Piano Sketches

“Music is prayer without words.”

—Bethann Kratzer, piano teacher

My son Morgan has been taking piano lessons from Bethann Kratzer for many years. I have always enjoyed going to Bethann’s house and sitting on the couch in the adjacent room, listening to the lesson. Sometimes I sketch Morgan and Bethann during the lessons, or Morgan alone while he is practicing.


Three years ago, I decided I wanted to take lessons myself. I used to play when I was a child, but I quit when I was 13. Now, 25 years later, the piano is part of my life again. I have been playing a little bit every day and taking regular lessons.

I love taking lessons with Bethann. She has a calm, gentle voice and manner, and a quiet, subtle way of teaching that I adore. I find I respond best to someone who teaches this way.

It feels really good to have a creative outlet that is all my own, that the world at large can’t judge. I don’t play to perform on a professional level, but strictly for my own enjoyment in the music. It complements my painting practice, I imagine, much like cross-training benefits an athlete.

Currently, I am working on Rebikov’s Lullaby, and Tchaikovsky’s Winter Morning. I’ve also started composing some music for Seal Lullaby, a poem by Rudyard Kipling, just for fun. (This poem is in the public domain.)

Seal Lullaby by Rudyard Kipling

Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, o’er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow;
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas.

“Red Tulips”    oil on canvas, 14x11 inches

“Red Tulips” oil on canvas, 14x11 inches

We got our piano for free, years ago. It seems people are always trying to get rid of their pianos. I suppose they take up a lot of space.

But I will always have a piano in the house. A piano is like part of the family, a handsome living creature reflecting sunlight and promising pleasure.

“   Piano Music"    oil on canvas, 28x22 inches

Piano Music" oil on canvas, 28x22 inches

This is my last blog post for awhile; I plan to take the rest of the summer off, and I shall resume in September. Thank you for reading!