William Kosman - Artiste Peintre

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

# 30 - Faces - Studies in Human Emotion

"Street Scene"

"Lounge Singer"

Fellow Art Lovers:

Over the several years that I’ve written this blog, you’ve seen a lot of my paintings of people and – of course – human faces. I know that it goes without saying, largely because it’s the subject matter of so much art, including painting, photography and sculpture, but the human face is the richest subject any artist can attempt to represent. The reasons have been written about and talked about for centuries, and here I’m not making any kind of great discovery. The human faces is not only an object of beauty, in beauty’s largest sense, but it’s also an object of so much emotion, tension, pleasure, variety, character, discovery, complexity, and so much more. Do you believe you can see a person’s entire life in his or her face?

The few times I’ve really succeeded in capturing just a bit of that complexity and emotion and character, I’ve walked on clouds for a few days. The very act of feeling success, from the very beginning, is exhilarating – every brush stroke feels right, every touch moves you closer to that moment, every phase of the painting gives you a feeling of power. A painter’s high. When you feel you’re failing, my gosh you really feel you are failing. But, when you discover the misconception you’re allowed yourself to follow, when you can see your mistakes and fix them, maybe that’s an even higher high.

The entire face is important, but I believe that the greatest subtleties are expressed by the eyes and the mouth. In these cases, just a few dabs of paint, just a thicker or thinner line, just a shade that’s slightly off – all of these things can have such an impact in expressing what the viewer feels.

Why am I going on about this stuff?

Because I’m going to rededicate myself to the human face, to portraits. In the coming months, I’m going to paint as many people and their faces as humanly possible. Sure, I will accept commissions. But I will also beg people to sit or stand or lean for me. To be painted and to be photographed. Yes, painting the real person is best, but sometimes photography can really make the whole enterprise not only easier but also possible and better.

And when I say I want to paint people, I’m talking about all kinds of people – all ages, genders, from all groups of every type. It’s the character and emotion that I’m looking for.

Above, I’m showing you two paintings that I’m working on. I’d love to get your input on these paintings. And, if you’re able to come into my studio during Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, during the weekend of Oct. 15 and 16, from noon to 5 pm, I’d love to tell you the stories behind the paintings, and I hope I can show you the completed paintings.

Thank you for your time, and I hope to see you at Studio # 407, 915 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123.


William Kosman

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