Interview with Carrie Jean Goldsmith

“I’m inspired by anything and everything, whether it’s music, the landscape, how I’m feeling on a particular day or just life.”

By Rise Art | 19 Jul 2022

Carrie Jean Goldsmith has recently joined Rise Art, bringing her portfolio of abstract paintings to the platform. Carrie is inspired by anything and everything, from the surroundings to her own physical and contemplative state. She then uses her abstract and loosely representational style with colour, gesture and tonal gradation to capture the essence of her subject, seeking the balance between expressionism and informed thought.

We spoke to Carrie about the evolution of her practice and the latest projects and exhibitions.

Carrie measuring a canvas in her studio


How would you describe your artistic style?

I would describe my style as gestural, instinctive and intuitive.


How has your practice evolved over the years? Have you always worked in an abstract style?

My practice has evolved so much over the years. One of my early inspirations was (fellow) Canadian artist Emily Carr whose landscapes are still my favourite of this genre; full of rich colour and drama. I was initially drawn to trees and forests as my subject and eventually deconstructed these images to shapes and light. I moved on to completely abstracted works a number of years ago but many of these early abstracted pieces were still based on ‘things’ and with a somewhat geometric feel.

During the first lockdown I found myself loosening up with great swathes of colour and far more visible brush strokes. This process was immensely satisfying and the paintings began to take on a far more intuitive and gestural approach; I think this was a direct result of the restrictions imposed and my reaction to them! I now use these less hard-edged marks but I am still very fond of bold lines and incorporate these into much of what I do. I like the contrast of ethereal, diaphanous strokes coupled with with bolder, forceful marks.

Panacea, 2021, by Carrie Jean Goldsmith


Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your paintings

I’m inspired by anything and everything, whether it’s music, the landscape, how I’m feeling on a particular day or just life. I find expressing myself on the canvas very natural. Don’t get me wrong, it has taken a very long time for me to find my voice in this way. After years of painting landscapes and trees and then various deconstructed images, I am now at a place where I am comfortable painting in a much more expressionistic mode and have found an approach that works for me that is neither laboured nor pre-planned. The only real planning is the size of canvas and a basic palette choice although the latter invariably evolves and changes completely from that initial ‘plan’!

Reveal, 2022, by Carrie Jean Goldsmith


What’s an average day like in your studio?

I try to be in front of my easel for 9am and usually begin by finishing off a work that I may have previously started. I find I need this warm up before starting a brand new work. I like to have some time colour mixing and using my various brushes and palette knives to bring back the muscle memory before starting a fresh painting. I also regularly take a morning to just prepare new canvasses, building the bars, stretching, sizing and priming so that I am never in a situation where I don’t have a prepared surface to begin new works. Once my canvasses are primed I almost blindly cover them in a chosen set of hues that may or may not be visible when the painting is complete. I love the serendipity of this process as those initial marks that were not originally part of the more focussed composition can often play their part.

Hey Now, 2022, by Carrie Jean Goldsmith


Who are your key artistic influences?

As mentioned above, my early influences include Emily Carr and I also love the work of so many artists painting around that time; Mark Gertler, Dora Carrington, Edward Burra, Juan Gris and then, somewhat later, Richard Diebenkorn, Francis Bacon and, of course, abstract expressionists such as Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell and the lesser known Bernice Bing (plus so many others!). As far as more contemporary artists go I love the beautiful geometric paintings of Tomma Abts and am also a fan of Sean Scully and Peter Doig to name but a few.


Who are some Rise Art artists with work you’re enjoying at the moment?

I have discovered these artists on Rise Art: Susanna Klein, Daisy Cook, Nina Archer, Sue Kennington, Kirsten Lilford. The fact that they’re all female is pretty coincidental, I swear! I particularly love the paintings of Kirsten Lilford which hold an ambiguity at the same time as featuring everyday recognisable scenes. They are also beautifully painted.

Velvet, 2022, by Carrie Jean Goldsmith


Are you currently working on any exciting new projects?

I’m working on some commissions at the moment and I’m also creating a whole new body of work for two exhibitions later this year.

I’m delighted to say that I have had both my 2022 submissions to The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition accepted this year where they’re currently hanging in Gallery 1.

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