William Kosman - Artiste Peintre

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Shows on Return from France

Fellow Art Lovers:

I am back from France with a lot to tell you.

First of all, I want to apologize for my silence for so long. I was in France for almost three months, and I guess I should have kept in touch, but my time spent in France was - most important - wonderful, and also very useful. Yes, there were all of the pleasures of family, friends, fun and food. Just as a side note, I want to tell you that the more time I spend in France, the more artists I meet. This past summer was great from that point of view. I believe that artists can be very supportive of each others' efforts. Here in Philadelphia, I'm constantly struck by the fact that painters help each other with really useful input and concrete advice about technical questions and new opportunities. My experience is the same in Normandy, where I've exchanged tips with a growing number of artists. In addition, the one larger city near Saint Aubnin-sur-Mer, where we spend summers, is Caen. And there I have been meeting more and more gallery owners. When one gallery owner told me galleries have a hard time getting people to visit galleries in his neck of the woods, I suggested "First Friday," and he hit the roof.

Now Painting. Because I did spent a lot of time painting, and I produced quite a lot of work. I don't know if I have ever shared this with you, but when I'm in the middle of a field, or on the side of a road, and I'm painting, frankly, I feel very good. If my painting is going well, I feel a rush of positive hormones, and each stroke of my palette knife feels better than the last.

This past summer, I did a lot of small paintings, many of them only 5 inches by 7 inches. This is a great exercise, because the painting either works right away, or you know that you can't fix it. But there is nothing like painting a very large canvas, at least for me. The first two paintings you see above are pretty large, maybe about 2-1/2 feet by 3 feet. On a highway near Saint Aubin, actually between two villages by the names of Tailleville and Reviers, there is a row of trees between a wheat field and another field, where I believe the farmer grew lettuce. I have driven past that row of trees many, many times, and one day I got an idea on how I wanted to paint it. I wanted to show the trees in full sunlight during the day, and also in the very early morning, just when the day breaks.

This summer was special for a strange reason. I have never seen so many bright, red poppies, which are called "coquelicots" in French. They just seemed to be everywhere, along the sides of roads, bordering fields of wheat and other crops and actually growing within the stands of crops. And, in some cases, there were actually entire fields filled with the bright, red flowers. Well, I painted a lot of them, frankly because they are just inherently beautiful. If you look at the field of "coquelicots" in the second to last painting above, you should know that I had a strange experience while painting it. And, exceptionally, I broke one of my most important rules, that is, to always paint at the site of my work. But this time, while was painting in a field, about 25 or so cows started gathering at the edge of a field maybe only 50 feet from me. As I painted, they actually seemed to be watching me, and then they started shuffling around and mooing more and more loudly. When they seemed to be pushing against the single wire that kept them in their field, I had images of a herd of cows pushing toward me. Well, you are now listening to someone who was not willing to endure danger for his art. I gathered up my stuff and got out of there.

One important thing happened while I was painting. It happens when I feel free and at peace with myself and I have no negative thoughts in my mind. Sometimes I felt this power while I painted. Each stroke of the palette knife just felt right, and I felt more and more confident and pleased with what I was doing. I those cases, I just followed my heart and waited to see what my instincts or artistic power or whatever it was produced.

Now the good news. Because of what I produced, I am having two parallel shows here in Philadelphia. I think that the people who invited me to exhibit at these venues are wonderful for giving me these opportunities. One show officially starts tomorrow, Friday Sept. 24, at the Show of Hands gallery, at 1006 Pine St, here in Philadelphia. This show is entitled "The Lights of Normandy," and the two paintings of the line of trees will be featured. There is going to be a reception this Sunday, Sept. 26, from 3 pm to 5 pm. This show will run until Nov. 7. If you have any questions, you can call the gallery at 215-592-4010.

The other show is at the Alliance Francaise of Philadelphia, at 1420 Walnut St., in Philadelphia, of course. This show is entitled "La Saison des Coquelicots," and it will feature numerous paintings, of course including those above, of the bright, red poppies. This show starts Oct. 1, a Friday, and a reception will be held at 5 pm on that day. You can get more information from www.afphila.com or 215-735-5283.

One more note. I will be participating in Philadelphia Open Studio Tours on Oct. 9 and 10. This is going to be important for me. I am planning a special event on the 9th, the Saturday, at my studio, which is studio # 407, at 915 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia 19123. I don't want to talk about it any more for now, but I will let you know what it is before the event, in case you want to stop by, which I sincerely hope many of you can, if you are interested.

Thanks for listening to me, and thanks for your continued interest and support.


William Kosman