Cari Amici (Dear Friends),
Street painting in Italy has helped me to meet a great number of people that I would not have met without this art activity. One of my colleagues in the art of the madonnari is a Florentine-born young woman named Laura. I always thought her face striking and of a certain type that seemed so classical in shape and coloring that I had recognized from this part of the world. For years, I had thought to paint her face.
As luck would have it, back in 2009, she told me that she wanted to try modeling. So I hired her for one of my Open Studios in Florence and drew the charcoal sketch of her portrait that you see here.
I am not sure what exactly made me re-create this work with Laura as a Madonna portrait, but it probably had something to do that we both work as madonnari. Madonnara is the Italian word for one female streetpainter. The word is based on the history of these artists creating devotional drawings to the Madonna in the streets in front of the churches in Italy.
I created this artwork titled “Madonna Fiorentina” in pastel on Pastelbord. She is 12” x 9” I include a detail shot here because I want to show you how softly textured pastel on board looks. It is quite lovely.