The first time I met Judith Goetemann was at the Goetemann Gallery, the cutest gallery in Rocky Neck, Gloucester, MA. I was enjoying a great exhibition of Gordon, Judith’s husband, in the entrance room and then I took my right to the second room and I was blown away with amazing batiks of Judith. Sun was lighting up the room and shining through the paintings making them radiate a bouquet of colors. All of the works were floral with a lot of detail, and I could only imagine how long each painting takes to paint, as I know a little bit about the process, when painting batik, you layer each color and detail over, wait for it to dry and then layer more and so on… Judith has a wonderful color sensitivity, and very smartly keeps the paintings from becoming to colorful, even though they have so much color and tonalities.
Later, in 3 months, when I came for the art residency I had my chance to live very close to the Goetemanns and to observe that Judith is an absolute sweetheart, a very smart and caring person. Judith was very kind to give me a tour to her studio as I was very curious to see the magic place of creation of her paintings.
The studio is located on the top floor, right under the roof of their home-gallery. Their house is positioned on the water facing the inner area of Gloucester harbor. The studio is a dream-studio with a lot of light, wonderful view and a smart set-up, everything you need for painting on silk.
These are the liquid batik colors with a palette. They are much more intense looking and it is hard to say what the colors are in the bottle, as the all look black. However, Judith is a professional and she knows her media very well.
In this picture you see a paraffin inside the pot that you melt in order to be able to paint with it (to block out the areas you don’t want to apply color on). I asked Judith about the strange looking stones inside the paraffin, they were the pieces of broken glass that she uses to rest her brushes on.
Judith uses an adhesive material to attach the silk to the canvas and sets it on the easel with a source of light behind. When she wants to dye the material, she takes it from the frame and uses 2 metal sinks filled with dye.
The most unusual detail of the studio was the seagull that daily comes to the window to look inside and then knocks on it for an attention. It’s been coming there for years Judith says and she really loves that bird and feeds it, but only after the second request. There are little rules and traditions, you know…