Saturday, September 15, 2007

"Blue Madonna" - Painting

Hello again. I had such a good response painting my version of the "Blue Madonna" by Carlo Dolci on Via Calimala in Florence, Italy, last Wednesday. Some examples:
One Italian couple asked me why I was not painting on "tela" -- the Italian word for 'canvas'.
I received a possible commission to create a mural in a small town about 40 km from Firenze.
And one very lovely American girl from New York with big brown eyes (who looked a little like the actress Anne Hathaway) exclaimed that this was the most striking painting she had ever seen here -- and "I live right over there [she points] and I walk down this street everyday to see the art!"
Another man returned to my space around midnight to find me washing my artwork away. He shook his head and said, "I do not know how you can make it disappear. That [artwork] was brilliant!"

Brilliant? Perhaps not, but I appreciated his sentiment just the same. That said, I decided to start painting, now that I am more settled and have finished my application for 'rinnovo' of my 'permesso di soggiorno' -- renewing my 'permission to stay' permit. And why not create something more permanent in this striking blue? Here is a view of my little room above Piazza Santa Croce. You may see my work-in-progress on the right. While I was all gung-ho to get to
work, I realized that I had forgotten to buy some mineral spirits for oil painting -- cannot take THAT with one on the plane. (Oh - yes, my lagging piece of luggage was delivered to me at my friend Jay's apartment last Monday, so all is well on that end.)

Since it was about 1:30 p.m. when I realized I could not oil paint (and most shops in Italia are closed for a long and social lunch), I chose instead to do an under-painting in acrylic. This is what you see here. After 3:30 p.m., I was able to get back to the art supply store and buy some 'trementina' -- turpentine (spirits were not available). I will keep you posted, so stay tuned . . .

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Madonnara - Street Painting

So on 12 Settembre, I just tried my hand at becoming a 'madonnara' -- a street painter in central Firenze (Florence). This being my first time, I thought it would be funny to depict a virgin. No, seriously, I was trying to find something a little different from what I had seen here, but that would appeal to my audience. My friend Mark Cummings (San Francisco) told me that 'madonnas go over BIG in Italia.'
Allora, I had bought many pastels and a few other supplies while in Texas, thinking it would be more cost effective. I had wanted to try this during my last visit to Firenze, but . . .
Anyway, I chose the "Blue Madonna" an oil painting by Carlo Dolci that I had seen at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. Such a beautiful work and love those blues!
I am attaching an image that a tourista took of me while working. In one day (I started about 11 am) I tried working in this new media for me, in color, and on a street! What a canvas.
I finished as much as I wanted to a bit earlier than I thought I would, but I stayed working until almost midnight. There were many visitors throughout the day and evening. Most were very complimentary and many were impressed to learn that I have not done this before. Although I definitely wore more pastel than other artists do! Colorful dust everywhere and at the end of the night, I wash the entire artwork away to make it known to the street cleaners in the morning that a new artist will start in my square that next day.

I will also be trying again next Wednesday, so if you find yourself in Firenze soon, check it out! I am working near Piazza della Repubblica -- closer to the Straw Market.
Ciao, and thank you for reading.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Life in Florence, Italy

9-9-07: Perhaps I should introduce myself. My name is Kelly Borsheim. I am an artist.

I arrived in Italy two days ago, but without one of my suitcases. Bummer. I am still waiting for its delivery to Florence (from the Bologna aeroporto). I have been staying at a friend's place until I move into my rented room tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I just finished sending out a brand new artnewletter:
and reacquainting myself with this city.

Thank you for reading.