Biography of Jane Goldsmith

Jane Goldsmith, a respected and celebrated artist skilled in the crafts of painting and drawing, was born on September 16, 1945. For the first eight years of her life, she resided in Gulfshores, Alabama. An only child, Janeís main source of companionship was her collection of imaginary friends, which were talking animals. She developed a great adoration for sea life, particularly the seagulls and various marine mammals depicted in her artwork.

When Janeís father, Jack Goldsmith, found employment in Ogden, Ohio, she mourned greatly at their mandatory migration away from the ocean. Janeís new schoolteachers expressed concern at her lack of attention in class. They informed her parents that she doodled incessantly, scribbling seashore scenes all over her assignments. Jane, in an interview in 1975, said that she knew even then that she would move back to the coast as soon as fate would allow, and she had a plan. She got an after-school and weekend job at a local graphics shop, where she became an unofficial apprentice, studying the designers as they worked and watching and gleaning information from the press staff. Though Jane was hired as a receptionist, her employer saw her dedication and offered her small graphics assignments that he knew she could accomplish. Before long, Jane was earning a bit of commission in addition to her usual pay, and she saved almost the full amount for her future journey back to the sea.

 

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Sure enough, as soon as she turned 18, Jane moved to Tybee Island, Georgia, leaving her family and friends behind. Not long after arriving there, she landed a job monitoring the local aquarium after hours. This afforded Jane the perfect opportunity to study and sketch the lines, curves, and shadows of marine animals behind the glass wall. One night, Jane accidentally left behind one of her chalk pastel drawings, and her employer immediately noted her talent. He asked her if she would like to display her work at various spots inside the aquarium, and she enthusiastically accepted. The aquarium is a popular spot for tourists, and soon, art vendors visiting from other coastal cities throughout the United States took keen interest in Janeís work. She accepted several offers to produce original artwork to be sold in souvenir shops in coastal towns from Maine to Florida. Even though Jane then quit her job to draw and paint full-time, her former employer offered her unlimited access to the aquarium for future projects. She took orders from the vendors for some specific drawings and paintings, but often they left the subject matter up to her, and this creative freedom brought forth some truly astounding pieces. She possessed both the unbridled imagination of a child and the artistic prowess of a seasoned professional. Using chalk pastels and pastel pencils, acrylic paint, and sometimes charcoal, Jane etched out works that kept her in high demand all along the eastern seaboard.

Skylar Votson, an author of many childrenís books, hired Jane to illustrate her seaside characters. Jane used her memory of her imaginary childhood friends as models for these illustrations, and Stevie Seagull, Tommy Turtle, and Claude Crab came to life on Skylarís pages.

Jane had friends, but she kept them at a comfortable distance. She never married, stating that she preferred the company of tranquil nature over the brashness of humanity. Janeís work enabled her to travel extensively and explore the shoreline of multiple locations. She is now retired and divides her time between her properties in Tybee Island and Gulfshores, Alabama. Though she no longer accepts commissioned work, Jane will receive royalties as long as she lives.