Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
Wes Siegrist jokes that he uses gnat eyelashes to paint his painstakingly small miniature art pieces.
The small artwork he and his wife create average about 2 ½ by 2 ½ inches and sometimes call for painting spaces “smaller than your fingernail,” he told attendees at the Irving Arts Center’s “Gallery of Artists” on Sep. 15.
“It just requires a fine point and a steady hand,” he said, pointing to a detailed 3⅛ x 2⅜ inch portrait of President George W. Bush.
Siegrist was one of nine nature artists to participate in the two-day “Gallery of Artists” event, which featured lectures and demonstrations from the nature and wildlife artists.
Part of the proceeds from the sale of the artists’ work, which range from the miniature art paintings of tigers to stone sculptures of birds, will go to the Dallas Ecological Foundation.
“We’re really excited to be able to host these talented, prestigious artists and support a mission of supporting conservation and the arts,” said Marci Inman,director of exhibitions and educational programming for the center.
It’s also a chance to showcase work from national artists to north Texas.
“A lot of people here in the Metroplex are interested in nature and wildlife art,” she said.
But for the artists, it’s an opportunity to share their creative process as well as support conservation efforts.
Sculptor Paul Rhymer, another of the featured artists, said the Gallery of Artists is a group of committed nature artists from all across the United States.
“We all have a common desire to support the arts and to support conservation,” he said. “Some of the proceeds go to the venue we’re at and some go to a local conservation society. It’s a way to have our cake and eat it too.”
It’s a passion he said he enjoys being a part of and an artistic process worth the wait.
“It varies how long it takes me to finish (a piece),” Rhymer said. “I’ll work on one and then come back and change it.
“I’ll let the piece tell me when it’s done,” he added. “Hopefully, I’m listening.”