Hellbenders, Foxes and Flaming Leaves

Well, I finally finished my video featuring Hellbenders! Wes and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to observe and film at least three different Hellbenders for five days in a row this past summer, it was truly amazing indeed! We witnessed things we never thought we’d see and feel so blessed to have experienced these wonderful encounters. I hope that you will enjoy this video and feel like you too had the opportunity to swim with the Hellbenders, while also giving you a greater understanding and appreciation for these awesome creatures.

Sadly the days of snorkeling with Hellbenders and the likes are quickly fading into the past, with cold weather upon us.  I can only dream of my days in the water and am now relegated to just enjoy being on the water. So we enjoyed a morning of kayaking this past week, leaving the house early to head to a nearby lake. The fog, thick as milk, hung heavy in the air during the first part of our drive, bestowing glimpses of brilliant colored leaves only when we drew near to them, like surprises hidden around each bend in the road.

fall color in the smokies

Soon the fog lifted, however, letting the flame-colored leaves shine forth in all their glory, and it was quite stunning paired against the intense azure blue sky above!

fall leaves in the smokies

Within no time we reached the lake, where we quickly unloaded the kayaks and climbed in whilst embarking on another adventure. The wind was quite strong much of the time, so after a few casts with the fly rod, I decided it would be more relaxing to just paddle until the winds died down. A flock of ducks gathered nearby, decided to take to the sky every so often, circling above appearing as flecks of black pepper surveying the landscape below, then swiftly dropping down, settling on the water once again. There they commenced preening once again until it was decided that it was time to take to the sky once more for another circle about.

kayaking

It was so relaxing, lying back in my kayak while basking in the warm sun and watching them, as well as a flock of mixed warblers and other small birds, working their way through the grasses nearby. Since I couldn’t see most of them well enough to identify them, it made it a fun and challenging game to try and determine their type, based on their calls and songs.

fall color in the smokies2

Soon it was time to load up the kayaks and head home.  The drive back was lovely, so we decided to walk out to a little hidden outcropping of rock to enjoy the splendid view.  The tops of the mountains looked as if they had been barely touched with gold and orange paint, appearing much bluer in the distance.  It was a perfect spot to just sit for a few minutes while breathing in the crisp fall air and enjoying the warmth of the sun!

~ In The Studio ~

I finished my other two Red Fox miniature paintings this past week, both part of a collection entitled “A Foxy Trio“. All three miniatures are painted on silk and will debut at the upcoming 24th Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival November 15th – 17th at the Thomasville Cultural Center,  in Thomasville, GA.

We were delighted to learn that Wes received 2nd Place in Opaque Watercolor on his painting “Bashful” and that I received 2nd Place in Animals on my painting “Admiration” at the 45th Annual International Miniature Art Show!

Moreover, we were excited to learn that I won 3rd Place in Watermedia and Wes won 2nd in Place Birds and Animals in the 86th Annual International Exhibition of Fine Art Miniatures!


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~ See Our Miniatures In Person This Week ~

In the Tradition of Audubon Exhibition
September 12, 2019 – January 5, 2020: Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH

Society of Animal Artists’ 59th Annual Art & The Animal Exhibition 
September 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020: The Briscoe Western Art Museum, San Antonio, TX

EXQUISITE MINIATURES ~ September 15 – December 3, 2019: Kennedy-Douglass Center For The Arts, Florence, AL


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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle

Falling Into Fall

Rachelle siegrist kayaking

There’s a crispness to the air in recent mornings, and leaves are starting to turn those brilliant colors that they do this time of year.  Although many here in the Smokies are just turning brown and falling to the hard dry ground below, while the trees are seemingly just trying to survive in the current drought conditions.  Our rivers and streams have dropped to extreme lows, with many boulders normally submerged, now dry as can be above the water.

wes siegrist kayaking

Wes and I enjoyed our last snorkeling adventure of the season last week, as water temps are now too frigid even with our wetsuits, to enjoy this favorite pastime any longer. However, with water levels so low, and no silt running into the streams, the water is unbelievably clear, and you can see the bottom whilst watching resident fish swimming about, without snorkeling.  I enjoyed these amazing views this past week when we slipped out of the studio one day to go kayaking.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day, with brilliant clear blue skies above and abundant sunshine, so as you can imagine, it was a delightful time spent on the water!

smokies stream

Most of our time this past week was spent here in the studio painting at our easels and doing office work. I’m putting the finishing touches on a red fox miniature painting, which will be one of three paintings on silk, forming a set, while Wes is painting a miniature of a baby hawk resting in a lovely Spanish moss-lined nest.

Rachelle Siegrist painting a red fox

While Wes has been working on the SAA office work, I created a few videos featuring highlights from the SAA’s 59th Annual Exhibition at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.  To enjoy the experience for yourself, click on the image below to watch the video.

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 1.25.53 PM
Click to watch video

 


~ See Our Miniatures In Person This Week ~

In the Tradition of Audubon Exhibition
September 12, 2019 – January 5, 2020: Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati, OH

Society of Animal Artists’ 59th Annual Art & The Animal Exhibition 
September 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020: The Briscoe Western Art Museum, San Antonio, TX

EXQUISITE MINIATURES ~ September 15 – December 3, 2019: Kennedy-Douglass Center For The Arts, Florence, AL


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Until Next Time . . . 

~ Rachelle

 

When Leaves Turn To Flame

Beautiful Fall Color In The Smokies!

By Rachelle Siegrist

rachelle siegrist

Brilliant reds, bright oranges and illuminating yellows have finally descended upon the Smokies, splashing our world with color!  While admiringly gazing upon the vivid fall palette, I thought of a quote by Faith Baldwin . . . “Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.”  Yes, that sums it up wonderfully, as that’s exactly what it looks like!   Wes and I decided to take advantage of a beautiful day this past week to enjoy seeing the color from our kayaks.  As soon as my paddle dipped into the glassy surfaced water, I was instantly mesmerized, leaving cares far behind!  It was one of those amazing picture perfect days, with clear brilliant azure skies dotted with fluffy white clouds slowly passing above, pairing beautifully with the warm colors dressing the foliage below.  It was magical and I was once again in heaven whilst basking in it!

wes siegrist

We’ve been able to enjoy several meals out on our back porch this past week, even though we have to add a couple layers of clothing to do so.  Halloween evening, our resident Tufted Titmice were especially hungry, so after dinner I sat in my rattan swing while holding a bowl of peanuts.  I tossed out a few to a couple of squirrels and Titmice, and suddenly they began flying over and landing right beside me. Then one flew over, landed on my leg and walked to the bowl, where he inspected the offerings and chose just the right one.  This happened over and over again for the next hour, and I was delighted beyond words!  I decided that was the cutest trick or treaters I had ever seen, dressed in the most realistic bird costumes ever!

rachelle siegrist feeding tufted titmice

We enjoyed a short hike with friends Mike and Kit this past week to take in more of the fall color.  The weather was perfect for it, with gentle breezes blowing through the warm colored canopy above, as we relaxingly walked along, crunching fallen leaves underfoot.

wes siegrist 2

Even though there was still quite a bit of green left, there were stunning sections of reds, oranges and yellows!

I found this Sweetgum leaf in the crystal clear icy-water and thought it quite lovely!

rachelle siegrist fall color in the smokies2

Gorgeous fall foliage was not the only visual feast of the day, but so were clumps of amazing fungi collections scattered along the trail!  It was a wonderful afternoon indeed!

Wes and I are in the process of updating Exquisite Miniatures.  Several of the paintings currently in the exhibition at The Stamford Museum & Nature Center in Stamford, CT through January 1st, are being replaced with newer ones.  We also had new panels printed that will be displayed along with the sixty miniature paintings, so we’ll be driving the revamped exhibition over to the The Hickory Museum of Art in Hickory, NC, where we will attend the opening for our exhibition in January. Exquisite Miniatures will be on display there, January 20th through March 17th of next year.

exquisite miniatures exhibition wes and rachelle siegrist
Wes with the two new Exquisite Miniatures panels

 ~ Currently on the Easels ~ 

It’s been a very busy week once again here in the Siegrist studio!  Wes has been working on his SAA stuff and framing our paintings in preparation for the upcoming 2018 Waterfowl Festival in Easton, MD.  I’m currently painting on a precious Red Fox that we enjoyed watching while in Homosassa Springs last month, and it will debut at the Waterfowl Festival.

red fox painting in progress by rachelle siegrist

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle