To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Monday, April 27, 2009


On a cloudy day like this I have no plan, no inspiration (how is that possible?!), but enough of a smidgen is smoldering that I know something in my large picture file will make a post.

Living conditions in West or East of the globe are vastly different. This picture is taken looking down from a studio apartment in a Chinese city, from the 11th floor. What else is there to do in the middle of the night, and you're not sleeping because you have jet lag:)

The curious thing about bath rooms in this apartment in China, and even in youth hostels, is that the shower and the toilet are so close together, that after one's shower the whole bath room is soaked for days, because if there is a ventilation system, it hardly works.

Oil, 24 x 30, St.Germain

Believe it or not, I could integrate the pic on top for the painting City Lights. Although I love the city, last year was my first painting of city buildings. No matter how many man made lights shine in a city, it can still be a dark place. Gods lights, represented by the orbs, shining in the darkness is the only way the city can really become a place of light.

The pic below is taken in a city of another part of China. A "hutong" is a residential area, off of one of the main streets. This is the entrance to such a hutong, which consists of a maze of little alleys like this, with one-room tiny houses.

click on image to see dtails.
Even though houses or apartment buildings may be "new" (not 10 years old yet), they look old, because there is no upkeep or painting of the outside of the buildings.

This lady walking in this alley is well dressed, so in this country she is not considered poor. Everyone in this hutong shares a bath house. I don't know if this is common for hutongs

Oil, 12 x 16, St.Germain

I wished that I could have painted this plein air. But I was already such a conspicuous person, just by obviously being "Western" that I was careful not to invade their privacy even more, by looking at details of their stuff, such as a bike, the outside of their house, etc.

By the way, bikes, motor bikes and scooters are the main way of transportation (next to buses and metro) in this country. Only the rich have the cars. Taxi is a major way of transportation for tourists.

On the North West side of the globe, living conditions are rather different. This is a 40 feet long living room/kitchen/art studio in California in an all-American middle class neighborhood.

To have a front and back yard is very common in such a neighborhood. This one is actually on the small side, since it is in a large metropolis like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.If the lady from the hutong and the one from the spacious living room in California would meet, the first one would say to the latter that she is wasting space. Unfortunately, she would have plenty reason to say that, because the 3-car garage (last pic) where all the excess stuff is piled in, is probably the size of 2 hutong houses. Our living spaces, dear bloggie friends in America, is something they cannot understand in most other countries of the world.


Shellmo said...

It is VERY interesting to see how people in other countries live and I love how you showed and explained some of the housing in China. I had never heard of a Hutong. I can only imagine how wasteful they would think we are in America with our spaces. There's a great blog I visit called Tiny House Blog and they feature houses from 100 sq. feet on up. The design and how they use the space is amazing.

jeannette stgermain said...

When one of my friends from Holland came to my house in the US for the first time, he looked around in amazement, saying, "You can do ball room dancing here!"
I'll go to your blog so see if you have that blog on your blog roll. Thanks for the visit!

Gaston Studio said...

Jeannette, I LOVE the top painting with God's lights; it's magical!

I know the first time I went to England, I was shocked at how small the rooms were, and found the same in several other countries. We have so much land in America, we tend to forget that others do not.

Michelle said...

Yes, very interesting. Having not traveled I find it hard to 'see' this stuff.

In answer to you, my daughter is religious, hence the Mary, although I do feel an affinity with her too.

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

your paintings look fantastic, as does your work area and garden!

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you Jane! Not all my paintings have this effect on viewers as City Lights, but I'm glad it inspires you, like it did for me, and several others.
In Athens (it was an American hotel!!) the bathroom was so tiny, that we were joking to each other that you could brush your teeth and take a shower at the same time:) If we we would ever move back to Eur. the space I have now, I would really miss.

jeannette stgermain said...

Whenever you have the chance, travel does wonders for your artistic inspiration.

So, when are you going to buy the ticket, Michelle? :)

In answer to your Mary painting: Children seem to find their way to God much easier than we adults, LOL

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you Gary!
Even though hubby despises gardening, when I made the design for the front yard, he spent many hours on finishing this.
I'll be "forever" (that means, till the next gardening project - doesn't that sound familiar to you??) grateful to him.

Whitemist said...

My favorite if the painting of the small street!
It just says volumes to ne.

jeannette stgermain said...

I treasure that small painting, because it reminds me on the humble dwellings of the people there, and how little comfort they have.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I always find it interesting to compare things like lifestyles. Sometimes I think westerners have it too easy.

jeannette stgermain said...

it's worse - we are spoiled rotten! Maybe that's why our financial institutions and car companies the same way :(

DUTA said...

Indeed, in America everything is Big. Let's hope the financial and social Decline already 'knocking at the door', isn't going to be as big.
Sweet picture, that of the chinese woman walking in the alley!

Lynda said...

What a fascinating post - thanks for sharing the lovely photos & insight into other people's lives with us - I love your paintings, too :)
Bye for now
Lynda, Kilimanjaro, East Africa

Dewdrop said...

I like the way you show the photograph and then your painting... I love your description of God's love being the light needed in the world. Beautiful. So true.

Ken Mac said...

love all the insider information you provide for each pic

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you! my layman estimation of this recession will be about 3 years before it starts looking up again. Here in Los Angeles, unemployment has risen to 11%.One of our friends lives in a neighborhood with new houses. Everywhere around, people just have abandoned their house - looks like ghost town.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you - I am amazed at you. You are doing all that work while you are pregnant - I had no idea! Will miss your post, and think of you often. As soon as your baby is born, please send your readers a one line message:)

jeannette stgermain said...

With digital photography it's now so easy to do it this way:)
Happy that the painting speaks to you!

jeannette stgermain said...

Ken Mac,
Thank you Ken! I learn from the blogs I read. A pic is just a pic, until one tells the reader what it means.

Lynette said...

What a great post and it's fascinating to see the differences and contrasts in living spaces halfway around the globe. I love your oil painting with the 'orbs', it's lovely!

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you, I had never done buildings, so I though it was time, LOL. That's what keeps me/us traveling, because of the fascination with other cultures and people groups.

TheWritersPorch said...

Jeanette, as always your paintings are lovely.Isn't it amazing that different cultures see others as
"doing things" the wrong way rather than just being different?


jeannette stgermain said...

So true- that's a part of culture shock. I quess it's part of the "curse" (sorry dan't find another word right now) of the tower of Babel.

Merisi said...

Your paintings reflect the true artist. The pictures are good, but your paintbrush is the true master!

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you Merisi. You are so kind. You know how to give a compliment!

Catherine said...

Jeannette - what wonderful paintings juxtaposed with the photos that inspired them! You have an amazing talent and are so lucky! I could see your paintings in the Castle Arts gallery in Lismore Castle, they would beat a lot of the works they have there! I lived in Laos and most of the houses there are on stilts in the villages and they are quite small, and in the Chinatown part of towns like Vientiane they are really shophouses and very small.
Agree with you about the size of our houses - though Irish ones are probably not as big as American ones in general, we are playing catch up and in the Celtic Tiger boom we had a lot of conspicuous comsumption manifest in the ostentatious houses, - muck mansions as some called those in the country as they stuck out like sore thumbs, you wonder how they got planning!
I like open plan houses though and our extension sunroom and kitchen are all flowing into one space. This is tacked onto a little cottage built in 1827, basically unchanged until 1990 when we knocked 2 rooms into one as the rooms were tiny - as your reader above said about England.
Interesting post indeed! Thanks for sharing your Chinese trip.

Arti said...

Hi Jeannette...Thanks for dropping by my blog...You have a very interesting blog here and I will have to be having a lot of time, to read all those interesting posts...but I have gone through some.I haven't beeen to China, but I can safely assume that its similer to India , especially big cities and towns.We Do have space crunch because of numerous people sharing space!Its different in interiors and villages, though.
Every country has its own flavour...I hope you visit India someday and get the taste of it, too!

Lillie said...

Loved your painting and your write up including the comparison. Sometimes we just forget how lucky to have what we have.

China is now considered modernized,imagine their public toilets some 10 years ago (cubicles without doors)..tourist are told to bring an umbrella.

jeannette stgermain said...

your comments always make me smile. You have an unstoppable enthusiasm! I didn't know about the muck mansions! Wow, your house is that old? We did the same thing, not that the rooms were tiny, but I like an open look. It was 3 1/2 rooms (living room, dining room plus an unsued shed, and kitchen), now in one.

jeannette stgermain said...

Yes, it's probably similar. What I heard is that many people from India speak English well. Who knows I'll get there sometime, LOL. You are welcome to visit my blog anytime:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you! The bath rooms are modernized in the big cities, but what about the country side?
A cubicle is better than in Bulgaria, you squat when going to the bath room, but the partitions do not go all the way to the floor. So, you would need 3-4 umbrella's!

Tad-n-Tina said...

Wow! I haven't visited your blog for awhile but I am SO glad I did. You have been busy *BWG* I absolutely love the colors and composition in your city lights painting. Your writing is thought provoking and interesting ~ Thanks so much for always commenting on my blog. It's always nice to hear from you as well.

jeannette stgermain said...

I am enjoying it here, and because I receive such interesting comments it is easier to write:)
Thanks for visiting!