Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Santa Fortunata Sorrento Italia

Dear Art Lover,

     I left Florence, Italy, with a large wide, but narrow box containing nine paintings (three on wood panels), surrounded by clothes and black squid-ink spaghetti for my family.  My backpack had all of my electronic gadgets that I needed for work in the US and a big pad of paper with two boxes of pastels.  That was my idea of traveling light for my flight.  In addition, I had an extra bag with food and random things that I anticipated using up during my last couple of days in Italia for a while.  After a train ride to Napoli (Naples) and catching the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento, I knew that I was not having a good time.

     A man running a luggage storage facility at the station in Sorrento saved me.  I delighted when he told me that there was indeed a Mailboxes, Etc. nearby.  He charged me only five euro to store my box of art at the station overnight.  Feeling much lighter, I walked around in the rain to buy bus tickets to go to the campground, Santa Fortunata.  This second image is right outside of the station just before a 30-minute thunder and lightning storm passed over us.

     The SantaFortunata is a campground that also has cabins supplied with linens.  Mine was in a lovely location up a dirt path with a good view of the distant volcano Vesuvius.  I was thrilled with myself for leaving that awkward and heavy box behind!  A nearby restaurant provided a light dinner for takeout as I settled in for some computer work, creating images and files for art shipping.  Soon, I was deep asleep in this lovely haven.

     The next morning the birds were singing.  I took the bus back into downtown Sorrento carrying an empty backpack.  The guys at Mailboxes Etc. went with me to pick up my art box and allowed me to remove most of the stuff that surrounded the art.  They had to repackage it all anyway and also verify that I was shipping what I claimed to be shipping.  They copied my new digital files for the Customs paperwork that allows art to leave Italia.  Everything went well.  I then met a man named Giovanni de Liso selling luggage who also created nice Italian scenic paintings.  We had a wonderful chat after I purchased a small suitcase and he gave me advice on good local places to eat. 

     Around town are several bronze sculptures by Arnaldo Pomodoro.  He is quite famous with a bronze sphere with similar geometric shapes emerging from it as one of the sculptures at the Vatican Museum.  They are all well cared for and the patina seems new to me.  This is impressive, especially for a coastal town.   
     In the afternoon I headed back to Santa Fortunata and brought my computer down to the beach at the bottom of their cliffs.  It was so relaxing to make “my office” at the edge of the sea.  It was so good to swim again and then work beside the music of the waves.

    It was the pattern during my visit for an evening storm to roll-in.  It was so exciting to be there with the wind whipping around and the rain hitting my metal roof.  The morning after was clear and gorgeous.  I would recommend this place as a great home base for visiting the areas around Vesuvius, such as Pompei (Pompeii in English) and Ercolano (Herculaneum in English).

Tanti auguri di buon compleanno, carissima Susanna! 


~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mitoraj Sculpture in Pietrasanta

Dear Art Lover,
     In my search for a permanent studio and also a home, I have been back to Pietrasanta, Italy, “land of the stone carvers.”  Sadly, I found a couple of studios that I liked, but I still have yet to find a home.  It has been hard to commit to one without having the other since my art and my life are so closely connected.

Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy
      In any event, my more recent visit to Pietrasanta gave me a surprise:  Many works by the recently late Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj (March 26, 1944 – October 6, 2014) grace the Piazza del Duomo in Pietrasanta!  I like his work, the way over life-size big bronze sculpture being impressive in and of itself, but sometimes I find myself leaving a bit depressed.  His figures are idealized, or perhaps imitations of idealized figures, such as were made by the Greeks.  They are beautiful and no doubt well made, but I am not sure of which emotion he hopes to elicit from me.

     Walking amongst the larger-than-life figures (as was the great experience in the main piazza of Pietrasanta) tends to make me feel small, as if I am nothing meandering in a sea of a dead ancient civilization.  These are all relics and I find myself feeling a sense of loss, but I am not sure of what?  But I also find myself a bit curious:  Who were they?  Why do they find themselves in pieces and lying around, seemingly unwanted?  Why does Mitoraj like the squares, some empty, others, as show here, with a face inside.  I can think of many interpretations, as I am sure that you can.  So, the art works in the end because it does help us ponder, and each viewer takes from it what he wishes.

Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy
Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy
Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy


Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy

Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy Bronze Sculpture
Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy bronze
internal textures

     That said, this cracking clay series intrigues me.  I tend to like the beauty in destruction at whatever speed.  I have taken some close-up shots so that you may see his mark-making in the clay, the armature (supporting framework, in this case, metal), and how the sun is drying out this clay and causing it to give Mitoraj’s signature cracking.  His work “Passo Segreto” is shown here.

     I find this process fascinating.  I would like to know more about it actually.  Not only because the artist Mitoraj died last October and thus, I wonder if these creations are done by others, but to his specs, or even whether this is not actually clay that is drying out in the piazza, but is in fact, BRONZES made to look like cracking clay.  But I suspect the former. 

     Mud tends to crack in patterns.  Fractals are the mathematical term for the lines/designs of these shapes.  You may see some of the dramatic patterns here.  I am curious how much is totally natural and how much is altered by the armature underneath.  I also took a shot of the underside so that you may see this armature.  I saw Mitoraj’s work in several other places and he occasionally makes a sculpture that seems intended to be displayed against a wall.  Or, he enjoys showing “his undies.”

     This exhibition titled “Mito e Musica” [Myth and Music] in Pietrasanta continues through 30 August.



~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher

Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy

Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy

Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy

Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy
Cracking Clay (sculpture detail)

Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy
close-up of eye & socket Mitoraj sculpture

Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy metal armature
Metal armature on the back/inside of the giant face sculpture

Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy

Igor Mitoraj Sculpture Exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy

Friday, May 22, 2015

We're Off to See the [Bronze] Wizard!

Dear Art Lover,

     I am actually trying to meet a painting deadline before I must pack up all of my things, leave my flat, and prepare for the next stage of the adventure.  So, please forgive my lack of posting… I have lots more of Italia that I want to show you.  However, for now, please enjoy a few snapshots I took when I went to visit my new friend Camila on her last day (this trip) in Firenze.

     They had some sort of festival going on May 8, so the Loggia in Piazza della Signoria and also the statue of Neptune were lit up with colors.  Plus we experienced another gorgeous sky that evening.

Florence, Italy  Lights Natural and Real

Florence, Italy  Lights Natural and Real

Florence, Italy  Lights Natural and Real

Florence, Italy  Lights Natural and Real

Florence, Italy  Lights Natural and Real

Kickstarter campaign update for “Casting Call:  I’m Melting!  Melting!  . . . Into Bronze.”

     I am delighted to announce that most of my wax sculptures have now safely made it to the bronze casting foundry in Texas so the work can be started! [My part in the wax work had already been done.]

This is all due to the generosity of time and driving by John Borsheim and fellow sculptor Marla Ripperda, people I have known and loved for decades. John packed up the sculptures and brought them to Austin, met with Marla, and Marla took them to the foundry a couple of hours away. I feel very grateful for their help since it has turned out that my travels around the US once I leave Italy in a couple of weeks make it so that I will not arrive in central Texas until mid-late July.

     YAY! You have made the casting commence! Thank you so much!



P.S. If you have not sent me your mailing address or your choice of specific Reward yet, please do so. I will be ordering the prints and books in about a week.

Sculptors Marla Ripperda, Bill Barnett and Kelly Borsheim pour molten bronze in Austin, Texas
Sculpture Instructors and colleagues at the
Elisabet Ney Sculpture Conservatory in Austin, Texas
[L-R:]  Marla Ripperda, Bill Barnett, and Kelly Borsheim pour molten bronze to make art
copyright 2002 Borsheim Arts Studio

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hi-Res Scan Baptistry Florence Italy

Dear Art Lover,
     In my quest to find a hi-res scanner (without rollers contacting the art) for all of the professional painters in Firenze, I found this little gem! 
     The film is amazing and I can guarantee that I never saw the underground part of the Baptistry for the price of my ticket some time ago.  This is so cool: 

     Most people know that the Baptistry and even the famous Duomo (Cathedral) of Florence, Italy, were built upon Roman ruins.  Why not? So many other places in and out of Italy have Roman pasts!  I found this video truly incredible.

     Anyway, my search for a Cruse Scanner here in Italia whose use is available to professional contemporary artists continues.  I went to an Open Studio this morning for the Palazzo dei Pittori [Palace of the Painters], which is almost never open to the public, according to my Florentine sister who went with me.  We spoke to a man about some scanning, so I have a new contact.  Sadly, thus far  my search turned up a Cruse in Pisa, but it is only allowed for restoration work… and usually of dead artists.  Boh!  How can this be so hard in Italia to find?

Anyway, the big news now:

Happy birthday, DAD! 


Kelly Borsheim, artista

Friday, May 15, 2015

New Painting Weeping Willow Trees Live Model

Dear Art Lover,
     I have done a fair amount of paintings from live models while in the studio with a bunch of other artists.  Here in Florence, most of us tend toward similar styles (unlike my more fun experiences in Open Studios in Austin, Texas, in which anything goes!).  Maybe it is my being a tree-hugger that makes me want to turn these exercises into something someone might want, but in any event, I have been propping up some of the works and thinking about them.

     This painting of Magda sitting on a wooden bench seemed like a great one with which to start.  Her pose already gives the viewer a curiosity about where she is looking.  I have been longing for more trees in my life.  And maybe for times of innocence or less knowledge of what horrible things people are doing to the world and each other.  I have great memories of visiting my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in St. Paul, Minnesota.  And I especially loved the huge weeping willow in the lakeside lawn of my paternal grandparents.  Oh, what times we had in that house, in that yard, and in that lake!

    So, please indulge me with my sweet little painting.  It brings me comfort and wonder and memories of beautiful times.  I hope you can take away something positive from Reflections of a Studio Model as well.

oil painting weeping willow trees reflection live model turtle

Reflections of a Studio Model
60 x 50 cm  oil on canvas
Copyright 2015 Kelly Borsheim
Available, please ask.

     She is presented here in my latest newsletter about the great Artemisia Gentileschi:

art auction raise money against domestic violence Florence, Italy
     Related to her story is one for my next art event.  I want to give something back to the Renaissance City for some of the many changes in my life since I first came to touch a Michelangelo in 2004.
You are invited!
Enjoy the party, meet artists, si mangia bene!
Aperitivo (buffet) free to attend
All artworks start bids at 100 euro
Firenze, Italy
drawings donated by Kelly Borsheim
plus many other artist donations

Sunday 17 May 2015
Bidding starts at 17:30 (5:30 p.m.)
Casa Torricelli

Via Manzoni 2 [near Piazza Beccaria], Florence [Firenze, Italia]

Fine print:
There are a LOT of artworks to auction off!
ArtemisiA in collaboration with Le Giubbe Rosse [the artist's café in Piazza della Repubblica]



  • Through 15 May, Cincinnati, Ohio: exhibit of two of my drawings in Manifest Gallery's DRAWN 2015. Be quick! Not much time left. 
  • In June I will be in Florida and South Carolina. If you want to get together, please contact me.
  • In early July, I will be in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Chicago, St. Paul, and before that in North Carolina with family.
  • In late July, August, and early September, I will be working to carve stone and create bronze sculpture in Austin, Texas.
  • October 22-25 finds me at The Artists Fair, at the Bargehouse in London [Yes, England]:


I would love to see you if possible.

Artist painter sculptor KellyThank you,

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