Thursday, January 28, 2016

"Diaspora" Art Inspired by My Past

Diaspora, Mixed Media, © Lynn Goldstein

I have been so busy, moving studios and preparing for shows, that I forgot to post my most recent installation. This is a piece that I made to continue exploring aspects of Jewish history. It is quite different from the work that I ordinarily do, and I enjoy working outside the box (or in this case, outside the suitcase).

The piece is completely symbolic just as "Treatise," another installation that I made regarding Jewish history, was. To see information about that, check it out here.  But before you leave this page, here is the symbolism for "Diaspora:"

Why Books—
The books used within the trunk are  by the author Sholom Aleichem and printed in Yiddish. Sholom Aleichem was a prominent author who wrote the stories that inspired “Fiddler on the Roof.” “Fiddler” depicts just what many of these people endured to stimulate them to come to this country. Many (not all) Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe spoke, read, and wrote in Yiddish. The use of books also speaks to the importance of education in the Jewish tradition. 

"Diaspora," (Detail)

Why Aspen Trees—
Aspen trees were painted on the spines of the books. Aspens are connected by their root systems, just as we are all connected. Tree symbolism is important in Judaism as well. The Tree of Life is symbolic of the Torah (Jewish written law). 

"Diaspora" (Detail) Both of my grandfathers are shown here. 

Why Photographs—
The trunk lid bears photographs of immigrants, including my family members, that had the courage to leave all that they knew behind to come to an unknown country. The branches and yellow leaves symbolize hope for a better life, and the connections that we have to one another. There is also a nod to the connections that occur when we move from one place to another as if branching out.  

"Diaspora" (Detail) Photographs of my family, as well as ancestors of friends

Why Trunk and Suitcases—
The trunk and suitcases symbolize the travel to what was hoped would be a better life for themselves and their families upon arriving in the United States. 

I am eternally grateful to my ancestors for having the courage to leave all that they knew behind to make what they hoped would be a better life for their family in this country. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

One-Hour Painting — "Dwelling"

"Dwelling," Pastel,  13 x 11 inches, © Lynn Goldstein
Whenever I have bumped into difficult times, I have almost literally run into the woods. So, walking in the woods, or beside a body of water, inspires my work. Being around the natural world brings me comfort. That said, one of the things that inspired me to be an artist was looking at the art books that my mother had when I was a child. I was riveted by all the different ways people could express themselves visually. My mother studied art in college, and she taught me my first lessons. For some reason, my young mind reasoned that if my mother could make art, then perhaps so could I. 

This painting fell on the heels of helping to downsize my mother’s apartment, which was a stressful, sad experience because her health is declining. Her memory is also going, and her world is shrinking. I was exhausted after a marathon packing session and long drives to and from where my mother lives back to where I live. I didn’t have the energy to think, and was considering taking a nap, but decided that perhaps making art was just what I needed to do. 

I usually start a painting methodically, but this time I decided to just “let her rip,” and have fun with the process. Since I only had one hour, I decided to use pastel. I work in pastel and mixed media, and find that pastel is faster for me. I was called to make a painting of trees that I see when I walk in the woods near my home. What really fascinates me here is the hollow in the trunk of one particular tree. While working, I couldn’t help but think about the whole idea of our dwelling places. How where we live and the objects that we own can come to define us.  And, how the hollow of that tree trunk has likely provided shelter for animals, just as the home that my mother has come to know, and where she must leave, has sheltered her. 

Working on the painting was oddly comforting to me. I became lost in the process, which hasn’t happened in awhile and reminded me why I love making art in the first place. I was able to gain peace from remembering how I feel when I am listening to the birds singing, and the rustling of the wind in the branches of the trees. 

Often when people look at my work they say that they feel peaceful. I hope that the comfort that I gained making this painting, will be transferred to those who see it. 

Started with the darks, and the basic composition.
You can see that the background color is a bright red/orange

I was fascinated with the tree hollow, and wanted
to establish that early in the process.

Started to introduce some lighter shapes to indicate foliage. 

Getting closer to the finished piece.
Wanted to add some bright blue to kick up the excitement in a calm image.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Scotland: A Landscape Painters Paradise

Whenever I travel, it takes about 4 days to get into the relaxing groove. It's as if I have been holding my breath and I finally exhale. So early in the trip, I was still revved up and feeling guilty because I didn't have time to sketch, or even think about my art making. Once I finally relaxed, I began to SEE! When will I learn that seeing and experiencing new things can inform everything that I do?

For a landscape painter, Scotland is heaven. Here are some photographs from that trip, (not all landscape material) along with one sketch that I made from the breakfast room window inside our Bed & Breakfast in St Andrews. A shout out THANK YOU to the owners of Castlemount who made our visit to St Andrews very special! If you are ever in St Andrews, I highly recommend a stay there.

A view of Edinburgh Castle on the first afternoon of our stay in Scotland

A view from one of the many golf courses in St Andrews

St Andrews Castle as seen from the breakfast room of our B&B, Castlemount
Dunrobin Castle,  a stately home in Sutherland, near where we were staying in the Scottish Highlands 

The beach in Nairn overlooking the Moray Firth, an estuary that opens to the Black Sea
Love seeing creativity in an unlikely place
A quick sketch of St Andrews Castle from the breakfast room window of our B&B

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Why I LOVE Museums - #2

A fellow artist told me that she hated museums, which prompted me to think about why I LOVE museums. After a recent visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA), I was able to see why I love museums. If you didn't see the previous blog post illuminating this subject, check that out in the post below this one. Otherwise, here are some more pieces of art that made my visit to the MIA more than worthwhile. Nothing makes me happier than seeing art that inspires me to work harder and better.

John Singer Sargent, Jerusalem, 1906, Oil on Canvas

Detail of Jerusalem by John Singer Sargent

Detail of Jerusalem by John Singer Sargent

Detail of Jerusalem by John Singer Sargent

Gustaf Edolf Fjaestad, Winter Landscape, 1908

Detail of Winter Landscape by Gustaf Edolf Fjaestad

Detailof Winter Landscape by Gustaf Edolf Fjaestad

Why I LOVE Visiting Art Museums

After a recent visit to Minneapolis, and the exemplary Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA), I reflected on why I love visiting art museums. First of all, if you ever get a chance to visit this terrific museum, do so. You will not be disappointed. Asian art, period rooms, and an excellent collection of sculpture, paintings, textiles, and photography are all there to enjoy.

Recently, I spoke with a fellow artist who told me that she hated museums and the hushed environment in them. I was surprised, in fact, too surprised to speak. Besides being in nature or making art, there isn't much of anything that gets my heart racing more than going to a museum.

After consideration, I realize that what I enjoy so much about going to museums is that I delight in learning and seeing new things. Museums give us an opportunity to explore other cultures, and to investigate what was important to a society years ago, and what is important now. Selfishly, I also am always thrilled to be inspired by the work of other artists. Here is some work that wowed me at the MIA.

Photos of Tatra T87 sedan, designed 1936, manufactured 1948,
designed by Hans Ledwinka, manufactured in Czechoslovakia

Do-ho Suh, Some/One, 2005, Stainless steel, military dog tags, fiberglass resin

Detail of Some/One

A bicycle inspired by the artwork of Frank Stella. 

A bicycle inspired by the artwork of Eduard Monet.
Love the use of the wooden crate.
I wasn't able to determine who designed these bikes.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Why I Became a Landscape Painter

This past weekend, I traveled to my home state of West Virginia. I haven't visited the town of my birth for at least 5 years, and I had forgotten how breathtaking the scenery is. Now, don't get me wrong. I know intellectually that the mountains of West Virginia are stunning. What I had forgotten is that driving on the highway between Lewisburg and Beckley can literally take my breath away when I look at the sheer magnificence of the landscape.

I was going home for my class reunion to see friends I hadn't seen in years. Many of these friends hold a special place in my heart, and I was fortunate enough to stay in the home of one of them. I am grateful for all of my friends, and this one is particularly special for many reasons. We have been friends since we were 3 years old. THAT is a meaningful friendship! She was kind enough to take me to one of my favorite places— Grandview Park. While there, I was struck by the astonishing beauty of the place, and I realized with the utmost clarity why I became a landscape painter. Growing up with this gorgeous place about fifteen minutes from my home inculcated a love of the landscape in ways that are hard to deny. Judge for yourself. What could be more beautiful?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Inspired By My Past

One of my latest projects is a piece exploring an aspect of Jewish history. In this case, I am delving into immigration to this country. To illustrate immigration, I knew that I wanted to use an old trunk which I found last year. As I expected, my plans have changed while working on this piece. Colors have been altered, the use of photographs has been modified, and even the title of the piece has changed. The artwork will be completed and on view at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia during the month of September 2015. An opening reception will take place Saturday, September 12 from 6-9 pm. After looking at the photos below, you may see a previous blog post about how this art was inspired, check out my post here.

Here is the Jewish immigration piece in progress. The books are all painted. Glassine paper is used between the books to keep them from sticking together. 

Here's a close up of the trees painted on the spine. That aforementioned paper between the books will be removed once the piece is finished. I will be using wax on the books to eliminate the sticking problem. 

Seeing photographs of immigrant children has been a delight to me.

Looking at family members of close friends has been eye-opening. Sometimes the resemblance of parent to child is startling.