ELKIN — Since her childhood in Japan, Elkin resident Emiko “Amy” Goodman has liked to draw and sketch, and during her school years, she took up watercolor painting.
During the month of August, the 92-year-old former art teacher will have her work on display at the Foothills Arts Council in Elkin.
Former student Amy Powers, who now lives in Denver, N.C., has helped coordinate the art exhibit, including cataloging and working with Goodman to choose which pieces will be on display.
Goodman was born in 1926 in the Fukuoka prefecture, Japan, and lived in the country until she met her husband, the late Ralph Goodman, a native of West Jefferson, while he was stationed at Itazuke Air Force Base. They married in 1953.
Two years later, the couple moved to the West Jefferson, where they lived until 1963.
“I took a three-year correspondence school course offered by the Famous Artists School,” said Goodman.
In 1963, she painted her first oil piece. She’d been working with watercolors prior to that.
Goodman and her husband moved to Elkin in 1964, and a year later she took a position as art teacher at Elkin High School, which she held until 1981. She also taught oil painting classes through Surry Community College a few times, she said.
She doesn’t have a formal studio where she does her work. Goodman said her “studio” is just where she decides to work, whether that be the kitchen or dining room or the living room of her home.
Of painting, she said, “I like it, and it makes you feel calm.”
Her works range wide in variety, from memories of her childhood and life in Japan, to portraits of her family, to still-life paintings of scenes such as a Japanese tea set which will be exhibited in August.
“I was her student from 1967 to 1970 in high school. One thing she always instilled in us is to look good at all you see. She taught us the beauty of the world,” Powers said.
In 1977, the year she gained U.S. citizenship, Goodman’s artwork was presented in the arts council’s first-ever exhibit, held at the Elkin Public Library.
Then, Goodman was featured again in an exhibit at the Foothills Arts Council in 2009, and those who may have viewed the art work displayed then might recognized a few of the 34 pieces which will be on display in August. But there also will be several new pieces, including two which Goodman painted this year.
One of those new pieces features a lodging along a river based on one her grandfather built at the hot springs in Fukuoka when she was a child.
“My grandfather was an archaeologist and he found the hot springs. He built a three-story hotel there,” she said, adding her grandfather wasn’t a very good businessman, though, and that the hotel shut down many years ago.
“Mrs. Goodman has been telling me about her childhood, and the river, and there are several pieces of the river and landscape. Everything, her portraits have such detail, and she captures things so well,” said Powers. “She’s been journaling and talking about her childhood, and it inspires me.”
Other pieces in her show will include paintings of two of her four grandchildren, her husband, her mother, and her two sons, one who lives in Greensboro and the other in the eastern part of the state.
Powers said Goodman doesn’t just have color paintings on canvass. “Her whole backyard is like a painting,” she said of the Japanese cherry trees, Japanese irises, Dutch irises and Japanese maples. “She would paint a landscape with her gardening.”
That love of nature is something that can be found in her artwork as well, Powers said. “Anything she touches is golden.”
An opening reception for Goodman’s art exhibit will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Foothills Arts Council, 129 Church St. The work also can be viewed during August when the arts council is open, Thursdays through Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.