Fun In The Woods With Wes’ Parents

Walking in the Woods!!!

by Rachelle Siegrist

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Wes and his parents by the Lawson Barn in Cades Cove

Wes’ parents arrived at our home here in the Smokies this past Wednesday and we have been on the go ever since!  We enjoyed a picnic in Cades Cove and riding around the loop road, while counting turkey and deer the first evening.  It was a beautiful one too, complete with a gorgeous sunset over the mountains!

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A couple of resident turkey in the cove

No matter how many times we visit Cades Cove, it’s always a joy and inspiring as an artist, as we love painting the historic barns and home places located there, as well as the numerous gorgeous vistas, scenes and resident wildlife!

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The Lawson Barn in Cades Cove

The next day we headed over to Roaring Fork near Gatlinburg, but recent high winds in our area combined with the wildfires last year, had caused numerous trees to fall, therefore temporarily closing the loop drive.  So after visiting one accessible log cabin and barn, we decided to hike the Gatlinburg Trail.  Following alongside the river, it’s always a pleasant relaxing walk, and was gorgeous, dressed in lush green foliage.

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Wes’ parents and me on one of the bridges

Numerous Mountain Laurel were blooming showcasing their delicate light pink flowers dotted throughout the woods, adding even more beauty!

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Jeanie and George by one of the Mountain Laurel

Of course if there’s water around and it’s not frozen I usually get in . . . most of the time!  I just couldn’t resist the stunningly clear water, and after my legs went numb, it didn’t feel too bad . . . Ha Ha!  Sadly I couldn’t convince any of the others to play in the water with me though.

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Brrrrrr . . .  so refreshing!!!

Yesterday was spent at the 27th Wilderness Wildlife Week event held in Pigeon Forge.  What a fun and interesting day it was as we attended several different lectures and presentations, including a hammered dulcimer concert, as well as an old fashioned harp note singing!  We really enjoyed “The People of Cades Cove” presentation and were thrilled to hear stories about life in the cove from about a dozen people who were actually born inside the cove! I learned that “When you can step on your head, it’s 12 noon”, in other words being able to step on the shadow of your head.  Another person told about living in the cove after it became a National Park, that it was like the goldfish bowl effect, as people were always watching them and asking questions, mostly kind of ridiculous ones.  One tourist asked the cove resident if he realized there was a deer pasturing with his cattle, to which his father quickly replied, “Why yes I do . . . I milk her along with the cows!” (They had a Jersey Cow among their Herefords) I found this a brilliant answer to a silly question!  Another highlight was the presentation “What is it?” where the audience was shown objects found in the cove and we were to guess what they were, and I was thrilled to have guessed one correctly!  I also learned of a few more awesome places to camp, kayak and hike!  Needless to say, we came away more knowledgable in so many ways!


What a better way to cook a gourmet Mother’s Day lunch than over an open fire, so we did just that, and it was delicious! I want to wish all of you special Moms out there a very Happy Mothers Day, especially to my own amazing Mom who has loved, prayed for and taken care of our family in tremendous ways throughout the years, and to my special Mother-n-law Jeanie!

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Happy Mother’s Day to my most precious Mom, whom I love SO very much!!!

~ Fresh off the Easels ~

I finished my latest dog commission this past week featuring a mule seat full of joy and love!!  I had so much fun painting this adorable bundle of fur and told their mommy I would love to sit on that seat and hold them all in my lap! You can’t help but smile when looking at this fun painting!

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My “A Mule Full!”

Wes finished his landscape painting of the John Oliver cabin in Cades Cove this past week, as viewed from a seldom seen angle.  We never tire of seeing, hiking to and painting these great historical beauties and national treasures!

“A Cabin in the Woods” by Wes

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

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle


New Baby and Miniature Paintings!

New Baby  . . . Miniature Paintings and More RiverFun !

by Rachelle Siegrist

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Our Precious Raelynn

We recently welcomed a precious new addition to my family!  My sister Hayley had a beautiful little girl they named Raelynn, and I already can’t wait to meet her!!!  My Mom has spent the past week with Hayley, as she’s recovering from a C-section, while also helping her to care for the baby.  I’m so enjoying the photos of her I’ve been getting, and especially love the one above.

Wes and Chance collecting leaves

While we’ve spent much of our time in the studio at our easels, Wes has been doing a few more jobs around the house, and we also enjoyed time spent at the river this past week, taking advantage of the lingering warm weather and abundant sunshine!  I spent one afternoon in particular at the river with friends Sharon and Tom, and it was one of those picture perfect days!  A brilliant blue sky above and an abundance of sunshine made us melt from relaxation as we lounged on our tubes and on our favorite big rock in the middle of the water.  A gentle breeze filled the air with leaves dancing and swirling their way to the water’s surface below. We floated slowly down the river,  belly down on our tubes gazing into the crystal clear water below, watching the occasional fish swim underneath.  Alas we quickly determined we could happily do this forever!

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Chance sharing his thoughts on the upcoming presidential race

Friday evening we enjoyed more river time with our little buddy Chance.  He rode the rapids in his “oval boat” while Sharon and I rode our tubes.  We had a picnic on the stone covered beach, finishing it off with double stuffed Oreos, a perfect late summer picnic dessert!  I recalled to mind the words of wisdom I recently read in a short story in one of my magazines, written by an admiring grandchild about her grandmother.  She was told by her . . . “We must have high-flying fun like a child, no matter how old we are” and “Always remember, life is sweet, even when it isn’t.  The simplest things in life are the grandest.”  I thought as I read, how these wise words are lived out at the river!

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The little rock climber

Excitedly we have two upcoming shows featuring several of our miniature paintings that will also be available for sale.  The Kentucky National Wildlife Art Exhibition, located in Hendersonville, KY, and the 33rd Annual Miniature Art Exhibition, held at the Fells Point Gallery in Baltimore, MD.


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~ Currently on  the Easels ~

I finished another dog painting this past week of a beautiful Spaniel which I photographed while in Charleston. SC, while exhibiting at SEWE last year.  It’s painted on silk, and was such a joy to do!

#englishspringerspanielpainting #dogpainting #spanieldogpainting
My latest dog painting “Admiration

Wes finished his miniature painting of a swan this past week, which we photographed while visiting a plantation in southern Georgia with another artist friend this past year.  The lighting was just perfect and we knew it was a painting as soon as we took the photo!

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Bathed in Light” by Wes

dog painting, commission a dog painting

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

Summer Places and Social Graces!

Exciting news and happenings !

by Rachelle Siegrist

American Crocodile painting
My Crocodile painting “Uncomfortably Menacing”

Wes and I were delighted to recently learn that four of our miniature paintings have been accepted into the prestigious 2016 Kentucky National Wildlife Art Exhibit held in Henderson, KY!  My Crocodile painting, “Uncomfortably Menacing” is one of our four paintings that will be featured in this exhibition.  We’re also thrilled to have been asked to participate in the upcoming Steamboat Art Museum’s 10th Anniversary Exhibition at the beautiful Steamboat Art Museum, located in Steamboat Springs, CO starting this December! I’ll be sharing the paintings that will be featured and available for sale through these two wonderful venues with you soon!

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Sharon, Me and Wes during one of our river picnics

We’ve spent most of our time at the easels again this past week, but with the onset of fall, we took several opportunities to spend time at the river tubing and hillbilly snorkeling with friends! While every trip to the river is a delight, sometimes something unusual happens, making it even better!  Such was the case early one morning this past week, as our group enjoyed having the river all to ourselves, just relaxing and floating around.  Then Sharon and I decided to tube the rapids, and rounding the bend as we walked along the river’s edge, we noticed that the water appeared to be rising and areas that were dry the day before, were now covered with half a foot of water or more!

The large, wide pool where we normally start our adventure, was now the color of Yoo-hoo and covered with floating debris.  It’s a “mountain Tsunami” I stated, as we quickly decided to jump on our tubes and take advantage of this thrilling opportunity!  The smaller rapids were now medium rapids, but the best awaited us around the bend! By the time we reached the guys, Tom’s chair sitting on dry ground minutes before, was now surrounded by water.

Sharon and I threw caution into the wind, quickly deciding to tube the first set of rapids, which were now amazing!!!  Once visible rocks were now submerged under several inches of water, creating 2-3 foot drops and dips in the whitewater, sending us bouncing all over the place and up into the air at times.  We held on and squealed with delight as we flew along, getting out at the bottom and doing it again numerous times over! We were totally soaked in the end and quite chilly, but decided it was totally worth it, deeming it the best ride of the summer!!!  The water went down as fast as it came up, and we felt blessed to have watched this amazing show of Nature!

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Playing at the river with Chance

We went back a few more times throughout the week, enjoying a picnic and playing in the water with Tom and Sharon’s grandson Chance one evening, and  I was delighted when a gentleman, teaching his grandson to kayak, asked if I would like to sit in it and try it out.  Of course I jumped at the chance to try the shorty kayak, which was a different design than ours, deciding it was indeed as much fun as it looked!

We were so thankful to get a wee bit of some much needed rain here this past week, and I think our resident critter friends were just as delighted to get it!  We were thrilled to have our one of our resident Box Turtles show up on our front porch one morning, so I took her a fresh tomato, which she quickly devoured!  Another evening, friend Kit, spotted this baby Katydid sitting on one of my roses.  I was most impressed to see it showing off it’s keen sense of the use of complimentary colors!

A very happy Box turtle and a baby Katydid

It has been a very social week for us as well, starting with an end of the summer party at friends Chet and Claudette’s beautiful log home in the nearby mountains of Walland.  Lots of laughter and great conversation filled the air, as tasty food was being enjoyed, but I must admit the highlight of the evening for all was the chocolate fountain!!

rachelle siegrist with a chocolate fountain

Then there was Taco night at neighbor friends Mike and Deb’s beautiful log home, which started off with us all enjoying her legendary “World’s Best Dip”!  In no time at all we had reduced the mountain of dip to the size of a small mole hill! We laughed the night away, as Wes told stories of happenings in the neighborhood over the years. Another evening we enjoyed playing Mexican Train at friends Fred and Barb’s house, and the weeks happening culminated with a dinner party at neighbor friend’s Dick and Elise’s gorgeous home, with Tom and Sharon joining us!  The air was filled with wonderful conversation as we enjoyed delicious food, and ended with the group relaxing as Wes told funny stories about life in Townsend, before they all moved here.  Elise, an accomplished pianist, has a beautiful baby grand piano, so we’re greatly anticipating many wonderful memories being made in their beautiful music room during future sing alongs!

~ Recently Off the Easels ~

I finished my miniature dog painting this past week, featuring two adorable Labradoodles, which I photographed in Easton, MD last year during the Waterfowl Festival.  Looking almost like muppets, I just had to paint these adorable two, and thought how the look on the large dog’s face appeared as if she had been left the tedious duty of keeping the little one out of mischief.

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My latest dog painting “The Babysitter”

Wes finished his miniature landscape painting of a sunlit section of the stunning Sequoias, located in Sequoia National Park.  It’s truly amazing to stand amongst those giant trees, a dream come true for a treehugger like me!  Driving into the park during our first visit, and catching my first glimpse of those ancient trees filled my eyes with tears and my spirit with sheer wonder and delight!

“A Path in the Ancient Woods” by Wes

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle