Java Junkie of the month - Colinda De Groen

Colinda is Read, Write & Brew’s resident artist. All the beautiful paintings of Colorado you see up for sale on our walls were painted by this wonderful lady. Why’s she so wonderful? She’s talented, passionate, warm and fun.


Julie: So you grew up in Holland?

Colinda: I was born in Germany, and when I was 5 we moved to Holland, my family, and I remember standing in front of the TV watching Bonanza and I pointed at the TV and I said “That’s my home, that’s where I live one day”.

Julie: When you were 5?!

Colinda: When I was 5 years old I already knew I would come out here and the Rocky Mountains have been my home, and I just love it.

Julie: How long have you lived here now?

Colinda: Well, lived in America since 1984. Six months after my 18th birthday I packed my stuff, and here I came.

Julie: All by yourself, with just a wing and a prayer?

Colinda: Right. And I’ve been in Colorado since 2004.

Julie: Any plans to go anywhere else?

Colinda: [quickly] Oh goodness no! Yes, I love it here. This is my home now.

Julie: So tell me more about the website you’re working on.

Colinda: Well I put it up in October, and it’s about outdoor Colorado – about all the possible ways of enjoying our beautiful outdoors here, and our beautiful mountains. I find that being outside, it really is healthy for your mind, your outlook, healthy for your body, you get exercise… so I go outdoors and I film people that are bike riding or hiking or snowshoeing, and then I upload the video of them doing that on YouTube, and on the website you’ll find links to Colorado Division of Wildlife, Denver Mountain Parks, Jeffco Open Space, you’ll find a calendar of events of all the outdoor things that are going on around this area here. By all means, if there are events that people know of that are outdoor related, let me know. Just post me a little email on the website and then I will list it on the calendar, because it’s really fun to see people come out and participate in these things. Jeffco does a lot of great things up by the Nature Center. Denver Mountain Parks – a lot of people I know are not familiar with it - but they own Genesee Park with the Bison, they own Echo Lake up by Mount Evans, they own Summit Lake – they're all great for the elderly, and people with disabilities to come out there because they’re just really well maintained. They’ve got facilities, and so I want to let people know about those things so that they may feel more inclined to go out there and spend a family day out instead of being in front of the television or the computer. I love to watch people have fun outside and look at each other and interact together.

Julie: That really stands out to me about you, because I notice that all your artwork is of Colorado and the landscapes and animals and activities… they’re beautiful.

Colinda: [laughs] Thank you. It is. It is all about Colorado. I’m outside a lot hiking or filming or taking pictures… incessantly [pauses and smiles]… and I just love it so much. I enjoy painting it, and my house is full of things [laughs again] like the paintings and all kinds of outdoor stuff.

Julie: How long have you been doing your art?

Colinda: Oh wow! Ha, ha. Well, I have painted ever since high school. Um, but more seriously where I put it out in stores to sell… probably, well, since my daughter was born. Since 2003. For creative people, being outside is a necessity, but I think for people that are stuck in a cubicle or an office a lot, I think it is just as much of a necessity just to get a broader perspective of life and remember that it’s not all about work.

Julie: Well that’s great advice. What’s the address for the website?

Colinda: The website is rangetracker.org.

Julie: So now for the questions we ask all of our 'Java Junkies' at Read, Write & Brew; What’s your favorite drink?

Colinda: My favorite drink is the ahh… I had one just now, it’s The Great White Pumpkin, and I have whipped cream on top of it, of course.

Julie: Yesss…

Colinda: Yesss, of course.

Julie: Of course!

[Both of us have a little giggle at this point. It’s a girl thing, for you boys who don’t get what’s so funny right now]

Colinda: My daughter and I both love coming here, and she gets one of your frozen treats. She loves those, and I like to get the cappuccino one too.

Julie: Another question we like to ask all our Java Junkies is; What’s something that you think not many people know about you or would be surprised to know about you?

Colinda: Oh [laughs] Well, um, there’s probably a whole lot of things. I can’t think of anything right at the top of my head… not anything I want to talk about [cheeky laugh].

Well, I volunteer for the Easter Seals. I help out with them when they have their weekend camps and this summer I’m looking forward to helping out with the summer camps. And I would say next to giving birth to my daughter, it’s the most rewarding thing that I can think of, ever. You know, when we take people with disabilities and we take them skiing… and it’s just wonderful to see everybody have so much fun. I have to give the people at Rocky Mountain Village so much credit because it’s amazing to see them just moment after moment taking such good care of the people that come to spend the weekend with us there. They’re always looking for more volunteers, and this summer will be fun because it’s out in the mountains, real close to Georgetown. They have this whole village there with fishing, horseback riding, wall climbing – I’m going to try that for the first time ever over there – but it’s lovely because people that are wheelchair bound, they hoist them up and participate, oh and they love it! They go down on the ratchet, you know,…

Julie: Like zip-lining?

Colinda: Yeah, they zip-line and go wooooo! Ha, ha.

Julie: Really! That’s awesome.

Colinda: Yeah. They just love it. And they can do arts and crafts and, the rewards ceremony at the end of the weekend, all the participants, their faces just glow, and it is extremely rewarding. It’s a memory you take with you no matter where you go. And, you know what. Of all the things you can achieve in life and accomplish in life, I think helping someone else to have a better day… that is something you can take with you. You cannot take your money with you or anything, but those good feelings and building friendships, that is something that – it will never leave you.

And that's Colinda, ladies and gentlemen.

Colinda, good luck with the website. I’ve already bookmarked rangetracker.com on my PC. I hope you achieve your aim of getting everybody outside and exploring our great outdoors more. It’ll be my first reference point this summer whenever I want to try a new hiking trail.

Blog Readers: Check out these videos direct from Rangetracker.org.

Playing chess with Jefferson at Read, Write & Brew.




Just too cute...



Thanks again for being our latest Java Junkie Colinda. We hope you enjoy your $10 Read, Write & Brew gift certificate – just in time for the warmer weather and those frozen coffee drinks!