Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • Franzen is about 76, maybe older. He paints abstract landscapes that can astonish with their subtlety and often sublime light. Last year he phoned me from Nova Scotia and said in his still-German accent: "Onna! I am learning to paint the fog..." I have written about his paintings before, in a different context. I think abstraction is a very difficult thing to do well, to approach time, light and landscape with a deft and assured hand. I consider Franzen a master of light.

    He's been an artist since he was a child in Germany. He was spoilt, he tells me, as a sickly child by a mother and grandmother and can still tear-up speaking of his mother. He arrived in Canada barely in his 20s, leaving one girl behind and already taking up with another. His exploits and adventures as a young man make it easy to imagine him a dashing heartbreaker, coming to a country during a time that, as Franzen says "Germans weren't the most welcomed of immigrants..." I imagine him charming the stoic and waspish Canadians and setting up his easel in the New World.

    The photo is one I love and I enjoyed taking, he reminds me of my father's Europe, full of endings and beginnings, surviving the tumultuous river of history, navigating oneself back into the light after so much darkness. Like a Franzen painting: A stroke of ardent meaning in a landscape where there is only a tumbling, trembling nature, only nature, only nature--
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.