Studio Visit: Caroline Goldsmith

Studio visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Here, Melissa Merli chats with painter Caroline Goldsmith.

Q: In your artist's statement for your show at the Red House Gallery, you mention a second emergence. What do you mean by that?

A: We moved to the United States at the point where I was building up for my first solo show in Sydney (Australia). I had been accepted into the Royal Art Society, which was a big deal in Sydney in 1998. And I was selling my work out of the Lavender Bay Gallery in Lavender Bay, North Sydney. It was owned by the Royal Art Society.

I had been exhibiting in juried shows for two years before that. I won a few highly commended and commended awards, and then we moved here in 2000.

Q: Why?

A: My husband was recruited to work at Horizon Hobby. He's a remote-control airplane designer. He's field marketing manager and designs sail planes for the company.

Q: Don't you work there, too?

A: Yes, I work in the marketing department, as senior team leader of promotions. I also do hands-on graphic design production work.

Q: When did you start making art?

A: I would say when I was 3. My mom said my bedroom floor was always covered with paper. I was always making things. I actually come from a melting pot of artists. My family has a private Facebook page where we post pictures of and talk about what we're doing.

Q: Did you go to art school?

A: I had an art apprenticeship at Engineers Australia, a magazine; I did that for a year. I learned how to use bromide cameras and how to make screen prints. When I finished the apprenticeship, I stayed on because the job paid the bills. I would do the occasional illustration, too, and at night, I studied fine art at the East Sydney Technical College, now called the National Art School.

I didn't do a complete degree because I was already working. I did exactly what I felt I needed, which was two years of color and design and two years of drawing. Then I spent the next 10 years studying art with various teachers and did workshops as well. I did life drawing for many years as well.

Q: Is all your work representational?

A: Yes, but it's impressionistic because I usually stand in front of the subject matter.

Q: You mean plein air painting?

A: Yes, absolutely.

Q: Are all of these oil and acrylic paintings here plein air?

A: I'd say 30 percent of them are.

Q: So you do oil painting outside, too?

A: Yes, I find oils are easier because they don't dry fast outside. I was taught by two fantastic artists: my mother-in-law, who's a watercolor artist and an honorary member of the Royal Art Society; and Alan Waite, an oil painter. When I was outside painting with him, he saw me using watercolors, and he said, "Your mother-in-law will never forgive me, but you need to switch to oils." He believed the way I painted is more suitable to oils.

Q: Why?

A: My brush strokes are better suited to oils, and I respond more emotionally to what's in front of me rather than think about crafting a picture, like you have to do with watercolors.

Q: Are these landscapes in your show local?

A: Most of them are. I feel this exhibition is a nice juxtaposition of two continents because there are paintings of Australian scenes I do in my studio in the winter, and the plein air paintings I do around here.

Q: Is this your first solo show in the U.S.?

A: Yes, it is. That's why the second emergence is so important to me because I was able to pull together a show while working full-time. Actually, that allows me to have a structure to pull it together.

Editor's note: "Caroline Goldsmith: Summer Exhibition of Landscapes" will be at the Red House Gallery, 315 W. Washington St., Monticello, starting Saturday, with the artist's reception from 2 to 4 p.m. and the gallery open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the remaining Saturdays only, through Aug. 24.

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