Making and offering art for birthdays has become somewhat of a family tradition.  I make paintings for everyone in my family either for their birthdays or for another special occasion. For me this is easier than coming up with a gift idea that is likable and useful. It is also very personal.

This one is the second painting I gift FriDad.  It’s a glass painting of us in Fribourg, based on a drawing by FriBoy.

Before adding the color

My husband wanted to move here. When I first looked at the google satellite street map of Fribourg I thought it was depressing, everything looked grey. It didn’t look any better when I saw it in person for the very first time. But like any first impressions, there is much more to a place than the color of its buildings and what you see on the surface.

Living here made me see way beyond of that and gradually discover the secret life of color of a place that has a lot to offer to its inhabitans. Everything is in proximity, especially nature, its architecture and the way the city was built following the Sarine river is actually unlike anything I have ever seen, even for Switzerland.  I never use the car to get around, which is totally awesome.

Being a small city from a rather traditional and agricultural district, cultural life is not comparable to Geneva or Zurich. But the best thing about this is that people volunteer a lot to make this place culturally alive. Many of Fribourg’s festivals (Fête de la Musique, Recontres de Folklore, Le Kopek etc.) are based on volunteers’ work. I honestly have not seen this amount of civic work and volunteering before,  and I think the larger the city, the less people are involved in community work. I kind of feel like people have a fribourgeois attitude to life which is: love the place where you live, care about your community/neighborhood, act locally, get involved, support local businesses, work hard and enjoy.

I wanted to make a painting that reflected the way I internalized this place. The hardest part was getting Friboy to make the drawing, because he doesn’t like to draw anymore. Fridad looked like a pizza slice, so I painted him as such.

The original drawing by FriBoy
Gradually adding color

This is how it looks on the backside. On glass you always paint on the back and turn the painting back and forth to see how it’s coming out. It’s rather cumbersome.

The backside of the painting

The secret life of Fribourg

I am trying to instill the same attitude in my son, love and appropriate the place where he lives. I think it is the only way to make next generations proactive in protecting the environment and creating positive experiences on this planet.



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