William Kosman - Artiste Peintre

Friday, January 13, 2023

# 106 - Love Thy Neighbor, Video of Exhibit


Fellow Art Lovers:

Here's the official video of my exhibit Love Thy Neighbor at the Old City Jewish Art Center in Philadelphia on January 6, 2023:

Thursday, January 05, 2023

# 105 - The Adventure Continues, continued yet again

 As I promised, I'm back to talk about my paintings one more time, for the time being. 

For me, this painting - "School Morning" - is important. It's important not for anything I've done, but because what it shows and what actually happened, and I assume is actually happening today. A determined mother on 15th Street just south of Christian Street in Philadelphia is taking her children to school in the morning. I didn't talk with her, but I'm assuming that she realizes the importance of education in our society, and her children are going to start getting their education no matter what. The style I used is a little more careful than a lot of my work. even though the people are relatively small in the painting, I wanted the viewer to see the expressions on their faces, especially the determination in the mother's expression. But as I filled in the background around the mother and her children, adding things like the traffic lights and the forms of the shadows in front of them, I loosened up my style, so that the figures would remain the most important elements. I hope the painting has an impact on you when and if you're able to see it. 

"Crossing Spring Garden" is just that; a mother and her son are crossing Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia around 9th Street in the morning as they begin their day. She has to pull on him a bit because it's early in the morning and he's not totally awake. We can see the remnants of the elevated Reading Railroad line and the towers in Center City in the distance. I consider this a pleasant painting, with the sun shining, most of the trees still carrying their green leaves, and the mother young and attractive. But you'll notice that I still want to catch her gesture accurately because for me, catching gestures accurately is a good part of my pleasure in painting people. 

"View from the EL" is interesting for me for several reasons. What we see in the painting is the view of businesses and the street of Allegheny in Philadelphia from the El platform. One thing is that I painted this with a palette knife, something that I use more often for landscapes in Normandy, France. However, using a palette knife gives a special quality to the surface of a painting. I've seen some painters use a palette knife while trying to show the details of a painting completed with a brush, and failing. Usually, this strategy usually fails. The different tools produce a different result. In this case, with "View from the EL," I believe i succeeded. I didn't show the details of objects in the painting, but I gave an impression of them, also because you can mix colors right on the canvas with a palette knife. And a person in the painting can be added with just a dab of paint with the tip of the knife. And the painting is interesting for me because I used bright colors and distributed them to keep the viewer's eye inside the canvas. 

That's it for now. If you have any questions, just email me at billkosman@gmail.com

If you read all of these explanations, I admire you and appreciate your interest. 




#104 - The Adventure Continues, continued.


Fellow Art Lovers: 

I promised, and I'm back, talking more about my desires with some of my paintings:

I called this painting "Struttin' Proud," and  I'm sure you can see why. So, here's a small family, up near K and A - That's for Kensington and Allegheny up in Northeast Philly, and you can believe that the family members aren't on easy. But the youngest member, wearing her bright orange hoodie, doesn't let anything bother her. She knows who she is and that she'll get it all right in the future. That's why I made a big effort to paint her posture so that it reflects her confidence, and I used my palette knife to show the family's surroundings. fNo matter what, this little bundle of self-confidence surely has plans for the future. 

It happened on a side street near Spring Garden and 9th, in Philadelphia, a man who looked homeless asked me for money so he could take the bus to get home in New Jersey. I gave him more than enough money, and then I asked him if I could take some photos of him to do a painting of him. He agreed, and I worked for several days in my studio nearby to give him a sense of dignity and and also his need. I wanted the painting to have a down-to-earth tough look, so I simplified the elements in the scene. When I was on the street, I asked the policemen if I could take their photo, and they refused. I didn't tell them that I had already taken it when I arrived. The title of the work is "What Now?" 

The title of this painting is "Winning Ticket," and you can see why. The man standing in front of the kiosk at 8th and Washington Streets in Philadelphia is ready to turn in his winning lottery ticket. I haven't heard if he won any cash, but it was a sweet scene, and I enjoyed painting it right there. It's the kind of painting that is so appealing that it just about paints itself. Yes, the two young women were contrasting elements in the frame of the painting, but what I really tried hard to capture were the shadows on the sidewalk. I just found the contrast of the light and dark both a challenge and rewarding. I hope I won.  

The name of this painting is "Watch Me Jump," and there's no doubt how I chose that title. Yes, the image of a mother and daughter enjoying each other and themselves is automatically appealing. I'm kind of a painter who works hard who works hard to capture people's gestures, and the little girl's gesture took real concentration on my part. Also, something else that was in the scene - the bright colors of the mother and daughter's attire and the sawhorse a little behind them keeps the viewer's eyes within the frame of the scene. And I have to admit, the little girl is the main draw of the painting. 

I'm taking a break, but I'll keep working this afternoon. 



Wednesday, January 04, 2023

# 103 - The Adventure Continues

 Fellow Art Lovers:

My last posting, number 102, told the story of the supportive reception I got when I read my poem "Love Thy Neighbor" to visitors to my art studio during Philadelphia Open Studio Tours a few months ago. Now, I want to tell you that I have an exhibit on the same theme in just a few days, at 5 pm on First Friday, Jan. 6, at the Old City Jewish Art Center, at 119 North 3rd St., in Philadelphia.  The show runs until Jan. 30, and it will include other poems and paintings of mine, as well as works by other visual artists. And, on First Friday, a Sabbath meal will be offered to visitors. 

I've been asked to explain my motivation for the show and to give an explanation on how some of my paintings fit into my general theme. So, here we go. 

When you look around, you can get pretty depressed by the division and - yes - the violence in our world today. And this is going on when we all know, most people want the same things: The basic needs in our lives, love, companionship, shelter, nourishment, a decent job, and the opportunity to learn and pursue our interests and may even grow as an individual. 

So I thought back to the the book of Leviticus in the Torah and the instruction given by the Lord to Moses: Tell the children of Israel to "Love they neighbor as thyself." So, simple, but we sure aren't there yet. 

What could. be such a pleasure and harmless? Kids running around with each other in Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia while their parents and an old couple watch them? The peacefulness and the pleasure of the children touched me. 

 The same thing: Harmless pleasure, people dancing, and a boy trying to catch his read balloon. Yes, I did pay a little be with the environment, but there's a reason: You'll notice that the people come from different ethnic groups. That's important, because most of us, no matter our culture or our color, want the same things in life. We should have the same rights and opportunities. But, yes, I did play with the scene. You have different Philly neighborhoods jammed together, and I played the colors a little bit. Yes, the street is orange. So what? 

This is Joy. What Joy! A little girl jumping with joy in a courtyard on Delancey Street in Society Hill in Philadelphia. Her freedom and the pleasure she certainly feels are wonderful. I wanted to capture this emotion. Yes, her parents are watching her. Why not? Wouldn't it be great if all kids could enjoy the same pleasure! 

The same thing! This is Old City Park at Market and 2nd Streets in Philadelphia, and a woman is walking her dog, her dependable companion. The love the two of them feel for each other is so basic and so common in so many families. I want to admit something: I really liked the way the woman was gracefully turning toward her dog. And I liked the shadows of the trees on the lawn. 

More to come later. 




Wednesday, October 26, 2022

# 102 - A New Adventure

Fellow Art Lovers:

Trying to predict how a viewer will respond to your paintings is like threading a needle while wearing a blindfold – it’s pretty close to impossible. The number of styles an artist can choose from is just about infinite, and the tastes of viewers is one step beyond that. if that exists at all.  So, when my building at 915 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, had its single day to receive guests in the northeast sector of Philadelphia Open Studio Tours this past Sunday, I was swimming in a few doubts. 

The reason: I was trying something new, at least as far as I knew. 

Recently, you’ve surely seen that my works have included more and more groups of people, and I’ve been trying to express specific ideas with these works. Well, because I’ve started trying my hand at poetry, thanks to Larry Robin and his group, Moonstone Poetry, I’ve started linking paintings with poems. And because the COVID 19 pandemic gave me a good amount of free time, the words for poems came to me. 

So, I decided that I would see how the visitors to my studio for POST respond to this innovation, or at least what I believe is an innovation. 

The painting of mine that inspired me the most was a painting that I believe you’ve already seen, one that shows a mass of people of numerous cultures and different colors enjoying being together. (I’ve inserted the painting in this posting.) 

And the theme I chose was “Love they neighbor as thyself,” which is from Leviticus, the third book of the Old Testament. It’s in the eighteenth entry of chapter 19 of Leviticus, and it states “ . . . thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.” Basically, chapter 19 cites the Lord instructing Moses what he should tell the children of Israel. 

Of course, I always rehearse my poems before presenting them to groups. On last Sunday afternoon, I recited my poem five or six times as different groups gathered during the afternoon, and each time it felt more and more natural.  

                                         Here I am, masked, reciting "Love Thy Neighbor." 

“Love Thy Neighbor” ©

By William Kosman 

If you love the work of art, 
Must you love the artist?
If the painting pulls at your heart, 
Do you have to carry the painter’s cause?

I hear the sages’ words of long ago,
From the elders and the teachers,
From the Torah and the New Book, 
From Mohammed and the true believers, 
I know my heart tells me true. 
Oh, sing out the words:
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

If we have the artist’s heart,
We are all creative creatures. 
We live full when we have your notice.
We live full when we hear your applause.
We are driven to follow our art. 

Creative souls inhabit humankind,
We come from far and wide,
From the castles and the ghettos,
From the welfare hotels and the condos, 
Artists all, our spirit drives our art. 
I know my heart tells me true. 
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

This pebble carrying us through the sky,
It’s loaded with bandwidths of data,
Currents of crossing signals every step we take.
Technology makes us loners, but brings us together too. 
I know my heart tells me true. 
Now we’re all neighbors, and that’s no lie.

Some say our era has changed us,
Turned us cruel and hard.
But there are constants we carry within us:  
Our human mind and our saving soul. 
I know my heart tells me true. 
Oh, sing the words out together:
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” 

The dancer steals our breath with leaps yet higher. 
The painter touches us with oil-stained cloth. 
The writer creates new realities with lines on a page,
The composer plants echoes in our minds. 
Artists all, our work makes all lives yet richer.  

If our work touches your heart,
The goodness within you grows grander. 
The song, the dance, the painting and the poem,
Our love of art brings us together.
We are all one world of neighbors.
Oh, sing out good neighbors, 
Oh, sing the true words together:
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” 

I believe the response was positive. All I can say is that visitors congratulated me, and I felt good about my recitation. Also, I also recited another poem about friendship, which was based on a painting of two young women walking along Allegheny Ave. All of you have seen the painting before in blog posting # 97. 

To show you more of the kind of paintings I truly enjoy painting, I’ve included in this blog posting two other paintings. One shows the intersection of Locust and 10th streets, and the other is the intersection at 9th and Spring Garden streets, just one block from 915 Spring Garden, which houses my studio.

10th and Locust in Philadelphia 

9th and Spring Garden 

I’d like to thank those of you who visited my studio. And if you couldn’t make it, thanks for your time and your support. If you have a few minutes, I’d love to hear your impressions of my work. 



Wednesday, April 27, 2022

# 101 - Inching Further Away From Reality


Fellow Art Lovers:

A funny thing happened on Bainbridge Street in Philadelphia’s Queen Village neighborhood. It was a while ago when the trees were bare of leaves, and I noticed how the sunshine behind the trees cast the intricate shadows of the trees’ branches on the parked cars and the street in front of me. 

It was an appealing image, because it contained numerous attractions; there were just a few people walking along the sidewalk; the row of buildings was historic contained a mixtures of surfaces and shapes; the various colors were bright, including those of the cars and trucks crossing my vision. 

So, like any painter who wants to get the greatest impact out of a scene, I decided to make some changes: I altered my perspective so it looks as though I’m looking slightly down; that way I could trace the shadows even more clearly and also capture that delicacy and the life of the street on canvas. 

More changes: I played with the color scheme, kind of falling back on the same colors I used in the last several paintings I did just a while ago. The sky became pink, the branches stand out in burgundy, and I left the hints of branches in the sky to echo them. And the pavement in the foreground became orange. And the cars and trucks were painted in bright colors to keep the viewer’s eye within the painting. 

                                                       "A Day on Bainbridge Street" - 24" by 30" 

And speaking of cars and trucks, I rounded and simplified their forms in, I hope, not a silly way but a playful way. And I simplified the row of buildings on the other side of Bainbridge, and added just a few images of people on the sidewalk, along with a dog, because this block of Bainbridge has a pet hospital. 

A long time ago, I took painting classes in a suburb of Paris, by the name of Fresnes, and one of my instructors was Jean-Marie Creuzeau. The two most important messages he repeated over and over again were: 1. “Simplify, simplify,” and 2. : “You don’t paint the object; you paint the sign of the object.” 

When I think about how to give my paintings more impact, I often think about what he said.  

So, here you see the completed painting. And if you were to ask me, “Bill, what did you do to capture that scene and give it more impact?” I’d have to say that I had to give myself more freedom and move away from the reality. And that’s the artistic license painters and other artists use. 

Thanks for listening. I’d love to hear your comments if you have time. 



Wednesday, March 30, 2022

# 100 - Another Step Toward Freedom

Fellow Art Lovers:

I know, I know. I sure have written a lot about how I want my work to be more and more free. Well, now this time I've played with the colors to find more freedom. 

As you can see, these are relatively large paintings. I worked on them side by side at the same time, so they both carry some similarities in the the colors - mainly some orangey reds. But now that I look at them, I believe I was freer with the Rittenhouse scene, while I stuck more with some elements' natural colors in the Red Balloon. 

                                                     Red Balloon III (24" by 24")

And, now that I look at the two paintings, I see that the characters are consistent with my more common style for personages in these kinds of scenes - rough, a bit simplified and sometimes a bit odd. Why's that, when I'm fighting for freedom? Maybe that's just me, and maybe I should accept that style, since it comes so naturally to me. 

I worked on these two pieces on a kind of on-and-off basis, because of the COVID pandemic and some personal issues. And I draw the conclusion that this is really me because despite those constraints, I really got into the act of painting. COVID and all, with a brush in hand, everything else just drifted away, and every brushstroke just took over. 

                                                     Rittenhouse Square Scene (24" by 24")

One afternoon, my 12-year-old grandson visited my studio to see my new works. He told me I should add gray to the pavement to delineate the squares. I did, and I see that he was right; the gray also carries through the gray of one of the trees. 

If you have any ideas you'd like to share, I'd love to hear them. Just shoot me an email at billkosman@gmail.com. If you want to look at my website, it's williamkosman.com. And shoot me a note if you want to visit my studio. 

Thanks for listening. 





Tuesday, October 12, 2021

# 99 - Good Vibes on Philly Streets


FellowArt Lovers:  

Our city of Philadelphia just keeps giving me great ideas for paintings and good vibes that make me want to paint them. The vibes from the people are important, because even if I'm only sketching them or taking photos of them, a feeling stays with me. 

And one way or another, that feeling ends up on my canvas. 

I'm sure I've written a lot about how I try to capture people's gestures, and if I can focus on specific people, I even try to give some hints about their personalities. And I know I've talked a lot about the beauty of human diversity, and how I try to show people of different cultures and colors together and enjoy being together. 

I want to admit something. During the months of the Covid 19 pandemic, it seems that I've written a lot less in my painter's blog. The reason is that I've felt the way a lot of folks feel, frankly a bit blue. But now, writing my ideas, thinking about people and painting and art in general - all this helps me a lot.  

Well, back to painting. In this post, I'd like to show you three scenes. I didn't paint these scenes en plein air. Rather, I was at some distance from these scenes. The reason has more to do with the weather than anything else; oil paints simply melt when it gets hot, and when the weather cooled down, I was blessed with rain. So, most of the time, I was forced to sketch the scenes I wanted to paint, and then I went one step further; I used pastels to play with the colors I wanted to use. Then, I took a few photos to guide my painting. And finally, I was forced to actually execute the paintings in my studio. 

The painting above is in Philadelphia's Northern Liberty's neighborhood. The woman walking her dog struck me because of her confidence and her stride. And the rest of the scene just seemed to frame her perfectly. In fact, so many lines in the scene just seemed to point to her. The painting just seemed to paint itself. The only element that took patience was the woman's face; it's often a challenge to paint a person's facial features and transmit an emotion when I also want to show that the person is some distance from me. 

This next painting (above) of a man and woman together on 10th Street near Spring Garden Street, not far from my studio, was completed exclusively with a palette knife. If you know my painting, you know that I've worked a lot with a palette knife, actually ever since I used that tool to try to capture the beauty of Normandy's landscapes. One strategy that I disagree with is that some artists try to use a palette knife to create a work they believe looks like it had been painted with a variety of brushes. For me, the two tools produce complete different works, each with its own style. A palette knife forces me to simplify, and for me simplicity has great impact. At the same time, the knife can be used to create a special vitality in the surface of the painting by mixing colors right on the canvas. 

And the third painting is the same scene, only with different people; here are four young women marching together, and their stride seems to show their youthful confidence and energy. 

Thanks for listening. I'd love to hear your comments, if you have the time.