Meet Janet Gold

Since the time she was a child, Janet Gold has been passionate about art. From her camp days, when she’d make a beeline for arts and crafts at Camp Louise to her 40th anniversary trip where she spent a day in her favorite museum in Paris, Janet has incorporated some form of art into her life. 

However, this former art teacher never really had time to pursue her own art during the 36 years of teaching. Now that she’s retired, she’s begun painting again – beautiful vivid landscapes are one of her specialties – thanks to a painting class she is taking at the Myerberg Center. We recently caught up with Janet.


How did you first become interested in art? 

As a child, my parents sent me to the Baltimore Museum of Art for Saturday classes. I also remember when I went to Camp Louise, the minute I finished my morning chores, I made a beeline to arts and crafts! One of the favorite things I made was a silver ring that I wore until I lost it. I also made a tri-colored leather stool, and I still have a number of copper enamel ashtrays that I made. But since no one smokes anymore, I put them away. 


Great Memories of Camp! 

I enjoyed it so much that when my daughter went to Camp Louise, I decided to work in the arts and crafts department. Every day, I would walk up the hill and enjoy the smell of nature as it wafted over me like I was 10 years old again.  


Yet you said you didn’t have a chance to pursue your art when you were working. 

When I taught art, the parents used to ask me what type of art I did at home. I used to say, I don’t have time to do art. Although I loved my job, it wasn’t until I retired, and signed up for a class at Myerberg, that I began painting again. That was 10 years ago. 


Can you share some of your favorite paintings? 

Here is an Arizona Sunset.
And this is Assateague Island Sunrise.


Since the pandemic began, you’ve been meeting virtually. How does an art class work over Zoom? 

I usually work on my paintings in between classes. Then when we meet over Zoom, we share our work and critique each other’s pieces, like we did in person. Judy Schlossberg, our teacher, often gives us pointers. We also like to catch up on what’s going on with each other’s families. For years, we’d share celebrations, birthdays and more, as well as get together after class – we’d always have lunch at the Bagel Shop – and we’re close. We still talk about what’s going on with our families. 


What do you tell them? 

One of the things I shared was that my daughter, who lives in New York City, went out to California for a Bat Mitzvah in early March and didn’t go home because of the coronavirus. Everyone always wants to know how she is doing. (she’s great) 


Do you have a favorite artist?  

I love Impressionism and I really like Van Gogh – he was the quintessential starving artist who wasn’t appreciated in his time. I also like Alex Katz. He paints with a lot of clean lines and I like to think that’s how I paint. 

And, of course, there’s Georgia O’Keeffe. I love her flowers. I think they are magical. She was a gutsy woman. I’ve been to Taos and visited her museum. 


Are there other memorable museums you would recommend? 

In addition to the Baltimore Museum of Art, I love the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. When I went to Paris with my husband on our 40th anniversary, I spent the day there. I also remember going to L’Orangerie and sitting in the middle of the room, surrounded by Monet’s Water Lilies and saying to my husband, ‘this is why we came to Paris.’ 


Do you do anything else through the Myerberg? 

Yes. I help Ashkelon students with their English through a program called Israel Connect and I do aerobics twice a week with Howard. Pre-corona, I planned day trips for the Myerberg, like Hamilton at the Kennedy Center, as well as trips to Mount Vernon and The Philadelphia Museum of Art. 


Tell me about Israel Connect. 

It’s a program through the Myerberg TechHub. Last fall, we were assigned students from Ashkelon. Initially I was working with boys from a Yeshiva there. When the pandemic hit, they decided to do a reset. I began tutoring a boy from France who is now living in Israel and spoke Hebrew with a French accent. He needed help with English pronunciation. Also I started working with a girl who was loaded with personality. She always makes me laugh. I’m looking forward to working with her again this fall. 


I’d love to paint, but I don’t think I’m artistic. Any advice? 

People have a lot more talent than they think they do. It’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it. 

Each time you paint you’ll get better and better. It’s like riding a bicycle. The first time you may not be that good, but the more you try, the better you will get. I also believe that the more exposure you have to art  the more likely you will be to experiment with something new. 

Painting of Janet Gold by Joel Epstein

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