Robert Goldman shares style secrets in light of current Thunderbird show
Robert Goldman (robertgoldmanfineart.com), an acknowledged Master by other plein-air (French for “in the open air”) painting contemporaries and collectors alike, is enjoying an exhibition of some 50 selections currently on display at the Maynard Dixon Legacy Gallery (thunderbirdfoundation.com) in Mount Carmel at 2200 South State Street, daily, 12 - 5 p.m., through August 31.
During the show’s opening on May 21, he candidly offered revealing insights concerning his background and creative process, privately to this reporter. Born in Illinois in 1948, he’s been an aspiring painter since a boy of eight, thanks to the creative encouragement of both his mother and the Waldorf School in San Diego, attended by his two brothers and sister, also.
“One thing that inspires me is, I’m not working in a vacuum. ‘I stand on the shoulders of others.’ Who said that: Newton? There’s something about putting paint on canvas that resonates with me. When I find a stroke of paint that relates to, maybe, water, sky, tree, whatever ... and I can place that correctly on the canvas, there’s a certain life to it that ... it kinda’ makes me want to do more.
“And also, being here with the Maynard Dixon Legacy Gallery, Paul and Susan (Bingham, co-directors of the non-profit organization on the National Register of Historic Places) believe in me and have helped me find my ‘voice’ visually. I’ve always had it to some extent, but I’ve had a certain amount of fear. And the fear has started to go away quite an extent. And so, since they trust me, I’ve started to go by intuition.
“When you’re first laying it out, everything is analytic when starting a painting. But, at some point, if I get a notion, I listen to it. I had a famous instructor named Wayne Thiebaud, who used to talk about that. He talked about ‘failure,’ and how that was a good thing. And how you learn from failure; it’s like a nerve. He called it the Nerve of Failure!
“And the other thing that inspired me, is to believe in myself. When I see the image, I can almost visualize the finished painting. And when it’s finished, it never comes out the way I think it’s going to ... some succeed, some don’t.
“But getting back to the idea of trusting my intuition; that, for me, is the ‘key.” In other words, it’s a notion. I get an idea that comes in my head, and I just go do it! Because there’s a part of me that’s the ‘creative side’ that knows more than the ‘thinking side,’ let’s say. It’s an ‘intuitive side.’ And I’ve just been following that more and more: following my inner voice! And it seems to resonate with people, too. You know, when they look at the work ...
“My interest is light and color, the sense of atmosphere. And I’m interested in a certain amount of accuracy in what I paint. But I like to push it to almost the danger point. There’s an artist (Glenn Renell), who said ‘Bob Goldman walks the color line like no other artist I know.’
“I’m in my 70s now, and I think it’s finally starting to click. I love the beauty of nature, too. This is like my church out here. It’s within you and without you; it’s everywhere! And when you’re creating, you know, you’re aware it’s a God-given thing. You should use it to the best of your ability. Without sounding ‘religious,’ but that’s how I feel. ‘Cause I basically feel very religious inside, but don’t, like, preach it or anything like that.”
Having been challenged by experiencing double vision in the past, he’s successfully had torn-retina surgery on both eyes. Realizing that, as he observes, “our time is limited,” he’s aiming to make his “mark” while he can.