William Kosman - Artiste Peintre

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New Freedom in Painting Found in Normandy

                                                          Reviers River Lavoir

                                                            Park in Saint Aubin

                                                    Secret Bridge in Amblie

Fellow Art Lovers:

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve noticed that I talk a lot about achieving greater freedom in my painting.

Why in the world am I so concerned about what I call freedom?  Frankly, it feels good.  It feels good, when I feel free and I’m able to apply paint on a canvas just the way I like, when I have an inner sense that each brushstroke is right, when I feel in touch with my emotions and I feel I’m getting an emotion or  an idea across to the viewer of my work.

Well, I’d like to announce to you today that my style has taken a big leap toward freedom. 

I’m here in France, Saint Aubin-sur-Mer, Normandy, to be exact, and I’ve been doing a lot of painting and thinking about what my painting transmits to the viewer and how I can influence that.

I want to tell you the process I’ve been going through by showing you just a few paintings and telling you what I wanted to accomplish and how I hoped to get there. Let me just point out that these three paintings are just a few of the almost one dozen paintings I’ve done so far this summer.  I hope to do more before I leave at the end of the month.

Here this summer, I believe my first significant step toward the freedom and the expressiveness I want to achieve came with “The Secret Bridge in Amblie.”  I’ve already painted this scene once using a palette knife, but I believe that I can achieve the same interesting surface and mixture of color with brushes.  The scene is truly beautiful, and I wanted to show the play of light with the sun breaking through the trees’ leaves and hitting the trees and the water and the shadows and the flow of the water. 

To be honest, I just let myself go, and it all came very naturally.  The colors, the composition and the interesting shapes were all there. I did have to go back to the scene several times because it’s a relatively large painting, but I believe it was worth it.

“Saint Aubin Park” was a different story.  I worked on the way the sun broke through the leaves and hit the ground and the trees for maybe four sessions.  I had to keep telling myself to simplify the forms I put down on the canvas, and I had to remind myself that – in my opinion – the emotion the viewer feels for a painting does not depend on how well the painting copies reality; rather, it depends on the forms and the colors and the surface.

This painting took a lot of thought while I was actually involved in the painting, which is not common for me, because I usually like to fly by the seat of my paints, just letting my hand – the one with a brush, of course – go off on its own.

But then came “The River in Reviers.”  The site actually includes a stone structure – called a “lavoir” in French - that was used a very long time ago by women to wash their family’s laundry (They actually beat their laundry against the stone.).  The painting just about painted itself.  Honestly.  The process felt natural.  While painting, I felt a power and a control.  Something told me that each stroke was right and good. 

Except, at one point, the little roof of the “lavoir” didn’t look just right.  All I had to do is remind myself to simplify what was already on the canvas; so I scrapped the paint off that small portion of the painting and used bold strokes to design the small edifice. 

Right now, I have the feeling that I’m in a good, new place with my painting.  I believe that more people are being touched by the emotional impact of what I do.  Some time ago, when I exhibited a series of paintings of people in Crown Heiughts, Brooklyn, a review in The Philadelphia Inquirer mentioned that my paintings show that I try to establish a personal contact with the viewer.  This is perceptive and true, and I can’t tell you why I feel that way.  But I feel this very strongly.  And now, for some reason, my emotions seem to lead my painting more than ever.  More than ever before, my emotions are right there when I’m painting, and finding the ways to express them with oil paint and brushes (or palette knives) just comes more naturally.   

Please look over the images at the top of this blog.  And please tell me if any of them touch you. 

By the way, you’ll be able to see these and other new paintings in October, in my studio in Philadelphia.  These, and a lot more new paintings, will be on display during the weekend of Oct. 20 and 21, during POST, Philadelphia Open Studio Tours. 

I hope to see you.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at – billkosman@gmail.com

As always, thanks for your support.

William Kosman