Sunday, August 12, 2018

Red, White, and Passion Painting


Still here, my art-loving friend?

I felt a bit wiped out after one month in vacation in Italy, Spain, and then Portugal.  This was a marvelous gift from a generous brother [all of my siblings are generous], but I get a little off-kilter if I am away from art-making for too long.  While I have been thinking about several unfinished projects, I also get intimidated that I am out of practice and will not have the ability to create what I envision.

To that end, I started a brand new painting yesterday to help get me into the flow.  But I am multi-tasking a bit.  Instead of completing this project before returning to the others, I chose to do another “red and white” painting.  You see, reds, as well as blacks, are slow-drying colors.  My goal yesterday was to layout the design on the wood panel and paint the red and the black sections.  I will allow at least two weeks for those colors to dry, probably longer.  Then I may continue with glazes to develop the form of the red cloth.  I will also be able to paint the white reflective object without having red or black bleed into this clean area.  It will also be easier to paint the marble slab.

This image shows how I started out with my easel next to my still life setup.  This helps me get started to make sure that my canvas [in this case, a ‘gesso-vero’ primed board] is the right proportion for my design.  I started off using the Sight-Size Method of lining up the model with the easel.  Horizontal measurements are easier this way.  It is also convenient because the light for the model is also the light for the canvas.  [The grey scarf suspended from the ceiling is a way to create shadows.  I want the right side of the cloth to be receding into a shadow area.]

However, as the second image shows, I later moved my easel back to my point-of-view position.  This may be more difficult for some artists because you have a lot less light on the canvas.  Adding a light for the easel often changes the light on the models, especially in the shadows and reflected light.  One reason I decided again to do this is because I am trying to move away from my training to paint EXACTLY what I see.  To do that is good training for the eye and hand, but it is terrible training to teach how to DESIGN.  I do not need to make an exact record of the objects I laid out.  I am more interested in exploring shapes [relating them to one another for emotional impact] and hinting at a story for the viewer to create or at least feel.  In this very simple still life, though, I want you to enjoy the textures of three very different objects:  velvet red fabric, porcelain roundness, and the amazing and fragrant passion flowers just off the vine.

Of course, my models will be long dead when I am able to continue this painting [the flower lasts only one day, unless kept cold, which is not possible here].  Thus, I painted as much of the flowers on the white background as I could last night [not realizing that I had a dinner invitation that interrupted my painting for several fun and delicious hours!].   I decided that the red color will be prettier if I get consistency on the bottom layer of color instead of working around jiggy-jaggy flower shapes.  As a side note, once I got all of the black, red, and reinforced white painted in, it became clear that I want to put in something subtle in the upper left background.  But I will wait on this since I have a few ideas.  Often the answer becomes clear as the work progresses.  How one travels the path helps determine later decisions, no?

Happy birthday, Aunt Carole!  

Gratefully yours,
Kelly Borsheim


Monday, May 28, 2018

Hello there! Are you enjoying this time of year? I would like to invite you to my first solo show in Italy. It is in Tuscany: Pescia, to be precise. It is a town famous for its productions of flowers [and greenhouses] and lies between Florence [Firenze] and Lucca. I will be showing a mixture of subjects with some new works never shown before, publicly. Come say a fun hello to father and son team gallery owners, Giovanni and Stefano. Here is the information:
Kelly Borsheim: Un Calderone d'Arte ~ figura, paesaggi e natura morta
[Minestrone was the original title]

Jun 9 – 29, 2018; artist reception: June 9 at 6 p.m. [a Saturday]

Bottega d’arte Salvadori
Via G. Amendola, 89
51017 Pescia, Tuscany, Italy
Hours: Monday through Saturdays, 9:00 – 13:00 and reopens 15:30 – 19:30
https://www.facebook.com/Salvadori-Cornici-Bottega-Darte-93647643255/

Solo show art exhibition Bottega d'arte Salvadori Pescia Tuscany Italy
Outside of booklet

Solo show art exhibition Bottega d'arte Salvadori Pescia Tuscany Italy
Inside of booklet

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Art Workshop in Tuscany



 
Bas-relief sculpture art workshop in Tuscany Italy 2018
One of the sample views of this area, from Castelvecchio in Tuscany

Dear Art Lover,
 
     I occasionally am asked when I will teach another workshop.  And 2018 is the year.  I am pretty happy in what I call paradise and home now.  It took me a while, but now I would like to share some of it with you.  So, I started my research to see what was already available to you so that I could offer something different.

     It seems painting is the thing, especially in plein aire.  And the subject is very well covered in Tuscany, Italy!  I decided that sculpture is too complicated for space, materials, and later shipping your project home.  However, as I was reminded when I broke my wrist this past June, bas-relief sculpture  is not only VERY do-able, but even more than 3-d sculpting, relief really lets your work on your drawing skills, your composition ability, and your story-telling.  Naturally, those are skills also used in painting. 

Bas-relief sculpture art workshop in Tuscany Italy 2018
Detail, The Gates of Paradise:  Florence, Italy
     I have set this for June 8-15, 2018.  Hopefully, we will have fireflies as we have my last two Junes here.  Magical they are!  I will meet you in Florence, Italy, [Firenze, Italia] where we will tour some prime examples of bas-relief sculpture, including seeing the famous Gates of Paradise.  By that evening, we will have moved up into the Medieval village that I call home:  Castelvecchio.  It is one of ten castled stone villages in an area collectively called Valleriana, the hills just north of Pescia.  Pescia lies between Firenze and Lucca, another charming walled city in Tuscany.
     Here is the link if you are curious for details:  http://www.borsheimarts.com/workshop_Bas-ReliefSculptureInTuscanyCastelvecchio2018.htm
     Accommodations here are with families, who let out apartments or small houses.  The prices are affordable and in January I will be posting a few images and prices of a variety of places from which you may choose.  The economy in the mountains seems a constant struggle and I would like to help out as I can.  That means that I will help you secure the place you like the best, but I will not add on any fees and your lodging payments go directly to the homeowner.  We will have a great time in a really pretty area and I will share with you all of the art information that I can, with six hours minimum of studio time each day after our Firenze adventure. 
    So, if you are looking for a last-minute stunning gift idea for the artist in your life, even if that is YOU, perhaps this is the sort of experience that would really make your 2018 and beyond.

Peace, Happy Solstice on Thursday, and enjoy all of this winter’s holiday festivities.
Thank you for being a part of my life.

Kelly Borsheim, artist

Bas-relief sculpture art workshop in Tuscany Italy 2018
One of the beautiful views in Valleriana you will see during the art workshop 2018


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Yoda in the Snow


Snow in Castelvecchio ItalySnow in Castelvecchio Italy
 
Snow in Castelvecchio Italy  Yoda in the Snow
Yoda in Castelvecchio, Italy
Dear Art Lover,

     So, I was up till about 4 a.m. last night, determined to distribute my art newsletter to the subscription list before going to bed.  [Sign up here if you would like to receive this in your e-mail inbox:  http://www.borsheimarts.com/contact.htm ]  My neighbor has told me that if I close the shudders, my house will stay much warmer.  I did not move to be surrounded by trees just to close them off from my view, but recently, I thought to try this.  Thus, when I finally woke this morning, I discovered on Facebook that it was snowing in my village before I had even seen the outside for myself.  Oy!

Snow in Castelvecchio Italy  Azalea in the Snow

     Shortly afterwards I let Yoda, my neighbor’s dog, out of his house, before a neighbor dropped by and whisked me off to her place for an impromptu lunch invite.  But afterwards, I let Yoda out of my house and he and the dogsitter went for a wee bit of a stroll before dark.  Here is a taste of our little winter adventure just outside of Castelvecchio. Sadly, the snow changed to rain as the day went on.  This is my first time seeing snow in Italy.

     Oh, so before I forget, this recent newsletter included a link to a new art workshop I will be teaching in June 2018 in Tuscany.  We will start in Florence, Italy, then move up into this Medieval village.. but no worries… the snow will be gone by June and instead, I hope that we shall see some fireflies!  Here is the link if you are curious:  http://www.borsheimarts.com/workshop_Bas-ReliefSculptureInTuscanyCastelvecchio2018.htm


Peace,
Kelly Borsheim, artist

Snow in Castelvecchio Italy  Snow-Covered Cavalo Nero
No, these are NOT palm trees, but "Cavalo Nero"

Snow in Castelvecchio Italy  Yoda in the Snow

Snow in Castelvecchio Italy  Yoda in the Snow

Snow in Castelvecchio Italy  Yoda in the Snow

Snow in Castelvecchio Italy  Yoda in the Snow

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Olive Juice




Childhood in Casignano - Pastel Art of olive trees in Tuscany

Dear Art Lover,
     If you see my posts on Facebook and now Instagram at times, no doubt you have seen images of my landlord’s scruffy little Terrier [terror?] dog named Gregory.  He is two years old now, and I get to be his babysitter at times.  Yesterday, Gregory got to visit a frantoio, the place where olives are squashed into olive oil, or green gold, as we call it here.  First the olives are filtered to remove as many of the leaves as possible.  That is what is happening in the conveyor belt images you see.  This frantoio is in the process of changing technologies, as many are. The laws are getting stricter and many of the established places using the large crushing stone mills are deemed too dirty to be able to continue.  But here, you will see the old machines in the background.  

Trimming olive trees after the harvest
Trimming olive trees is an ongoing process, even an hour before pressing.

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
Gregory enters il frantoio!
dog in the car on the way to olive pressing into oil
Gregory loves a road trip!




















     I was surprised that they even let me in with Gregory and even though I tried to get as many pics as I could of the dog near the action [just for fun], I was conscious of the gift of everyone sort of turning a blind eye to this.  Although, Italians are accustomed to seeing dogs in places that American stores and businesses would never allow.

     Oh, and the title of this post “Olive Juice” is a play on words that my aunts and mother have used.  Maybe it came from a book or film?  If you say it right, it sounds like “I love you.” 
+++++++++
     This year's olive harvest was low in general due to the drought in the spring and summer.  I did not participate much at all, other than one day cooking lunch for the two Tuscan brothers who work this land near my home [the eldest being my landlord, the youngest is the owner/cook at a local restaurant].  However, for me, hearing them both say that what I cooked was GOOD was pretty rewarding.

     However, in Casignano, outside of Florence, where I used to help with the olive harvest, the family I know there did the harvest without their patriarch, Renato.  He died this summer at the age of 95.  I went to Casignano for the funeral, but did not return for the harvest this year.  My thoughts are with them.  So, here is a pastel painting that I did of Renato’s grandson Marco running down the gentle sloping hill towards some of their olive trees.  I love the freedom in this image and hope that it does something good for you, as well.

Childhood in Casignano - Pastel Art of olive trees in Tuscany

Childhood in Casignano

12 x 18 inches
Pastel on UART
Acid-free Premium sanded paper
© 2017
Kelly Borsheim
$600
Ships unframed, but mounted on foam core, from Austin, Texas.  [Pickup is available, if you like.]
Please contact me if you are interested in this artwork.

Peace and thank you,

Kelly Borsheim, artist

P.S. IF original art, while affordable, is STILL a bit out of your budget, or the piece you adored has sold?  Or do you like arty things in different formats, to surround yourself with art?  Looking for a gift?  See my store online for pillow, phone cases, shower curtains, towels, tote bags, and yes, even prints on metal, wood, canvas, and so much more:

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
This year's harvest was low due to drought
Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
Lovely how people help one another!

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
Neighbor Kathy took this shot of Gregory and me in front of the old crushing stones.

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
Those EARS! 

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
First filter to remove leaves and stems

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
Green olives in foreground are being weighed.

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
Centrifuge

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
Some of the older presses

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
Cool that people get to work on their own oil!
Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
Final filter after centrifuge


Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
Sitting on my lap and watching the final filter

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
Green gold olive oil

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
Gregory, il capo -- the boss :-)

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
They carry this to a nearby location to pour the oil into the owner's containers.

Olive Harvest Tuscany Italy Frantoio pressing olive oil green gold
This expression just amuses me.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Italy Driving School and Costs



Dear Art Lover,
     At this time of year, most of us start looking already to the new year and often, what we would like to improve about our lives.  Well, besides healing, my challenge in the beginning of 2018 will be to take and pass the driving tests in Italy and receive my first Italian driver’s license [patente di guida].   After stopping at the CUP to receive an appointment for my next risonanza magnetica [MRI], I stopped again by the driving school to get current information about the fees and class commitment.

    If the Italian laws and expenses for driving a vehicle do not interest you, please scroll down past this section to look at some art! 

costs of Italian Driving Permit license to drive Italy for Americans

    It used to be that Americans in Italy could legally drive using our American driver’s licenses.  Well, no more.  I am not sure when exactly the law changed, but I believe it has changed since I started coming to Italy in 2004.  I also do not know why it changed, but it could very well be the fault of the US government.  Most countries have reciprocal benefits on things such as that, as the US and Italy used to do.  So, someone here suggested to me that if the US changed its policy allowing Italians to drive in the US with their Italian licenses, the Italian government may have rescinded benefits to Americans in Italy.  I just do not know.  I am more concerned with my reality.

     Now, I do not know the law for an American tourist, and if you plan to visit and want to drive while you are here, it might be worth a 15-minute visit to your local AAA office and buy an International Driving Permit.  No tests, just present a valid license, let them take your photo, and then use it with your regular license while abroad.  Note:  YOU may choose the start date of validity.  The permit lasts for one year.  Oh, and when I lived in Croatia, I met a man from Slovenia who had lived in California for more than ten years.  He said that he found out the hard way that in Europe, the only recognized International Driver’s Permit issued from the USA comes from AAA and no other company.  Also, I have not verified.  I give this to you so that you know what questions to ask that may have never occurred to you.  I never wanted the car life style again, frankly.  I was happy with my bike and legs in Florence.  However, I am far happier living in the hills away from the conveniences of city life, so… it is always something.

So here is the information for at least Americans who want to earn an Italian driver’s license.  Ready?
* You MUST present to the school before starting: 
    -- 3 photographs in the form of the permit [passport size, he said]
    --  1 marca da bollo [a tax in the form of a postage-type stamp you buy in a tobacco shop] 16 euro
    --  1 bolletino  for 26.40 euro   [valid for three months]
    --  2 bollettini for 16 euro EACH
[the bolletini are bills that must be paid at the Post Office with the forms that the man gave me]
    -- Certificate of health from your doctor in Italy [valid for three months – that is optimistic, no?]
THEN:  on a Tuesday at 5 p.m., go to the driving school for an eye exam, presenting all of the documents above [as paid] and your ID card,  30 euro
[It is the eye test that the doctor’s three month expiration date refers to].

costs of Italian Driving Permit license to drive Italy for Americans

costs of Italian Driving Permit license to drive Italy for Americans

costs of Italian Driving Permit license to drive Italy for Americans

     Now, you are eligible to start the school before the exams… here are the rests of the costs:
School is three evenings per week.  You must pay 180 euro to start.  I asked when the classes start and this man said, “when you want!”  I clarified, “but if I start this week and another person starts three weeks from now…. That works?  Yes.  Hmmm.  The good news… you may stop and start the course as much or as little as you need for SIX MONTHS from the paid date.  

     [I am always amazed in Italy how many different answers you get from various employees.  And if you do not keep asking questions (even ones you never thought to ask…why speaking to others in similar boats is always a good idea!), you may never know something important until it is too late.  An example:  The woman I spoke with at the driving school told me that the classes are 3x per week for SIX weeks.  I think that is a very different commitment.]

    Ok, note that one of your bolletini has a three-month expiration date, so if you go beyone three months, you may have to pay another 26 euro… and maybe have a new doctor signed form and eye test for 30 euro.
     Once you feel ready to take the test, you have :
Written theory test :  170 euro
Physical driving test:  160 euro
12 obligatory 30-minutes of driving with instructor at 17 euro EACH  = 204 euro


     So, let us add this up.  If you can pass the exam within the three-month time frame, and not counting any of your expenses GETTING to the driving school [my beef with them last year was that the earliest class starts at 4:30 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m.  There is not enough time to walk from the school to the bus station to get on the very last bus that goes up into the hills [and that bus does not visit all of the ten hill towns in my area].  I asked her that without a license or public transportation, did they expect me to rent a flat in town while working to get this permit?  Not just me, but ANYONE who lives distant… which granted is more likely to be a teenager with a parent who looks a lot like a taxi.  How inconvenient!

The math:
5 euro – three photos
16  - stamp
26.40  - bolletino for three months
16.00  - 2nd bolletino
16.00   - 3rd bolletino
30.00   - eye test [with doc form]
180.00  - signing up [classes]
170.00  - written exam
160.00  - driving exam
204.00  -  12 driving times, 30 minutes at 17.00 each
823.40 euro.. which per xe.com at this writing means $967.67 

[Oh, and this does not include the costs of the textbook(s).  I got mine for free, but that is not usual.  And no, I did not steal it!]

Validity of the license.  Italians cannot get a license until they have 18 years.  So:
Age 18-49:  license valid for 10 years
Age 50-70:  valid 5 years
Age 70-80:  valid 3 years
Age 80+:   valid for 2 years
Price to renew the license [for everyone] = 100 euro
Oh, and this is for the Patente B, the basic one.  

      And I have not even included the rest of the costs of driving.. the car, and the insurance.  Obviously those costs depends a lot of your taste, your needs, and your desires to save or spend.  I can tell you that I bought a 1997 Panda, a standard, small car and one you see often in my area.  I was lucky.  I posted a few questions on Facebook asking for advice on the kind of car a single woman with few mechanic skills could trust to buy.  A friend of a friend that I had only met once or twice tagged me for a car listed on a selling site on FB in our area.  My car had been driven by a woman now 90, but she only drove about 3 kilometers per day!  Tires were in good shape, except for the spare.  I paid 700 euro for the car, cash.  My friend Paolo paid about 450 for the same car, two years younger, but it had a lot more miles on it and he had, I think, traded in his older model [or maybe had to pay to destroy his old one].  I would say, though, that I got an unusually good deal on what I hope is a reliable tool.

     Now, I will share that the title transfer cost either 350 or 380 euro!  Not the system used in the US!  The selling price [or gifting option] is of absolutely NO CONCERN.  The size of the vehicle or perhaps the motor is the only factor.  So, motorcycles and scooters might be the only thing less expensive than my tiny Panda.  Title prices went up on even a car only slightly larger than my baby.  And even though we did this in an office, I also had to pay cash for the title… and then wait a week to receive it in the mail.

     Insurance:  I was told that because this is my first year in Italy, I will have to pay high insurance, just as a teenage boy might.  Originally I received estimates from my landlord’s broker around 1400-1500 for my first year.  The seller of the car also knew an agent and he wanted my business… so he quoted 1300.  Piero, my landlord’s agent, apparently did not want to lose me.  He came out to my home to meet me and speak to me.  Perhaps my desire to drive little, working at home or a nearby quarry on occasion, and my acceptance of having a “black box” installed on my car, he quoted me a price just above 1000 euro.  I had to wait a month and also put the charge on my credit card to postpone the payment for another month, but in the end, I paid just under 1000 euro.. I did not have the courage to ask why.  And I do not know if next year, I will be told that this was my first year with the International Driver’s license and next will be a first year with my Italian license [finger’s crossed, you see], and therefore receive the same price.  Oh, and note, that I always ask for the minimum insurance required by law.  For those of you who want apple-apple comparisons. 

     The last thing I can think of for this riveting topic:  Here the revisione [safety inspection] happens once every two years.  My car’s expires in December this year, so I have not gone through that process yet.  My new mechanic offers to look over a car and take it to inspection himself for 100 euro plus any part expenses.  But I think if you do it yourself, the inspection is 67 euro.

Oh, and benzina, the fuel, is currently 1.49 euro per LITRE! 1.52 if you hit the other stations.  But did I mention the cute Italian who pumps my gas [no, not a euphemism].

+++++++++
     Because this is an art blog, I would like to share with you the only artwork I think that I have done with wheels in it [other than the collaboration I created with Simon Steele and Darryl Pottorf in Darryl’s studio back in 2011].  To be honest, I do not know much about this Confederate Hellcat motorcycle.  It belongs to the model and is his baby.  ‘Nice lines’ is as far as I understood about it.  Oh, that, and it is a limited edition model, if memory serves.  

     The stone arch is one at of those at the famous Pitti Palace in Florence.  I passed it every night on my way home when I lived in the Santo Spirito neighborhood several years ago.  Stone, metal, and flesh:  Nice, huh?  If I may say so :-)

Detail images are found here:
Please contact me if you are interested in this artwork.

Confederate Hellcat Motorcycle stone arch Pitti Palace Nude Male Model

"Hellcat at the Pitti"

18" x 25"
charcoal with pastel
Magnani Vergata 160 gr
(handmade Italian paper)
© 2010 Kelly Borsheim
$2,200
[Framed with offset white mat, black wood frame, & Museum Glass]
[Order Giclée on paper
(Example: 24" long dimension giclée costs $275. Smaller sizes available.]

Be safe out on the roads, especially this holiday weekend, for those celebrating the American Thanksgiving.
Peace and thank you,

Kelly Borsheim, artist

P.S. IF original art, while affordable, is STILL a bit out of your budget, or the piece you adored has sold?  Or do you like arty things in different formats, to surround yourself with art?  Looking for a gift?  See my store online for pillow, phone cases, shower curtains, towels, tote bags, and yes, even prints on metal, wood, canvas, and so much more: