THE GOOD: From the bottom of my heart I hope that the freedom this country used to have
will be regained and it once more will be the land of the free and the brave


WEEKLY BLURB: my personal opinion!
Being a Dutchman I have lived here for about 30 years, (plus 4 years earlier during studies) and for the first time I have fleeting thoughts of wanting to go back. Being a researcher, it is frustrating to discover since this president has been in office, the USA has become divided, and many things have been put in place that are so un-American, I am baffled.
Yet, it is the way things have been put in place is what disturbs me most. A president who consistently lies about his own life and keeps going against the constitution, weakens the army, and divides the people. You do not know what goes on here if you live outside the USA!!







THE RANDOM: The Big Question is where will we be on the 4th of July?
In Solvang (California), like the past few years? Because ….they have a great small town parade….
a great opportunity to take pics!




THE FUN: Probably not in San Diego, because of horrendous parking on this day,
but may be in Encinitas, not far from there.  This bakery is out of this world …
a very interesting spice shop behind, where they even have a rock Himalayan salt block
… a huge yarn store, but that will be closed on the 4th …







Go to Dry Town on an antique store hunt? Right at the main road – so a Fence is good!





geese no lunch_1710

Or go to the park for lunch? But the little ones are kind of wary of the aggressive and loud geese






Or, paint at beautiful Yosemite Nat. Park, like on Fathers Day? A
Michigan couple on vacation passing, took this pic





pink roses061

Roses from one of the 7 rose bushes we had at our previous house.
For me, roses are one of the most festive flowers




Black and whiteFizzle

Never seen a black and white fire work, but allez mes amis (“ok, my friends,” loosely
translated), it’s for the meme:)   )



Red and whiteFizzle



(Six Word Saturday)



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Never thought I would blog about machines and trucks,
but these represent something near to my heart.
They were needed to make the ground level for my art.


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THE RANDOM:  With all the work below, we still took out time, taking breaks
shooting flowers in the backyard (below) and sunsets,
did go out to eat occasionally:) – where I included myself







THE GOOD – the beginning for the mold of the concrete wall behind the fence. The fence and gates are gone.  This account is for posterity – the BEFORE pic.
At the end of this post, the soil has come to the top of this wooden wall





The gas tank got a new concrete platform , more out of the way. Sadly,
these trees were all cut (below)






As a layman,  I had no idea what it took to build a retaining
wall,  so  in exasperation that the (mold)  form  took so long,
“Needs to build a mold, but he’s building a castle!”

Hubby in blue sweater pours concrete for the retaining wall
– which is a wall to hold the soil in place
(only half of the mold here).




Cutting thisTree_0826

Taken by hubby – Catch the Light

Step 2:  left this dangerous job to a professional who had first
his own company – now works for the state of CA.
He climbed the trunks (with braces on his pants with a spike
on inside at height of ankle)
to cut off the 10 feet crown of the trees.
Then went to work and cut seven 40 feet trunks plus about 10 feet
branches and leaves of the California (black?) oak.




Readyto remove_0817

on how he picks up the trunk it’s easy to see how wide these trunks are-
roped them to his truck to get them out of the way !  Hubby already cut them up
to xeric (dry) for fire wood.











Looking down from the balcony I see branches and leaves being cut up
with this wood chipper. Talking about noise! Glad hubby (left) has his earphones on.
One trunk was so massive a root grinding machine had to remove the roots.






the concrete retaining wall on the right

Step 3: twenty-two loads of dirt dumped and compacted. The owner of the truck  -also previously owned a company – did this as a side job – took about 2 1/2 weeks because the tractor to scoop the soil into the truck broke down twice

This was an eye-opener jolting me into the reality of this area. Unemployment has remained. To make ends meet, adults are doing jobs like sweeping up dirt, etc. -something 15 year olds used to do after school.

When hubby told me that the house of the person who pointed out where the truck owner lived   was the size of our garage, I was shocked, “Life is not fair.” (our house is an average middle class – 3 bedroom size).





These guys are amazing and workaholics (worse than hubby), working 7 days a week.
That’s why these weeks was one time we couldn’t use the rain!




Fiery Sunset_4799

For Sky Watch & Sat. Silhouettes

THE FUN:  Why they worked so hard and all these machines were necessary,
it was for making the ground level, for a concrete floor
to put on … a barn or whatever you call it…where I can paint ….clean my brushes… make a mess:)


 Phew, now we need a Rest!
(Six Word Saturday)

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CITY – Noon till Midnight

Cities with a harbor like San Diego I am especially drawn to. I love the water side!
Balboa Island is unique (pic of the fence and bushes) that it is connected to the main land,
so it does not have the appearance of an island. It is always super busy, so
we like to visit both places  during the week



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Shipview 110

Only part of this ship without people in front.
Do you like the romantic masthead? (Six Word Sat.)













Hubby caught this butterfly right in front of the Botanical building





High rise reflect in Little Italy,
one of the streets where I buy painting materials at Blick Art Store.











SignRosenorco 101 copy

Taken by hubby on hubby, this is why I say I’m not
a photographer, I just take pics:)







Pretty gate to Enter and fence …oops I caught someone else taking a shot here:):)




One the things I love is
a big city alive till midnight

(Six Word Saturday)

Outside it’s in the 90ties, so I’m organizing my painting stuff  so I can paint
in Yosemite Nat. Park for Fathers Day and hubby can hike (his choice for his day)
He’s building me some shelves by the front door for my plein airs –
I’ll show you when it’s done:)




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Am taking it easy this week! At least, that’s the plan:)
this week started with a killer 90 degree F heat,
were totally wilted! But now – Thurs.- it’s in the 80ties
The mountains have yellowed by now – next year I’ll keep
clicking my camera even more in the green time!
Kind of fun to blur some of these pics on purpose



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An idyllic life
a simple life
work till the cows come home




BackYardPeeps_1487 copy

I set my eyes on
sketching waves of
Terre Verte (green)
my Arches paper will tell
when I’m done




Looking for Something_2484

endless play- searching for shells, stones, and more treasures







The Good:
surrounded by an array of colors








RailroadGoldRush_0543The Random: A relic from the Gold Rush 1849

from one treasured place to another
(Six Word Saturday)




The Fun:
Traveling between the big clouds




Until  I enter the door
welcoming me to stay
and stay



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The BLUE and GREEN Connection



A new Blue Green meme –am joking!  If you knew how long it took me to put this post together… am not deleting this post though, so I won’t forget!


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zipping from Southern to Northern California

There’s blue and green …okay I can have another some vanilla and very light sienna too




Trump-Vegas_7848 (2)

Am not a Trump fan let’s be nice and say I don’t understand the man,
but the tower illustrates what I like about the green-blue connection.

the tower partly reflects the sky, making the side of the tower
look green (blue sky +yellow tower=green reflect).
The reflection of the white clouds are light yellow.

Green which is a mix of blue and yellow – just saturated
the colors of the Trump tower in Las Vegas, where everything
seems over the top – even to the Starbuck coffee prices
($2 more, only at one place though)








In that time we visited the Huntington Library Gardens often –
a little river between the Chinese and Japanese Garden
– a blue green serene




GateCentral House_1817














A fourth blue and green! A view that makes me smile whenever we drive by. On the gate it says Central House. My mind goes …. central … central to what? This house is in the middle of nowhere:):)
But I do like the gate, and the fence leading the eye up the hill. In Spring the huge crowns  of these trees makes for  a nice shady area. The clouds – I like them big and billowing!

Did you ever have a top of the line idea, such is having a blue-green challenge, but then when you tried it out, it did not turn out to be so smart after all!

this meme would not last long since it’s too limiting, like maybe a month out of  a year…

really LOVE this color combination though!
(six words Sat.)

 My BLACK AND WHITE WEDNESDAY image is below the memes here…………………………..

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We found a few jasmine flowers the previous owners left us by the gazebo:)

Happy Wednesday you’ll! Linking with Black and White Wednesday


The header above is from the Northern Venice – Giethoorn – the Netherlands
You notice the espaliered trees?


Some who have seen more of my work, know I do a variety of things in painting. Here, I share my niche in art. A niche is one’s particular corner or specialty in the market place.



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WordPress leaves me  an immediate view wherever you leave a comment ( don’t panic:):)  – internet is slow when it’s bad weather in the mountains )



The watercolor below started with writing in my journal. You are welcome to click on this pic and read the original (have blocked out what was not part of this story)
It happened one week after a young couple had lost their baby who had a metabolic disorder. They often came to the Paint-&-Music Monday night in South. California where I used to paint …






The end product of what I saw that evening.
when I wanted to get something out of the fridge. I was so focused on what I saw that I almost ran into the door of the pantry.
I quickly drew a sketch. A few weeks after, I didn’t know what to paint on Monday night, and decided to paint what I had seen in the kitchen.  After I introduced myself to the couple, who happened to be there, showed and gave them this small watercolor.
Had no idea how they would react. She seemed very intrigued. A week later she told that everything, but especially the hair of the baby looked like her.







When I’m not traveling, I use this big palette, even though I mostly end up with a 2-color combination
The RANDOM: it’s just the thought that I have a choice!
For the big areas of the watercolor above, I used Aureolin yellow in left top corner, and  a mix of Winsor blue -third from left bottom, with Cerulean blue – second from bottom












THE FUN: Watercolor brushes and water
squeezed into my corner of African violets – the same flower you see above.






Most of the fences in this area are almost invisible,
and the gates are small. Like the story of this painting
easy to miss when you’re preoccupied with other matters!






Life does not always give us a sunset,
but a storm  highlights a silver lining



This couple used their experience to go regularly to the hospital and help other parents going through the same – brave, courageous, awesome!


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 Memory Art (black & White Wed.) decided to tag everyone to write 5 stories – so this is my first story. I will post the rest of the stories below this post

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This was originally the Second, Third and Fourth Story for Memory Art, but since I posted it at the same time as my weekly post, not many people looked at it






When my blond haired, blue eyed daughter was sixteen she wanted to go to Holland. She had not been there since she was 4 years old. This was her first trip overseas I calmed down my nervousness with the thought she would go with a friend.

A months before they would  go, her friend backed out. My daughter decided she would go alone. My nervousness spiked, and wished I was not one of those cool mothers who had told their children they could do anything in life when they sent their mind to.
I managed to tell myself that she was street smart, so she would be alright, and she would go to a friend in S. of France. This is not the end. She thought she would go by train from the airport to my brother’s house. She have never gone by train, didn’t know how to change train system in Europe, nor did she know to change trains 3 times! So, in knots, I called my brother, to pick her up from the airport. He’s an M.D. and always super busy, but I didn’t care at that point. My brother has two daughters, so he understood my plight.

To make a very long story short, she didn’t tell me till years later that she also lost her luggage, and she missed the flight back to the USA. She could keep that secret, because on her travel back home, she would visit some friends in Atlanta before coming home.

Come to think of it, maybe it was her guilty conscience that she brought these Delft blue egg cups back for her parents, and Evelyn and Crabtree fragrance from London., which made me an instant fan of that brand.
Finally more than ten years later, now she is a mother of three herself, we took the time, to paint the board blue, to change the supports, and to hang the egg cups. You know you can’t be a Dutchman (woman) when you don’t love delft Blue and tulips.


THIRD STORY for Friday





TienanmanSquareraincrop (2)



We had only one week (plus 2 travel days) in China, the year before the Olympics came there. So, nowhere signs in English, only in Chinese. My son had been there a year teaching English, and could make clear to taxi drivers (after a moped, and subway the cheapest way to travel) where we wanted to go.

We had this week with 4 different cities to go to: Nanchang, (12 hrs. W. of Shanghai), Guang Zhou – the largest street market ever, Shen Zhen, the most affluent and Western city on mainland China -just half hour across from Hong Kong),  and Beijing, the capital, all the way in the North.
We traveled by plane. My only wish for this week in China is to go to Tienanmen square in Beijing, because of the historic significance. However,  first it didn’t look like we would even be able to make it to Beijing, because we got on the wrong bus in Shen Zhen. Then the bus was a few hours late! We just made it in the neck of time for the plane to Beijing.

During the three days we stayed in Beijing, it did not look like we could make it to Tiananmen square. Saw the Forbidden City, and I painted in the streets, while hubby and son went to see the Great Wall. We were so tired out, that sadly we had to let go of my wish to see Tiananmen square. That is where the massacre of the students happened, now more than 22 years ago.

On the very last day, we went souvenir shopping in an open air market, because who knew we would ever come back to China? When it started raining, we ran to cross a square, got into a restaurant, where we ate hotpot. Delicious when you are cold and hungry. After we were done with our meal, the rain had stopped, and went back over the same square, to go back to the hotel and pack for our flight back to the USA.

When looking at the statues on the square (obviously communistic subjects)  it finally dawned on me, that the square we crossed WAS Tienanmen square!




FOURTH  STORY for Saturday

Two years ago, after my three workshops and art exhbits in the Netherlands we were incredibly tired and glad we had scheduled a week’s vacation in Lucca, Tuscany in Italy (an hour W. of Florence).  The plan was that I would paint there – paint a lot.
Instead it turned out to be more of a lounging vacation.





This day we went to Cinque Terre, 5 small touristy towns at the Mediterranean coast. The main attraction seem to be to tan at the beach. We wanted to visit some of these little towns. The only way was by train or walk. Since this was a 100 degree weather day, we chose the train. Very interesting, because it was filled with tourists who spoke no Italian. And the Italians did not speak English. A great recipe for confusion and frayed nerves.
This was Corniglia. When the crowd left the train en masse, we saw this hill in the distance. Not long after I saw “things moving” on that hill.
“Did you see that?” I asked hubby. “I think they’re people,” I continued. After some moments he agreed with me.”Do you want to climb that anthill?” I asked.

We both shook our head, and turned back to the train station.

Coming back to the main town Montegrosso, we were in dire need of just hanging out on the patio of a restaurant with  a drink and dessert – which we did. I couldn’t go back without having painted something – anything – in Cinque Terre, so the only thing that came to mind without having to paint in the burning sun was a watercolor of my shorts, with feet up on another chair with a drink in hand.

It was so incredible hot, that we ditched our grand tourist’s plans after our third dessert and traveled back to the hotel. For the rest of the day we enjoyed the rest of our spoiled brat’s day in our air-conditioned  suite, hubby just reading, and I painting.  Come to find out around 6 pm on Facebook that it was Fathers Day. The strangest Fathers Day ever!








These “Brilliant Ideas”

You know those brilliant ideas you had, and are still, years after laying forlorn, or stuck  somewhere in our mind? Or in a closet somewhere …

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Fall Leaves 245

Dated January 09!

Glued on real Fall leaves! But every time Fall comes back, I’ve forgotten to finish this art work.




Without Words





Black and White A fossil I bought in San Diego’s harbor from a biologist who displayed his journey’s findings.  Never incorporated it in a necklace that could be stunning!





The killer story that I never told! Hubby was particularly discouraged that day (it was in 2008 when “everyone’s” budget had collapsed). He was tired and on his commute home – one more stop at Home Depot (the hardware store). He prayed, God, I’m doing all the right things. Why is it so hard financially?  Got out of his car, while the real estate agent called. We had to give up our house and move into a condo. On the phone, he said to the real estate agent, “I see  this five dollar bill on the ground …” His real estate agent yelled, “Well … pick it up man! Pick it up!” Soo concerned about the “big” things, that we don’t know what to do with the little miracles along the way!


Colo SpringsYellow

The week I spent in Colorado (before 2006), accompanying hubby on a job and shot this view from the living room. Nor did I ever show our visit to the Garden of the gods, which is known for stunning red and white rock formations (one of them is the featured image on top).




Overlooked to include this reflection  in Giethoorn, where all the roads are water ways like this, aptly called the Northern Venice, in one of my posts of the Netherlands (how I could forget – don’t ask me!)




Nor did I ever show this pic –  the pink hydrangea on our deck that has since
then long died! You get the idea.


Do you have these  brilliant ideas?
(six words Sat)

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Three Roses, Oil, 18 x 36 , © St Germain

I love roses and  my six words for Saturday: I love painting whatever I see
or whatever comes to mind





For Texture Twist – The Vineyard below modified





THE GOOD: our get together’s with the whole family
(even if it’s not at my house, which looks a lot more casual) not often enough, since Ty on the couch studies in the Hague (this only part of the family)




We have a Z (for Alphabe) in our family:  Her name means Life
and very aptly does she have the Zest to go 100 miles an hour.





The blinds reflected on this wall hanging above






THE RANDOM: Love to look at dizzying heights at Zion (Nat. Park, Utah),
or hear the sound of the ocean and feel the breeze of the wind (beach So. Cal.)









THE FUN: Love all the vineyards around us in Amador County. A very special atmosphere – just to drive around and see the sights, making me more aware of the seasons… and that our food does not only come from stores (haha – that’s a reminiscing thought of a city dweller).





Agapanthus against the fence I could see from my kitchen in the (previously owned) condo. The landscaping was nice… and my bathrooms were decadent …
If it was not on the street side, close to a mall and some other things, we may not have moved after five years.
Now I enjoy hearing the wind instead of traffic,
a view of trees and sky from every window,
and a sunset on most days.
So thankful for the beauty and peace around me,
to have great adult children and their families,
and still able to travel to the ocean and other parts
of California  and the other end of the globe.




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