Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Break #31 and Last: The Lake in the Evening


This is the way the lake where the owls lived looked like one evening. I didn't change anything in the color. This is what we saw, and I thought it was fascinating.

This is my last photo for the August Break. I posted a photo (sometimes more) every day in August and I enjoyed this very much. Thank you to all of you who stopped by and left comments.

But don't worry - there will be more photos to see on my blog, even without an August Break.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vision and Verb Today


Please come on over to Vision and Verb where I am writing about the little cougar in my backyard.
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August Break #30 - Cairo


A lamp in a mosque in Cairo.
I just loved these - I loved the mosques, the calm mood, an oasis of silence right in the middle of the incredible noise of this huge lively city.
I played with one of Bonnie's textures a little bit...

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Made in Germany 23 - August Break #29 - Bavarian Cheese


This wonderful dish is "Obatzter" (no translation available).
It's a traditional Bavarian meal that you eat for a "Brotzeit" (snack between breakfast and lunch). It consists of very ripe Camembert mixed with butter and seasoned with all kinds of spices. Put some radishes in, top with red onion, serve with tomatoes and lettuce - and enjoy with hearty rye bread.
I could kill for one right now!

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sunflowers

Inspiration Avenue's challenge this week: Sunflowers


I love to take pictures of sunflowers, but find them often a challenge - they can turn out way to bright or the sun just burns them out or the colors are duller than I hoped etc. Perhaps I'm over critical. Anyway, this one on top I bought at the farmer's market and put it in a vase on my deck. The photo was taken early in the morning, when the sun had just peeked over the trees - you can even see the dew drops.


This one I took last year at a pumpkin patch - I was drawn to it because of the bee, but I also love how only a part of the flower had opened by then.

I still haven't seen a sunflower field in our area - I would love to photograph those.
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August Break #27 - Canoes


I saw these canoes when I was walking with my friend Jo around the lake yesterday morning. They immediately caught my eye, and how lucky was I that the cormorant was sitting there.
Jo thought that the red and green were pretty cool - and suggested that this might be a great Christmas card :-) !

I'm linking this to Weekend Reflections.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Crooked Path Through Life

Oh boy, I'm late for Paint Party Friday and Sneak Peek Friday! This has been a busy morning, and I'm on the go again, but I at least want to post my contribution this week before I have to leave for my next appointment.


This is a mixed media painting on a 6x6 canvas. You sure can tell that I like orange and red... I just love bright happy colors. This is not done yet, I hope to finish her over the weekend. Again, it took me quite some time to work on this and I didn't like her for a long time until finally it somehow came together.

Acrylic paint as a base, I cut head and neck out of my old worksheet (the sheet that was lying under all the work I did and turned very colorful over the weeks) that I then finger-painted with gesso. The colors of the sheet still show through and give it some texture. I really like that, but it was hard to get the color of the face - I used PITT pens and more gesso for that. Eyes, nose and mouth are cut from the same worksheet. The headband is a piece of fabric, the dots and flowers cut-outs from the worksheet. I also stamped it to give the background more texture. Some glitter on her hair. And of course she's crooked...

Don't forget to visit all the other amazing artists participating in Paint Party Friday and Sneak Peek Studio!

Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap

Some of you might have seen it in blogland, the Liberate Your Art postcard swap by Kat at The Kat Eye View of the World. All the participants sent five postcards of their art to Kat who then swapped them and send five different cards back. She also topped it off with a card of her own fantastic photography, so we actually got six postcards each. If you have never visited Kat's blog and you like photography you should definitely hop over to her blog!

These are the beautiful cards I received:

Sheila Hughes





Don't you just love all these fabulous cards? I so enjoyed receiving them over the weeks.

When I saw this postcard in my mailbox I immediately knew that it had to be from Kat - and it was. It very well represents her beautiful style:


The only annoying thing is the white strip by USPS that was glued to some of these cards!

And here are the five cards that I sent to Kat and that were sent out to five other participants. Some of you might recognize a few images...


It was a very fun swap that I'm sure was lots of work for Kat - especially since during that time she relocated to the States after having lived in Italy for two years.

You did a wonderful job, Kat - thank you so very much!










August Break #26 - Dandelion


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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August Break # 24 - Mama Owl


Do you still remember the owls?
I miss those guys.
I'm glad that there's an owl in the neighborhood that I hear sometimes.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August Break #23 - Reflections


The sun shining through my wine glass and the reflection of it on my (dirty) place mat.
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Made in Germany 22 - August Break #22 - Summer in the City


Cities, town and villages in Germany "dress up" for the summer - with lots and lots of flowers. Decorating the streets, squares and bridges with colorful flowers is a summer tradition in which we take some pride. There are even competitions between villages, which one is the most beautifully decorated one.

This is a little lane along a creek in Tübingen. It still belongs to the town center, but many call this part the "Unterstadt" (lower town). Here you can find old, funky pubs, little boutiques and small businesses, and it is also the location for the popular gourmet market on Saturday morning. Kaefer's toddler group that she went to every afternoon is just around the corner. I lovet his part of Tübingen.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Icy in August


No, this is not an error.
And yes, we still have summer over here...

Inspiration Avenue's challenge this week is "Icy".
So I went through my archives... and came up with these photos taken during our last winter's trip to the American Southwest. We were in Canyonlands National Park and took an early morning walk to Mesa Arch. It was freakin' cold, but the frozen plants looked beautiful in the morning light, not quite sunny yet.


Usually we associate the red rock country with heat and a glaring sun. Most times I visited this area was in the winter - it is so much less crowded then and you can really enjoy the stunning beauty of this unique landscape. Plus you get the delight that the frost brings...


I hope to return to red rock country this winter.

August Break #20 - A Little Boat


I saw this boat in La Plush, WA, close to First Beach.
To those of you who read "Twilight", this location might sound familiar.
However, I was totally clueless, never having read "Twilight".
We went through Forks - clueless, as I said - and I was wondering why every store in that little town had the term "twilight" in their name. Until it 'dawned' on me...
I did read the book by now, out of mere curiosity. Well, I actually can't say, I read it, because I stopped on page 178. I simply couldn't stand it anymore - so poorly written, not a single character I liked, I was bored beyond reason... please, don't tell me that it starts getting really really good on page 179...

Anyway, without any "Twilight" thoughts on my mind I just enjoyed La Plush. We saw bald eagles and lots of brown pelicans. In the parking lot, the seagulls and crows were fighting over a dead salmon. Flying fish were jumping out of the water and diving in again with a low "blub". A Quileute fisherman came out in his boat and dropped the nets in the water. We sat on some driftwood and took everything in.
This boat reminds me of that day - restful and peaceful.

I wish all of you an entire weekend like that.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Redhead Girl


The Redhead Girl - another mixed media work that took forever.
I got the idea for her after I had sketched a girl's face with charcoal for the very first time that I later called "Girl with a crooked eye". I wanted a mixed media girl with that same haircut.

I adhered a book page, a part of a AAA map and a ticket to the canvas and painted it with acrylic paints. Outlined the girl, filled her in with Golden acrylics for face and hair, used India ink for more hair. Fabric for the shirt. Rub-ons, paper flowers, glitter.

Of course, like the charcoal girl, she is crooked - her face is slightly off. It took me forever to draw that mouth. I'm scared to do faces, and therefore I'm happy that I tried this one, even though it's crooked. I call this a girl with "lots of character".

I have to admit, I actually like her.

And since it's Friday, I'm linking this to Paint Party Friday and Studio JRU's Sneak Peek Friday.
Please have a peek at the work of all those talented artists.


August Break #19 - Oregon Sky


I'm still thinking of Oregon...

Linking to Skywatch Friday.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

August Break #18 - Ice Cream Cones


It's the season for ice cream (well, isn't it always...)
and the cones it's put into.

Do you like ice cream in a cone or do you prefer a bowl?

I love the big fat waffle cones, like the ones in the middle of this picture.
And chocolate ice cream.
It's been my favorite since I was a child.

What is your favorite ice cream?

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August Break #17 - Lollipops


Don't these lollipops look super yummy?
When I saw them in the shop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory I couldn't resist these colors and took a picture - they just make me happy.

What makes you happy today?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

WOYWW 115

I haven't participated in WOYWW for quite some time - first we were on a trip up the coast of Oregon and Washington and after we had come back it was only two more weeks until school started and I spent time with Kaefer and not so much at the computer. This week school has started again and I'm slowly finding back my routine.

Some of you had previously asked about the sheet that was covering my work area. I finally decided to retire it and cut it up.

 Unfortunately I didn't take a picture before cutting it up, and here I already used some of the parts.

One part became the background for my art journal page that you can see on the right side:

 Since I don't like to wait for paints etc. to dry I started another page on the left so I can work on both of them. On both pages I didn't use any brush for spreading the acrylic paints but just my fingers. It feels great, is wonderfully messy and gives a great texture. When I gessoed the face on the background paper on the right page I liked how the colors beneath it started to bleed through and thus gave the face its own characteristic.

This is the third project I'm currently working on, a 6x6 canvas:

You can see that I cut the shape of the head out of the old worksheet.

That's what's on my work table today. If you want to see more desks and don't mind a trip around the world, hop on over to Julia and find the entire list.

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August Break #16 - Lizard


I found this little guy soaking up the sun in one of our State Parks during a hike with my friend J. He wasn't shy at all and kept perfectly still so I could take his picture. He didn't even blink and wouldn't move after I was done. I think he was so happy about the sun that he just didn't care about these weird two-legged creatures who called him funny names like "cutie" and "sweetie". Humans!

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Made in Germany 21 - August Break #15 - Covered Bridge


A covered footbridge crossing the Donau (Danube) in Southwestern Germany. The Donau runs through a rather narrow valley in this area with sheer cliffs climbing up, covered with trees. A very beautiful and rather quiet place. I sometimes went there on a Saturday, visited the monastery of Beuron and just enjoyed the beauty of nature.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

August Break #13 - The Berlin Wall

This is kind of a long post, and not a completely happy one (but with a good ending, as we all know). Actually, it partly is very sad and heartbreaking.
Not what I usually write on my blog.
But this is where my heart is today.


Today marks the 50th anniversary of building the Berlin Wall (Berliner Mauer).

I do not remember the actual day - August 13th, 1961 - I was only 18 months old. But I have seen so many reports, saw so many pictures, read so many articles about it that I know how traumatic those days in the middle of August were. Especially for the Berliners living in the Soviet sector of the city.

You all know the history of the Wall.
Built as an "Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart" ("Antifaschistischer Schutzwall") by the government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), it completely cut off Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. The East German government claimed the building of the Wall as a protection for the people in the GDR, but in truth it should prevent the massive emigration from the East to the West that was going on in post World War II Germany.

It divided my country for 28 years.
Until that joyful day, when, thanks to the peaceful protest movement of the people in the GDR, the Wall fell down, November 9th, 1989.


I took this photo in spring 1990, when officially the GDR still existed. The white sign on the left reads "In die DDR 200 Meter rechts" (To GDR 200 meters on the right). What a farce!

I took many pictures of the Wall, most of them in the 70's and 80's, but unfortunately they either got lost during our move to the States or they're doing a really good job in hiding.

This is a tiny part of the Wall that now belongs to the Wall Museum at Bernauer Straße. In front you can see the wall facing West Berlin, followed by the "death strip" and then a second concrete wall, the hinterland wall. The Wall actually was two walls with a huge area in between, lined by guard towers and completely illuminated by night.

This is one of the guard towers. It now stands in the Newseum in D.C.

Peeking was not allowed, and not possible anyway.

What can you say in the face of such ugliness?

The human tragedies were heartbreaking.
Families were divided. People desperately jumped from windows to the West before those windows were "walled". One of the most famous photos of those days is of a East German soldier, Conrad Schumann, jumping over barbed wire to freedom - a desperate act. People tried to save just their life and left everything behind.

On August 24th, 11 days after the beginning of building the Wall, 24-year-old Günter Litfin was the first person who was shot to death while trying to flee the GDR by crossing the Wall. He was followed by at least 135 more people who were dreaming of freedom and found a violent death instead.

There are crosses to remember them. They were erected among the modern government buildings, where the Wall used to be.

It pierces my heart.

You can find this part of the Wall in D.C.'s Newseum. There is an entire section about the Berlin Wall.
It's one of the most interesting museums in D.C., by the way, and a must if you're interested in the news.


Brandenburg Gate belonged to East Berlin. The quadriga on top always faced the east, so we could never see it from the front during those 28 years.

It was a good day when I could finally see it from the "right" side and stand in Pariser Platz like any normal person in any normal city.

This is Potsdamer Platz.  It was one of the liveliest places in Europe before the war. Then it was divided, the Wall ran right through it and the whole area was deserted - a vast emptiness. Today it is modern and lively again, not necessarily pretty but interesting. A few parts of the wall are left here where the original wall used to divide the area. As you can see the Wall was built of individual huge blocks of concrete, and here you can also see how high it was compared to the people standing next to it.

The shaded stripe reads "Berlin Wall 1961-1989" and runs exactly where the Wall used to be. It ran right through the heart of the city.

It is difficult to imagine that today, more than 20 years after the Wall came down.

The writing on this part of the Wall says "In 1989 the first gap in the wall was created here" - I don't know whether that is really true, but it doesn't matter for me. They had started somewhere...

And today?

Today you find this when you visit Pariser Platz at the Brandenburg Gate.
I really don't know whether I should cry or laugh about it.

My history is connected to the Berlin Wall. I grew up with it, I feared it, I hated it.
I grew up with two Germanys.
The GDR was more foreign than any foreign country.
Whenever I come close to the old border and the few places where you could actually cross it (with long waits and sometimes lots of humiliation) I still shiver.

And I'm grateful that it's history.

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