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 . . .

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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”