Project Description

Ian Goldsmith

Ian Goldsmith

About Ian Goldsmith

Ian Goldsmith is an inquisitive British representational artist whose work is held in private collections around the world and although the main body of his work centres on portraiture, he also explores the interplay of light and colour with that subject to an almost scientific level, but often with a subtle sense of humour. He is strongly resistant to labels that might constrain his work and subject matter and believes that an artists work should reflect who he is at any given time in his life, and therefore have the same freedom to change as the artist himself changes as time passes.

He currently works almost exclusively in oil on panel and has an almost scientific fascination with light and shadow, creating and innovating different ways to light his subjects using the same tradition of chiaroscuro that so intrigued artists before him, like Caravaggio or fellow British artist, Joseph Wright of Derby. Goldsmith’s enquiring mind and sometimes childlike awe of the world and universe around him are compelling driving forces that motivate him to represent a truthful and contemporary record of his era.

He also is the founder of the CBPP (Contemporary British Portrait Painters –, a collective of some of Britain’s foremost portrait painters.

His paintings are a plea to the viewer to find the same interest in the subject that the artist has found and Goldsmith hopes that each of these works should go beyond just a mundane representation of the subject and should become a desirable object with an intrinsic longevity that will leave a record of what he’s seen.

Portraits for NHS Heroes

Subject: Tasha Rainsley

Original Artwork: 24cm x 30cm, oil on panel

Artist Statement:

I think when all this started, many of us were feeling a little helpless, including a lot of the professional artists in the CBPP and we very much wanted to help in some way. Obviously we couldn’t offer any medical help, but we could paint the people who were offering that help, the NHS staff. Thankfully while we were looking into how best we could do this, friend and fellow portrait artist Tom Croft, launched the Instagram project: #portraitsfornhsheroes, which literally became an overnight success. So the CBPP partnered with Tom and offered our help.

With the painting, the background colours are tints of the colours from the hospital navigation map at the entrance to the DGH. I thought it might be a nice way to remind everyone, that although this is a portrait of just one member of staff, it’s meant to represent everyone that works in any hospital anywhere. One person representing the whole family, so to speak.

The other thing is the words. I wanted something to reduce the impact of the colours in the background as they detracted a bit from Tasha. So I wrote over the top. I didn’t really write it out beforehand as I wanted it to be more spontaneous, so apologies if there are any mistakes etc. Anyway, the words are:

“The NHS is a beloved institution considered by many to be more like a family friend than a government organisation. It embodies that noblest of human impulses, to love and care for another, especially when that other is a stranger that you care for like a member of your own family and treat them irrespective of race, religion, sex, age or social standing. The only criteria that matters is that they are sick and they need our help. It becomes like a family to us, when we are beyond the care that a family can give. Often when we are most alone and frightened, it’s then that they become our family and why we take them all to heart and why we the British people guard them so jealously and love them so much. This is why we stand on our doorsteps each Thursday night at eight o’clock and clap and make a noise with long overdue applause, while they risk their lives and work on. They are our mothers, brothers, sisters, daughters, husbands and sons. They are our friends. They are in many ways all of us and no matter where they come from they are truly Great Britain’s!

So thank you so much Tasha and to everyone that makes up the NHS family. The doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, ambulance crew, midwives, radiographers, anaesthetists, physiotherapists, accountants, admin, phlebotomists, occupational health, surgeons, communication, art therapists, audiologists, caterers, clinicians, i.t. support, counsellors, dentists, gynaecologists, health visitors, personnel, laboratory, laundry, mental health, geneticists, neurology, ophthalmology, paediatricians, pathology, porters, psychotherapists, stores, orthotists, nursery nurses, immunologists, pharmacists, paramedics, grounds, infant feeding coordinators, volunteers, managers, and everyone not mentioned but no less important.” Ian Goldsmith

Quote from the Subject:

“I want to thank you so much for doing this, it really captured me and how I was feeling. You can see the marks from the PPE as I’d just come out of critical care. It’s been a really amazing and challenging time and its been a honour to know how much effort, time and love has gone into this portrait. I am very proud, thank you.” Tasha Rainsley


Shortlisted in the Jacksons Open 2018
Study in chromatic darks The Ruth Borchard in 2019;
Sodium Vapour – The CBPP group show March 2020 until present