Where Dragons Fly

Wes and I packed a lunch and headed to the water nearby to enjoy a day of sunshine and blue sky this past week. The water levels were up slightly, so we thought we’d take a shortcut while heading to a favorite lunch spot. However, sometimes good ideas aren’t as good as thought, and soon we found ourselves paddling across a sandbar, where the quickly dropping water levels were making it nearly impossible to cross. So above is a funny video of how we eventually made it across, with me, of course, laughing the entire time! Once we finally reached deeper water it was lunchtime, and afterward, I enjoyed taking a walk along an exposed sandy shoreline, where I came upon two beautiful butterflies who obviously had found something tasty in the sand.

butterflies of the smokies

I watched them for a while, as I listened to the waves lapping the shore and peepers chirping in the distance. Then I decided to draw in the sand for a bit while basking in the warmth of the abundant sunshine, before climbing back into the kayak.

butterflies

 

Paddling along, I noticed a dragonfly floating atop the water, which appeared to have a swollen abdomen. At first, I thought perhaps it was waterlogged or injured, so I carefully lifted it up onto my paddle, gently picked it up and sat it on a piece of small rope on the front of my kayak where it could rest while it dried out. Moments later when passing one of the numerous stumps sticking up out of the water, I noticed what looked like several dragonflies by what appeared to be their casings.

dragonfly and nymph

The metamorphosis process of a dragonfly is quite interesting, and we happened to be at the right place at the right time, to see this amazing process firsthand! A dragonfly larva begins the nymph stage once the egg hatches and that part of its’ life may last only a month in warmer regions or possibly several years in colder climates. The growing nymphs breathe through gills, and they do eat during this stage of their lifecycle.

dragonfly metamorposhis

In springtime, when the weather becomes warmer, the fully grown nymph completes its’ metamorphosis process by shedding its skin, or exuvia, and then relaxes in the warmth of the sun whilst expanding its’ wings and letting them dry out.

dragonfly metamorphosis2

Soon it’s ready to take flight and in a few days will sport brilliant adult dragonfly colors, while commencing the important tasks of finding food as well as a mate. I was thrilled, to say the least, to be offered a glimpse into this minutely small window of a dragonfly’s amazing life cycle!

adult dragonfly

~  See our miniatures in these shows (currently online only) this week  ~

Our other shows this week have closed with some upcoming exhibitions pending.  Check the website for updates.

The Art of the Miniature XVIII
May 3 – June 14, 2020: Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

29th Annual International Miniature Art Show
May 2 – 30, 2020: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC

Want to enjoy your special friend as a miniature painting?
                                             
Then commission us to do just that! Email photos for consideration to us at
dog painting commission

Escaping to the Serenity

wes siegrist kayaking
Wes with his best find of the day! It took him an hour to clean all the mud out of it but the rod and reel work like new now!

Like most of you, Wes and I have been spending much of our time at home this past week trying to stay safe and healthy. We’re still taking daily walks when the weather permits and managed to get caught once again in a rain shower accompanied by what seemed like 50 mph winds! Thankfully it wasn’t cold, so I just pretended I was swimming while walking along, and somehow that made it better! We did enjoy two rain-free days, so we took advantage of them, by packing a lunch and heading over to the lake with the kayaks. It’s always good to be back on the water and brings a temporary reprieve from everything going on in the world. We found a perfect spot for our boat picnic, near a duck nesting box, which the swallows were using. Here’s a short video so you too can enjoy watching and listening to these little beauties!

We were surrounded by swallows zipping here and there in every direction, all chattering up a storm the entire time. What a delight it was watching and listening to these beautiful little iridescent feathered birds, as we were gently rocked back and forth by the waves. By the time we left, I think they were still trying to work out whose box that was while trying to maintain some type of order. It was too windy much of the time for me to use my flyrod, so while Wes fished, I paddled around and explored while checking out the amazing collection of stumps exposed by the low water level.

kayaking2

There were stumps in every shape and size imaginable scattered across the vast sandbars, many looking like gigantic abstract wood sculptures walking across the sand whilst heading to new territory, and I love photographing them, from different angles.

kayaking

This series of stumps below made me immediately think of Nessie, and I imagined this being our own smaller version of her surfacing and having a look about!

kayaking4

There were numerous birds around both days, including Bald Eagles. The first day, we were able to watch one eating something on the shore nearby, as well as another sitting atop a tree preening for a long time. They didn’t seem to mind us watching at all, so we took advantage of the amazing opportunity. We also saw Pileated Woodpeckers, assorted ducks, Canada Geese, and I watched an Osprey drop out of the sky crashing into the water below, bringing up a large fish in his talons! So large in fact that he could hardly fly off with his prized catch! At one point I saw a beaver surface several times and once he was quite close, slapping his tail on the surface before quickly slipping below, creating a big loud splash! Later the second day out, I pulled my kayak up onto a sandy beach and enjoyed taking a walk along the vast winding shore. At one point I stopped and stood there, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face while listening to the sounds of the wind blowing in my ears, the water lapping on the shore and the peepers chirping in surround sound. It was truly delightful and I could’ve stayed there until sunset! At another sandbar I watched a lone Killdeer walking about picking at things on the sand. By the end of both days, the Osprey wasn’t the only one to make a great catch, as Wes kept 8 bass from the 2 days, catching and releasing even more!

killdeer photo

Monthly lectures are given at Brookgreen Gardens by Robin Salmon, called Brookgreen 101, and one of her recent lectures was on Exquisite Miniatures which is currently at Brookgreen. Although the exhibition is now temporarily closed, you can enjoy this insightful talk, where Robin shares her take on the exhibition as well as some fun and personal information about us as well. Click on the video below to enjoy.

Due to the COVID 19 all shows which we currently have miniature paintings have been closed to the public. However most of them have the available works online, so I’ve included the links to them below.

Wonders of the West
March 21 – May 31, 2020: Customs House Museum, Clarksville, TN

(Please note the opening for this show has been canceled, and they don’t have the exhibition online.)

Wonders of the West at the Customs House Museum - 1

The Art of the Miniature XVIII
May 3 – June 14, 2020: Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

the art of miniature show rachelle siegrist paintings

Wes and I currently have 16 miniature paintings in this show, and are delighted that 2 have already sold!

the art of miniature show wes siegrist paintings

29th Annual International Miniature Art Show
May 2 – 30, 2020: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC

international miniature art show seaside art gallery rachelle siegrist paintings


 

Do you want to enjoy your special friend as a miniature painting?
                                             
Then commission us to do just that! . . . Email photos for consideration to us at

commission a dog painting by rachelle siegrist

~  ( )  ~

Visit our Website ~ artofwildlife.com

Follow us on Facebook!

Read Our Monthly Email Newsletters

Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle

 

Clear Green Water

rachelle siegrist kayaking

Blessed with a day of nice weather this past week, Wes and I jumped at the chance to get back on the water since we had gone a couple of months now without kayaking! Even though there was some sun, it was a bit chilly when we started out across the glassy surface of the water perfectly mirroring the surrounding mountainsides. After paddling a short distance, we rounded a corner taking us further from the road, and the world became very quiet. I sat there happily floating in my kayak, just listening to the sounds of birdsong. Occasionally a kingfisher would fly by whilst chattering the entire time, and soon the cry of a Bald Eagle nearby joined this beautiful symphony of birds, along with the calls of Blue Jays and Crows. I could almost feel myself melt with relaxation, while cares temporarily slipped away.

wes siegrist fishing

We picked out a nice sunny spot to eat lunch while blissfully floating and watching the shore where we had spotted evidence of beavers having been there. We never saw a beaver, but thought it exciting to think of the possibility! Peanut butter sandwiches gone, we headed up along the winding river. A couple of times I heard a frog sing and it delighted me to think of visiting them later this spring when they will be singing their songs, resulting in a beautiful chorus! We stopped for a chocolate break and for Wes to fish from the rocks for a while. So while he fished I walked along the shore and explored a bit. I located a small section of sand, and removing my flip flops, I stood barefoot in it, finding it very warm and most satisfying indeed! Walking a bit further, I found a most interesting rock, sculpted by the force of high water at times, and I thought from above it looked like I was flying over a miniature grand canyon! Upon getting down on knees to examine it more closely, and by looking at it from just the right angle down low, I imagined I was rafting down the river winding through this miniaturized version on the grand canyon! I noticed a wee shrimp-like critter in the larger pool of the miniature canyon enjoying having the amazingly clear water all to himself.

 

miniature grand canyon2

Eventually, we climbed back into our kayaks and were off, floating over unbelievably clear, emerald green water, watching as big boulders passed beneath us. “Oh . . . if only it was warm water!” I thought to myself, I would swim and swim to my heart’s content! But alas it’s not, so for now, I must continue to admire it from above. On the return trip, the smooth water had turned into choppy water which was white capping, sending water spraying up and over me with nearly every paddle.  Periodically I’d quit paddling, and just floated over the small choppy waves, thus feeling as if I was on a float at the beach. By the time we returned and were loading the kayaks into the van, we felt totally relaxed and thankful for a wonderful day on the water!

kayaking

~  In The Studio  ~

Wes has been working on SAA business stuff this past week and working out in the yard on projects as well as in the greenhouse and in the garden. I’ve helped with some of the yard projects and have spent most of the remainder of my time at the easel, making more progress on my Black-crowned Night Heron painting, and starting another miniature as well.

black-crowned night heron painting by rachelle siegrist
My Heron painting in progress

~  See Our Miniatures In-Person This Week At ~

Wonders of the West
March 21 – May 31, 2020: Customs House Museum, Clarksville, TN

Wonders of the west mule painting by rachelle seigrist

29th Annual International Miniature Art Show
May 2 – 30, 2020: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC

seaside international miniature art show

Brookgreen Gardens ~ Murrells Inlet, SC

Exquisite Miniatures exhibition at Brookgreen Gardens7


 
Would you love to enjoy your special friend as a miniature painting?
                                             
Then commission us to do just that! . . . Email photos for consideration to us at

commission a dog painting

~  ( )  ~

Visit our Website ~ artofwildlife.com

Follow us on Facebook!

Read Our Monthly Email Newsletters

Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle