Questions From Kids At The Albany Museum Of Art ~ Part II

The Albany Museum of Art, Albany, GA

Exquisite Miniatures by Wes and Rachelle Siegrist is on display May 14 – August 15, 2015

at the Albany Museum of Art

EXQUISITE MINIATURES EXHIBITION

Questions From Kids At The Albany Museum Of Art – Part II

Our EXQUISITE MINIATURES Touring Exhibition is currently at the Albany Museum of Art in Albany, GA. In addition to the crowds of adults that view our miniature paintings at these museums on the tour there’s usually school groups and art camps that directly involve kids with our exhibition. Below are some questions we received from kids attending a Spring Art Camp at the Albany Museum of Art and we thought we’d share our answers with everyone.  This is part II of the questions and answers.  For part I, Click Here!

~ Happy Father’s Day to our dads and all dads out there today!  Rachelle will be posting her usual fun blogs on Wednesday and Sunday this next week ~

Exquisite Miniatures on display at the Albany Museum of Art (Photo courtesy of the Museum)Exquisite Miniatures on display at the Albany Museum of Art (Photo courtesy of the Museum)

  1. What is the smallest painting you created and what is it of?

WES: The smallest painting I ever did was a ¾ inch square White Rhino. The painting featured just its head. We’ve both done dozens of one-square-inch paintings featuring birds, animals, and still life. We feel that most of our compositions look better a “wee bit bigger” so most of our miniature paintings are 6-9 square inches.

  1. How long does it usually take to complete a painting?

WES: This is probably the hardest question we are asked since it’s different for every painting. I also tend to paint much faster than Rachelle. The “fast” paintings are done in 1-3 days (@6-21 hours). They tend to be smaller and have very simple, if not solid colored, backgrounds. The longest each of us has ever spent on single miniature painting is between 2 and 3 weeks. These are usually human portraits.

  1. How big can a miniature painting be?

WES: This is somewhat of a trick question! To some people, “miniature” means only small. To others, it means a particular “technique”. In today’s world, most people are unaware of miniature painting as a 500+-year-old art form so they tend to call anything smaller by that name. A lot of art galleries, museums and shows are called miniatures that measure ten to one hundred times bigger than we work! In the formal world of miniature painters and miniature art societies the size is typically 24-25 square inches or less. Also, in this arena, miniature paintings should also be done in a reduced scale (usually 1/6th or smaller) and be refined enough that you’re still amazed when you look at them up close.

  1. Why do you paint miniatures?

WES: Foremost, because we love doing them! The challenge is fun and when it becomes tedious we remind ourselves how much fun we’ll have at shows watching people get all excited about how amazing the tiny paintings are they are looking at through a magnifying glass. Secondly, we specialized in miniatures and all but stopped doing “big” paintings, to be different and stand out from our peers at shows.

Exquisite Miniatures on display at the Albany Museum of Art (Photo courtesy of the Museum)

Exquisite Miniatures on display at the Albany Museum of Art (Photo courtesy of the Museum)

  1. Where do you get your brushes?

WES: We use a variety of brushes that we buy from art stores. Most of them come from a nearby Hobby Lobby since we like to see and feel the brush before we purchase them. One of the world’s oldest art companies, Winsor & Newton, actually make brushes just for miniature painters! (The Series 7 Miniature Brush) Since we literally can make thousands of brushstrokes on miniature paintings we tend to wear out brushes very quickly. It’s true, we don’t use much paint or paper but we go through a lot of brushes!

  1. Do you have another profession or just paint?

WES: All both of us do is paint and it’s all we’ve ever done as a career. I did teach art at galleries and museums for over ten years and have also written a couple of books but the money to keep us going has come from selling paintings. In my past, I’ve also worked in commercial art doing logos and illustrations. I worked for a silkscreen t-shirt shop for a year or so, an advertising agency for a few months and also as an intern illustrator at a publishing house while in college. I’ve done airbrush t-shirts and caricatures on the street. Rachelle and I also did some jewelry and crafts on the side one year trying to make a living. We love painting the most and plan to do it the rest of our lives.

Exquisite Miniatures on display at the Albany Museum of Art (Photo courtesy of the Museum)

Exquisite Miniatures on display at the Albany Museum of Art (Photo courtesy of the Museum)

The Siegrists with Dr. David J. Wagner, EXQUISITE MINIATURES Tour Director The Siegrists with Dr. David J. Wagner, EXQUISITE MINIATURES Tour Director at the premiere of their exhibition at the R.W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, LA (July 2010)

~ Special thanks to David Griffin, Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Albany Museum of Art, and to the kids of the art camp for enjoying our show so much! ~

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Questions From Kids At The Albany Museum Of Art ~ Part I

The Albany Museum of Art, Albany, GA
Exquisite Miniatures by Wes and Rachelle Siegrist is on display May 14 – August 15, 2015 at the Albany Museum of Art

EXQUISITE MINIATURES EXHIBITION

Questions From Kids At The Albany Museum Of Art

Our EXQUISITE MINIATURES Touring Exhibition is currently at the Albany Museum of Art in Albany, GA.  In addition to the crowds of adults that view our miniature paintings at these museums on the tour there’s usually school groups and art camps that directly involve kids with our exhibition.  Below are some questions we received from kids attending a Spring Art Camp at the Albany Museum of Art and we thought we’d share our answers with everyone. (Part two will be posted next Wednesday)

Exquisite Miniatures on display at the Albany Museum of Art (Photo courtesy of the Museum)
Exquisite Miniatures on display at the Albany Museum of Art (Photo courtesy of the Museum)
  1. Why did you paint the “Barnyard King” and “Barnyard Challenger” as two pieces rather than one long painting?

WES: I painted the “King” in 2013 after visiting the Museum of Appalachia near my home. This rooster was one of several critters I felt inspired to paint. A year later, I painted the “Challenger” both to have a second rooster painting for a different show and also to eventually end up with a set of rooster paintings. To add more thoughts I’d say that these were painted as simple portraits. If I had wished to illustrate the competition between the two barnyard roosters, it would have been much better to do the painting as one long painting and I just may do that in the future!

  1. Are you self-taught artists?

WES: Technically no. I learned a lot in art during high school and even took private lessons my sophomore year. I then attended college where I studied both graphic art and fine art. I ended up with a BA in both fields. That said, I still consider most of my current abilities to be self-taught both through practice and studying how other artists work. All my “art business” knowledge and expertise in miniature art and miniature art history is self-taught.

RACHELLE: I met Wes right before I was getting ready to start college for art and that same fall I started taking classes from Wes along with a group of other students. In addition to my year of college classes, I also sat in on many of Wes’ other classes that he was teaching in various mediums so I learned a lot from him and the other students. Like Wes, I consider myself self-taught in miniature painting.

  1. What makes some of your paintings more valuable than others? Do you go by size, content, or how hard it was to paint?

WES: This is TOP SECRET information so we can’t tell you! Actually, we mostly tend to price by difficulty and rarity over size. Some paintings take 2-3 times as long to do and are far more challenging than others so these get priced higher. If we plan to never paint a subject again, or feel the composition was just too unique, we’ll price the painting more. Size influences price only somewhat. Our one-square-inch paintings will forever be only $595. This is due to a promise we made our collectors many years ago, as a way of blessing them and making sure some of our artwork could always be affordable. We never raised the price once we made that promise. Slightly larger paintings also are priced higher as well as paintings that may have received several awards. Our first miniature paintings painted in 1997 were priced at only $75. You didn’t ask, but the most we ever sold a miniature painting for was $2,500. Counting award monies and the sale price, the most we ever made from one miniature painting was just shy of $5,000!

  1. Do you take photographs of what you are going to paint?

WES: Yes, we both work almost entirely from photographs we have taken. Sometimes friends and collectors give us photographs to paint but we prefer our own. One of the most fun parts of our “job” is going out into the woods, zoos, aquariums, etc. to get inspired!

Exquisite Miniatures on display at the Albany Museum of Art (Photo courtesy of the Museum)
Exquisite Miniatures on display at the Albany Museum of Art (Photo courtesy of the Museum)
  1. How did you get inspired to make the subjects in your paintings?

WES: Partially answered this one above, which is by going places both old and new. Sometimes we’re inspired just looking out our studio window by a bird on a branch or something funny a squirrel is doing. We’re also often inspired by the light or colors in a particular setting more than the subject. I would also point out that both of us would say we’re additionally inspired just by the process of painting. It doesn’t matter what we’re painting. It’s just fun to do it! Starting with a white background and then end up making marks that looks like something is joyous!

  1. Do you draw before you paint?

WES: Yes, almost always for both of us with Rachelle doing a bit more drawing than me. Complicated subjects like boats, buildings and groups of animals tend to have more drawing. We use a really hard (4H) pencil to lightly draw what we do so it doesn’t smear. Mostly, I make a few general outlines of my main subject. Just enough to help me know where things are but not enough marks to mess up my painting washes. Some of my landscape paintings have no drawing at all underneath. Any “drawing” is done with the paintbrush. We both find it easier to “draw” the tiniest of lines with our brushes vs. pencils. Since we mostly work in opaque watercolor, our pencil lines pretty much disappear after just a few washes of color.

  1. How long have you been painting?

WES: I did a lot of painting as a kid so I’ll have to say 40+ years. I’ve been a professional artist (Making a living from it) for 27 years.

RACHELLE: I also liked to draw as a kid and used to paint with my granny. I have been painting full-time for 25 years.

Exquisite Miniatures on display at the Albany Museum of Art (Photo courtesy of the Museum)
Exquisite Miniatures on display at the Albany Museum of Art (Photo courtesy of the Museum)
  1. Do you research your animals?

WES: Yes and no. Sometimes something we see just inspires us, so we paint it. Other times, we go into the wild looking for a particular critter to watch and photograph. We don’t do as much sketching as most artists particularly now that we focus on miniatures. We also use the Internet to learn about animals and their behavior. That can be both good and bad. Sometimes, the Internet is wrong but the good news is that there’s always somebody out there that helps us when we need it. Rachelle and I both love bird watching and keep lists of the birds we’ve seen in our yard, in our lifetime, and on particular expeditions. We use a variety of field guidebooks to help us learn more about what we encounter in the wild.

The Siegrists with Dr. David J. Wagner, EXQUISITE MINIATURES Tour Director
The Siegrists with Dr. David J. Wagner, EXQUISITE MINIATURES Tour Director at the premiere of their exhibition at the R.W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, LA (July 2010)

~ Special thanks to David Griffin, Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Albany Museum of Art, and to the kids of the art camp for enjoying our show so much! ~

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Beyond Our Wildest Dreams! A Historic Ongoing Tour of Paintings

A History-making Tour of Miniature Paintings by Wes Siegrist

Artists dream of their work being seen outside of family and aspire to participate in public shows. Juried exhibitions and galleries are considered a step up that ladder to success. Inclusion into anything inside museums carries an added aura of success that might culminate into the dream of one day walking into a museum and seeing one’s own work filling an exhibition hall. Few artists achieve this while they’re living and even less do it while they are young in both years and career. It happened to us! We knew we had made history. To our knowledge, only a few living miniature painters had ever been featured in a solo museum exhibition and none to the scale achieved for us by our tour director. That momentous start, back in 2010, exploded into the most successful touring exhibition of miniature paintings by living artists in history and it’s still going and growing!

The Siegrists with Dr. David J. Wagner, EXQUISITE MINIATURES Tour Director
The Siegrists with Dr. David J. Wagner, EXQUISITE MINIATURES Tour Director

In the summer of 2008, we were asked by Dr. David J. Wagner to consider allowing him to exhibit our miniature paintings in museums. Knowing Dave’s reputation and success with other artists we enthusiastically said yes! We knew from the start, that it would likely be years before something was scheduled, if at all, so we set ourselves in for the long haul. We were surprised when Dave called mere weeks later. One of the nation’s top museums with collections of historic miniature paintings had requested our show! We were scheduled to premiere at the R. W. Norton Art Gallery in Shreveport, LA in July of 2010. It had been 25 years since the Norton staged their last exhibition pertaining to miniature painting, Portrait Miniatures in Early American History, 1750-1840. They felt it was time to do another one featuring modern American miniaturists who had been featured in a variety of group exhibitions at the Norton over the years . . . the Siegrists!

While we were still floating on cloud nine, Dave called with more news. The West Baton Rouge Museum was also interested in our work. Would we be able to stage a second concurrent exhibition of 50 more paintings? Borrowing back nearly 50 paintings from collectors to augment our available work to comprise the varied content of the exhibitions was a herculean task. It paled only slightly in comparison to the mountain of logistics associated with putting 100 paintings on exhibit! Floating in the stratosphere now with two solo museum exhibitions on the horizon, Dave pushed us into space with the news that the works in Baton Rouge, LA would be going on tour!

The Siegrists: Staging a museum exhibition involves a lot of paperwork!
Staging a museum exhibition involves a lot of paperwork!
Presentations, lectures and workshops at venues on the Siegrists' Exquisite Miniatures Tour
Presentations, lectures and workshops at venues on the Siegrists’ Exquisite Miniatures Tour

To date, EXQUISITE MINIATURES BY WES & RACHELLE SIEGRIST includes over 200 paintings*, will be displayed 5,588 days in 21 exhibitions at 19 venues and will travel thousands of miles across the country and back to 15 States! … And more venues are pending!

[*Paintings have varied by exhibition]

Exquisite Miniatures Tour Wes and Rachelle Siegrist

Click here to view the EXQUISITE MINIATURES Exhibition overview
(Links to these and more photos, installation images and painting inventories are at the bottom of the page)

PREMIERE

May 4 – July 25, 2010
R.W. Norton Art Gallery, Shreveport, LA

CONCURRENT EXHIBITION

May 16 – July 31, 2010
West Baton Rouge Museum, Port Allen, LA

TOUR

September 4 – November 28, 2010
Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure, Salina, KS

December 11, 2010 – March 13, 2011
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ

April 16 – May 15, 2011
Dunnegan Gallery of Art, Bolivar, MO

June 10 – August 28, 2011
Museum of the Southwest, Midland, TX

September 17 – October 16, 2011
Yadkin Cultural Arts Center, Yadkinville, NC

November 5 – December 31, 2011
Dennos Museum Center, Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, MI

January 21 – March 21, 2012
San Diego Natural History Museum, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA

May 15 – October 13, 2012
Nevada State Museum, Carson City, NV

November 15 – December 21, 2012
Yadkin Cultural Arts Center, Yadkinville, NC

January 10 – March 10, 2013
The ArtCenter Manatee, Bradenton, FL

April 7 – June 2, 2013
Museum of the Gulf Coast, Port Arthur, TX

August 10, 2013 – January 5, 2014
Kenosha Public Museum, Kenosha, WI

February 1, 2014 – April 6, 2014
The Wildlife Experience, Parker, CO

July 12, 2014 – November 7, 2014
Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, Jamestown, NY

December 1, 2014 – April 15, 2015
Steamboat Art Museum, Steamboat Springs, CO

September 4 – October 30, 2015
Yadkin Cultural Arts Center, Yadkinville, NC

November 4 – December 4, 2016
Dane G. Hansen Memorial Museum, Logan, KS

June 4 – September 3, 2017
Stauth Memorial Museum, Montezuma, KS

September 21 – December 21, 2017
Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center, Chadron, NE

EXQUISITE MINIATURES is available for display at art, cultural, and scientific institutions.
For tour and scheduling information, contact:

David J. Wagner, Ph.D.
Curator/Tour Director
EXQUISITE MINIATURES Tour Office
David J. Wagner, L.L.C.
Phone: (414) 221-6878
davidjwagnerllc@yahoo.com
www.davidjwagnerllc.com