Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Leonardo da Vinci Leda and the Swan

Dear Art Lover,

     Last fall I met a couple in Zecchi’s Art Store in Firenze, Italia.  Soon after that meeting, I began to teach the husband Gary how to create his first painting . . . ever!  And what was his choice?  Leonardo da Vinci, naturalemente!  He has now finished his copy of Leda and the Swan.  The original design is by da Vinci, but the image as best known by paintings done by his students.  You may see more information here:
and the myth:

Leda and the Swan design by Da Vinci - student copy
Gary's copy of "Leda and the Swan"
      Anyway, Gary and I worked about two hours for perhaps three weeks last fall.  We used a color copy generated from a photo of the composition of his choice.  He painted in oils on wood prepared by a local Italian shop with gesso vero.  And he came back to Firenze a day or two after I was able to return in late March this year.  We continued our schedule for another three weeks.  He only recently finished this, his first painting and I must say that I think he took to it brilliantly!  Gary is a bit shy, so I am only posting pictures of his project, with his permission.  

     And me?  Well, any teacher will tell you that teaching teaches the teacher as well.  I came away from this experience with some new friends and having a much greater appreciation for the design work of Leonardo da Vinci.  One problem I have with these art schools in Firenze (or at least the one I attended), the skills taught are more designed to have your hand create what your eye and brain see.  Those are definitely necessary skills, but I want to explore more design. 

Anyway, Congratulations to Gary on completing his first painting!

Leda and the Swan design by Da Vinci - student copy

My other great news is that my book, “My Life as a Street Painter in Florence, Italy” is now available in Florence!  Find her at the Paperback Exchange near the famous and incredible Duomo (and also near Zecchi’s) at Via dell’Oche 4r   [Tel. 055 293460]  and online at:  http://www.papex.it/    Paperback is the main Anglo-American Bookshop and they are really kind there!


~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher

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