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

How To Celebrate a Birthday






Flowers fitting for this week  are these fiery blooms on the little tree on the side of the Dutch Consulate in Los Angeles – since these kinds of international documents are a constant part of our son’s life.









When we discovered last year that our son’s 30th birthday would be 2 days after we planned to go back to the USA, we postponed our flight from Amsterdam. When you have your birthday late in June, it’s exam time in Europe, but in the USA where he grew up, it was already summer vacation. Thirty comes only around ONCE:)
On his birthday we did lunch at a little coffee shop  (of his choice) in the center of the Hague, the city where he studies, and after that he needed to go a few hours to school, so we could resume his birthday!










Didn’t quite realize it, till we were walking through the streets of The Passage – a mall that was already there when I studied in the Hague many moons ago. The skylight was already there, but they modernized the shops. You see the stairs on the right?











Not only did I study in the Hague, but I also married there











Had promised him that we would join whatever he wanted to do that day! He choose bowling. Not my favorite thing to do, but I promised:)










The Hague has changed so much, and rerouted so many things with one way streets, that we were happy to have the GPS with us. Coming near the bowling gallery, I thought it looked familiar. And I was right! When I saw this building – the Kurhaus – I immediately knew we were in the same street at the beach of Scheveningen where I studied, and later taught, after my study the States. How serendipitous! When we stepped out of the car, the smell of the salt in the air, transported me to a time so long ago .









A tiny fence here


We ended the day with his choice of restaurant, which satisfied his eclectic taste, and is for the Netherlands quite unusual – the food was a blend of Italian, American, and W-European. The pasta was made right in front of the quest, but the rest was buffet style. Quite a memorable 30th birthday for son, and for hubby, and I as well!

Today, Aug. 3rd, is a memorable day as well because it’s that “feared” birthday (mine) today –  Am too tired to feel anything, because yesterday the movers came 2 days after a 14 day escrow of the condo closed (it’s madness!) we were living in, and put our stuff in storage, so we can move when escrow of our new house closes. It’s like moving twice in 14 days, and is now officially on my list of “never again!”  The good thing is that everything went well:)  So, the only thing we had the energy for that supposed to be so special birth day was drive to a ginormous mall where a Krispy creme  doughnut shop was, and ordered a chocolate covered vanilla filled, and a banana filled with nuts on top doughnut for each, and a coffee.  WHO says it gets easier when one gets older??


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Our house hunt paid off – yay -and I don’t know who likes the house more; we or our real estate agent:) This week we’re organizing things for the movers to come and store our stuff, so they can transport it in 3 weeks to our new house (which has a longer escrow).
We had to replace our real estate person on the L.A. side, as well as where we are going to move. That was an agonizing experience, and hope we have to never do that again.
We are very happy and thankful the second ones were a better fit with our needs and wishes and expedited the selling and the buying quickly for us.

This means … that I’ll have to have the computer packed by the end of this week. Have pre-scheduled 6 weekly posts,
but don’t know if I’ll be able to make all the links for the memes work on the Ipad.
Just so you know that I’m not quitting my blog or mad at anyone, maybe just frustrated with my own limits!




Now my post -

My plein air paintings usually begin on location (in the summer),  and are finished at home because of lack of time. Hubby and I were in Utah – BRCYE CANYON  last year.
We both love mountains and forests.
I’m taking only the most necessary colors with me, 3 brushes, some paper towel and one of two small canvasses in my backpack, because there’s also my easel and my lunch! Not to forget an umbrella and my hoodie. Close to 9000 feet the wind is sometimes quite chilly. Did I forget anything?




The year before I had made an attempt to do the plein air.  I stood at almost 9000 feet and the wind was so strong that it knocked the small canvas out of my hand.  I got plenty sympathy of people standing around to enjoy the view.
We were all mesmerized by the rainbow of colors of these rocks.

Seeing the pics after we came home, I was even more determined that if I would ever come back to this place,
I would paint it, because the pics taken with an 18 pixels camera didn’t pick up all the colors!
I know of HDR, but I like the colors to come from my brush:)



Untill here it went fast
… hm, how many of the trees to put in?



Rainbow Arch ,Oil, 12 x 16 inch


Most of my work came after my first progress painting.
With every painting come “painting problems” that need to be solved.

1. the underside of the arch was so round it looked like a ball…
Solved by exaggerating any little bump or ledge

2. do I really need to put those gray patches in?
yes, otherwise it looks one big blob

3. the green of the trees may distract!
Use green with the least amount of yellow in it, like forest green

4. pink is my least fave color for mountains…
too bad, the pink stays (with one eyebrow raised)



What else to see in Bryce Canon?




Flowers don’t do well with triple digits,
they stay near the ground and are wilted
but we loved these brave little flowers putting up a fight





Even the fallen trees exude a certain beauty here
(also ” see” a painting :)  )



The RiminBryce_3154

While I’m painting, hubby hikes to “the Rim” of Bryce Canon – near 9000 feet. One way to keep up one’s exercise:)


the skies perfectly frame
the ever changing views
never enough time to look at them



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Came back late Sunday night from another stint to look for a house 7 hours away, so this weekly post is about a beautiful place  from my pics last year, close to the border between France and Italy.
Things with the house hunt are looking good, but am glad to sleep in my own bed for a while!































If balconies could tell a story …

They could tell you who’s on a journey, and who’s staying at home …





would they tell whose boat was still there because Guilio was sleeping in today
or whose brother was swimming down there









 … if it was Gina who had just hung the sheets to dry








 (Modified for Mandarin Orange and Orange TGIF)










or why someone put the fence up in front of these flowers









… or who was taking a break today and went shopping instead
… or reading a book by the door of the church
and … whose idea it was the stripe the walls of the church?



five towns at the Mediterranean Sea


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