Inspired by Monet’s Gardens

kayaking2

Wes and I took advantage of one of our beautiful weather days this past week and headed to the water. We decided to kayak to a new location this time and I absolutely loved it! To get to this natural area, we had to paddle alongside a neighborhood of homes nestled against the finger of the lake. It was like taking a home tour from the water, and houses ranged from small homes with old wooden boat docks full of character, to four story mansions with house-sized boat docks with many having two boats, jet skies, and every imaginable water toy made! I have to say my favorite boat house, was an old, rickety one, with moss growing on it and looked as if it were over 100 years old and belonged in a swamp somewhere. 

kayaking

Leaving the homes behind, we entered a beautiful natural area, where the only remnant of man built objects was this old cattle loading ramp, that was obviously used before this area went underwater. The open water narrowed as we paddled along, leading to a small creek. At the junction of it unfolded a beautiful picturesque setting that looked like it was straight out of Monet’s gardens! “How appropriate” I thought to myself, since I had spent the last few weeks painting my miniature of one of Monet’s paintings. Having always wanted to visit Monet’s gardens, I always thrill when I see a scene that looks as if I could actually be there.

kayaking3

From there we went as far as we could up the narrow stream until a large tree across the water prevented us from going any further. We turned around and paddled back to one of the lovely settings, to sit and admire while eating lunch. 

kayaking4

The water was very clear and Wes got to see several alligator gar, which had taken off each time before I got there. There were a couple of maple trees which were starting to turn red already and looked quite lovely paired against the complimentary green trees alongside them. Of course the azure blue sky dotted with small, fluffy, white clouds added to the gorgeous setting.

kayaking5

Back at home each week brings something new and interesting in the gardens and woods. Whilst picking tomatoes one evening, I happened to notice this gorgeous white spider contentedly sitting in the middle of a zinnia. Upon closer inspection I saw that it had wee pink hearts on its back, which matched the intense pink of the flower, and thought it quite beautiful indeed!

nature photogrpahy

It seems it was that very same evening that Wes spotted these striking caterpillars on the parsley. I’m not quite sure which butterfly they will become, but as pretty as they were, it has to be a beautiful one! There were at least four of them, and I so enjoyed watching them seriously chow down.

nature photogrpahy3

The yellow flowers in the woods are still in full bloom and this past week, the small meadow out back is filled with wildflower blossoms, many which are a nice bright, sunny yellow, making it a real treat to walk alongside it.

nature photogrpahy2

IN THE STUDIO

I finished my miniature painting of one of my favorite masterpieces by Claude Monet, titled “Springtime” this past week. I had started this painting over a year ago and had set it aside, whilst painting several commissions and artworks for juried shows. It was quite fun to do, as I love all of the spring colors used in the painting’s palette. 

 

Springtime_after_Monet_by_Rachelle_Siegrist1

I have done several miniatures of old masterworks, some as commissions, and enjoyed doing them all, and learn something about the use of colors and values with each one of them. I will be making a video of the painting process and will post a link to the blog, once I’ve uploaded it to YouTube.

miniature painting of claude monet springtime

 

SEE OUR PAINTINGS IN PERSON THIS WEEK

den arts center & museum

EXQUISITE MINIATURES will be opening soon at the  Gadsden Arts Center & Museum, located in Quincy, FL, and it will be on display there from September 23 – December 17, 2022.

 Francesca Anderson Fine Art, MA

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows, please

visit our WEBSITE  artofwildlife.com     Email us

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Grab the Camera and a Tomato!

rachelle and wes siegrist

Wes and I were delighted to enjoy a beautiful day on the water this past week to celebrate our recent 32nd anniversary! We headed out in the kayaks early to make sure there was plenty of time to explore a lake nearby, and thought it wonderful that there was ample shade to keep us cool most of the day. We found a lovely spot to have a picnic, surrounded by button bushes covered in blossoms. They were absolutely beautiful and the fully open flowers looked like white fireworks that had just exploded. Of course I had to feel them and they were so soft to the touch, feeling very much like a powder puff blossom. We are familiar with these flowers, as Wes painted them many years ago, when illustrating a book for the Nature Conservancy entitled “Realm of the Panther“. This was the first time we had seen them blooming in Tennessee though. 

button bush blossom

We relaxingly paddled along whilst exploring little nooks and crannies along the banks of the lake, and thought this small creek was great fun to explore!

wes siegrist kayaking

There were large grass carp in the shallow areas, and it was thrilling each time we came upon one and it would zip off underwater at a high rate of speed, churning up dirt and sediment from the bottom. They were so big in fact, that they left wakes that actually rocked the kayak! Although I never managed to to capture a photo or video of an actual fish, I did get this cool photo below, of the area just after one had taken off. It was a wonderful day, and I even had a chance to get in the lake and swim for awhile to cool off at one point. 

kayaking

Meanwhile back at home, the flowers and garden plants continue to grow like crazy and we are amazed at how well our squash are doing! We even enjoyed our first ripe tomatoes this week, and what a burst of flavor these little red gems deliver to the taste buds! They actually taste like tomatoes compared to the months and months of eating store bought ones. 

flower arranging

Every day it seems, we are treated to a wonderful discovery or viewing of a critter on the property. This week we came upon this gorgeous Marbled Salamander, whilst walking the trails. This amazing amphibian was over 4 inches long, and very obliging to have its photo taken. 

marbled salamander

Another day I happened upon this beautiful Eastern Box Turtle, so I quickly hiked back to the house, grabbed the camera and a tomato, told Wes about my exciting discovery and headed back out to find her. Thankfully Wes spotted her, so after taking a few photos, I bit into the tomato and placed it in front of her. Since she was too shy to eat in front of us, we walked away for a few minutes and when we returned both she and the tomato were no where in sight! I’m sure this was her first tomato and she obviously loves them as much as I do!

eastern box turtle photo

We have seen the deer several times this week at various locations throughout the woods and in the yard as well, and Wes managed to capture this photo of one of the turkey hens and some of the poults, that our Ruby-throated hummingbird decided to photo bomb LOL 🙂 

turkey photo

Another evening we were sitting on the back porch eating supper, when we noticed 3 turkey hens and 13 poults emerge from the woods in the back. They slowly made their way up through the meadow area just outside the garden fence, whilst eating grass seeds. They would grab a stem in their beak, pulling up on it while stripping it of seeds, and did this over and over again. We spent a half hour sitting very still and completely mesmerized, watching this magical encounter. Yet another evening when I was swimming in the pool, I had walked over to the edge to get the net to get a couple of bugs out with, and happened to notice something walking in the meadow behind the garden. I stood real still and continued watching,  soon realizing it was a grey fox! It walked over to the back of the fence right across from me, and stood still for a minute, our gazes fixed upon each other, before walking over to the woods nearby. As you can imagine I was very excited and managed to get Wes’ attention to show it to him before it disappeared. Critters are not the only delightful surprises here, as these gorgeous Cumberland Rose-gentians started blooming in the back meadow this past week, and the best part is that they’re pink . . . How awesome is that!

cumberland rose gentian

We enjoyed a visit from dear friends (whom you’ll recognize from blog posts in the past) from Townsend, who came to spend the day with us and see where we live now. After a yummy lunch of squash pasta, made from fresh squash from the garden, we took a leisurely stroll through some of the trails and the gardens. They were totally amazed at what all we had done in less than a year, having followed along with photos of our progress we had sent them. They also loved watching the numerous birds, especially the brilliant yellow goldfinches that are constantly at the feeders. It was a delightful time together indeed and we were sad to see them go!

siegrists and friends

Me, Wes, Kit, Elise and Dick

IN THE STUDIO

I’ve made a lot of progress on my Silverback Gorilla painting this past week, which will be featured in the Sketch for Survival with Explorers Against Extinction at The Explorers Club in New York City, NY.   The Online Auction will take place on October 7, 2022, and all proceeds from the sale of this painting will go to this cause. Of course knowing I’m helping to make a difference for endangered animals and the natural world, make this painting even more special and fun to do! I will keep you updated with my continued progress on it.

gorilla painting in progress

Did you know there are now 17 painting videos for you to enjoy on our YOUTUBE CHANNEL

SEE OUR PAINTINGS IN PERSON THIS WEEK

EXQUISITE MINIATURES now on display at The Art & Heritage Center,

Windsor, CO, May 15 – August 15, 2022 

 Francesca Anderson Fine Art, MA

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows, please

visit our WEBSITE  artofwildlife.com     Email us

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Oh…What A Difference A Day Makes

daffodills photo

WOW . . . What a difference a day makes indeed! Friday evening we were sitting out on the back porch eating supper, enjoying the sunshine and relative warmth. Night came, we went to bed and woke up the next morning to 3 inches of snow covering the ground! Whilst sleeping later that night, a strange noise woke me up and at first I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but soon realized it was the sound of sleet and crunchy snow pelting the side of our cabin! Of course we knew it was heading our way, but even so I just wasn’t prepared for winter to return with such vengeance. 

nature photograpghy

It was beautiful, but very cold, with highs in the low 20s accompanied by very strong winds, which added insult to injury. Knowing they would need extra food, we spread a lavish buffet of seeds, nuts and mealworms for the birds, and they descended on our yard in great numbers. 

tufted titmouse

Before long they had consumed nearly everything, so I suited up in my dozen or so layers to keep me warm and refilled the buffet spread. I had taken the camera out with me, found a nice sunny spot to sit nearby, and happily sat watching my numerous feathered visitors all around, whilst taking photos of them.

mourning dove photo

After awhile I headed to the back patio to see if there was a sunny spot out of the wind. I found one on the stone steps which had somehow managed to absorb and hold a wee bit of warmth from the abundant sunshine. So I plopped down there and commenced watching the many birds again. At times the wind gusts were so intense that they whipped up piles of snow, forming snow dirt devils which twisted and turned following along the tree line in the backyard, before suddenly falling to the ground. It was actually quite amazing to watch, as I had never seen a snow devil before! 

stone patio ideas

Even our gorgeous plump doves were fluffed up trying to stay warm. This couple sitting right by the fire pit appeared to be waiting for us to come out and light a fire for them to warm themselves by. 

mourning dove photo2

There were so many birds in the yard, that I could hardly resist going from window to window, once back in the house. At one point Wes exclaimed “Oh, there’s a Fox Sparrow!” So I quickly ran to the window to see this beautiful large rusty red-colored sparrow, which we have only seen twice before. I managed to get several nice photos of it through the living room window.

fox sparrow photo

Even though we aren’t finished completely with the pizza oven yet, the stone covered base got christened with snow and icicles during this past winter storm, and It was quite lovely sporting its frozen accessories! 

stone patio

This past week, Wes carefully removed the foam mould from inside the pizza oven, and it turned out great! He lit a couple of candles and let them burn inside to help finish drying out the concrete.  

pizza oven

I thought it was so neat looking inside, I had to take a photo for you! It looks like the inside of an old crypt or something, don’t you think? 

pizza oven2

We’ll probably try and carefully move it outside and sit it atop the stone base this next week. Once in place one more layer of concrete will be added, and then it has to sit and cure for a couple of weeks, before we can actually use it, and I just know it’s gonna make delicious pizza! It has been an interesting process indeed, and I look forward to being able to share photos of it completely finished.

IN THE STUDIO

Here’s my finished pet portrait commission of a beautiful black cat named “Jett”. I’ve started on my next pet portrait and am having great fun with it! I’ll be able to share it with you later. Wes and I both will also be painting on miniatures to submit to upcoming shows, and I’ll have to wait until the jury process is completed before sharing those. I’m also working on my time-lapse video of the truck painting and should have it on YouTube sometime very soon!

cat painting pet portrait

“Jett”

SEE OUR PAINTINGS IN PERSON

miniature portrait painting

Our touring exhibition Exquisite Miniatures is currently at The Evelyn Burrow Museum, located in Hanceville, AL, where you can see it now through April 21st, 2022. So if you’re in the area, plan a visit to the museum, grab a magnifying glass and be “Wowed” in person!

Society of Animal Artists 2021 Exhibition
Remaining Tour Venue:
February 5 – May 5, 2022: The Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, KS

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows, please

visit our WEBSITE  artofwildlife.com     Email us

Thanks for following me 🙂

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle