EXQUISITE MINIATURES at the Hickory Museum of Art

EXQUISITE MINIATURES opens at The Hickory Museum of Art!

By Rachelle Siegrist

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Wes and I with our two self-portrait miniatures

Wes and I just returned from a great weekend in Hickory, NC, where we attended the opening for our EXQUISITE MINIATURES Exhibition at the beautiful Hickory Museum of Art. The tour which opened in July of 2010 at the R. W. Norton Art Gallery, is now being exhibited at its 28th venue, and will be traveling to numerous other museums through 2022, bringing the total to 37 venues for our exhibition!

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Wes standing in front of the beautiful museum, which was once the High School

Normally the paintings ship from museum to museum, but they came back to our studio last week, for needed repairs on the shipping crates, as well as replacing some of the paintings and title panels.  So Wes and I drove the exhibit over, staying an extra couple of days, so there was time for the exhibition to be hung before the public opening on Sunday.  It’s always so exciting to see our miniatures exhibited in a new venue, so imagine our excitement at our first peak of the gallery in which they will be exhibited through March 17th!

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We did get to help with matching up the name signs since there’s 58 total!

It was so funny seeing our wee 58 miniatures lining the walls in preparation for being hung, and I enjoyed watching how the perfect lettering for the exhibition is applied, which is truly an art in and of itself!

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Kristina carefully applies the lettering 

We left our paintings in great hands, and spent a couple of hours enjoying another current exhibition at the museum, A Grand Vision: Elliott Daingerfield Paints Grandfather Mountain & The Grand Canyon.  It’s an absolutely gorgeous museum inside and it was a lovely exhibit.

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Wes looking at the Daingerfied exhibit

I really enjoyed our pretend visit to the Grand Canyon via a wall size photo on display in the exhibition!

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Yeah!!!!  I finally made it to the Grand Canyon!!!

We also greatly enjoyed seeing an exhibition of beautiful glass sculptures from the museum’s collection, including a stunning royal blue Chihully piece!  I personally love pop art, and was delighted to see a few pieces by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and other favorites of mine!  Needless to say, it was a most enjoyable afternoon!

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The first glimpse!

No matter the number of times we see it, it always seems like an amazing dream when we walk in and see our miniature paintings filling the walls of prestigious museums, being reminded of how truly blessed we are to have our paintings recognized and admired in such a grand way!

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The opening was very well attended, and the gallery filled with onlookers admiring the “tiny paintings” with great zeal and excitement, with many stating they had never seen anything like it before!  We spent the next couple of hours answering questions of how in the world we did that and about our sources of inspiration, as well as numerous other questions.

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Wes talking with curious attendees 

The Museum’s Executive Director Jon Carfagno, introduced Wes and I, along with fellow artist Harold Humphrey, who’s wonderful work was in the adjacent gallery.  Afterwards Wes spoke for a few minutes before once again talking with people enjoying our work.

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Wes talking to a group of attendees

Wes and I want to extend a BIG Thank You to the wonderful staff at the Hickory Museum of Art and especially to Jon, Clarissa, Kristina, and Kelly, for a beautiful exhibition and delightful time!  If you will be visiting the Hickory, NC area, I highly recommend a visit to this wonderful museum!

If you would love to see EXQUISITE MINIATURES come to a museum near you, please contact our Curator David J. Wagner, L.L.C

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

Kayaking Long Island Sound

Kayaking to Fish Islands in Long Island Sound!

By Rachelle Siegrist

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Paddling down Four Mile River

Wes and I went to Stamford, CT week before last, to attend the opening of our Exquisite Miniatures Exhibition, currently at the lovely Stamford Museum & Nature Center.  We had most of the first day free, so we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather that morning with a kayaking adventure in Long Island Sound. So we got up early and headed over to Rowayton, a small picturesque village situated on Four Mile River.  We walked into the Rowayton Market, where a familiar and delicious aroma of spices and specialty deli foods filled the air!  Once through the store, we walked onto a porch and down a narrow staircase leading to Downunder, a quaint surf shop and kayak rental tucked away under the market.

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A small lighthouse and islands with the New York side off in the distance

Once there, we were greeted by smiling faces and felt as if we had somehow slipped into another world far away.  Soon we were climbing into our double kayak and paddling down the scenic Four Mile River, lined by sailboats and fishing boats.  We reached the end of the river and started out into the Sound, paddling toward Fish Islands.  A strong headwind made the water quite choppy and gave us a good workout as we paddled along, causing waves to crash over the front of the kayak.  Even though it was difficult to paddle in, I must admit I was loving the intense rocking motion of riding the waves and getting drenched in salt water!

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Getting near the islands

Once out on the open water, Wes reminded me that the movie Jaws was filmed not too far up from where we were.  Needless to say, the thought of one swimming underneath our kayak added even more excitement to our adventure, especially since the Mystic Aquarium has tracked one in the Sound!  After intensely paddling while fighting the headwind, we finally drew near to the cluster of islands, and immediately started seeing numerous birds.

A beautiful White Egret on one of the islands


There were several Cormorants as well as Oystercatchers, Willets, Egrets, Osprey and more! Unfortunately, the swaying kayak made it difficult to photograph most of them.

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A Cormorant sits atop a rock near the islands

An Oystercatcher (with 2 leg bands) and a Willet

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Me wading near our patriotic kayak

We enjoyed exploring the one island for a short while, and I was delighted that we were there at low tide, so more of the interesting rock formations and even corals were exposed, as well as an assortment of seagrasses and such.  We had the island all to ourselves and feeling miles away from everything, making it hard to believe how close the noise and chaos of NY City was to us!


The islands being much different than anywhere we have ever kayaked to, were so interesting to see.


The water was surprisingly warm to wade in, especially compared to the frigid water we play in here in the Smokies!

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Wes stands on the grass-covered island.

With limited time due to our kayak rental and approaching storms, we didn’t get to linger as long as we would’ve liked, and it was time to head back.  We were delighted to have the wind at our backs on the return trip while watching numerous birds flying all around us, as the waves rocked and lulled us into a state of relaxation.

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Paddling back, we passed a long stretch of beautiful rocky shoreline,  which was even prettier with the low tide.  Waves crashed on the rocky shore, while Osprey and gulls soared overhead and Cormorants dried their wings after a morning fishing trip.

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The permanent stain from the high tide created the appearance of layered rocks.

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Reaching the mouth of the river, we slowly paddled along, exploring a small finger of it, where we saw several crabs spraying sand out of their holes on the exposed shoreline.  All too soon we were back at Downunder and our adventure had ended.  Leaving there we walked a short distance to Rowayton Pizza, where we sat on a lovely covered porch, enjoying a gentle breeze and delicious pizza!  The friendly lady at the kayak rental had told us about Farm Creek Nature Preserve nearby, so after lunch, we took a stroll over to the 16-acre preserve.  A beautiful old stone barn built in 1907, sits nestled amongst the trees on the property.


farm creek preserve

We walked down the hill from the barn to a small cement dock leading out into a marshy area.  Looking down toward the water below, we saw hundreds of crabs hurriedly skitting about here and there, most sporting a large claw, which they waved back and forth as if to say “Just come closer . . . I will take you on!”  

wes siegrist crab photo

It was a fabulous day indeed and ended wonderfully with a great turnout for our opening at the museum that evening!  next week I’ll be sharing highlights and stories from our day at Yale University.

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~ Recently off the Easels ~

It’s been a very busy week here in the studio once again.  I finished my painting of a couple of precious baby chicks, which our friend Kit photographed while in Hawaii.  Although Wes has enjoyed a little time at the easel, much of his time has been spent working with SAA business.

“Barnyard Cottonballs”

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

Miniature Paintings At The Customs House Museum

Exquisite Miniatures At The Customs House

By Rachelle Siegrist

Exquisite miniature exhibition at customs house museum

Wes and I headed to Clarksville, TN last Wednesday morning, and I couldn’t resist singing the Monkee’s song. “Take the last train to Clarksville . . . and I’ll see you in the morning“!  We arrived in time to visit Dunbar Cave State Park later that afternoon.  It was a lovely little park, with a couple of nice hiking trails winding their way through the woodlands, which we enjoyed walking, and although the cave wasn’t yet open for season, it was still impressive to see!  It’s adjacent to Swan Lake, where we saw lots of turtles, a few ducks and even a nesting Canada Goose.

rachelle siegrist at dunbar Cave state park

The next morning we drove to the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center, a beautiful historic building which first opened as a customs house to the public in 1898. We were delightfully surprised to see a large banner hanging at the front of the magnificent building, displaying our miniature paintings on each side!

Once inside, we were met by the friendly staff, before heading to the gallery with Terri, where Exquisite Miniatures is on display until June 24th.  Beautifully arranged in groupings, each group has two hanging magnifying glasses easily accesible, for getting an intimate look at the miniature gems on display.

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We quickly set up our easels and palettes, while laying out our brushes, and before long attendees started filing into the gallery.  With standing room only left, everyone seemed intrigued with the miniature art, as we talked about the process, joys and difficulties of painting miniatures, while also demonstrating some of our painting techniques.

wes siegrist Exquisite miniature exhibition at customs house museumOnlookers voiced how interesting the differences in our painting techniques are.  Having not really thought that much about it before, we totally agreed that watching Wes paint is like watching a high speed car race, while watching me is more like watching sheep peacefully graze in green pastures!

Trying to pack as much information as possible into our time there demonstrating, which passed all too quickly, we lingered afterwards and answered as many questions as possible from curious attendees.

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Afterwards, we enjoyed walking through the museum and seeing the numerous exhibits and historical artifacts on display, with the large model train set being a favorite for both of us!  We want to thank Terri, Blanca, Randy and the rest of the friendly staff at the museum again for making our time there such a pleasure!  If you’re ever in the Clarksville area, I highly recommend a visit to this wonderful museum!

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Next week I’ll be sharing exciting stories and amazing photos from our adventurous day at Fall Creek Falls State Park!!

We’re so delighted that we each had a miniature painting accepted into this year’s Society of Animal Artists’ 58th Annual Art & The Animal Exhibition
at The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, St. Petersburg, FL!

Wes’ “Long Jawed Orb Weavers” and my “Uncomfortably Menacing”

Learn How to Commission A Painting by Clicking Here

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle