William Kosman - Artiste Peintre

Saturday, July 28, 2018

# 88 - Getting Going in Normandy

                           "Morning Light at Douvres"

Fellow Art Lovers:

It's always the same story. If I haven't lifted a brush or palette knife for a while, my first attempts are sure to be clumsy. Well, recently I got tied up - in some great travel and some administration. So, sure enough - back at my easel - it took a while to find my groove, or anything close to it.

Here are some examples of my latest works here in Normandy. And that long text?

Well, a while ago a friend who puts on gatherings to discuss important ideas asked me to write something about art. I decided to write about some of my personal struggles, and that text seemed to apply to what I've been going through lately.


                             "The Sailing Club at Saint Aubin-Sur-Mer"


The Other Side of Art 

By William Kosman 

When most people think about art, they take the approach of thinking about it as a viewer or spectator of art. Art is something to experience and enjoy. That is, they are touched by the emotion they feel when they look at a fine painting or when they read a novel or when they watch a powerful movie. They are thrilled by the beauty and skill of dancers when they view a ballet. Or they can feel music within their mind or in the beating of their heart when they are swept up by the power of an orchestra or the tenderness of a violin or the singing of a human voice.  

But there’s, of course, another side, the side of the creator of the art in its many forms. Why does the creator create the art? And how does he or she go about it? 

I feel qualified to discuss this subject, because I’ve created several forms of art, and I’ve gone through the process of completing works of these disciplines. I’m a painter; I’ve painted most of my life, and ever since I declared myself a professional painter, I’ve spent long hours in front of my easel, or thinking and writing about my work and art. I’m a writer. As a former journalist and marketing executive, and also a writer of novels, I have a constant monologue running through my mind of the ideas I want to express. And I’ve written and produced three rap videos, which I like to think are more poetry than hard rap. From all of this, I believe I have valid ideas to express. 

                                    "The Beach at Saint Aubin-Sur-Mer"

We, as human beings, need some form of ego input. Yes, we all know that the universe is infinite, and our existence is less important than a grain of sand on a beach (Thank you to the French singer Michel Fugain.), and our time on this bit of dust called the earth is nothing when compared to the billions of years the universe has existed and will exist into the future. Still, most of us want to feel some bit of importance. We want the admiration of those around us. We want recognition or validation for what we are and what we create. 

Why? I can’t give you an answer. Is it some animal need to prove that we are superior to the other human beings who scratch out their existence on this bit of mud whirling through the universe? Or is it sexual, so that – through our art - we can impress or conquer potential mates? Or is it an intellectual pursuit, and we view it as a learning experience we go through to elevate ourselves up several notches to reach true human potential? 

I don’t know. But I’ve read and thought and written about this a lot. All I know is that when I want to create something – a painting, a novel or a rap video, anything – I become obsessed by it, and I can’t rest until it is completed, and even beyond. No matter what I’m doing, I’m constantly asking myself, is this the best I can do? Have I pushed the limit, gone so far so that I will touch people’s emotions, express my ideas, shock my audience into taking my work seriously. Until I have no doubt that the work is the best it can be.

                                            "The Seulles River at Amblie" 

It is this obsession that has forced me, when I had viral hepatitis long ago and was lying on my back in bed, to create a novel and memorize portions of it. Until I could write them down in several notebooks. To work all day to earn a living, and then late a night, scribble sentences in notebooks on a plank of wood on moving cartons in the basement of our home. To paint portraits over numerous times until the subject’s features express the emotions I want to capture. To stumble through my Mac’s imovie program until my rap videos expressed an idea and wouldn’t be a total embarrassment. 

While I stumble around or keep pushing myself to create something, what is the process? Here is where the true magic comes in, and here is where we can draw a few drops of optimism about human beings from this jungle on earth.  I believe that every human being, if he or she really wants to and his or her circumstances in life allow it, has the capacity for true creativity. That power is in us all, if we can open our souls and delve deep into ourselves. It is there, if we keep trying and working and butting our head against that brick wall of difficulty. 

                                           "The Mue River Crossing Reviers" 

For me, I believe that that power is in my subconscious, more than in my conscious mind. In writing a novel, I just keep trying, even when I see that the words and the phrasing are clumsy. In painting, I keep thinking how I can get my brush or palette knife to produce certain surfaces or certain forms and colors, even when the clumsy strokes on the canvas cry out amateur.  And then, at some point, the dam is broken, and my hand or fingers move on their own, and the right words or the right strokes of a brush or palette knife appear, and I take confidence, and the right gestures and the right ideas flow, and I feel the emotion, and I produce a small part of a valid work. Until I hit another brick wall, and I have to keep banging my head against it, until the magic takes over again. 

And here, in writing this text, I think I have learned something, for I have an explanation that was within me, but I was not ready to articulate it.  In so many ways, the act of creation is the proof that we – all human beings – have this creative power in us, and when we can produce something – a work of art – we prove that we human beings are capable of inching up and reaching ever higher levels to show we possess the finest and most sensitive nature of human beings. And I hope that is why I feel driven.     


Thanks for listening.