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  • Writer's picturekristinacampbell

The Proust Questionnaire : Lois Goodnough

Updated: Feb 6, 2022

An entertaining and revealing conversation with artist Lois Goodnough. Lois's paintings are part of the Maiden, Mother, and Crone Exhibition at Artful : The Gallery, through September 18th.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? A cozy fire, comfy chair and a great read, preferably historical fiction. A glass of vino wouldn’t hurt either!

What is your greatest fear? I know I should say something profound here but truth …spiders!

What is your biggest indulgence as an artist? Great substrate – good quality wood panels are the best!

What feels important to you right now as an artist? Painting from my heart and letting the process flow. Trying to forget about making a “statement” and just respond authentically.

image: Lois Goodnough, 'Generations', 2018, acrylic on canvas

Which artist – past or present – do you most admire? Past : Gustav Klimt, Frida Kahlo. Present : Marianne Enhorning, Comox artist.

Do you think any aspect of being an artist is romanticized or stereotyped? If so why? Yes, probably that as an artist one gets to express themselves so freely and make profound statements through the art --- sometimes, it’s just so bloody hard to get inspired!

How are you currently approaching your art? Intuitively. Just letting the colour choices be intuitive and approaching the canvas with abandon. Letting the work reveal itself without a preconceived notion of what I am going to create.

What do you struggle most with in creating art?

That my work might be seen as “not serious” as it isn’t realism. But I don’t allow myself to get too hung up on this.

What themes or symbols are most important to you as an artist? Why? Main theme deals with women, movement, joy, camaraderie, women celebrating women. It is important for women to celebrate each others’ accomplishments and encourage each other as this is still a patriarchal society.

What do you most love about your art? It is fun, colourful, whimsical and joyous. I have always been attracted to those things.

Which words, colours or themes do you most overuse? I wouldn’t call it overuse, but I do focus on women, dance or movement. Maybe I overuse a black background but I also love the contrast against colours and textures.

image: Lois Goodnough, 'Namaste',

When and where in your life have you been 2021, acrylic and collage on canvas

the most content? Here and now.

When and where have you produced your best artwork? Why do you think that is? Here on Vancouver Island, because I am most content. I have amazingly supportive and creative artist friends, and because I am finally learning not to give a shit.

What sort of art, that you have never created, would you like to try making? Clay sculpture, large scale.

If you could change one thing about your art, what would it be? I have learned not to ask myself that type of question any longer. It is what it is.

What is your greatest artistic achievement? Why, or why not, is this important to you? I suppose the fact that I have actually sold my work internationally. Many, many years ago when I first started creating I told myself I wanted to one day leave behind something that someone would call “art.” I didn’t need to sell art for that to happen, but it was a huge validation for me.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? No answer, or a spider (karma is a bitch!)

What is your most treasured possession? Husband and family first. Second, a huge jam filled cookie shaped like a fish that my Mother created for me one Christmas about 30 years ago. I collected fish at the time. I still have it in my freezer. She was so creative and I think a great inspiration for me.

What quality do you most value in your friends? Honesty, and a truly wicked sense of humour and love of laughter.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? I don’t know why particularly, but I am going to say Queen Elizabeth I.

What is your greatest regret? Haha. Don’t complain, don’t explain.

When did you first call yourself an artist? Was there a particular milestone or threshold? To encourage my granddaughter to embrace her creativity and consider herself an artist, it was important for me to do the same.

What is your favourite quote? “Women grow radical with age. One day an army of grey haired women may quietly take over the earth.” - attributed to Gloria Steinem

image: Lois Goodnough, 'March of the Matryoshka', 2020, acrylic and collage on canvas.

The Proust Questionnaire is a confessional of sorts, popularized by French writer Marcel Proust during the Victorian era. Versions of this questionnaire have been used by interviewers since; notably the back page of Vanity Fair and the Canadian radio program The Last Chapter.

"The private lives of geniuses are not a fault to be tolerated, as the young Proust supposed, but a resource to be extracted and packaged for public consumption." *

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