Painting For Our 20th Southeastern Wildlife Expo


Rachelle Siegrist painting a river otter in miniature
“The Aquatic Ballerina”

Wes and I spent most of our time in the studio this past week painting and getting things ready for the upcoming Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, SC this week. We will both be demonstrating at their new and exciting A Big Night For Small Works which will take place Wednesday, February 12th from 6 to 10PM. I just finished painting “The Aquatic Ballerina” yesterday, which will be among the forty-some miniature paintings shown there and available for adding to your collection. Wes will be finishing the painting below at the Wednesday night event.

wes siegrist painting a night heron at SEWE

Wes will also be demonstrating on a painting of a Southern Fox Squirrel which we enjoyed watching, and photographed at Brookgreen Gardens, as well as on a Great Blue Heron that we saw while visiting Florida in December.

wes siegrist demonstrating miniature painting at SEWE

I will be demonstrating on a painting featuring my precious Bunny squirrel, doing what she does best other than eating, and that’s looking totally adorable! I’ll also be painting on a Yellow-crowned Night Heron which we photographed during our recent visit to Brookgreen Gardens.

rachelle painting a squirrel at SEWE

This past week has brought just about every kind of weather imaginable, starting off with a day of ample sunshine, followed by an unseasonably warm day in the mid-70s, which we decided to take advantage of by kayaking. It was a great decision and we enjoyed a beautiful, relaxing day on the water!

wes siegrist kayaking

That night it started to rain, and it continued raining for the next 3 days, filling the Little River to capacity and beyond, bringing it above flood stage! So as you can imagine we spent most of our time in the studio this past week painting and getting things ready for SEWE. We managed to take a couple of short walks down to the river to see how bad it was flooding. During one outing, an unexpected windstorm accompanied a heavy downpour made it almost impossible to use our large umbrella, so I imagined being one of those adrenaline junky weather reporters holding on for dear life to palm trees blowing over in hurricanes, thus turning it into an adventure indeed! As you can see in the photo below, the river rose, surrounding many homes along its lower-lying banks.

flooding in townsend

Shown below is the Wye, which is where we go snorkeling and tubing at times during the summer when the water is at a normal level. You can see the raging river has swallowed a big part of the woods!

flooding in the smokies

flood in townsend

What a difference a day makes…Unbelievably the photo of the swinging bridge above was taken a day before the one below!

snow in the smokies

Some things such as my Camelia, are totally confused as to what time of the year it is!

snow in the smokies2

Today, the sun is actually out and accompanied by brilliant blue skies. It’s a welcome sight indeed since we haven’t seen it since last Sunday! The Little River is back to a normal height once again and the snow has melted away. So I guess we’ll see what tomorrow brings us weatherwise here in the Smokies, as we continue to get ready for our 20th time at SEWE!

~  See Our Miniatures In-Person This Week  ~

38th Southeastern Wildlife Exposition
February 12 – 16, 2020: Charleston, SC

SEWE big night for small works Rachelle siegrist dog painting
(Thanks to our friend Terry Miller for this lovely graphic image)

Exquisite Miniatures at Brookgreen Gardens                                                               January 25 – April 26, 2020:Murrells Inlet, SC

Exquisite Miniatures exhibition at Brookgreen Gardens7

45th Annual International Miniature Art Show
January 19 – February 9, 2020: Dunedin Fine Art Center, Dunedin, FL

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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle


Back to WonderWorks!

WonderWorks . . . Wonderful Time!”

By Rachelle Siegrist

wes and rachelle siegrist and kit gentry at wonderworks

Kit and I hold up the crumbling building, while Wes and Barb hold up her head!

Boy . . . did we ever have a great time this past Wednesday afternoon! We left late afternoon and headed over to Pigeon Forge, with friends Fred, Barb and Kit. Our first stop was at a pizza place called Geppettos, located in nearby Wears Valley. Our handcrafted pizzas, cooked in a brick oven were delicious, and gave us all the much needed energy for our destination for the evening . . . WonderWorks! Upon arriving, within minutes we were enjoying the first of the numerous interactive displays. We played with 100,000 volts of electricity and became human lightening rods, with the help of a mesh, steel armor glove, and walked away still alive and able to look up various locations on the huge Google Earth screen. Next Wes and I rode out a 5.3 earthquake in a small café booth, and then Wes, Kit and I survived strong winds in a hurricane tunnel. Then we all took turns feeling the unbelievably icy cold water, which the passengers of the Titanic were subjected to at her sinking.

wes and rachelle siegrist an dkit gentry in a hurricaneWes, Kit and I try to survive the strong winds!

wes and rachelle siegrist in an earthquake

Wes and I ride out a simulated earthquake

With more than a hundred hands-on exhibits, it was hard to choose what to experience next! Kit and I headed over, got suited up in harnesses and climbed our way to the very top of the rock climbing wall, before repelling back down. Then I convinced Wes to ride the Xtreme 360 bike ride with me, in which you pedal to make it go around and around, and the faster you pedal . . . well the faster you go! It was awesome and in the video you can hear me giggling with sheer glee each time we go up and over! Then it was time to “Play Ball”, with Fred and Barb starting off the game, while taking turns pitching to the screen. Wes, Kit and I then took turns pitching, and I think I was the only one who bounced one ball off of the floor and almost pitched two over the screen! There is a reason that I’m not a major league player . . . Ha!


rachelle siegrist climbing rock wall at wonderworksKit and I “race” towards the top
siegrists and kit gentry play ballPlaying ball . . . Wes winds up for a pitch, Barb, Wes and I make some baskets, and Kit throws a pitch

After riding a small cycle which you pedal to make the 4-wheeler on the screen go, we all tossed basketballs, trying to get as many in the hoop as we could within a certain amount of time. Having played in the space age section for a while, Wes, Kit and I began our adventure up to the glow in the dark sky walk course, with me leading the way. We climbed 4 stories of ropes, and encountered over 50 different obstacles, including a tremor bridge, tight rope, swinging steps and more, while getting a major adrenaline rush! At the highest point of 50 feet, we conquered our fears while crossing the tight rope and clinging tightly to our harness attached to the steel track above. Eventually we left the high-rise rope challenge, climbing our way back down, with stories to tell!

astronauts at wonderworksPretend Astronauts . . . My hair as “Cousin It”, Barb and Kit


rachelle and wes siegrist on skywalk at wonderworksI get my adrenaline fix and goof off with Wes, Kit on the rope course 50 feet above ground!

Leaving there we took turns leaving our posed body images printed on the large light sensitive screen, then Kit and I danced like crazy as our movements combined with the light made “living art” on another large screen, complete in a vivid range of colors. Of course lots of laughs could be heard coming from the music-filled room! We made crazy faces in the “elasta-surgeon” screens, and played the relaxing mind game, and made huge bubbles with larger than life bubble wands. Then Wes and I rode the virtual roller coaster, in which you sit in a coaster type car and the front is closed in front of you, which has a big screen on out, showing you the track as you ride. We went from side to side and over and over as we raced along the virtual track! “Whew that was fun!” I exclaimed as we climbed out of the car! Now it was Wes and Kit’s turn to lie on the bed of nails, which the both reluctantly did. Barb and I had done that the last visit there, and I decided once is enough for me with that experience!

rachelle and wes Siegrist take a virtual coaster ride

Wes and I in the virtual roller coaster and what we see while riding it

wes siegrist on bed of nails

Winding our way through the 35,000 square foot space, we came to the Far Out Gallery, showcasing a collection of art that plays with your eyes and your mind! We ended up at the Virtual Army Experience, an exhibit that allow you to sit or stand in a Humvee and test your skills on a virtual battlefield, like a large-scale video game. Wes, Kit and I tested our skills while trying to save our country, and I couldn’t resist saying aloud “Bang . . . got ‘em!” each time one of the enemy was gunned down. Wes later exclaimed how coincidental it was that each time he thought he got the target, I immediately said “I got ‘em!” Guess we’ll never know who got who, but we decided that it was indeed best that the country’s safety wasn’t up to the three of us! All too soon, our evening of adventure was coming to a close, and upon seeing my reflection in a mirror, I told Barb, “Goodness gracious . . . my hair looks like I’ve been through a hurricane and earthquake, and rode a roller coaster!” We left the upside down building having had an awesome evening and taking many wonderful memories home with us!
art work at wonderworks

Wes and Barb check out the Far Out Art Gallery

military ride at wonderworks

“Bang . . . Got ’em!”  Kit and I trying to do our part

war games at wonderworks

Wes really gets into it!

wonderworks building at night

The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels

Recently I finished my miniature painting of two adorable otters, which we photographed at the Knoxville Zoo.  Currently I’m painting on a portrait miniature commission. Wes finished several paintings recently, of which one “Posing to Please Her” has already sold, I’m thrilled to say!

otter painting by Rachelle_Siegrist1“After the Swim” by Rachelle

Crane painting by_Wes_Siegrist1Posing To Please Her” by Wes

Rhino painting by_Wes_Siegrist1” The Mud Boss” by Wes

Anna's Hummingbird painting by_Wes_Siegrist1Nesting Anna’s Hummingbird” by Wes

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Until next time . . .

Objects of Beauty

By Rachelle Siegrist

Miniature Paintings As Objects of Beauty

waterfall painting spruce flats falls

Objects of beauty . . . what may be beautiful to one person, appears totally ugly to another. It’s definitely a matter of personal taste, uniquely fitted to each individual. Wes and I consider many paintings objects of beauty, obviously being partial towards miniatures! I personally cannot imagine a home void of paintings. Special places created by paint, where one’s mind is allowed to wonder and imagine being there. Perhaps it’s a beautiful landscape where you can walk through fields of flowers or sit under a large shade tree, while looking out over a herd of cattle or flock of sheep. A painting of an old barn, that lets your mind imagine what stories it would tell. A beautiful bird or animal or a precious pet that you share or did share your life with, that holds a special place in your heart. Somehow miniature paintings seem to intensify this experience of imaginative travel, as you are drawn into their tiny intimate worlds, their own universe of sorts.

Birds As Objects of Beauty

bluejay gathering spanish mossB.J. gathers moss for his nest

male cardinal with birdhouseA male Cradinal near the Tufted Titmice nest box

mourning doves with azelea flowersThree Mourning Doves amongst Azelea blooms

Birds . . . what kind of world would this be without them? I personally cannot imagine that! Such an array of colors and sizes, each equipped with it’s own unique song. Filling the trees with a splash of red, yellow or blue, and the skies with assorted shaped silhouettes as they soar above. Watching a parent patiently trying to catch a bug to feed hungry babies, or tenderly share with its mate. Seeing the gorgeous red iridescent feathers of a Ruby-throated hummingbird, or listening to the melodious song of the Wood Thrush lingering in the heavy early morning or late evening air. Beauty, plain and simple, and free to those who’ll take time to enjoy them!

Flowers As Objects of Beauty

bearded iris bloomA Bearded Iris

dianthus flowersDianthus blossoms by our split rail fence

wild geranium bloomAn iridescent fly works a Wild Geranium blossom

Flowers . . . they fill our world with so much color! From the cool purplish blues of Virginia Bluebells to the warm yellows of happy-faced Pansies, each one unique in its own way, filling our gardens and our world with such vibrant life! From a field of large-headed, golden-petaled sunflowers to the single, vibrant red of a miniature rose, each serving its unique purpose while creating beauty for us to enjoy! What a delightful treat it is, to take the time to walk through one’s flower gardens, admiring the vast array of colors represented in assorted shaped and sized blossoms, while listening to natures symphony composed of birdsong, crickets and the occasional bee or hummingbird buzzing by . . . this is truly an experience of beauty!

The Latest Painting From the Siegrist’s Easel

Wes finished his painting of an adorable otter playfully floating on it’s back, while I’m still painting on a Longhorn Steer.

Otter painting by Wes Siegrist“The Backstroke Made Easy”