Last summer, while hiking the Wank in Garmisch-Partenkirchen with my family, I began contemplating my next gallery showing. I had six months to plan and paint.
Garmisch is located in the Bavarian Alps. It’s breathtaking all year long. Our three hour hike took us to the top of a mountain, overlooking the valley and seemingly endless views of the Alps. As I soaked in the scenery, I realized that Germany is beautiful all year round. Yes, we have long, grey winters, but Germany radiates so many lovely traits that I have come to deeply appreciate. That is what I needed to paint.
My goal was to display the unique charm that we, as Americans, discover and adore in Germany. Shortly after my hike, I asked my American friends, who are living or had lived in Germany, what they loved about Germany. The list was long and fabulous. They mentioned the beer and wine fests, the walking trails, the vineyards on the Rhine and Mosel, the bright colors of the homes, the rooftops of villages, fields of pick-your-own flowers, flowers in the window boxes, Christmas markets, winding roads through the villages, towns along the Weinstrasse, church bells, castles, festivals, fields of rapeseed, sunflowers, bakeries, cobblestone, rolling hills, half-timbered houses, old architecture, cathedrals, paintings on the sides of houses, shrines to the Virgin Mary, and crosses on mountain peaks…and my husband reminded me of the German passion for Fußball (soccer). My friends have been extremely observant! And appreciative.
It was a long list, so I had to pick my favorites. I used bright colors and texture to create a fun and upbeat vibe. I will share only a small description behind each painting, because if you have experienced Germany (or even if you haven’t), you may want to finish the story yourself…
The endless, well-maintained walking trails in Germany. Rain or shine. Filled with people of all ages, on foot or bicycle, with or without man’s best friend (ein Hund). This painting depicts a trail I spent hours on near my home in Schwedelbach with mein Hund.
AHHH…Das Bierfest! Whether you have experienced the tents of Octoberfest in Munich, Springfest in Stuttgart, or even in your local village, you will appreciate the vibration of the music, the energy, the laughter and singing while holding enormous mugs of beer and standing on benches at your table with hundreds of other happy people. Unforgettable.
The Rhine and Mosel Rivers are deeply cut into the landscape, surrounded by steep walls of vineyards. And the occasional castle, of course. This piece is based on views from a Rhine riverboat. The German wine country is quite picturesque (and delicious, if you are a wine lover!).
German villages are so unique and colorful. The architecture is one-of-kind, with hundred-year-old homes standing next to contemporary. The streets wind wildly through the villages. The homes hug the sidewalks. Quite charming and lively.
One of my favorite things…stopping on the side of the road to pick my own flowers. There is no person overseeing this field, but there is a wooden stand with knives for cutting stems, a reasonable price list, and a money jar. It’s truly based on trust. I get to walk through fields of beautiful tulips, snapdragons, daisies, or sunflowers and pick my favorites for home and friends. Love die Blumen!
I adore the half-timbered homes, with their vibrant facades and fabulous shutters. They have storybook character. What is truly lovely, however, are the overflowing flower boxes that we get to enjoy from springtime into winter. As a woman with no green thumb, I especially appreciate the flower boxes!
Friends, we will depart Germany with antiques, German phrases, full bellies, and incredible flea market finds, but the gifts of culture from our host nation are also real treasures. Genau.
I plan to take Mein Deutschland home with me.
These paintings will be on display at Galerie Atelier 35, located in Landstuhl, DE from February 24-March 30, 2017. Opening night is Friday, February 24 from 6-8pm.