Betsy Goldberg

"Always nature and the built environment, interaction between the organic and the geometric"

Arriving in New York, I thought the skies were the dominant natural element.  I depicted them above rooftops, angled edges picked out in light and shade.  
     Acclimating, I came down to earth, to the city's surfaces, the streets and river.  Rooftop or window views offered large flat planes articulated by white lines, punctuated by people and vehicles.  The Westside Highway with the noise of a waterfall, became the human-mechanical complement of the river. everything embodied energy, natural and manmade.  I  came to see that we, people, are the major element of nature here.  The populated landscape  became  my major focus.
      Painting outside directly from life is the most challenging experience in the natural rhythm of time. Painting the moving figure with lively line, a partial form captures a moment of time in the more stable landscape, which also changes constantly. It is vivifying and great fun!
     In the studio I work from multiple drawings and rapid sketches of people on the streets. The street is like the stream; the intersection, like a stage upon which complex shapes of people and vehicles in light and shadow occur.  The rectangular borders, trapezoids in perspective, mark this place on the solid rivers of energy and transport, the streets.  Traffic lights control speed: stop, go, pause, as we move across the shared space. The streets are also the horizontal plane of the earth, and hold light, like the Hudson River nearby.
     The drama of people rushing, waiting, glancing, avoiding, pushing, indicated in expressive brushstrokes and color, charges  the atmosphere with energy and emotion, sometimes suggesting narrative.  This is not about appearance, but underlying experience, feeling, created through structure. 
     When it's time to get off the streets, I turn again to the vast skies, marked, nonetheless, with human intervention and geometry, in the framing edges of buildings, asserting the right angle tyranny of our city, or in vectors of  airplanes, their vapor trails across the cloudscape.  Times of day and weather offer me color and form to explore, to distill, to communicate how we experience the world.
     In all of this working, there is constant reflection, simplifying, redoing, creating compositions abstract by nature, indicating the order and structure which underly the observed reality, in a small piece ofArt.