Sunday, January 25, 2015

Caretaking Portrait Start

Dear Art lover,
     I have a special place in my heart for caretakers.  Some people choose that role; others find themselves in it when a loved one needs special attention.  In either situation, it is a tough and more than full-time job.  One only stays with it because of love. 

     I decided to create a portrait painting of Miranda and Borislav [nickname Boro], the couple who are renting a small flat to me here in Umag, Croatia.  Boro has been struggling with pancreatic cancer and depends on his wife’s help for many things.  Miranda told me how she missed the New Year's Eve fireworks because she had to drive Boro to Pula to fight a fever he had.  Pula is the nearest city for affordable good health care and over an hour’s drive.  They had a hospital closer, but now that Yugoslavia no longer exists, this place is not affordable for most Croatians.

     Anyway, after a bit of effort acquiring oil painting supplies and with a generous and surprise gift from Nitram Charcoal in Canada, I began my project by sketching my subjects.  I was nervous and not just because I am a bit rusty.  I sat with the two of them in their living room as I sketched each one,  I started with Boro because I did not know how long he would be able to pose.  I spent less time on the sketch of Miranda and conversed with her, which basically resulted in a sketch that I did not like.  I did another one later, with much more time in it.

     Despite my initial drawings for this project, I have to primarily work from photographs, based on the nature of their lives.  And I went home that Saturday evening after sketching and taking images to create a few design ideas in Photoshop.  I had not yet found materials, but I know from much experience that the design takes time.  I created a composite of several images until I found the composition and expressions close enough for the idea that I sought.

     Here I share with you two of my sketches and a self-portrait using my new Nitram Bâton, drawing my design in charcoal directly on my canvas.

     This last image is to show you how I setup a makeshift studio in the small hallway of my flat. The door entering the flat is behind me, allowing me to step further back as the need arises.  The 100 x 70 cm canvas is too large for my travel easel, so I moved indoors a small table I found on my balcony, covering everything with newspaper or plastic to protect the home.  My computer sits on a couple of chairs with the light I brought clipped to a shelf above the coat rack.

     And, as always, thank you for your continued interest.  Share this with anyone you think might appreciate it! 

~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher

PS  My 15th Anniversary Sale (for taking the plunge to full-time artist) continues:  FREE WORLDWIDE shipping until 31 January 2015 (by midnight Texas time).  Let me know which artwork interests you.  I offer payment plans as well.  For more information on that, visit:

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