Some of my most vivid memories are completely sensorial; the sights of half-squeezed tubes of oil paint and the scent of turpentine emanating from my great grandmother’s artist studio. Her “Hollywood Ranch” style home from 60s was the epitome of cool, with its kidney-shaped pool, serpentine terrace and soaring 12-foot ceilings. Her art studio was down a curved hallway leading to the kitchen and was filled with her playful colorful canvases, stacked one in front to the other in beautifully carved antique frames.
An Inspiration to All
Fittingly, the home is now a design center and textile museum at the Philadelphia University. I last visited the space while conducting research for my senior thesis at Penn on Matisse’s cut-outs and the influence of Tahitian textiles during the 80s. The space was still so familiar to me and the memories so vivid of my great-grandmother sitting on her low-back streamlined sofa, brushing her waist length silky gray hair. The scent of turpentine filled my senses, unbeknownst to everyone else around me.
Goldie Paley painted well into her 90s; a true inspirational mentor. She was graceful, kind and oh so talented. I cherish this painting of shells that sits on a linen sideboard in my bedroom, in front of an antique bamboo mirror. It reminds me of my fascinating heritage and the deep roots of my creative spirit.
Goldie exhibited regularly during the 60s and 70s. And every now and then I run into someone whose parents or grandparents collected her work and knew her well. Out of the blue, a friend recently sent me this image of her at a party in Palm Beach. Oh how the memories came flooding back!