About the artist

Meet the Artist as written for the book, Palette of Dreams
by Editor Tamson Burgess

I am inspired to compel you to stop, look and reflect on the story of life contained in small moments.~ Andrew

Photograph of Andrew Kusmin
Photograph by John Heitla

To capture and convey the story of Artist Andrew Kusmin requires an appreciation of character, an understanding of motivation and conflict, a sense of setting and history and, perhaps most importantly, a respect for the importance of chapters.

His journey has, after all, not followed a direct or expected path. The chronology is all about diversity and decades of braiding his multiple experiences and inspirations together to paint a cohesive and fulfilling walkway that his art invites you to share.

Born and raised in Plymouth, Massachusetts, his was the iconic New England boyhood, full of family, community and youthful adventure in a magical setting by the sea, colored by its own unique set of storms and rocky shores.

I was driven at a young age to always be doing, to change what I saw, to improve what I saw, to test what I saw, to see things not just as they are but as they could be.

And while in retrospect he can recognize the artist germinating within – from the boy who designed school posters to the man who designed homes, gardens and furniture – art was not the first highway he opted to travel. Those early years included college (Bates) and dental school (Tufts), plus a stint in the Navy, then marriage and children and a three decade career in dentistry.

It wasn’t until 1979 that he took his first formal art class – at a community center near his home in Westford, Massachusetts. Initially, he envisioned painting as a means to relieve stress. But under the tutelage of the likes of George Shedd, Corey Staid, Ruth Wynn, and most importantly, Leo Smith – “the mentor who changed my life”– it quickly became far more than a hobby or diversion.

And, thus the transitional chapters began, yet it was 2000 before he took that grand leap of faith, gave up his dental practice and moved back to his childhood hometown to begin life as a full-time professional artist.
Talent, time and training, however, are not unto themselves sufficient, Kusmin notes. The work requires discipline, tenacity and sacrifice.

The universality of human feelings and the mutual pleasure created when audience and artist identify with the subject matter of a painting give meaning and inspiration to my work.

While most art captures a moment in time, Kusmin’s paintings capture time in a moment. His works are not renderings of another image, neither a photograph nor a single encounter. They are the fully fleshed stories of multiple, changing images and impressions, a myriad of memories of a place, the things and people who have graced it. Even in the paintings that do not formally include a human figure, the people are undeniably present – either just now departed or waiting impatiently in the wings.

In the commonality of these shared experiences we elevate subjects to their rightful place, preserving a moment in time when man and his environment interact.

Throughout his career, preserving the past has remained part of Kusmin’s work as well as his art. Over the years, beyond private restoration work, he was integral in the restoration of historic buildings – a community center and a cultural center in Westford. Once back in Plymouth, he jumped headlong into the leadership role in transforming the town’s historic former library into what is now the highly respected Plymouth Center for the Arts.

He also quickly came to understand that, for him, being an artist also meant becoming a teacher. The success and smiles of his students have been his greatest reward, far more valuable, he says, than awards and ribbons, reviews and sales.

I became a competent technician long before I became a communicator, lulled into contentment by the ability to convey realism that impressed people but often expressed nothing. I came to understand that the first issue for students is to determine who they are, why they paint and what they want to say.

And in many ways, teaching provides another means of preserving the best of our past, by paying forward the lessons and inspiration his mentors gifted to him.

His students were in large part the inspiration for this book, though he suspects this is not exactly the volume they expected. While he anticipates that future offerings will address “how” to paint, this one concentrates on what he believes are the far more important questions of what, where, when, who and – most crucially – “why” to paint. And that, he says, should be the first chapter of every “how to” book.

Selected Resume

Kusmin's work has been exhibited nationwide by:

  • The National Watercolor Society
  • The American Watercolor Society
  • Watercolor Art Society–Houston
  • Salmagundi Club National
  • Knickerbocker Arts National and
  • The New England Watercolor Society

He has been the recipient of numerous local and national awards.

Most recent: 

  • 2015 Gold Medal, New England Watercolor Society
  • First in Watercolor, Plymouth Annual Open
  • 2016 Guild of Boston Artists Award for Excellence in Realism

Past national level awards have been presented by such prestigious organizations as:

  • The National Watercolor Society
  • Allied Artists of America
  • Salmagundi Club
  • Audubon Artists
  • Southwestern, Houston and Rhode Island Watercolor Societies
  • Western Federation 

Kusmin's work has been published in:

  • Best of Watercolor Vol.3
  • Watercolor Expressions
  • Splash #3 (1990) and Splash #12 (2012)
  • WGBH 2 Collection
  • Artist’s Magazine
  • American Artist

Kusmin is a Signature Member of:

  • The National Watercolor Society
  • Audubon Artists
  • Allied Artists of America
  • Southwestern Watercolor Society
  • The New England Watercolor Society, where he served four years as president