Saturday, June 13, 2009

Figure Drawing

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

There is a young girl, Sarah, here in Florence, Italy, who has become one of my favorite models. She is punctual and charming to work with. And she is truly lovely.

I created this figure drawing in charcoal on the 3rd of June, taking a short break from street painting. I find sketching from a model between drawing in the street all day relaxing and engaging.

This original charcoal drawing is on "green-blue" Canson’s Mi-Tientes colored paper is approximately 14 inches tall. The female figure is half-seated and half-reclining as her legs reach toward the viewer and the model leans away, against a chair.

She is priced at $150, including shipping. Sales tax is extra and depends on your location. If interested in adding her to your collection, or allowing this drawing of Sarah to start your collection, please contact the studio or just use the PayPal button below.

Thank you so much for your support and interest!
Tell a friend, if you like.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Caravaggio Street Painting Florence Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I have written of some of the problems with the Comune (City Hall) that the madonnari (street painters) of Florence, Italy, have been having. We now may only draw in groups because we are only permitted one drawing per day and we have many artists in our organization who need to work.

Last week my group of three artists took on two newcomers. So we chose to draw Caravaggio’s famous painting “The Supper at Emmaus.” This painting depicts the moment when two disciples recognize their risen Jesus because of his way of starting a meal together. Apparently Caravaggio depicted Christ in a young and slightly feminine way to help explain why the disciples had not recognized the man they had spent the day with until just this moment.

Three of us started the work, with the other two arriving later. I chose to draw the old man on the right. Our group had discussed the week before about having some sort of rotations system so that the guy who had to work elsewhere in the mornings was not always drawing the minor figures. So we saved Jesus for Johnny (and he did a fantastic job of him!).

When I draw alone, I determine the outer dimensions of my drawing and grid only the areas of the face. In a group situation, it is better to create a grid over the entire composition, each artist relating shapes to grid marks and not to the work of the other artsts. Some images of my start.

This next image shows our efforts after midnight the first day. In truth, I did not photograph the other parts because our two new colleagues did not draw so well. They asked us to show them how to draw faces, which we did for some time. However, it is one thing to teach a fine artist how to alter their techniques into those of a street performing artist; while totally another to teach someone basic drawing skills.

One artist in our regular group tried to rework the faces after the new ones left, and later, when the sun was down and the tungsten street lamps were on, a bit more color was added. Check out the turkey and the fruit from the previous image. Not so bad in this light, but garishly loud by sunlight! We laughed about the orange in the face and the neon fruit the next morning. Normally we try to respect one another’s drawings by not touching a part another worked on, but since our income depended on quality and also the responsible artists were not returning, no harm done.

I took these last two images after midnight the second and last day. I drew the old man on the right and the green coat of the man on the lower left. I also drew the bread and two vases in the lower left corner. This is a very cool painting. Caravaggio really was a fantastic artist, even if he was a murderer too. ;-)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mimito Sorrydista Florence Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I have always been shy when meeting new people. That would almost go for double when meeting the street performers in Florence, Italy. I recently wrote about gReY, il mimo. I watch him perform any chance that I can, but I did not meet him in the street. Instead, a dear friend of mine brought him to a private party in Florence almost two years ago.

Last month I met Mimito il sorrydista. Some call him ”L’Uomo del Vento” (“The Man of the Wind”). Born in Rome, he has performed in many countries, but now you may find him on the streets and in the piazzas of Florence. He knows a lot of the madonnari and will occasionally take his break by hanging out near us street painters. I am shy, not generally rude, so it was inevitable that we would meet.

This street performer explained to me that his name ‘sorrydista’ is a word that he made up. In Italian, ‘sorridere’ means “to smile” and he wanted to make a sarcastic play on words with the English “sorry.” Forget your worries. Street performers such as Mimito want to help you laugh even if only for a moment. Their humor is natural, kind, and fun for all ages.

So, I photographed Mimito il sorrydista helping this class of young boys become posers. I hope you enjoy the series. Afterwards, Mimito put a purple spiked hair wig on their teacher and got him into the act. The kids loved seeing their teacher in a TOTALLY new way. It was all good fun.

Even a “vigilanza” will stop to watch Mimito. And, of course, even this southern Italian woman could not escape his Italian charm.

When Mimito is not being blown about by the wind, he is an accomplished musician and finds others to play with. Seen here in Piazza della Repubblica in Florence is Mimito with a guitar player. Beside him is his companion Kleo (clay-oh). Mimito told me that Kleo was free when they met and later, this puppy chose to go home with Mimito. It turns out that the now four-year-old dog has showman-like skills. While I have only rubbed her belly during a break from street painting, several of my friends have seen Kleo perform. She can keep a palloncino (balloon) up in the air while running across the entire piazza! I am glad they found each other.

Especially after witnessing this white poodle who could not stop barking at ”L’Uomo del Vento”

The following image shows how Mimito experiences ‘Stendhal Syndrome’ in front of the recent street painting my Wednesday and Thursday group of madonnari created on Via Calimala. This was a copy of Caravaggio’s “The Supper at Emmaus.”

And I leave you with a self-portrait I took with Mimito on the day that we met. My face is relatively clean considering my normal state during chalking on Via Calimala. Enjoy!

Visit Mimito il sorrydista at his Web site:

More images of this charming artist can be found on (search ‘sorrydista’)

Be like me and befriend Mimito il sorrydista on Facebook, search for
Maurizio Mimito Stefanizzi

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