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 – Bryce Canon 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”- 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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Several of you lead a traveling life and also have the energy to blog. I don’t know how you do it! Each time when I have only my Ipad with me, things go wrong. Yes, I have my post up, but linking memes with the Ipad is kind of iffy. Besides, where I am at that moment takes up all of my attention, and usually end up waiting till I’m home to resume my blogging  addiction   life.







A little blurry drive-by shot of the side of the road


We were house hunting in Amador county (east from Sacramento) last week, and saw the mountains on the I5 in… brown while driving up there. Even chocolate brown can be beautiful in the right kind of setting:)









Who wouldn’t like to have  a fence like that? So pretty!  Plenty room to build a studio here for Ms. Artist, don’t you think? But… what’s this? It looks like a sinkhole next to this outside wall ….hmmm, I think we’ll leave for  the next house …








A big and open living room - including a good size kitchen. We would paint the wall a color that fits better with the red brick.  A dining table in front of the patio doors.  Enough space in the yard for a big art studio. The only thing I need to decide is how much privacy I want. I like both to be with people, and also have down times.








How about a white or orange wall?
For Mandarin Orange and Orange TGIF




We saw six properties, so it was a day well spent, and ended it with a delicious Italian meal. Our real estate agent was very informative about where several places like restaurants, stores, hospital, etc. were located.
So that’s the latest about our house hunt,  bloggie friends.









Click on the pic for  a closer view

On the day we would return home we took a detour, driving through part of Yosemite Nat. park. Toward the W-entrance we began to see burnt trees and then I remembered …
last year around this time we had scheduled to spend a week near Yosemite, but cancelled, because there were two big fires burning nearby and would make for unhealthy air quality. To drive between towering burnt trees is like suddenly being transported to another planet without life. It was kind of eerie.






Relief to see there are still green leaves on earth – and flowers! Several bunches of these grouped together






WEntrance river2185



Same spot, but with the Merced river in view, at places deep enough to swim.

Coming from lower elevations  where it was  97 degrees, we ate our sandwiches at nearly 7000 feet – where temps were a cooler  85 degrees. Sitting on a tree trunk with the river in front of us,


I feel nature is a gift!



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San Diego is an easy place to see or do something. There’s the Zoo (a large one), Sea World, the beach and the beach at Mission Bay, Seaport Village, Old Town, Balboa Park, the Harbor, Little Italy, air craft carrier (museum – even though I’m not particularly interested in airplanes, I was in awe) of the Marines, and some other places. Not to forget : the entrance to Tijuana, Mexico. Take your pick:).
Since it’s only one and a half hour from us, we go there often. Except for holidays, because most of your time could be spent on looking for a parking place or to stand in line for something.








In this reflection hubby and some others are standing in (right) front of the candy store in Old Town San Diego.  It looks like they have Hawaiian outfits on, but they’re actually candy containers inside the store.  You also see the roof and a tree across the street from the candy store. There’s also a store you can watch taffy being made.





A few stores down is an awesome store for coffee beans and tea leaves. Of course we had to promise to send him the pic, to make it worth to him missing his Sunday sports game, lol. The pic below is the cash register modified for Mandarin Orange.
If you like to eat authentic Mexican food at reasonable prices, Old Town is the place!













The trumpet-like Brugmansia flowers in front of the Botanical building in Balboa park.
In the Botanical (open air) building is a large selection of orchids.






Fountain2BalboaPark 153




 At the and of the “street” with performers, this large refreshing fountain in Balboa Park in the hot sun.
we turn to the left to get an ice cream and visit the artist village.






concert podium (2)

 waiting for the concert to begin


 Surprizing how many of these seats will be taken when the organist starts playing. Often Sebastian Bach.
Organ is not my favorite instrument, but the compose Johann Sebastian Bach is my favorite composer.







 Turning from orange to golden




We were standing for a long time in the parking lot taking these sunset clouds after our meal at the Italian, and people smiling, laughing and getting out of our way so we could keep taking these pics. The end of a relaxing sunny afternoon in San Diego!







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DIDN’T SEE THIS ONE COMING – & The 4th of July

Last two years we have been at  several governmental agencies. Last year March my passport renewed for my art shows trip to Holland. After we came back my drivers license renewal. This year,  green card renewal – every 10 years (a legal alien needs that to legally work in the US – don’t lead me into temptation to talk about the other aliens). The first phase is on line and pay $600 (really!) and the next step of the digital fingerprinting and picture taking is done at one of the INS (International Naturalization Services) offices. And a week ago for Social Security and Medicare (now I’m receiving money:) ).


Coming through the door, strict security rules followed. No cell phones allowed. Spouses and children who are US citizens are sent away once you enter into the office. One cannot stand waiting. One has to sit - until certain numbers are up. These people have to stand - till it’s their turn. “Sit here. Place your bag in the seat next to you.”
You get the picture.


Talking about pics …





Firework Abstract_6194

This Pic …

Happy 4th of July!   Taken by hubby at Disneyland on one of the assignments of his photography class.
Didn’t see that once coming!








The sun reflected the ironwork on the opposite end of the hall way (behind him you see the same pattern)



Always viewed himself as noncreative, but 6 years ago he became interested in cameras, after he bought one for me (so I could take pics of my paintings and print them).  After he enrolled in his first photography class, he was a goner. Some asked him to be their model (to get their assignment done, lol). One of my kids wrote me, “staunch must be in vogue.”





HibiscusJac 030

Hibiscus.  So much for him being non-creative…



The “class” is more like a club, because they all keep retaking the same class,
go on trips, and some of the members make their living with photography.
The areas of interests  vary  from sports games to fashion, to weddings,
but for every semester they all need to do a class assignment in groups.
Back to the Green Card story -

… I didn’t see this one coming either …


Went in with the same mood as to renew one’s driver’s license.  Cooperate and smile:)  After a long time in line,  I was directed to sit with an INS agent, who typed the info of my card on the computer. When we went to a specific computer to do the fingerprinting,

the INS lady (50ties) turned to me and said in Dutch (since she now knew my info), “Are you an Indish girl?” (Indish means a person having a Dutch as well as Indonesian heritage – since Indonesia once was a colony of Holland before it became an independent country and Islamic).

“So you are too,” I responded.
“How do you know?” the INS person wanted to know.
“Because you said it in Dutch to me!” I smiled.
Then she told me from which part of Indon. she was (Indonesia has many islands).
To my big surprise, …  next came the stories about herself, about her family, about her health, asking if I was going to the yearly Dutch festival, while she was doing the digital fingerprinting
as if she had known me for years. (Was I really at the INS office? I pinched myself!)
This though is typically how Indonesian people relate. When they like you (often a first impression), they REALLY like you and you can ask the shirt of their back, even though you maybe strangers. When they don’t like you – good luck!
In this strict office she left me with “Well see you in ten years, if I’m still alive.” I assured her she would be!

She said goodbye to  us with, “See you at the Dutch festival!”
One of the other (American) INS officers faintly smiled as I walked passed him.
My thought was, hm, he has watched this whole thing unfold.

Walking out of this feared (by some) government office, I was blown away when I realized what just had happened.
I came to renew my green card, but I left a friend. I didn’t see this one coming!
These kinds of things normally happen to hubby, not to me! I guess today was “my turn.”



Realizing on  Friday of this week it’s Independence day for the Americans, and since I live in California …



probably one of our stops we’ll make on the 4th of July (this one is in Santa Inez, close to Solvang)






firwork sky_1021

And who knows the sky itself will give us this weekend a firework sky like this one at the end of the day!






or just a great weekend!



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Almost forgot that I would show some  of Solvang after my post “More of a Smaller City”
Since we went to Solvang – remake of a Danish town –  close to the W-coast of California the last two years to celebrate the 4th of July, my thoughts went there. They celebrate it in the morning with a big parade with all the organizations in town, and poop scoopers right behind the horses (I thought that was a great idea).








At some places along the road along the coast between Los Angeles and Solvang  the fog keeps hanging till the afternoon, even though the sun is shining, like here.



*One of these odd low hanging clouds and a fence

*It’s fitting with the friendly touristy atmosphere in town. Xenial  (concerning hospitality) Danish everything (almost) – the crème puffs are to die for – and they have folk dances from Denmark in the original costumes.
Crazily busy during store hours, but as soon as darkness falls, the streets are suddenly empty.








There are at least two statues of the Little Mermaid which is so closely knitted to Denmark.
I liked this variant of the original.
Below an enlarged  view of the flowers here













*The red traffic sign is typically European: round with a horizontal white stripe means one way traffic.
The words “Do not enter” are for the USA visitors (in Europe these words are not on the sign).On the other end of the street would be a blue  sign with a white arrow.







We discovered this book loft the first time we came to Solvang. Found a magazine with an article how to write a novel in one month. Not that I was planning to write anything ever again after battling writing in a 2nd language and going through the hoops of a research dissertation (I did finish it, because I was so close to my Dr degree), but that article helped me getting a handle of the ins and outs of writing.

The next year I came back to the Book Loft I was half way with my writing (you guessed it: a novel). I visit this store every time I come in Solvang because it is a marker in my life never to forget.








Behind this windmill we’ve eater one of the tastiest and healthiest pizza’s ever!





When our kids were around we stayed home to have a BBQ party with friends
and looking at fireworks
now they have flown out of the nest, mom and pop travel wherever they like
have some good food and look at fireworks (if possible)




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FIRST of all  - A VERY HAPPY FATHERS DAY to all the fathers among us!


Have you ever felt intimidated by beauty? In Utah I most definitely had that experience. So many large views and contrasts. There was no way to process it all at once for my little brain otherwise than to take as many pics as possible. Utah is much more than Bryce Canyon or Zion Nat. Park.





Just being on the road, I have learned not to wait with taking pics of these exciting skies. They change every few minutes! This looks like firecracker clouds in the desert.






 This was an incline, so I’m posting it as such:)



If it were only the skies, I could keep up with the change. Guess what, the colors and structure of the landscape we passed , also kept changing. The greens are just as varied and subtle as the red rocks.
The farmers work very hard to keep their land green (taken in June-July) and clean. The fences were  unassuming.










We were descending, but looking to the side, I felt very small!










Immediately to mind came: a kingdom in a far away land. Secure and safe, surrounded by many mountains. Doesn’t it look like from another world?








Modified with poster edges, posterize, film grain, and lens blur of PS
for the Mandarin Orange (on Facebook this week) and Orange TGIF




If you think you have seen beauty in Bryce Canyon….. this Sunrise Point view almost looks “normal” compared to when you go to Zion Nat. park (photo below)









No photo tricks here. No special lens! How in the world do I choose a spot to paint?? Somehow this patch gives me the feeling of a roller coaster.
Insanely complicated, let’s go to another spot… well, I discovered after three days there were no other spots that were “easier.”








The temps were also insane. On most days in June ( 2013)  from high 90 rising during the day to 108 degrees F.  Only the flowers of the cacti, thistles and wildflowers survived!








Tired of the overload? No problem. There’s also the quirky in a front yard , like in any other state:)



California where I live is beautiful with the ocean, beaches, flowers, fruits, vineyards, and mountains.
But the landscapes in Utah are intense. No doubt about it.



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