For Butler English professor Jason Goldsmith — whose paintings and photos are on exhibit at Holliday Park Nature Center — the key to creativity is taking time to pay attention.
“Writing and visual art force us to slow down, to stop and take notice,” said the Brooklyn-born Goldsmith. “Both give me space to examine the world. Writing or painting, I’m trying to sort and understand the physical, emotional, intellectual and sensual experiences that make up a life.”
Goldsmith, who specializes in the 19th century, has blended his love of art into his job as a professor — teaching two-week seminars in Britain’s Lake District, which he describes as a dense cluster of mountains, lakes and picturesque towns that has inspired numerous artists and poets.
“Each morning we’d spend a few hours in the classroom discussing writing and art. In the afternoons, we’d be out walking the hills. These excursions provided the raw material that the students used to create their own works of art.”
Much of what Goldsmith includes in this show is inspired by experiences like these in nature, making it a great fit for Holliday Park.
“I’ve started working more outdoors. Just sitting. Sitting and looking. Sometimes I’ll make a few sketches. Sometimes I’ll get up after 30 minutes without having put a mark on the page,” he said.
“What I’m trying to do with my art is to get to know a specific place. And that holds true whether I’m working with a camera, a pencil or a paintbrush.”
Many of these places can be seen in the free show, open through March 11 at 6363 Spring Mill Road, with an artist reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 23. The exhibit includes 20 photographs and 20 paintings in different media — acrylic, oil pastel and watercolor.
“Painting helps me un-learn about things, helps me begin to see again, to be fully awake,” Goldsmith said. “One thing that has helped is watching my son grow. He’s two and a half now. The world is still so raw for him. And that world, his world, is what art is all about.”
» Who: Jason Goldsmith.
» Where: Holliday Park Nature Center, 6363 Spring Mill Road.
» When: Daily until March 11.
» Reception: 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.
» Details: 20 photographs and 20 paintings in different media.
» Cost: Free.