more adorable pet commissions, one of “Tito” and of “Riley and Boris” and look forward to sharing them with you as I make progress and eventually as finished portrait paintings soon!

yellow lab painting, yellow Labrador Retriever painting, dog commission by rachelle siegrist

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle