Parliament at Dawn


Oils on 60 x 80 cm stretched canvas. 

Commissioned by the Honorable Jakob Maria Mierscheid, MdB (SPD). Painted from a photograph I took at dawn, after biking around the ghost town of sleeping summer Berlin in the early morning light.

Parliament houses the only Parliamentary inquiry globally to date investigating American mass surveillance and targeted surveillance of political leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel. U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called the inquiry “more dangerous than the Snowden revelations,” illustrating the danger the American deep state perceives itself to be in when democratic partners insist on rule of law.

The medium fits the message here in that sense. There’s license with the photorealistic aspect, just as there’s interpretation in law. But it’s moored in the proportions of reality. Just like rule of law. (Right, guys? RIIIIGHT?????)


My High Road

My High Road

Wet oils on the fifth layer or so on 40 x 50 cm stretched canvas. Thinking of a long-promised land in California I’ll never see. Illustrates…

A new song (or poem if you just read the lyrics) about how thriving is the most moral thing you can do in response to immorality.

This is the 11th happy (ish) song I’ve written since deciding all my old songs were too sad to sing, and I’d have to write all-new material to even figure out if I can sing in front of myself—much less anybody else. And it still manages to have this sad back-story, or series of sad back-story meanings when I think about it.

In any event, at #12 I can stop and reevaluate whether I want to use these vocal sketches to learn the lyrics and melody, compose and learn proper accompaniment, and revisit public performance as a thing I do as an artist… Because I fantasize about it, but maybe it is just a fantasy because I’m a quiet poetpainter more than a stand-up in spite of my experiments. And because everyone knows an album has at least 12 songs you can sing with happy families in the park on Sunday. Otherwise you need to learn Beatles covers for wedding gigs, and then you might as well get a job in advertising, and we know where that ends.


Web Store Open


As those of you who get my newsletter know, my new web store is open! Eventually it will be the landing page of this lovely new website you’re reading my blog on right now. It will also accept credit cards, tailor shipping costs (currently included), and include an option to commission work. And I’m on my way to making the income I’ll need to renew my artist visa, to keep living here in Berlin! 

Please take a look and let me know what you think if you have time. Thanks for supporting my art.


Growing Drafts, Successful Show, New Store Coming Soon

German Parliament draft etc

It seems I have been taking a summer vacation. Weird.

Still, new paintings of larger and different sorts are in the works as I synthesize good feedback I got from smart people, rest my sore hand, and find new inspiration. For example, I’m working on a larger painting of the German Parliament building (or Reichstag)—from a photo I took very early one morning when the northern European summer light was incredibly beautiful and the streets perfectly empty. Like the rest of the world, I also can’t stop looking at this.

Life drawing happens in my living room now, of course. But I can’t take photos of that, to work from more slowly… So lately I’ve also been painting on some small, fast works that also don’t feel done.

Similarly, a few new vocal track song drafts from vacation are online (here and here). Someday I will figure out how to write proper accompaniment for, practice to performance level, and perform my new Berlin music oeuvre. For now I’m just trying to get together a dozen new songs I actually want to sing. I’m up to 10—15+ if you count everything I’ve written lately, which I don’t. I found when I moved here in November that I simply couldn’t sing my old stuff anymore. I didn’t want to memorize any of my published poetry. I want to keep working on performing as an artist, but don’t know how exactly. I’m still not sure there’s a voice of mine to be found in this vein. From how people respond there’s more clearly a “there there” in my painting…

Thanks again to everyone who made my first Berlin gallery show last month at ReTramp a success. Now the beginnings of my new Berlin painting oeuvre are back home. It feels so good to have them also rephotographed with proper tripod and camera. For the first time, you can now see the colors and textures in my paintings—in their photographic form. That first improved curation step done, I’m setting up a new and improved online store… With a little help from my friends (read: a lot of help from Mr. Wolf). I hope it will be online later this month, but we’ll see. (I need yet another German number for tax things, and such.)

I wouldn’t be me if I weren’t writing. But I do so need to launch this European art career. So I’m also working on a book proposal reinventing the research memoir I tried writing last fall, thinking of Françoise Gilot—the painter and memoirist who fled into art from law studies under Nazi pressure, and then left France and Picasso for a new life in America. Still I’m not sure I should return to the work that led me to leave academia and the States. I’m so glad to be here now.

In the meantime I’m still learning German through cooking and love, and will continue this summer vacation thing with light posting, longer work sessions on fewer paintings, and more inspiration-seeking than thing-making for a while… Much as I need to write and make and do every day. It has been time for a rest.