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July Mind of the Artist: Rosabel Goodman-Everard

July 1, 2019

My road to making art is lined with special people pointing the way, and paved with coincidences and serendipity. I’ve always loved to draw and paint. I became a lawyer. Drawing and painting were for vacations.  But I had the luck to work for a law professor who had a world-renowned modern art collection. That primed my tastes in art. 

I got married and moved from my home in the Netherlands to New York. After two years we returned to the Netherlands, where a friend dragged me to her art lessons. To my surprise I was pretty good at it. After another two years I moved to Paris, France, where I worked as a lawyer and became a mother. That is a very, very, busy existence. Again, drawing and painting was for vacations. After seven years I moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, and guess where I lived: right next door to the Johannesburg Art Foundation. I lived there six years and began to hang out with artists and took art lessons at the Foundation and with individual artists. In 2001 we moved to Washington, DC, and I enrolled at the Corcoran College for Art + Design.

One of my first watercolors (1988), of my father, who had died two years earlier, and my first oil painting (2000)

At the Corcoran College I learned what art is – I didn’t always agree. I tried all manner of painting and drawing techniques, and learned to critique others and myself. I started painting large wild and colorful canvases that made people think I was on drugs (I wasn’t; unless wine counts as such). And then I got stuck. I realized I was terrified of failure. When you come off the high of producing art that pleases you and that people like and even buy, you fall into a bottomless pit. I guess it is the same for everybody: producing results you can’t be happy with is absolutely horrible. I cramped up. I stopped making art.

One of my wild and large canvases – “Under the Greenwood Tree” (2011)

I have an art guru, Judy Southerland, so I went to sob at her feet and pray at her knees. She suggested I choose a shape and play around with it. I chose a bare tree shape. Trees are very important to me. Since then, all my pieces are based on that shape. It’s become my crutch, an artistic version of Linus’ blanket.

This is me and the bare tree shape I chose, I believe it was in 2010, and I have stuck with it ever since

In 2012 I had joined Studio Gallery in Washington, DC, and remained a member for 4 years. I had to focus and produce a lot of work; the galleries at Studio are huge. I was ready for that (I had a large solo show in 2014, “Elementrees”) but in the end my life also extends into Virginia, where I spend most of my time and where I had joined the Middle Street Gallery in Washington, VA. I concentrated on that gallery after 2016. 

It was at the end of that year that something troubling prompted me to seek refuge in a new series of smaller paintings, which I called “Doodling in Darkness”.  They are also based on the tree shape but the interpretation of the shape is less formal. I apply base color(s) with Black Montana Graffiti spray paint and draw the images, without any plan, with Posca acrylic paint pens. It’s a lot like automatic drawing and it puts me in a dreamlike state. The plan was to make 50 pieces – I am currently working on number 35. I had a solo show last year with the first 25 and will have another show this December in VA at Middle Street Gallery with whatever I will have finished then. The entire series will feature in a large solo show at the Arts Club of Washington, DC, in May of 2020, which will hopefully include #50. In the meantime I moved to Capitol Hill (but still live mostly in VA) and have joined CHAL. I participated with 2 pieces in the show TREEmendous, one of which was awarded 2nd in Show. I’m a happy painter again.

Here are 20 of my Doodling in Darkness pieces, in my VA studio, prior to last year’s show in VA