William Kosman - Artiste Peintre

Sunday, April 07, 2013

#40 - The Pursuit of Beauty

915 East View 

915 West View 


Fellow Art Lovers:

First of all, I want to apologize for my long silence.  I see that my last blog entry was more than three months ago, and this is not acceptable. My goal is to keep you up to date on my painting, and any ideas I may have along the way.  Let me just say that sometimes goals get derailed by other things, but I will make it up to you.

With this blog entry I want to show you some of my newest work, and also I want to share an idea with you, an idea that I’m sure I did not invent, but an interesting idea nonetheless.

First, to my big idea, which is sure to have been discovered by someone else at some point.

The idea concerns what I call the miracle of painting, the fact that, when an artist is painting a work, all he or she has to do is focus on that canvas and forget the entire world around and all of its complexities and complications and competing interests and problems.   Success or failure is determined only by what exists within the borders of the canvas.  The only goal the artist has to keep in mind is to turn that canvas into a thing of beauty. And when I use the word beauty, I use the word in its largest sense, something that impacts the viewer, or the reader or the listener.

This opportunity to focus on one limited space and ignore the entire world belongs to one privileged class of artistic pursuits. In the real world, as opposed to the artistic world, you have to solve so many related problems, deal with so many interest groups, make realistic compromises and so many other issues.  In painting, Vermeer was able to spend several years perfecting “The Girl with the Pearl Earring.”  A poet must only deal with a few lines of a sonnet or, at the extreme only three lines of a haiku. A jeweler can use a store of skill to create one unique broach. A violinist or pianist must only summon the mastery needed to squeeze emotion from four bars to prove an impact on listeners. These are only a few of the examples possible. 

In the same way, a painter can simply isolate himself (Because I’m thinking of myself, I’m going to use the masculine.) and ignore the world outside. The only thing that matters is that canvas, and the only goal is moving the paint around to create an object of beauty.  In some ways, every painting exists in isolation, an object alone, a new throw of the dice, a new pull on the slot machine handle.  Another important issue is control; we the artists should, in the ideal, be able to control that limited space. 

Of course, the artist and all of his complexities are part of the bargain.  But this is positive. He brings all of his life experience to the task of creating an object of beauty.  That task requires an immense amount of effort. It can call upon the artist’s years of skill and devotion that the he struggled to achieve. And it can also require the emotion, gained through the achievement and suffering the artist experienced.

The benefits?  If the artist, me in this case, moves his work closer to an object of true beauty, he lifts people up a few notches in their appreciation of sensitivity, delicacy and – in a way – helps them move closer to using the gifts of our humanity, like appreciating beauty, feeling emotion, and appreciating what the artist has gone through to achieve his work.  And for the artist, he gains a psychic reward. He can tell himself that he is truly appreciated for his work, and he may gain acceptance as an artist and maybe even some recognition from a wider audience.   

The paintings you see above are some of the city scenes I’ve been doing lately.  Frankly, not one of them achieves anything close to perfection. My goal remains to continue my progress in telling a story and impacting your emotions.  However, these paintings do fit into my discussion in one important way.  When I paint, I do cut myself off from the outside world as much as I can, and I do focus on the canvas in front of me. But I can’t say that I achieve total exclusion. 

If I had to define the style, I’d have to call it “natural.” I try to let myself go and paint from my heart.  If I feel in the groove, and my hand keeps moving and spreading paint, I accept it. I don’t want to overthink my work. Rather, I want to use my emotions, and I mean this in a positive way.  More and more, the results please me.

For those of you who have visited my studio, you’ll recognize the views from the windows.  I have to say that I had a stroke of luck with my studio, because some of the scenes just outside the window are really pleasing. As always, I’d welcome your input on the paintings.  Just remember, clicking once or twice on the image gets you closer and closer to it.

As always, I’d love to hear your ideas, which you can share through this blog.

Thanks for listening.


William Kosman