I have some wonderful clients that told me a few months ago that I had to meet ‘GG’, my clients grandmother. I moved to Balboa Island when I was 15 and lived on Opal Avenue and came to find out that GG lived just one block away on Agate.
Although to them she goes by GG, her real name is Dottie Siemon and if you don’t know her, you might know her work. Dottie, who took up painting when she was in her 60’s, loved to visit artist John Botz in his Laguna Beach gallery. One day he asked her why she didn’t paint. She replied, “Would you teach me?” Since he didn’t teach, he referred her to a studio in Cannery Village, where she spent a few years taking lessons.
As a way of giving back to the place she calls home, she agreed when the Balboa Island Improvement Association asked her to decorate street-end clay planter pots years ago. She has painted every planter with variations of yellow, pink, blue and green tulips above a sailboat scene.
Summing up life on Balboa Island, Siemon said: “My favorite thing about living on the island is the people and going down to the end of my street and sitting on the bench where I can look at the boats and water. It’s very peaceful.”
I wanted to spotlight Dottie, as she is a true representation of the Spirit of Balboa Island, and a reminder that you are never to old to try something new. Next time you’re walking around the island, take a look at the pots at the end of every street. When you see the beautiful paintings, you’ll think of Dottie and what a great neighbor and treasured part of the community she is.
Wishing her a happy birthday, as she just had a birthday, since I filmed this and turned 97 years old on November 2nd. Happy birthday GG!!!