In October, I viewed a documentary about an a creature that has held my fascination for years. A Murder of Crows described the common crow as “one of the most intelligent, playful and mischievous species on the planet.”
After learning that the crow can fashion tools and recognize faces, I became even more enamored with this species.
However, I do not anthropomorphize them into smart and sinister bad boys of the bird world. I am not sure exactly why my head always turns when I hear a caw, or see a piece of art that features the crow. Somehow, they have come to represent certain aspects of myself~ I am curious how they act, and in what way others present them.
My friend Deb recently introduced me to the work of Craig Kosak. Oh my . . . if you are a member of the crow fan club, Kosak’s work is going to cause your feathers to tremble. Technically, he paints the raven. However, articles with titles such as How to Tell Differences Between Crows and Ravens make it clear that I am not the only one who usually treats them as one species. And, indeed, the Corvus genus includes both.
Western Art Collector Magazine, in its May 2008 issue, has an article entitled Instinct and Insight, where it reveals the astonishing fact that it was only in 2008 that Kosak had his first solo show, by the same name. The show featured 21 oil paintings, which helped Kosak delve into “who he really is” in a way that he considers “better than any therapy.”
Southwest Art featured Raven and Buffalo 7 on its January 2008 cover and dubbed him, inside, as an artist to watch in 2008.
Many things draw me to Kosak’s work, including the following:
1–Those crows (ravens), which are so alive and gracefully posed/poised.
2–The luscious backgrounds, which look deceptively simple at first glance, but carry so many subtle details, including symbols and a rich layering of color. I can’t stop staring at the color permutations of the fence the crow is perched on, in the painting below, or that luminous flower.
Kosak divulges that he uses “lots of glazing and areas of solid color.”
I’ll take five, six, or seven passes at each area of the painting because I want the colors to glow. I do alternative layers of opaque and transparent color. It’s a continual process.
Craig Kosak is inspired by the wildlife and landscapes he encounters while traveling and returns to his studio full of experiences to be expressed in his work. Rather than faithfully documenting the flora and fauna, he strives to capture his feelings, insights and emotions from these personal sojourns. Each trip consists of both a journey through the outer world, and an inner journey where he learns more about his own humanity, his spirit, and the world inside. His paintings are about both worlds and how they relate to each other.
Finding that emotional connection to your subject matter is absolutely necessary for an artist to stay inspired long enough to do the work. But does it translate to your viewers?
For this viewer, Craig, I would definitely offer an enthusiastic “Yes!”