Friday, July 24, 2009

Austria Linzerpflasterspektakel

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

While I do not have as much time now to organize my fotos and write something that I hope is worth reading, I did want to share some different sort of images with you.

After I left Vienna, I took the train to Salzburg and spent more days exploring the nearby villages and mountains. Twice I saw this wonderful look of man and nature together. It was a fruit tree that grew smack up against the building and the branches had been trained to grow around the windows. Contrasting the green fruit and leaves with red chrysanthemums in windows boxes made for a lovely, although almost grid-like, effect.

My friend Sylvia had explained the subtle differences of Austrian home design to me, explaining that so many tourists expect all Austrians in this region especially, to live as in the film “The Sound of Music.” She is not keen on the homes that have that “touristy look” and prefers the more authentic Austrian home fronts. But it is also fun to remember that Austrians are people too and like all people, they will have different tastes. I love being reminded of this and as we turned a corner, I saw this cool African sculpture with this giant fishing hook. Enjoy.

And finally, I wrote about my friend Mimito Sorrydista affectionately known as “The Man of the Wind” back on my June 8 blog entry. He caught me online last night on Facebook and we chatted for a bit. He told me that he was chased out of Florence but he did not have much more time than to explain to me that is was because of “vigili in borghese. ma il pubblico che poco prima si stava divertendo anno infierico contro di loro. protestando che l'arte va rispettata.” which I understand to mean that possibly someone made a complaint about street artists, or specifically him, but I have no details. I am aware of some problems with the street artists in Florence, but also aware that the new government might be a time to change things.

He then proceeded to tell me that “la realtà in austria è decisamente pregevole. apprezzano e si divertono con gli artisti.” or Austria appreciates artists and makes it fun for them to do what they do.

He is currently performing among about 200 street artists from around the world in Linz, Austria. The festival is called Linzerpflasterspektakel. Can you say that three times fast? Check out their site (in English too) to see who the performers are. Hurry, the festival ends Saturday the 25th!

I must say that while earning money depends on the tourists, like always, this festival does house the artists during the festival, reimburses for transportation (within reason), and gives the artists a food budget. Still, tip nicely or at least something, because there is more to life than eating and sleeping. The artists must buy costumes or art supplies and often spend a lot of time outside of performance hours to hone the skills you witness in only a short period of time.

Buon lavoro, Mimito!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Male Nude Drawing After Prud’hon

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Before arriving in Florence, Italy, I rarely had any art history lessons. While I have so much more to learn about this subject, one of the things that I find interesting is how many paintings we know must have existed because of copies made from them. Artists throughout time have made copies of works of other artists whose works they admire.

Paul Pierre Prud’hon made many beautiful drawings and I have recently finished a copy of one of his figure drawings of a seated male nude. The title for Mr. Prud’hon’s original drawing is “Male Study for an Allegory of the Rhine River” and depicts a nude man seated on an overturned vase. He appears to be engaged in some task when he suddenly turns towards the viewer slightly. It is a lovely drawing and a real pleasure to copy.

I used the Italian Umbria paper for my charcoal and white chalk drawing. The Umbria paper is a warm, crème-y color. The drawing measures approximately 16” x 13” and has had fixative applied to protect the drawing. He is available for a summer offering of only $600 with shipping included. However, sales taxes (6.75%) apply if sending to a Texas address. You may click on the safe PayPal button if you would like to purchase online, or otherwise, contact the studio with your wishes.

And thank you for your interest in classical figurative art.

“Male Study for an Allegory of the Rhine River”
charcoal and white chalk drawing
(Italian) Umbria paper
16” x 13”
by Kelly Borsheim, after P.P. Prud’hon

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gustav Klimt Kiss Vienna

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Maybe this was a case of “it tells more about you (the viewer) than about me (the artist).” Maybe it was because I was standing in a very beautiful space (the Belvedere in Vienna) and was feeling a little bit of “information overload.” Or maybe it was that I had just come from the Leopold Museum and was feeling a bit sad to learn that Austrian artist Egon Schiele had died in 1918 in the huge flu epidemic. He was only 28 and his wife, 6-months pregnant, had succumbed to the same flu three days before her husband.

In any event, I did not have the emotional reaction to “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt that I thought I would when I saw the real painting in person. The images that I include here do not match the memory I have of the actual painting.

To me, the face of the woman looked bluer than her arms, the color warming slightly as it moved away from her face. I looked closely at the hands. His were decidedly strong and straight, like architecture: supporting more than caressing her. Hers were not limp and seemed to reciprocate the embrace, although the hand on his neck was questionable. It appeared to be only resting there after some movement, but not that she was consciously touching the skin on his neck.

But still, for me . . . that face . . . Before Vienna, I had only assumed that she was accepting and enjoying the kiss of her lover. But as I stood before the original painting, I had the distinct impression that she had just died. As the life color cascaded down from her face, her lover kissed her for the last time. I could not shake the sadness that I felt and yet, there was such a great beauty in the artwork.

But that is just me . . . see what you think.