The Golden Forest

fall color in cades cove

Wes and I enjoyed a lovely visit with his parents this past week while watching the leaves turn to flame. Fall has finally arrived here in the Smokies, painting the forest in a stunning array of golds, reds, and oranges. We spent as much time as possible outdoors this past week, whilst enjoying the splendid colors, with picnics, short walks, and scenic drives along the parkways.

fall color in the smokies

A couple of days brought brilliant clear blue skies above, drenching the landscape below with abundant sunshine. Each day was a new adventure and during one of our outings, we met a delightful furry new friend named Clarabelle, who loved being petted and loved on, as much as we enjoyed doing so and running our fingers through her silky hair!

wes & rachelle siegrist hiking

With abundant green foliage still here in Townsend, we headed to the upper elevations in search of fall color, and were delighted to find what we were looking for, a landscape bathed mostly in golds, oranges, and reds! Paired against an azure blue sky above, the warm colors on the mountains below radiated beauty!

fall color in the smokies4

Each bend in the narrow winding road afforded yet another breathtaking scene, causing us to fill the van with “Ooooo’s and Ahhhh’s” as we admired them.

fall color in the smokies2

fall color in the smokies3One of the most picturesque locations, was one in which a Virginia Creeper vine had crept all the way up a tall towering tree, outlining it in brilliant red, perfectly framing the mountainscape behind.

fall leaves in the smokies

During one scenic drive, I took this short video of a section in which the forest appeared to be made of gold, and was truly glorious . . . so enjoy!

We also enjoyed several meals on the back porch throughout the week, while watching my critter friends come to get their treats. They kept us quite busy giving continuous handouts. This time of year, the crickets sing a most peaceful song, and when paired with sounds of a gentle breeze rustling leaves, it induces a state of complete peace, so as you can imagine, we spent a lot of time relaxing on the porch! We said our goodbyes this morning, as his parents headed back to their home in Indiana, and now it’s time to get back to the studio!

wes siegrist

~ See Our Miniatures In Person This Week ~

In the Tradition of Audubon Exhibition
September 12, 2019 – January 5, 2020: Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH

Society of Animal Artists’ 59th Annual Art & The Animal Exhibition 
September 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020: The Briscoe Western Art Museum, San Antonio, TX

EXQUISITE MINIATURES ~ September 15 – December 3, 2019: Kennedy-Douglass Center For The Arts, Florence, AL

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle

Enjoying a Visit With My Parents!

A Fun Week With My Parents!”

By Rachelle Siegrist

fall homcoming at the museum of appalachia

Dad, me and Mom at the Museum of Appalachia

After almost 3 weeks of blue skies and sunshine, it started raining 2 days before my parents arrived from Florida last Sunday, and rained daily until what was supposed to be their last day here, when amazingly the rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun shone down, showcasing brilliant blue skies above! With squinted eyes, one couldn’t help admiring and looking at the great ball of fire in the sky! However, the juicy weather didn’t hinder us from having fun together. Last Monday morning, we headed to the Museum of Appalachia, where we spent much of the day. Firstly we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the restaurant located inside the museum, featuring yummy Southern style food. With a tantalizing list of things to choose from, one couldn’t go wrong! We enjoyed everything we ate, especially the sweet potato casserole and shared piece of carrot cake, which was scrumptious, and the best I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant! Moreover, we enjoyed the group of people gathered and seated in a circle inside an adjacent area, playing lap and hammer dulcimers, creating a truly memorable experience!

larry davis at museum of appalachiaDad makes a new friend

rachelle siegrist by Tom Cassies cabin

Mom and me by Tom Cassie’s one room cabin

With happy tummies, we started our journey back in time, when Appalachia was void of paved roads, cell towers, and many of the other modern conveniences, which tend to ruin and clutter the natural world, and many times, our personal lives! We visited the two large, indoor museums and were delighted to enjoy bluegrass music, played by a talented family of six, while exploring the largest museum, the Appalachian Hall of Fame. Leaving the indoor museum, we walked along a curved path while stopping to visit an assortment of historical cabins, barns and small outbuildings rescued from a 200-mile radius around the museum. Walking into the old cabins, filled with the scent of old wood, offered a glimpse back to a time and place, when much of a family’s life was spent just trying to survive. I must say a highlight of our visit to the museum for me, was of course petting the resident horse and mules, as well as watching the sheep and goats, especially the adorable babies!

rachelle siegrist huggin a horseI was delighted to get several hugs from my new furry friend!

larry davis in museum of appalachia jail cellDad “serves time” in a historic, moveable  jail cell at the museum

With a morning free of rain on Wednesday, we decided to take advantage of it, with a picnic at nearby Metcalf Bottoms, where we ate accompanied by the sounds of the adjacent, rushing river! We spent the afternoon driving the narrow, winding, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The narrow paved trail, snaking its way through dense woods, invites you to slow down and take time to enjoy the forest and historic cabins located along the drive. After visiting almost every cabin along the way, we were treated to a splendid finale along our journey, that being a “Wet weather waterfall” called the Place of a Thousand Drips! We then enjoyed a relaxing drive to Cosby, TN, where we went to Carver’s Orchard. As we walked into the large, old building, the deliciously intoxicating aroma of fresh apples filled the air! Several bags of apples and squash later, we headed back to Townsend, where we feasted on a yummy pizza at Pizza Hut!

ephraim bales cabin at roaring fork

Me, Dad and Mom beside Ephraim Bale’s historic cabin located inside Roaring Fork

tub mill inside roaring fork motor trail

Dad and me beside a tub mill

rachelle siegrist with cabin in roaring fork motor trail

Mom and me beside a house for little people

stream inside roaring fork motor trail

I decided that this large rock looked like a big turtle trying to swim upstream . . . and the turbulent water made it appear as if it were blowing bubbles out of its nose!

Thursday we visited the Cades Cove Museum located inside the Thompson-Brown House in nearby Maryville. The historical cabin is filled with interesting relics and stories from people who lived inside Cades Cove, before leaving their homes, so it could become a National Park. The volunteer was most informative, and we left with a greater appreciation of the history of the beautiful cove! Thankfully, the seemingly never-ending rains, stopped Thursday night, and we awoke to a gorgeous sunshine-filled day Friday morning! With a picnic lunch packed, we headed into Cades Cove, to spend the glorious fall day! After a picnic lunch, we walked up to Gregory’s cave, where we listened to several turkeys nearby clucking to each other. When they stopped I would make clucking noise, which they would immediately answer!

rachelle siegrist by gregory's caveDad and me at the mouth of Gregory’s Cave

The remainder of the afternoon was spent enjoying visiting a few of the cabins and walking through the open sun drenched fields to a couple of small cemeteries. Of course no trip to Cades Cove is complete, unless we stop to watch and pet the resident horses and mules! Upon returning home, my poor mom decided that what we thought was a sprained muscle, was most likely a broken foot, which happened when she twisted it on a rock buried under the leaves, while hiking to the cave earlier that day. So after a memorable trip to the ER, our worst fear was confirmed, and it was indeed a broken bone in her foot, ending in a soft cast being put onto her foot! Thankfully the ER staff was extremely friendly, helpful and most entertaining as well!

picnicing at metcalf bottomsEnjoying a picnic at Metcalf Bottoms inside the Smokies

Needless to say, they had to postpone their return trip home by a day. So while my mom took a much needed nap yesterday, my dad and I hiked to Spruce Flats Falls, to enjoy both the beautiful fall foliage and the raging falls, thanks to the recent rain! It was as splendid as always, water crashing down, completely surrounded by bright yellow and orange foliage! Dad and I stayed there awhile, completely mesmerized while watching the multi-colored leaves floating along and plummeting over the smaller cascades. Then all of a sudden a strong wind came, and within seconds, the air was full of swirling, descending, bright yellow leaves, creating a stunning 3-dimensional effect to the gorgeous setting! After several stops along the hike back, to admire the view and for me to pet the moss, we found ourselves back at the trailhead once more. While eating our supper last evening, we decided that we had indeed made many memories during their visit. Thankfully all but one, were wonderful ones!

fall in cades coveDad, a barefooted me, and Kit enjoying a walk through a grassy fiend in Cades Cove

rachelle siegrist with mule in cades cove

Dad takes photos while I pet and talk to the mule

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~ The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels ~

Wes recently finished a miniature painting of a Mule Deer near our friends’ home in Colorado.  His other recently completed paintings from last week can be seen on the mammals page on our website

mule deer painting by Wes_SiegristLil’ Mulie ” by Wes

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Until next time . . .
~ Rachelle

Getting Ready For The Waterfowl Festival and A Hike in the Smokies

Wow . . . it’s been a busy week, and we’re almost ready for the upcoming 43rd Annual Waterfowl Festival in Easton, MD, this coming weekend. Wes and I will have 45 miniature paintings brand new to this beautiful venue, which will be available for purchase. The show opens this Thursday the 8th for the collector preview, and then is open to the public Friday the 8th through Sunday the 10th. We’re greatly looking forward to seeing many of you there!

Even though we’ve been quite busy painting, with Wes doing lots of framing and paperwork for the show, we managed to enjoy a delightful couple-hour break while we hiked to my beloved Spruce Flats Falls. We had planned a hike to Chimney Tops with friend Kit Gentry, but they changed the weather forecast on us, and since it was lightly raining the morning we were to hike, we changed our plans and went to the nearby waterfall instead. Unfortunately Kit couldn’t make it, so just Wes and I enjoyed a leisurely hike up to the beautiful falls, stopping numerous times to simply admire the beautiful fall setting displayed before us!

Rachelle Siegrist at spruce flats in october
Taking a break to enjoy the beautiful fall color!

The leaves, which had turned to “flames” caused the trees to look like hundreds of crayons lined up, in bright shades of orange, yellow and red hues, filling the mountainsides! It was a spectacular sight to say the least, and I must admit I stumbled more than once, while walking along, not being able to take my eyes off of the stunning autumn view! Before long we were at the falls, and were both amazed and excited to enjoy having it completely to ourselves. We had only to share it with a beautiful Black Snake, who had been enjoying a warm patch of sun on the dirt. He stayed nearby as we ate most of our lunch, before slowly and quietly disappearing into a small black hole beneath a large rock. I looked over that direction every so often, just to see if he had perhaps peeked back out at us, and one such time he had. I looked his way just in time to see him yawn, as if in slow motion, and it was quite funny to watch! He obviously felt very relaxed and comfortable around us!  It was a most pleasant lunch, sitting there listening to the symphony of the falling water and watching it “rain” leaves, when wind gusts of wind would come.  Just as we were wrapping up our happy little lunch break and starting back along the path, several people came down the path leading to the falls, and we decided that we had perfect timing indeed! Here are a few photos of the beautiful fall color we enjoyed seeing along the hike . . .

Spruce flats falls in octoboer

photo of spruce flats falls in the smoky mountains

spruce flats falls with fall foilage

We enjoyed having our friend, Kit, over for dinner that evening, and spent the remainder of the evening at his place afterwards, while eating his yummy homemade apple pie and vanilla ice cream, and seeing his beautiful paintings which he is currently working on or had just finished. Saturday afternoon we enjoyed a visit from our friends Andrew and Joanne Gott, and their adorable little girl, Charlotte. She enjoyed playing in the floor with “Uncle” Wes, and drawing on her little etch-a-sketch. It was quite a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon.

Wes and Charlotte Gott
Charlotte shows Wes how to draw it correctly. Thanks Andrew for the photo!

~ Fresh off and on the easel ~

I finished my painting this week of a male and female Bobwhite Quail and Wes finished his painting of three of his antique fishing lures called “Jitterbugs”.  Both paintings will be on display and available for purchase at the upcoming Waterfowl Festival this weekend.

Quail painting image
“Mr. and Mrs. Bobwhite” by Rachelle

jitterbugs fishing lures painting
“The Jitterbugs “

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Until next time ~ Rachelle