Sketchbook #23: Willie Kohler

“Console” 12x 9″ (1923)

What I like about Kohler’s work is that he makes me feel the Age of Exploration (external and internal) is not over. He’s a contemporary and playful Caspar David Friedrich, a Romantic, but not corny, which is hard to pull off. He sees the charm of Date Night at the Met, for example.

Here is how he describes his drawings:
“Drawing for me is a way to continue to refill the well- to collect forms, shapes, images, visual ideas and ways of organizing space. Sometimes the drawings get traced, transformed and combined through the pages of a sketchbook beginning the morphing process that continues when I paint. I usually start painting by drawing freely in charcoal or ink from the drawings that feel like they might have some magic in them. I draw most intensively when traveling and also in museums. Over time I’ve become interested in drawing the people moving through the museums with the art. My favorite time at The Met is late on Friday and Saturday nights which is date night. The crowd is diverse and the people are often dressed up and strangely sculptural. In particular I’m fascinated by people in contemporary dress mingling with art of the antiquities, creating an imaginary time machine on the sketchbook page. I usually elaborate the drawings in ink and/or gouache in the days or weeks after making the initial drawing freeing me from the tyranny of observation and opening the door to play and invention.”



“Washing of the Water” 12″x 8.5″ (2022)


“The Marriage of Heaven and Earth” 12″x 9″ (2022)


“History has no Reality” 12″x9″ (2022)


“All Open Doors” 12″x (” (2023)


“The Questioning Mind” 12″ x 9″ (2022)


“Gather” 12″x 9″(2022)


“Break” 12″x 8.5″ (2022)


“Step” 12″ x 9″ (2023)


“Nomadic Movement” 12″x 9″ (2022)


to see more of Willie Kohler’s work click here