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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Artwork to Express Appreciation and Love

June is the most popular month for making the commitment of marriage. As it turns out, June was also a month in which several people decided to buy a painting from me as a gift for a loved one. I am always grateful when my artwork touches someone to the point that they want to have it. Even more thrilled when they purchase a painting to express their love. Here are examples of a few of the pieces that found great homes this past month. Many thanks to those who fell in love (again) in June:

"Stormy Skies," Pastel, © Lynn Goldstein

To see photographs of the progress of this piece check it out here.

"Silent Spring #2," Acrylic, © Lynn Goldstein

"Unexpected #2," Pastel, © Lynn Goldstein

To see the inspiration for this piece, check it out here. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Commit to People NOT Photographs

As a studio painter, I use tools to make my paintings. One tool that I use is photography. Yes, I do occasionally work outdoors. However, working outdoors does not allow me the time that it takes to be experimental in my art, an approach that I hold dear. When I use photographs, I make alterations. I make commitments to people NOT photos.

Something interesting happened during the course of this painting, that illustrates my firmly held belief regarding the use of photographs. So, I am sharing it here.

The start of the painting, blocking in forms. Notice the silhouetted tree shapes in the lower area.

More work done

Painting starting to take shape. I love trees, but these tree forms are annoying to me.

Although the trees are in the foreground of the photographic resource, I recognize that the painting "wants" to be a seascape.

Still more to do— trees gone—seascape it is! When completed, I will have the finished image on my website at

Monday, June 8, 2015

Inspiration from Roman Frescoes

Since returning from Italy, people have asked if I was inspired to make art as a result of the trip. You would think that the answer would be simple, but it isn't. Although I took a sketchbook, our visit was spent seeing as much as we could see in the limited time that we had. So, my answer is this: I was awed by the artwork that I was able to see. The sculptures and paintings were magnificent. However, what inspired me as an artist were the frescoes. There were frescoes to be seen all over Italy, but I was particularly thrilled with the Roman era examples.

Perhaps the most inspiring fresco to me was in the National Roman Museum. In fact, I was surprised how much I enjoyed our time there. The museum is off the beaten track, air conditioned, and not mobbed with people; a trifecta that is rare in crowded Rome. The inspiring fresco that we enjoyed is the oldest example of a continuous garden painting. The work is dated from 30-32 BC.  Being in the room with these wall paintings, I could imagine the sounds of birds and running water. Artistically, the textures present in the preserved work moved me beyond words. Who knows whether something so ancient will find a way visually into my present-day work? Here are some images:

Frescoes of Villa of Livia which span an entire room 

Close up detail of the fresco shows that magnificent texture

Fresco showing the Acanthus plant which was the inspiration for corinthian columns

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Small World—A Digression from "All About Art"

Recently returned from a trip to Italy which was amazing. I get immense pleasure exploring locations that are unfamiliar. Funny thing is that so often familiarity will find you. Want proof? Take a look at this:
Look closely. We felt close to home when we spotted this. 

We saw signs like this all over Rome

Except for the menu, the inside of the McDonalds didn't look like home. One menu addition: several Caesar salads, amusing since it's reported that Caesar salad was first made in the United States!

For some more familiarity, I will share a funny story. Traffic is particularly hideous in and around Rome. The rules of the road are clearly only suggestions. We had a driver taking us from our hotel to the airport in advance of our flight home. My hat is off to anyone who makes a living driving on the treacherous highways and clogged thoroughfares in that city. I shut my eyes more than once while the driver navigated around utterly nutty drivers. When we arrived at the airport, cars were coming from every direction, and no one was giving our driver space to navigate to the entrance of the terminal. This driver had remained restrained for the entire drive, but now, with hands gesticulating, he spewed what must have been swear words in Italian. What made me really chuckle was after the barrage of Italian, he punctuated his ire with, "SUNDAY DRIVER!" I laughed, and thought, I'm not even close to being done with Italy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Why Paint the Subject You Choose

During reception at Crossroads Gallery
Recently, I was asked to give an artist talk to accompany the showing of my work at Crossroads Gallery in Falls Church, Virginia. The gallery is a stunning space, and I am grateful to have my work displayed there. Although I have spoken about art, my own and generally, the conversations tend to be snippets regarding my technique and perhaps the specific inspiration for an individual piece. This time I wanted to share something different. What I wanted to cover was why I chose the subjects that I chose. Here is an excerpt of the artist talk:

People often ask me when I started making artwork. My answer is that I can’t remember when I started making artwork because I have been making art since I was a child. I studied art in college and worked as a graphic designer for 17 years, during which time, I continued taking classes and drawing and painting. But why did I choose to concentrate on the landscape as a subject? Well, I have given that a lot of thought. As a result of being a people person, and an extrovert, I had originally thought about making portraits. I studied with well-known portrait painters and worked from the live model as well—and I enjoyed it— but that path wasn’t feeding my soul. So, I decided to try something else, but what?

Talking with visitors at the reception for Converging, an exhibition of my paintings along with David Barnes' glass art
I am an introspective extrovert, so I think A LOT about what makes others tick and what makes me tick too. It is part of the human condition to experience negative things in our lives. What do we do when that happens? The answer is different for everyone. Some people listen to music, some dance, some sleep or go to the movies or lose themselves in a book. These are all good solutions. What I do, almost literally, is run to the woods or to a body of water. Since I was a child, in the mountains of West Virginia, nature has been a comfort to me in times of stress. Is it any wonder that I gravitated to the landscape as my subject? When people see my work in my studio, they often say that the art makes them feel at peace and that they want to walk into the imagery. That is the best of compliments because that means that they “get it.” Those who want to have my work find peace in it. If at all possible, people can take that peace and bring it out into the world by being a bit stronger and happier.

Grateful for a nice turn-out for the reception
One of my patrons  lives in Northern Virginia and also has a home in West Virginia. One of my paintings reminds him of a specific place that he clearly loves. Here's what he had to say about one of my paintings: 

"When I look at that painting, it brings me back to that field, and I can just imagine spending an afternoon there, reading a book and enjoying the sunshine and sound of birds and the fresh air. And since for a lot of reasons, I don't get to experience that reality on a daily basis as I'd otherwise like to, I find that your paintings are able to breathe a little bit of it into the days where I can't go back to that field in person.”

So, that is what I hope to bring to those who see and purchase my work. The gift of a location that brings them comfort and peace. 

Sending peace and comfort,

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Monochromatic, Not Monotonous

Well, I had my students work on a monochromatic painting awhile back. They grumbled heavily!! A monochromatic color scheme is derived from a single base hue (color) with the use of that hue's shades, tones, and tints. If a student wanted to use one other hue, I allowed it if they felt the painting would only work well with the other hue included.

I don't tend to assign my students something that I won't do myself. Oh, okay, I do have them do things that I don't do... sometimes. In this case, however, I was determined make a monochromatic painting to show them. I tend to paint with quite a lot of color, so this painting was a challenge for me. That said, if an artist wants to create a mood, monochromatic work is a great way to go. The painting that I have included has a much more somber mood than what I would usually complete.

The inspiration for this painting was a stormy sky over the Baltic Sea last August. August is a month of warmth. Not so much in the Baltic Sea. The chilly wind was whipping. The storm clouds were ominous. That was the mood that I wanted to evoke. A monochromatic color scheme, with a tiny amount of the complimentary color, seemed the perfect way to go. Because I am inherently a positive person, there is a glimmer of light that conveys hope.

Here are some progression photographs of the painting. I began with a monochromatic watercolor under painting, and then added pastel to complete the piece.

The monochromatic watercolor under painting. You can see the pastels on the tray as I begin adding pastels to the painting.

Notice the orange pastel on the far right of my tray and the addition of orange to the painting.

A bit more pastel added for the clouds

The orange has been toned down, the water rendered, and the painting complete
Stormy Skies, "11.5 x 19 inches, Pastel © Lynn Goldstein

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Little Tease

Haven't posted anything here for entirely too long because of my busy preparations painting away for my upcoming show at Crossroads Gallery in Falls Church, VA. So, to remedy my lackadaisical performance in the blogosphere, I provide a teaser for the show. Here are some photographs documenting the progress of one of the pieces that will be on view. To see the finished painting, come visit the exhibition. You will be surprised at how the piece is finished. Better yet, come to the reception and artist's talk. For information about the event, visit my website.
1st Stage of the painting "Secrets Shared" This painting was started as a mixed media using pastel and watercolor on a textured surface.

A little more paint added

Making compositional changes and additions

Close to completion with a new painting started as well