Fish Nibbling On My Fingers

Eastern Black-nose Dace.2

Happily, we managed to find a spot at the river a couple of times this past week, while leaving the house during real estate viewings. Obviously that is a favorite place to hang out for awhile for me! I do believe my little fish friends recognize my bright pink mask, for as soon as I go to one particular spot, there they are almost immediately lined up in a semicircle, all patiently waiting for me to rub the sediment off of the rocks, so they can enjoy eating the bits and pieces of dislodged stuff. It’s just so sweet and instantly makes my day!

Well, this past week, what I’ve been patiently waiting for, happened! The fish started nibbling on my fingers and hands, and it’s quite precious to watch, and very cool to feel! At times they even lay on my hand or between my fingers and gently rub their silky soft bodies along my hand, and that simply delights me, to know they trust and accept me in their underwater world! From what I can discern online, a big portion of the small fish are Eastern Blacknose Dace, a type of darter minnow. There are also several other species of shiners, minnows and a couple of times big chubs and even a baby hogsucker came very close to nibbling on my hand!

Eastern Black-nose Dace

Needless to say, I’m completely in heaven the entire time, while snorkeling about and hanging out with my little fish friends! This past week, some recent rains brought the water levels up high enough that we were able to tube a section of the river, which is always great fun, and indeed another favorite pastime of mine! 

rachelle siegrist

At home, we continue to work in the gardens and keep the house inside ready at a notice for a viewing. Most mornings, I spent outside in the garden, whilst enjoying breakfast with my feathered and furry friends. I usually have the bunny, several squirrels and many birds, including my Carolina Wrens and their 4 babies. At one point all 4 babies were all together on top of the little wooden picnic table eating! It was truly adorable to see, and I was so sad that I didn’t have the camera with me. Maybe I’ll have another chance at getting a photo of them for you. 

beautiful gardens

I did manage to record this sound file of the babies singing. I only wish I could’ve recorded it in surround sound for you, just at it sounded to me in real life, which was absolutely beautiful!

Below is my beautiful blonde squirrel named B.B., which stands for Bissell’s Baby. Bissell was my original blonde squirrel, who was a dear furry friend for many years, and this is one of her babies who is very spoiled! Okay, you may wonder why I had named her Bissell. Well, it’s because she appeared to just suck in every spec of food in sight at a high rate of speed, much like a Bissell used to clean carpets . . . Ha Ha!

adorable animals

I was delighted to paint something other than walls or porches etc. this past week, as I started painting on this miniature watercolor of a Griffon sculpture in gorgeous Brookgreen Gardens, located in Murrells Inlet, SC. I loved how the Mockingbird was sitting atop its’ wing, and actually has its’ beak opened just like the sculpture, and thought this was so much fun, that I just had to paint it! 

miniature painting by Rachelle Siegrist

This is after another days work of painting on it, much of it being a stippling technique to achieve the texture of the stone. 

miniature painting by Rachelle Siegrist2

With planning to move, we are currently having a BIG moving sale on some of our artwork, and this includes some of our larger artworks! So if you would like to acquire one of our paintings for your very own collection, here’s the LINK to Collector’s Corner and if you see paintings you’d like to get, please email us at: siegrist@artofwildlife.com Wes is continuing to remove paintings as they sell. Below are a few of the paintings remaining.

siegrist collectors corner

See our miniatures in person this week

Society of Animal Artists Art That Matters to the Planet Show
August 14 – October 25, 2021:The Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Jamestown, NY

Hellbender-painting-by-Rachelle-Siegrist_Cool_Clean_Water

My painting “Cool, Clean, Water” and Wes’ “The Tragic Death of a King” are both in this prestigious exhibition!

The_Tragic_Death_of_a_King-by-Wes-Siegrist

Exquisite Miniatures is currently at the beautiful Elliott Museum located in Stuart, FL 

We are delighted to have our history-making tour on display in this beautiful museum! So if you’re in, or are going to be in the area, plan a visit to see over 60 of our miniature paintings in person, grab a magnifying glass and experience the “wow factor!” And if you fall in love with one . . . well, it can be yours forever, as all paintings in the exhibition are available.

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our WEBSITE hereartofwildlife.com

Contact us by EMAIL here: siegrist@artofwildlife.com

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

The Persistent “Quacker”

maryville greenbelt

Wes and I were delighted to finally get our beloved 1998 Ford Econoline van, named Titanic (because of its size), fixed this past week! We were under the impression from our normal engine repair place, that it was a very difficult fix requiring welding and thus most likely being a costly fix. So we had just been babying it for the past year, but Wes decided to call a different garage and inquire about it. Well, we took it in early one morning this past week, and they were able to fix it with no welding needed, and did so for a very reasonable price! 

Since they worked on it for about 4 hours, we took along a backpack with sandwiches in it, and walked to the nearby Maryville-Alcoa Greenway, for a “hike”. We ended up walking over 10 miles, and thoroughly enjoyed it, as there was lovely scenery and a big portion of it was lined by restored woodlands.

Rachelle siegrist

We found a lovely, sunny spot to eat our lunch overlooking a field. While sitting there, I happened to notice something out of the corner of my eye, and looked in time to watch a beautiful male Bluebird hovering over a worm, which it grabbed with its beak, before flying off! Further along the trail, we spotted a nice big rock in the sun, situated directly by a stream. So we sat down and within a minute here came this lovely male Mallard Duck swimming along while quaking. Once he got past the bend, he kept quacking and turned around and swam back across in front of us. 

mallard duck photo

We then noticed why he was doing this, for there was the female being shy and peaking at us occasionally from behind a bush. The male duck quacking the entire time, tried to show her it was indeed safe to pass by us and kept swimming back and forth in front of us. He did this 3 times, before finally convincing her to go for it. Reluctantly she finally started creeping forward, and suddenly decided she wasn’t sure about us after all, and flew by, landing most ungracefully, with what appeared to be a duck’s form of a cannonball . . . HaHa! After that, she shook the water from her ruffled feathers, composed herself and continued to follow the male. We enjoyed watching the pair after that for quite sometime. So I put together this video of them for you to enjoy.

 

Exciting News!

Wes and I were thrilled to find out this past week that each of our paintings were accepted into the prestigious Society of Animal Artists exhibition Art That Matters to the Planet, which will be at the beautiful Roger Tory Peterson Institute, located in Jamestown, NY. This moving and inspiring exhibition will run August 22 – October 25, 2021. Both paintings will also be included in the tour, which will go to the following venues: 

November 20, 2021 – January 16, 2022: The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Oradell, NJ
February 5 – May 5, 2022: The Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, KS

My painting “Cool, Clean Water” features one of the amazing hellbenders that live in our area here in the Smokies. I’m bringing awareness through this miniature, to the importance and necessity of clean streams, to continue to allow these incredible giant salamanders to live. As you can see in the painting, the rock to the left of the hellbender’s head, has been sheared in half by some one throwing it into the stream. Moving and throwing rocks in the streams is a BIG problem in our area and causes great damage to the inhabitants that call these rivers home. 

I have created a time-lapse painting video of it and uploaded it HERE to our YouTube Channel, for you to enjoy! We now have over 30 videos you can watch, including a great video on Hellbenders. You can SUBSCRIBE to receive notifications.

hellbender painting by Rachelle Siegrist

“Cool, Clean, Water”

Wes’ painting “The Tragic Death of a King” represents a major issue near and dear to our hearts! That is the amount of fishing line strung across tree limbs and hanging from power lines. Too many times now, we have seen beautiful birds needlessly killed by being caught in fishing line! That is why every time we kayak or hike near streams, we’re always collecting and removing as much fishing line as possible, to hopefully help prevent more happenings like in Wes’ painting. So I encourage you starting today, to help the wildlife and do your part as well, by removing fishing line whenever you can.

The Tragic Death of a King

“The Tragic Death of a King”

See our miniatures in person this week

See the show online here: Masterpieces in Miniature
 May 2021: Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada

See the show online now here: 30th International Miniature Art Show
May 1-31, 2021: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC (We are the judges for the show this year!)

See the show online here: The Art of the Miniature XXIX
May 2 – June 13, 2021: The Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our website, artofwildlife.com

Would you like to commission us? If so, contact us by Email

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Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Fun at the SAA 55th Annual Opening Weekend!

Attending the Society of Animal Artists Exhibition Weekend!

By Rachelle Siegrist

rachelle siegrist at the buffalo zoo -
Allen shows Cathy and I his scratch from the hawk encounter

Obviously the highlight of our weekend in Buffalo was seeing Niagara Falls, but we also had lots of fun with our artist friends during the remainder of the weekend! Friday morning, about a dozen of us headed to the Buffalo Zoo for the day. It’s a lovely, photographer friendly zoo, so we were all able to get bunches of great photos. It was a nice cool morning, so the zoo inhabitants were all out and quite active! Of course visiting the petting zoo was a treat as were the abundant flower filled hanging baskets on display throughout the well maintained grounds!

rachelle siegrist allen blagden at the buffalo zoo - 1
Allen and I on the hanging bridge inside the Aviary

The zoo has a wonderful aviary, which makes you feel as if you have walked into a section of the rainforest when you enter. Seeing and photographing the beautiful, resident nesting Scarlet Ibis, was certainly a highlight of our visit to the small indoor paradise! It was fun hearing stories from our artist friends as we walked about, and after having a Red-tailed Hawk fly directly above our heads, dear friend Allen, shared about his recent encounter with a hawk. Seems he was out feeding his pigeons one day recently, and a hawk flew directly between his legs, while chasing the pigeon and scraped his leg with one of it’s talons! The hawk missed and his pet pigeon lived, plus he now has an amazing story to tell!

rachelle siegrist at the roger tory peterson museum - 1
Me standing in front of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute

That evening we enjoyed the lovely two hour drive to Jamestown, NY, where we attended the SAA opening at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History. With our own Exquisite Miniatures Tour having been exhibited there July 12 through November 7, 2014, it was nice seeing this beautiful facility in person! The opening for the Society of Animal Artists 55th Annual exhibition was well attended with artists and patrons.  We really enjoyed viewing the show and were treated to a delightful and delicious assortment of edible goodies outside in a tent!

Saturday morning, the SAA business meeting culminated with a presentation by artist Bob Bateman, as he talked about his career. That afternoon, he demonstrated painting techniques working on a composition featuring a Great Blue Heron. His commentary while painting was very enlightening as well as quite entertaining! It was certainly a delightful treat for all attending!

Bob Bateman demonstrating painting - 1
Bob Bateman demonstrating

That evening we attended the SAA Awards Banquet, where lots of conversation, laughter and delicious food was enjoyed! While Wes attended the SAA board meeting Sunday, I spent the day with artist friend John Agnew’s wife, Pat. We had a fun filled day of adventures, which started at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. After a relaxing walk through their colorful outdoor flower gardens, we went into the Conservatory.

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens - 1
The entrance to the Conservatory

shayne dark sculptures exhibited at buffalo and erie county botanical gardens - 1
One of Shayne Dark’s bright sculptures on the grounds

The impressive conservatory was the third largest public greenhouse in the U.S. and was ranked as the ninth largest in the world, when it opened in 1900! Upon entering it, I finally felt nice and warm and immediately fell in love with all of the lush greenery and blossoms inside! Other than a Chocolate Tree, one of the most interesting residents was a Corpse Flower called “Morty”. The “tree” which is seen above the ground is actually one leaf! When it blooms every 6-10 years, it produces one single huge blossom!

Morty the corpse flower at Buffalo County Botanical Gardens
Morty the Corpse Flower

An admirer of palm trees of all shapes and sizes, I was especially drawn to a tall palm tree whose trunk was covered in what appeared to be grassy-like whiskers, called an Old Man Palm Tree. It was actually quite adorable looking and you just wanted to pet it!

old man palm tree at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens - 1
The adorable Old Man Palm Tree

As we slowly meandered through the multiple glass enclosed rooms, we were surrounded by a variety of lush trees and shrubs, blooming orchids, hanging tendrils of Spanish Moss and a variety of other blossoms. There were several delightful, bright-colored sculptures by Shayne Dark, on display throughout the conservatory, with many appearing as if they were slowly walking about the interior gardens!

shayne dark sculpture at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens - 1
One of Shayne Dark’s sculptures that appeared to be crawling about

shayne dark sculpture at Buffalo County Botanical Gardens - 1
Yet another one of his interesting sculptures

shayne dark sculptures at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens - 1
More interesting sculptures by Dark

Each glass room featured plants with a common theme, and it was truly delightful seeing what we would discover next! One room featured a checker set, which I must admit was one of the neatest I have ever seen, especially since it was surrounded by a garden of hanging Spanish Moss!

checkers game at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens - 1
The inviting checker board

The entire interior space of the conservatory, was filled with an extensive variety of plants, including one I really admired, called a Hanging Clock Vine.

hanging clock vine at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens - 1
The beautifully graceful Hanging Clock Vine

clock vine flower at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens - 1
A close up of the gorgeous Clock Vine flower

There was an extensive collection of blooming Orchids of all shapes, colors and sizes on display, with several of them offering a delightful, delicate scent as well!

orchids at buffalo and erie county botanical gardens
One of the many Orchid blossom

Having spent a couple of relaxing hours admiring it all, we headed for our next destination, the Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo. We spent a couple of hours walking the numerous trails and boardwalks, many leading by small lakes, while enjoying the beautiful sunny day! A personal favorite of the preserve, was a group of contraptions hanging from cables stretched between trees, which served not only as bat houses, but were interesting sculptures as well.

bat house sculpture at Tifft nature preserve
Bat house sculpture at Tifft Nature Preserve

Leaving the nature preserve, we took a short drive to nearby Lake Erie, where we enjoyed a lovely walk along the shoreline. We watched as numerous sailboats slowly drifted by in the late day sun, accompanied by the calls of gulls and a pleasant breeze. That evening we joined Wes, John and the other board members for dinner at the hotel, where there was once again lots of laughter, conversation and of course, delicious food!

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Until next time . . .

Rachelle