Carolyn Sharon Goodridge, born on October 21, 1960, in Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies, immigrated to the U.S. in 1963. She developed an interest in the fine arts at the age of 10, first writing short stories, plays and poems and then expressing herself through songs for the piano and guitar and later focusing on drawing and painting. At age 19, she left home to live in a Chogye International Zen Center in Chelsea Manhattan, and studied Zen meditation with the late Zen Master Seung Sahn, founder of the Kwan Um School of Zen.
Carolyn’s formal art education began in 1986 at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York as a night student in textile design. At FIT she discovered her inexhaustible love of painting. In 1984-5 Goodridge took a 4-month journey through Germany, Sri Lanka and India in order to heal from divorce. In 1990 she left New York to pursue full time matriculation at the University of Florida in Gainesville with her two-year old twin daughters. She spent the next seven years living as an on campus art student, extensively exhibiting her work on campus and in neighboring towns. Carolyn was awarded her Bachelor’s of Fine Art in Painting from the University of Florida in 1993, and a Master’s in Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1997.
The abstract paintings produced by Carolyn reflect her artistic progression from realism to abstraction. An avid student of art history, she was inspired by the mystical works of color field artists Mark Tobey, Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still, the whimsical master colorist Hans Hofmann, the musically oriented, German Expressionist Vassily Kandinsky, the exploratory work on dreams and the collective unconscious by Paul Kleé, and genius of musician John Cage. Studying their works had a liberating impact on her. She began to realize a freedom and reconnection with her love of color and music, legacies of her West Indian culture. The imagery also reflects her background in Zen meditation where spontaneity is key to understanding oneself. Carolyn has been painting with encaustic (pigmented beeswax) since 2003.
The radiance of nature is audible. So, I listen with my heart and paint what I hear. Night and day dreams filled with rich music and color inspire me to paint visual songs. My landscapes, biomorphic imagery are abstract interpretations.
The paintings are emotional attunements to nature’s elements: sun’s fire, the wind, water and Mother Earth. Each work whispers a glimpse of an intelligent and relentlessly churning life. The paintings convey the constant motion of a not so still life. I accomplish this work with a patient process of orchestrating colors, mixing finely ground raw pigments with melted beeswax in the ancient process of encaustic.
We are both conscious beings and beings which also enjoy the precision and wisdom of the subconscious. The ideas that inform the conscious side of my work are a marriage of Eastern philosophy and Western science: Zen, Taoism, Yoga and Vedic texts, Sufism, Theoretical Physics, Quantum Mechanics. – Carolyn Goodridge