Among the Grasses, 30"x30," Oil on panel, ©Lynn Goldstein, more info here
Sometimes a painting is completed in what feels like minutes. The art seems to simply drip off my brushes almost fully formed. When this happens I feel as if I have been handed a gift from the gods. More often, a painting takes bloody forever, which makes me wonder how I ever thought that I could do this thing called art-making. The piece may sit for days, weeks, and months before I bring it to the finish line.
The painting above is an example of a painting that took forever, and went through many iterations. Check out the way it used to look before I altered it below.
What does this have to do with advice from Smokey Robinson? Read on....
My love of music led me to a terrific book entitled, Smokey Robinson: Grateful and Blessed, narrated by the great songwriter himself. What joyful listening! I highly recommend it.
I was riveted hearing Mr. Robinson discuss his creative process, and was particularly interested when he said that it took five years to come up with the lyrics for Cruisin,' while it took five minutes to write the words to Shop Around. Hearing this, I realized that if someone as creative and impressive as Smokey Robinson can take his time writing the words to a song, then, by golly, I will simply embrace the time that it takes for me to complete a painting no matter how long the process lasts!
So, the advice I received from Smokey Robinson? He didn't say this, but I am going to extrapolate from his experience to relax into the process and enjoy the ride. Hope this helps you if you are a fellow artist. If you are not an artist, I hope what I have written helps you to understand part of the creative process.
Among the Grasses, progress being made. I kept looking at this in a thumbnail view
and I didn't like the tree on the right. Changes had to be made.
Among the Grasses before I made changes
Go Bold, 12"x12," oil on panel, © Lynn Goldstein, $600
see more about this piece here.
While having a conversation with one of my closest friends, she mentioned that she never had one of those amazing teachers that impacted and inspired her throughout her life.
That got me thinking. Did I have an inspiring teacher? The answer is yes, I did. I had a few of them. One was Mr. Rose, my dance instructor for eight years. He taught me the joy and artistry of movement, something that was apparently hardwired into my DNA. I loved the discipline of ballet, and I bring that training into my art-making practice to this day.
I had another dance instructor during my years in college. Unfortunately, I can't recall his name, but I remember something that he said to me as if it were yesterday. I try my best to bring his words to the forefront of my mind when I am experimenting with my art, and making what seems like a colossal mess. Here's what he had to say:
When you are dancing and you make a mistake, you tend to make a face that broadcasts your error. Don't do that. Just keep on dancing. The audience will never know."
Lately, I have been experimenting in my work. I have been using acrylic, working on abstracts, and making lots of mistakes. Mistakes are a great way to learn. I am not making any negative faces anymore either, and I am continuing to keep on dancing. Well, at least my brushes are dancing....
So, if you are also making mistakes, simply keep on dancing! You will learn a lot, you will grow, and the audience will never know.
Do you have any great words of wisdom from an inspirational teacher? Would you be willing to share? I would love to read them in the comments below.
The Soul Knows, 12"x12," Acrylic on panel, © Lynn Goldstein, $600
This painting is one of the abstract pieces that I have been working on in acrylic. I love this one!
Abundance, 10"x20," Oil and cold wax on cradle panel, ©Lynn Goldstein, private collection
Isn't it difficult to sell your art after working so hard on it?
This is a question that I have been asked so many times over the years, and my answer is always the same. I am happy to sell a painting because my mission in life is to uplift others, and sharing my work can do just that.
However, something occurred that challenged my usual response to the question recently.
I got a notification in my email inbox that one of my paintings had sold. After the initial thrill, I realized which piece it was. For the first time that I can remember, I exclaimed out loud (with no one in the room), "Oh NO!" Clearly, I didn't know that I was more attached to this particular painting than I had thought.
But the universe had a better plan for that painting than for me to hold on to it. A fact that became abundantly clear the following day when I received another email. See below:
Abundance in process on my easel
The email came from the buyer of the painting in question and it brought tears to my eyes. I am sharing a shortened version of her email here (in red):
I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer last fall and have been undergoing chemotherapy since then. When I was first diagnosed, I went around my house pulling pictures off the wall that no longer inspired me (it was like some sort of obsessive 'nesting' thing). And I went into the attic and brought down pieces I had acquired early on and other ones with lots of color. And that was about the time I got your first piece as I found the vibrancy and colors to be just what I needed. I wanted to be surrounded by old friends, energy, and beauty.
The night before last had been a bit rough, and when I saw your painting it just lifted my spirits. It was perfect timing.
Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your work and that you never know how much of an impact it can have....
I can't say how grateful I am that this painting is where it truly needs to be. Art can heal, and we are all enriched to have art in our lives.
Do you have a story about how art has enhanced your life? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
Illuminated, 20"x20," oil on canvas, ©Lynn Goldstein, private collection
One of the paintings submitted for peer review by Washington Society of Landscape Painters
See the other pieces submitted below.
Guess what? I just found out that I’ve been accepted into the Washington Society of Landscape Painters (WSLP). Getting an acceptance into this group has been a goal of mine for years. Yay! Yay! Yay!
This is a big deal.
Undulations, 11"x14," Oil on panel, ©Lynn Goldstein, private collection
Oil painting was my first love in college.
After graduation, I continued working in oil for several years. However, I switched over to soft pastels to avoid the solvents required to work in oil necessary at the time. Many years later, I tried oils again, utilizing odor-free mineral spirits. I wasn't able to rid myself of the concern that I was still breathing the fumes, I just couldn't smell them. Furthermore, I hated washing my brushes. It was so difficult to get the paint out of the bristles. I found myself thinking about the fact that after each painting session, I would have to wash the darned brushes. That alone was sapping the joy from my painting experience.
I kept hearing about water-mixable oils, and I decided to give them a try. Now that I have found my favorite brand, I am hooked. The color is vibrant, I don't have to use solvents, and I can clean my
A shelf in my studio outside my home
I own an embarrassing amount of art books. They take up space all over my house, in my studio outside my home, and I love them.
However, I have some all-time faves. These are the books that always seem to find their way into my hands. They move from my studio outside my home, back to my home with regularity, and from room-to-room frequently. To find out what they are, and why I consider them some of the best out there, check out this video.
Fleeting Imagination, 18"x14," oil on panel, ©Lynn Goldstein, $800
Having lived in the Washington, DC area for decades, I have visited the Torpedo Factory Art Center more frequently than I can begin to say. Between taking classes, visiting artist studios and showing my work in juried exhibitions there, I have spent countless hours at this artist's mecca.
For years I have also considered throwing my canvas into the ring to become a part of the Torpedo Factory Artist's Association. That said, I knew that being accepted was not an easy task. Fear played a role as it often has when I was faced with the clear-eyed possibility of rejection.
In fact, I experienced that rejection a few years ago when I applied. Didn't even make it through the "first round" in the battle.
This time was different. The art goddesses smiled on me, and I recently received my acceptance. I am thrilled.
To see the art that I submitted, click read more.
Commissioned painting in progress
Commissioning a piece of art is a wonderful way to get exactly what you want. Sometimes a collector has a specific request.
For the past several weeks I have been working on completing a commission that was requested by someone who knew exactly what he wanted. When Mark (name changed to protect the innocent) saw one of my paintings in my studio, he fell in love. He would have walked out with the piece, but it simply wasn't big enough for his space. So, he asked me if I would make the painting again in a specific size.
Now, I know that many artists would likely say no to such a request because they would not want to repeat a painting that was already completed. I saw it as a challenge that I wanted to tackle.
Also, Mark really loved the painting and I wanted to bring joy to his life.
Verdant, 24x36 inches, Oil on panel with maple sides, © Lynn Goldstein $2100
As you, my dear readers know, my mission in life is to try to help people feel peace in a difficult world.
Here's the rub. Lately, I have had a tough time finding that calm myself. As a result, I have been searching for ways toward equilibrium.
About a month ago my husband sat down next to me, fired up the television, and surprised me with one of my all-time favorite feel-good films. He knew I would be touched by the gesture, and I was. As a result of the success of that evening, we have been looking for some old favorites that will uplift our spirits.
Hopefully, this list will help you to feel good too.
I couldn't be more happy to offer my first online course, Build Color Confidence using only 6 pastels.
Sometimes less is more! With this course, you will be using a very limited palette to help you with all your paintings in the future. You will have a clearer idea of how to use a color wheel and select color schemes for your paintings.
Take a look at the video below that will explain all you will receive by enrolling in this class.
If you would rather not watch the video, head on over to my course page to see all that is included! To see that page, click here.
Hope to see you soon!
"Thank you so much for your pastel workshop. I'm appreciating the information and quite excited to be trying the first exercise. You are making it so enjoyable and I'm feeling I'm in the room with you. "