William Kocher

Landscape Painting and the Value of Staying Put, with William Kocher

William Kocher


What does it look like to stay put and get to know a location inside and out? What insights and lessons can you learn from this helpful discipline? How does staying in one location impact your growth as an artist? It was my privilege to explore these questions and a lot more in my conversation with artist, William Kocher. We also touched on how William got his start as an artist, why it’s important to connect with a community of artists, what colors William enjoys using, why we need art as a society, and so much more. I know artists like you will enjoy learning from William’s interesting journey and unique perspective!

Why it’s helpful to connect with a community of artists.

Have you had the chance to connect with a community of artists? What value have you found in spending time with people who share your profession? In my personal experience, connecting either in person or online with a community of artists has helped me in countless ways! Artist William Kocher says that making similar connections with artists in the Cape Cod area had a huge positive impact on his growth and creativity. Whether you can find one and plug in right away or if you have to create one yourself, I highly encourage even the most introverted artists to take the risk to go out there find a group you can contribute to.

Studying the landscape.

Many artists love to be constantly on the go looking for new and exciting places, people, or objects to inspire their creativity. Does that sound like you or do you find yourself of the more stationary variety? It was refreshing to hear from an artist like William Kocher who seemed less interested in finding new locations to spark his creativity as he was more concerned with getting to know a particular place inside and out. For William, that place is his family’s farm near Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Due to his relentless study of the farm, William knows which trees the birds perch in, how the sunlight falls at just the right time of day, and so many additional hidden secrets and gems revealed only to the most astute observer. How does William’s approach strike you?

Why we need art.

As our society continues to evolve there are some who question why we need art in schools, public spaces, and sometimes as a profession altogether. How do you respond to these questions? Are you able to engage or do you feel your blood pressure start to rise because you find it insane that people question the value of art? I love the way that William Kocher puts it, he says that “Art elevates life, it is a vital form of communication.” I completely agree! Especially in our society today, we must continue the work to emphasize the value and beauty that art brings to our culture in a myriad of ways.

Art doesn’t have to be complicated to have value.

Do you struggle with finding depth in your art? Are you ever intimidated by artists who have all these wonderfully complex and philosophical motivations and messages in their artwork? What if that’s just not you? Is that ok? The truth is, art doesn’t have to be complex to have value! I was thrilled to hear a similar message from William Kocher in our conversation. He encourages artists like you to avoid stressing out about the complexity of your artwork if that doesn’t “fit” your approach. Find your voice, tap into your creative energy and just make something beautiful!

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:45] I introduce my guest, William Kocher.
  • [3:25] What led William to a career in art?
  • [8:30] Why it’s so important to connect with an art community.
  • [10:30] William talks about painting outdoors for the first time.
  • [12:30] Enjoying the opportunity to get away to paint.
  • [16:15] What colors does William use on a regular basis?
  • [18:00] How does William start his paintings?
  • [21:20] Choosing motifs and painting on the family farm.
  • [26:15] What is William challenged by? What is William proud of?
  • [30:00] You need a little arrogance to be an artist.
  • [32:20] Why do we need art?
  • [36:30] What is William’s dream project? Is there artwork William wouldn’t sell?
  • [37:30] How Hans Hofmann’s work has impacted William.
  • [40:15] Advice that William has for fellow artists.
  • [42:00] Is a more complicated approach to painting necessary?

Other artists mentioned on this episode

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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