You may remember  my three art shows last year in Holland. Whenever we had time in-between gallery and workshop activities, we went to visit friends. These lived in Zwolle, the East, less than an hour of Kampen














Sky on our way to Kampen. This pic makes me smile, because Holland is soo green and so flat – the opposite of where I live now. Here in California everything outside is brown because of triple digits heat, and live at 3000 feet, instead of below sea level:)














Arrivved at Kampen, before walking over this amazing bridge to the harbor, a white fence (left). The whole right side of this bridge is a reflection! It looked like a glass wall. Have no idea about the construction, since this bridge spans a good size river and  lets  also ships pass.















After all these cool colors I need to see some bright and, or light colors. And that we saw in this flower in Hortus,  the North East (near Groningen).





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Kind of a dramatic title, but you’ll get the gist of it when you read the text and see the images.
Even though most people are impressed with the mountains and waterfalls of Yosemite, the greens are one of my favorite features of this place.


overhangingBranchFaveSpot 124

We discovered this spot one time on our way to leave the park.  Inviting to read a book or paint with a view of Bridal Veil Falls. The (then little) kids could play in the sand and in the water of the river.  It became a tradition to spend some time here, before we would leave for the cabin. This overhanging branch grew and grew with the years.










Overhanging Branch, Watercolor, 12 x 16 inch

Painting a tree may be simple, but somehow I often happen to choose the complicated ones!

It took me years before I thought I could tackle the enormous crown of leaves. Too complicated for an oil, so my first try was in watercolor.
When I started the sketch plein air,  I needed a strategy to avoid an overworked or boring rendition, and make this tree stand out!  The tree trunks and its shadows are brown, and the rocks below are brown – it  happens to be my least favorite color.   Hence I picked up on any hint of another color for the rocks, and exaggerated it for the painting.

The trunks and branches I did in different kinds of brown: yellow brown, auburn to Bordeau red. Okay, so far so good.

The sky and  background with the wet-in wet approach ( below, for you technical buffs) for the crown of leaves. Some leaves are detailed, others just indicated by color differences.

A tree can be painted many ways.
A painter does not copy, but gives a mood and story to the place.
I wanted the end result to be an airy, somewhat whimsical tree with many leaves to give lots of shade. That’s what this spot is to me.

** wet-in-wet approach: spray or wet paper with sponge.  When you see a glaze,  the paper will be almost dry, put in a background of several colors (the colors will seep over into each other). Wait a few seconds more to put some blurry leaves in. Some crisp leaves for the foreground when the paper is completely dry. Don’t forget before this process to tape the edges of your paper:)









How the sky above our house (back then)  looked like during the day

It had been hot in the summer of 2008. The Fall was even hotter and the year of the fires in California (kind of symbolic for that year, eh?). At one point there were 15 large fires burning.
Even though the closest one was an hour away, ashes from the fire, carried by the wind  lay on the driveway on the car, on the lawn and everything that was outside – an eerie sight. Even though there were still patches with blue with clouds, the sky looked just ominous. I took my exercise walk in another city (40 min. away) for a week, because as soon as I came outside, I began to cough (though I have no allergies!) from all the ashes in the air.










 Tiger Lilly. Oil, 24 x 24 inch, St Germain

No wonder I choose back then to paint the orange tiger lily .
This lily says I AM fire.
I exude fire.
Waves of flames are around me
Fire is my breath, my life
my passion destroys everything
that has not gone through fire before

when you live around me
you burn too, like I do








Such devastation after a fire, effecting on only the landscape, but also animals and humans. It takes a while before the animals come back.



Usually  one post per week with all the memes -this week is DIFFERENT – from Thursday on also look on the post KAMPEN:) if you can’t find the meme you’re coming from  (I don’t know if wordpress automatically does a hyperlink)





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We added to our “work” map,  taken from http://Malakoff.com Goldmining


The end of January we went for our anniversary on a tour of the gold rush towns in California.
Coming from Oakhurst in the South we followed high way 49 (the main vein for finding gold in 1849),
going North up to Amador County, Placerville and to the East )Pollock Pines, close to Lake Tahoe).




this part is from Coulterville to Jackson and Sutter Creek
(kind of the middle part of the Gold Rush tour).
The road kept climbing and with that the vegetation became greener,
but also many hairpin corners! Luckily no city traffic!

The pillars of this bridge are extremely high,
didn’t take time to go off the road for a better angle.




A straight view since the turnout on the road was small
Isn’t it gorgeous?
Also kind of half looking for an (eventual) house – we are both attracted to pioneering stuff,
but no houses at all for at least an hour all around, a little too much like “Little House on the Prairie” (at our age).






looking down on  a lovely lake.





Passed several towns  – quite tiny  –  with on  main street (highway 49)
a couple of houses and 2 – 3 stores. This house with two fences:)





Jackson and Sutter Creek were so close together
that it looked like the same town. We recently moved half an hour from here. So, am telling you about my NEW NEIGHBORHOOD!

Sutter Creek is called “the gem” of the Gold Rush towns
where gold was found in precious stones like quartz, etc.
I’ve seen a big stone of that in a store –  an expensive artwork in itself!
These towns are a little bigger, hence a good selection of stores





if you’re wondering – the “thing” in the middle holds my set of old-fashioned metric weights from Europe, to make it a  more interesting pic)


Spent some time at Main Street in the historic part of Jackson
Can’t get away without visiting a yarn & bead store  (and buying, lol)
In chatting with the owner she told the reason why the business was born.

A few months after having retired and moved
from a bigger city, she was so bored that she had a “need for something to do”
and voila “the Hole Affair” with yarn and beads was in business.





We both love browsing at second hand bookstores.
When our second one showed signs as a toddler
she was not interested in reading, we made sure she would overcome her dislike.

Now as a mother of three, the first opportunity  to go out for coffee when visiting her city,
she takes us to a B. & N. so she, and her little ones can read:):)


Along the road we saw several signs of “Gold Panning.”
Before our trip had seen a tutorial on You Tube of gold panning. It’s easy!
You just need a couple of buckets of water, a screen, and a shallow pan.

Some did become rich:):)
The news  ( Feb.25) reported John and Mary’s find of a 8 buckets of gold coins from the gold rush time in their back yard, at a value of 10 million! Yes, ten – no typo.
(Interview by Kagin’s Corner Archives)


You want to come treasure gold hunting with me?


Sorry for not getting back to your comments this last month. My recent move has been a very complicated one,  and finally this Wed. my computer got connected, so when my boxes from the move have dwindled down to a manageable level, I ‘ll reply to your comment back on my (long) breaks!

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Going with the Wind

We finally did it! Move, that is. It has taken us eight months to come this far.
Only our move from Holland to American has been more involved than this one.
However, this move was much more daunting, because it was not only a geographical move. This one would include a different life style. For most of our lives together we have been flying by the seat of our pants, working on multiple projects at the same time. Now, I have one big project in front of me that I know of –  – painting what I feel I need to paint. Not to become successful or get my name out there, but these paintings have a message.

With each choice
comes a seeking
beyond the practical
or most expedient
sometimes a choice becomes
one of DNA
why am I here
on this earth in this time
it’s unsettling!
the temptation
to grab easy and accessible
“what to do” is always there
waiting if I’ll fall into the trap this time


Beyond this ascent_3221



 Beyond this crest
a burst of newness
Blues and greens touch my eye
looking  down at the soil
new ground to cover
then stretching to the horizon
a new ascent
calls me









Dare I float
with the wind
the current
to unknown territories
unforseen Heights?

As long as the deep
opens up its secrets
its jewels, shells, and pearls
and I can roam
to my Hearts content.




* Am referring here to the following
Age 5-10 were the only years I lived in a tiny town of 20.ooo, while the rest of my life (5+ decades) I have lived in major cities. As a child I was happy in that fisherman’s village, but I knew my parents were very unhappy, always longing back for the big city. So in the last months I have been seriously checking my motives, my family, priorities, etc., etc. In poetry things can be really left vague, but it would be a little superficial to pretend that I just wanted to post some artsy phrases to go with my pics.

Last, but not least, I am excited about this new house. Love the  big open living room with vaulted ceilings. Am jazzed by the idea we have more than an acre of land. It doesn’t look that much, because it slopes down. So when I’m standing at the back yard border, it looks like the house is on top of a hill. Pretty cool! Have never lived at 3000 feet, but I  guess changes come with a new territory:) Am I prepared?

… We’ll see what life brings!


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Yosemite Nat. Park has been an almost yearly treat, since my youngest child was 5 years old. High mountains and high waterfalls is the hallmark of Yosemite.

Not winning, but to conquer – anything – is in the blood of our family.

Our daughter climbed Half Dome one time, my son two times, and hubby 4 times. To conquer Half Dome they would practice by climbing Yosemite Falls, then Vernal Falls (which is the first stop of Half Dome), the next day they would climb to Nevada Falls (2nd stop), and at the end of the week to the very top of Half Dome.  I conquered that mountain by painting this, and other mountains, since hiking is not my thing.









On higher elevations nature is dramatic with sharp weather contrasts. Also, the wind always seems to blow here. The sky seems so close that you have the feeling when stretching your hand, you can touch  the “ceiling” of the world. Also, the eagles are in plain sight and do not seem to fly as high:)






Melting Snowcropsmaller


“Snow in June.”       With permission of  present owners. Also displayed on my first artwebsite www.StgermainArt.com

Several years we saw the snow on higher elevations still melting in June.  Coming from a country so flat and three fourth of it below sea level, I am still awestruck with any mountain view. Of course I had to paint this (to brag about the state I lived in ).

This remains one of my very few acrylics (which is technically an opaque watercolor, but when the paint dries it’s as strong as plastic). Loved to paint this view! With acrylic I miss the transparency one has with watercolors, as well as the velvety shine of oil. Now I have to rethink this, since they have come out with the transparent acrylics (Golden), as well at water-mixable oils!








One of my pre-digital era pics of Teneya Lake, close to 9000 feet. In the summer one can often see still patches of snow on the mountains. A few years, one couldn’t even walk on the meadows in June, because it was still too wet. We like to eat our picnic lunch here and have a gorgeous view.








 Modified for Mandarin Orange and Orange TGIF (crosshatch, glass, grain)








One of the few pics of  – my adult kids now – climbing. Here they were in their teens, at Nevada Falls on the way to Half Dome. The middle one on the left of the waterfall is my son and immediately on his right, in the light blue top, my daughter. Hubby took the pic, because I was far below, painting at Happy Isles. The contrast  in the pics is reduced (PS) to make the people more visible.






Not many wildflowers in the higher regions. I have one that I can’t find that is literally pressed against the ground.





pic half dome



But first timers come for the 9000 feet giant Half Dome on the right. You can climb to the top in 6 hours, but for the last part you need to sign  a permission slip (they allow only a certain number of people per day)- you climb a ladder and pull yourself up on ropes.


Even IF HIKING IS NOT YOUR THING, the park runs a FREE BUS to see some of he GIANT SEQUOIA TREES and HUGE WATER FALLS. You can go white water rafting, swimming, or biking. They have GUIDED TOURS with rangers, or PAINT PLEIN AIR (buy paper, brushes and paint there if you like – pretty cheap!) with  free instruction for all ages from a professional artist. Come before August when there’s still lots of water  at the water falls!




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PS – Since I’ve been doing my comments on the Ipad, some of you may not have received them, because of weak connection , but hopefully I’ll get my computer unpacked and internet set up next week:)t



This is Muiderslot one of the 22 castles (including non-operating castles and ruins)  in the Netherlands, in the province of Utrecht (in the middle of the country). Some of you have seen this castle on my deleted blog of blogspot.com before.

Two rivers came together at this location, and since Holland was a country in the 16th century that had more water ways than land, one could not pass this castle without paying taxes.  At one time a famous  Dutch poet, P.C. Hooft lived there and had often other artists, writers, and musicians visiting him.








Can you see the princess in the tower waiting to be rescued?
Muiderslot means the slot (castle) of the town Muiden


Now someone needs to rescue me from this whole escrow thing and get us into our new house. because this waiting without able to do art is driving me nuts, and it’s kind of expensive to be on the Ipad being without wifi … which prevents me my regular visits to you, my bloggie friends!








Added the pillar next to it to give an idea about the size of this painting of this child with cherries.
Am glad children in this time don’t have to be miniature adults.

Several school groups with children were visiting. The tour guides included questions for the kids – a nice way to learn history! The tours were in English.





A baby bed, undoubtedly of a rich family
(believe me the paintings on the sides of the bed are real!
In that time they didn’t have copy machines yet)
The pink blanket –  they probably could not make prints like that then






A sunny moment in my brother’s yard





put the big (!) kettle on





The reflections are a little hard to see. On this very rainy day there’s a puddle on the right bottom side. And in the middle of the pic near the bottom you see the half circle on the wall, reflected in the moat

Today, I realized that the red you see, is the gate of the castle – linking on Good Fences:)









Modified for Mandarin Orange and Orange TGIF
















They planted herbs, plants and flowers that were available in the 16th century.
Sorry, jetlag and a sudden 40 degree difference is not the best frame of mind to take pics of details.




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* Not to boast, but  as a matter of identity, even in my teens I considered myself an artist. To my teachers and friends it seemed obvious, because if it was about art, they came to ask me. My personal experience is that art critics and media (some unintentionally) include their own opinions about the artist. There are actually only few bohemians among them. Most artists are very serious about their work, intense, philosophical about life, and somewhat removed from main stream. In the USA he is known for the paintings with  a cow jumping over the moon, the artist’s wife Bella floating, etc. .
Last year I saw a whole other side of the painter Marc Chagall.     ThreeAngelsvisitMoses_2052   1960-66 Moses visited by three angels, hearing that Sarah his wife would bear a child, when she  was at least 90 years old.       Chagall was a Russian Jew, and this inheritance had a huge influence on his paintings. I “kind of knew” that, but it was in the museum in Nice (pronounce niece) in France that it became so clear to me that although he knew Picasso, Braque and others of the Cubists movement, Chagall followed his own journey.

Jacob'sBattlewAngel_2063     Here, Jacobs battle with the angel on the left. On the right some major events  (Jospeh thrown by his brothers into a well, etc.)     Chagall’s patron  provided funds so he could go to France and he eventually became a French citizen. During world war II he fled to America. Marc met his wife Bella early on in life. He came from a poor family and she of a wealthy one. She had studied in Moscow and travelled abroad. She posed for him in several paintings. They stayed true to each other until she died (nothing Bohemian about this artist:) in contrast to Picasso ). *       SongofSongs4p193_2082   On the back side of the main space of the gallery, is what I have dubbed as the Pink Room. All the paintings are a bright pink, leaning to red, and about the Song of Solomon  – a love story.  These have stolen my heart. Lovely, lovely, lovely. I don’t know if I could have swallowed  taken these paintings a decade ago.  The manner in which he portrays Biblical things are romantic,  magical, and childlike. Now, I’m a decade wiser (lol), I applaud his courage for a view that no doubt he believed in himself.         Creation_2095

Creation of each of the six days.

    On the premises of the museum is also a chapel erected to display his excellent stained glass work. It’s the most intense ultramarine blue I’ve seen. I was shocked how much my own work resembles the colors he uses. Last year (2013) I saw these for the first time in my life, while my own approach to the painting of this subject are since 1997.     SmallPhotoBook_0767       To show some of my work in several art media I prepared a photo book for my three art shows in Holland last year May-June 2013), titled “Between Heaven and Earth.” After we got home, I gasped when I read the following in Chagall’s speech for the inauguration of the museum in 1973 (2nd resource below),

… that I was born, one might say, between heaven and earth; that the world for me is a great desert in which my soul wanders like a flaming torch – I have made paintings in unison with this distant dream. I wanted to leave them in this House so that men can try to find some peace … a meaning in life.

Serendipitous? Or what …   * Some of the great things about the museum: children can visit (there were some classes sitting on the front lawn when we arrived). You may take pics of the paintings!! (In many museums in Europe you are not allowed to do that). Friendly staff – I overheard one couple asking for the way to the beach, and the staff person gave them several options to get there:)   —————————————————— Some additional pics for the weekly memes       May30 135

If I would ascribe a flower to Chagall it would be definitely a rose, since he was known to love his wife Bella,

and painted her several times.


And this sky represents Chagall for the mesmerizing deep blue and the angel-like clouds floating above the horizon.


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    ** Resources *Harris, N., The Life and Works of Chagall, N.Y., Shooting Star Press, 1994 *Chagall, Musee National Marc Chagall, Nice, p. 9