In Japan, when you enter a store or a restaurant or a home, the hosts will call out "いらつしゃいませ!"(Ira'shaimase), which means something like "Welcome!" "Come on in!" Which is what I say to you, new and old friends, as I share random thoughts and creations to whomever is interested.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Bern, Switzerland

Bern etegami

On to the capital city of Switzerland, Bern, which means, yes, Bear.

Such a beautiful old city surrounded by the river Aare.  
The beautiful mauve rooftops  and green trees and sparkling clear aqua river.
The city dates back to 1353, hard to imagine.

I obviously did not take this photo but it shows what a neat city it is,
 horse-shoed in by the most beautiful emerald blue river!

This is the new enclosure for the bears of Bern. 
 But it was being renovated so we did not get to see the bears.

We visited Bern on August 1, Swiss National Day. The building above is the national parliament building. We hoped to visit  inside (open for the public on National Day)  but so did about another thousand people. Oh well. There were flags everywhere in the city.  The Swiss cantons each have a flag which are prominently flown. You seldom if ever see this in the USA, displaying all of the state flags. Very colorful.

There were a lot of people roving about preparing for the celebration.
There was a fun beer hall set up where we stopped to raise a pint and visit with Joerg's daughter Jenny and her boyfriend.  He is a lawyer but he did say he was "a nice lawyer"!!
They were so very friendly, we had a great time.

We decided to have some fun and all try out the cardboard cutout Swiss folk outfits.
I consolidated them into one, very fun picture.

Perhaps one of my favorite "sculptures." It stands right where the electric tram ends.
Bern did not want the tram coming any farther into the city since its cars were yellow.
They only wanted red or blue trains in the city to "match city colors".
 So the train stops here.

This is a very famous clock in Bern.
 Had to do the traditional tourist pose
Bern etegami

There were many bear statues, most of them have big bellies.
Perhaps I should've captioned this "The Brave Bern Bear Bears a Big Belly."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Schönenwerd, Switzerland

At Home with Family

 in Schönenwerd, Switzerland

Lisa Jastram etegami

Although the food on the Viking Cruise was excellent, there is no more delicious and satisfying food than what someone has prepared with love just for you. 
 The love is pressed into the food. 
  I had a hard time figuring out how to paint bread.
 This was my third attempt and I love how it turned out. Can almost smell it!

Once we arrived in Schönenwerd to the home of my second cousin Jöerg and his wife Renata's home, we were treated to delicious home-baked and homemade meals.  This bread was so absolutely beautiful, I just had to paint it.

I have been fortunate to visit this beautiful Swiss household several times during my life.  The first time was 1963 as we traveled back to the United States for furlough. that's me and Paulette on the left. Jöerg is standing behind my little brother David (in the cute red sweater.) We didn't speak each other's language at the time but apparently played together well anyway. (That's Elisabeth, Jöerg's sister, squatting). The three adults are my mom (left), Johanna (my grandfather's sister), and Ida (E & J's mother).

This is the house that's been in the family for many generations. We are standing in the beautiful garden that has vegetables and flowers. There is a pear tree and an apple tree as well.  In the past, it has been a house with three generations living in it. 
We were fortunate to have the whole third floor to ourselves. Such luxury!

The door from a local farm was rescued and is used for a basement door.
It is inscribed "1770" above the door. 
That's not a house number. It's a year! Wow!

fruit etegami

Loved this pear tree that grows up right up against the wall!
Was so sad to discover they had to cut down the cherry tree that I remembered so well from our first visit in 1963.

Paulette, Lisa, Renata and Isabelle(Renata's daughter)

At dinner, we finally had a bottle of wine that Jöerg had promised "next time you come" way back in 1992! When he opened it, he made a face, like maybe it wasn't any good.
But, it was. But then we had another bottle of wine and another...
and a very good time!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Muerten, Switzerland

Muerten, Switzerland

My Swiss blog will be out of order because I have had the hardest time trying to paint expansive landscapes and snow covered mountains.  These are not the normal subjects for etegami.  So, I am posting as the inspiration comes and here is Muerten, Switzerland.

Muerten etegami

Muerten is an enclosed Medieval city with the most beautiful rooftops. I tried to capture that beauty of the roofs in a more detailed than usual etegami. I used a newly ordered white gel pen to make the white window sashes.  So happy to have found this quote by Roman Paine...

So amazing that all of this still exists in good condition.
 You can walk around most of the city under a covered roof walkway in the wall. 
These walls were built, of course, for protection. It's hard to imagine all of the fighting, wars, invasions, etc that these ancient cities experienced.

Perhaps you can spot on this photo the roof that I painted.

Paulette,cousin Joerg, me and Dave under the walkway.
 So wonderful to have our own tour guide who is very knowledgeable and fun as well! 

Jastram etegami
Saw this bouquet of sunflowers (not real) at the restaurant and it was just so bright and cheerful on a rather dull, cloudy day. What a great way to cheer up!

 We were very "cozy" in Joerg's station wagon.
 But at least we all fit!! 
So we made the best of it and squeezed together like so...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Day 8: Lucerne

Lucerne, Switzerland

Mark Twain called it "The saddest, most moving piece of rock in the world."

Lucerne Lion

This is one of the most emotional pieces I have painted.  It is actually mixed media.  I tried to paint a cave feeling with the words above it and messed up beyond what is acceptable to even etegami. So I printed out part of the photo in black and white, added the words in Photoshop and pasted it over the disaster.  The anguish on the lion's face was something I did not think I could capture but I feel it now as I look at it.  
I even put my hanko on sideways by accident
(and seriously, how many of you would've noticed this?) but have left it that way.
 It is also laying down in anguish.
The words say "To the loyalty and bravery of the Swiss"

Arriving in Basel, we were so happy to see our Swiss cousin-once-removed
 standing at the dock waiting for us! Joerg was a wonderful guide and drove us places we might not have gone to on our own.

We got to hear a man playing an Alpine horn by the lion statue.  It felt like he was playing a Swiss version of Taps to honor fallen soldiers.  Very beautiful moment.

This is the very famous covered bridge in Lucerne.  It burned down once but was rebuilt.  There are paintings under the roof of bridge but they are now replicas. Of course, the flowers are so gorgeous!

So picturesque!

Sailing painting

We took a boat (not a sailboat) on Lake Lucerne.  Was amazed to find out that most boats going from one point to another are a part of their mass transit system and you can get a Mass Transit pass that includes trains, boats, buses and trams.  
Very convenient to get around.

It was finally a beautiful day and people were out on sailboats, paddle-boats and even tubes.  We wished we were, too!

At the opposite side of Lake Lucerne, we ate a lovely lunch at an outdoor cafe
 and enjoyed the spectacular view!!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 7 Afternoon Holtzwihr

Holtzwihr, France
World War II Memorial

I dedicate this to the memory of Jason Anderson who may not have died on the battlefield, but certainly died as a result of war and strife.

remembrance etegami
I let the red of the flower bleed, just as the blood of countless soldiers and civilians shed their blood in this place.

We had a choice in the afternoon of relaxing on the boat as it continued down the river or taking a World War II tour.  Now I am basically a pacifist. I've never cared much for war history.  But the chance to see more of the French countryside clinched the deal. I never imagined this would one of the most memorable stops on our tour.

We first pulled in to a small village which was the site of a small WW II Museum located in the basement of a building.  Lots of memorabilia and artifacts.  I soon got bored and explored the village and its most beautiful buildings and flowers.

 As you can see, I love the windows and flower boxes!

My civic association would not approve of this choice of pink.
I think it's lovely

We drove up to a hilltop where our passionate Aussie tour guide told us the story of the final American resistance to get the Germans out of France.  He could just point here and there and tell us who did what... the Texas boys...the Philadelphia boys.. 
We could picture the battle in our minds.

Then he proceeded to tells us the story of Audie Murphy, most decorated soldier ever.  How he by himself held off an entire regiment of German soldiers and tanks from the one burning tank shown above.  Because it was already burning, it was covered in smoke so the Germans had no idea it was just one man that they were fighting.  He single handedly  held them off for one hour and five minutes when the American reinforcements finally arrived and the tide turned. (Wiki) Murphy earned and received every decoration for valor that this country had to offer plus 5 decorations presented to him by France and Belgium.

This lovely memorial was on the very spot where he held off the Germans.
Notice the red poppies (paper) put there by people.
The red poppy is the symbol of fallen soldiers in France

Our guide was SO passionate about it all. He asked us for a long period of silence to reflect on all those who had died for our freedom.  It was very moving.

After the war, Audie Murphy ended up appearing or starring in 44 films including "To Hell and Back" which is the story of his heroism in the war.

This is what was left of the church in the town after the bombings. It is a memorial now.
Notice it has a stork's nest on the top.
They really do love their storks!

Just last week, our book club read "Killing Patton" by Bill O'Reilly.  So much of that book took place on the Rhine River that everything became vivid and real for me.
We must never forget!!