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

Where Squirrels Fly

cute squirrel photo by rachelle siegrist

While we were painting the back deck recently, I temporarily moved down to what we call “secret garden” to eat  breakfast al fresco with my squirrels and birds. Well, I enjoyed being out in this small secluded section of our gardens so much, that I’ve decided to continue enjoying breakfast there every morning. Most of the time there are at least half a dozen squirrels, numerous birds, our resident bunny and a few chipmunks join me. As you can imagine it’s a lot of fun, and most entertaining! I’m not sure where my bunny hides, but she sees me bringing the food, and instantly there she is, sitting there beside me, waiting patiently for me to dispense some seeds on the ground. She is so gentle and gracefully and quite peaceful to watch move about. The squirrels are not patient at all, and get rather upset if the food isn’t placed out quickly.

squirrels

At one point yesterday morning, I had 8 squirrels sitting in a semi-circle surrounding me, enjoying peanuts that I was passing out continually. There have been several times that the chipmunk has almost jumped up into my lap, so I’m expecting that to most likely happen soon! Yesterday morning all of the sudden, one of the squirrels went nuts, and started acting like a kitten at play! It would suddenly jump straight up into the air, fall down sideways on the ground, roll onto its back and spin in circles whilst chasing its tail. It did this numerous times over and each time it would catch its tail, it would start playing with it, before releasing it and starting this same performance over and over again. Occasionally it would quickly stop, dig a small hole and then start all over again, and at times leap over to a nearby tree trunk, appearing to be flying through the air! I laughed until my sides hurt while watching that silly squirrel, as this all took place in the middle of a mossy area mere feet away from where I sat. I’m still wondering if it found “squirrelnip” somewhere . . . Ha! Sadly I didn’t have my camera with me that morning, so I can only share the hilarious story of what took place.

squirrel photo

The precious squirrel pictured above is named Growlin’ and somehow she lost her foot a couple of years ago. I have absolutely no idea what happened to my sweet girl, but thankfully she manages just fine and very much enjoys her extra special attention and treats! She got her name because she talks, in her growling sort of way, and actually will carry on a conversation with me. Of course I have no idea what she’s saying, but as long as I keep doling out the food, I’m pretty sure it’s all good!

chipmunk photo

The entire time I’m sitting there, the chipmunks run back and forth beneath my chair, transporting their edible goods back to their underground home nearby. Even the honey bees have been joining me during breakfast, whilst drinking the rich nectar from the plentiful purple blossoms of the Hostas. It is truly a rewarding way to start the day!

honey bee photo rachelle siegrist

I’m always spotting things when walking our around our garden paths, and I just happened to see this beautiful Swallowtail Butterfly one afternoon, that had recently emerged from its cocoon and was pumping the fluid from its abdomen into its gorgeous new set of wings! This was such a great find that I came back inside to grab my camera.

swallowtail butterfly photo rachelle siegrist

There are at least two resident Praying Mantis that stay on our front deck and one absolutely loves literally hanging out on the eggplants Wes is growing using the Kratky hydroponics method. They are never too pleased when I get close to look at them and especially photograph them, but they will tolerate it. I’m just so thankful these insects with attitudes are as small as they are, otherwise we would be in big trouble . . . Ha Ha!

praying mantis photo by rachelle siegrist

 

See our miniatures in person this week

 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.

We still have paintings available through these miniature shows listed, so visit their websites linked below to see what can still be yours!

Masterpieces in Miniature
 May 2021: Picture This Gallery, Alberta, Canada

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

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

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Sun, Sand and Waterscapes

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Even though it’s been raining here almost constantly for the past 48 hours, we enjoyed a couple days of sunshine and milder temps this past week! So as you can imagine, we jumped at the chance to get outdoors and take advantage of the nicer weather! We loaded up the kayaks, taking along a sandwich, and headed to the water. We were amazed at how calm it was and that the water was nice and slick, and as soon as we stepped foot into the kayaks, the wind started! At least by the time we reached the sandy beach where we had our picnic, we had worked up a good appetite! After lunch, Wes fished for quite sometime, while I enjoyed just sitting back on the sand. It almost felt as if I was at the beach! With legs outstretched, I leaned back, propping myself up on my elbows, and closed my eyes. 

sand photo

Sometimes it’s nice to just listen, while figuring out what the different sounds are that I’m hearing. I heard the Canada geese fussing at Wes each time he changed locations, the cries of Ospreys as they soared above, the call of Carolina wrens in the distance, and the happy chatter of swallows as they darted about nearby. I was so relaxed in my sandy seat, that it was hard to leave. It was lovely and most relaxing, although I was brought back to reality often with the screaming roar of muscle cars and motorcycles racing up and down the nearby road. Sadly, it’s very difficult to find somewhere where you can escape them here in the Smokies anymore. But during the moments when it’s quiet, it’s delightful! 

wes siegrist

I’ve had more fun taking underwater videos and photos, and this week chose to take a few slo-mo videos. It is interesting to watch them, and you can easily see that patterns in water are never exactly the same! It’s that amazing when you think about it? When you watch the changing ripples and patterns in water, you’re seeing things that only you’ll see, and from split-second to split-second, they will never ever be the same again! It’s really incredible when you think about it!

underwater photo rachelle siegrist

I thought these two photos interesting, especially the one above, which looks like a water tornado!

underwater photo by rachelle siegrist

Here’s a slo-mo video for you which shows the ever changing patterns in the water, which I think you’ll find as fascinating I did.

We were thrilled to find the first Morel Mushroom of the season and are hoping to find more soon! These incredible looking mushrooms, are not only amazing to look at, but are absolutely delicious as well!

morel mushroom photo

Okay, so here’s this weeks excerpt from the 1892 cookbook, and although some of the things that may frighten us are different in current times, I must say it’s a good one and needs no explanation.

everyday cookbook

In The Studio

I’m making more progress on my commission of two Purple Martins. Once I’m done painting the birds, I’ll be adding a gold background, which will really change the appearance, and is always an exciting part of a painting! I’ll be finishing it this week, and will share it with you once it’s done.

miniature bird painting

 

In case you missed the announcement of my latest time-lapse painting video, here’s the link to our YouTube Chanel for you to check it out and any others you may have missed! 

 See our miniatures in person this week 

 Exquisite Miniatures at the Norfolk Arts Center, in Norfolk, NE

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

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

Follow us!

 

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle