Friday, March 19, 2010

Ponte Vecchio Florence Italy Art

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

“Il Ponte Vecchio-Firenze, Italia” is the last of this series of Florence, Italy-inspired charcoal and pastel artworks that I will be able to complete before returning to la bella Italia soon.

Florence has enough eye candy that she has been teaching me to just sit and watch in a way that I rarely have allowed myself to do since I was a child. I like to walk around Florence at many different times of day. One day I found myself sitting on the Ponte Vecchio (old bridge) behind the bust of Cellini. I had time that day to stay a while and watch the lives of various figures intermingling on this famous bridge in the Renaissance City. This is a beautiful view of a silhouetted Ponte Vecchio framing the next bridge upstream (the Ponte alle Grazie) with some Tuscan hills in the background. The reflections in the River Arno are quite peaceful and beautiful.


I tend to be a fan of backlighting, even if I am often blinded or even crying a bit as I draw. But seriously, what an effect the light has! And I try to tackle some new challenge with each artwork that I create. For example, this is the first drawing in which I have depicted a crowd of people. I like all of the abstract patterns. This drawing is completely in charcoal, except for black pastels to give me a darker tone than I can get with only charcoal. And, the old woman standing alone, wanting the attention of the others, has been colored with pastels. This may have been a subconscious flashback to my days in the image preservation field, in which I oil painted on photographs printed onto a fiber paper.

Even if you have never been to Florence or Italy, I hope you will enjoy the bright sunshine entering the shapes on the Ponte Vecchio.

As with many of my 2-dimensional artworks, giclée (smaller than the original drawing or painting) and notecards are available.

“Il Ponte Vecchio-Firenze, Italia”
17” x 23”
Pastel and Charcoal on Roma-brand paper
Copyright 2010 Kelly Borsheim
$1800 + $25 shipping and insurance








Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pitti Palace Florence Italy


Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

The countdown continues – soon I will be back in my beloved Florence, Italy (or Firenze, Italia as she is properly called).
In the meantime, please enjoy the arches and architecture of the famous home of the Medici family: The Pitti Palace. Once again the light was what drew me into the scene and I hope that she captures your attentions as well.

Palazzo Pitti – Firenze, Italia
25” x 18”
Pastel and Charcoal on Roma-brand paper
Copyright 2010 Kelly Borsheim
$1400 + $25 shipping and insurance







Happy 40th Birthday, Michael!



Monday, March 15, 2010

Camille Claudel Book Review


Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

A little while ago, I finished a book about a passionate sculptor. The book “Camille Claudel: A Novel” was published in 2006 and written by Alma H. Bond, Ph.D. The young French sculptor was an apprentice and for a while, a lover, of the great master sculptor August Rodin. Many people I have spoken with think that she was at least his equal, if not better than her male contemporary. Some even speculate as to how much of her hand is in Rodin’s work – a logical assumption given the typical apprentice system of professional artists throughout history.

Since I really did not know much about Camille’s life and path, I enjoyed reading about her days as a child. I could relate to them quite well because I remember playing in the muddy creek beds with my own brothers in Germany and in the States, relishing the feel of the wet clay and often fashioning it into bowls and other forms.

Anyone who has felt a heady love can certainly enjoy the very girlishly romantic descriptions of Camille’s growing attraction and later full-blown love affair with the much older Monsieur Rodin. I still do not really understand why Rodin ultimately left Camille, unless it was simply that he refused her insistence upon a relationship on her terms (marriage). However, some hearts are more fickle than others are and as real life and much literature can attest, sometimes circumstances, ambitions, and other people’s decisions create variables that become insurmountable obstacles to one’s potential.

This novel is written in first person and I often felt that I was inside of Camille’s mind, feeling her thoughts as my own. Perhaps this was part of the reason I felt so uncomfortable, sometimes annoyed, and often depressed as I read the latter parts of the book. After the cooling of the relationship of these two passionate artists, Rodin continued his adventurous amours and career.

But Camille began to withdraw from the world and wavered between periods of grief, insecurity, pride, anger, isolation, and paranoia, and yes, even some happy moments. All of these emotions seemed quite reasonable to me, given the frustrations and losses she endured both professionally and personally. But knowing that she spent the last 30 years or so of her life in an asylum and worse, NOT creating (in fact, she even destroyed some of her works) made me feel alternately angry and sad. Too many times I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her out of her self-pity and despair and get to work.

Ultimately this novel left me with more questions than answers, but that is by no means a bad thing. And I felt that the writing was consistent with the thought patterns of a sensitive soul trying to find some understanding for why people behaved as they did. Without explanation or resolution, it is difficult to move on, as so many others expect one to do. I indulge my own pain for longer than most others can appreciate, but I like to think that another part of me takes over and pushes me to keep working towards my dreams despite grieving or the insensitivity of others.

But my main question remains: What quality is it that allows one person to function and even excel despite bad relationships with parents, lovers, employers, or others while others collapse into themselves? What personality trait enables one person to turn her grief and rage into a motivation to succeed beyond all expectations, while another has only the energy for self-sabotage? How selfish must the soul of another be to turn love into hatred? Is it inevitable that super-sensitive people will suffer from this trait?

Would the world have enjoyed more of Camille Claudel’s incredible sculptures if events and personalities in her life had been a little different? If yes, how different would those relationships in her life have had to be? Her intense and unresolved emotions kept her from creating. If she had been able to keep sculpting, could she have healed from her personal sorrows?

Can we ever know? Read the book to see if you can determine possible pivotal points in this dramatically sad, yet influential life.
Buy the book via this link and help support this blog: Camille Claudel: A Novel
Thank you!

Happy Birthday, Jake


(may you never feel the pain or injustices endured by Camille Claudel)


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