Jack Goldsmith boils his words down to their essence. He credits his polished verbal skills to his 40 years of art direction and design in Manhattan. What he doesn’t take credit for is how he gets to the heart of the matter of ethereal subjects in spot-on fashion, whether he is expressing them in words or acrylics.
“Once I come upon an image I want to paint, I like to attack it and do it quickly,” Goldsmith says. “I refuse to labor over a painting.”
Goldsmith’s canvases are vibrant glimpses of life in all its nuances of light, color, and feel. Perhaps owing to his early career in art direction, the Osterville resident speaks frequently of “staging” his art. The Kite Flyers features one of his favorite subjects, Cape Cod’s ocean edge. “I like to paint children on the beach,” he says. “I also like to paint the beach with nobody around. It all becomes kind of a stage.” All of his pieces, including his still lifes, are arranged almost like choreography, to render a very natural experience.
Goldsmith was trained in the 1940s at the Syracuse University School of Fine Arts and the Rochester Institute of Technology School of Art and Design, before starting his career in art direction and teaching at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan. As Goldsmith succinctly says, “My life has always been holding a pencil or a brush.”
Finally, he came home to a life of fine art when he and his wife moved to Osterville in 1993, drawn by good friends and the Cape’s renowned light. Among his influences are the 19th-century Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla and the late Cape Cod artist Charles Sovek, as well as members of the French Impressionist School.
Although his paintings are filled with highlights, shadows, and other subtleties, for Goldsmith it all goes back to first blocking the painting with brush on canvas. “It’s the most crucial part of the painting for me,” he says. “If you don’t design it well, you’ll struggle.”