Saturday, June 20, 2009

Male Nude Art

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

After seeing my artwork at Sei Divino’s here in Florence, Italy, some time ago, an acquaintance told me that he would like to become a nude model. So we talked about how to go about applying for the job and I would hire him to work for my Open Studio at the Angel Academy of Art.

When the day came, he was late. I called him and he said, “in 15 minutes.” I responded, “Ti aspettiamo.” (We are waiting for you.) When he arrived, he asked, “We? I thought I was modeling only for you.” Uh oh. How could that have happened? Not wanting him to feel put on the spot, I showed him the workspace and the model room and told him that he could leave the robe over him as he desired.

Fabric is wonderful to draw and when it is on a model it is even more complex because it never returns to the pose in the same position. One must work fast and one ends up creating a composition of many variants. Our model did a wonderful job and afterwards told me he would love to model again. I told him that the school closes its Open Studio sessions soon and it would be October before they start up again. He was very sweet and replied that he would wait for when I come back because he prefers to work with me in the session. So, here is my charcoal figure drawing of the charming Giovanni.

“Giovanni --10 Giugno 2009” 17” x 11” $150, includes shipping.
Charcoal / carboncino
A greenish paper -- Canson Mi-Teintes

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gem and Mineral Exhibit La Specola Florence

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Yesterday I went to see Mostra Cristalli: la più bella mostra di minerali al mondo inside of La Specola Natural History Museum in Florence, Italy. While I cannot claim to have seen all the mineral specimens in the world, this was indeed an incredible collection. And I went with a friend who collects gems and minerals and was told the high selling prices for stones much smaller than the ones presented here. The value of this collection boggles the mind. So much is one man’s passion!

Adalberto Giazotto, a particle physicist, started his collection as many children do: with small pieces that created a “wonderful obsession.” As an adult, he traveled the world to add to the quality of his collection, often buying an unusual mineral or an entire collection from other passionate people. The minerals and gems came from countries such as Brazil, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Russia. Some even originated in the United States (Colorado, Tennessee) and I enjoyed the special section on minerals from Tuscany.

There were over 500 stones on display, most beautifully lit in a comfortably dark space. In fact, I was a bit disappointed by the book for the exhibit because the lighting of each mineral and gem was rather flat. In some instances, all sense of dimensionality was lacking. I am sure, though, that they created the photography before the exhibit lighting showed more possibilities.

Certainly the wide variety of both saturated and subtle colors dazzled. But I think I enjoyed most how strong geometrical shapes seems to push their way through organic shapes. I was reminded of the life under the ocean a lot. There were delicate fibers inside and extending beyond hard crystals. And I include here one piece in which one does not need to be a cloud watcher to recognize the form of a rabbit!

As we left the museum, we took another look at the tribute to Galileo. I include an image of this room because it is so typically Italian.

You may see something of Mostra Cristalli: la più bella mostra di minerali al mondo on the Web site: and relax, it is in English also.

If you like what you read, enjoy the photos, and would like to help support this blog(ger) / artist, click here . . .

Monday, June 15, 2009

Italian Inspirations Art Exhibit

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Just Friday I had another art reception here in Florence, Italy, this time at L’Entoca Pozzo Divino. I love this space. Pozzo Divino means ‘divine well’ in Italian and is a perfect name for this semi-underground wine cellar. Pino Palmiero, the proprietor, offers Tuscan products, such as wines, balsamic vinegars, salsas, pasta, cantuccini and more. And he has wines from other regions of Italy as well. My brother Paul can attest to this since he greatly impressed my landlady and landlord with a wine from Napoli.

I normally do not publish images of people without their permission and I have not had much time to do proper marketing, so . . . I hope you like these images I took of the exhibit before we opened. I met a lot of people that I had never seen before and chatted with friends as well. People were very complimentary of my figurative art and I could not have asked for much more . . . thank you all!

Si trova (you can find) Pozzo Divino and Pino at Via Ghibellina 144r (between the famous Bargello sculpture museum and Teatro Verdi) in Florence. (also and Usually open in the afternoons – 4 to 7 pm., but you can always walk around the corner to Salumeria Verdi to find his original business and ask to be taken into Pozzo Divino. No problem, unless it is lunchtime, when Salumeria Verdi is typically swamped! Great affordable dining!

This exhibit continues through 22 June 2009.

And of course, more of my art can be seen on my site: or on Facebook:

Happy Birthday, John Seiler!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Creation of Adam

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

This past week my group of three artists drew “The Creation of Adam” from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel here in Florence, Italy. I had to start the work alone this week because my colleagues had other obligations in the morning. When there is a group, we generally mark out a grid using pigment on a string. The grid is very obvious in all parts of our drawing space. When I grid for myself, I prefer to be more subtle as I feel the grid reduces a bit the effect of the magic of drawing. While I wanted to do this Michelangelo as large as permitted, I did not want one of the gold bars embedded in the street to fall onto the face of Adam or of God.

Once I determined the overall size and marked off my squares, I quickly sketched the overall shapes. This helps me get my overall bearings, but the real purpose is to help my viewers get an idea of where I am going with my street painting. In this case, I only drew the section inside of the gold bars, knowing that as the faces and figures got developed, the drawing would be extended to the right behind the figure of God.

Shortly after lunch one of my colleagues arrived. The other came later, but only drew that first day with us.

We have received coins other than euros for tips, and once a cigarette (which charmed me to no end if you can read my sarcasm into that), but my favorite tip that I cannot pay bills with is food. One day someone put a chocolate bar in our basket. Another recent time a couple from Canada, I think, bought us a big gelato. Sweeeettt.

Last week during our Caravaggio street painting, I met Giuseppina, a fiorentina (woman from Florence). She loves movie stars and we had a wonderful talk about a variety of topics. She bought each of us a large cup of fruit from a nearby stand. And then this week, I met Vittorio. He liked my drawing of Adam and bought me a torta con fragola (strawberry cake) and a fruit juice before I rode off to my Open Studio. And he came to my art reception at Pozzo Divino the other night.

I just hope that these generous folks are not buying us food because they think we are bums and if we receive money, we might just go blow it on alcohol! ;-)

In any case, here is our drawing after the first day. The next morning the street cleaners made their obligatory pass and we started again. I improved the face the second time around, but essentially the drawing looked the same.

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