Tuesday, December 2, 2014


First painting inspired by the same resource photo
"Facing West- Unexpected," 36 x 24 inches, Pastel © Lynn Goldstein
"Unexpected," 17 x 11 inches, Pastel, © Lynn Goldstein
After finishing a painting (shown above) recently, I was struck by a question that one of my students posed. She asked why I had selected the photograph that I had chosen to use as a resource. I was a little taken aback. I remembered the feeling that I had when I took the photograph, and mistakenly thought that others would experience the impressions that I had on that day when I snapped the shot. I was with my family on vacation in California. We were traveling on Route 101, an eye-popping area of the country. Although views of the Pacific Ocean were magnificent, I became fascinated looking at the vegetation growing along the roadside. Sadly, there was no safe area in which to pull over, and I had given up getting any images of the scenery as I watched everything speed past me in a blur. Suddenly, we ground to a halt as a result of a mud slide. While waiting to be able to pass on what was now a one-way road, I opened the window and let the camera do its work. Below is the photograph from the experience. As you can see, I don't copy a photograph verbatim. I realize now when looking at the photograph, my student couldn't possibly read my mind. For that, I needed to put pastel to surface, and express the magic of that hillside as best I could. Looking at the photograph again, I may have to make another painting of the same scene. This wasn't the first time I had been inspired by the same photograph. Included here is also the first painting that I made of the scene.

Resource photo for "Unexpected"

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Art is Everywhere- Part 2

If someone had told me when I began training as a docent at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (NPG) that I would still be leading tours after seventeen years, I would have been surprised, to say the least. That said, I am so happy to have had the experiences that I have had as a result of my connection with the Smithsonian. In fact, I was introduced to an opportunity to experience art in another unlikely place because of information passed to me through my Smithsonian connection. 

In September, NPG had an appreciation event honoring the docents. These events are always special. The food is terrific, seeing my fellow lover's of NPG is always a treat, and an interesting presentation is often a part of the evening. This year, the presentation shed light on an upcoming exhibit of art that was most unusual. The evening included an announcement given to us from the director of the Portrait Gallery, Kim Saget. Saget stated, “I want to expand the idea of what a portrait is,”  “The Portrait Gallery commissions paintings, video, photography and drawings all the time. This is about pushing the boundaries of portraiture outside the walls of the museum.” Her excitement was palpable, but she didn't have to convince me. I was fairly bursting at the seams to see the work she described.

During the month of October a giant portrait could be viewed from atop the Washington Monument on the National Mall. This portrait was commissioned by NPG, and was made by the Cuban-born American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada using approximately 2,300 tons of sand and 800 tons of soil. His work, he says, “will avoid any negative impact on the environment.” (That’s a requirement of the National Park Service, which will install soccer fields on the site next year.) Using GPS, he mapped the ground with 15,000 pegs to indicate facial features. He then linked the pegs with string to form a template for placing pale sand and dark soil.

To see this piece in a short video, click here

Here is a photograph that I took from atop the Washington Monument on a nearly perfect day before it was deinstalled. The clarity was not as precise as when the art was first completed, but my excitement at seeing the work was not diminished. Art is everywhere!

"Out of Many, One" © Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Art is Everywhere - Part 1

"The Steward" at Saint John the Divine in New York City © Lynn Goldstein
Caravan Artwork in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
Lately, I have been contemplating how art seems to spring up in very unlikely places. This is due in part to my recent activities, and just plain dumb luck. After completion of my piece for the CARAVAN exhibition, "Amen- A Prayer for the World, " I was struck by the art that was present in the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The Cathedral in the nation's capital is in the beginning stages of hosting art exhibitions, while the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City has been hosting art exhibitions and installations for years. Synagogue Temple B'nai Shalom was very excited to install "Treatise," my piece to commemorate the Holocaust, last year. So, religious institutions are not new places to show and see art. That said, I was in for an eye-popping surprise when I first made my way into the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. I was expecting to see my piece alongside the 47 other sculptural forms. The CARAVAN exhibition was beautifully mounted there. What I didn't expect was the stunning installation suspended from the ceiling of the giant cathedral.

The Catholic church has a long history of including art in their edifices. The Protestant movement has traditionally been less than enthusiastic regarding art displays. That has been changing for some time. What met me when I walked into the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine were two giant phoenix sculptures by the Chinese artist, Xu Bing. The artist culled refuse from construction sites in Beijing for two years, and used what he found to create two birds that are suspended from the ceiling of the church. The view was astounding. I was astonished to find out that the combined weight of the sculptures is 12 tons. It was an amazing experience to see this monumental work, and to have my artwork under the same (giant) roof.

"Phoenix" at Saint John the Divine in New York City © Xu Bing

Friday, August 29, 2014

Saying Goodbye

After living with "The Steward" for a little over two months, I said goodbye to "him" yesterday. Our short-lived relationship was just what every positive relationship should be. "He" pushed me to do things artistically that made me think and grow, made me happy, worried me, and challenged me. I am grateful for every moment, even the sleepless nights. I thank Paul-Gordon Chandler for selecting me to participate in this wonderful exhibition.

Speaking of gratitude, I want to thank the employees of Farrish Fairfax Auto Body. Upon completion, I realized that I wanted to protect the end result. Unfortunately, I had a bear of a time finding an auto body shop that was willing to take on the task of clear-coating the finished product. Fortunately, I contacted Kevin Wynn at Farrish Fairfax Auto Body. Kevin, the manager of the body shop, and George Gallahan, the assistant manager, couldn't have been more helpful. They insured that the sculpture was treated with care, and put a protective coating on the surface that is undetectable. I send them a hearty thank you. Now, "The Steward" will be able to travel to New York City in October without damage, and whoever purchases the sculpture will have a well-protected piece of art.
Wrapped in 3.5 mil polyethylene plastic for transport

"The Steward" with Reda Abdel Rahman on the grounds of the Washington National Cathedral
Reda Abdel Rahman is one of the curators of this exhibition, as well as a noted Egyptian artist
Being carried into the National Cathedral
"The Steward" with his friends and family © Lynn Goldstein 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"The Steward" Finished and Waiting to be Installed

The finishing touches have been put on "The Steward," my piece of art for the Caravan exhibition to take place at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The show will be on view from Sunday, August 31 until Tuesday, October 6 in Washington, DC, and then will travel to the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City.

When first asked to participate in this show, I was honored. Then, I panicked. After the panic, a concept was born. Following the initial concept decision, I wrote a statement about the work. This statement helped me to maintain my clarity regarding what I wanted to say with the piece while working. Here is the statement that expresses my idea behind the work:

Trees have been a central symbol of transcendence, immortality, and life in almost every culture. Without trees, we would no longer be able to exist, since they create the very air that we breathe. Without working together as groups and individuals, humans would no longer exist either. With this idea in mind, my figure is embracing trees and the trees are embracing the figure. This image symbolically indicates that we are stewards of the land and of one another. We are all connected, and can provide comfort in times of trouble, and joy in positive moments. Our roots may help to define us, and lead us to a better understanding of others if we so choose.

This exhibition will be fascinating to see in person, but you may see some of the work now by visiting the Caravan website at this address: My work will be included on the site soon. Until then, here's "The Steward."

Closeup of "The Steward" © Lynn Goldstein

"The Steward" from behind © Lynn Goldstein

"The Steward" © Lynn Goldstein

Closeup of "The Steward" © Lynn Goldstein

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Progress Comes Slowly with LOTS of Work

I have been steadily working on the piece for the Caravan Exhibition in order to complete the art well before the due date. This project has knocked me out of my comfort zone, forced me to learn some technical qualities of acrylic painting that I never expected to have to learn, and made me smile everyday. Hope that looking at the progress puts a smile on your face too!

Here are some progress photos:

I have completed 5 trees at this point. "The Steward" © Lynn Goldstein

One of my studio friends took this shot of me working. © Lynn Goldstein 

The back of "The Steward" with trees almost completed. © Lynn Goldstein

All the trees are completed on "The Steward." Now fine-tuning to be done. © Lynn Goldstein

Here is a close-up of "The Steward." Starting to add leaves.  © Lynn Goldstein

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Progress on "The Steward"

When work has to be done quickly, ideas need to come at lightning speed. That's how things have been progressing with my work for the CARAVAN art exhibition. As a landscape painter working out of my comfort zone, it felt appropriate to utilize a subject near and dear to my heart... trees. With that in mind, I decided that having roots on the form would be a terrific addition. Thanks to Bill "Tex" Forrest, roots are starting to sprout from the sculpture.  After the roots are in place, I will be painting the form, and will keep posting the progress. Here are some photographs thus far:

Primed "The Steward" and have drawn the trees on the form

Color palette ideas

Roots being fabricated

Bill "Tex" Forrest working on the roots of "The Steward"

Monday, June 2, 2014

Opportunity Knocked ... My Socks off!

An example of the figure on which I will be working 

A visitor came to my studio on Saturday, and shared that she was reading a book that postulates that there are only two types of people in the world; those that accept a challenge and those who do not. I never thought of myself as the former. Imagine my surprise when she said, with gusto, that I am the type who rises to a challenge. Her reason for this pronouncement was in reaction to my excitement regarding an opportunity that knocked on my door late last week. I was one of 18 Western artists selected to participate in the CARAVAN Exhibition of Visual Art.

The 2014 exhibition will focus on Egypt and the United States, and is entitled, "AMEN- A Prayer for the World." The show will include work from 30 Egyptian artists, and 18 Western artists. The exhibition seeks to express the deep, fundamental human acknowledgement of power and hope for the universe, for all peoples. Each of the participating artists are given a life-size fiberglass sculpture. I have included an image of the sculpture design on which I will be working, and am hoping to document my progress. The sculpture will arrive in mid-June. When the work is completed, there will be an exhibition that will be taking place at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. After that exhibition, all the sculptures will be moved to St. John the Divine, the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world,  in New York City. An auction led by a Sotheby's auctioneer will take place in NYC, and part of the proceeds will help fund a school for under-privileged girls in Cairo.  You may visit the CARAVAN website here: Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A New Idea is Born

Making "Treatise," the art inspired by the Holocaust last year, was such a moving and enriching experience that I have decided to begin another piece of art exploring an aspect of Jewish history. This time, I am working on something that is more autobiographical in nature. Before I explain my intentions for this piece, I want to thank Rabbi Amy Perlin for encouraging me to continue the artistic journey that I started relating to Jewish heritage.

Lynn Goldstein's Family

My family came to the United States through Ellis Island in the early 1900s. The photographs of heavily bearded men and stoic-looking women have fascinated me for years. When I look into their faces, I try to see my father, mother, and grandparents with various levels of success. I wonder at the distance my family traveled to get to the United States in miles and in emotions. I am impressed at their courage to leave all that they knew to come to a strange land. Then I am awed at the distance they traveled once coming to these shores. After all, no one can believe that I grew up Jewish in West Virginia!

I am also intrigued by other family histories. Therefore, for my next piece I am planning to make art that explores Jewish immigration to the United States. With that in mind, I have found an old trunk. Once that trunk was in my possession, ideas began flooding into my consciousness, and I wanted to use photographs of my family and of other families as part of the piece. Right now I am in the hunting- and- gathering stage of the process, and am looking for photographs and stories of immigrants. As with "Treatise," I will be using books as an integral part of the piece. This time, I am using Yiddish books because Yiddish was the common thread that weaved the immigrants together after settling in the United States. The Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts , is providing me with books. After working on "Treatise," I know that my vision for the art can take unexpected directions, and I am looking forward to the twists and turns that occur while making "Migration." Stay tuned....

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Docent is a Noun - Part 2

In 2011, I posted an article on my blog expressing my enjoyment with being a volunteer docent at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (NPG) for the past 17 years. I am inspired by the art that I see there, and enjoy sharing what I have learned with visitors from all over the world. A funny thing happens when you share your passion with others. You are often rewarded with wonderful surprises. Read on to see what I mean.

I have been especially interested in the work that has been on displayed since March of last year in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. This exhibition holds a special place in my heart for several reasons. First, the work that is selected represents the art of the portrait as it is envisioned today by a wide variety of artists and media. Secondly, the pieces are all about the art. The National Portrait Gallery is an art and history museum; therefore, the work on view is often more about the biography of the person being portrayed rather than the artwork itself. I am fascinated by the past, but riveted by visual imagery. Third, the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition was made possible by the vision and generosity of Virginia Outwin Boochever, a fellow docent at NPG, who I had the great fortune to meet in my early days there.

Yesterday marked the final day that the Portrait Competition was going to be on view, so I made sure to include that exhibition in my tour. I was fortunate to have a terrific, and interested group of visitors, and was happily sharing the technical aspects of the art from an artist's perspective. Drawing has always been a great passion of mine, so I was discussing work that was produced in charcoal, a medium that I have enjoyed for years. After a short discussion of the self-portrait by the Ohio artist, Leslie Adams, I was stopped mid-sentence by a woman speaking to me. She told me that what I had said was one of the best descriptions of her work that she had ever heard. I quickly thanked her before realizing exactly what she had said. Then it hit me. "It's YOU," I exclaimed! Indeed it was. The artist of the piece, Leslie Adams, was standing in front of me. Made my day. Leslie is a phenomenal portrait painter from Toledo, Ohio. I am including the drawing that I was discussing here for you to see.

Sensazione: A Self-Portrait by Leslie Adams © 2010 Leslie Adams

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

History and Art Redux - Arts Club of Washington

One of the pleasures of having a show of one's work is seeing the reaction visitors have upon seeing the art for the first time.  In the case of my most recent show at the Arts Club of Washington, I was also pleased and grateful to hear what the curator, Christopher With, had to say about my work. Mr. With recognized that my aim is not to paint completely traditional landscapes, although some of the work may appear that way at first glance.  During his remarks at the opening reception, Mr. With spoke about the art on view, and I was pleased not only with the way that he presented my work within the space, but also with the insight that he brought to my paintings. This is what Mr. With had to say:

"The landscapes of Lynn Goldstein are signposts enticing the viewer to look more carefully and deeper. Some of her pieces use rough textured paper on which her pastel marks are clearly visible. They make one aware that this is an intentional creation—not a photographic replication—that asks the viewer to ponder the how’s and why’s of the creative process. Other landscapes depict cropped views of trees reflected in a pool of water or looking straight up at their tops. The unusual perspective combined with lush coloration evoke an otherworldly, even sublime, concept of nature."

Look Deeper One More Time © 2013 Lynn Goldstein, 40 x 36 inches, on view at the Arts Club of Washington

Another advantage of showing work in a new venue is meeting fellow artists. I shared the exhibition space with two other artists, Cassie Taggert and Rita Elsner. Ms Elsner works in pastel as I do, but her work is quite different from mine.  I found myself transfixed with her ultra-realistic style of rendering, and with the objects that are visually incongruent to her images. Her work often employs the use of aerial perspective, with the view of earth from above. This perspective is fascinating to me because of my exploration of looking at the landscape from a viewpoint that isn't what we usually experience in traditional landscape subjects. Pictured below is a work entitled "Overlook." At first, the title of the piece is obvious. However, Elsner incorporated used paper bags mounted to wood panels to complete this pastel. The labels of the inspectors/workers who made the bags are clearly visible within the art, adding another dimension to the idea of overlooking something. Do we pay attention to the minutiae in our lives, such as the labels on the bottom of paper bags? No, we don't. We also don't often look at reflections in puddles of water, but perhaps we should.

 Overlook © 2013 Rita Elsner, 36 x 48 inches, on view at the Arts Club of Washington

Monday, January 6, 2014

Reflection and Response

An advantage of having a studio space where other artists also hold studio spaces is that we can be inspired by seeing what fellow artists are creating. In the five years that I have held a studio at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia, I have made friends, been extraordinarily productive, and had opportunities opened to me.

Recently, I have been working on collaborative art with a fellow Workhouse artist, David Barnes. David works in glass, a medium that is fascinating to me. Glass is also a medium with which I know very little, except that I admire the finished work.

The pleasure (and challenge) in working collaboratively was we each had to respond to what the other had already created. This approach necessitated that we incorporate aspects of each others artistic interpretation in order to complete a cohesive piece.

Here is an example of one of the pieces of art that we have created together:

Summer Response © 2014 Painting by Lynn Goldstein, Glass Art by David Barnes