William Kosman - Artiste Peintre

Friday, March 07, 2008

#6: In Touch With Myself?

Model reviews "How's it look?" in progress.

"How's it look?" in progress.

Closer view of "How's it look?"

Fellow Art Lovers:

I'm back, to describe, explain and maybe help myself, also.

You remember that the last time I wrote, I wanted to see how I would feel and how I would work with a live model, hoping that I would feel closer to my work and free up my emotions and maybe even produce a more valid painting.

Well, I hired an excellent model. She's very professional, sensitive, has very good features, and has the right appearance for the idea I want to get across.

The idea is to show a young woman in a dress shop. She's trying on a dress, and she turns from the mirror to show another person, perhaps her mother, how a dress looks on her. From the front, you only see her wearing the dress. But in the mirror, you see that she's actually more casual, wearing only jeans. The idea has been in my head for quite a while, but actually in carrying it out, it evolved somewhat. I had imagined that the viewer would see the young woman's back and jeans, and only see her face and dress in the mirror. But when we tried that out, the focus of the painting, her face, was too small. So, we changed it.

During the first session, we spent a lot of time setting up the pose. I sketched the initial idea, and realized it wouldn't work. Once we set up the final pose, I was able to block in the main forms of the painting. Then, during the five days I did not see the model, I used some time to block in the background context of the painting from other material I had - the dress shop, rows of hanging garments, etc. Finally, during our second session, I was just about able to complete the model, both in the front view and the reflection in the mirror.

So, what did I feel? While I was painting, I was totally engaged in the act of applying paint to the canvas. I moved fast, almost nervously, mixing paint, perfecting colors, applying wide brush strokes to the canvas, defining with finer strokes. Honestly, I thought of nothing else. Just the subject I was painting and my developing work in front of me. As I said, I felt almost nervous, with a lot of energy. I heard the sounds around me, like the construction of condos outside my window, but they made no impression on me. Every brush stroke felt good. This was the way to paint.

In fact, his was one of the method's used by some of the Impressionists, as recounted in "The Private Lives of the Impressionists," which I mentioned in an earlier blog entry. That is, using a living model in the studio, and then painting that person into a scene.

As I painted, I felt sure of what I was doing partially because of the many lessions I learned over the last so many years. I knew where to place the paint, how to vary the thickness of the paint, what colors to mix, when to use a soft brush and when to use a bristle. And also, as I painted, something within me told me what was right. I knew what was wrong, and I could scrape it off immediately. I knew what was right, and I could be confident about it, but not overdo it or overemphasize it. I guess that's one lesson I've learned - knowing when to stop.

Was I in touch with my inner self? Frankly, I don't know. I felt a connection with the subject, and I felt I was painting clearly and honestly. I felt I was trying to transmit an idea to viewers. But I don't know if I went deeper than that.

I do know that I was able to represent one aspect of human beauty - the freshness, the gleam in a young woman's eyes, the expectation, the youth. Of course, this is just one form of beauty. As I mention on my website, beauty comes in many forms. They all have to do with the courage in facing life and fighting to be consistent with our natures. But that's a very big subject.

Once "How's it look?" is finished, I'll share it with you.