The Logic of Dreams

Paintings and Drawings

Jim Klumpner

I have drawn with pens and pencils all my life and started painting in 2015.  I am untutored in art and prefer to stay that way — at least for the present.  For now, I would rather paint than take painting lessons.

There is a certain liberation that comes with being unschooled.  Lack of training forces me to experiment, and paintings typically take about a month to complete.  This opens the door to happy accidents, i.e. unintended results that enhance a work rather than diminish it.  Without schooling, one can’t knowingly make any mistakes.

These works have no titles.  Rather, they invite viewers to tell their own stories about what the surreal images signify.  When my works succeed, they enlist viewers’ own creativity in giving meaning to the strangeness.  They are like Rorschach tests, but without diagnostic purpose.

Before turning to art in retirement, I worked as an economist at the Commerce Department, the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, the House Budget Committee and the Senate Budget Committee.  I also wrote a book, Spoiling Affluence:  How Market Prosperity Limits Market Satisfactions (available from  And for 22 years, I directed Polyhymnia, an a cappella chamber choir, which I founded and which continues to charm Washington-area audiences under new leadership.