By Nicole Hawkins
Special to the TJP
Paintings of flowers, still lifes and portraits fill the walls of Izakil and Lora Goldin’s Fort Worth home. But the paintings aren’t simply decor — they’re the fruits of Izakil’s labor.
As he sits at his dining room table with his framed works of art hanging behind him and Lora by his side, he speaks of a place so different from his current home he compares it to the moon.
Izakil was born in Belarus, then part of the Soviet Union, in 1936, where he says poverty, starvation and war were the norm for his family. He was always drawn to art, but supplies were beyond his family’s means. His teachers encouraged him to instead pursue science, and Izakil eventually worked as a lab technician testing cement.
Lacking paint supplies, Izakil indulged in his love for the fine arts by playing the mandolin and writing Russian poetry.
Izakil, Lora and their son Jay immigrated to Richmond, Virginia in 1979, where they lived until moving to Fort Worth in 2011. Izakil began painting while in Richmond, his work exhibited at many places throughout the city. Since moving to Fort Worth, his work has been exhibited at Beth-El Congregation, of which he and his wife are members, and most recently, at Cleos-Creations Art Gallery in Hulen Mall in Fort Worth.
In addition to painting, Izakil continues to write Russian poetry as he did in his childhood. He has written two books of poems, many of which are filled with jokes and satire ranging in topics from his life in the Soviet Union to politics.
“Painting, believe it or not, is sometimes physical work,” Izakil said. “I still enjoy it, but sometimes it makes you angry or upset. But [poetry], I always love.”
Izakil says he paints whenever he feels inspired. Sometimes he will go a year without painting and other times he will paint every day. He describes painting as a distraction of sorts, a way to make life better.
“In Russia we have a saying — in English it’s ‘Old age is no fun,’” Izakil said. “This art helps me to forget about age, at least for a short time.”
“He said in Minsk [Belarus] we had better mirrors,” Lora added with a laugh.
Over a dozen of Izakil’s paintings ranging from landscapes to portraits will be on display at Beth-El Congregation in Fort Worth beginning May 1, with 30 percent of profits donated to Beth-El. The artist can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.