Friday, December 31, 2010

Anthurium Art

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Nature often repeats her patterns and shapes, especially when they are successful. No doubt you have seen the spiral in the nautilus shell (often used as a visual to explain the mathematical terms of the Golden Mean or Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Sequence). That spiral shape is also found in many plants, such as in the branches of an agave, the petals on the head of an artichoke, fruitlets of a pineapple, and in pine cones.

Ripples, twists, fractals, branching and more … we see recurring Nature’s patterns everywhere from the cracked dry earth to the veining in leaves to the billows of cloud patches, the scales on a snake, soap bubbles, honeycomb, and the staggered rows of kernels on corn cobs. Under water, over water, even water: the repetition of shapes, lines, and textures are everywhere. We are fascinated, as well as comforted by their beautiful design.

In what may be becoming my New Years' Eve tradition, I now would like to introduce you to another intentionally erotic artwork… if this is not your kind of thing, please just stop reading and go do something more interesting.

The concept, of course, is about the beauty and function in Nature’s repeating patterns.

pastel on black Firenze-brand paper
9” x 25”
$1800 + $20 shipping (6.75% sales tax to Texas destinations)

The idea for this pastel painting titled “Anthurium” was birthed back in 2007 in Florence, Italy. I did a commissioned pencil drawing for an Italian flower vendor who opened shop every day (but Sunday) in the piazza closest to my rented flat.

One day he asked me if I could do a drawing from a photograph and when I responded with a shrug, “Perché no?”, he pulled out a small, dark photo of himself, posing in shorts with an almost body builder physique. He seemed quite pleased to see the surprise in my face. It had never occurred to me that he would want me to do a drawing of him.

At the time, I had not yet created many images of a figure in an environment. Despite my very long days at the Angel Academy of Arts, I came home each night and worked really hard to create a drawing that I wanted to sign. The reference photo was horrible, so I immediately decided to create my own design around the figure. I came up with a border reminiscent of the shape of Florence’s famous Duomo and drew flowers around my friend’s image.

When I was nearing completion, I took the drawing over to show him and he actually made me remove one of the flowers I had chosen for its compositional value, and he said to me with a straight face, “THIS is my favorite flower.” I looked at the flower he pointed to, looked back at his expression, and thought, “You have got to be kidding me!”

I never could tell if he was or not, but I finished the drawing with his beloved anthuriums and he seemed genuinely delighted with it. Some ideas hang inside my head for years before they manifest themselves. I hope this one makes you smile.

I wish you a colorful and joyful 2011, full of ups more than downs and an honest appreciation of Nature’s offerings. Thank you for reading my blog and cruising along with this artistic journey.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Silver Trees Painting

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I live out in the country southeast of Austin, Texas, surrounded by trees. Sometimes the lighting on the naked narly branches of oaks stops me in my tracks. Near my home, there is an open brown field in front of a row of trees. The drama came from the dark skies of an approaching storm coming up from behind. As I passed by, I had the impression of the trees being silver.

So, in this 9” x 12” acrylic painting on canvas, I tried to capture some memory of this lighting situation. I actually used metallic paints for the tops of the trees. As is often the case with most of my works, there is a point in which I do not like the work because I feel that I am failing. I began to wonder about having a subject and composition as simple as a mostly horizontal row of trees. But I know now to plod through this stage and usually, I can turn it around to rediscover what caught my attention in the first place. This happened with this painting as well.

As I worked and also as I approached this painting with a fresh eye after working on something else, and in different times of day, I began to see how the painting actually was reminding me of my interest in the original scene.

The other thing that I have been enjoying about metallic paint is that the image looks different in different lighting situations. I include a few images here, so you may see some of her changing effects. I also rolled the paint into the trees, hoping to adds a few bumps with which to catch the light.

For me, this painting grows on me more and more and I find myself at peace with all of the horizontal lines in the composition, with just a few subtle diagonals for a wee bit of variety. I hope you like.

“Silver Trees-Texas”
Acrylic on Canvas 9” x 12”
Copyright 2010 – 2011 Kelly Borsheim

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Florentine Sunset Pastel Painting

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

So, we are still in bella Italia - at least in my mind anyway.
A lot of cities are built around rivers. They often remain much of the focal point and a cherished part of each city. While I have not traveled as much as I would have liked to, nor do I normally live in a city, I love the energy of Florence, Italy. Her river, the Arno River, is not one that I would neither swim in nor eat anything that came out of her. However, she enchants me just the same.

I have been lucky enough to live in the central part of Florence for long enough stretches of time that I have seen many gorgeous sunsets during the course of my “haunting” the city at dusk. It never gets old.

I decided to create a pastel painting, with metallic acrylic painted highlights, to share with you some of my absolute delight with Florence’s Arno River and one of the several bridges over her.

“Florentine Sunset” (Firenze, Italia)
12” x 16” Pastel with Acrylic Painting
copyright 2010-2011 Kelly Borsheim

Would you like to learn how to do this for a Hawaiian sunset? If yes, come join me at Kona Village Resort on the Big Island in Hawai’I for art workshop “Pastels in Paradise”. Dates are April 17-22. 2011, so register now!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Officina Ristorante Colle Di Val D’Elsa Italy

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Whether you use it or not, social media, such as Facebook, connects people, and sometimes in wonderful and otherwise unlikely ways. It was through Facebook and our common love of Florence, Italy, that the Diva of Divina Cucina, Judy Witts Francini, and I met. I am not sure if I have met anyone as intensely interested in most everything as Judy is. It is no wonder that people from all over the world come to take her cooking classes and her tours of Tuscany.

While I was still in Italy this past summer, Judy introduced me to the Officina della Cucina Popolare restaurant in a little town called Colle di Val d’Elsa, not far from her home in Certaldo. The drive from Florence was lovely. If you would like to see some of my snapshots along the route, visit my Facebook album about the Italian countryside.

I would have preferred to eat lunch there so that there was time to explore the medieval town, but my schedule would not allow it. Colle di Val d’Elsa is known for its lead-glass products and appears to be one long stretch of a town, running along the spine of a hill. The light on the long days here was starting to fade and I tried to get off a few images before the sun was completely gone. We parked (for free) outside of a very castle-like looking entrance all the “Porta Nova.” Not far inside is L’Officina on the right.

We sat outside to enjoy the evening air. The restaurant is very simple and therefore not overly “Italian” as more touristy places can be sometimes. The place had few visitors when we arrived on a Friday night just as they opened, but Italians eat later and the place was completely full before half-way through our dinner. The food was creatively prepared, beautifully displayed and a wonderful sensation for the taste buds.

The owners prefer a more organic way to live, serving food grown by sustainable local farmers and friends. Their menus are from recycled materials, such as these sides of wine boxes that you see in my photos. Their glasses are cut wine bottles.

I am not difficult to please when it comes to food, generally being happy if anyone but me prepares it. However, in the hands of people with passion for food, I can be completely blown away by the quality of the dining experience! This dinner was superb. I can honestly say that I never felt so … enchanted . . . with a bowl of cheese soup before. Pictured here with the fresh celery for dipping, mmm mmm mmmmmmmm

So, I apologize for not recording exactly what I ate here – sometimes it is difficult to live life and record it at the same time. The meat dish was wonderful and the one image shows Judy demonstrating to me how the traditional Italian cheese gourd-shaped ball is “unraveled” and eaten by locals.

Of the four friends who own and operate the Officina, I met Nicola Zak Bochicchio (isn’t he beautiful?) that evening as he successfully tempted us with the dessert menu. Like me, Judy prefers to order different items and then have all the table guests taste a little of each as they choose. I include three of our choices here. Please note that these are just snapshots with a flash (horrible!) and yet, these desserts still look so yummy (and they WERE)! And to top it all off, the prices were surprisingly affordable.

This last image is one I took that night as we exited through the same Porta Nova. I may not know much about food, but I have a pretty good understanding of the beauty of light. I will be returning to Colle di Val d’Elsa and definitely to the Officina, only for a longer visit next time. I hope you have a chance to experience this kind of traditional Tuscana too.

May the Yule Tide Spirit of Christmas be with you always.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Madonna Fiorentina

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Street painting in Italy has helped me to meet a great number of people that I would not have met without this art activity. One of my colleagues in the art of the madonnari is a Florentine-born young woman named Laura. I always thought her face striking and of a certain type that seemed so classical in shape and coloring that I had recognized from this part of the world. For years, I had thought to paint her face.

As luck would have it, back in 2009, she told me that she wanted to try modeling. So I hired her for one of my Open Studios in Florence and drew the charcoal sketch of her portrait that you see here.

I am not sure what exactly made me re-create this work with Laura as a Madonna portrait, but it probably had something to do that we both work as madonnari. Madonnara is the Italian word for one female streetpainter. The word is based on the history of these artists creating devotional drawings to the Madonna in the streets in front of the churches in Italy.

I created this artwork titled Madonna Fiorentina in pastel on Pastelbord. She is 12” x 9” I include a detail shot here because I want to show you how softly textured pastel on board looks. It is quite lovely.

Happy Birthday, Mamma Mia!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Daddy Longlegs

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

One of the benefits of working outside is noticing all of the “critters.” The other day I got to see a single ladybug on my marble “Gymnast” sculpture project. I do not really see ladybugs that often here, and that red round body contrasting with the white marble was fun.

More recently, I approached my marble work to find a Daddy Longlegs hanging out under the figure’s right arm. They are harmless and friendly enough. But I do worry that I will damage one of those delicate legs. I shooed him away, but then realized that my electric rotary tool apparently had no juice. After trying several sockets and wiggling lots of wire parts, I took it into the shop to take things apart.

Inside, one wire just pulled out WAY too easily. Most wire is coated with only the tips showing exposed metal. In this case, this tip had broken off inside the tool. Fixing it was just a matter of cutting away more of the plastic tubing around it and reattaching the wire.

When I returned to my carving site, my Daddy Longlegs friend was back, hiding under the left arm this time.

Nature's holidays are best - happy solstice! The skies were solid clouds (still are) over my home in central Texas, so I missed any chance of seeing the lunar eclipse last night.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Klimt Copy Kiss

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Long-time readers of my blog might remember that last year I won a blogging award from Casey Klahn for the entry I made about my trip to Vienna to see live Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss”

In Italy this August, I wanted to recreate this artwork in the streets of Portofino, a charming coast town on a northern Italy peninsula. But the police and city hall were having none of it (streetpainting), despite our having found a few small surfaces on which we could have created some art in chalk and pastel without being in the way of pedestrians or cars. Boh!

Anyway, as it happens, there seem to be a lot of requests for copies of famous artworks, Klimt’s “Kiss” being one of the favorites. So, I broke down and painted one in mixed media. My copy of the famous painting is only 22” x 18” -- MUCH smaller than the original.
I hope you like her. She is available for sale . . . only $1600. Oh, and I did not recreate the coloring that I noticed in the original artwork. I decided to keep the whole image pretty much warm and keep the romance going . . .

PS. I have been re-posting lots of images that some of my friends in Florence, Italy, have been taking of the unusual snow layers blanketing the Renaissance City now. They are quite charming! If you would like to see some, please “befriend me” on Facebook. In the meantime, I hope that you have someone to snuggle with in the chilly temperatures of winter. Also, check out the total lunar eclipse on Monday night. Click here for specific details about when and what.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Flossing Marble

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

On occasion I wonder if there is something wrong with me. Today there was one such occasion. I always seem to push myself to the point of “why are you making this more complicated than it has to be?” or, at least, more complicated (read “costly”) than other professional artists would bother with. And yet, I have decided that it is this extra detail that makes the art perhaps worthy of awe and keeps me challenged and intellectually engaged. [Most often, the reason is about how the light falls on the form, such as in the space around the legs in “Eric” and the deep hole between the figures in “Together and Alone.”] I also am learning something new, although sometimes I think the lesson is “Boy, I never wanna do THAT again!” [No, seriously, I am happy when I pull off the complicated part and think the idea works how I intended.]

In this case, I am speaking about my current work-in-progress, the “Gymnast” in Colorado Yule Marble. The female figure is sitting in a pike position, feet reaching to the sky, as she tucks her chin close to her chest, her forehead pushed up against her shins. Her head will be in profile and yet there is enough air space between the folded up body parts that my hope is to carve a beautiful face that I can barely access.

I received some wonderful measuring tools last Christmas. The one shown is a depth gauge. I have drawn (and redrawn as needed each time the marble gets removed) the centerline for the face and legs. And I work out from this line to shape the face. I recently bought a die grinder with a 3-inch extension and this helps me reach inside amazingly well. It is slow going, but I prefer more thinking to wrong cutting. In stone carving, I only get one chance, after all.

While I do focus in one area of an artwork for a good amount of time, I also step back and take a look often at the entire composition. It is not long before I start creating other lines from other viewpoints than strictly working the profile (image # 2).

Many years ago at the MARBLE/marble Sculpture Symposium in Marble, Colorado, I saw a diamond-coated rod that was designed to be added to a hacksaw. It looked cool to me, so I bought it. A couple of years ago, I saw it lying there unused in my toolbox and chided myself for my enthusiastic, but misguided decision.

That said, today I realized that ”flossing marble” is the very thing I need to do! And of the tools that I have, this diamond wire might be the safest one to use for this task. How else can I remove a long and narrow portion of marble between the nose and legs of the “Gymnast”?

I just wish that it did not take so long . . .

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

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reluctant Temptress Pastel Art

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Well, I guess I am a bit more of a feminist than I ever imagined. Every time I get accused of being a feminist, my initial response is, “You take that back!” I think the feminists gave women a bad name. After years of feeling frustrated and defensive, they pushed too far. When I was in high school, I understood them to be men haters.

My friend Laurie defended her name-calling to me in college by explaining that she meant that I do whatever I want to do and it never occurs to me that I cannot do it because of my female-ness. Perhaps that is a perk of growing up with three very active brothers. And I have always been aware of my short temper with people who cross that line between lifting themselves up and (by) pushing other people down.

So, you might imagine the problem I have with the Book of Genesis. Even the children’s bible that I still own portrays the misogynist view. For one example, that whole “Adam and Eve” story really gets me. I do not have the space to go into it here, but suffice it to say, Eve was doomed from the very beginning.

And yet, is there not some beauty in almost every person? (I would like to remove “almost” but fear I might sound to idealistic – ha!) So, this next pastel painting comes from another one of my explorations of the duality in our humanity. Imagine a modern day Eve (any woman actually) who follows her passion, but hesitates as she is reminded of a cultural weight. The future might be full of love and family and even fame (in Eve’s case), and yet, that apple . . .

I do not know. I could go ‘round and ‘round with all interpreted meanings of my latest pastel painting (and the bible). Sometimes an apple is just an apple . . . It will be more interesting to learn how YOU feel about this image.

“Reluctant Temptress” (aka Eve)
12” x 9” pastel on board
copyright 2010 Kelly Borsheim
$550 + $20 shipping (Texas destinations pay 6.25% sales tax)

If you or someone you know would like to more about classical art techniques and the medium of pastels, check out this workshop I am teaching in one version of Paradise:
Hawaiian Art Journey presents Pastel Workshop with Kelly Borsheim. Six full days of art while someone else takes care of cooking or cleaning for you – get away from your normal life to focus on making yourself a better artist.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cascading Clouds Austria Pastel

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Austria is a lovely country. I had a chance to visit it the summer of 2009 as a guest of a woman I met while living in Florence, Italy. Sylvia took me hiking during several of the days I stayed with her in her charming village south of Salzburg.

I tend to move slower than most people. This is because I stop a lot and look at all kinds of things. Paths in the mountains do not always involve retracing one’s steps in order to return. And even if they did, the light will most definitely be different. So, I tend to pause to glance back often. One day in Austria the afternoon light began to change fast. You could smell the impending rain in the air. I turned to look behind me and was completely blown away by the loveliness of the sky.

Clouds seemed to be gushing towards us over the mountains like a river bursting from a dam. I saw pinks and purples in the light and dark parts of the changing sky. It was a moment to stop and drink in. Sylvia and I did just that. I felt mesmerized and at peace. I wanted to stay longer, but my friend was concerned about the approaching darkness and rain.

I wish that I could paint smells. But maybe the pastel painting I created of this Austrian landscape will remind you sometime of the peace, drama, and beauty of the Natural world. Maybe you can recall the scent of approaching rain. I hope that you enjoy “Cascading Clouds – Austria”. She is a pastel on board and measures 16” x 20”

Friday, December 10, 2010

Libri Riviste e Fumetti

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Back to memories of Florence, Italy, … I knew that at some point I would paint Piazza Ciompi in Florence. There is a seemingly random-appearing raised platform of stone with square columns and repeating arches over it, right next to a flea market - antique shops that are more like sheds. This platform appears to have had no purpose other than marking one part of an edge of this mid-sized piazza.

During one of my many walks past this structure, I noticed the light filtering into the city and between these square columns. To my delight, a young woman was enjoying a moment in the winter sun reading her book while leaning against one of these columns. I stopped in my tracks and began to work out the painting in my mind. Later, as I got closer, I realized that she was a friend of mine! Even better.

I will introduce this new pastel painting (only a 9” x 12” on panel) this weekend. Her title is named after the sign on the “shed” behind the reading girl. It says simply, ”Libri, Riviste E Fumetti”, Italian for “Books, Magazines, and Comic Books.”

Naturally, you are invited to my last event of the year:

Sunday, December 12, from 2 to 6 pm.
The Curiouseum Arts Weekend inside the Community Renaissance Market
6800 Westgate Blvd. (NW corner of Westgate and Wm. Cannon)
Austin, Texas 78745
Tel.: Ruth: 512.744.3411 and Susan: 512.925.4085

Music lineup:
David Perkoff plays flute and saxophone from 2 – 4 p.m.

The Flying Balalaika Brothers play Russian folk music & a wide variety of other styles from 4 – 6 p.m.

There will also be a fashion show happening at the other end of the building from the gallery. Please pass this one to anyone you think might enjoy this kind of variety on a Sunday afternoon. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crack in Stone

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I have been trying to get back to my “drug of choice” – stone. So in-between preparing for exhibits, making art for my galleries, and just plain old “takin’ care of business,” I have been going outside to work on my marble carving of the “Gymnast.” I last wrote about her on my January 19, 2010 blog entry. I had just cut a hole into the space under the chin and in front of the vertical legs.

When I have left a work for a long period of time, I tend to move back into it slowly, reacquainting myself with the form and at the same time, trying to see the work with a fresh eye. I want to be fully focused before I continue. My first thought is to notice my emotional response to the artwork-in-progress. While it is difficult to carve emotion, per se, any negative emotions are often my first clue that something is wrong with the shape. I just have to figure out what sometimes. [Other times, it is quite apparent.]

I first noticed that there was a crack in the stone near the outer toes on the figure’s right foot (pointed out with red arrows in the first image). So, the first step back into carving was obvious and I removed entirely the stone outside of the crack. Some carvers like to use SuperGlue or some such adhesive to keep the crack secure as they carve around it. But thus far, my feeling is to get rid of a defect, or dead stone, and redesign. In this case, I still have plenty of marble for the feet.

This next pair of images shows you the markings I made on my stone of what to remove or lines to follow as I shape the feet. I tend to stand back about six feet from various vantage points to make sure that the line I will be creating flows beautifully.

In this final image, you can see what the end of my workday looks like. I do tend to watch the setting sun through the trees as I wrap up the day’s work. You can also see some of the mulch I have been spreading around my work site. The electric company came in a week or two ago and cut down and trimmed all of the trees within about 20 or 30 feet of the electric lines. I asked them if I could keep the mulch they made from the smaller branches and brush. I have been shoveling a little bit each day that I am out. Lovely stuff! And the cedar (juniper really) smells fantastic, although most of my privacy is gone.

Thank you for your interest in art and process.

Happy Birthday to my sweet brother Paul!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Flying Balalaika Brothers

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I never can answer the question “How long did it take you to do this?”
But I suppose I can say that technically speaking (if you do not count years of training and drawing), this next work took me two years – to the date even.

On December 1, 2008, I did some “negative shape” drawing exercises from a model named Katie in Florence, Italy. Now, once the drawing is done, you may not be able to tell that I created it by drawing only the dark shapes, relating each non-touching dark shape to the next dark shape. But this is a very powerful exercise that helps me refine my observation and recording of shapes.

As usual, I create these studies with pencil on drawing paper. In the image below, you can see that I did another drawing on the same sheet of paper, but in a different direction since the other drawing was of the entire figure and I needed the length of the paper. I do not always use my sketches to create derivative works, but sometimes I just enjoy the shapes or the lighting or the gesture and cannot get the images out of my mind. Such was the case Katie’s face.

For a couple of years now I have been experimenting with pastels on black paper. And so it seemed natural for me to transfer my pencil drawing onto black paper and fill in the Notan (white and black tones only) design with whites. Wow, what a change of effect!

This artwork is one of the new works I will debut at my last event of the year (and naturally, you are invited):

Sunday, December 12, from 2 to 6 pm.
The Curiouseum Arts Weekend inside the Community Renaissance Market
6800 Westgate Blvd. (NW corner of Westgate and Wm. Cannon)
Austin, Texas 78745
Tel.: Ruth: 512.744.3411 and Susan: 512.925.4085

Music lineup:
David Perkoff plays flute and saxophone from 2 – 4 p.m.

The Flying Balalaika Brothers play Russian folk music & a wide variety of other styles from 4 – 6 p.m.

There will also be a fashion show happening at the other end of the building from the gallery. Please pass this one to anyone you think might enjoy this kind of variety on a Sunday afternoon. Thanks!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Giclee Sale

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

While I seem to be running “a day late and a dollar short” these days, perhaps because stubbornly, I want to use my daylight hours for art creating… I did want to jump in on offering shopping specials during this weekend of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

So, now through this Cyber Monday (29 November) at midnight (well, ok before I wake up in Texas on Tuesday morning), I am offering all of my blog readers

20% off of all available giclée

Giclée (pronounced 'zhee-clay') is a French term used to describe a high-quality reproduction of 2-d art using inks that will last at least 200 years, given reasonable care of your art (ie… little direct sun).

While I do encourage collecting original art, I am fully aware that not everyone can do that. I am very impressed with the quality of my giclée and would love to see people have things around them that move them.

Lately, I have been creating pastels and charcoal paintings/drawings on paper. I have had hi-resolutions scans done of all of these, such as ”The Letter” that you see here. Please note that for an original that is on paper, the giclée will be on paper. Painting reproductions are on canvas. Also, if the proportion is not matched with the original, then please tell me the longest dimension that you want. For example, “The Letter” is a long and narrower drawing compared to a standard 24” x 18” image proportion. So, if you ordered a 24” giclée, the width might be around 15”.

Also, included in this sale are giclée on canvas of some of my images from Italy that are part of my fund-raising efforts to help my kid Rudy get a set of dentures (implants are apparently way too expensive). He has had about four years now without ANY teeth because of a rule in Medicare that says “teeth are cosmetic and therefore not provided.”
Rudy was born with Treacher Collin’s Syndrome and I think he has struggled enough! For more information on this project, click here:

Details on the Art Sale:
All you have to do to receive your 20% savings, is to visit my Web site and then my contact page. Tell me the title of the artwork you would like to buy and also the size of the giclée. I will send you a PayPal invoice so that you may safely use your credit card online, or you may send me a check, your choice.

I will try to have all images shipped to you before Christmas, but if it is just not possible, I will create a “gift card” to give your loved one on the right date that includes an anticipated arrival date for the artwork.

Helpful links:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Open Book Stone Carving

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Today was a glorious day! 84 degrees, partly sunny, a wee bit windy . . . my favorite kind of stone carving day! I like to stop work each day in my studio – whether indoor or out – leaving something unfinished. I have found that it is a way to stave off a creative block. Monday I left myself with the start of an idea, but not a full answer.

Today, I began to focus on the top portion of my marble sculpture. Those who either read this blog often or have taken a class from me might remember that I often feel that the most helpful information about the form will often be found by the view one is least likely to have, that is, the bird’s eye view.

Thus, I began today’s work by getting out my trusty stepladder and having a look. I decided to pull back the woman’s rib cage, emphasizing even more the arching gesture while pulling her into the male’s form a bit. Then I figured out how the lines I drew Monday on the stone might work and connect up with one another on an artwork in the round.

I love triangles, but I did not really love this idea. However, I did not have another at the moment. When this happens to me, I try to determine whether or not I can cut into the stone to explore the current idea without losing something that I later will want. For me, this is the challenge of direct carving. For collaboration with the stone to occur, sometimes I must remove material so that an idea emerges.

After I chiseled out the diamond in the neck, I stepped back to take a look. (See the second image.) I felt nothing. Well, not really, I actually decided that any upward hint of a neck actually detracted from the lines I have carved in the marble torsos. However, I still loved the “S” curve of the clavicle (collarbone). So, I decided to emphasize that line.

As I was chiseling away, my mind drifted to my friend and mentor Vasily (Fedorouk)’s work. Over the years that I have known him and studied his work, I began to notice that certain shapes or poses seem to reoccur in his sculpture. Like Leonardo da Vinci’s solo finger pointing up, I guess all artists have some gesture or line that has some personal meaning, however subliminal.

And then it occurred to me . . . I had carved this shape before on another torso in marble back in 2004! This particular "S" curve of the clavicle reminds me of an open book. And an open book could be interpreted as a type of vulnerability or perhaps accessibility. It is also a form of generosity. I will let the psychologists take it from there.

It felt great getting this resolved today, for I still am unsure of what I want to do with the base . . . There is a cold front expected tonight, so I stopped work long enough to get all the plants indoors and bring up some firewood to the house. The sun had set by the time I returned to the marble.

Of course I could see her whiteness in the dying light and I needed nothing more. I am close enough to the final shape that I use my fingers more than my eyes to feel and refine the form. I love running my fingers along the weaving landscape of muscles and my sense of touch gives me much more information now. I used the rough end of my carbide file to remove the tool marks of the day until it was almost pitch black outside. A good day’s work, to be sure.

Gratitude is best when expressed. So in the spirit of the American Thanksgiving, I just wanted to say thank you for your interest in my journey. I could not do it without you.