William Kosman - Artiste Peintre

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

# 30, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, paintings at Society Hill Synagogue, Philadelphia

Watch Me Jump


Break of Day

Fellow Art Lovers:

Yes, the series of paintings I did of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, will be exhibited together. Starting Nov. 4, 2011, all seven paintings – along with a smaller painting of a Hasidic wedding in Toronto, Canada, and a landscape from Normandy, France – will be shown at the Society Hill Synagogue (418 Spruce St., Philadelphia, 19106) until Nov. 29, 2011.

That means, the people who have visited my studio and wanted to make purchases of the paintings in the series can now make individual purchases of the paintings. In addition to the paintings, I am making giclee reproductions also available. And, you should know that a good part of the purchase prices will go to the synagogue.

So, we can turn to some of the basic questions. Like, why did I want to do the paintings in the first place. I’ve thought about this a lot.

Of course, I’m a painter, so you can think of me as you would a hammer. For a hammer, everything looks like a nail. For a painter, everything looks like a painting.

It’s just that, on one particular visit to Crown Heights, everything looked beautiful: The people facing life with smiles, the human scenes, the devotion, the sincerity, the neighborhoods, the streets with the winter sun filtering through the trees, the crisp air of winter, all of it.

I’ve been visiting Crown Heights for a long time. I have relatives who are part of the Lubavitch community there. As always, members of that community and others were wonderful to me and my family , and during this visit , which was about two years ago, they were especially warm, helpful and supportive.

The paintings took months to complete. Surprisingly, the largest paintings (Two of them are about four feet by four feet.) may have taken even less time than some of the smaller ones. I think it’s always the same: If I feel at peace and I am not thinking about the complications of life, I work very fast, especially if I love the subject matter I am painting. I’m sure this is the same for most artists. Some paintings, like “Break of Day” and “The Fishmonger,” almost painted themselves, because they seemed so natural.

I believe I can say with only some measure of exaggeration that a painting can be compared to a child. Like with a child, you work, you give advice and you try to guide in the right way. Under the best of circumstances, at some point the painting – or the child – finds its own way, and you can feel a lot of positive vibes as the painting takes over. Some times, the early life is troubled, and you try to fix problems and repair mistakes, but – once off the path – it’s very hard to pull the work to a strong, positive conclusion. I think you get the idea.

When the Society Hill Synagogue expressed interest in my work, I was thrilled. I want to thank Rabbi Avi Winokur, Executive Director Betty van de Rijn, and the synagogue’s arts curator, Fran Gallun, for their support. Fran’s role included planning all the way to actually rolling up her sleeves to help hang the paintings.

For those of you who want to view the exhibit, you should know that the synagogue is open on weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm and on weekends from 9 am to 12 noon, but you may have to telephone the synagogue at 215-922-6590 to enter. The synagogue’s website is www.societyhillsynagogue.org

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at billkosman@gmail.com or at 215-280-9580.

I hope you are able to visit the exhibit.

Thanks for your time.


William Kosman

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