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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
It may seem risky for a dentist to trade in his three decades of work in the field for a painting career, but that is exactly what award-winning watercolor artist Andrew Kusmin did. At his presentation at the Walpole Public Library on May 2, Kusmin affirmed to the audience that painting is what he is meant to do.
Kusmin told the audience that artists must make a statement and that it is crucial for artists to produce an atmosphere or story with their painting. With dozens of paintings and prints of works he has done on display for the audience, Kusmin discussed his motivation to begin painting and told some of the stories that accompany his pieces. He also brought his recently published book, “Palette of Dreams,” with him to speak about.
“It was written with the idea of talking to people who might appreciate art and wonder what goes on in an artist’s head,” he said of his book. “I can only tell you for sure about one artist, but I have taught for a long time now – I’ve been teaching for 27 years – and I find that more people who are artists, want to talk beyond their work.”
Kusmin did talk beyond his work, mentioning the many artists he admired and worked under, giving his thoughts on why judges choose the paintings they do to award, and speaking briefly about his family and career in dentistry.
The audience, many of them being artists themselves, was very curious about Kusmin’s watercolors, though.
He showed the audience a variety of his watercolor paintings, including one called “Birds and Buoys,” which features the exterior of a fisherman’s home, with colorful buoys hanging on the house’s cedar shingles. However, what Kusmin revealed he was truly interested in painting was the window and the knick-knacks behind the panes of glass.
After being told that one can only paint or draw something well after doing it a hundred times, Kusmin decided to take a different approach to his work.
“Instead of doing a hundred paintings, anything I liked, I put at least 25 in the paintings,” he said, holding up a painting of hundreds of paintbrushes in an art store.
He also showed the audience a painting of a rickety wooden roller coaster, which he titled “Cardiac Arrest.” Although he claims that it would be impossible for the coaster to stand because the beams he drew are not copied from any sort of picture, it wowed the audience anyway.
“The hardest thing in a painting is to know when the last stroke is done,” Kusmin said.
But as the audience viewed his paintings, they assured Kusmin that his work was absolutely perfect.