Miniature Paintings at SEWE and The Neville Public Museum!
By Rachelle Siegrist
Ah . . . the feeling of hammer hitting the nail! How delightful to derive so much satisfaction from one of life’s simplest activities, especially when done efficiently and perfect! I got to spend the day yesterday, enjoying this favorite past time of mine, while Wes and I rebuilt a large wooden planter by our back deck that houses a beautiful Weeping Holly. After 15 years, the old wooden box was in disrepair and needed to be replaced, and I must say that the holly seems very pleased in its’ new container, and I was very happy to spend the day outdoors building and hammering!
The rest of the week has been spent once again at our easels and with Wes working on framing our paintings getting ready for the upcoming Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, SC.
Upon finishing a painting, we decide which frame it looks best in, and then they lay in wait, until appropriate mats are cut and the painting is assembled, ready to be hung or displayed on an easel.
Painting and framing are only part of the work that goes into getting ready for our upcoming shows at SEWE and NatureWorks. I’ll share more of the process next week.
Our traveling exhibition tour Exquisite Miniatures, opened at the Neville Public Museum a couple of weeks ago and is being greatly enjoyed by the public!
Over 60 of our miniature paintings were hung with careful precision affording the viewer the opportunity to enjoy looking at the little gems with ease.
Snow, Paintings and our Exquisite Miniatures Exhibition
By Rachelle Siegrist
It’s hard to believe that most of January is already a thing of the past, and that warmer weather I was so hoping for, well it never came, but alas we did get more snow. So what do you do when it snows, why you build snowmen, sled and walk in it of course! So Wes and I enjoyed a few nice walks amongst the carpet of white, and I decided to build a fashionable snowgirl this time to brighten things up a bit!
I also greatly enjoyed sledding nearby, while flying down the steep hillside leading to a pond! The frozen pond was covered with snow and squirrel tracks that zigzagged across the powdery white surface, like those of the little boy in the Family Circus cartoon, when told to hurry home. Refraining from going into the pond adds an element of adventure to the downhill run, and I was tempted to head across the one end of it at the bottom! But alas I doubted it was frozen enough, and just knew as soon as my sled skidded to a stop out in the middle, it would crack and then . . . UH OH!
Nonetheless it remains cold, and so we spend most of our time at the easels. While recently lamenting to my dear friend Don, about how I so long for the bright cheery sun to return, he had a wonderful idea! He graciously got me the gift of my very own little sun in the form of a Verilux Happy Light, which emulates natural daylight! As you can imagine it’s my new best little buddy, and joins me each morning for breakfast making me feel like I’m eating outside in the bright sunlight. I just know these past few days that my dining room table is the brightest spot in the Smokies, and I simply can’t refrain from singing . . . “Sunshine in my dining room makes me happy!”
Our traveling tour Exquisite Miniatures opened this past week at it’s 26th venue thus far, the beautiful Neville Public Museum in Green Bay, WI. It will remain on exhibit through March 25th, so if you are in the area, grab your coat and head over to the museum to see over 60 of our miniature paintings including portraits, landscapes, wildlife and still-lifes!
~ Fresh off the Easels ~
This week brought more easel time, with both of us finishing our two recent surprise commissions which I’ll be sharing with you later this Spring. We’re also painting on pieces for juried exhibits. I finished my miniature painting of a Brown Pelican, which I photographed at Sailfish Marina located on Singer Island, while recently visiting Florida. It will be one of seven paintings which Wes and I will have featured in the upcoming Invitational Show at MacArthur Beach State Park.
Located on Singer Island, this show runs March 2nd thru the 18th, and is a great chance to see our miniature paintings in person, as well as add one or more to your own collection, while helping to support this fabulous State Park!
Oops . . . we recently realized that we had forgotten to share this little gem with you after I completed it this past year! I photographed this precious family in Texas last spring while there teaching a painting workshop for the SAA. Each afternoon, when the sun would beat down on the wee babies, the caring mother would spread her wings out over them to shade them, while panting herself to try and regulate her own body temperature. It was a touching sight to see her protecting her precious little babies!
We flew in alongside New York City Thursday evening and I was delighted to even spot The Statue of Liberty, before landing at the Newark airport, trading the tranquility of our home in Townsend with less than 400 people, for the masses of the Paramus, NJ area! Nervously leaving the airport in our rental, we totally freaked out when the car engine died at the first chaotic intersection! However, it immediately started back up when Wes took his foot off the brake, and thankfully, upon experiencing this unnerving occurrence a couple of times, we quickly realized it was an eco setting on the car! Friday, while Wes attended the judges’ luncheon, I went to a small local zoo nearby and loved spending the day outside soaking up the warmth and plentiful sunshine, while watching and photographing the animals!
Sadly most of the birds had been moved inside for the season, and one of my favorites the prairie dogs, were also off exhibit, causing the zoo to seem even smaller. Nonetheless, I found a comfortable bench in the sun, where I enjoyed talking and laughing with my parents on the phone for long while. That evening we enjoyed seeing the artwork, whilst enjoying soothing sounds of a harpist, during the opening for the Society of Animal Artists’ 57th Annual Exhibition at the beautiful Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, which was well attended by an enthusiastic crowd!
Wes and me beside our paintings in the show
Saturday started with a business meeting for the group, followed by a game where attending artists served on a mock jury. Upon separating into several equal numbered groups and then individually voting on numerous artworks, the “In’s and out’s” were tallied for each separate group and the varying results shared. It was a most enlightening way to show the artists how fairly our annual exhibitions are chosen by the jury committees each year.
After lunch an informative and entertaining presentation was given by artist John Pitcher, and the afternoon activities culminated with everyone watching sculptor Paul Rhymer do an actual pour of bronze on the premises, while artist Jim Coe demonstrated painting in oils, both of which were very interesting and enjoyable to watch!
Paul carefully pours the molten bronze into the molds ~ Jim Coe paints in oil
That evening we returned to the beautiful museum, a renovated and redesigned 1893 cedar shingle and turret carriage house. The artists’ banquet, ended on a sweet note with a delicious dessert consisting of a fruit tart topped with caramel drizzle!
After dinner, the various awards were presented and the audience was entertained with artists doing imitations of bird and animal calls. After stating that mine was of a Barred Owl, laughingly I said “Who, who . . . Who cooks for you” before doing the actual call which totally impressed all listening, resulting in “Hootin’’” and applause! The animal calls, some impressive and others hilarious, were part of an art swap enjoyed by participating artists and was certainly the big hit of the evening! We were delighted to add original works by Cathy Sheeter and Aaron Yount into our growing collection.
Sunday was spent at the SAA Board meeting and jury before having a fun dinner together with the remaining group for artists that evening. Boarding the plane mid-day Sunday, we headed back to our home here in the Smokies.
We especially want to thank the friendly Hiram Blauvelt staff for a wonderful opening weekend and Wes and I are delighted that our touring exhibition Exquisite Miniatureswill be traveling to the Hiram Blauvelt in 2019!
~ Fresh off the Easels ~
I recently finished this miniature painting of a lovely scene from Dogwood Harbor, located on Tilghman Island, near Easton, MD. Wes and I enjoyed exploring the island while there participating in the Waterfowl Festival last November.
I also recently finished another miniature painting of an adorable frog I photographed during one of our numerous visits to a swamp, a place I always enjoy being! Both miniature paintings will be debuted at the upcoming47th Waterfowl Festival taking place November 9th – 12th.