12 Painting Sketches

by Sandpiper Parade

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This album is a series of songs written as responses to paintings, painters, and art. As a great lover of art and art museums, this baby is one of my favorite series of songs I've written and done. The combination of freedom and limitation that comes with responding to a single image was awesome. I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I enjoyed making them.


released August 6, 2016

Many thanks to Katie Joy Nellis and Karolina Kieraitė, my writing group without which this songs wouldn't exist.

The use of these paintings is allowed and protected since I am presenting the work in order to respond to it critically and creatively through song. Some of them are under copyright, and many are public domain, however that doesn't affect my use of them, because they themselves are not being used for marketing and are not themselves the product that I have created, but their inclusion is essential for the understanding of the songs I have created..




James Metelak Brigantine, New Jersey

Indie-folk Acoustic Singer-Songwriter Multilingual World Traveler Music That is Sometimes to God, and sometimes not.

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Track Name: This is Me (Banksy's What You Lookin' At)
This is me
Looking at your camera
Looking at me
What do you see?
All-seeing eye

Do you find my conversations interesting?
If I say "bomb" "revolution" "allahu akbar"
How long you gonna keep that tape?

God is watching us
He sits in a pale cubicle
Pasty on his lips
He watches the people pass by
On a couple hundred screens
Best be on your best behavior
Best not be vandalizing

Art is staring you in the face
The faceless man with a can of paint
The faceless man before the screen
The black batons of the trudging beat
The faceless in the heavenlies
Track Name: Women are People, Not Just Bodies (Tatyana Fazlalizadeh)
Cat call a cat
Boy what you looking at?
Your sister's an ass
Or at least that's all you see
Oh ladies, ladies
Please be more than your metonymies

Painted face?
Lashing eyes?
Chasing skirts?
A smooth leg?
Two plump coconuts?
A shadow behind a man?
I know you're so much more than these
A helper?
A supporting character?
Oh paper dolls
And runway queens
You were made
For so much more
Than being beheld

//You are whole
You are woman
And you don't need me to tell you so//
That's just something you should know

You were made to shout
You were made to sing
You were made to change the world
You were made to lead
You were made to fight
You were made to compete
Basically, although the world's not your story
The actor is you
This is your stage

And F*CK the male gaze
You do you
Track Name: War is Sexy (Shepard Fairey's Grenade)
You've got a grenade
Where your head should be
You're a danger
To this family
Stroke your neck
Kiss your steel lips
War is sexy baby
Until we're all little bits
But maybe we deserve it.
Track Name: Mona Lisa's Got an RPG (Banksy)
Mona Lisa's got an RPG
Metal blaring on her Mp3
Mona Lisa's got an RPG
And she's after me

Crooked cop gonna clean up the streets
Whitewash 'em with the gas grenades
Mona Lisa's got an RPG
And she's after me

What goes on behind that smile?
Did you get tired of being looked at?
Whose helicopters are you gonna bring down?
Who exactly gave you that?

She's a real stinger that Mona Lisa
Float like a butterfly
Sting like a revolutionary (jihadi?)
Track Name: Headscarf (Shepard Fairey)
I let my headscarf slip down a little
Like I did when I was a girl
Momma said you better act like a lady
And you best not be walking alone

I'm not alone with my can of paint
And the fire burning inside
Let them come, let them call me a criminal

You can't take the freedom inside
Oh you won't take the fire from my eyes
I'm coming for you
Track Name: Japanese Bridge (Monet)
The world is round
I saw it in the outline of the rails
Intercepted and interrupted
By lilies and ripples

The world is now
A river of impressions floating by
Green and blue
Black or white
It's not so easy for my eyes

The world is color
The world is sight
The world is image in eye
The world is outside
And there aren't
So many lines

We bleed into canvas and sky
Track Name: Rothko's Reds
Flushed cheeks
Forest fire
Drops of blood
All this rage
Poppy petals
Hushed tones
A blush of jealousy

//The emotion overwhelms me//

Lava runs through
Rusty veins
Bloodshot eyes
And oily flames

//Clouds of smoke
And pain//

The paint betrays me
Eyes enflaming
Caught between
The shame and bloom
The room and womb
And the catacomb
Track Name: Gerhard Richter
There's a picture behind this picture
But you can't see it
I'm just gonna give you
A little glimpse
A hill far away
Verdant, sunny
But the rest of this canvas
Is just grey

This city poured concrete on the flowers
The TV screen tossed cinder blocks
Concussing up my mind
A blade of grass strains through the sidewalk
They'll fix that grass
This is Germany

There's a place that I'm trying to remember
But ego and performance, desire and pride
Have all cluttered up that pretty picture
I wonder how much of me is left inside
Oh I wonder how much of me is left inside
Track Name: Sunflowers (Van Gogh)
Insect eyes
Warm august light
There are swirls in the fields
And the sky
Or maybe just my eyes

Open face
Exploding shell
Yellowed mind
Hay lines
Mirage light
Track Name: Battersea Reach (Whistler)
Oh the blue twilight
There's fire in the stars
Sky and sea meld with
Grey night
And the heaviness of fog
I do not know
I do not know
But I reach
I cannot see
I cannot see
So clearly

A gull calls
Laughing at my sorrow
The tug's horns echo
'Cross the bay
I am lost in the blue
I am lost in the blue
There is no black or white
Just the taste of salt on tongue
A heart echoing inside

Oh the blue twilight
Our eyes will not adjust
There's a fire in the stars
Or maybe just a streetlight
Heavy blue wound with smoke
Lays heavy on my chest
They call this place a harbor
But I can't find no rest
Track Name: Waterfall (MC Escher)
The water flows up to the fall
The wheel spins perpetual
We're going nowhere
The water flows down to the tip top tap
We've been here before

Human Nature defies the laws of physics
Track Name: Yosemite Valley (Albert Bierstadt)
Follow the line
Vanishing out of sight
A focal point beyond the river
Behind the mountains
The world invites you in

Follow the light
Into the unknown
The world is inviting you in
There's a glory in the hills
There's a shine if you can catch it
The world invites you in

And it's warm and unknown
And breathtaking
Further up and further in
Between the lines and light
The grass between your fingertips
The wind inside your lungs
Further up and further in
Come interscend