What inspires you? A beautiful sunset, trees swaying in the breeze, a shocking or beautiful piece of art, or maybe music?
We are all inspired by what we come in contact with if we open ourselves up to the possibilities. I find that travel is one of the best sources of inspiration for me.
While in Italy, I was inspired by something unexpected. To see what I mean, take a look at the video below. Then read on, because travel has inspired me in other ways as well.
One of the pieces of art that I am most proud of was inspired by something totally unexpected during travel.
While visiting Iceland several years ago, hubby and I had lunch and then dinner at a restaurant that was located on an old farm. The food was delicious, which is why we dined there two times in one day. While there, something caught my eye. On each table was an antique book. People from Iceland are avowed book lovers, so finding a book on the table wasn't a surprise. Photographs of the family that had owned the farm for generations were pasted inside the book, along with a description of the history of the farm. This simple book on a dining table sparked a kernel of an idea in me, and Treatise was born. To read more about Treatise, you may click here.
Now it's your turn. What inspires you? Leave me a comment below.
Treatise, Books, Wood, Found Objects, Acrylic, ©Lynn Goldstein $3500
When I work in pastel, I use different papers for varied results. I do this to keep things interesting and also when I want a specific end result based on the subject that I am painting.
The manufactured papers that I use right now are Uart 400 grit, and Pastel Premiere. However, I also enjoy making my own textured surface. If you are interested in making your own surface, here is a short video explaining how you can do just that. At the end of the video, you will see some of my completed work, so stay till the end. : )
Want to see the progress on my most recent painting? Here you go!
The painting was inspired by my trip to Italy last year to teach a workshop, but I changed the scene considerably. The day was a bit rainy, but the sun broke through the clouds. I loved the way the clouds seemed to go on forever, and the mountains looked like a crazy quilt with fields and patches of trees in the distance.
Simply click on each image to see the description of what I have done.
A little close-up of brush strokes.
"Tapestry #2," 30x40 inches, Oil on Canvas, ©Lynn Goldstein, $3500
There was so much to see that sparked my creative juices while in Italy. I can't wait to go back, and would love to have you join me. If you are interested in going to Tuscany with me this fall, click here or simply hit the button below. Even if you aren't able to come, by checking out the info, you can have a little taste of Italy today.
After having attended multiple workshops where I had to schlepp my art supplies, teaching workshops and participating a residency overseas, I have some tips of what to pack.
Hope this video gives you some tips and tricks that you can use in the future.
I'm often asked if I use fixative when I finish one of my pastel paintings, and I am emphatic in my big fat NO response. Here's why:
There are multiple reasons why I don't use fixatives, but the main reason is that I don't like what fixative use does to the appearance of pastels.
Hope springs eternal, though, and I still was hoping to find a way to use a fixative or varnish to make a pastel without the need for framing the work behind glass.
With that in mind, I purchased art panels that had a rough texture. The advertising copy indicated that these panels were perfect for pastels, and that an artist could varnish the pastels on these boards and frame them without glass.
Hearts and flowers danced in the air at the thought, and I couldn't wait to try it out.
The panels were only 6x6 inches, (see below for what I used) so my commitment was minimal. I also understood that the work that I was going to make would likely be sacrificed once the varnish was applied. In other words, I knew that the work could be ruined, but it was all in the name of potential progress.
These are the panels that I purchased for this experiment.
Here is the little pastel painting prior to my use of varnish made for use with pastel.
From the photograph of the painting above, you can see the luminosity and subtlety of the colors that is a characteristic of pastel pigment.
Now look! After using multiple layers of varnish to ensure that the pastel wouldn't smudge, the luminosity is obliterated. See how much darker the colors are, and also how the complexity of colors is no longer apparent?
Now, I know that I could reestablish those lights and add more color to the piece, but that would defeat the purpose of using a form of fixative to be able to frame a pastel without glass.
Sigh. I will continue to not use fixative, and continue to use glass when I finish my pastel paintings.
Now it's your turn. Do you use fixative? Why or why not?
Want to know how I go about making a commissioned painting? Check this out.
Make sure to take a look below the video for an image of the finished painting!
Smooth Day Rocky Path, 24x36 inches, Oil on Canvas, ©Lynn Goldstein
Cooler than Warm, 11x14 inches, Pastel, ©Lynn Goldstein $650
Do you like receiving criticism? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that your answer is no. None of us likes to be criticized.
Years ago, my son asked me what my least favorite thing about college was. I told him critiques. You see, my professors were scandalously brutal. At times, artwork that was labored over for countless hours was destroyed (literally) in front of the class. YIKES!
I don't know what changed, but as I have gotten older, I listen very carefully when someone has a negative thing to say about my artwork, teaching, even my personality. As a result, I have come to realize that a tip for being a better artist, and even a better person, is to listen intently when someone gives me the gift of criticism. How do you accept when someone is telling you something you may not want to hear? Take a look at the following ideas to help you do just that:
1. Try your best to simply listen without thinking of a defense or taking offense
When we are not trying to come up with a response, we are better able to hear what is being said, and more likely to take something away that is positive.
2. Consider the source
When I was younger I heard all criticism and tried to give each opinion equal consideration. I was trying to be fair in my assessments. This approach just led to confusion and self-doubt. I have learned that there is limited time (and energy) to do that, so I am judicious about whose opinions will be considered useful.
3. Ask for exactly what you want to know
This works great when wanting to ascertain if your artwork is where you want it to be. For example, rather than asking, "Do you like this, or what do you think?" be specific. Instead ask, "Is there something that you would do in this section of the artwork that will make it stronger?"
Since hearing potentially negative things about ourselves and our art can be so difficult, I am wondering if you have insights on how to take that constructive criticism and use it for art or self- improvement? Please share your tips in the comments below.
Spotlight, 14x11 inches, pastel, ©Lynn Goldstein $650
Plein Air with Benefits, 9 x 12, pastel, ©Lynn Goldstein
Traveling is one of life's great pleasures, and Ireland is a landscape painter's dream.
When I travel with my husband (aka Terrific Tax Attorney), there is no time for making art. You see, he can't sit still so we are always on the go. Taking photographs isn't out of reach though. Here are some beautiful, inspiring photos to add some joy to your day. Let me know in the comments which photo is your favorite. I just may use it for resource for my next painting!
The view from outside our hotel window in Kinsale. This one will be a pastel painting any day now.
I get great inspiration when I travel.
I don't know if I will ever utilize an idea from this fantastic window display in Dublin,
but it sure was exciting to see it.
Okay. The pubs! Need I say more?
Not far from Kinsale is a gorgeous spot called Old Head. Love the reddish heather.
So fortunate to visit with my fellow artist friend while there.
This is a stunning spot on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry.
That land masses in the distance are the Skellig Islands as seen from the Ring of Kerry.
The Killarney National Park "Ladies View" is behind me with TTA (Terrific Tax Attorney). We were freezing.
Ross Castle in the distance in Killarney National Park
You know that I had to throw in a gorgeous tree, right?
Isn't this something? No one lives here, but wow!
Solidly Planted, 12x9 inches, pastel, $575 ©Lynn Goldstein
,Working as a graphic designer for 17 years never felt like I was following my heart. During that time, I was going through the motions so that I could work on my painting when I wasn't completing graphics projects.
You see, until I began pursuing making art on a full time basis, I was not following my heart's desire. Over the years, examples of how things work out when one follows their desire have presented themselves to me. These examples come when I least expect them.
While in Italy, I was reminded of how things work out if we follow our hearts. Let me share with you a story that illustrates just what I mean. The tale is a little long, but I think you'll love it as much as I did.
The drive in and out of San Fedele
My workshop was sponsored by a company called Il Chiostro which handles art workshops. We stayed in a 12th Century renovated monastery called Borgo San Fedele owned by Nicolo and Renata Strub. Nicolo was born in Rome but spent time during his childhood visiting the area around San Fedele. While living in Milan, they visited the Tuscan countryside often. During one visit Renata asked Nicolo to promise her that they would live there one day. The promise was not difficult to keep because the area was filled with wonderful memories for Nicolo.
The door to my room
The two began visiting with an eye toward purchasing property, and were told about San Fedele. San Fedele had been abandoned for 20 years and the structure showed the kind of wear that you would expect. There were vines growing over the buildings as the vegetation began reclaiming the crumbling edifice. Nicolo and Renata fell in love with the place and they couldn't stop thinking about it. Finally, they followed their hearts, made the decision to make an offer, and began the daunting task of renovation which took almost 7 years.
Out of the blue, Nicolo got a phone call from a stranger who had heard about their purchase. The man was an architect who had written his thesis about San Fedele. He understood the structures and offered to work as the architect for the renovation project. He also impressed upon Nicolo the need to hire contractors who were local and had a connection to the place. Nicolo didn't think too much about this directive, but followed through and hired locals.
On the exterior of the sanctuary roof was a wooden cross that needed to be replaced. One of the workers knew exactly the person to make and install this cross. The day that the cross was finished and was to be installed, Nicolo met the contractor and the maker of the cross whose name was Gino. Gino was in his early 80s. The day was sweltering and the 3 men (the contractor, Nicolo, and Gino) made the long climb to the roof. When they reached the top, Nicolo noticed that Gino was wiping his eyes and face with a hankie. Concerned, Nicolo asked Gino if he was okay, did he need something to drink or anything? Gino responded that he was fine but that he knew that this would be the last time he would be on the roof of San Fedele. You see, Gino's father had constructed and installed the cross that they were replacing and Gino had been there with his father as a boy when it was installed. Now, Nicolo understood why local contractors and craftspeople were so important to this project.
I also believe that the coincidences that occurred were the result of Nicolo and Renata following their hearts. You see, I believe in magic in the world.
I plan to follow my heart as well, and hope to go back to San Fedele next year to teach again and share this magical place with more students! I hope that you can join me.
What do you think? Do you follow your heart? Has that been a good way to proceed in your life? Let me know in the comments below.
Here's the group having a great lunch
To enjoy more photos of Italy, click here.
Having just returned from teaching a workshop in Tuscany, I can say with honesty (even knowing the impossibility of it) that I want to be Italian. I want to speak English with an Italian accent and express myself in perfect Italian. I want to spend more time with exuberant people who seem to have a great joy for living. I want to revel in all the history and beauty. I want to eat that great food every day. I don't even care that much about ice cream, but I love gelato. I already use my hands copiously to communicate. Why not?
Oh well, I know this is impossible, but it isn't out of reach to return for a visit to teach there again. In the meantime, here's a look at some of the beauty that we experienced in oh so lovely Italy.
Outside the Uffizi Museum in Florence
Day trip to Cinque Terre that I took before the workshop began in Tuscany
Sienna with drum accompaniment
So many wineries, so many grapes
Blustery and beautiful
Students enjoying the view
With Michael, our program manager (and my soul sibling), right before leaving after teaching the workshop