Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving - Giving Thanks

To all my family and friends in the USA, I send wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving of togetherness. Being so far away, I particularly can appreciate those rare moments when family members take the time to be together and enjoy each other without the stress of a regular work day. Here in Germany, it is business as usual, but my email folder and facebook page have been filled with holiday greetings from abroad. Thank you to all! The long distance friends and relatives are just as precious as the ones next door. And I am most thankful for these wonders of modern technology (which I will never understand), but allow us to communicate instantaneously with one another and melt away the miles. Yes, I do mean Skype, Google, Facebook and Co. . . . .

Here in my Berlin studio things are taking shape for the coming holiday season. Just this past week, there have been a couple inquiries about specific paintings and the possibility of an exhibit. Keep looking for updates!

Feldmohn - Field PoppiesFeldmohn - Field Poppies II

These two cameos of field poppies are destined for a Christmas market next month - hopefully just the perfect gift for someone.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fog and Frost

I have been watching the change of season from the big windows of my loft. This morning there is a lovely dusting of frost on all the adjacent roofs. The last few leaves are still hanging onto the big oak tree, but most of the branches are bare now, making it easy to observe a squirrel on his daily rounds. It is amazing how quickly he scrambles from tree to tree. I am very glad to have my observation post in a warm and lighted room.

On the operatic scene, I have been playing Verdi's Don Carlos - it could easily be my favorite Verdi. Each time I play the opera, I hear new things - the beautiful use of counterpoint - two independent melodies that meet and intertwine and create a fantastic atmosphere. There are numerous clips on youtube - I've chosen just one: King Phillip expressing sorrow and doubt

Frosty World - the Lausitz

I "discovered" this scene on a walk I took; it must be someone's private Paradise. I, too, was taken by the view.

And one more "Frost:"

     We saw leaves go to glory,
     Then almost migratory
     Go part way down the lane,
     And then to end the story
     Get beaten down and pasted
     In one wold day of rain.
     We heard " 'tis over" roaring.
     A year of leaves was wasted.
     Oh, we make boast of storing,
     Of saving and of keeping,
     But only by ignoring
     The waste of moments sleeping,
     The waste of pleasure weeping,
     By denying and ignoring
     The waste of nations warring.
                            Robert Frost

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bread and Salt

I finally officially celebrated my new living quarters with a housewarming last week; it was truly heartwarming. It was wonderful to be able to spend an evening with friends in my new surroundings. As a freelance musician, there are so few opportunities to plan ahead for such an occasion. This time, I made it happen!

And I was introduced to the tradition of giving bread and salt for the new home. I don't remember ever hearing of this in the USA - according to Wikipedia the tradition may go as far back as the Romans. No matter, the wish of always having enough to eat and the necessary "spice of life" to accompany it, is a lovely thought. Thanks to all!

Ingredients - Time to Bake!

The rest of my week was spent on an orchestra tour. Good music, warm hospitality and full houses made the time on the road worthwhile. We experienced the first snow of the season in southern Germany - beautiful, clinging to the still-red-and-yellow leaves on trees, but still MUCH too early in the year. As we drove north, the snow disappeared and we were privileged to have a bit more of October's fantastic clear air, blue skies and impressive cloud formations that seemed to go on endlessly over the plains. . . puts the world and us humans in an interesting perspective.

It had to remind me of Barbra Streisand singing "On a clear day you can see forever and ever. . . "

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Allegany County Artisans Tour

This weekend is the annual Artisans Tour of studios and galleries in Allegany County, NY - where I grew up. Wish I were there! Just the thought of driving over the country roads, through the autumn woods with their sugar maple reds and yellows brings tinges of years past to my mind.  And the extraordinary variety of artists (over 40) and art to be seen on this route is really amazing. Pottery, wood carving, textile art and, of course, lots of painting - the spectrum is impressive. (Maybe the relaxed atmosphere and clear air are conducive to creativity?) Yes, I'm a bit prejudiced. Have a look here:                         

Meanwhile, here on the other side of the Atlantic, I will undoubtedly also be swinging my paint brushes.
 One of my autumn favorites is the hydrangea. The flowers turn such lovely shades of rose and warm brown. It is a challenge to try to capture their subtle beauty.

Autumn Beauty

. . . and my thought for the day:
      The pessimist complains about the wind. An optimist expects it to change. And
      the realist adjusts the sails.
                                                                         Willliam Arthur Ward

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Autumn Thoughts

Even though September was a fantastic month, I am really looking forward to October - a month full of opposites. There are the chilly, foggy mornings followed by warm and golden afternoons; one day can have a  crystal clear an cloudless sky while the next brings a powerful windstorm bending trees and sending colorful leaves on their way. It is time for me to bring some candles out of their summer storage and enjoy their warm light during the long evenings.

Brahms symphonies are on my record player (yes, I still have one!) and I'm painting lots of deep reds and golden oranges while I know that I can't really copy the autumn rainbow that presents itself at my window. But, we love to try!

Fall Fireworks on the Lietzen Lake

"We learn from nature, just how slowly things develop
and how late the noblest of them ripen."

                                                                                           August Hermann Niemeyer

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back to Blogging!

My prolonged silence was definitely not planned - the summer months have simply taken a path that was very different from the norm.

The big news is that I have moved. After 24 years on the ground floor in the Kommandantenstrasse, I have found a marvelous loft with wonderful light and space for painting and music. Needless to say, the move itself was strenuous and trying, (lugging over 250 frames up two flights of stairs) but well worth the accompanying muscle aches. Now I look eye to eye with the squirrels and chickadees who occupy the trees surrounding our house.  Fantastic!


And. . . there is plenty of room for display. 

It is exciting to experience my pictures in a totally different ambiance.The brick wall is a great background, complete with all its irregularities. Hanging these pictures was about the last thing I did before taking off for a bit of R&R with family and friends in New York, so I was especially pleased to return to Berlin last week and see my "new" gallery.

 As in Kommandantenstrasse, my studio will be open for customers - just phone to make an appointment.  Info is posted in my profile and on the KlangArt website. 

speaking of which . . . I'm looking for a bit of help and coaching on updating said web presence. . .  something like "CSS 101" . . .
In my new environment, I have  been busy fiddling and painting - the interesting architecture of my apartment is really inspiring.That means that there will be lots of new works to post here in the coming months.

 . . . one last thought . . .
Three things to help conquer the troublesome difficulties in life: Hope, Sleep and Laughter.
                                                                                                     Immanuel Kant                                                              

Sunday, April 22, 2012

April Flowers

After a long absence, I was was able to spend Friday evening painting with my group of friends again. We experiment and hatch out new ideas - give support, praise and a bit of critique - and have a good share of laughs, too.  All in all, it is a wonderfully creative atmosphere.  While one of my fellow artists was pondering over how to paint a dandelion gone to seed, my thoughts turned to Oskar Koller- one of my very favorite watercolor painters.  Koller was occupied with capturing the essence and strength (Kraft) of a situation.  His forms and figures lack many details, but are full of energy and color. . . a source of inspiration for me and, for anyone who hasn't come in contact with his work, definiitely worth checking out.

The combination of Oskar Koller and the dandelion problem led to my "April Flowers." Let me know what you think. .. . I would love to hear some feedback.

While doing a bit of research, I ran into this quote from Hedy Lamarr:
"A good painting to me has always been like a friend.  It keeps me company, comforts and inspires."

Nice thought.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Exhibit in NY

I am  in the lucky position of being able to participate in the upcoming members' show at the Artist Knot Gallery. Have a look at the website and the gallery's facebook page.  Lots of interesting artwork.  Simultaneous to the members' exhibit, Celtic art is being shown in the front room of the gallery.

You are most cordially invited to the reception on April 20th, from 6-8:30 p.m.
Wish I could be there, too!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I think it is called "going with the flow."  After almost 24 years in one place, the Lang household is moving. .  .  not very far, but still a major undertaking.  There is a tremendous amount of sorting of treasures to be done.  And lots of laughs and tears while doing it. There are boxes of memories that haven't been touched in years. So, now, my motto is "one more look, and then into the bin!"

 It is, indeed, the nature of moving on - closing one chapter and starting something new.  I will definitely miss my favorite neighbors and my wonderful garden - my little paradise away form the rest of the world - but am all the more looking forward to my new studio on the top floor of a small house. There are big windows and a perfect spot for my art work. I will be able to look out at the tree tops while painting and watch the squirrels and birds at eye level.  It will be a good change and give me a brand new perspective on my work. And friends are definitely invited to come and see the new studio, too.

I am really looking forward to the challenge!

Spring Garden in Blue
For my readers in Germany, I also have a small exhibit at the moment in the Gutsmühle in Minsleben/Wernigerode.  Under the title of "Frühlingsgefühle" (Spring Feelings) I have several of my newest watercolors and a few old favorites on display.  The mill is unfortunately not open on a daily basis;  send me a mail ( you are in the area and would like to see the exhibit.  I'm sure we can arrange something.

Spring Garden in Green

My thought for the day comes from the French author André Gide;
"Man can not discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."

Friday, March 23, 2012


Spring is here; the garden is showing its brightest colors - daffodils, crocus and scilla are enjoying the sun's warming rays.  A pair of turtledoves has returned and are cooing devotedly to each other.  On my windowsill, even my amarylis has decided to blossom. . . a bit late, but all the more imposing with its deep red blooms.  It seems as though the whole world around me has suddenly woken up after the long winter.

And on the music front, the Figaro production I'm playing in Berlin has gotten off to a great start with a full house and really good reviews.  FUN!  On top of that, I'm rehearsing for a new production of "Tales of Hoffmann." Offenbach's melodies are so familiar and still so fresh;  this show will undoubtedly also be a crowdpleaser and fun to play. Relearning these old favorites is something like rereading a good book.  Even though you know the outcome of the story, you can "rediscover" the intricacies  written into the plot. There is always something new in a piece of art, whether it be music, painting or literature.

Rainer Maria Rilke has said this a bit more eloquently than I:

     Song, poem and painting are different from all else. . .
          They ARE not. 
               They BECOME something new each time [we visit them.]

Amarylis - a Late Showing

Saturday, March 3, 2012


As I flew over Pennsylvania last weekend, I thoroughly enjoyed the view of changing landscapes - winter to spring and woods to fields to villages and cities.  From my windowseat I had a marvelous perspective of the state.  This is nature's patchwork;  an everchanging collage of colors and textures. Each single field has its own character and life - individual, but, yet related to its neighbor. Needless to say, observing this  on a fantastic (almost) spring afternoon, has inspired me again to paint.  The new ideas are still forming in my mind, so, for now I'll post two of my favorite field impressions in watercolor and ink.


My thought for today comes from Vincent vanGogh - my favorite painter of fields:

"Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together."


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tomorrow I fly home to Berlin after two weeks visiting my "cradle" of western New York.  Coming and leaving are truly bittersweet occasions, but today I have had some lovely experiences.  I delivered paintings for the members' show at the Artist Knot Gallery and already have some positive feedback.  so important for the artist/musician to know that we reach someone . . .

And I  have had a beautiful evening with my family, just sitting in the livingroom in front of the fireplace and conversing.   This is a time to treasure.

I am thankful.

Joyful Dance

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I've been so anxious to start capturing springtime in watercolors, only to discover that I forgot to pack my paintbox before travelling!  I have since remedied that situation, but in the meantime, I have submitted a couple photos to a local photography exhibit.  Japan always supplies me with plenty of inspiriation for painting and lots of images to preserve on the camera.  I chose two from my orchestra tour in the summer of 2010.

For western New Yorkers, the exhibit is at the D.A.Howe Library in Wellsville;  reception is Thursday, Feb. 23th from 7-8:30 p.m.  There is an amazing variety of subject matter and photographic techniques on display - much worth having a look.!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Fridays are very special. When I'm not busy rehearsing or performing an opera or concert,  I meet with several other artists to spend the evening painting together.  Each of us has his own style and work mthods, but we have a wonderful group dynamic - sharing ideas, techniques and critique - enjoying the company and doing our share of laughing, too.

Yesterday I experimented with my own interpretations of  Chinese watercolor and ink painting.  The contrast between the delicate watercolors and black ink and the way the two react with each other on paper provide wonderful possibilities for interesting pictures.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Full moon and snow

Tonight we will have a full moon and, after that, perhaps somwhat milder temperatures. . . . Seeing that huge sphere in the dark sky yesterday evening was quite impressive; even more beautiful, though, was the effect of the noon sunshine on the snow crystals.  The garden appeared to be littered with thousands of diamonds, sparkling for all they were worth. . . . tiny rainbows of color. 

After the First Snow

Even as we experience -20° in Berlin, we are reminded that the days are getting longer.  The sun will warm us up and spring is on the way. Sure thing!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It is an icy, cold day in Berlin - but the sun is shining and putting a silvery sheen on the dusting of snow that we have.  Beautiful...  I'll certainly be getting out my paints this afternoon. For some reason, I like drawing winter trees (especially the willows and birches).  The branches tell such wonderful stories.

. . . my "chuckle of the day". . . courtesy of Garrison Keillor. . . 
    What rhymes with "Amazon?     "Pyjamas on."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Madame Butterfly

Tonight is premiere night for "Madame Butterfly" in Magdeburg.  This has to be some of the most wonderful and dramatic music ever written. This scene brings tears to my eyes every time - (hope I can read the music in spite of it all!)
Butterfly aria
I won't go into the details of the plot (it isn't a happy end), but the music is incredibly moving. It is a mixture of everything from Gilbert & Sullivan through Wagner to Gershwin  -  and, of course,  original Puccini.  It isn't difficult to see why this is one of the most performed operas in the world today. 

This is my recollection of a beautiful templegarden in Kyoto - fitting for today.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


It is a fantastic winter day, crispy and cold, but not without the first signs of spring. It has been warm enough that the tree buds seem to be ready to burst.  I do like snow, but those rays of sun are really welcome.

. . . AND . . . a gentleman, who had seen my artwork at an art fair recently, came to my studio this morning and bought TWO paintings!  Now that is a good start to the year.

Fun Flowers

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday in Berlin

We finally have our first smattering of snow this morning.  And I was just starting to imagine the snowdrops poking up out of the earth. . . .guess the flowers are used to this sort of thing, though.  I'm glad to not have to be on the road today. I've played an hour of Bach this morning - always a good start to the week - will do a bit of deskwork (including some long neglected correspondence) and then might even do some finishing touches on several paintings I've started.  If there is enough daylight, I might even take some pix and post them. . . will see how far my energy goes takes me.

My thought for the day;  "Think it.
                                      Imagine it.
                                      Do it."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It is another gray day in Berlin. . . all the more important to keep busy with cheery things.  I'm still enjoying my Christmas tree, though it will surely find its way to the recycle bin later this week.  In the glow of the lighted tree, it has even been enjoyable to sift through old magazines that have been saved and saved and saved. . . . I've sorted out almost 200 issues of Reader's Digest.  Some of them are 25 years old.  And I've even found someone who will take them and read!  I'm just glad to have the space now in my bookshelf. 

While I was sorting, though, I did have a look at some of the Quotable Quotes that used to be on the inside cover of the magazine.  How about
         "You can't have everything. Where would you put it?"

or from Andy Warhol "They always say that time changes things, but actually you have to change them yourself."

Guess I'll just get on with my cleaning and sorting!   Have a great day.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I found this wonderuful thought on Jean Haines`s blog. . .
moving. . .

Yesterday has gone, yesteryear is disappearing and your tomorrows are about to arrive. 
I wish you , most of all joy.

At midnight your tears will wash away your sadness,and lead you fresh faced into a whole new year.

Hang in there, let go of  2011 and welcome 2012.

It's going to be a magical year.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

After playing a ballett in the afternoon, I caught up with my painting group in the evening and started a new watercolor . . .still life with fish . . . .will see how it develops.  Now I have to do some work on my website (sigh) my knowledge is SOOOOO limited. Can anyone help me?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The sun is shining over Berlin today.  Can hardly believe that this is January.  Love it.

I'm being inspired today by this fantastic group of watercolors.  The variety of techniques is amazing and so many of the works really emit a wonderful atmosphere.  I would have a hard time picking just one winner.

I can hardly wait to get my chores done for the day and start painting!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

a new year - a new start - a new blogger

Seeing as how I have decided that 2012 will be an extraordinary year, I thought I'd give it a good start by sharing some of the extraordinary (and the very ordinary, though not less interesting) wonders in my daily life.

As a freelance musician, I spend lots of time driving between gigs; this makes for lots of time to ponder all sorts of wild philosophies and time to develop new ideas for paintings (the other half of my professional life).  It's a great combination and makes each and every day something new.  No boredom here!

I had a rehearsal for a new production of Madame Butterfly this morning - I really love sitting in the midst of the orchestral sound. . . .  dolby surround for real!