William Kosman - Artiste Peintre

Monday, March 16, 2009

#21: A View of the Lubavitch Community


"Prayer" (detail)

"Prayer" (detail)

"Prayer" (detail)


My Fellow Art Lovers:
First of all, I want to explain why I have been silent for an entire month.
A while ago, I decided I would do a series of paintings representing several different aspects of life in the Lubavitch community. While Philadelphia has a growing Lubavitch community, I decided to spend several days in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Well, I believe everything happens for a reason. I was welcomed into the community with a great deal of warmth and understanding for my art. Because of this, I was able to participate in different aspects of Lubavitch life, and in many cases, take a lot of photographs that I would use - along with my sketches - to paint some of the scenes of my visit.
Apparently, I needed more time to reflect on the meaning of what I had seen. That is the explanation I believe is valid for what happened. One evening, walking with my sister to a reception, I stumbled and fell on an uneven sidewalk next to a construction site. In the process of breaking my fall, I dislocated a finger on my right hand. Even though the emergency physician was able to reset the joint, I did have to wait a while before I could resume painting.

The painting I really wanted to do first was "Prayer." It was the biggest challenge, but it was also one of the most meaningful. I wanted to be able to reflect the belief, devotion and the sincerity of the men attending a small synagogue in Crown Heights. It was a big challenge from many points of view - composition, color, detail, texture. I could bore you about why I made certain decisions, but basically I had to decide how to size and place the figures, and then adapt the colors and style.
Right now, I am working on several other paintings in this series, but I believe the series could expand to five, seven or even more paintings. As I said, everyone was wonderful with me, and I have a lot of ideas and material for more paintings. For the hospitality, help, warmth and encouragement I received, I would like to thank my family and the other members of the Lubavitch community.
The other painting, the small one called "Bouquet," just happened. It was a scene in our living room here in Philadelphia that just hit me as beautiful. I just had to paint it. I did it on a small panel, and the painting just painted itself.
I've learned that my painting is at its best when a painting just happens naturally.
As always, thanks for listening. And, as always, I love to hear from you.
William Kosman