William Kosman - Artiste Peintre

Saturday, January 26, 2008

#2: The Painter's High

"A Moment in Old City"
"What Now?" #1
"What Now" #2
"Singing Free"

Fellow Art Lovers:

There is a lot I want to tell you. In fact, since the last blog, some positive things have happened.
First of all, and maybe the most important thing, I feel confident, in control and a form of painter's high, when I'm painting. This happened with the painting I've been working on - "A Moment in Old City." Everything just seemed to work well.
Like probably a lot of things in life, at least for me, painting is kind of an up and down activity. That is, there are moments when everything seems to be going just fantastically, and there are moments when nothing works. This has happened to me in painting, and before in writing fiction. But for a while, the more I've painted, the better I've felt. It's up to others to judge the work.
But the latest version of "A Moment in Old City" just seemed to work well. As far as I'm concerned, the composition is pleasing to look at. I mented the last time that I didn't want the viewer to be prompted to look outside the frame. Now, the placement of the objects appears balanced and at ease. The style has to be soft, to show the young woman's softness and delicacy. And the objects and people in the background, have to be just a bit misty so that the attention is really on the young woman, involved in her own thoughts.
My goals with "What Now?" The homeless man we see is Willie, and he's from Trenton. He told me he was trying to get home. He asked me for a donation, which I gave him. I wanted the painting to have an edge or a certain roughness. So the style has a simplified color scheme, and the brushstrokes are more forceful. There was no softness in the scene, and I didn't want there to be any softness in the painting. The old, rusted railroad bridge, the cops, the light breaking through the scene - I wanted everything to be strong. I wanted the contrast to be strong. And I wanted Willie to be saying: "What now? I hope I get home to Trenton.
The first version is relatively small. The version you see below it was started just a few days ago. It's larger, and it's starting to feel even more free than the first one. And this is a funny thing. When I paint a second version of a painting, or if I sketched the painting in a certain amount of detail, I feel more confident, and I can be freer with my brushstrokes. As you see here, there is not the softness of "A Moment in Old City."
And this raises a point in my painting that I think is important, at least for me. For me, I feel less able to express emotion with a very realistic painting. I believe that moving a bit in the direction of the abstract gives me the expressiveness to give my paintings more emotional impact. This is one thing I am striving for, to constantly express people's emotions. And I believe the more I paint, the better I get at it.
The last painting above is "Singing Free," which is based on an evening when my wife and I watched a friend sing in a local bar. There was a great atmosphere that night, and I felt it. The painting just happened, and I guess it's because I was impressed by the emotion.
Look, I've been talking for a while, and I don't know if you have the patience to read all this. So, that's all for now. Until next time. Thanks for listening.
William Kosman

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Intro Gets Down to Business

"A Moment in Old City"


I am a painter.

And that's what I want to write about in this blog - the process I go through, how I paint, what I want to accomplish, the decisions I make. Along the way, I'll share shots of some of my works in progress, or shots of paintings that illustrate points that I want to make.


I want to share my thoughts, and I want to get other people's thoughts about what I do and what I face. And, if I deserve it, I want to stimulate more interest in my work.

I'm not going to talk much about myself. I might mention a few things in passing, but my paintings are the most important subject, and you can read a little about me on my website - http://www.williamkosman.com/.

So now, I'm going to start with a painting that I'm working on. I call it "A Moment in Old City."
Have you ever been lucky with something, and you thought that - for that reason - that project was destined for success? That's what happened with this painting. I've wanted to do a painting of Old City Philadelphia for a long time, but I didn't find just the right scene. In my painting, I want to show people in telling situations, moments where there's some emotional content, where the viewer can see something of meaning. I know this is vague, but examples might speak stronger than words. Any way, one day at my studio on Spring Garden, I met a new artist on my floor. Then, when I was driving home later, just as I turned a corner, there she was with a big package. I gave her a ride to Old City, and mentioned that I would be stopping by Cafe Ole to take photos for a photo. Well, surprise, she showed up, and sat for a few moments while I clicked away.
Therefore, I can say that, if it were not for the helpfulness of a colleague, this painting would not exist. From that moment on, every thing in the painting seemed to click. The first problem was that all of my early sketches had the young woman looking out of the frame of the painting, and I could see that the viewer would also be led outside the frame. So, I completely changed the composition. Every brush stroke felt good, every little decision seemed to be right.
I'll share my progress on "A Moment in Old City" in a future blog. But I see I'm getting kind of wordy. I wanted to talk about a lot of things, but I'll save them for another day.
Thanks for listening.

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