November 2012

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play in your free time A Familiar Sensation Steve Kozar maintains his signature artistic statement By Karin Wolf Steve Kozar's watercolor paintings of pastoral landscapes and iconic buildings have been a hit at Wisconsin art fairs for years. Kozar, who has been painting for more than two decades, used to sell his work primarily through galleries, but in 2004, he rented a booth on a whim and shared his art with new audi- ences at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Art Fair on the Square. It was a huge success. The themes of his paintings often feel familiar, but to Kozar, they are less about a specific landmark than about his desire to say something artistically important—striving for a balance somewhere between simple nostalgia and pure abstraction. You have received many awards over the years, but what about your work do you think appealed to the readers of BRAVA when they voted you their favorite artist? Chicks dig me. [Mutual laughter] It's true that women like my work. I respond emotionally to a landscape and I communicate that feeling, so maybe they are connecting to the emotionally appealing elements of my work: the big sky, the feeling of space, of land, and of tranquility. You have been an artist for a couple of decades. What are you including in your recent work that you overlooked as a younger artist? For about a year now, I've been asking myself the question, 'If I didn't have to sell this painting, if I was just making a painting for myself, what would I paint?' What about a particular place makes you want to paint it? I keep asking myself that question. I think it starts with the light, an hour or two from sunrise or sunset, when the shadows are long and there is some real drama. I try to imagine, 'If this were just shapes and colors would it still be interesting?' Textures. Designs. Colors. Reflections. Old buildings. I want to create an illusion that draws the viewer in. What is on your "to paint" bucket list? I feel like 90 percent of my career hasn't happened yet. I've just scratched the surface. I need to live to be 120 because I have many more paintings to make! Last night I was in the right place at the right time when the sun was going down. I want to paint that scene. Last year my wife and I were in Portage during a miserably cold and rainy day, and I still have a couple of scenes from that weekend I want to paint. I don't know how I'm going to paint them, but I have to. For more information on Kozar's work and classes held in his McFarland studio, visit ••• WINNER READERS' CHOICE LOCAL ARTIST Steve Kozar Runners Up: Rob Schultz Lee Weis WINNER READERS' CHOICE READERS' CHOIC Book Club: Staff picks from BRAVA readers' favorite bookstore, Frugal Muse Nemesis By Jo Nesbø Infuse some mystery into your read- ing list with this gripping Scandina- vian thriller. Follow detective Harry Hole as he tries to piece together two parallel mysteries: a baffling bank robbery and the inexplicable death of his ex-girlfriend. Published by Harper, $8 The World Without Us By Alan Weisman What would become of the world if humans were to suddenly disappear? In this well-researched narrative, Weisman speculates an ominous fate for mankind's creations, from flooded subway tunnels to cities overrun with wild beasts. Published by Picador, $10 Embassytown By China Mieville This futuristic tale set in space transports the reader to an other- worldly realm. Mieville explores what it means to be human in the context of alien relationships and intergalactic war. Published by Del Rey, $12 Booked for Murder is located at 2701 University Ave., Madison; 72 BRAVA Magazine November 2012 Photo by Amber Arnold

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