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...!

Friday, May 22, 2009



okay, continue....

When you hear about a place in the news, did you ever think, "Oh, I would like to see how that is in reality?" I have. Ever since I heard about the blood bath in 1989(?) I wanted to see "that place."
A few years ago my son decided to go to China and teach English there. Hubby and I visited him after his first year in his one-week vacation (I'm not kidding!). In the back of my mind was, that now I could finally see "that place", Tienanmen Square.

To my disappointment everything seemed to go the other way. My son wanted to see some other cities, although he had a friend from the USA in Beijing, studying Chinese.
(this is the building close to the N-Gate)

Our itinerary changed again, a few weeks before we would go, because our son needed to be in Hong Kong one day, to renew his visa for the next school year. That meant that Beijing became a faint possibility.

To make a long story short. We did end up in Beijing for 2 1/2 days after all and saw the tourist sites, such as the Forbidden city (palaces of the kings), the Great Wall, and I got to paint plein air there (see my blog post:Life of an Artist: Bridges).

On the last day, we decided that we did not want to walk great distances anymore. It was a very grey day, being slowed down by a horrid 99% humidity. We were physically worn out because we had gone from the very South to the North in six days (thank goodness for air planes! and taxi's).
That meant we would fore go of Tienanmen Square.

When we finished our souvenir shopping it began to rain. The end of the shopping booths came out on a huge plaza. Everyone got out their umbrellas, and we walked to the other side. There we saw a restaurant. It was a hotpot restaurant.

Platters of very thin sliced meat and raw vegetables are brought to the table. They put a bag of spices in the boiling water of the fountain in the middle. It has the idea of a fondue, only much healthier, LOL. A great treat after being wet and tired.

When we finally left, the rain had cleared. So, we walked back onto that big plaza, and in reading the inscriptions and seeing the statues, we discovered we WERE on Tienanmen Square, the very place I wanted to see! The statues were what you typically see in a communistic country.

I was elated to be at this historic place. At the same time it felt eerie, knowing that so many young intelligent college students had died on the very grounds we walked on. The Chinese media, which is controlled by the communistic party reported it as "a student uprising." In reality, thousands of students had peacefully gathered on the square, wanting reform for the workers.

The authorities didn't know how to deal with crowd control. The soldiers didn't have pellets, and started shooting into the crowds. You don't know, unless you start digging, that to this day there are still people in prison because of that "uprising."
Just being on Tienanmen Square has left a deep impact on me.
This made for a painting that bluntly tells how disturbed and awful I feel about what happened there. It cannot be painted pretty, or peaceful.

Oil, 24 x 36, St.Germain

No rain can wash away innocent blood spilled at this square.
No powerful sculptures "of the people" can squelch the voice of true benevolence.
No amount of umbrellas can protect us from a rain...of bullets,
when our fear kills any inkling of change.

I also have some cheerful pics of this square, but I've held them back purposefully, because I like to let the following sink deep inside of us, and of me.
Freedom is a precious good, and we should guard it and savour it every day.
My wish is that we will never take our freedom for granted.


Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

We should never take anything for granted.Even our life can be gone in seconds!
This was a wonderful post Jeanette!
I'm so glad you got to see it and apparently, it was ment to be!

jeannette stgermain said...

So true, about our life.
You're bringing up something very interesting, Carol!
Sometimes I think, "Why me?" But maybe because I can't be silent about wrongful doings,
and I'm sent half across the world for that, LOL

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

What a round-about way of getting to where you want to be in the first place. :) The horrors of places like this will live on in our minds forever and never be forgotten. What a struggle this world has had in the name of freedom. The blood will never be washed away. You depicted it well in your painting Jeannette.

I have never heard of this hotpot way of cooking befor and it seems very interesting. I have always loved Chinese food.

Their architecture has always fascinated me and that building is a great example of it. It is beautiful.

Gaston Studio said...

Oh Jeannette, I felt much the same way you did when I stood in the middle of Tienanmen Square. Tears came to my eyes thinking how senseless it all was.

Your painting is so evocative of that moment. Thank you for painting it and thank you for sharing.


jeannette stgermain said...

Round about - yeah, it was because I was the only one who was interested in this site, LOL.
Just being able to paint this without being thrown in prison for it, kept being on my mind in the painting process!

Hotpot is delicious, and because there are no sauces involved it doesn't even taste like Chinese food.
I loved all the decorations on the historic buildings.

jeannette stgermain said...

Isn't it amazing that just being on that plaza brings our mind back to what we know happened? Can't remember if I cried then, but I felt very unsettled, but I did when after coming home I started researching it more.

Painting it was emotionally and technically difficult - so thank you! But I knew the red color would speak for itself (maybe not for the Chinese, because they like red - I don't think they associate it with blood).

Dina said...

Amen to the moral of your story.
What a post.
Your painting is so effective.

The Gossamer Woman said...

I hope to god I never have to pay with my life for my basic rights like that. It would be a huge step back in my 'civilized' country if I had to. How far away are we ever from such a thing? We always have to guard our rights as citizens and never let anyone mess with them, no matter how trivial it may seem.

Gaston Studio said...

You're right, red has a very different meaning for them, positive if I remember correctly.


kbguy (福生) said...

I will be visiting this country, this place on June 4th.

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

J--I am very pleased to read this post! I have had great difficulty opening your blog lately, it would shut down my window. I wonder if it is one of the attachments you have had on the side? I'll keep trying, but sorry I havn't been able to get here lately!

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you, living in your country you know all too well what suffering and being falsely accused means.

Whitemist said...

That is a heavy Jeanette!
I can not imagine.
I am glad you got there.

jeannette stgermain said...

It seems unthinkable in Holland doesn't it? But it may all change when we allow others to take over and control our conscience of what is right or wrong. Like you see we have to be on our guard for basic rights.

jeannette stgermain said...

Something to do with cheerful...gotto ask my son LOL

jeannette stgermain said...

Nice to see you here, and thanks for the "follow." As I recall, haven't you been in China before?
You'll love Beijing, and don't forget to eat roasted duck in a nice big restaurant - it's their specialty (in that city).

jeannette stgermain said...

so sorry, if it happens again, write my email please? Because I do like your comments:) castlestgermain(at)hotmail(dot)com
Yes, I shut down the translator widget because it didn't work. Am glad you're able to get back on!

jeannette stgermain said...

I'm glad I could write this post and not be censored, or being put on a certain list. That's why it's wisdom -I think - to pray for our governments, so these things never will happen here. (Once China was ruled by kings!!)

Reader Wil said...

Jeannette! That is an impressive painting. Strong because of the red colour.And the thought behind it is very clear.Thanks for sharing.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Am managing to leave a comment today Jeannette - lovely post - I have been to China a few times and enjoyed reading about your visit. I have not been since the incidents in Tien en Men Square - not sure I would like to go again. When I was in the square there were dozens of kites flying and it was very beautiful.

jeannette stgermain said...

Reader Wil,
Thank you, Wil. This is one of the paintings I struggled with, but then in the end I think it's one of my better paintings because it something more to say.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you so much for trying:) I deleted a widget on the right side yesterday - hopefully that was the cause! Wow, you like to travel! That must have been a beautiful sight with all those kites. Do you hae a pic of it?

The Stylish House said...

Hi Jean,
This is my first visit to your blog and it looks like I landed on a good post. Seeing it is Memorial weekend a timely reminded of our fallen hero’s who sacrificed so much. I lived overseas in Dubai for 5 years. I was on the Persian Gulf during 9/11 and going to war. Dubai was safe, but I was in the Middle East and things were uncertain. I like your painting and appreciate your artist’s eye. I actually found you through Silver’s blog. Silver found me a couple months ago and I have enjoyed seeing what she cooks up, literally. Have a nice holiday and drop by anytime. It is always nice to meet new friends. ~Cathy~
Also, my sister adopted her daughter from the Hunan Providence.

jeannette stgermain said...

When you've lived in the Middle East - when are things NOT uncertain? - Peace seems very fragile there!
On our way back to the US, we were surrounded by 5 American couples who were taking their adopted Chinese baby girl home!
Some of Silver's cooking is very creative! Hope you have a great weekend and thanks for befriending me:)

The Gossamer Woman said...

Hi Jeannette, I have an award for you over at my place. Please come and get it.

Lynette said...

Ooh all those colorful umbrellas against that misty rainy subdued background, fantastic photo and your painting is awesomely good Jeannette! Oh I can just feel the tragic events of that horrible day through your words and poem and photos, what a sad day in history for freedom! Great post!

jeannette stgermain said...

I am honored, Irene! Thank you for thinking that I am a bridge builder! The only thing is that on the right column I have a not that "I'm not ready for awards or tags yet" - the reason is that I may make this part of my art web site, Or maybe I'll do another blog on this site - am kind of waiting for my web designer to give me some instructions!
I think I found a solution - I'll mention the award in on of the 3 rambles for coming week (it's still Sunday night while I'm writing this) - thanks again!

jeannette stgermain said...

It's good to remember what the ones before us, like your dad, have done for our freedom. Be proud of him! Hope you had a good Memorial Day!

jeannette stgermain said...

In my haste I forgot to get back to your comment on this blog post - thanks you for you kind, and always encouraging comments!

Baruch said...

I love the photo and painting with the multi-coloured brollies

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you! Are brollies umbrellas?
Don't know if you know, but I am a Dutchman living in Los Angeles, so there are still some idioms that I can't even guess what they mean, LOL

kilauea Poetry said...

Hi there Jeannette..I love the richness and depth the red captures here..great post and nice job-