I am mindful of the difficulties going on in Syria right now – and, as usual, civilians suffer at the hands of one power throb or another. My time in Damascus was always an enjoyment and I met many fine individuals while I wandered freely, even after midnight, along the ancient passages of this beautiful city. Constantly, I marveled how I was free to do something that not even Bashar al-Assad could do – enjoy his city wandering alone!
I had a driver some years ago, who took me around different parts and expounded his knowledge of the place – he was a teacher in his main employment. Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, and according to this fellow, the place where the first human crime took place, in the hills above, when Cain slew Abel. Apparently, Damascus means the “Bloody Way”! I didn’t know that when living in the Appalachian Mountains I travelled to nearby Damascus, Virginia to see if I could find olive skinned remnants of some Syrian immigrants!! I was informed that it was probably named by European Christians, using a Biblical name source for their new community – a bit like many other places here. Little did they know they chose such a blood-curdling title for their peaceful hometown!
I have been late with postings recently, due to reorganizing my website on kosinskistudio.com – time consuming but necessary.
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The above paintings are part of a recent number of commissions executed for clients in Jerusalem. The first one depicts St. George’s Monastery in the valley known as “Wadi Kelt” on an old road from Jerusalem to Jericho. “Steps & Arches” are in early morning shadow as you ascend onto the Temple Mount from one of the internal gates of the Old City.
Catching imagery in low light, whether early morning or evening, is one of my particular interests. The drama at the extremities of the day is very evocative.
This is the last painting of the current series on butterflies. It’s opening a new world of color composition and study of complementary arrangements.
Interesting how the warm colors intensify due to the larger proportion of blues. A little like looking at stars which are more visible at night time than during the day! You can feel the blue hues squeezing the oranges!
I am working with what appears to be my favourite butterfly. This is a study on remarkable patterns juxtaposed against various backgrounds and complementary colors. These paintings are 13″ x 17″ in size and will be displayed ay the Butterfly Festival at Brookgreen Gardens this coming weekend – June 2 – 3.
Continuing with butterflies, we have a mouth-full with the title to this one! I decided on a pretty hard background to emphasize the delicate nature of the little show-off. Perhaps also a result of a few things on my mind, as well.
This my first watercolor of a butterfly which has a given name quite apt for the occasion – Painted Lady. Why it has taken me so long to get to study these incredible creatures in brushstrokes, defeats me! I often watch them and marvel at their flying abilities, so soon after emerging from their chrysalis. Once, I watched two butterflies one following the other about 20 feet behind and copying the exact undulations of an intimate flight plan. That proved to me they had good eye sight and three dimensional orientation as well as the ability to enjoy simple relationships. How uncomplicated.
This painting will be displayed at Brookgreen Gardens Butterfly and Art Festival, June 2 – 3, so if you are in the Murrells Inlet area, do drop by.
This is St. George’s Monastery in Wadi Kelt along an ancient route from Jerusalem to Jericho. It is a lovely example of an organic arrangement of walls, enclosures and spaces serving the function of a Greek Orthodox base for monks over the many centuries since its establishment in the 5th Century.
I remember taking my daughter, Rosie, to this place when she was about five and she got a bit of a surprise with the various mummified monks, some bones and skulls, etc. perched on various shelves. She looked at the paintings and icons and asked about the circles above people’s heads. I tried to find a suitable word to depict ‘sanctification’ and came up with the notion that they were wearing “wows” ! It seemed to translate well enough for her.
The design of the buildings is based on need, circumstance and readily found material near a water supply. Built over many centuries, not to a specific concept, this organic arrangement is known as design by accretion. A very organic expression.
I just completed a commission for a client in Jerusalem – the first in my new studio. A watercolor of the Dome of the Rock, otherwise known as the Mosque of Omar, and entitled “Shadows on Temple Mount – Haram esh-Sharif”.
I must have visited the Temple Mount nearly a hundred times over a nine year period, just to enjoy the peace and quiet in a corner of a bustling city and take in the lovely architecture. The stones complement beautifully against the blue Armenian tile work accenting in various places. The Mosque of Omar looked much better with a lead roof, before someone came up with the idea of making a ‘golden’ dome in pretty crude anodized aluminium in the 1960′s. It was replaced by a better product, utilizing real gold, by a N. Irish company in 1993. I still prefer the lead as much more pleasing to the eye and less ostentatious. I try and subdue it a little in my paintings, almost making it fade into the sky, which is so much in harmony with the color of the tiles, especially.
Adding further interest in the composition is the distinctive pigmentation of the Bougainvillea.
I enjoy commissions. There is an edge to the work through engaging with clients over subjects with which they have a common interest with the artist. Reminds me of the quality time spent in similar relationships as an architect, many years ago.
In the closing phase now – just getting my painting table together and will be back in the throes of a new chapter with new work.
I value this opportunity to be in a new place with new beginnings – the theme for the Brookgreen Gardens show will be Butterflies! So I am considering migrating Monarchs for my next painting. I can so easily identify with migrating tendencies – a lifelong pilgrimage!
Life has its very rude interruptions. Gracie, my very faithful friend, companion on many cross US tours, including short exile to Canada, died by my side this morning. She will be very sorely missed.