Cambrian: Arts & Events

Work of Clovis artist, on display in Cambria, invokes an ‘indomitable spirit’

Clovis artist Jeanette Goulart with one of her paintings.
Clovis artist Jeanette Goulart with one of her paintings.

I am an artist and I’ve been working…

I believe in serendipity and here’s why. An artist I admire greatly happened to stop by the Cambria Library and sent me a message saying he saw a small group of lively abstract paintings on display that I might want to investigate.

Although I’m a voracious reader, I prefer to find books online, so I don’t frequent the local library much. But on his advice, I made the trip, and I’m very glad that I did.

In this quiet space, the walls are a riotous counterpoint thanks to the intuitive abstract compositions by Jeanette Goulart. I imagine the habitués who are accustom to looking down into their research are startled when they finally look up and find these pieces that are both intriguing and vivid.

Goulart lives in Clovis, a town approximately 145 miles from Cambria. But she considers Cambria her second home.

When I reached her to discuss her artwork and process, she was somewhat overcome by the unexpected serendipity of my call. You see, Goulart spent the vast majority of her life in a profession that left little time for art, although it was constantly in the background. It wasn’t until just three years ago that she made the leap into painting full time.

And leap she did. “To me, the biggest part of painting is freedom of expression. Painting is liberating. Since the age of 7, I always wanted to paint and draw, but pushed it aside to ‘live.’ I watched and waited for the opportunity and when I finally retired, I took the plunge.”

Goulart is mostly autodidactic, although she has taken a few workshops and cues from other artists, but her style is her own and expresses her indomitable spirit and colorful perspective on canvas. Nancy Hillis, the artist, psychiatrist and author of “The Artist’s Journey: Bold Strokes to Spark Creativity,” is a reference point for Goulart and a source of support for her theory of authentic self-expression.

“I have a little skill and understand design and composition, but the results are mixed with the divine,” she said. “When I get into the studio, I start to play and allow a higher power to work through me. Call it what you will, but I know that I’m a conduit for the messages I receive.”

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“Message in a Bottle,” by Jeanette Goulart. Courtesy photo

Goulart’s introspective approach is on full display in “Message in a Bottle,” an ethereal atmospheric piece that is layered and excavated to indicate a crack in the surface, inviting the viewer to contemplate the depth of field. This is tricky business in abstract format, but it works well with a light touch and well-edited application.

In the commanding “Big Fish in a Little Pond,” the artist shows a duality of playfulness and thoughtfulness by invoking an abstracted floating surface littered with non-representational objects in hot pinks and fuchsia against a blue and lavender background.

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“Big Fish in a Little Pond,” by Jeanette Goulart. Courtesy photo

Compositionally, this painting is balanced despite the scattershot placement. The mark making and excavations are subtle and valuable landing points. Regretfully, I cannot endorse the entire catalogue of Goulart’s portfolio as it appears on her website. The use of invasive graphics and collage materials simply don’t carry the weight of her more intentional compositions, but the volume of works done within three years is in itself impressive.

Even speaking by phone, I could sense her commitment and enthusiasm, which leads me to believe that if she continues to explore the deeper constructs of abstraction she will succeed beautifully. Responses to her works are inevitably emotional. Some feel a sense of joy, others tearful, but in every case an emotion is elicited from the experience.

This is very much the result of her engagement with the canvas and the depth of feeling imposed upon the surface. What may start with her continues to flow through and reach the viewer, with a little assist from serendipity, the divine and perhaps a visit to the library.

For more information on Jeanette Goulart, visit

Upcoming events

May 30 – June 30

Spring Juried Show

Cambria Center for the Arts, 1350 Main St., Cambria, 805-927-8190,

May 17 – June 30

“It’s All About The Light,” the Central Coast Photographic Society’s biennial juried exhibition.

San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, 1010 Broad Street, San Luis Obispo, 805-543-8562

May 16 – June 24

“Born in the USA.” Group exhibit addressing the complex issues of asylum, assimilation and deportation featuring art by Barry Lundgren.

Art Center Morro Bay, 835 Main Street, Morro Bay, 805-772-2504,

Patrick Dennis is an artist living in Cambria. He owns Working Artist Studio/Patrick Gallery in the West Village and a very large dog named Bella. For more information, visit
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