City of Oaxaca


Oaxaca is a state in southern Mexico known for its indigenous cultures. Its capital, the City of Oaxaca, is noted for colonial buildings often made of green volcanic stone. In the main square, El Zócalo, stands the baroque Catedral de Oaxaca. Beyond the city, pre-Columbian archaeological sites include Mitla, Yagul and Monte Albán, the Zapotec capital dating to around 500 B.C.
Given that artist Uriel Agustin’s church has more of the colonial than the baroque about it, we suspect his painting is not a depiction of the City of Oaxaca public square, but perhaps of an ‘old town’ neighborhood. The proximity of planted fields to the church seems to support this theory, as does a long row of low-lying shops or residences, painted uniformly red, across the road on the right. The reds of shops and church roof along with greens of plants and shrubbery lend the painting (and probably the town itself) its particular ethnic flavor.
And so does the audio selection by ShortBusMusic offer Spanish ambience appropriate to this depiction of colonial influence in a Mexican town. The track features a rich flamenco style 12-string guitar and, later, a sensuous vocalise in counterpoint. Perhaps the track is a bit too active, and romantic, for what really looks to be a pretty sleepy town. But hey, watch out what goes on behind closed doors in sleepy Mexican towns!

You can order a print of City of Oaxaca in my Facebook Shop, here:

Dan Goldstein


Cathedral Reflections


The shiny reflection on the floor of Washington National Cathedral’s Bethlehem Chapel attests to some humble man performing his humble duty in magnificent fashion. The visitor here, whose depressed spirit allows perhaps only a downward glance, is offered reflections of hope and elevation, reflections of his own potential for self improvement and greatness. As the eyes of our encouraged guest draw upward, he sees the column bases, solid blocks, unshakable foundations. The columns’ first decorous bands, protruding gently, smooth and curved, speak a graceful word, one of comfort. So he lifts his eyes still further and upward. Even as the whole space is filled with grandeur, so is our inspired witness filled with awe. It is awe for man’s creation. It is awe for G-d, whose glory all this celebrates.

Dan Goldstein chooses a warm, resonant brass sound for an ambient effect. Cathedral spaces have always been favorite venues for brass quintets. Perhaps two trombonists stand just out of sight and offer their humble meditation, their humble prayer. The sparsity of interval and rhythm speaks to the stillness of the place. Somehow the noble simplicity of this brass chant allows us to be impressed by this grand interior without being overwhelmed by it.

If you would like a print of Cathedral Reflections, you can order in my Facebook shop, here:

Dan Goldstein


Balancing Duck

5X7 balancing squared.png

It is not every day that you see a dancing duck! Our baby mallard does a happy two step, one webbed foot raised enthusiastically into the air. The detail in this wildlife photo closeup by photographer Robin Lusk is super rewarding. We sense the joy of things in nature, so completely not self-conscious. And surely that one eye that looks out at us is full of laughter.

Composer Dan Goldstein’s track captures some of the off-balance feel and humor of an animal standing on one foot. It is a tripping sort of melody, treated canonically. The brass sounds approach the quacking sound we might hear from our dancing duck.

If you would like a print of ‘Balancing Duck’, you can order in my Facebook shop, here:

Dan Goldstein




German artist Karsten Thole captures a sweet moment for two brothers. They both wear green ball caps. They pack a cooler together and plan their outing.
Perhaps a moment before anger led a big brother out onto the street.
Karsten instills everyday scenes from life with a gentleness and sweetness that resonates with our own best memories. It is accessible art, art that permits us to step in.

to purchase a print:

big brother this rap goes out to you
if you still have ears to hear
but I fear you are too gone bro,
too gone to know, to remember,
to feel the family that loved you,
the kid brother that held you dear.
In the place we came from
our family was rare for staying together
a mother and father that cared, that shared,
always praying that we should walk in His light,
but Dad lost sight, forgot the right,
lost the fight, then the slaying.
When Dad was gone we held on to each other
we had each other’s back, yea
we didn’t lack for love then, yea
you didn’t pack then
But personalities form as they do
Anger, resentment formed you
Where your soul was turned hollow
you took to the street, put your feet
in a place where hate and violence rule
My pen was my tool, not a piece.
You turned a dark corner bro.
I couldn’t follow.
4 bars = refrain
Verse 2
remember those cold Winter mornings
selling those Sunday papers
standin on the corner hawkin walkin up to cars
hittin on folks leavin mass
my ass freezin for their buck-25
plus a tip, shit no reason to quit
we’d flip them joints in a few hours
Hell I was glad to do it
cause threw it I got closer to you
Dad welcoming us home like heroes
Pancakes and coffee warmin us
Yea his love formin us
till they took him, yea
you should have picked up the pan then
but you picked up the gun
run out on your family bro
but I guess pesonalities form as they do . . .
4 bars = refrain
Verse 3
remember Rich Stadium bro? watchin them Bills
that was the day watchin OJ runnin that ball
you and Dad was all about that team
screamin at the refs when they messed up a call
I was no ultimate fan, no fan of the crowds
even cowed by the loud, by the rowdy
but I was down with one crowd, yea
you and Dad was my crowd
Brother don’t you see you were blessed?
workin and playin, you always did your best
but there was one test you messed up on man.
Humility and Faith FAILED,
against Anger, against Pride
but personalities form as they do . . .

Dan Goldstein


Brown Heath


ahh – such a beautiful, tranquil feeling in this lovely watercolor abstract by artist Karsten. The warm browns of the earth, which hosts part of black picket fence. Perhaps the earth is a bit parched, from the red lines suggesting cracking, but generally it is warmth we feel. And then there is the gentle blending, like strata of rock formation, into the first light blue (star command blue) part of the sky. Then light blue gently darkens into oxford blue.
One expects perhaps, some bucolic melody, something sentimental and sweet, to accompany our wistful watercolor of a brown heath. But composer midisparks has none of it. Apparently he sees an entirely different scenario. In fact the whole landscape is an electrically charged, alien terrain in his ears and eyes. And the spirit is one of foreboding and uncertainty. His effected toms, of which there are 6 in total, beat a steady warning. His synths are off-tuned, in ways which relate mathematically to the color scheme and which also convey an unearthly sense to the painting.
We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to promote the brilliant watercolors of artist Karsten (nee ViVaDa). You can buy awesome, high quality prints of this and his other works in my Facebook art shop, here:

Dan Goldstein



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Posted by on August 23, 2017 in MidiSparks Art Prints


Adrenaline Beach


Photographer Shelley Neff presents an expansive view of Labadee, Haiti’s Adrenaline Beach. Blue waters, a long stretch of coral reef, and red beachfront cabanas invite us to start fantasizing about a tropical getaway.

Music Produceer Mic Mene offers a chill beat which is just what we would be listening to while sipping a cold one during vacation at this scenic spot.

Labadee, Haiti, a private peninsula, situated on the northwest corner of the island of Hispanola and separated from the rest of Haiti by a mountain range, is owned by Royal Caribbean International. The peninsula is used by the cruise line as a port of call for select itineraries. Each of Labadee’s beaches offers something different, from family attractions to private cabanas, for cruise passengers to enjoy.

Adrenaline Beach, located near the city’s town square, offers the opportunity for cruise passengers to play several sports, including beach volleyball, basketball and soccer. The beach is also home to the Dragon’s Tail coaster, which offers a scenic view of the island and beaches at 30 miles per hour.

We hope you can make it to this alluring destination sometime soon. In the meantime, you can order a print from my Facebook Shop to keep the goal fresh in your mind.

Dan Goldstein



Greenland Skull

greenland skull-thole

Should we laugh or shiver at artist ViVaDa’s Greenland Skull art?  Blond braids adorning this probably bovine skull with wide set eye sockets not quite aligned might suggest a laugh.  The golden locks, fashioned it seems as viking horns, angle down left against eyes angling right.  Swirling mosses and grasses in the digital background complete the rendering’s dizzying effect.  So after staring for some time at this image (and how can we not but hold with the image for some time as we are likewise captivated by the hypnotic Joe Kramer/Burton Philbrick audio track), the mind begins to spin a bit and the stomach slightly to turn.  This is good, for we are inclined then to contemplate more serious implications of this skull art.  The rich yellow hair braids speak of course not of death but of attractive youth and life that once was.  Joe’s lyrics speak directly to this:

Once I had a life
Once I felt so great
Once I had some good times
but now . . . I am dead.

Audio can guide us beyond initial reactions to images (in this case chuckles) to potentially more complex responses (in this case feelings about our mortality).  At the most fundamental level, a thoughtful bit of audio may keep us engaged with the painting a little longer than otherwise might be the case, and as a result there is time to think more deeply about the images.  Our audio provides an explicit narrative, even animates the image.  We visit with not only the remains of the deceased, but with the ghost as well, who shares with us her story of a life loved, now lost.

As a painting, this bit of skull art is impressive and deserves a place in every skull art collector’s portfolio.  I am pleased to offer a 13″ X 10″ digital print of ViVaDa’s Greenland Skull.  Please visit the product page in my Facebook shop to order.

Dan Goldstein


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