Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Street Painting in Florence, Italy

Cari Amici,
Coming to you not even live (hey, I resemble that remark!) from Florence, Italy . . . Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

It also happens to be Monday, so I have spent my day as an Italian madonnara. I had to share this with you since I am so happy to have access to the Internet again.
So, anyway, I chose to draw a portrait of a Madonna by Sassoferrato in 1640 AD. This first image shows how I got started today. I am not particularly comfortable with my skills with pastels, so while I try to lay out a basic pattern of light and dark shapes, I do not have the layering skills that true pastel artists have mastered.

And thus, you see image # 2 after I have mooshed all of my hatched layers together with my hands. This technique is part of the reason I tend to wear so much chalk color on my face and clothes! Oh, and please let me know if this post had too many images for your taste. I get fascinated by process that I worry sometimes that I am overwhelming others.

I should have gotten the face more in proportion to the original print I had to work from since using a grid is supposed to help the artist. However, I have some bizarre resistance to measuring and creating straight lines. So, while I do a lame job of laying out my grid (or as they say in Britain – I can’t be bothered to create a proper grid), I suppose I am not troubled by the result enough to change. Stubborn Irish girl!

The third image is of me working on my disegno. I cannot seem to get enough darks to make me happy. Also, I think this image of a face (only) emerging from the street is creepy in a cool way. And yes, I was wearing a GREEN turtleneck under my suspenders on the jeans that my sister Amber gave me last August. You just cannot see it since I added the white pullover from Sophie and later, my jean jacket. I also had drawn a shamrock to the left of my Madonna image.

This fourth image was taken when my friend Skye dropped by for a visit while she worked the crowds in centroFlorence, handing out pubblicità for a bar on Via Dei Benci. Note her lovely green wig to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I actually did enjoy today, although my body has already started to pay, because I had so many friends drop by to look and give their enthusiastic support. I get a kick out of hearing my name called out in Florence.

This next image of the hands with the face basically done, while the veil leaves much to be desired, was taken around 18:00. I started my work around 14:00. I had to wait for Tomo, one of the top madonnari here, to use my space for a videographer. Claudio is still hoping for enough public support that the madonnari will be able to keep making street paintings in Florence after 31 March 2008. Anyway, my friend Abdu stopped by again and said he really loved this partly done look.

But, I moved past that . . . I quit just before 22:00. The tourists are coming more now, but not enough yet to stay until midnight, as I did in September 2007. This image was taken by another friend of me with my work on Via Calimala.

And finally, I show you the finished chalk drawing. The word ‘takk’ that you see is Norwegian for ‘thank you.’ Besides getting a generous tip from some traveling Texans (Texans have always been decent tippers, from my experiences), a couple of Norwegian music students gave me some Norwegian coins and wrote the word out for me. I told them the money is very cool and I like it, but I took the coins out of the buckets and put them into my pocket so as to not encourage other people to leave money that I cannot buy food with here in Italia. With the US dollar so weak right now, it is better for me to earn what I can in euros to avoid the costly exchange rates.

And, today I received more questions than usual about “how can you wash this away tonight?” So this last image is of my washing my square to prepare it for tomorrow’s artist.

Buona notte! I am exhausted!
And thank you for reading! TAKK. Grazie mille!


Rodney said...

my dear i'm impressed. never too many pictures. i've wondered who washed away the art after the work was done, the artist aw. its 74 and raining here today. huggs kisses girl, later...Rodney

Jo Castillo said...

Rodney is right, never too many photos.

Beautiful and exciting work. You do just great with the pastels. :) Too bad it has to be washed away.

And ... it is raining here, too. Maybe no baseball tonight.


Joan said...

I came over to check this out through Jo's Castillo's blog. This is so gorgeous!! It is so sad that you have to wash it away after all that work. Wow! My back is hurting just looking at the photos of you crouched over. You do lovely work.

Kelly Borsheim said...

Ha. Thanks you guys/gals. It is a little weird to wash it, but we are not permitted to do original work here, so I am only washing away a quick copy of someone else's idea.

And yes, my body is often sore for days after, although I get stronger each time I do it. Still, good thing I am only drawing in the street one day per week! Grazie e ciao, ciao ragazzi!

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Hi Kelly - I got your comment on my blog - we'd love to meet you. I haven't been able to get through all your blog yet but from what I've seen you are amazingly talented and I look forward to seeing more! My mom's the artist in our family, I'm sure she'll love it when I pass her blog on to you.

Hope to meet you on the 19th. I have your email address so I'll be sure to send you an update.